The ongoing NFL season has not only seen a COVID-19 outbreak, but countless stars around the league land on the NFL injury report and miss time. As we head into Week 4, top wide receivers like Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas join a crowded list of injured players with key updates regarding their availability.
For fantasy football owners, this season has been especially tough. Saquon Barkley went down with a torn ACL, Christian McCaffrey is on injured reserve and they are just the headliners on the NFL’s growing injury report. Unfortunately, things have only worsened after Week 3 and we will see multiple stars sidelined on Sunday.
Let’s check out the latest injury updates on some of the biggest stars in fantasy football heading into Week 4.
Last update: Saturday 5:40 PM EST on October 3, 2020
Arizona Cardinals injury report: Latest on DeAndre Hopkins’ status for Week 4
Since being traded to Arizona, Hopkins has become an even more productive player than we saw in Houston. He enters Week 4 leading the NFL in receptions (32), targets (37) and receiving yards (356). But, concerned developed this week when he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, general manager Steve Keim said the decision to play will be made by Hopkins. A four-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro, Arizona’s No. 1 receiver has missed just two games in his NFL career. While Arizona’s general manager might be confident Hopkins plays, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Hopkins’ will be a game-time decision.
Fantasy football WR rankings: DeAndre Hopkins the No. 1 receiver in Week 4
We expect Hopkins to clear himself to play on Sunday, taking the field in a key game for the Cardinals. After suffering a loss to the Detroit Lions, Arizona needs to rebound in Week 4 to maintain its standing in the NFC West and Hopkins will likely recognize that.
As long as he is active, Hopkins should be in fantasy lineups. Carolina’s secondary can be exploited, allowing 258.3 passing yards per game, and they haven’t even faced a receiver like this yet. Hopkins should easily see 12-plus targets in a great matchup, making him the No. 1 fantasy receiver on Sunday.
NFL injury update: Julio Jones ‘should play’ on Monday Night Football
After aggravating his hamstring injury in Week 2, Jones missed Week 3 against the Chicago Bears. While the 31-year-old has proven he can play through pain, Atlanta played it safe by keeping its star receiver active. The rest seems to have paid off.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Jones is likely going to suit up for the Falcons in Week 4. He’ll have the benefit of an additional day to recover and rehabilitate the injury, thanks to the Monday Night Football game, which puts him on track to start.
Fantasy impact if Jones returns for Week 4
Jones might not be running at 100% in Week 4, but he always belongs in fantasy football lineups. He shined in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, hauling in nine receptions for 157 yards, and would likely see 10-plus targets from Matt Ryan. Due to the injury and coverage from Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander, an emerging shutdown defender, Jones is not a top-five option in fantasy rankings this week.
New Orleans Saints injury report: Michael Thomas ruled out for third consecutive game
After suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 1, Thomas avoided being placed on injured reserve with the hope of returning relatively quickly. The All-Pro receiver has missed consecutive games, but the team and player were hopeful he could return in Week 1.
The Saints released their final injury report on Friday, ruling Thomas out for Week 4. While he returned to practice on a limited basis this week, New Orleans recognized it needed to weigh the risk of re-injury. As a result, Thomas will miss his third straight game.
Fantasy football analysis: Who to start with Michael Thomas sidelined for Week 4
One thing we’ve seen in the past two weeks is Alvin Kamara be the go-to target when Thomas is sidelined. Of course, any player with the ability to make jaw-dropping highlight plays will get fed the football often. If Drew Brees doesn’t have his top receiver, Kamara (27 receptions in three games) will be the top-ranked fantasy player in Week 4.
We’ve seen two different receivers produce since Thomas was sidelined. Tre’Quan Smith shined in Week 2, while Emmanuel Sanders finished with 56 yards and a touchdown in Week 3. Against an exploitable Lions’ secondary, Sanders would rank as a top-30 wide receiver if Thomas can’t play.
NFL injury news: George Kittle will play on Sunday
The 49ers have finally escaped MetLife Stadium, which might be the ultimate victory. San Francisco wisely kept Kittle out for its last two games with a fear the turf could do even more damage to his knee. Now, with New York in the rearview mirror, Kittle is ready to let it loose in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fantasy football TE rankings: George Kittle returns to elite status in Week 4 matchup
If Kittle’s return in Week 4 wasn’t enough to excite fantasy owners, the matchup will help even more. According to Pro Football Reference, the Philadelphia Eagles allow the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. We saw Tyler Higbee explode for three touchdowns in Week 2 against Philadelphia. As you might expect, Kittle is an elite option in fantasy football this week.
Green Bay Packers injury report: Davante Adams “game-time decision” for Week 4
After losing Allen Lazard indefinitely, Green Bay desperately needs Adams to return. The three-time Pro Bowl selection missed Week 3 with a hamstring injury, but seems to be trending in the right direction for Monday Night Football against the Falcons.
Adams participated in practice, on a limited basis, on Thursday in the first step towards a return. Considering the team even made him a game-time decision the week prior, it’s a good sign. On Saturday, head coach Matt LaFleur said Adams is a game-time decision for Monday’s game. The star wideout said he is feeling a lot better, but won’t return until his hamstring is 100%.
Fantasy impact if Davante Adams plays vs. Falcons
Getting his No. 1 receiver back would be huge for Aaron Rodgers. The former NFL MVP is playing at an elite level this season, but there’s no matching the connection he has with Adams. The two could make some even bigger plays against the NFL’s worst defense, making Adams and Rodgers elite fantasy options in Week 4.
If Green Bay plays it safe by ruling Adams out through its Week 5 bye, Marquez Valdes-Scantling could have a 100-yard game on Monday. From a daily fantasy sports perspective, tight end Robert Tonyan makes for a great bargain option in Week 4. As for Rodgers, he’d be a top-eight play without Adams and Lazard, thanks to a great matchup.
Seattle Seahawks news: Chris Carson has ‘excellent week’ of practice
When Carson’s leg was twisted and he immediately grabbed his knee, there was immediate concern that the star running back suffered a significant injury. Fortunately, he was diagnosed with a minor knee sprain and there was confidence it would be a short-term issue. The situation has improved even more since. Pete Carroll said Friday morning that Carson had an excellent week and there is now an expectation he plays on Sunday.
Fantasy impact with Chris Carson’s expected return
Fantasy owners likely assumed Carson would miss at least one game with the injury, but that probably won’t be the case. The 26-year-old has been quite productive this season, collecting 250 total yards and three touchdowns on the year. Facing a Miami Dolphins team that surrenders 133.7 rushing yards per game, expect a top-15 performance from Carson this week as a high-end RB2.
NFL injury report: Leonard Fournette ruled out for Week 4
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been through quite a ride in the early weeks of their tenure with Fournette. After a breakout 103-yard, two-touchdown game in Week 2, he crashed back to earth this past Sunday with 15 rushing yards on seven carries. Now, per NFL Network, Fournette will miss Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Fantasy news: Should Ronald Jones be a fantasy starter in Week 4?
Jones, along with head coach Bruce Arians, has frustrated fantasy owners for over a year. A training camp darling before Tampa Bay signed Fournette, everyone had high expectations. Now, with Fournette sidelined, Jones gets another crack as the featured back.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the ideal matchup for Jones to prove himself. Los Angeles has allowed 109.3 rushing yards per game to opposing teams, forcing more fumbles (two) than touchdowns allowed (one). Arians will likely give Jones 15-plus touches in Week 4, but a tough opponent makes him a fringe top-25 running back.