The RB injury report for Week 4 looks a lot less scary after Friday’s NFL injury updates. The early Week 4 injury report looked set to have huge fantasy football implications.
However, with five players cleared to play, three questionable, and just two ruled out on Friday, things look a lot less concerning heading into the weekend. Let’s take a look at the latest injury updates from around the NFL and their fantasy impact in Week 4.
RB injury report heading into Week 4
Christian McCaffrey, CAR | Quad (Questionable)
There have been injury scares seemingly every week so far for Christian McCaffrey, but this quad injury appears to be the most serious.
The Panthers reportedly only became aware of the injury following the game against the Saints and have been managing it ever since. After missing practice Wednesday and Thursday, McCaffrey was at least able to return on Friday in a limited fashion.
He carried the questionable tag into the weekend, but there is optimism he will be active, as a source told PFN NFL Insider Aaron Wilson. That optimism was also reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday night.
If McCaffrey is active, you start him as usual, despite the potential to be limited. Even if they reduce his workload by 25 percent, that is still well into double-digit opportunities. In fact, a reduction by half would still be pretty close to that mark.
If McCaffrey is inactive, we do not have a clear idea who will be the starting RB. We could see both D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard splitting touches. Assuming that is the case, then neither will be fantasy-relevant outside of deeper leagues in Week 4.
Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL | Knee (Questionable)
What started out as Cordarrelle Patterson missing practice to rest his knee has turned into him managing one limited practice and carrying a questionable tag into the weekend.
The Falcons RB is coming off a second career day in three weeks and has seen a level of usage in the run game far beyond what many expected. Therefore, it is little surprise to see him being treated carefully in practice. However, on Sunday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the outcome is still very much undecided. He did add that Patterson is pushing to play, and there is optimism that he will.
It is worth noting that Patterson sat out large chunks of training camp and yet has still carried the ball 49 times in the first three weeks. He has been extremely successful in two of the three games, while rookie RB Tyler Allgeier has just 55 yards on his 16 attempts. That success has ultimately led to a higher workload, but at 31, seeing over 16 carries per game would seem unsustainable.
If Patterson is active, it would be tough to sit him after what we have seen through the first three weeks of the season. He checks in as the RB24 in our Week 4 running back rankings for half-PPR leagues. While the Cleveland Browns have allowed just 16.93 fantasy points per game in half-PPR to opposing RBs, this is a game that managers will hope he suits up for.
With Tampa Bay and San Francisco looming in the next two weeks, this might actually be Patterson’s best matchup in the foreseeable future. Therefore, if he runs himself into the ground this week and misses the next two weeks, it is not a complete disaster for fantasy purposes.
If Patterson were to miss time, Allgeier would likely lead the backfield. He would most likely be supported by Avery Williams, but we could see either B.J. Baylor or Caleb Huntley elevated from the practice squad. If we see either of those two elevated on Saturday, it could give us an indication that we might not see Patterson against the Browns on Sunday.
Alvin Kamara, NO | Ribs (Questionable)
There has been very little focus on Alvin Kamara’s status this week, which is a good sign, given he was limited all week. The expectation is that he will suit up, as he did last week.
Despite being limited coming into Week 3, Kamara had 15 rushing attempts and seven targets against the Panthers on Sunday. The fact the Saints elevated Latavius Murray from the practice on Saturday raised some eyebrows. Kamara is the only RB listed on the Saints’ injury report.
This is a solid matchup for Kamara, with the Vikings allowing 24.6 fantasy points per game in PPR, the third-worst number in the league. They have allowed more than 25 points on two occasions this season. Therefore, if Kamara is active, he is a player to start this week.
If Kamara is inactive, then Mark Ingram comes in as a flex consideration for 12-team leagues. He should see the majority of touches out of the Saints’ backfield but likely will not see the volume we would expect to see Kamara have as the starter. Murray could also see some touches mixing in if he ends up being active on game day.
RBs cleared to play in Week 4
- AJ Dillon, GB | Knee
- Dalvin Cook, MIN | Shoulder
- Dameon Pierce, HOU | Hip
- James Conner, ARI | Knee
- Jonathan Taylor, IND | Toe
- Melvin Gordon, DEN | Neck
RBs ruled out for Week 4
D’Andre Swift, DET | Shoulder
As we expected throughout the week, D’Andre Swift will not be suiting up for the Detroit Lions in Week 4. He did not practice all week, and the tones from the start of the week were fairly pessimistic. Swift’s absence means we could see a lot of Jamaal Williams for the Lions this week.
Williams will step up to start, with Craig Reynolds and Justin Jackson the other two backs on the Lions’ depth chart. Williams carried the ball 20 times last week and was targeted twice, with his rushing attempts and total touches being his highest since joining the Lions last year.
The matchup against Seattle is an intriguing one. They are sitting in the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to the RB position, with 20.67.
However, they allowed Patterson to have a career day last week as they allowed over 20 fantasy points to the position for the second time this year.
They have given up 4.9 yards per rush attempt and four rushing touchdowns this season. Therefore, Williams is a must-start option in all leagues in Swift’s absence.
David Montgomery, CHI | Knee/Ankle
The talk all week from Matt Eberflus that David Montgomery was day-to-day was always looking like a smokescreen out of Chicago. The injury suffered by Montgomery looked like it would mean at least a game or two absence, if not more. Therefore, it is no surprise to see him ruled out after not being able to participate in practice all week.
In his absence, we should expect to see a lot of Khalil Herbert, who had 20 rushing attempts last week after Montgomery left the game. Trestan Ebner is the only other back listed on the Bears’ depth chart, so we could see Darrynton Evans elevated from the practice squad to provide cover.
There is a nice look to this matchup for Herbert. The Giants have allowed an average of 22.7 fantasy points per game to opposing backs, including two games over 20 fantasy points. In Week 3, Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott combined for 178 rushing yards and a touchdown on 28 attempts.