With the regular season approaching, many fantasy owners fear to make the wrong decision with a player who has been dealing with an injury. In the past week specifically, several reports have produced intriguing updates in the NFL injury-wise.
Here’s who is trending up (and down) for the first week of the regular season.
Cooper Kupp (WR, Los Angeles Rams)
The Los Angeles Rams’ latest injury report didn’t list Cooper Kupp, which means that the wide receiver is on track to play in Week 1 after missing eight games last season with a torn ACL. And Kupp’s return should impact the offense right away: In eight games played in 2018, the third-year receiver posted 40 catches, 566 yards, and six touchdowns in 55 targets.
Kenyan Drake (RB, Miami Dolphins)
Kenyan Drake battled a foot injury for most of the preseason and his status in the Miami Dolphins’ depth chart has been uncertain. But the 25-year-old running back returned to practice last week and is expected to be the Dolphins’ No. 1 running back in Week 1 for the second consecutive season. His performance needs to improve, as he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry on 14 rushing attempts in last year’s opener.
Amari Cooper (WR, Dallas Cowboys)
If there was any doubt of whether or not Amari Cooper would play against the New York Giants, they are all gone after this week’s practices. Cooper, who missed most of the Dallas Cowboys’ on-field activities in the past weeks with a foot injury, is now practicing without any limitations and is expected to not only play in Week 1 but also continue to be Dak Prescott’s top weapon in the passing game.
Latavius Murray (RB, New Orleans Saints)
The New Orleans Saints’ latest injury report didn’t include Latavius Murray (undisclosed), who missed the last weeks of practice during the preseason, including the third game played in August. It’s still unknown the reason why Murray wasn’t on the field, but fantasy owners were afraid it could last through the at least the first game of the regular season. The most recent updates brought exciting news for New Orleans though, and Murray is cleared to play in Week 1. Alongside Alvin Kamara in the backfield, he’s expected to have a significant role in 2019 filling in for Mark Ingram.
Robby Anderson (WR, New York Jets)
The news of a calf injury early this week put Robby Anderson’ status for the opener in jeopardy, but the New York Jets have said that their No. 1 receiver will play against the Buffalo Bills. Anderson faced the Bills once in 2018, totaling four catches (seven targets), 76 yards, and one touchdown.
Kalen Ballage (RB, Miami Dolphins)
Kenyan Drake’s ascension in the Dolphins’ backfield is bad news for Kalen Ballage, who is now listed as the second running back on the roster. Ballage has no one to blame but himself as he couldn’t take advantage of Drake’s absence in August averaging 2.2 yards on 18 carries during the preseason.
Julio Jones (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
Julio Jones was limited in the Atlanta Falcons’ last practice with a non-injury related reason, and it was reported that the stud wide receiver may not be on the field without a new contract before Sunday. The 30-year-old wide receiver entered the offseason looking for a contract extension but hasn’t gotten a new deal yet. With LeVeon Bell‘s and even Melvin Gordon‘s holdouts fresh in fantasy owners’ minds, Jones’ update with less than four days before his matchup against the Minnesota Vikings creates a tricky scenario for fantasy owners.
Dante Pettis (WR, San Francisco 49ers)
Second-year wide receiver Dante Pettis (groin) was limited in Wednesday’s practice, just three days before the first game of the season. Pettis isn’t expected to miss any action early in the season, but the combination of his health status and the number of yet-to-be-seen passing game options for the San Francisco 49ers is something fantasy owners should consider when looking at Pettis for Week 1.
A.J. Green (WR, Cincinnati Bengals)
The initial timetable for A. J. Green’s return after ankle surgery in July was Week 2 or 3. However, the seven-time Pro Bowler is still sporting a walking boot, which raises questions about his status during September. Green already missed seven games in 2018 and has played a full season just once in the past three years.
(Photo by Tim Williams/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire)