The 2020 NFL season has seen multiple stars sidelined to injury. Whether it’s the lack of a preseason or some other cause, injuries have impacted teams more this year than in the past.
Now that we’re past the quarter point of the 2020 NFL campaign, these injuries are starting to give us a better understanding about what to look for when it comes to fantasy football.
Week 4 saw the likes of star receivers Michael Thomas and Davante Adams sidelined. Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones was also limited in his team’s “Monday Night Football” loss to the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, quarterbacks Cam Newton (COVID-19) and Jimmy Garoppolo (sprained ankle) were not on the field.
Let’s check out the latest injury updates on some of the biggest stars in fantasy football heading into Week 5.
Updated: Oct. 11, 12:12 PM EST
New Orleans Saints injury report: Latest on Michael Thomas’ status for Week 5
Update: Saints rule Michael Thomas out for Monday Night Football
After breaking the single-season record for receptions last year, Thomas has been sidelined with a high-ankle sprain over the past three weeks. He did get in some limited practice time with New Orleans last week, but didn’t go against the Detroit Lions. Thomas remains questionable for “Monday Night Football” Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The good news here is that New Orleans has an extra day to prepare for Los Angeles. It’s now all going to be about what types of practices Thomas gets in and how his high-ankle sprain reacts. The All-Pro receiver has practiced on a limited basis the past two days, which should also be the case Saturday. Thomas was upgraded to questionable in the Saints final injury report leading up to Monday Night Football.
NFL Week 5 fantasy impact should Michael Thomas remain sidelined
Last week saw veteran free-agent signing Emmanuel Sanders put up his best performance as a member of the Saints. Sanders caught 6-of-9 targets for 93 yards in the win. If Thomas is unable to go, Sanders becomes a FLEX option in standard leagues and a potential low-cost buy in daily fantasy leagues.
However, it’s really all about Alvin Kamara here. The running back put up one heck of a performance in a loss to the Green Bay Packers back in Week 3. In terms of PPR leagues, Kamara is the absolute best play. He’s on pace for 120 receptions on the season and is the No. 1-ranked overall fantasy player through the quarter pole of the 2020 NFL season.
Atlanta Falcons Week 5 injury report: Julio Jones’ status remains a major problem
Final Julio Jones injury update: Jones rule OUT for Sunday
This seven-time Pro Bowl receiver attempted to give it a go against the Packers in Week 4 after suffering a hamstring injury. Jones caught all four of his targets for 32 yards in the first half. Unfortunately, Jones did not return with his team after halftime. This is not only a major concern for the 0-4 Falcons, it’s a big problem around the fantasy football world.
Jones has finished each of his past five seasons as a top-six fantasy receiver. Those drafting him were relying on much of the same heading into Week 1. With his status questionable and Calvin Ridley (thigh) also dealing an injury himself, things are aloof in Atlanta right now. Ridley has been cleared to go. He might be a DFS option given Jones’ questionable status.
Julio Jones injury update: Jones did not practice with the Falcons on Thursday. His status for Week 5 against the Carolina Panthers is now likely more doubtful than questionable. However, the Falcons did list Jones as questionable in their final injury report ahead of Sunday’s game. He’ll be a game-time decision. Given he has already aggravated the injury once and didn’t practice this week, it would be wise to avoid him in Week 5.
Fantasy impact if Julio Jones can’t play Week 5
Again, there has to be some concern here for Atlanta. Ridley caught zero passes Monday against the Packers. With Jones questionable to go, third-year receiver Russell Gage becomes a daily option. He’s on pace for 76 receptions and north of 800 yards this season. He’s a fantasy option in NFL Week 5.
Atlanta is set to take on a Panthers defense that has yielded the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers through four weeks. The better bet here if you’re looking to stream this team could very well be tight end Hayden Hurst. The off-season acquisition has put up two touchdowns on 13 receptions this season.
San Francisco 49ers injury report: Jimmy Garoppolo questionable to go Week 5
San Francisco hopes that Garoppolo can take part in practice starting Wednesday. He’s missed each of the past two games after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the 49ers’ Week 2 win over the New York Jets. In Garoppolo’s stead, Nick Mullens put up an historical performance back in Week 3 before a disastrous three-turnover outing this past Sunday night against the Eagles.
We will more than likely know Garoppolo’s status at some point on Friday when the 49ers release their final injury report for the week. Garoppolo finished as a top-end QB2 last season, 14th overall. Through six quarters this season, he’s thrown four touchdowns compared to zero interceptions for an 118.6 quarterback rating.
Jimmy Garoppolo injury update: Garoppolo returned to practice this week on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday. When San Francisco hit the field for Friday’s walkthrough, Jimmy G was a full participant. The 49ers announced announced Garoppolo will start in Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins.
