Fantasy Football News and Notes: McCaffrey on Injury Report

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The news: ESPN’s David Newton reported that Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey has appeared on the team’s injury report with an ankle injury.

What it means in fantasy: McCaffrey is struggling with stiffness in his ankle but the Panthers insist he should play the Saints on Sunday. Fantasy executives are understandably concerned about this, given that McCaffrey has been injured in his previous two seasons. He only played three games in 2020 due to a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury, and then missed 10 games last season with an ankle injury. D’Onta Foreman or Chuba Hubbard would step in if McCaffrey missed time at any point this season; Hubbard rushed for 514 yards and four touchdowns in 10 starts last season in McCaffrey’s absence. He’s available in 94.2% of leagues and I recommend prioritizing him as a bench addition for anyone investing in McCaffrey as this likely won’t be the last time the starting back will appear in an injury report this season.

go deeper: McCaffrey averaged 19.5 touches and 22.2 fantasy points per game during his career. He signed a four-year, $64 million extension with the Panthers in April 2020. He has played just 10 out of 33 games since signing.

The news: Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky completed 20 of 32 passes for 207 yards and no touchdowns against the Browns Thursday night.

What it means in fantasy: With 10 days to go in Week 4 against the Jets, the Steelers could consider a move to rookie Kenny Pickett. Trubisky is averaging 5.5 yards per attempt after Thursday night’s game. This is the last among quarterbacks to start multiple games. Trubisky’s presence under center lowers the ceilings on Diontae Johnson and the other receiving playmakers at the Steelers.

go deeper: . Despite attempting 32 passes during the game, Trubisky only had 69 yards from the inside of the pocket. Since ESPN began tracking pocket passing in 2009, this is the second lowest passing yards from the pocket in a game in which a quarterback has attempted 30 or more passes. Trubisky threw 138 yards outside the pocket to bring his season total to 203, nearly as many as Ben Roethlisberger all of last season (206). A successful NFL quarterback must be able to get up and bag, and at least on film, Pickett has good pocket awareness.

The news: Browns TE David Njoku hit nine of 10 goals for 89 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers Thursday night, setting a new career high.

What it means in fantasy: Njoku’s performance was notable as he had just six goals, four receptions and 39 reception yards in two games. He was the second leading receiver for the Browns behind Amari Cooper. The Falcons present him with a Plus matchup in Week 4. Njoku can be considered a low-end TE1.

The news: Cowboys WR Michael Gallup was in full training Thursday.

What it means in fantasy: Gallup tore the ACL in Week 17 last season but is expected to play the Giants Monday night. Gallup’s return comes at great time for a Cowboys offense struggling to find viable receiving options. CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz and the other Dallas receiving playmakers could benefit in midfield from Gallup’s ability to threaten downfield defenses. Gallup is expected to play limited snaps, so it’s hard to trust him on fantasy lineups in his first game.

go deeper: Gallup has averaged 15.0 yards per reception in his career.

The news: the Athletic’s Tashan Reed reported that Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow was not training on Thursday.

What it means in fantasy: Renfrow also missed training on Wednesday. Mack Hollins would replace him in the starting lineup if he is unable to play the Titans in Week 3. Hollins had eight goals last week and if Renfrow is out he could repeat that against the Titans, although Darren Waller and Davante Adams will be the primary participants in the passing game.

The news: ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg reported that Bill’s WR Gabe Davis is very optimistic that he will play the Dolphins in Week 3.

What it means in fantasy: It seems Davis is headed in the right direction after training for the past two days. The Bills and Dolphins have this week’s highest overall score at 52.5. When Davis played the Rams in Week 1, he had 18.8 fantasy points. Davis can be considered a high-end WR2.

The news: Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy did not train Thursday due to a shoulder injury.

What it means in fantasy: Jeudy didn’t practice at all this week as the Broncos prepare for a matchup against the 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Jeudy is unlikely to play unless he trains on Friday. Fantasy managers should have KJ Hamler on their radar as a replacement. He is expected to return to the lineup against the 49ers on Sunday night after missing Week 2 with a knee/hip injury. Hamler is available in 97% of ESPN leagues.

The news: Packers WR Allen Lazard did not train Thursday due to his ankle injury.

What it means in fantasy: Christian Watson (hamstring) and Sammy Watkins (hamstring) also did not train on Thursday. All three are expected to play against the Buccaneers, but Friday’s practice report will provide more certainty. None of these are great fantasy options for week 3, so those looking for a flexible option should look elsewhere. The trio of Treylon Burks, Nelson Agholor and Sterling Shepard is the better option in many leagues.

The news: Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin did not practice Thursday.

What it means in fantasy: Godwin is dealing with a hamstring injury. Julio Jones also did not train on Thursday due to a knee injury. Breshad Perriman, Russell Gage and Scotty Miller were all on the field Thursday after limited practice on Wednesday. With Mike Evans suspended for Week 3 against the Packers, the Buccaneers are thin at wide receiver. It looks like Godwin will be the furthest away from the action of everyone.

fantasy reads

The Read: NFL Nation reporter Jeff Legwold wrote about how running the ball could be a solution to the Broncos’ red zone problems.

What it means in fantasy: The Broncos have cumulatively 783 yards on offense in two games but average just 16.0 points per game. Denver ranks ninth in the league in rushing yards per game (126.0) and seventh with 4.9 yards per rush attempt but has no rushing touchdown. So far this season, the Broncos have attempted just four red-zone rushing attempts, and both of their fumbles were shotgun run plays, all of which points to the Broncos turning to their red-zone run game rather than passing. From a fantasy perspective, this bodes well for Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon in Week 3.

It is not too late! Sign up for a team or start a new league to draft this weekend and replay in week 4.

Today on ESPN

Mike Clay’s Playbook: predictions and analysis for every game

Eric Karabell’s Week 3 fantasy hot seat includes Kyle Pitts and Darnell Mooney.

• Daniel, Liz, and DJ’s Fantasy Improv: Design overhauls, tailgating, and trades they wish they’d forgotten

• Fantasy Focus Podcast now at 10am ET

Next Sunday:

• The Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: this week’s best advice in one place

• Inactives Watch: Who’s in, who’s out and what does that mean?

• After the Games: The Fantastic Ups and Downs by Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft

• Fantasy Football Now: Sunday at 10am ET on ESPN2

In case you missed it…

Field Yates Fantasy Field Pass for week 3

Mike Clay’s TNF Playbook: Browns vs. Steelers

Tristan H. Cockcroft’s positional matchup card

Fantasy film room by Matt Bowen

Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS Best Buys for Week 3

• Fantasy Focus Podcast: Field Yates, Mike Clay and Daniel Dopp preview “Thursday Night Football” before telling us the best WR matchups of the week, including how to manage expectations for bad matchups. Then Adam Schefter joins in to discuss the storylines to be seen this week and tell us why Kyle Pitts needs more goals. Listen | watch

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