While the WR injury report will likely not grab the fantasy football headlines in Week 13, there are still some intriguing names with their status up in the air this week. Let’s take a look at the latest NFL injury updates and the fantasy implications for the likes of Ja’Marr Chase, Deebo Samuel, Devonta Smith, Mike Williams, and others.
Please note that practice status listings are as follows: DNP – did not participate, LP – limited participant, FP – full participant.
WR Injury Report Heading into Week 13
Ja’Marr Chase, CIN | Hip (LP)
For the second straight week, Ja’Marr Chase opens practice on Wednesday, listed as a limited participant for the Cincinnati Bengals. Ahead of practice, head coach Zac Taylor reiterated that the team is taking it day by day and seeing how Chase feels each day after practicing before making any more decisions.
Taylor added that they would continue to work with the trainer, the guys in the weight room, and Chase to determine the progress of the WR. When Chase spoke to the media, he told reporters he feels good and gave the impression he intends to play Sunday against the Chiefs.
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The extra week’s rest makes it easier to trust Chase in starting lineups. The hope was that he would be back close to 100% by Week 13 or Week 14, so waiting that extra week should help a little more. If he is active, Chase will be impossible to keep out of starting lineups this week.
If Chase remains out, then Tee Higgins remains a WR1 candidate, with Tyler Boyd and Trenton Irwin offering deeper league value. Boyd may actually get a slight boost if Chase returns, as he will slide into the role of the third receiving weapon in the offense and could see softer coverage because of it. However, Boyd is an option better suited to Underdog Fantasy Best Ball leagues, with his production being tough to trust on a weekly basis.
Deebo Samuel, SF | Quad (LP)
Ahead of practice on Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that Deebo Samuel would be limited as he deals with a quad injury. Samuel went out with the team and took part in warmups and stretching before leaving the field before practice fully got underway.
The fact Samuel is opening the week limited is a good sign, but dealing with a different injury to the hamstring issue from last week is a further concern. These lower body concerns are starting to mount for Samuel, and with the 49ers likely to be thinking long-term, we could see him managed both in practice and in the games.
This is a concern for fantasy managers, with Samuel having failed to live up to the preseason hype so far. If the WR is limited in games, then it will impact his ceiling while also making his floor less stable. The problem is that if he does suit up, Samuel is close to impossible to bench.
If Samuel misses the game, it will be hard to know who will take advantage. Samuel’s role is somewhat unique, and the touches and looks he sees would likely be split around multiple options on the offense.
DeVonta Smith, PHI | Groin (LP)
It seems like DeVonta Smith is on the injury report on an almost weekly basis for the Philadelphia Eagles, and this time the injury is a groin issue. There wasn’t really any focus on the injury when head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to the media.
Normally, to see an injury pop up in practice that was not discussed before practice would be a concern. However, the Eagles only held a walkthrough today, so the likelihood is that Smith came into the week with the issue, and it is not a new injury. We will need to see how he progresses when the Eagles get out onto the field.
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Smith has been an incredibly frustrating option for fantasy managers this season. After a handful of big games early on, he has failed to cross 50 receiving yards in five of his last six games. Therefore, Smith has become a low-upside full-PPR option for the most part in the last few weeks. If he is limited this week, those concerns will only grow further.
If Smith misses time, it is likely Quez Watkins who benefits the most. Watkins had five targets last week and has now caught two touchdowns in the last two games. Over the past three weeks, Watkins has nine receptions on 11 targets for 146 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He is already an intriguing deeper league option, and his value will only grow if Smith misses time.
Mike Williams, LAC | Ankle (DNP)
A week after there appeared to be optimism from Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, Mike Williams is still not back at practice as he tries to return from his ankle injury. Staley gave the impression last Wednesday that Williams would practice on Wednesday, but he ended up being absent all week.
That continues into Week 13, with Williams not practicing again to open practice this week. Ahead of practice, Staley told reporters that Williams is progressing, and they will try to get him on the field this week. He then called Williams day-to-day, which means Williams could be touch-and-go in terms of being active this weekend.
If Williams is active, trusting him in fantasy lineups will be tough. The matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders is nice, but Williams would likely be on a snap count. Additionally, fantasy managers have already been burned by Williams getting re-injured once with this injury, and that risk will be high again this week.
In terms of fantasy value, the best-case scenario might actually be that Williams remains out. In that case, we will see plenty of playing time for the trio of Keenan Allen, Josh Palmer, and DeAndre Carter. In that situation, all three have the potential to be viable starting options in 12 and 14-team leagues.
Jerry Jeudy, DEN | Ankle (DNP)
Another WR who continues to miss practice with an ankle injury is Jerry Jeudy. Early optimism that Jeudy could return quickly from this injury appears to have evaporated as we enter the third week. It seems unlikely at this stage that Jeudy will be active, and even if he is, it’s hard to want anything to do with this passing game from a fantasy standpoint right now.
Zay Jones, JAX | Chest (LP)
There was very little focus on Zay Jones during the Jacksonville Jaguars media availability Wednesday. So the initial thought is that this isn’t a major issue, and barring a setback, Jones should be on the field this week. Given his recent performances, Jones is very much in the fantasy spotlight right now.
With more than 200 total yards and 24 targets over the past two weeks, Jones is a virtual must-start right now if he’s healthy. If he does miss time, then Marvin Jones Jr. could be the biggest beneficiary, sliding into that WR2 role alongside Christian Kirk.
Chase Claypool, CHI | Knee (LP)
It was somewhat of a surprise to see Chase Claypool open the week of practice on the Chicago Bears injury report. Claypool was listed with a knee injury as a limited participant. His participation being limited is a good sign to open the week that Claypool should be on the field come game day.
However, with the question marks over the QB situation in Chicago, it is hard to consider Claypool as anything more than a deep-league option.
Romeo Doubs, GB | Ankle (LP)
The start of Week 13 saw Romeo Doubs back in practice for the first time since he hurt his ankle against Detroit. It seems unlikely that the Green Bay Packers will rush him back before he is ready, so we will have to see how he progresses. The emergence of Christian Watson as a major weapon for this offense will likely mean that we see Doubs somewhat limited in the game on Sunday if he plays.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, KC | Illness (DNP)
Absences due to illness are always worth noting simply because we have seen them cost players games or significant snaps. However, those instances are rarer than a player playing through the illness and performing well. Therefore, right now, there is no need for major fantasy roster action unless you have room on your bench for a speculative stash of Justin Watson, just in case.
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Michael Gallup, DAL | Illness (DNP)
Take everything I said about illnesses from above and repeat it here. If Gallup misses time, then Noah Brown would have sneaky 14-team fantasy value, as we saw earlier in the year when Gallup was recovering from an ACL injury.
Kadarius Toney, KC | Hamstring (DNP)
It is no real shock to see Kadarius Toney remain absent from practice with a hamstring injury. These issues have dogged him throughout his career and continue to do so. It would be a surprise to see Toney suit up this week, and his brief flashes of fantasy value continue to frustrate fantasy managers.