Julio Jones, Joe Mixon, Christian McCaffrey Injury Outlook & More: Fantasy Injury Report For Week 5

Julio Jones, Joe Mixon, Christian McCaffrey Injury Outlook & More: Fantasy Injury Report For Week 5 article feature image
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Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Titans’ Julio Jones

Below is a recap of injuries around the NFL to fantasy-relevant players that will help you set your lineups and dominate your leagues. I also included my very non-scientific “worry-o-meter,” which indicates on a scale of zero to five just how concerned I am about that player’s injury status when it comes to their Week 5 outlook.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers (hamstring)

McCaffrey exited early in Week 3 and missed Week 4 with a Grade 1 hamstring strain. He returned to practice on Wednesday and practiced again on Thursday in a limited fashion. He has a chance to play this week against the Eagles if he continues to progress.

If he plays, he is a locked-and-loaded RB1. If he sits out a second game, backup Chuba Hubbard would be in play as a low-end RB2. Hubbard was RB37 last week in half PPR against the Cowboys with McCaffrey sidelined.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals (ankle)

Mixon is day-to-day with an ankle injury he suffered last Thursday. Although he wasn’t ruled out for Week 5, he has been a non-participant in back-to-back practices, which isn’t a good sign. Mixon managers should prepare contingency plans.

If Mixon can’t play, Samaje Perine and Chris Evans would be next in line to receive touches out of the backfield. I would consider Perine a low-end flex play at best with Mixon out.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Julio Jones, WR, Titans (hamstring)

Jones hasn’t taken part in practice at all this week after missing Week 4 with a hamstring injury. He originally suffered the injury in Week 3 and doesn’t seem to be trending in the right direction toward playing in the team’s Week 5 matchup against Jacksonville.

A.J. Brown — assuming he plays — would be the biggest beneficiary of Jones’ absence. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine would also be in line to see more targets.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants (hamstring)

Shepard dressed but did not participate in Thursday’s practice. He has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury and is trending toward missing a third game.

With Darius Slayton also hurt, I would expect wide receivers Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and John Ross and tight end Evan Engram to see additional targets.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Darius Slayton, WR, Giants (hamstring)

It isn’t looking good for Slayton either, who is also dealing with a hamstring injury that has kept him on the sideline for back-to-back games.

Golladay, Toney and Ross (in that order) would be next up on the receiver depth chart if Slayton and Shepard were to both miss a third game.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Curtis Samuel, WR, Washington (groin)

Samuel began the season on injured reserve after suffering a groin injury in training camp. He made his debut in Week 4 in a limited fashion, and has now missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s possible he suffered another setback with the injury and there’s a good chance he will be held out of the team’s Week 5 matchup against the Saints, which would mean more targets for Terry McLaurin and J.D. McKissic — especially with Logan Thomas out with a hamstring injury.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings (ankle)

After missing Week 3 with an ankle injury, Cook played through the pain in Week 4 and saw 11 touches for 44 scrimmage yards and finished as RB48 in half PPR. His backup, Alexander Mattison, saw 10 touches for 20 yards.

Cook was clearly not 100% and fantasy managers probably would have preferred if he just sat out the game entirely. If he plays, it’s difficult to say what kind of workload he might see. If he isn’t able to start the game, Mattison would have immediate low-end RB1 appeal in a mouth-watering matchup against the Lions this week.

Worry-o-meter: 4 out of 5.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers (calf)

Garoppolo suffered a calf injury in the first half of the team’s Week 4 matchup against the Seahawks. He hasn’t been ruled out officially, but he did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday and indicated to the press that it could be a game-time decision.

Garoppolo was replaced by Trey Lance in the second half of the game. Lance completed nine of 18 attempts for 157 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and tacked on seven rushes for 41 yards. Consider the rookie a high-end QB2 if he gets his first NFL start.

Worry-o-meter: 4 out of 5.

George Kittle, TE, 49ers (calf)

Kittle has been dealing with a calf issue for multiple weeks that has kept him out of consecutive practices this week. It’s worth noting that he did miss practice last week and still played, though he was held to four catches for 40 yards. Although he’s been largely unimpressive so far this season, he’s still a top play against the Cardinals this week, even with the injury concern.

Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner would be next up on the tight end depth chart if Kittle were to be unavailable come Sunday. I expect this would mean more targets for Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk as well.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

A.J. Brown, WR, Titans (hamstring)

Brown practiced for the second day in a row on Thursday after sitting out Week 4 with a lingering hamstring injury. It’s great news and likely means he’s trending toward playing in the Titans’ Week 5 AFC South clash against the Jaguars. He could see even more targets than usual with fellow wideout Julio Jones trending in the other direction and should be considered a high-end WR2 if healthy.

If Brown were to suffer a setback — and assuming Jones doesn’t play — Nick Westbrook-Ikhine would be in line to see more targets in a plush matchup in Jacksonville.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals (shoulder)

Higgins has missed the past two weeks while dealing with a shoulder injury. He returned to practice on Wednesday in a limited capacity, and posted another limited practice on Thursday. It feels like he’s trending toward playing, but we’ll have to monitor reports going into Sunday.

