Read ESPN’s fantasy football daily notes every weekday to stay caught up on the news you need to know and get a head start on the fantasy football content coming today and tomorrow to ESPN.com and the ESPN Fantasy App.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals with head and neck injuries. ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques filed this report from Cincinnati. ESPN will continue reporting on the story as it evolves.
The news: Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey did not practice Thursday because of a quad injury.
What it means in fantasy: McCaffrey has missed two consecutive practices, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported the Panthers still believe their star running back could play on Sunday against the Cardinals. Fantasy managers should not be so optimistic. Before McCaffrey suffered a quad injury during Sunday’s win against the Saints, he was listed on the Panthers’ injury report because of ankle stiffness. Chuba Hubbard started 10 games as a rookie filling in for McCaffrey last season. The Panthers have also signed D’Onta Foreman, who started three games for Tennessee last season in place of Derrick Henry. If McCaffrey does not play, both will be involved in Carolina’s running back-by-committee approach. My preferred option from a fantasy perspective is Foreman.
Going deeper: McCaffrey has missed 22 games over the past two seasons.
The news: Bears RB David Montgomery missed Thursday’s practice with ankle and knee injuries.
What it means in fantasy: Montgomery is considered day-to-day by the Bears, but he has missed consecutive practices. In Week 4, Khalil Herbert will likely start against the Giants. He finished with 157 rushing yards and two scores on 20 attempts against the Texans. If Montgomery is ruled out, Herbert can be viewed as an RB2 by fantasy managers. Even if Montgomery is active, Herbert is still an upside flex option.
Going deeper: When Montgomery was out last season, Herbert averaged 23.3 opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets) and 15.4 fantasy points per game while playing on 83% of offensive snaps over three starts.
The news: Vikings RB Dalvin Cook practiced Thursday.
What it means in fantasy: Although Cook has a dislocated shoulder, he hopes to be able to play through it. After missing one game with a similar injury last season, Cook returned to play with a harness. It’s unclear at this point if he will be available this weekend. While the Vikings are comfortable with Alexander Mattison as their starter if needed, fantasy managers should be as well. If that is the case, Mattison can be considered an RB1.
Going deeper: Mattison has started six career games when Cook has been inactive. In those games, he has averaged 23.3 touches, 115.5 total yards and 20.1 fantasy points.
The news: Lions RB D’Andre Swift did not practice Thursday because of ankle and shoulder injuries.
What it means in fantasy: Swift missed two consecutive practices, a bad sign for Week 4. It has been reported that the Lions might sit him through the team’s Week 6 bye, costing him the next two games. Jamaal Williams is very capable of filling the void in a committee with Craig Reynolds. Williams can be viewed as a high-end RB2 against the Seahawks if Swift is ruled out.
Going deeper: Over the course of Williams’ career, he has had at least 15 touches in 23 games. In those games, Williams has averaged 19.5 touches, 96.5 total yards and 16.6 fantasy points.
The news: Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown did not practice Thursday because of an ankle injury.
What it means in fantasy: St. Brown has missed two consecutive practices. He has not dealt with a sprained ankle as a pro until now. St. Brown and Josh Reynolds did not practice Wednesday, while DJ Chark was limited, which is a concern for the Lions’ wide receiver group. It will be important to monitor St. Brown’s status on Friday. A practice on Friday would give him a much better chance of playing, but you should have a contingency plan just in case. St. Brown can be viewed as a WR1 if active.
The news: Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin did not practice Thursday because of a hamstring injury.
What it means in fantasy: Godwin had a rest day, but he took a step back with his practice participation. Despite missing the past two games because of a hamstring injury, Godwin was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, but not on Thursday. Hopefully, Godwin can practice on Friday, but another missed practice implies his return to game action could be delayed by another week. Meanwhile, wide receivers Julio Jones and Russell Gage continued to be limited participants for two consecutive practices. You should have a backup plan at wide receiver if Godwin is on your roster.
The news: Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow is still not practicing because of a concussion.
What it means in fantasy: Renfrow has missed back-to-back practices this week and is uncertain for Sunday’s game. After missing the Raiders’ Week 3 loss to the Titans, Friday’s injury report should reveal whether Renfrow is ready to return. Mack Hollins filled the void last week by catching eight of 10 targets for 158 yards and a touchdown. If Renfrow is ruled out, Hollins can be viewed as a flex option.
The news: Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins was a full participant in Thursday’s practice.
