Fantasy Football Week 7: What you missed Thursday, featuring Amari Cooper's redemption, Marshawn Lynch's ejection, and injury concerns for DeMarco Murray, Leonard Fournette
Amari Cooper broke out in a big way. What else happened on Thursday around the league? Chris Towers catches you up on everything.
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:
Thursday Night Football
Amari Cooper let us know he isn't done
I don't want to go with the typical, "Reports of Amari Cooper's demise have been greatly exaggerated," because… they weren't! It would have been hard to exaggerate how bad Cooper had been over the last four games, as he had caught just 13 of 26 passes for 84 yards total from Weeks 2 through 6. He was a total nonfactor in the offense, and hadn't show many signs of life.
However, he didn't need much time to remind us how talented he still is on Thursday night. He had two touchdowns in the first half and just kept building on that. He ended up with 11 catches for 210 yards, and Derek Carr peppered him with 19 targets. It was a good sign of the team's confidence in Cooper, especially as they continued to look his way despite two more drops in the game. At his best, you'll live with the occasional drop, like Brandon Marshall in his prime.
Cooper still has just two games with double-digit Fantasy points, in what remains a totally disappointing season. However, Week 7 should at least quiet some of the concerns Fantasy owners were having. I hope you started him Thursday, but if not, he at least reminded you that the guy you drafted is there. Let's hope he keeps it going moving forward.
Marshawn Lynch earned an ejection
When Derek Carr took a questionable hit in the second quarter, a small scuffle broke out on the field. Lynch ran onto the field from the sideline, and in the ensuing fracas, grabbed and shoved an official..
Lynch was immediately tossed from the game, finishing with just two carries for 9 yards, a tough outcome for Fantasy players in what has been an increasingly tough season. Lynch has just 266 yards through seven games, and it's fair to wonder at what point he might start ceding more work to his more dynamic backups. The problem is, we got a glimpse of life without Lynch looks like, it was as frustrating as Lynch's season has been; DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard split work almost evenly. Richard played 26 snaps, while Washington played 25.
If Lynch was to lose playing time, as a result of a potential suspension or otherwise, there isn't a clear option to add here. They would likely split time between Washington and Richard, though Richard was better on Thursday, picking up 76 total yards on 13 touches, compared to 40 on 12 touches for Washington.
- Michael Crabtree found the end zone again… He needed literally all 60 minutes of game time, but Crabtree came through for Fantasy players with no time left on the clock. He finished the game with three catches for 24 years, so he needed that score. Crabtree is averaging 54.7 yards per game, but has six touchdowns in six games.
- Jared Cook finally had a big game… Cook caught six passes for 107 yards, and nearly had a touchdown on the final drive; it was initially ruled a score before review marked him down at the 1. This was Cook's first game with more than 56 yards, and just his second with 10 Fantasy points. He remains a low-end starting tight end.
- DeMarcus Robinson took advantage of his role… Robinson has led the Chiefs receivers in snaps over the last two games, and caught five passes for 69 yards. He is not a Fantasy relevant player at this time.
What else you need to know from around the NFL Thursday
DeMarco Murray (hamstring) remains sidelined
Whether Murray plays in Week 7 is going to decide a lot of Fantasy games, because he has such a high-impact backup ready to step up. Murray has been unable to practice since reaggravating his lingering hamstring on Monday night, and that could force Derrick Henry into a huge role in Week 7. With a bye coming up next week, Murray could be a candidate to sit out this week, but you'll need to keep an eye on his status for Friday.
With the matchup against the Browns, Murray would still be a recommended start if he plays, but Henry might be the one to play if you have both. Of course, the last time we said that because Murray was dealing with this injury, Murray ripped off a 75-yard yard touchdown, en route to his best game of the season. So, who knows!
Leonard Fournette (ankle) remains out at practice
The Jaguars have downplayed the severity of this injury since Fournette suffered it Sunday, but Fantasy owners should be concerned at this point. Fournette did some running on the side, and continues to say he expects to play, but he told reporters Wednesday he needs to be able to cut on the ankle Friday to feel comfortable playing. As with Murray, you'll need to keep a close eye on reports out of Jacksonville before making your lineup decision. This one could go down to the wire Sunday.
