I had big plans for today's Fantasy Football Today Newsletter, and then I started researching the injury report for Week 8 and had to pivot. I don't like writing about injuries because I don't like having to deal with injuries in Fantasy, but there's just no way around it this week — by my count, there are at least 40 Fantasy-relevant players dealing with injuries right now, not counting players with long-term issues who have no chance of playing in Week 8. Sorry to sound like a broken record, everyone.
I'm feeling the crunch for sure. In one league, I have a 5-2 record and I'm considering punting on the week due to injuries and bye weeks — it looks like I'm going to be without Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, Phillip Lindsay, Will Fuller, Antonio Gibson and James Robinson, and Carlos Hyde, one of my waiver pickups, may not play either. I don't want to drop anyone, but I can't field a full lineup if I don't, and the long-term considerations may win out.
That's the situation we're dealing with in Week 8, and I want to make sure you've got everything you need to prepare. That includes injury updates from around the league as practices kicked off, and it's our longest rundown of the year. Oh, and the Chargers and Giants had COVID scares Thursday, casting at least some doubt on their games for the time being.
Plus, I've got a preview of Thursday's game between the Panthers and Falcons, and Dave Richard's Start and Sit calls for every game on the Week 8 schedule. And if you missed Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, you can find that here.
Here's everything else you need to prepare for Week 8: Start 'Em & Sit 'Em | Dave Richard's Week 8 Preview | QB Start 'Em & Sit 'Em | RB Start 'Em & Sit 'Em | Waiver Wire | Trade Values | Biggest Questions | QB Preview | RB Preview | WR Preview | TE Preview | Rest-of-Season Rankings | Cut List | Winners and Losers | Believe It or Not
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Week 8 Injury Updates
Keeping up with injuries has been a key part of playing Fantasy football this season, but it's a lot easier when someone else does it for you. Here are the injury updates you need to know about after the first day of practice for Week 8 around the league. Ready?
- Andy Dalton (concussion) — In the concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. The Cowboys signed Cooper Rush to their practice squad, a potential sign they aren't planning on having Dalton available.
- Gardner Minshew (thumb) — Minshew is on a bye, but we learned Thursday that he has multiple fractures and a ligament strain in his right thumb, putting his availability moving forward in some doubt. Apparently he has been dealing with the injury since Week 5, which could explain his struggles. If Minshew has to sit, Mike Glennon would take over the offense, which is not a positive move for the Jaguars offense.
- Dalvin Cook (groin) — Limited at practice Wednesday. He's had two weeks to rest up, and the expectation is Cook will be back in Week 8 against the Packers, and he told reporters as much Wednesday.
- Aaron Jones (calf) — Packers coach Matt LaFleur told reporters Wednesday the team plans to be cautious and make sure Jones is 100% healthy before playing, and said, "he's got to continue to improve and get better each day." It sounds like Jamaal Williams could get another week as the starter.
- Chris Carson (foot) — Pete Carroll told reporters Carson will be held out of practice until the end of the week and then re-evaluate his status. It seems unlikely Carson will be able to play, though he was able to play in Week 4 despite not getting a full practice in. Carlos Hyde's hamstring seems to be a less serious issue, likewise with Travis Homer's bruised knee, though both were held out of practice Wednesday as well. If Hyde is healthy enough to play, he's the guy to start, but DeeJay Dallas is a sneaky-good pickup because he might be the only healthy back come Sunday.
- Miles Sanders (knee) — Did not practice Wednesday. Obviously there's still time for him to get back, and this injury wasn't considered especially serious, but Boston Scott is currently in line for another start. You'll probably want him in your lineup if he does.
- Joe Mixon (foot) — Did not practice Wednesday after missing Week 7. If Giovani Bernard gets another chance to start, you'll want him in your lineup against the Titans, and it looks more likely than not he'll get that chance as of now.
- Nick Chubb (knee) — Coach Kevin Stefanski already said Monday that Chubb won't play in Week 8, so the earliest he can return is Week 10, and that's not a guarantee yet.
- Devonta Freeman (ankle) — We didn't get an update Wednesday on Freeman and likely won't until the Giants officially begin prep Thursday for Monday's game against the Buccaneers, but the Giants protected Alfred Morris on their practice squad, ensuring no other team can sign him. That seems like insurance in case Freeman can't play, though Wayne Gallman should be the lead back if he gets an opportunity.
- Phillip Lindsay (concussion) — In the concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday. The good news is, because of the various steps you have to clear in the protocol, we should have a pretty good idea of whether Lindsay will be cleared before Sunday.
- Mark Ingram (ankle) — Did not practice Wednesday. Coming off the bye week, that's definitely a concern. J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards would both be viable starters even in a tough matchup against Pittsburgh if Ingram is out.