What it means in fantasy: Dobbins’ on-field work Wednesday was limited by a chest injury. In Week 3, he played 26 snaps and gained 40 yards in his season debut. He was returning from a torn ACL. With coach John Harbaugh praising running back Justice Hill, it’s hard to trust Dobbins right now in fantasy lineups. It’s best to take a wait-and-see approach.
The news: Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson did not practice on Thursday because of a knee injury and a rest day.
What it means in fantasy: Patterson has now missed two consecutive practices. Thursday’s absence suggests his knee was the bigger factor in keeping him on the sideline, so Friday’s participation level will give us a better idea of his availability against the Browns. Since most of Patterson’s touches have been as a runner this season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Falcons better manage his usage. Tyler Allgeier and Damien Williams could have some productive games down the stretch for Atlanta. It would be wise for fantasy managers to pick up Allgeier if they have Patterson.
The news: Giants WR Kadarius Toney did not practice on Thursday because of a hamstring injury.
What it means in fantasy: The Giants desperately need Toney on the field right now, especially after Sterling Shepard tore an ACL and is out for the season. Toney is trending in the wrong direction for Week 4. Over the past two games, Shepard has been targeted 20 times. The Giants’ offense lacks the explosive playmakers that are so evident on the best offensive teams in the league. Shepard is the only Giants player on the roster with a reception longer than 25 yards, and the team has only four receptions of 20-plus yards, a total equaled or surpassed by 15 players in the league. Getting healthy and earning the confidence of the Giants coaching staff are uphill battles for Toney. One consistent option for New York’s passing game has been Richie James. In the first three games, he caught 14 of 17 targets for 146 receiving yards. James is rostered in only 11% of ESPN leagues.
The news: Bills WR Gabe Davis did not practice on Thursday because of an ankle injury.
What it means in fantasy: Davis practiced on Wednesday, but not Thursday. In Week 3, he played nearly all the snaps for the Bills against the Dolphins. Davis probably is on the true questionable line as we head into Friday. Despite being less than 100 percent, Davis played last week against the Dolphins, and the Bills could limit him through Week 7 bye. Friday’s practice will determine whether he’ll be able play on Sunday. If Davis is on your fantasy roster, have a backup plan. If you need to pick up a free agent, then consider Isaiah McKenzie, Treylon Burks or Mack Hollins.
The news: Jaguars WR Zay Jones did not practice on Thursday because of an ankle injury.
What it means in fantasy: Jones was added to the injury report for Thursday. Jones has emerged as a key target for quarterback Trevor Lawrence in his first season with Jacksonville, especially on short and intermediate routes. He leads the team with 19 receptions and is second with 173 receiving yards. He’s also caught one touchdown. Jones’ status for Week 4 against the Eagles should be clarified by Friday.
The news: Texans RB Dameon Pierce was a full participant in Thursday’s practice.
What it means in fantasy: Pierce was limited in practice on Wednesday because of a hip injury. In Sunday’s 23-20 road loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, he gained a season-high 80 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown. Pierce is firmly on the RB2 radar against the Chargers this week.
What it means in fantasy: Fantasy managers should feel the same way about Olave. So far, he has 17 receptions for 268 yards, the most receiving yards of any rookie in the league. In terms of receptions, Olave trails former college teammate and Jets receiver Garrett Wilson (18) by one catch. As Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry battle injuries heading into the Saints matchup against the Vikings in Week 4, Olave is firmly on the flex radar.
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Today on ESPN.com/Fantasy and in the ESPN Fantasy App
Mike Clay’s Playbook: projections and analysis for every game
Eric Karabell’s Week 4 fantasy hot seat: DJ Moore, Brandin Cooks among tough lineup calls in Week 4
• Daniel, Liz and DJ: talk about the surprising Jaguars, disappointing starts by new NFL coaches, and more.
• Fantasy Focus podcast now at 10 a.m. ET
• The Fantasy Football cheat sheet: The week’s best advice in one place
• Inactives watch: Who’s in, who’s out and what does it mean?
• Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft’s fantasy highs and lows
• Fantasy Football Now: Sunday at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2
In case you missed it:
Field Yates’ Fantasy Field Pass for Week 4
Mike Clay’s TNF Playbook: Dolphins vs. Bengals
Tristan H. Cockcroft’s Week 4 Matchups Maps
Matt Bowen’s fantasy film room: Key Week 4 upgrades, downgrades
Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS Best Buys for Week 4
• Fantasy Focus podcast now: Field Yates, Mike Clay and Daniel Dopp tell us the WRs who NEED to be in your lineup this week and who you need to bench. Then, Adam Schefter joins to talk the storylines to watch this week, including why Dak could be back next week and a RB to put on your radar. Listen | Watch