Consider Higgins a low-end WR2 if he starts. Tyler Boyd has benefitted from Higgins’ absence and would continue to do so should he miss another game.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

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Chase Claypool, WR, Steelers (hamstring)

Claypool was limited in consecutive practices this week after missing the Steelers’ Week 4 game against the Packers. It’s certainly looking dicey regarding his Week 5 availability, though even if he starts, he has little upside and no floor with Ben Roethlisberger playing as poorly as he has.

If Claypool misses the game, expect Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster (if he plays) to see more targets.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers (shoulder)

We haven’t seen Elijah Mitchell since Week 2 after suffering a shoulder injury. He has been held out of back-to-back games, though he practiced on both Wednesday and Thursday this week. It’s worth noting that he did practice last week and was later ruled out, so it’s very iffy if he plays at this point.

If Mitchell starts, consider him an RB3/flex play. If he missed a third game in a row, I would assume Trey Sermon would get the start once again and would also be an RB3/flex play. Sermon finished as RB26 in half PPR in Week 3 and RB33 in Week 4.

Worry-o-meter: 2.5 out of 5.

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions (knee)

Hockenson missed practice on Wednesday and was very limited in practice on Thursday with a knee issue. Practicing on Thursday is a good sign, but as the Lions’ most important offensive weapon, it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on. He is a top-three tight end if he plays in the Lions’ road matchup against the Vikings. If he misses the game, there’s no one else on this roster worth starting aside from the running backs.

Worry-o-meter: 2 out of 5.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Broncos (concussion)

Bridgewater suffered a concussion in the Broncos’ Week 4 loss to the Ravens, which served as a stark reminder why the Drew Lock experiment never took off. The team reports he has progressed well through the concussion protocol, and was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice. He is not allowed to practice in full until Friday.

It appears Bridgewater is trending toward making the start against the Steelers, though the concussion protocol can be tricky. All of the fantasy-relevant Broncos take a non-trivial hit if Drew Lock gets the start.

Worry-o-meter: 2 out of 5.

Giovani Bernard, RB, Buccaneers (knee)

Bernard missed the team’s Week 4 matchup against the Patriots while dealing with a sprained MCL. He had been used sparingly in Weeks 1 and 2, but reeled in nine of 10 targets for 51 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Rams. Interestingly, he has yet to see one rushing attempt all year.

Bernard was back at practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday, which means he could play as early as this week. This would mostly impact running back Leonard Fournette, who would likely see fewer targets out of the backfield.

Worry-o-meter: 2 out of 5.

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Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington (shin)

Gibson did not practice on Wednesday and returned to practice on Thursday in a limited fashion. He was limited last week and still played, which hopefully means his Wednesday absence was a rest day, though it’s worth monitoring heading into the weekend. He is a high-end RB2 if he starts.

If Gibson were to miss the game for some reason, J.D. McKissic would see an uptick in carries, as would Jaret Patterson.

Worry-o-meter: 1.5 out of 5.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants (groin)

Time is a flat circle and Golladay is once again on the injury report with a new ailment. He was limited in practice on Wednesday with a groin injury, but did practice in full on Thursday which is certainly encouraging given the state of the Giants’ receiving corps.

Golladay will likely start, but there’s always a looming uncertainty given his speckled injury history. The 2019 receiving touchdown leader has already dealt with hip and hamstring issues this season and appeared in just five games in 2020.

If he, Shepard and Slayton were all to sit out, Toney and Ross would be next in line.

Worry-o-meter: 1.5 out of 5.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys (knee)

Ezekiel Elliott missed practice on Wednesday and practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday. He is listed as dealing with a knee injury, though his absence is most likely a veteran rest similar to Cooper’s situation. I predict he will start and offer top-five appeal against the Giants this week.

If he were to sit out this week, Tony Pollard would immediately offer RB1 upside as Elliott’s backup.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

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Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys (hamstring)

Cooper is dealing with a hamstring injury that held him out of practice on Wednesday. He was a limited participant in practice on Thursday, which is a good sign for his availability come Sunday in the Cowboys’ NFC East showdown against the Giants.

Cooper’s absence on Wednesday was likely a veteran rest situation, so I anticipate he will start and offer high-end WR2 value. If he suffers a setback, however, CeeDee Lamb would benefit the most from a target standpoint, as would tight ends Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders (ankle)

Jacobs returned from injury in Week 4, but appeared to be limited posting just 13 rushes for 40 yards and catching five of five targets for 17 yards. He was limited in practice on Wednesday, but practiced in full on Thursday, which likely means he’ll play in the team’s Week 5 matchup against the Bears barring a major setback.

If he isn’t available come Sunday, Kenyan Drake would likely see the bulk of the carries with Peyton Barber dealing with turf toe and expected to miss a few weeks.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers (ribs)

Smith-Schuster was on the Steelers injury report last week with a rib injury, but played in the team’s Week 4 clash with the Packers. He practiced in full on Thursday and barring a setback, will likely play this week against the Broncos.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

Aaron Jones, RB, Packers (ankle)

Jones was limited in Wednesday’s practice and listed with an ankle issue. It’s worth mentioning he was limited last week as well and still played in the team’s Week 4 game against the Steelers. This feels more like veteran rest than a true issue, and I expect Jones to play and produce at a high level this week in Cincinnati.

Worry-o-meter: 0 out of 5.

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