The Saints on Saturday activated DL Sheldon Rankins after he missed the 1st 7 games with a leg fracture. The 1st-round pick can only help the front 7 of 1 of the league's worst defenses. New Orleans will not have ILB James Laurinaitis any more this season, though, after placing him on IR with a groin injury. Laurinaitis has offered little value to the team or fantasy owners since arriving after the Rams dumped him in summer. His deactivation makes Nathan Stupar more interesting in IDP leagues as a potential full-time player the rest of the way.
The Saints have ruled S Vonn Bell (knee), S Marcus Williams (groin) and CB Eli Apple (ankle) out for Sunday's game against the Panthers. Rookie Chauncey Gardner-Johnson will get another start in Bell's place. Janoris Jenkins figures to start in Apple's place.
Saints starting CBs Marshon Lattimore (ankle) and Ken Crawley (abdomen) have been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Rams. That leaves reserve corners stepping into a lineup that Washington QB Kirk Cousins carved up a week ago. The matchup favors the Rams' run game, but there's plenty of upside for Jared Goff and the receivers. WR Sammy Watkins, in particular, carries much more upside than usual with Robert Woods out.
Saints S Kenny Vaccaro (groin) and LB A.J. Klein (ankle) are inactive for today's game against Washington. It's the 2nd straight missed game for Vaccaro, which will put CB P.J. Williams in primary coverage on Washington slot WR Jamison Crowder. Manti Te'o should start in Klein's place but is only a marginal IDP option.
The Saints this week placed DT Nick Fairley on the non-football injury/illness list. That deactivates him for the 2017 season, and he's likely done for good, according to the Times-Picayune. Doctors diagnosed Fairly with a heart condition this offseason, and the team reportedly sought out multiple opinions before making the move. It's a particularly unfortunate scenario considering that Fairley had just earned a big new contract after a bounce-back 2016. For fantasy purposes, it at least becomes easier to envision a worthwhile role for 2nd-year DT Sheldon Rankins.
Saints LBs Craig Robertson (shoulder) and Dannell Ellerbe (foot) are active for Sunday's game against the Falcons. Both have played through "questionable" tags in multiple weeks and are OK for normal use but low-floor IDP options.
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