Fantasy Aces Week 12: Impact Of Injuries and Suspensions
Every single injury and suspension matters when playing NFL daily fantasy sports (DFS). They cause the DFS landscape to change on a weekly basis. Injuries and suspensions to lesser teammates or defensive players can cause studs to become must-plays in any given week. Furthermore, fitting a lineup under the required salary cap on Fantasy Aces can be difficult, but injuries and suspensions often create opportunities for players with low salaries to outperform their price. DFS websites, Fantasy Aces included, don’t generally adjust a player’s salary until after they have performed on the field. Being proactive about injuries and predicting a breakout before it happens not only provides legit bragging rights, but also plenty of chances to be profitable in DFS.
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Taking advantage of the cheap players benefiting from the absence of others affords you the ability to fit multiple studs into your lineups. Every single player who benefits from an injured/suspended teammate or opponent should always be considered when building lineups. That’s why I bring this column to you weekly and break down the most relevant injuries and suspensions each week in DFS. Let’s get to it:
C.J. Prosise Out
With C.J. Prosise out of the picture, Thomas Rawls ($5,000) has the Seahawks backfield all to himself in November for the second year in a row. Rawls was able to compile 88 total yards in his return from injury last week and looked good doing it. This week he gets a Buccaneers defense giving up the 10th-most rushing yards per game and that is tied for the 11th-most rush TDs (9) allowed.
Mike Pouncey Out + Branden Albert Doubtful + Laremy Tunsil Questionable
Jay Ajayi ($5,500) should be chalk this week with his amazing on paper matchup. The 49ers are giving up the most rushing yards per game and are tied for the third-most rush TDs (13) given up. However, the injury report tells a different story. Three starting Offensive Lineman for the Dolphins are in danger of missing this game. Their Center, Mike Pouncey, has already been ruled out, Tackle Branden Albert is Doubtful, and Tackle/Guard Laremy Tunsil is Questionable because of a shoulder injury. Taking these injuries and Ajayi’s likely high ownership percentage into consideration, fading Ajayi starts to make sense.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski Both Game Time Decisions + Chris Hogan Questionable
Tom Brady ($7,700) returned to practice on Friday but will reportedly be a game-time decision due to a knee injury. This is obviously a situation to monitor, but it will be frustrating to try to do so since the Patriots play an afternoon game on Sunday. My guess is Brady plays as reports sounded favorable enough as of Saturday morning. Rob Gronkowski will also reportedly be a game-time decision but seems much more likely to miss this contest:
Rob Gronkowski is not expected to play this Sunday against the Jets. The Patriots staff is prepping the offense without him per sources
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) November 23, 2016
Despite his dud last week, Martellus Bennett ($4,650) remains one of the best TE streaming options against an average at best Jets pass defense (Bennett is also listed as Questionable but doesn’t appear to be in any real danger of missing this contest). Julian Edelman ($5,100) saw 17 targets last week with Gronk out and makes for a solid play once again as well. Plus, just like with Gronk, Chris Hogan’s status is worth monitoring because if he misses another game, Malcolm Mitchell ($3,750) would once again be very interesting after catches four passes for 98 yards and a TD last week.
Alshon Jeffery, Zach Miller, and Kyle Long all Out + Eddie Royal Questionable + Jay Cutler and Josh Sitton Doubtful
The Bears offense is completely depleted due to injuries and suspensions. This makes the Titans Defense ($2,800) a phenomenal start this week. They’ve constantly generated pressure this season, as they are tied for the third-most sacks in the league. And they get to face Matt Barkley.
Jerrell Freeman and Leonard Floyd Both Out
The offense isn’t the only side of the ball for the Bears dealing with significant injuries and suspensions. Their leading tackler, Linebacker Jerrell Freeman, will miss this game as will Linebacker Leonard Floyd. That should make things easier for DeMarco Murray ($6,300), who continues to be the man in Tennessee. He’s second in the league in rushing yards per game and tied for fifth in rush TDs. Time of possession and game flow likely will both be on Murray’s side in this one.
Luke Kuechly and Mario Addison Both Out + Michael Crabtree Questionable
Luke Kuechly leads the Panthers in tackles and Mario Addison leads them in sacks. Derek Carr ($6,500) was already looking like a solid play at home against a Panthers defense giving up the seventh-most passing yards per game and that is tied for the eighth-most pass TDs (19) alloweed. With Kuechly and Addison both ruled out, Carr’s matchup looks even better. He will likely have more time to find Amari Cooper ($5,200) downfield. Cooper has seen the 13th-most targets in the league so far this season and is fifth in receiving yards per game. Both are in position to have huge games and they make for my favorite stack of the week, especially with Cooper’s main competition for targets, Michael Crabtree, Questionable to play this week.
A.J. Green Out + Jimmy Smith Doubtful
There is a clear drop off in Baltimore’s secondary after Jimmy Smith. With Smith Doubtful for Sunday after not practicing all week, Brandon LaFell ($4,600) makes for a very sneaky GPP play. LaFell plays most of his snaps on the outside where he likely would’ve seen a lot of Smith. He should also see an increase in targets this week with teammate A.J. Green out due to a hamstring injury.
Giovani Bernard Out
Jeremy Hill ($5,300) once again has the Bengals backfield all to himself with Giovani Bernard on Injured Reserve due to a torn ACL. Hill’s matchup isn’t a favorable one, as he’s on the road against a Ravens defense giving up the least amount of rushing yards per game. Still, his high guaranteed workload can not be ignored.
Michael Floyd a Game Time Decision
Michael Floyd was a late add to the injury report after reportedly injuring his hamstring in Wednesday’s practice. He seems likely to miss this game. That would free up some targets in this Cardinals passing offense, which is significant because they have a favorable matchup this week. The Falcons are giving up the most passing yards per game and are tied for the second-most pass TDs (23) given up. Larry Fitzgerald ($4,900) is a great play, as he is already averaging a whopping 10.6 targets per game and is second in the league in catches. J.J. Nelson ($4,000) and John Brown ($4,200) both make for interesting GPP plays as well.
Ryan Mathews Out
Ryan Mathews has been ruled out for Monday Night Football. That should boost the values of both Darren Sproles ($4,300) and Wendell Smallwood ($4,000). However, good luck predicting how many touches both will receive. Touch totals for all the backs in Philadelphia have seemed to fluctuate drastically from week-to-week. However, there’s no denying the matchup is a good one. The Eagles are at home against a Packers defense that just got absolutely torched by Rob Kelley last week.
Mark Ingram Questionable
Mark Ingram practiced all week, yet he still hasn’t officially cleared concussion protocol. If he were to be ruled out, Tim Hightower ($4,400) would get the majority of the work in the Saints backfield against an average Rams versus the run. They’re giving up the 17th-most rushing yards per game. Plus, the Saints are at home, where Drew Brees excels, which would provide a boost to Hightower’s value.
Jeremy Maclin Out
Jeremy Maclin will miss another game meaning Tyreek Hill ($4,350) and Travis Kelce ($4,600) will once again see a boost in value. With Maclin out of the lineup, Hill saw 13 targets two weeks ago and Kelce saw nine targets last week. However, it’s important to note the Chiefs are playing in Denver this week against a Broncos defense giving up the second-fewest passing yards per game.
Tevin Coleman In
Tevin Coleman ($4,650) will return this week, meaning the Falcons backfield will return to its timeshare ways. That means the workload of Devonta Freeman ($4,950) will likely be reduced. I’m staying away from both them this week as the Cardinals defense has been pretty solid this season, especially against the run.
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