Rob Kelly (ankle) was able to practice
Kelley took a big step forward in his recovery Wednesday, practicing for the first time since suffering his injury in Week 4.
"He looked good today," Coach Jay Gruden said, via the Washington Post. "It was a limited basis, but he took some reps in some team periods and moved around pretty well."
Samaje Perine will fill in for Kelley if he can't go, but he is trending in the right direction. If he is able to practice without limitations Friday, Kelley would be in line to make his return in Week 7 against the Eagles. That's the hope, but he wouldn't be much more than a low-end Fantasy starter coming off injury.
Paul Perkins (ribs) was limited at practice
Perkins is making progress, getting in work on consecutive days after missing the team's previous two games. The Giants have started to find a semblance of a running game with Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman lately, so it's going to be interesting to see where Perkins finds work even if he is able to return. He won't be a recommended start.
Jameis Winston (shoulder) will take all first-team reps at practice Friday
The Buccaneers have expressed guarded optimism about Winston's chances of playing in Week 7, and he'll get his last big test Friday. Winston is dealing with an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder, and hasn't been throwing at practice yet this week. That will change Friday, and how his arm responds to the work will go a long way toward determining his status for Sunday against the Bills. At this point, I would bet on him playing, but he would be .
Bilal Powell (calf) turned in a full practice
Typically, a player returning to practice is a good sign, but not in this case. With Powell trending up, the Jets seem likely to have a crowded backfield yet again. Powell started the season splitting work with Matt Forte, and promising rookie Elijah McGuire forced his way into the conversation as well, leaving them with three players to split work in what isn't exactly a great offense. None of the three should be viewed as anything more than desperation flex plays, but Powell is probably the priority.
- Andre Ellington (quad) didn't practice... Ellington missed practice Thursday, and early reports have him missing Friday's session as well. He has been a big part of the passing game, but largely disappeared with the emergence of Adrian Peterson in Week 6. It will be interesting to see if Peterson factors into the passing game of the Cardinals have to throw a lot in Week 7.
- Marlon Mack should get more touches… We heard the same thing from the Colts' coaching staff last week, but with Robert Turbin going down for the season, they have no choice but to follow through. He won't be worth starting yet, but Mack remains a solid stash option.
- Wendell Smallwood (knee) practiced in full... Smallwood is trending toward a return, and would be a low-end option in PPR leagues for Week 7. He'll still split work with LeGarrette Blount, but should be the primary third-down back.
- DeVante Parker (ankle) is feeling better… A Dolphins source told the Miami Herald Parker is feeling better after missing most of the last two games. He hasn't practiced yet this week, but let's hope we see him out there Friday. If Parker gets healthy, he would be a solid No. 2 WR against the Jets.
- Kelvin Benjamin (knee) was held out of practice… Benjamin has been dealing with swelling in his left knee, and is looking very much in question for Week 7. See what the injury report has for him Friday.
- Stefon Diggs (groin) continues to miss practice… Diggs sat out Week 6, and he's looking like a risk for Week 7 as well. He told reporters he is doing better, but Fantasy players should already have a contingency plan in place if he can't go.
- Sterling Shepard (ankle) was limited… Shepard is trending up, though there is no guarantee he plays in Week 7. If he does, he would have a big opportunity, as the Giants completed just two passes to wide receivers in Week 6. Shepard might even avoid Richard Sherman Sunday if he stays as the team's primary slot receiver.
- Melvin Gordon (shoulder) was limited yet again… They are likely just trying to limit his exposure, but Gordon hasn't gotten a full practice in yet, so this injury might not be nothing. If he's active, you're starting Gordon, but let's just hope he's not limited for the game.
- C.J. Prosise (ankle) was upgraded to full practice… The Seahawks' passing game should get a boost from the return of Prosise, but he's just a deep PPR option.
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