Fantasy Football: Two-Minute Warning

Two-Minute Warning: Last-Minute Fantasy Football Decisions

By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham
Posted Dec. 22, 2018.
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Welcome to the Two-Minute Warning for Week 17. Below I will go through most of the relevant injuries for fantasy football and their fantasy implications.

Todd Gurley is out this week, as the Rams take on the 49ers in Los Angeles. C.J. Anderson will again take over as lead back and is a recommended play in most formats.

Antonio Brown did not practice this week and underwent tests on his knee. He is questionable, and we haven’t heard any inkling of him sitting out this game, so, for now, I expect him to play.

James Conner is questionable, but he was a full participant in practice this week and will return to his lead back job. If Brown happens to miss this game, Conner would likely be relied upon even more, and of course, JuJu Smith-Schuster would be a target hog.

Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis are out against the Rams. Their absence will elevate Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Richie James to starting in three-man sets. George Kittle will be the no-doubt No. 1 target as he looks to break the receiving yardage record for tight ends. After him, I like Bourne as a possible DFS play.

Matt Breida is out against the Rams as well. He will again be replaced by Jeff Wilson Jr., who should see enough usage to be considered a value play across formats.

Allen Robinson is doubtful against the Vikings in Minnesota. He likely could have gone if this game were a must-win, but with the Bears in the playoffs already, it looks like they will play it safe despite a possibility they could move up the playoff seedings. I still expect players who suit up to play until the game is over or, out of reach, but the Vikings defense is nothing to trifle with.

Tyler Boyd is out again this week as the Bengals head to Pittsburgh. That again leaves John Ross and C.J. Uzomah as the top targets, but I’d feel more comfortable playing the Steelers D/ST than any of the Bengals skill players.

Phillip Lindsay is out at home against the Chargers with a wrist injury. Royce Freeman will take over as lead back with Devontae Booker as receiving back. There’s some value there in deep leagues, but I don’t see an upside kind of game coming for either.

Baker Mayfield and the Browns are all in this week to beat the Ravens in Baltimore despite not having any playoff hopes left. That mentality should keep Nick Chubb, and David Njoku as fantasy plays despite the tough matchup.

DeSean Jackson will miss the Buccaneers’ home game against the Falcons this week, which will elevate Chris Godwin’s playing time. The Bucs don’t have anything to play for, but Jameis Winston will hope to put some more positive tape out there, as he is set to either be let go or have his $21 million contract picked up. But that doesn’t mean Ryan Griffin couldn’t come in to finish out the game to get him some playing time as well. The matchup is good enough that I’m still reasonably high on Winston though.

Austin Ekeler will return this week against Denver. That pushes Justin Jackson back down into third-stringville. Melvin Gordon will play his second game since returning from his knee injury, so should be in line for a more productive game, while Ekeler takes his old role back.

Spencer Ware had a full week of practice but is questionable. He should play, which means he and Damien Williams will share work in some capacity that we can’t be sure of. The Raiders defense in Kansas City is a good spot for both, but without knowing how they will split work, it’s hard to feel confident about either.

T.Y. Hilton, Dontrelle Inman, and Eric Ebron are all questionable but should be able to play in a must-win game against the Titans Sunday night. Ebron is still in the concussion protocol, but got a full practice in on Friday and is likely to be cleared before Sunday night.

There is no good evidence that the Cowboys will play their starters for the whole game, so we should expect them to rest at some point. Avoid Cowboys players entirely.

Xavien Howard got in limited practices this week and is questionable to play. In a meaningless game, I expect them to sit Howard in Buffalo this week, which would be helpful to the Bills’ top receiver, Robert Foster.

Carson Wentz remains on the active roster, but they still don’t want to risk his health, which puts Nick Foles back into the starting spot against Washington this week. He has played well enough to be a fantasy start in many leagues.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn says that Julio Jones and Tevin Coleman will play this week in Carolina. Last week, Jones saw fewer snaps than usual, and that could happen again this week, so don’t expect an upside game from Jones. The same could be said for Coleman, as Brian Hill showed well last week and could be in line to get some more live action for evaluation purposes.

Odell Beckham Jr. remains out, which will again elevate Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram in a home game where I expect the Cowboys will rest some key starters.

Blake Bortles will take over as the starting quarterback again, and Leonard Fournette is doubtful, while Carlos Hyde is questionable. As long as T.J. Yeldon is active, he could be in line for a good number of targets in Houston.

Quincy Enunwa and Jermaine Kearse are out against the Patriots. Robby Anderson, Chris Herndon, and Elijah McGuire should be Sam Darnold’s top targets this week.

Kenny Golladay is questionable against the Packers, but did get in practices Thursday and Friday and should be able to play, especially since Matthew Stafford, who has a bad back, is slated to play. He gets a great matchup against the Packers, and as long as he plays, I expect he’ll put up good numbers.

Davante Adams was unable to practice this week with a knee issue, but he believes he’ll be able to play. It looks like he wants to go for the receptions and receiving yardage records for Green Bay. I expect he will play and since he only needs three receptions to break that record, he should get that, but a setback or the team wanting to avoid a worse injury could end his day early. He could also play all out for the whole game, but a little caution is warranted.

Equanimeous St. Brown is out, but Randall Cobb is in this week. Cobb is worth a play this week in a good matchup, but Aaron Rodgers has spread the ball around a lot when not targeting Adams.

Kyle Allen will start for the Panthers coach Ron Rivera says they need to evaluate some young players against the Falcons this week. That doesn’t sound like someone who is going to play his starters the whole game.

Teddy Bridgewater will start for the Saints against the Panthers. His starting is the signal that the starters will either not play or see just a couple series. We could see plenty of Dwayne Washington, Tre’Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood, and Austin Carr if you’d like to make a stab at any of these players putting up good fantasy numbers.

Rashaad Penny practiced in full on Friday and is considered questionable. He looks like he will suit up and if the Seahawks get out to a big lead, he could be used extensively in mop-up duty.

Lamar Miller will play this week at home, but in a tough matchup with the Jaguars. With Keke Coutee is questionable, DeAndre Carter is a somewhat sneaky, too-cute play this week.

Marcus Mariota was able to practice Thursday and Friday and is questionable in a must-win game against the Colts. I expect that he’ll play, but there’s always a chance he is knocked back out of this matchup.

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