Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Monday and is expected to be sidelined for a month, HC Mike Tomlin said. That makes Samuels droppable outside of deep fantasy leagues. His absence leaves rookie Benny Snell as Pittsburgh's #2 RB but should really lock James Conner into a workhorse role.
Jets QB Sam Darnold (mono) has been cleared to play, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. So he'll return for Sunday's game against the Cowboys after missing the last 3 games and 4 weeks. It's obviously a huge boost to a Jets passing game that had been forced to turn to QB Luke Falk. Darnold's return puts WRs Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder back on the fantasy radar, although we'd still try to take a wait-and-see approach with this passing game for now.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Giants RB Saquon Barkley (ankle) is "unlikely" to play against the Patriots on Thursday night. He's made a bunch of progress in his rehab, but he's still only 2-and-a-half weeks removed from what's usually a 4+ week injury. We're betting on Barkley returning for Week 7 against the Cardinals. With RB Wayne Gallman (concussion) also expected to miss the Patriots game, the G-Men are down to undrafted rookie RB Jon Hilliman. He has a shot to see ~15 touches on Thursday night but still isn't a recommended fantasy play in this matchup.
ESPN's Adam Schefter says there's "a real chance" that Giants TE Evan Engram won't be able to play against the Patriots on Thursday night. Engram is dealing with a sprained MCL. That he hasn't yet been publicly ruled out indicates this may not be too serious an injury -- i.e. beyond Week 6 -- but make sure you plan for an Engram replacement as your league runs waivers this week.
Eagles HC Doug Pederson said Monday that RB Jordan Howard will continue to get the highest share of the team's carries going forward, according to Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia. That's not a surprise, given that Howard has topped Miles Sanders in carries for 2 straight weeks and scored rushing TDs in 3 straight. It's nice to have a coach come out and say it, though, so we don't have to guess as much at the committee breakdown. Pederson's revelation doesn't kill the fantasy outlook for Sanders, who garnered 5 of Philly's 6 RB pass targets in the win over the Jets. (Howard saw none.) Both will remain relevant, but treat Howard as the top option until further notice.
The Raiders have acquired WR Zay Jones from the Bills in exchange for a 2021 5th-round pick. Jones was a disappointment in Buffalo since being selected 37th overall in the 2017 draft, registering an ugly 46.4% catch rate and 11.5 yards per catch. We'll see if this change of scenery turns things around for him. Jones will find opportunity in Oakland, where the Raiders have very little at WR beyond Tyrell Williams, who's already dealt with a couple of injuries this season. The Bills, meanwhile, will trot out either Duke Williams or Robert Foster in Jones' old outside WR spot. Williams played 78% of the offensive snaps in Week 5 with Foster sidelined with a groin injury. We'll monitor the situations in both Buffalo and Oakland. But we wouldn't bother adding Williams, Foster or Jones to fantasy rosters right now.
Browns WR Rashard Higgins is inactive for tonight's game against the 49ers. It marks the 4th straight game he will have missed because of his knee injury. We'll see whether Antonio Callaway can wrest #3 WR duties from Damion Ratley in his return from a 4-game league drug suspension.
Niners RB Tevin Coleman is active for tonight's game against the Browns. It will mark his 1st game back since suffering a high-ankle sprain in the opener. With Coleman back, RB Jeff Wilson is inactive -- a healthy scratch. That leaves the backfield as Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida.
Niners DE Dee Ford is active for tonight's game against the Browns. He made it onto the field for just 1 limited practice this week while dealing with a quad injury and has been hampered by multiple issues all season. S Jimmie Ward is also active for the 1st time this season. We'll see whether he takes the FS job back from Tarvarius Moore.
Browns CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams will miss their 3rd straight games. Both are dealing with hamstring injuries and have yet to return to practice since going down. S Morgan Burnett is returning, though. He's active after missing the past 2 contests with a quad injury.
The Giants listed RB Saquon Barkley (ankle) as "limited" on their projected practice report Monday. (The team didn't actually practice.) Barkley got back on the field last week and looked good in the limited video we saw. He seems to have a real shot to return for Thursday night's game against the Patriots. We'll get another update tomorrow.
Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury refused to guarantee that RB David Johnson (back) will be available for this weekend's game against the Falcons. Johnson battled through back tightness in yesterday's win over the Bengals and will be monitored throughout this week, Kingsbury said. We'll obviously be keeping a close eye on this, but RB Chase Edmonds needs to be owned in all fantasy leagues in the meantime. He'd be a strong Week 6 fantasy play if Johnson is out.
The Titans have released K Cairo Santos. The move isn't surprising after Santos missed 4 FG tries in Sunday's loss to the Bills. That included misses from 33 and 36 yards out. We'll see who gets the next shot to fill in for Ryan Succop, who is on IR.
Giants WR Sterling Shepard is in the concussion protocol. The Athletic's Dan Duggan reports that Shepard displayed concussion symptoms to the team's medical staff Monday morning. This is Shepard's 2nd concussion of the season and almost certainly knocks him out for at least Thursday night's game against the Patriots. Shepard's absence could mean a target boost for Golden Tate. He'll join Darius Slayton and Cody Latimer as the team's top 3 wideouts for at least Week 6. Plan as though you'll miss Shepard for Week 7 as well, given the 2 concussions in such close proximity.
The Patriots elected not to activate TE Benjamin Watson by Monday's deadline. That means the veteran hits waivers. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Watson does want to continue playing somewhere. He had, of course, announced his retirement before signing with New England in the offseason. Looks like the Patriots will proceed with Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo as their top TEs.
Bengals HC Zac Taylor confirmed that WR A.J. Green (ankle) is out for Sunday's game against the Ravens and added that Green won't practice this week. That makes a Week 7 return seem unlikely. Cincinnati has a Week 9 bye, which might factor into the decision about when to bring Green back.
Ravens HC John Harbaugh said Monday that WR Marquise Brown's ankle injury is "nothing serious." The rookie went down in the 1st half of yesterday's game against the Steelers but was able to return for the 4th quarter and overtime. We'll keep an eye on him this week, but Brown should be ready for Sunday's game against the Bengals.
Eagles insider Jeff McLane considers WR DeSean Jackson (groin) "unlikely" to return for Week 6 after listening to HC Doug Pederson on Monday. Pederson said that D-Jax is still rehabbing and answered "we'll see" when asked if he'll be ready for Sunday's game against the Vikings. We'll keep an eye on Jackson this week, but fantasy owners should plan on being without him again.
Eagles HC Doug Pederson said Monday that RB Darren Sproles is "week to week" with a quad strain. Sproles has totaled just 6 carries and 2 targets over the past 3 weeks, so there's not much of a fantasy impact here. Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders will continue to share backfield duties in Philly.
ESPN's Adam Schefter hears that Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett's hamstring injury is "minor" but that he's considered "week to week." It sounds like Dorsett will miss Thursday night's game against the Giants but has a shot to be back for Week 7. Rookie Jakobi Meyers will step in as New England's #3 WR for however long Dorsett is out.
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