We have a loaded RB injury report for Week 4, and fantasy football managers have a lot to contemplate over the coming days. Let’s take a look at the latest NFL injury updates and examine the fantasy takeaways.
Practice status listings are as follows: DNP – did not participate, LP – limited participant, FP – full participant.
RB injury report heading into Week 4
Dalvin Cook, MIN | Shoulder (DNP)
The situation with Dalvin Cook remains up in the air for Week 4. The positive news is that there has been no discussion of him not making the trip to London. In his Wednesday press conference, Kevin O’Connell said it was “safe to assume we will give him a rest day today.” He also added that Cook is feeling better and better and that they would try to get him some work to give him the best chance to be out there Sunday.
The early signs are that the Minnesota Vikings seem optimistic Cook can play, but the question then becomes: at what capacity? A limited Cook could be the worst possible situation for fantasy managers, as he and Alexander Mattison would split time. If Cook is active, he will be a very risky starting option this week. If he is inactive, Mattison becomes a must-start for Week 4.
This might be one you have to be up nice and early for on Sunday, especially on the West Coast. The game in London kicks off at 9:30 a.m. ET, with inactives being announced at 8:00 a.m.
Christian McCaffrey, CAR | Thigh (DNP)
We’re now used to seeing Christian McCaffrey miss Wednesday’s practice. Over the past few weeks, he’s had what amounted to rest days, but on the Week 4 RB injury report, things are a little different. McCaffrey missed practice with a thigh injury that the Carolina Panthers became aware of after the team’s Week 3 contest. According to head coach Matt Rhule, McCaffrey spent Wednesday rehabbing inside the building, and they will see what he can do tomorrow.
While Rhule would not speculate on the status of McCaffrey for Week 4, this is naturally a cause for concern. The Panthers RB has missed 23 games in the past two seasons due to injury. Panthers beat reporters suggest there is no immediate need for alarm, but CBS NFL Insider Jonathan Jones Tweeted that he understands this injury carries more concern than previous injuries that have seen McCaffrey on the injury report this season.
Fantasy managers should start making contingency plans in case McCaffrey is ruled out either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. In terms of who to add if McCaffrey is out, there is no clear backup. D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard each have four carries and zero targets through three games. That is in comparison to McCaffrey’s 50 rushing attempts and 14 targets.
Jonathan Taylor, IND | Toe (DNP)
When the Colts released their injury report on Wednesday of Week 4, Jonathan Taylor provided an unwelcome surprise for fantasy managers. He was listed as a non-participant with a toe injury that appears to have come out of nowhere. However, a couple of the Colts’ beat writers referenced that Wednesday’s injury report shouldn’t cause too much panic. Additionally, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that a source told him Taylor will be fine.
If Taylor were to miss time, Nyheim Hines and Deon Jackson, who are listed behind him on the Colts’ depth chart, would fill in. Jackson could be a deep league stash, as it’s unlikely the team give Hines a full workload. Indianapolis could also elevate either Phillip Lindsay or D’Vonte Price from the practice squad. If you can slide Jackson onto your bench in deeper leagues, he could pay dividends down the road, but do not give up anything of value in order to do so.
D’Andre Swift, DET | Shoulder (DNP)
We heard reports earlier in the week that D’Andre Swift would be expected to miss time with his shoulder injury. That was confirmed by Dan Campbell (in a way), who said that Swift could likely only play in Week 4 if the “skies open up and a bright light comes out.” Then again, Campbell also then called Swift day-to-day, suggesting the team has not completely dismissed the idea of Swift playing this week.
Considering the context at hand, fantasy managers should start planning to be without Swift this week. Jamaal Williams was a hot commodity on waivers this week and would be expected to step in as the RB1 with Swift sidelined. Craig Reynolds is the next man up on the Lions’ depth chart behind Williams.
David Montgomery, CHI | Knee/Ankle
During Matt Eberflus’ media availability on Wednesday, he reiterated that David Montgomery is “day-to-day.” Despite the Bears head coach saying as much following Chicago’s Week 3 contest, the day-to-day phrasing remains surprising after it appeared the injury to either the knee or ankle could be enough to knock Montgomery out for a couple of weeks.
If Montgomery is out, Khalil Herbert would be expected to be the starter that fantasy managers can turn to. Trestan Ebner would also likely see a bump in opportunities, but while Herbert would be a starter in almost all league sizes, Ebner would be limited to deeper league formats.
If Montgomery is active, the situation becomes cloudy. We would have no idea how limited Montgomery would be and what the snap or opportunity share would look like. For now, simply monitor this situation closely ahead of Sunday.
James Conner, ARI | Knee (LP)
While James Conner being listed on the injury report is not ideal, he was not someone that was the center of attention in media availability. Therefore, the expectation is that Conner will be able to suit up, as he did last week. Fantasy managers should expect to have him available this week.
Dameon Pierce, HOU | Hip (LP)
It’s a positive sign that Pierce was able to take the field on Wednesday. We will need to watch for progress over the coming days to know for sure about his availability come Sunday. If he misses time, Rex Burkhead is the likely stand-in. Dare Ogunbowale provides depth, while Gerrid Doaks and Royce Freeman are potential call-ups from the practice squad.
It should also be noted that the Houston Texans worked out two RBs Wednesday — former Baylor RB Abram Smith and former Ravens’ RB Ty’Son Williams. If one of them is signed, that could provide an early indication regarding Pierce’s availability (or lack thereof).
J.K. Dobbins, BAL | Chest (LP)
While it is a little concerning to see J.K. Dobbins on the Baltimore Ravens’ injury report with a new injury, it is positive that he remained limited. Dobbins just returned from a serious knee injury, so it is good news that the two injuries are not related.
Dobbins is a tough player for fantasy managers to trust, as the Ravens continue to ease him back in. If he were to miss time, Justice Hill would be the biggest beneficiary for fantasy purposes. After his Week 3 performance, Hill is worth a proactive stash if you have the bench depth.
Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL | Knee (DNP)
While Cordarrelle Patterson missed Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury, it appears to be as much about veteran rest as genuine concern. If Patterson is still absent from practice on Thursday, then our level of urgency will change. If he were to miss time, Tyler Allgeier would be the most intriguing option out of this backfield. In that case, Allgeier’s value would be limited to 14-team leagues and deeper.
AJ Dillon, GB | Knee (LP)
There does not appear to be any major alarm bells coming out of Green Bay regarding AJ Dillon’s knee. His status is one to watch Thursday. If he remains limited, we may need a contingency plan. It is likely that Aaron Jones picks up the extra rushing work if Dillon were to miss time.
Miles Sanders, PHI | Hip (LP)
Boston Scott, PHI | Rib (DNP)
Miles Sanders being listed as limited is not a major concern right now. It could develop into one if he were to remain limited or get downgraded during the week. If he were absent or limited, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell would be the primary beneficiaries.
If Sanders were to miss Week 4, Gainwell would likely be a starting option. Meanwhile, Trey Sermon would be an intriguing deep-league addition.
Melvin Gordon, DEN | Neck (LP)
Neck injuries for running backs are never ideal, but at least Gordon was able to put in a limited practice on Wednesday. His status is one to monitor, but the early limited designation indicates that he has a shot to play. If he misses time, Mike Boone would likely fill in on some snaps, but Javonte Williams’ fantasy value would also see a big jump.