Injuries continue to define the early part of the season, and we learned about two more significant ones Wednesday. Actually, that might be an alarming way of phrasing that — we learned about two (hopefully! minor) injuries to two more significant players Wednesday, as both Jonathan Taylor and Christian McCaffrey missed practice.
Taylor’s injury is to his toe, and it sounds like it isn’t a big concern. Taylor never misses practice — literally, if you ask him — so this definitely catches the eye. But it doesn’t sound like it’s too serious, for now. McCaffrey’s could be more of a concern — CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones reported that McCaffrey’s thigh injury is more serious than the previous issues that landed him on the injury report so far this season.
Hopefully neither injury will be serious enough to keep them out in Week 4, because we already have plenty of those to worry about this week. I have updates on all of the players you need to know about in today’s newsletter, and once again, it isn’t a short list.
In case you missed it yesterday, Jamey Eisenberg’s Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em picks for Week 4 are right here, and today’s newsletter will bring Dave Richard’s start and sit picks to you as well. But, you might have some questions they can’t answer. That’s OK — if you want to get your questions answered directly, make sure you subscribe to the Fantasy Football Today YouTube channel and join Adam Aizer and me at 2 p.m. ET for our start/sit live stream. We’ll be discussing all of the latest news and answering your toughest lineup questions, and we’ll be there every week to make sure you’re ready for the first lineup lock of the week.
In tomorrow’s newsletter, I’ll have previews of every game on the Week 4 schedule, including the latest injury updates for everyone you need to know about, plus all of the key takeaways from tonight’s Bengals-Dolphins game.
Get ready for Week 4 with all of our preview content here:
- Week 4 Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em: QB | RB | WR
- Starts, sits and sleepers for every game
- Week 4 Position Previews: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Week 4 Rankings: Jamey | Dave | Heath | Chris
Here’s what else today’s newsletter will cover:
- 4️⃣Dave Richard’s Week 4 Preview
- 🆚TNF Preview: Dolphins at Bengals
- 🚑Week 4 Injury Watch
4️⃣Dave Richard’s Week 4 Preview
There are the obvious calls, and then there are the ones you need help with. Dave Richard goes through each game to identify the most interesting matchups and biggest lineup dilemmas for Week 4. Here are some of his top picks for this week. You can find the rest of his advice for Week 4 here:
- Kirk Cousins — “New Orleans’ pass defense has been strong for a while now — only five stationary quarterbacks like Cousins posted 20-plus Fantasy points on them in 2021 and none yet in 2022. When defenses have schemed to take Justin Jefferson away over the past two weeks, Cousins’ numbers have been soft. Because it’s not certain how the Saints will play the Vikings, I think Cousins’ ceiling is close to what he’s given you in Weeks 1 and 3, which is about 23 Fantasy points. That qualifies him as a starter on the same level as Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, and ahead of Tua Tagovailoa and Carson Wentz.”
- David Njoku — “Njoku has emerged as an easy short-area outlet for Brissett thanks to his size to out-muscle smaller defenders and quickness to buy a little space from slower defenders. The Falcons, like any team, will be far more worried about stopping the Browns run game and Amari Cooper, so I would expect Njoku to keep seeing targets from Brissett, who has played well lately (74.1% completion rate is fourth-best in the past two weeks). He’s worth starting in PPR ahead of T.J. Hockenson, Logan Thomas and Gerald Everett.”
- Devin Singletary — “Knox is definitely due for a touchdown, but it’s pretty much the only reason why you’d even think about starting him. That said, the matchup is juicy enough that he would warrant a nod ahead of Gerald Everett and Irv Smith. If Knox can’t get it done here, he can be dropped.”
- J.K. Dobbins — “Dobbins doesn’t have a good matchup, nor has he proven that he’s ready for a much larger workload. Lamar Jackson remains the Ravens best-running threat, and in a game against the high-scoring Bills, it’s likely Dobbins could fall out of the game plan. I’d rather take my chances with Devin Singletary or Melvin Gordon.”
- Dawson Knox — “Knox is definitely due for a touchdown, but it’s pretty much the only reason why you’d even think about starting him. That said, the matchup is juicy enough that he would warrant a nod ahead of Gerald Everett and Irv Smith. If Knox can’t get it done here, he can be dropped.”
- Kareem Hunt — “Hunt seems like a safe bet for 15 touches, and he has scoring potential thanks to his usage near the goal-line. But the usage and the matchup favor Chubb, which you probably could have guessed. I’d sit Hunt for the upside of Rhamondre Stevenson, Tony Pollard and Cam Akers, but I’d still chance it with Hunt ahead of Chase Edmonds, Melvin Gordon, and, in PPR, J.K. Dobbins.”
