The only thing more frustrating than having a key member of your fantasy team suffer an injury is not knowing whether he’ll be active for the upcoming week. By the time midweek practices roll around, there’s usually a better feel.
Entering Week 5, the injury report has been scribbled all over in various locker rooms as key playmakers from several teams picked up injuries that have left their status in limbo. With reports swirling in from Thursday across the NFL as to who’s practicing and likely available for Sunday, let’s take a closer look at injured players to buy and sell for Week 5.
Buy: RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans
So longtime fantasy stud Arian Foster finally made his season debut and got stuffed for 10 rushing yards on eight carries in a blowout loss. That happened. But it’s nothing to fret about, considering the game was decided less than halfway through.
Foster is still probable on the injury report, but everyone knows what that means. He’s set to play on Thursday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts, who are getting run over on the ground to the tune of 119.5 yards per game.
What’s more, both of Indianapolis’ wins have come in tight slugfests. Don’t expect the Texans to be blown out for a second straight week, and that means more carries and production for the only reliable part of Houston’s offense.
Sell: WR Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
If it feels like the entire Buffalo Bills offense is beat up, that’s because it is—at least from a fantasy perspective. Sammy Watkins joined LeSean McCoy on the bench in Week 4, a game that saw backup rusher Karlos Williams suffer a concussion.
Watkins has yet to practice this week, but per ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak, he’s going to test out his injured calf Thursday. This tends to go one of two ways: We’ll hear it feels good, and he’ll probably play. Or there will be a setback, and he won’t.
Even assuming he does, don’t count on Watkins for fantasy production. While facing the Tennessee Titans would seem like a favorable matchup, their secondary has impressed, allowing 194.7 yards through the air a game (sixth best in the NFL). With the return of star cornerback Jason McCourty, per ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky, Tennessee’s back end will be even better.
Buy: RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
No, there haven’t been many rumblings (good or bad) about Marshawn Lynch’s chances of being active for Week 5 after missing Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions in Week 4. Per NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus, head coach Pete Carroll is sticking to the “day-to-day” call until further notice.
But the plan all along—at least as Carroll stated after the game to reporters—was that the week off would allow Lynch to be “ready to go” for Week 5 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The fact backup Thomas Rawls rushed for just 48 yards on 17 carries and Fred Jackson suffered an injury will only help Beast Mode’s cause of getting back in.
After barely squeaking one out against Detroit in a lethargic offensive performance, Seattle will be dying to get Lynch back. And his fantasy output will likely show it.
Sell: WR Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
Owners of sudden Raiders No. 2 option Michael Crabtree need not worry about a Week 4 ankle-injury scare, which should have been apparent after he put up some of his 80 yards after the injury. Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Crabtree was “bouncing around pretty good in warm-ups” and that the “ankle injury was just a bad scare.”
That being said, Oakland’s offense as a whole won’t generate any fantasy value this weekend. It faces the Denver Broncos, who have allowed a league-lowest 185.2 yards through the air per game and are feasting on opposing quarterbacks.
Crabtree is worth a flex look when the matchup presents itself. This is not that matchup regardless of whether he’s back from his injury.
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