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During week 8 we saw fewer injuries than in the past few weeks, but some are causing some ripple effects through their offenses. However, when one door shuts, another one opens up. The unfortunate injury to these players can give way to players who haven’t yet seen the spotlight and are still available on your waiver wire. In this article you will read about the players, their injuries, and players likely to step up in their absence. This article will be written for a 12-person 0.5 PPR format leagues. All statistics can be found on our website at https://www.lineups.com/nfl.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals:
RB David Johnson (ARI) – 99.5% Rostered
This star running-back who was drafted highly during fantasy drafts, was hoping to make his return during week 9. Johnson missed week 8 with an ankle injury suffered during week 6. When Johnson is healthy, he is one of the best running-backs in the NFL. However, Johnson did not practice Monday, nor did he practice Tuesday. Only getting a limited practice in on Wednesday, Johnson is likely to miss this Thursday night matchup against the 49ers and their stout defense. Johnson may be in a similar situation like he was during week 7, an emergency only player.
With Johnson likely to miss this Thursday’s game, the new addition Kenyan Drake is slated to be the starter against the 49ers. Coach Kliff Kingsbury was quoted as saying “We’re going to get him in the game in some packages”. Indicating that it is more likely that Kingsbury will be taking a committee approach against the 49ers.
RB Chase Edmonds (ARI) – 58.9% Rostered
Edmonds suffered a hamstring injury during week 8’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints. With the quick turnaround having a Thursday night matchup, Edmonds was ruled out early in the week, not practicing at all this week. As for replacements for Edmonds, he is in the same boat as Johnson. With the quote from Kingsbury hinting that it will be a running-back by committee approach, it is worth mentioning that Zach Zenner played 39% of the snaps after Edmonds injury. Kingsbury is likely to involve Zenner into the game plan for Thursday’s matchup. Due to the strength of the
RB Matt Breida (SF) – 80.7% Rostered
On this short week for Breida, he has seen limited practice on Monday and Wednesday with no practice on Tuesday. Breida suffered an ankle injury during the week 8 matchup against the Panthers. With this short turnaround the 49ers are expected to lean heavily on breakout running-back Tevin Coleman. Coleman saw 11 carries for 105 yards, 3 rushing touchdowns along with 2 receptions for 13 yards and a receiving touchdown. You can also expect Jeff Wilson to see an increase in snaps this week with Breida and Mostert injured.
With both Breida and Mostert questionable, a smaller running-back room this week gives way for other players to step up. Arizona has been infamously bad against the tight-end position this season, ranking 32nd against fantasy tight-ends so far. Star George Kittle is expected to have a big game this week.
The newly acquired receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who saw 82% of snaps during his first game as a 49er will have the opportunity to have one of his best games yet against a below average Cardinals defense. Arizona ranks 19th against fantasy receivers so far this season. Sanders saw 5 targets, catching 4 for 25 yards and a touchdown. Arizona also has a good run defense, allowing just 49.8 rush yards per game to opposing running-backs. If the Cardinals can limit this rushing attack from the 49ers, they will be forced to throw the ball. Giving a great opportunity to Emmanuel Sanders, George Kittle, and Marquise Goodwin.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts:
RB James Conner (PIT) – 99.7% Rostered
Leaving Monday night’s game in an arm sling, Conner suffered a shoulder injury during the week 8 matchup. Conner was a non-participant during Wednesday’s practice. A scary injury for the Steelers’ workhorse back. If Conner is unable to play this week against the Indianapolis Colts expect backup Jaylen Samuels to fill the starting running-back position. Samuels, who practiced fully on Wednesday, went through arthroscopic knee surgery three weeks ago. Coach Mike Tomlin said he’ll return “right on time”. We saw Samuels share some of the backfield carries with Conner early in the season before going through surgery. Seeing up to 46% of the snaps with James Conner on the field. The Steelers have at least some kind of familiarity with the running-back.
Due to the tough matchup against the Colts this week, the Steelers may need to depend on QB Mason Rudolph to throw the ball more this week. Expect the receivers to get a bump in targets against the Colts who rank 15th against opposing receivers. In the surprisingly competitive game against Miami, Smith-Schuster, Washington, and Johnson all saw at least 6 targets.
You can also expect the tight-end position to see a bump in targets as well this week. Steelers tight-end Vance McDonald will face the Colts defense who ranks 26th against opposing tight ends. Against Miami McDonald saw 4 targets, catching 3 for 19 yards. The Colts; defense presents a favorable matchup for the disappointing tight-end who many analysts thought to be a great sleeper tight-end this year. McDonald is the only tight-end on the Steelers to have seen end-zone work all season long.
Tennessee Titans vs. Carolina Panthers:
TE Delanie Walker (TEN) – 64.2% Rostered
The hopeful return of veteran tight-end Delanie Walker after his ankle injury in week 7 does not look great. Walker failed to practice on Wednesday. In his absence, Jonnu Smith caught 6 of 7 targets for 78 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers during week 8. Smith played 83% of the snaps during week 7 and 73% of the snaps during week 8. Smith accounted for 21% of the target share from QB Ryan Tannehill. Smith has averaged 15.9 yards per reception so far this season. He has also seen a red-zone target during the past 3 games, competing with receivers Corey Davis and A.J.Brown. Smith has outperformed Walker throughout the season, having more yards on 12 less targets this season. If Walker is again this week, Smith is a good tight-end replacement pickup.
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