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🆚TNF Preview: Dolphins at Bengals
All lines from Caesars Sportsbook
- Line: Bengals -4; 47 over/under
- Implied totals: Bengals 25.5-Dolphins 21.5
The Bengals have been a bit underwhelming so far, while the Dolphins have pulled off consecutive thrillers against two AFC contenders to push their record to 3-0, but it makes sense that the Bengals are favored here — they’re at home and Tua Tagovailoa (back/ankle) is banged up. This could also be a matchup that helps get Ja’Marr Chase going — the Bengals have struggled to find deep play opportunities against four-man rushes with two high safeties, and the Dolphins blitz more often than all but two teams. If they can get to Burrow quickly, they can make this a long night for the Bengals, but as we saw against the Ravens, their aggressive defense leaves them susceptible to big plays.
- Toughest lineup decision: Tua Tagovailoa — Start. I’m struggling with this one, and Tagovailoa isn’t a top-12 QB for me, so it’s not a must-start situation. But the Bengals don’t strike me as being as tough as their numbers look right now — they’ve allowed just two passing touchdowns in three games with 5.9 yards per attempt allowed, the second-lowest mark in the league, but consider who they’ve played: Mitchell Trubisky, Cooper Rush, and Joe Flacco. There might not be an easier three-game stretch for any defense this season. The concern with Tagovailoa is more about the back injury he’s dealing with — it sounds like he’ll play, but there’s risk in trusting him.
- Injuries: Tua Tagovailoa (back/ankle) — Tagovailoa is officially questionable, but it seems like he’s going to play … Jaylen Waddle (groin) — Waddle seems to be in a similar spot as Tagovailoa, and it’s just unfortunate that they are playing on a short week with these injuries. Even if they play, they might not be 100%. I’m still starting Waddle, but I feel slightly less confident than I typically would … La’El Collins (back) is the only noteworthy name on the injury report for the Bengals, but he got a full practice in Wednesday so he should be good to go. Tee Higgins (toe) and Joe Mixon (ankle) don’t have an official designation for the game, so they’re good to go despite being limited earlier in the week.
🚑Week 4 Injury Watch
The Big News: It’s been a tough start to the season for Tom Brady, but things are looking up. He’s going to get Mike Evans back from his one-game suspension in Week 4 against the Chiefs, and he’s expected to have Julio Jones (knee) back from a two-game absence. Even more importantly, it looks like Chris Godwin (hamstring) might have a chance to play — he was limited for the first time Wednesday since suffering the injury in Week 1. I’m not sure I trust Godwin to play — and I’m not sure I would want him in my lineup even if he does. But Brady should be a more reliable option with a healthier receiving corps in a game that could be a shootout.
I’ll have a full breakdown of the injury report in Friday’s newsletter along with my previews of each game, but here’s a look at the first practice participation reports of the week.
- FP = Full participation in practice.
- LP = Limited participation.
- DNP = Did not practice.
Injuries to watch for Week 4
It’s not clear what these injuries mean quite yet.
- Dalvin Cook (shoulder) — DNP (did not practice). Cook did talk to reporters Wednesday, which players who aren’t going to play don’t often do. He told them he is day-to-day, but reports have indicated since the injury that it is one he can play through. If Cook is out, Alexander Mattison is a top-10 RB.
- David Montgomery (ankle) — DNP. Montgomery has been called day-to-day as well, though there has been much less positive chatter around his status. If Montgomery can’t play, Khalil Herbert is also a top-10 RB for the matchup against the lowly Giants rush defense that just got torched by the Cowboys on the ground.
- Dameon Pierce (hip) — LP (limited practice). This is a new one for Pierce, so it bears watching. However, the fact that he was limited is probably a good sign for his chances of playing — assuming the injury didn’t happen on Wednesday, but there isn’t any sign of that. He’s an RB2 for Week 4 against the Bears if he’s good to go.
- Miles Sanders (hip) — LP. As far as I can tell, this is also a new injury for Sanders, but I haven’t seen any reason to think it’s serious at this point. He remains a boring RB2 as the lead rusher with no passing game role for the Eagles.
- AJ Dillon (knee) — LP. Yet again, a new injury for Dillon, and like with Pierce and Sanders, I haven’t seen much on it, so I’ll assume it’s not a big concern for now.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle) — DNP. St. Brown briefly left Sunday’s game with the injury, but he was termed day-to-day earlier in the week, so hopefully he’s good to go. The injury did bring St. Brown’s streak of games with 10 or more targets to an end at eight games — he only had nine. He remains a top-12 WR if healthy.