- Tevin Coleman (knee) — Kyle Shanahan told reporters that Week 9's Thursday game against the Packers is probably the more realistic target for Coleman's return, but he isn't ruling out a Week 8 return. More likely, Coleman remains out for one more week, allowing JaMycal Hasty the opportunity to get the bulk of the carries, with Jerick McKinnon hopefully playing a bigger role than he has the last two games — he has just 11 touches and has played 25% of the snaps.
- Chris Godwin (finger) — Already ruled out for Week 8, Bruce Arians said he's hopeful Godwin will be back for Week 9, but said there's no guarantee.
- Michael Thomas (ankle) — Did not practice Wednesday, as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury. Thomas only suffered the injury last week, so it's entirely possible he will miss another game — you should prepare for Week 8 as if he will. And Marquez Callaway, who stepped up in Thomas' absence in Week 7, also missed practice with an ankle injury. With no Emmanuel Sanders (COVID/Reserve), the Saints receiving corps is awfully thin, with Tre'Quan Smith currently at the top of the healthy depth chart.
- Jamison Crowder (groin) — Crowder did not practice Wednesday, a week out from suffering his injury, but he was upgraded to limited participation Thursday. Still feels like he's more questionable than anything, but it's good to see improvement.
- DeVante Parker (groin) — Limited at practice Wednesday, which is never a great sign coming off a bye. Parker has been able to play through a few different injuries this season, but we'll want to see him get up to a full practice before getting him back in the lineup.
- Allen Robinson (concussion) — In the concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday. This is a short week for Robinson coming off Monday Night Football, so plan as if you won't have him available.
- Julian Edelman (knee) — Edelman was not at practice Thursday, and is "expected to miss some game action," according to The Athletic. Edelman has been trying to play through the injury for weeks, and his absence will leave Cam Newton even more shorthanded.
- Diontae Johnson (ankle) — Johnson was held out of Wednesday's practice, along with JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and Eric Ebron (elbow). The Steelers often give veterans Wednesdays off, and Ebron and Smith-Schuster have routinely sat out Wednesdays. For his part, Johnson told reporters Wednesday his ankle injury wasn't going to keep him out.
- Deebo Samuel (hamstring) — Did not practice, won't play this week. Week 9 is also very much in doubt with a Thursday kickoff.
- John Brown (knee) — Full practice Wednesday, a good sign for his availability in Week 8.
- Sammy Watkins (hamstring) — Did not practice again Wednesday. Seems like he's still at least a week away.
- Tim Patrick (hamstring) — Did not practice Wednesday, a bad sign for his chances in Week 8. Start planning for Patrick not playing, though he was working out on the side, at least.
- Allen Lazard (abdomen) — Has been designated to return from IR and was at practice Wednesday. Probably a long shot to play in Week 8, but Lazard was having a breakout before his injury, with 13 catches for 254 yards and two touchdowns in three games.
- N'Keal Harry (concussion) — In the concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday.
- Jalen Reagor (thumb) — Has been designated for return from IR and was in pads Wednesday. He's definitely progressing toward a return, and remains an intriguing stash option with DeSean Jackson out.
- Alshon Jeffery (foot/calf) — Did not practice Wednesday. It sounds like Jeffery's surgically repaired foot is fine, so this is the calf injury holding him out, but he was described as "day-to-day" earlier this week.
- Breshad Perriman (concussion) — In the concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday.
- Bryan Edwards (foot/ankle) — Returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. Probably still needs another week, but Edwards is finally making progress. It will be interesting to see if he returns to the starting lineup when healthy given Nelson Agholor's recent solid play.
- Tyler Higbee (hand) — Higbee was limited at practice, same as Saturday before missing Monday's game. We'll keep an eye on his status moving forward, while Gerald Everett missed Wednesday's session with an illness. We'll monitor both moving forward.
- Austin Hooper (appendix) — Did not practice Wednesday. Seems like this will be a multi-week absence, making Harrison Bryant a viable streamer for Week 8.
- Dallas Goedert (ankle) — Was in pads for a limited practice Wednesday. Still has some work left to do, but a good sign for his chances of a return sooner than later. With a bye in Week 9, they may prefer to hold him out, but if Goedert plays against the Cowboys, it'll be hard not to start him.
- Jordan Reed (ankle) — Made his return to practice and was designated to return from IR, and Shanahan told reporters Reed "has a chance" to play in Week 8 — though it seems unlikely at this point.
- Mo Alie-Cox (knee) — Did not practice Wednesday, seems unlikely to play in Week 8. Trey Burton's emergence makes it unlikely Alie-Cox will be a viable Fantasy play either way
TNF Preview: Falcons at Panthers
All lines from William Hill Sportsbook.
- Line: Panthers -2.0; o/u 51.5
- Implied totals: Falcons 24.75, Panthers 26.75
What new, groundbreaking way to lose will the Falcons come up with this week? A walk-off safety in overtime? A 99-yard pass interference penalty? Seven straight missed field goals to lose a 3-0 game? Anything is on the table. One thing that seems nearly certain is this one should have plenty of fireworks, even without Christian McCaffrey. The five games Julio Jones has played in have seen an average of 59.2 points scored, including 28.4 on the Falcons side.