Regardless of Garoppolo’s Week 5 status, George Kittle is a fantasy football god
Returning from a multi-week absence himself, Kittle caught all 15 of his targets for 183 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday night. It was among the best single-game performances for a tight end in NFL history. And if you’re in a PPR league, don’t expect that to change come Week 5 against the Dolphins.
Miami has yielded six touchdowns compared to two interceptions for an opposing 109.3 quarterback rating through four weeks. Miami has also given up a 68% catch rate to tight ends thus far this season. If it is Mullens under center, Kittle’s Week 5 fantasy impact would be magnified even further. In Mullens’ nine starts throughout his career, Kittle has caught 69 passes (nice) for 976 yards. As for Garoppolo, he’s a bottom-end QB1 play in DFS and standard leagues. Miami has yielded a 109.3 quarterback rating through four games.
NFL Week 5: Cam Newton’s status after contracting COVID-19
Patriots update: New England’s Week 5 game against Broncos postponed to Week 6
Cam Newton COVID-19 update: It’s being reported that Newton is highly unlikely to go Monday night against the Broncos.
The NFL world was thrown for a loop after Newton tested positive for the virus this past Saturday. It forced the New England Patriots game against the Kansas City Chiefs to be rescheduled for Friday. While he missed practice on Saturday, the Patriots aren’t ruling Newton out for Week 5. If his COVID-19 test results on Sunday and Monday morning are negative, while passing additional health screenings, Newton has a shot to play Monday evening.
In Newton’s stead against Kansas City, Brian Hoyer was downright horrible. He turned the ball over three times before being benched for second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham. While Stidham did throw a touchdown on his first NFL pass, he was also picked off twice.
Patriots’ Week 5 injury report: Fantasy implications if Cam Newton can’t go
Neither Hoyer nor Stidham provides any real fantasy value, even with New England taking on an injury-plagued Broncos defense. Instead, it would be likely all about trusting that Bill Belichick will use second-year running back Damien Harris at the same clip as we saw last week.
After seeing just four rush attempts as a rookie last season and missing the first three games this year, the former Alabama standout showed out big time in Week 4. Harris put up 100 yards and two touchdowns on 17 attempts. If Newton is not under center, New England will likely rely on him against a Broncos defense that is yielding 4.2 yards per rush on the season. Harris would then be a decent DFS play.
NFL Week 5: Lamar Jackson misses practice
Lamar Jackson injury update: Jackson active for Sunday’s game
Reports surfaced Wednesday morning that the reigning NFL MVP was limited in practice with a knee injury. Said reports also noted that it was just a precaution. After returning to practice on Friday, Jackson is expected to start against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5.
Lamar Jackson injury: Fantasy impact
Not much at all to look at here. The one thing is that Jackson’s injury could force him to hang around the pocket more often against Cincinnati Sunday, limiting his ability to put up points on the ground. Cincinnati has given up five passing touchdowns compared to four interceptions in four games.
This was already a tough matchup for Jackson. That’s also magnified with No. 1 receiver Marquise Brown limited during Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury.
Drew Lock injury update: Fantasy relevance
This second-year quarterback has been sidelined since suffering an AC joint sprain in his shoulder back in Week 2. In his stead last week, Brett Rypien was mistake prone despite the Broncos’ first win of the season.
The good news here is that Lock got in a limited practice on Thursday for the second consecutive day. With this game pushed back until Monday, there’s a good chance Lock will be able to go against the Patriots.
Is Drew Lock a fantasy option?
No. Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and K.J. Hamler are all out with injuries. Even with star Patriots corner Stephon Gilmore (COVID-19) unlikely to go in this one, Lock is not a fantasy option in ether standard or daily leagues.
However, rookie Jerry Jeudy does become a potential streaming option. He’s going to see an uptick of targets regardless of who is under center. With Gilmore out, Jeudy’s impact will be felt Monday evening. After all, he’s a top Rookie of the Year candidate.
Austin Ekeler injury update: Chargers RB placed on injured reserve (hamstring)
With Ekeler likely sidelined for up to the next six weeks, those in PPR fantasy leagues are now forced to do some scrambling. Here’s a back that has tallied 109 receptions in 20 games since the start of the 2019 NFL season. That’s going to be a hard vacuum to fill. In fact, Ekeler was a top-seven fantasy back last season.
Fantasy impact of Austin Ekeler’s injury
Los Angeles will now likely be forced to rely on rookie fourth-round pick Joshua Kelly to do damage. The former UCLA standout has gained 258 total yards and a touchdown in four games. However, Kelly has only seven catches to his name during that span. Expect Keenan Allen to see an uptick in targets with Ekeler out. The recently-extended receiver has caught 28-of-40 targets for 290 yards in Justin Herbert’s three starts.