- Keenan Allen (hamstring) — LP. It seemed like Allen had a chance to play in Week 3 up until game day, so I’m expecting he’ll be back this week against the Texans. We don’t know if he’ll play his usual role or not, but I’m going to treat him like a WR1 if healthy.
- Michael Thomas (toe) — DNP. This injury is not considered a serious one at this point, but it’s noteworthy that he wasn’t able to practice. Given Thomas’ injury history, this is a concern, so keep an eye on his status and make sure you have an alternate ready to go if Thomas is, indeed out. Jarvis Landry (ankle) was also held out of Wednesday’s practice, so Chris Olave could be set up to be the unquestioned No. 1 option for the Saints. He might already be that, actually.
- DeVonta Smith (back) — LP. Here’s another new injury, so the same caveat applies as everyone else. At this point, I don’t think Smith’s injury is a concern, but we’ll watch out for it tomorrow.
- Treylon Burks (illness) — DNP. This probably isn’t much to worry about, and we got a promising report from ESPN’s Turron Davenport Wednesday, indicating that the Titans want to get Burks more involved after his disappointing two-target showing in Week 3. I’m not ready to trust Burks in my lineup, but he’s absolutely someone I want on my bench.
Trending up for Week 4
This doesn’t mean they will play, but we got good news about them Wednesday.
- Jameis Winston (back/ankle) — DNP . Winston told reporters he plans to play in Week 4 despite missing Wednesday’s practice. It seems like this is going to be a weekly thing with him, but he’s going to keep pushing to play.
- Zach Wilson (knee) — FP (full practice). Wilson has been given the all-clear from the doctors and will make his debut Sunday against the Steelers. The Ravens have been one of the most pass-heavy teams in the league with Joe Flacco, and if Wilson takes a step forward from Year 1 to Year 2, he could be a Fantasy contributor in this offense. That’s a big “if,” though — too big to think about starting him.
- Michael Gallup (knee) — FP. Gallup admitted he just wasn’t mentally ready to make his return last week despite being cleared. This week seems like he’s got a chance, but you don’t want to start him until you see him out there making plays — and, preferably, you’d wait until Dak Prescott (thumb) is healthy enough to play. But I’ve got Gallup stashed for when that day comes, because he very well could be a viable starting option.
- Rondale Moore (hamstring) — LP. This represents some progress for Moore, who hasn’t been spotted at practice since suffering the injury in the lead-in to Week 1. I would say he’s probably a long shot to play this week against the Panthers, but Moore remains worth stashing, especially given the productive role we’ve seen Greg Dortch take on in his absence.
- Christian Watson (hamstring) — LP. Watson missed last week’s game with the injury, so this certainly represents an improvement for him.
- Dalton Schultz (knee) — LP. Schultz ended up being a game-time decision on Monday night, so you’ve gotta think there’s a chance he’s back from his sprained PCL after a one-game absence. He would be a top-12 TE for me if he does play.
- Dawson Knox (back/hip) — LP. This is a new injury for Knox, as far as I can tell, so we’ll keep an eye out. It’s been a tough start for Knox, but he’s still in a great offense, with a proven red zone role in the past. so there’s upside here for sure.
Trending down for Week 4
This doesn’t mean they won’t play, but they aren’t moving in the right direction yet.
- Mac Jones (ankle) — DNP. Jones is dealing with an apparent high-ankle sprain, so while the Patriots haven’t ruled him out for Week 4, it seems extremely unlikely he’ll play this week — and probably not next week either. Brian Hoyer will start for the Patriots if Jones is out.
- D’Andre Swift (shoulder) — DNP. The Lions have talked about holding Swift out through the team’s Week 6 bye, so I’m not expecting to see him this week, at the very least. Jamaal Williams is Jamey Eisenberg’s Start of the Week for Week 4 against the Seahawks for a reason.
- Hunter Renfrow (concussion) — DNP. Renfrow missed last week’s game and he’s off to a bad start for this week, too. If he doesn’t play Mack Hollins will likely see a significant role yet again, and he’s in the WR3/4 discussion.
- Kadarius Toney (hamstring)/Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) — DNP. With Sterling Shepard out for the season after tearing his ACL Monday, the Giants are in pretty desperate need of playmaking at the WR spots. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like these two are going to be the reinforcements they need for Week 4. Both remain worth stashing, given the obvious need in New York, but they also both have a lot to prove, even when healthy.