- Christian McCaffrey (ankle) — It doesn't sound like McCaffrey is going to play Thursday night, which is probably the right call. He gets an extra week-plus and will be 100% healthy for Week 9. Fire up Mike Davis.
- Julio Jones (hip) — Jones is not on the Week 8 injury report after being limited Monday and Tuesday with a hip injury. He's good to go.
What to watch for
- First up, follow the inactive reports to see if McCaffrey is playing. My preference would be for him to wait one more week to make sure he's 100% healthy, but it seems like McCaffrey is pushing to play. Let's just hope it's not a situation where he plays but doesn't have his normal role — I want either the full McCaffrey experience of another week of Mike Davis doing his best impression.
- Do the Panthers continue to try to find ways to get the ball in Curtis Samuel's hands? In Week 7, he lined up in the backfield a few times and even scored on a carry on one, like a regular old-fashioned running back. Samuel has 25 catches and 16 rushes in six games, but has the rushing role just been because of McCaffrey's absence? A small uptick in usage could make Samuel an interesting Fantasy option — and he's a terrific DFS sleeper in this one — but he's not quite there yet.
- Do the Falcons get the tertiary receivers involved? Russell Gage was off to an excellent start to the season before leaving Week 3 with an injury, and he had seven targets in just 24 snaps in Week 8. This offense produces enough to have a third viable Fantasy WR, and Gage can be that guy if he can stay healthy.
- Do the Falcons start to go away from Todd Gurley? He's seen a larger role in the passing game over the last three weeks, with 12 targets after having just eight in the first four games, but he's averaging just 3.9 yards per target for the season. He's been good in the red zone, but can they justify continuing to give Gurley 20-25 touches a week? With the bye coming up, maybe they start experimenting to see what they have. Gurley couldn't afford any loss in volume, given how inefficient he's been.
Notable player props
- Teddy Bridgewater, 282.5 total passing yards — Over. Bridgewater had 313 yards the last time he faced the Falcons, which is actually the lowest total they've given up in a game all season. And that was in a game where the Falcons were missing Julio Jones and had just one receiver top 30 yards. The Panthers might need to pass more in this one, making the margin for error even bigger.
- D.J. Moore, 67.5 total receiving yards — Over. Moore has exactly 93 yards in three straight games, which doesn't really impact my expectations for this one, I just wanted to point that out because I've never seen something like that in the NFL. This has been a pretty weird season for Moore, who has seen Robby Anderson, if not eclipse him, then emerge as the 1a to Moore's 1b in the passing game. However, what hasn't really changed is Moore has still been super productive no matter how the Panthers have used him. He has 65 or more yards in five of seven games and is actually on pace for a career-high in yards despite fewer targets per game. Moore is the kind of player who can top 67.5 yards in one play or can do it by a million cuts in the short and intermediate game. No matter which way the Panthers go with him in Week 8, he'll get there.
- Julio Jones, 5.5 total receptions — Over. This one feels pretty easy. Jones has played three games where he wasn't obviously limited by injury, and he has nine receptions in one and two in the other. The Falcons badly missed him in that previous game against Carolina, and they'll be sure to make use of him this time around.
- Justin Jefferson — You should just be starting Jefferson at this point, but the matchup against Green Bay should make you even more confident — they just allowed three different Texans receivers to score at least 12 PPR points.
- Boston Scott — If Miles Sanders is out, Scott should be in your lineup. Sure, he needed a last-minute touchdown to put together a good Fantasy game last week, but the fact that they went to him in that situation — late and close, on a downfield target in the end zone with tight coverage — tells you how much they trust him. The matchup against Dallas should help you trust him, too.
- Noah Fant — Fant's return from injury wasn't great in Week 7, but he still matched for the team lead in targets and might be the No. 1 option if Tim Patrick is out. Fant's playmaking skills with his expected volume make him a start at the shallow tight end position.
Three (or five!) guys Dave doesn't like for Week 7
- Cooper Kupp — Kupp and Jared Goff just haven't been able to connect on anything down the field, which explains Kupp's career-low yards per reception despite his typically excellent catch rate. They either need to get that fixed or he needs to find the end zone a lot more than he has.
- Justin Jackson/Joshua Kelley — It's not clear this is a particularly fruitful situation for a running back given L.A.'s offensive line injuries, and it's not clear who is going to get touches in which situation. They're desperation plays.
- Jarvis Landry/Rashard Higgins — Just because Odell Beckham is out of the picture, that doesn't mean these guys are going to be impactful Fantasy options. The Browns still want to run the ball and play a conservative game plan — they had just 28 pass attempts even in last week's shootout.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 8 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big-time last season.