At running back, the injuries are really starting to pile up. Sony Michel is trying to come back from a rough-looking knee injury that may only end up sidelining him a week or two at most; Melvin Gordon and Dalvin Cook are both attempting to come back from hamstring injuries; and PPR-machine Chris Thompson is struggling with a rib injury that may hold him out. And, according to recent updates, Alex Collins is also in danger of missing Week 9 because of a foot problem. These injuries will certainly impact our fantasy RB rankings and necessitate some difficult start/sit decisions amid a week with six teams on bye.
We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest injuries from around the league, including Matt Breida’s status for Thursday night (click here). For more on the banged-up wide receivers like Cooper Kupp, Mike Evans, and more, go here. You can also follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy for more fantasy advice and updates.
Week 9 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker
Is Sony Michel playing in Week 9?
Michel (knee) was listed as doubtful ahead of last week’s Monday night game against the Bills, but the Patriots’ first-round pick returned to practice late in the week. He was ultimately out, but he appears to be somewhat close to returning.
On Wednesday, Michel logged a limited practice for the Patriots, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. This is a good sign for his potential availability for this week, and if he’s not in action in Week 9, Week 10 could be a realistic target for him.
If Michel continues to miss time, it’s likely that James White will see most of the work out of the backfield. However, Bill Belichick elected to use Cordarrelle Patterson as his “lead back” last week, giving him 10 carries. Patterson is only WR eligible in most formats as of now, so he doesn’t carry a lot of value, as his between-the-tackles ability isn’t that great. Also, Belichick could switch up his backfield rotation at any point and roll with Kenjon Barner. There’s just no way of knowing what he’s planning, so White is the only trustworthy back in that committee with Michel sidelined.
MORE WEEK 9: Waiver wire pickups | How You’ll Lose | Preview Podcast
Melvin Gordon injury update
Following the Chargers’ bye week, Gordon logged a limited practice on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Eric Williams. This is a good sign for Gordon as he attempts to return from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the team’s Week 7 matchup against the Titans.
Given how tricky hamstring injuries can be, Gordon will need to be watched right up until game time. If he continues to log limited or full practices, that will give him a chance to suit up on Sunday. But at the same time, hamstrings can act up at any time, and we’ve already seen guys like Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette suffer multiple setbacks that have hurt their chances of returning. The Chargers will likely exercise caution with Gordon, so that could make him truly questionable this week.
If Gordon can’t go again, Austin Ekeler would see a majority of the touches at RB for the Chargers. Ekeler would move into RB2 territory, but a tough matchup with Seattle may put a damper on his overall production.
WEEK 9 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings
Dalvin Cook injury news
We’ve heard this tale before: Cook practiced on Wednesday in a limited fashion. That means there’s a chance he might play for the Vikings in Week 9. That said, it’s also highly likely that he will sit out as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, especially with Minnesota having a bye in Week 10.
In recent weeks, Cook has tried to return from his injury too quickly and has suffered setbacks each time. While practicing on Wednesday doesn’t mean he will play, it does seem that he is trying to return. That could be a mistake, as Latavius Murray has handled the lead-back role well in recent weeks with Cook out. So, why would Cook risk his health when he could get another two weeks to get closer to 100 percent?
We’ll see what Cook’s future practice plans indicate in his quest to be active again. But for now, we still have Murray listed as the starter in our Week 9 RB rankings. Unless Cook proves that he can get on the field, that will not change.
WEEK 9 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end
Is Alex Collins playing Week 9?
Collins was downgraded to a “DNP” in practice on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. Collins is dealing with a foot injury and may end up being a legitimate game-time decision for Steelers vs. Ravens in Week 9.
In the event that Collins can’t see improvement in his practice status on Friday, then he likely won’t play on Sunday. If that happens, Buck Allen would be the next man up in the backfield. Allen has only carried the ball four times in the past three weeks, but he does more damage as a pass-catcher (nine catches, 57 yards, one TD in that four-game span).
Behind him, the newly-acquired Ty Montgomery could see some action if he’s in tune enough with the offense. If not, Gus Edwards could get touches. Still, Allen would be the only viable fantasy option if Collins misses time, so focus on him as a potential RB2 depending on Collins’ status.
Chris Thompson injury update
Thompson has missed practice each of the last two days as he deals with a rib injury, according to ESPN’s John Keim. It’s looking like it might be difficult for him to suit up in a favorable matchup with the Falcons, and it would be in the best interest of the Redskins to sit their oft-injured back to ensure they’ll have him later in the season.
If Thompson misses time, Kapri Bibbs will take over as the primary receiving back for Washington. Most of the carries would still go to Adrian Peterson, but Bibbs may get a chance to work off some screens and catch a TD pass. He’s nothing more than a low-level flex option, but he can be rostered in case he earns a bigger role should Thompson’s absence extend.
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