Fantasy Aces Week 13: 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:
Rob Gronkowski Out
Rob Gronkowski will likely miss the rest of the 2016 season after undergoing back surgery. This is a huge loss for the Patriots who will now have to start game planning differently without their best offensive player not named Tom Brady. Julian Edelman ($5,000) has been a target hog while Brady has been under center this season. He has seen 28 targets over the past two weeks with Rob Gronkowski mostly out of the lineup and I expect him to continue to be the biggest beneficiary of this injury. The direct beneficiary from a position standpoint, Martellus Bennett ($4,350), is a fine GPP play after a few down games in a row. There’s also Malcolm Mitchell ($4,200), who has seen 12 targets over the past two weeks and turned them into nine catches for 140 yards and three TDs. Mitchell is already finding success with limited playing time and it would only make sense for the Patriots to gameplan around him now that Gronk is out.
Trevor Siemian Out
Trevor Siemian has been ruled out, meaning rookie Paxton Lynch ($5,000) will make his second career start on Sunday, but his first on the road. I’m not excited about Lynch this week, but he is near minimum price if you need a cheap QB to round out your roster. The bigger impact I believe this injury has is on the Broncos’ two star wideouts, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Both need to be downgraded. Plus, Jacksonville is giving up the fourth-fewest passing yards per game.
A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard Both Out
The absence of both A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard had some interesting impacts last week. Tyler Eifert ($4,800) led the team in targets with 11 and he also found the end zone. Jeremy Hill ($5,100) saw his most targets (6) in any one game this season, catching them all for 61 receiving yards. Now that Hill is a dual threat RB, I’m more interested in rostering him than Eifert this week. Tyler Boyd ($4,450) and Brandon LaFell ($4,300) each saw nine targets and both make for interesting GPP plays. Pick your flavor. I prefer Boyd.
Jordan Reed Out + Tyrann Mathieu Doubtful
Kirk Cousins has been on an absolute tear lately but with his top weapon in the passing game, Jordan reed, ruled out for this week, Cousins needs to be downgraded. Plus, he is playing on the road against a Cardinals defense giving up the second-fewest passing yards per game. I don’t see DeSean Jackson getting loose in this one. However, with Tyrann Mathieu looking like he’s not going to play, Jamison Crowder ($4,650) could not only see more volume without Reed, but he also should have a more favorable matchup as well. Crowder is in the middle of a breakout season and is tied for eighth in the league in TD catches with 6.
Luke Kuechly, Mario Addison, and Kurt Coleman all Out
This is a good bounce back spot for the Seahawks passing game. After it disappointed a week ago, many will fade Russell Wilson ($6,550), Doug Baldwin ($4,900), and Jimmy Graham ($4,900), making this trio a phenomenal GPP stack. They are at home against a Panthers defense giving up the fourth-most passing yards per game and that is tied for the seventh-most pass TDs allowed. Even better, Panthers star middle linebacker Luke Kuechly will miss this game, freeing up the middle of the field, which is where both Baldwin and Graham do the majority of their work. Plus, DE Mario Addison, who leads the team in sacks, and SS Kurt Coleman will also miss this game.
Jeremy Maclin Out + Desmond Trufant Out
Jeremy Maclin practiced this week, but it appears he will need one more week before returning to action. He has been ruled out. Once again, both Tyreek Hill ($4,500) and Travis Kelce ($4,750) are firmly in play. Hill has seen 28 targets over the past three weeks and just scored three TDs a week ago in three different ways. Kelce has seen 30 targets over the past three weeks and just saw 15 a week ago. Both should have good games against a Falcons defense giving up the most passing yards per game and that is tied for the third-most pass TDs allowed. Even more favorable, Falcons top CB Desmond Trufant won’t play in this game either.
Alshon Jeffery, Zach Miller, and Jay Cutler all Out + Eddie Royal Questionable
Both Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer had to get injured before Matt Barkley ($5,600) could throw for 316 yards, three TDs, and two INTs, but that’s exactly what happened in Week 12. This whole sport of football is pretty crazy, huh? Barkley’s stat line was definitely aided by positive game flow, as the Bears got down early forcing Barkley to throw 54 passes last week. Still, he’s at home this week against a 49ers defense that has allowed the second-most pass TDs in a game that has sneaky fantasy potential.
Injuries and suspensions have quickly shaken up this Chicago Bears receiving corps as well. In just his second game of the season coming back from his own injury, Marquess Wilson ($4,250) led the Bears in targets with 11 and caught eight passes for 125 yards and a TD. Cameron Meredith ($4,300) saw nine targets himself except he didn’t do anything with them. Still, this is a new week and both pass catchers are in play against this shaky 49ers pass defense. I prefer Wilson if choosing between the two.
Tavon Austin Doubtful
With Tavon Austin being listed as Doubtful after not practicing all week, that solidifies the Patriots defense ($3,400) as my favorite GPP option of the week. Despite their issues this season, they are at home facing Jared Goff in just his third career start and Bill Belichick has historically eaten rookie QBs alive.
On the Rams side of things, with Tavon Austin likely not playing in this one, Kenny Britt ($4,650) becomes a lot more interesting. Austin is second on the Rams in targets behind only… Kenny Britt. Britt has seen 27 targets over the past three weeks and game flow should dictate him pushing double digit targets again in this one. #GarbageTimePointsCountToo
Jimmy Smith Questionable but Likely In + DeVante Parker Questionable but Likely Out + Mike Pouncey Out
This is a great spot for the Ravens defense ($3,000). They are at home and are already averaging the third-most fantasy points per game of any defense on Fantasy Aces this season. They should also be getting a strength back, as all signs point to their star CB Jimmy Smith returning this week. Plus, the Dolphins will be without their C Mike Pouncey and it sounds like they will also be missing playmaking WR DeVante Parker as well.
Chris Ivory and Allen Hurns Both Out + Julius Thomas Doubtful + T.J. Yeldon Banged Up
Paxton Lynch starting for the Broncos softens my stance on this one a little bit. Still, the Broncos defense ($3,400) is also in a great spot this week. The Broncos are averaging the second-most fantasy points per game of any defense on Fantasy Aces this season and now get to face off against Blake Bortles, who is tied for the most INTs thrown on the year. Plus, The Jaguars will be playing at less than 100 percent. They have already ruled out RB Chris Ivory and WR Allen Hurns, Julius Thomas is listed as Doubtful and it doesn’t look like he is going to play either, and head coach Gus Bradley said T.J. Yeldon’s workload will be a game-time decision.
Mark Ingram Questionable
Per Rotoworld, Mark Ingram was noncommittal when asked about his Week 13 availability. He is listed as Questionable. This is an injury worth monitoring. If Ingram is ruled out on Saturday or Sunday morning, Tim Hightower ($4,400) would become a phenomenal GPP option as plenty of lineups will have already been built without him due to the uncertainty of Ingram’s status. Hightower would become the unquestioned starting RB for a team led by Drew Brees at home in the Superdome. Plus, there are going to be plenty of points scored in this game between Detroit and New Orleans.
Marvin Jones Questionable
One thing for your fantasy consideration: Marvin Jones doesn't look 100%. Goes w/o saying since he's been limited, but something to note
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 2, 2016
Dave Birkett is a beat writer for the Detroit Free Press. This tweet helps explain why Marvin Jones is listed as Questionable. If Jones were healthy, I would be intrigued with him as a GPP option this week. However, he’s not so I am turning my attention to Golden Tate ($5,000), Eric Ebron ($4,600), and Theo Riddick ($4,900). All three are great options this week against a Saints defense giving up the sixth-most passing yards per game. Tate leads the Lions in targets, Ebron is a fantastic GPP option after not catching a pass on Thanksgiving, and Riddick is essentially a WR you can play at RB on a team that loves targeting its players out of the backfield.
Jordan Matthews Questionable
Jordan Matthews is listed as Questionable this week and according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ Advanced Media, he is a “true 50/50 game-time decision.”
Jordan Matthews fighting through practice despite an ankle injury that still appears to be affecting him. pic.twitter.com/bYhMhlT1t3
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) December 1, 2016
Watching this video, I’m not surprised. Nelson Agholor will likely be activated after being a healthy scratch last week. However, he is not a realistic fantasy option. Instead, Dorial Green-Beckham ($4,000) and Zach Ertz ($4,200) are both interesting options. Green-Beckham has seen 18 targets over the past two weeks and Ertz has seen 17 over that same timespan. I’m more interested in Green-Beckham who saw 10 targets just last week and would likely be the go to WR if Matthews sits. The matchup doesn’t scare me either as the Bengals have been average at best against the pass this season.
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