Every single injury and suspension matters when playing NFL daily fantasy sports (DFS). They cause the DFS landscape to change on a weekly basis. … Staying on top of them all means staying ahead of the game. Injuries and suspensions to lesser teammates or defensive players can cause studs to become a must play 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. Thus, being proactive about injuries and predicting a breakout player before it happens not only provides legit bragging rights, but also plenty of chances to be successful in DFS.
Whereas you might not have been able to before, taking advantage of those cheap players benefiting from the absence of others can allow you the ability to fit multiple studs into your lineups. Every single player that benefits from an injured/suspended teammate or opponent should always be considered. That’s why I’ll be bringing this column to you weekly breaking down the most relevant injuries and suspensions each week in DFS. So let’s get to it:
Arian Foster Out + Suspension of Josh Gordon + Josh McCown, Corey Coleman, Cameron Erving, Carl Nassib All Out + Joe Haden Questionable
The Browns are probably the absolute last team that could afford to lose key pieces due to injury. Well, that’s exactly what has happened. They’ll be starting their rookie third-string QB, Cody Kessler, on the road. He’ll missing his starting center and two best WRs. The Dolphins defense ($2,800) makes for a great play this week, should get plenty of stops, and should get the ball back to their offense often making this a get-right game for Ryan Tannehill and company. Helping the cause, DE Carl Nassib won’t play and CB Joe Haden is Questionable.
With Arian Foster out for the Dolphins and their running game already iffy to begin with, I expect Adam Gase to take to the air early and often. Ryan Tannehill ($6,660) should be able to take advantage of a Browns defense that gave up the 11th-most passing yards and third-most passing TDs last season. Jarvis Landry ($5,400) is going to absolutely eat in this game and DeVante Parker ($4,800) should have a solid game as well. That’s a stack I’m very interested in. If you’re feeling really crazy, Jordan Cameron ($4,700) and Kenny Stills ($3,700) can be considered as well.
Suspension of Marcell Dareus + Shaq Lawson, Reggie Ragland, IK Enemkpali All Out + Sammy Watkins Questionable
The Bills front-7 is completely depleted. DT Marcell Dareus is still suspended, first and second round picks DE Shaq Lawson and LB Reggie Ragland are both injured, and DE IK Enemkpali is out as well. Matt Forte showed us just how much those losses are hurting the Bills when he ran for 100 yards and three TDs against them in Week 2. David Johnson ($6,150) should have absolutely no problem finding success in this game. He’s my favorite RB play of the week.
Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, Stevie Johnson All Out + Antonio Gates Doubtful + Arthur Jones Out + Vontae Davis Questionable
With Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, and Stevie Johnson already done for the season and Antonio Gates looking like he’s going to miss Week 3, Melvin Gordon ($5,150) has quickly become the center piece of the Chargers’ offense. He has a phenomenal matchup against a banged up Colts defense that has allowed 250 rushing yards (fifth-worst) and three TDs to RBs through two weeks.
It sounds like Vontae Davis now has a chance to play this week, but if he sits again, Philip Rivers ($6,750), Travis Benjamin ($4,950), and Tyrell Williams ($4,150) are all very much in play against a Colts pass defense that gave up the ninth-most passing yards last season and the seventh-most passing yards through two weeks of 2016.
Doug Martin and Luke Stocker Both Out + Austin Seferian Jenkins Cut
With Doug Martin out for Week 3, Charles Sims ($4,150) is now the Buccaneers’ unquestioned starting RB. Sims should produce at home against a Rams defense that gave up the 13th-most rushing yards last season, and was lit up by Carlos Hyde back in Week 1. Even with the Seahawks mightily struggling against the Rams last week, Christine Michael still ran for 60 yards on only 10 carries.
Mike Evans ($5,150) not only has a favorable matchup against a Rams secondary that gave up the tentth-most passing yards last season, but with Doug Martin out and less competition for touches coming from the TE position, he also becomes the unquestioned best and most important player on the Tampa Bay offense. Already the most targeted player in the NFL through two weeks, look for Evans’ high volume to continue in this one.
Ameer Abdullah Out + Sam Shields Out + Clay Matthews, Morgan Burnett, Letroy Guion, and Datone Jones All Questionable
With Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve, Theo Riddick’s ($4,440) role looks set to increase starting in Week 3. Already a phenomenal pass catcher, Riddick has also seen 18 carries through the first two weeks of the season. He’s an intriguing play this week in a game against the Packers that has an over/under of 48 points. It helps that the Packers defense is banged up right now as well.
Sam Shields will miss another game this week which should be music to Matthew Stafford‘s ($6,400) ears. Stefon Diggs absolutely embarrassed this Packers defense grabbing nine balls for 182 yards and a TD in prime time last week with Shields out of the lineup. Marvin Jones ($4,800) looks to be the biggest beneficiary. He only trails Mike Evans by three for the league lead in targets through two weeks and has seen a target share of over 25 percent in both games. After posting a forgettable stat line in Week 2, nobody will roster Golden Tate ($4,600) on Sunday. However, he was targeted much deeper downfield, came very close to hauling multiple deep shots in, and drew multiple pass interference flags – one of them in the end zone last week. He still remains a big part of the Lions offense and makes for one of the more interesting GPP plays in Week 3.
Suspensions of Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant + Injury to Ladarius Green + Leodis McKelvin Out
With Le’Veon Bell set to return next week, this is your last chance to roster DeAngelo Williams ($5,700). He’s a stud workhorse, do-it-all back, in one of the best offenses in the NFL.
After posting a mediocre stat line of only four catches for 39 yards last week against a tough division opponent, many will fade Antonio Brown ($6,550) this week, as they look for cheaper options. Not having any exposure to the best WR in the NFL in Week 3 would be a #Mistake. Don’t let recency effect take money out of your wallet. One only has to go back to Week 1 to see what kind of stat line Brown is capable of putting up against an NFC East opponent. Two weeks ago against Washington, he grabbed eight balls for 126 yards and two TDs. A similar stat line is absolutely in the cards this week as Brown gets an Eagles defense that will be without CB Leodis McKelvin. After easy matchups against the Browns and Bears to start the season, we don’t think of the Eagles secondary as a unit to attack in 2016. I have a sense that perception will change this week once Brown is done with them.
Delanie Walker Questionable
Delanie Walker sounds like a true game-time decision. If he doesn’t suit up, then Tajae Sharpe ($4,200) becomes Marcus Mariota’s unquestioned number one pass catcher on Sunday. That would be extremely beneficial as Sharpe gets a Raiders defense that gave up the seventh-most passing yards last season and that has given up 113 more passing yards than any other team in the NFL through two weeks of 2016. Sharpe will likely see some Sean Smith in coverage, which has been money so far in 2016:
Currently, the highest scoring fantasy wide receiver is whoever is in coverage against Sean Smith. pic.twitter.com/mcESVxvqRi
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 19, 2016
Thomas Rawls Doubtful + C.J. Prosise Questionable + Suspension of Aaron Lynch + Ian Williams and Ray-Ray Armstrong Out
With Thomas Rawls listed as doubtful and C.J. Prosise still dealing with a hand/wrist injury, Pete Carroll has said Christine Michael ($4,650) might see 20+ carries this weekend.
Christine Michael – 25 carries, 126 yards (5.0 ypc)
Thomas Rawls – 19 carries, 25 yards (1.3 ypc).
Are we full-steam ahead with c-mike?
— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) September 21, 2016
Small sample (25 att.), but Christine Michael has gained 5+ yards on 44% of carries in Wk 1-2. Better than Rawls' nuclear 2015 rate (40.8%).
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) September 23, 2016
The Seahawks are 10-point home favorites, the 49ers just gave up 100 rushing yards to Fozzy Whittaker last week, and they will be without three projected starters in the front-7 heading into the season – Ian Williams, Aaron Lynch, and Ray-Ray Armstrong.
Danny Trevathan, Eddie Goldman, Lamarr Houston Out + Pernell McPhee on PUP + Willie Young, Tracy Porter, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, and Adrian Amos All Questionable
Ezekiel Elliott ($5,300) has the fifth-most rush attempts in the NFL through two weeks and has scored in back-to-back games. Now he gets one of the most favorable matchups imaginable against a Bears defense that will be missing multiple starters in their front-7 and that wasn’t all that good to begin with. The Cowboys are 7-point favorites at home as well.
Dak Prescott ($5,700) and Dez Bryant ($5,450) could also make for great plays against that same banged-up Bears defense. Prescott threw for nearly 300 yards and ran for a TD on the road at Washington in just the second start of his career last week. In that same game, Bryant got back on track grabbing seven balls for 102 yards. If Kyle Fuller and some of these other Bears defensive backs don’t suit up, Prescott and Bryant could be a very successful under the radar stack this week.
Donte Moncrief Out + Joey Bosa Out
With Donte Moncrief sidelined, T.Y. Hilton ($5,000) is set to see even more targets after finishing tied for second in that department through the first two weeks of the season. He did miss practice on Friday, but it sounds like it was just precautionary.
Per PFF, Jason Verrett has traveled inside on just 5.6% of snaps since 2015. Expecting Hilton to avoid him mostly. https://t.co/xmWN3XCKeb
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) September 22, 2016
A threat to go deep on every play, it doesn’t sound like Hilton will see Verrett in coverage the whole game. Absolutely nobody will roster him, making Hilton one of the better GPP plays of the week.
Phillip Dorsett ($4,300) should also benefit from the injury to Moncrief, as he is now Andrew Luck’s unquestioned #2 WR in a game with an over/under of 52. He could be a tremendous value with his targets sure to increase as he has been very productive so far this season with limited opportunities:
Through two games, Phillip Dorsett leads the #Colts in rec yards (124) with less than half the targets (11) of TY Hilton (120, 23).
— Karl Safchick (@KarlSafchick) September 19, 2016
Ben Watson Out
We finally have some clarity about a player in the Baltimore Ravens offense not named Joe Flacco. With Ben Watson out for the year, Dennis Pitta ($4,600) has stepped up as the go-to tight end in Baltimore. Pitta was the only tight end in the league to see double-digit targets (12) in Week 2 and only trails Jason Witten by two for the tight end league lead in targets through two weeks. He now gets a Jaguars defense that gave up the fourth-most pass yards in 2015 and that has been lit up by the Packers and Chargers to begin the season.
Virgil Green and Donald Stephenson Out
In an absolute dream matchup at home against a banged up Colts defense last week, Trevor Siemian could only muster up 266 passing yards and an INT. Now he’ll be making his very first start on the road without his starting TE and Right Tackle. The Bengals defense ($2,850) is in a great spot here as they return home for the first time this season.
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