The Week 14 WR injury report has some names that will make fantasy football managers nervous this week. With the likes of Diontae Johnson, Amari Cooper, and DK Metcalf questionable, let’s examine the fantasy implications of the latest NFL injury updates.
WR Injury Report Heading into Week 14
Diontae Johnson, PIT | Hip (Questionable)
It has been a rocky ride this week for Diontae Johnson’s fantasy managers. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ WR was limited Wednesday with a hip issue. He was then downgraded to a non-participant on Thursday before managing to return in a limited capacity on Friday. Johnson is listed as questionable for Week 14.
When Johnson spoke to the media after practice, he said he was feeling good but would see how the hip felt when he was warming up. “I’m for sure gonna try to do everything I can to play. I don’t want to overreact when I stride. It’s about me feeling comfortable.” That would suggest that Johnson is a true game-time decision, and even if he is active, he could be limited.
Therefore, it will be hard to trust Johnson this week. He has struggled to be a consistent starting option when healthy this year, so coming into the game with an injury magnifies those concerns. With so many teams on a bye, benching Johnson in fantasy lineups will be tough to do, but depending on the shape of your roster, it’s not an impossibility.
If Johnson misses the game, then Pat Freiermuth, George Pickens, and the RBs should pick up some extra targets. Johnson commanded around 25% of the target share for the Pittsburgh Steelers, so there would be plenty of work up for grabs if he does not play. In Underdog Fantasy Best Ball leagues, the duo of Freiermuth and Pickens could make for intriguing late-round selections if Johnson is out.
Amari Cooper, CLE | Hip (Questionable)
It has been an up-and-down week for Amari Cooper. He had his usual off day on Wednesday but could only practice in a limited fashion on Thursday with a hip injury as the designation. Cooper did not practice Friday, but the expectation is that he will play, despite being listed as questionable. In the locker room, Cooper told members of the media that he thinks he’ll be alright for Sunday.
Cooper and QB Deshaun Watson struggled to hook up on Sunday, connecting on four of nine passes for 40 yards. That is somewhat reminiscent of the first game Cooper played with Jacoby Brissett, where he caught three of six targets for just 17 yards. The hope will be that Watson and Cooper establish a connection going forward, but the injury makes it tough to trust him completely.
If Cooper ends up playing, it will be hard to bench a player who is capable of big breakouts. However, he has also had some really poor games this year, and that is a concern for fantasy managers. If Watson and Cooper were playing more than just their second game together, it would be easier to overlook.
If Cooper does not end up playing, then Donovan Peoples-Jones would be the one to see a value bump.
DK Metcalf, SEA | Hip (Questionable)
It is never good when a player has a midweek downgrade in practice status, and that was the case for DK Metcalf this week. After being a full participant Wednesday, he was limited on Thursday with a hip issue. After practice on Friday, head coach Pete Carroll said that Metcalf felt something in his hip, but that he is “ready to go.”
There should be no concerns over Metcalf being on the field Sunday, barring a setback. There is a little bit of re-injury risk, but this mostly seems to be a pain-tolerance situation. Metcalf should be a player that fantasy managers treat as usual this week.
Kadarius Toney, KC | Hamstring (Questionable)
Kadarius Toney was able to practice all week, but only in a limited fashion. Even if he does play, his workload should be limited, making him tough to use outside of the very deepest fantasy leagues. If he does miss the game, it has a minimal impact, with Toney projected to be a relatively small part of the Chiefs’ offense this week.
Jakobi Meyers, NE | Concussion (DNP)
It seems extremely unlikely that Jakobi Meyers will play this week. Even with the extra day to recover, the fact he is not participating on Friday is a bad sign for his status this weekend. Rarely does a player that starts the week as a non-participant with a concussion manage to suit up.
In his absence, the Patriots’ receivers are tough to trust. This offense does not tend to lean heavily on one option, instead playing the matchups. If you were going to bargain on one pass catcher, then Hunter Henry has a reasonably soft matchup this week and could be in line for a big day.
Zay Jones, JAX | Chest (Questionable)
This chest issue for Zay Jones is dragging on now as he enters a second straight weekend listed as questionable. Last weekend, Jones did not seem quite himself at times, but he should be another week healthier.
The Jaguars have a fantastic matchup this week, but it’s hard not to be nervous about trusting Jones this week, especially with Trevor Lawrence also questionable.
Courtland Sutton, DEN | Hamstring (Out)
It didn’t ever seem as though Courtland Sutton was going to be able to play this week as he recovered from a hamstring injury. Sutton didn’t practice all week and was ruled out by the Broncos on Friday.
In his place, we should see more usage for Jerry Jeudy and Greg Dulcich. The Chiefs have been a nice matchup for opposing WRs this year, but the Broncos passing game has been really tough to trust. With six teams on a bye, fantasy managers are likely using Jeudy if he plays, and Dulcich’s value as a tight end will make him a likely starter as well.
Brandin Cooks, HOU | Calf (Out)
After Brandin Cooks missed last week’s game with a calf issue, he was unable to return to practice this week. With the Houston Texans eliminated from the playoffs, there will be no reason for them to rush their number-one receiver back with his contract fully guaranteed for next year. Cooks being absent should’ve opened the door for Nico Collins to be a star, but…
Unfortunately, Collins did not practice all week and was ruled out on Friday. This is frustrating for fantasy managers, as Collins saw 10 targets last week without Cooks. We will now have to see if he can get back on the field for Week 15.
Treylon Burks, TEN | Concussion (Out)
Treylon Burks did not practice all week as he worked through the concussion protocol. Burks will now be a name to watch for Week 15. There is no direct replacement in this offense from a fantasy value aspect. Both Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine should see an upgrade with this news.