Fantasy Football Week 4: What you missed Thursday, with Aaron Jones stepping up, and Rob Kelley and Kelvin Benjamin improving
The Packers unsurprisingly dominated the Bears on Thursday Night Football, but they paid the price with some serious-looking injuries. Chris Towers breaks down everything you need to know.
What's this? Every Tuesday through Friday, Chris Towers will catch you up on the previous day's biggest news first thing in the morning. Here's what you missed Thursday:
Aaron Jones is the one to own
Jones wasn't super impressive Thursday, however Ty Montgomery went down with suspected broken ribs, while Jamaal Williams left with what looked like an ugly knee injury. That leaves Jones as the running back to go out and get in Green Bay by default. We'll see how long Montgomery is out, but this is likely to be a multi-week injury – the long layoff before Week 5 could allow Montgomery to play, however.
If Williams should miss time, it would stand as a real missed opportunity for him. He was Montgomery's backup coming into the season, and Jones hadn't carried the ball until Thursday's game. If Williams improves enough in the next 10 days to play and Montgomery isn't out, he would still be worth a look, but Jones is still the one to target as of now.
The Packers don't have uniformly great upcoming matchups, with the Cowboys, Vikings, and Saints on the way, but being the back on Aaron Rodgers' team is always a good place to be. Jones got into the end zone Thursday, a reminder of the situation he finds himself in.
Davante Adams left with neck, head injuries
This one was ugly. Adams took a shot to the helmet while being wrapped up after a screen pass, and his teammates immediately called for the trainers to come from the sidelines. He was conscious as he was taken from the field on a stretcher, but was hospitalized for evaluation of neck and head injuries. We'll obviously update his health status moving forward, but it wouldn't be responsible to speculate further.
It's only a matter of time until we see Mitch Trubisky
The Bears just can't remain this lifeless. The coaching staff must be exercising an overabundance of patience in order to let Trubisky get his practice reps, because it's hard to imagine he doesn't look better than Glennon in practice. At least, not based on what we've seen in the games. It would be an ominous sign if he didn't.
Glennon ended up passing for 216 yards Thursday, with one touchdown and two interceptions, and he now has more interceptions than touchdowns in two of four games. He hasn't topped 7.0 yards per attempt in any game, and this Bears' offense just goes through too many stretches looking totally lifeless with Glennon under center, especially in the first half of games.
He isn't blessed with a ton of talent at receiver – the Bears might have the worst WR corps in the NFL, to be fair – but Glennon just hasn't been close on any passes down the field. Trubisky needs to take his lumps at some point – and hopefully he can get this offense going. It's hard to imagine him looking worse.
Other notes from TNF
- Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen couldn't get anything going… I almost gave this its own section, but there isn't much to say. They had bad games, against a defense that never showed any concern for the pass. At least Howard got into the end zone, while Cohen still got 10 touches. They'll have better luck next week.
What else you need to know from around the NFL Thursday
It's funny; Perine's status only really matters if Kelley isn't able to play. With Kelley trending up after putting in a limited practice session Thursday, Perine's status may not matter all that much.
The key will be whether Kelley is cleared to play, and it's looking good. He was close last week, and it looks like he's in better shape heading into Sunday's game against the Chiefs. It's a tough matchup, but Kelley was running the ball well in Week 2 before his injury, and Jay Gruden gave him a vote of confidence this week, declaring he is still the team's No. 1 running back. No matter how many big plays Chris Thompson may rip off.
Sam Bradford (knee) was officially ruled out
This news seems a bit less disheartening than it did a week ago, because Case Keenum is coming off a wholly competent performance against the Buccaneers. However, the fact remains that he just isn't as good as Bradford, and makes the Vikings' offense as a whole much riskier. At this point, Bradford keeps getting ruled out earlier and earlier, and though the team has expressed optimism, I'm not seeing much reason to believe them. We'll see what happens in Week 5, but Bradford isn't worth stashing, and his continued absence makes Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen boom-or-bust WR options.
Kelvin Benjamin (knee) was able to practice in full
Benjamin was a full participant in practice Thursday, after sitting out Wednesday's session. That's a good sign, especially after how worrying the injury looked when he initially suffered it Sunday. He is moving toward being active in Week 4, and should continue to be the top option in the passing game. Given the way Cam Newton is throwing the ball these days, that's not necessarily a guarantee of a big game in any given week, but Benjamin remains a strong red zone threat, and the Panthers should be chasing points in Week 4, so consider him a decent starting option.
The good news is, they've got two healthy shoulders between them. The better news is, neither injury sounds all that serious, as both have been able to put in at least limited practices both Wednesday and Thursday. The test will come Friday, but assuming neither has a setback, it looks like the Browns should have their full complement of backfield weapons available for Week 4 against the Bengals.
Sammy Watkins was a full participant in practice
Looks like the extra time off after their Thursday Night Football game last Thursday was just what Watkins needed, because he was able to practice without limitation after being in the concussion protocol over the last week. Expect Watkins to play, and after a breakout performance that saw him and Jared Goff finally connect on the deep ball – in addition to two short touchdowns – it's going to be hard to sit him. He's a No. 2 WR with big upside, especially with Goff looking as good as he has.
- Jay Ajayi (knee) was able to practice in full… Ajayi's knee has been an issue since before their first game this season, but it hasn't limited him on Sundays yet. This will likely continue to be a nagging issue, but it hasn't been a serious one yet. Start him with confidence.
- Jordan Reed (chest) was able to practice… He was a limited participant, but this still counts as progress, after he was unable to even take part in individual drills last week. We'll see how he progresses moving forward, but there is a bit of bad news here: Washington doesn't play until Monday night. Let's hope he isn't a game-time decision, but you should have Vernon Davis on your roster just in case.
- Mike Williams (back) was able to practice… The good news is, Williams hasn't been ruled out. But he also may not be ready for his NFL debut until he puts in a full practice session, so keep stashing him in deeper leagues in the hopes he can make an impact down the road.
- Melvin Gordon (knee) remains limited… All signs point to Gordon playing in Week 4 against the Eagles, but I can't shake the feeling that this knee issue portends bad things down the road for Gordon. Start him as long as he's active.
- Carlos Hyde (hip) was limited… And he'll probably be limited on Friday, too. Kyle Shanahan said as much Wednesday, but there hasn't been much reason to believe he won't play in Week 4 against the Cardinals. Keep him in your starting lineup.
- Adrian Peterson was given a day off… There were reports of a knee issue, but it was officially classified as a veteran's day off. He remains just a bench stash at this point.
- Amari Cooper (knee) was upgrade to full participation… Good news! Bad news: He still has Denver on the schedule this week. But, at least he's not…
- Michael Crabtree (chest) remains limited… Not healthy, and facing the Broncos' secondary? Crabtree's been the better player this season, but I'd rather trust Cooper in Week 4 if I had to pick one.
- J.J. Nelson (hamstring) was limited… Nelson is following the same path he was one last week, when he hauled in zero catches on Monday night. However, he still played plenty of snaps, so don't give up on him just yet.
- John Brown (quad) was limited… The fact Brown could practice on consecutive days is a good sign, even if he was limited. He is very much in play for Week 4, though it's going to be tough to trust him, given how much trouble he's had getting and staying healthy over the last year.
- Jimmy Graham (ankle) was back at practice… Between his age and injury, you have to imagine the Seahawks are going to limit Graham's exposure in practice all season long. He should be able to play, and is coming off his best game of the season. He's a must-start TE.
- Doug Baldwin (groin) was unable to practice… It's all going to come down to Friday. He hasn't practiced yet this week, while Pete Carroll has continued to express optimism about his chances of paying. I'm less optimistic, but we'll see if he can at least get on the field Friday.
- Devontae Booker (wrist) is no longer on the injury report… With C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles both running the ball well, there just may not be room for Booker, who was inactive last week despite overcoming his injury. He may just be a healthy scratch until needed.
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