As expected Ben Watson is out today while recovering from having his appendix removed. On what is a very ugly slate for TE’s this is a big loss if you were looking to pivot off Travis Kelcie or Rob Gronkowski. Dan Arnold is active today and will start in place of Watson. We can expect the targets to continue to funnel through key offensive pieces Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.
Keith Kirkwood listed as out for Sunday. Michael Thomas will do most of the heavy lifting among the WRs, with Ted Ginn operating as a deep threat and Tre’Quan Smith/Austin Carr providing some depth. It’s possible we see some extra slot snaps out of Carr, but the Saints can move Michael Thomas around in formations so we’ll very likely see some sort of committee behind the top two WRs. As for Ben Watson, he’s listed as questionable but wasn’t able to practice this week and was reported as out earlier in the day, so it still seems likely he sits. Josh Hill has seen more playing time this year, but Dan Arnold has been utilized more as a pass-catcher when he’s been on the field. Both TEs have GPP appeal on a two-game slate, but I’d give Arnold the slight nod.
Watson was unable to participate in practice this week and has officially been ruled out of Sunday’s NFC Championship matchup against the Los Angeles Rams due to appendicitis. Watson was apart of a full-blown timeshare with Josh Hill at the tight end position in last week’s win, running 16 routes compared to the 20 routes that were assigned to Hill on passing plays. However, Dan Arnold was a healthy inactive for the Divisional round, but he’ll likely be active on Sunday and will have a legitimate shot to take over the role vacated by Watson in the offense. Given Arnold’s athletic measurables, he may be the preferred option over Hill in tournament formats on this weekend’s slates, and he’s already flashed upside once this season, posting a 4-45-1 line versus the Atlanta Falcons earlier in the year.
Updating news from earlier this morning Hunter Henry is officially active today and will make his season debut. Henry has missed every game this season with knee injury. The team has not released any information about expected snap counts for Henry, but you would have to figure that Henry would not play more than 20 snaps today but could be featured in the red zone.
The Chargers were close to getting Hunter Henry back for last week’s game and it appears that this very talented tight end will make his season debut today. Henry has missed every game this season with knee injury. The team has not released any information about expected snap counts for Henry, but you would have to figure that Henry would not play more than 20 snaps today but could be featured in the red zone.
Beasley will reportedly be active for Saturday’s Divisional Round matchup against the Los Angeles Rams despite not practicing all week because of an ankle injury, while Jarwin will also be active after battling an ankle injury of his own for a majority of the week. The Cowboys’ tight ends had been an underutilized aspect of the offense for a majority of the regular season, but Jarwin has seen at least seven targets in the three of the last four games. There’s been no confirmation, but if Beasley is limited in any way, Amari Cooper would likely move into the slot on a more consistent basis with Michael Gallup remaining on the outside in three-wide receiver sets.
Ware is officially inactive, as expected, and won’t play in Saturday’s Divisional Round matchup against the Indianapolis Colts due to a hamstring injury that’s now forced him to miss four straight games, while Sammy Watkins is active and Kelvin Benjamin is a healthy scratch to make room for Watkins on the gameday roster. Ware’s absence will allow Damien Williams to continue working as the Chiefs undisputed lead back, and he is averaging exactly 16 touches per game in the three weeks Ware has been sidelined. As for Watkins, he’s a risky tournament option at best, as he hasn’t played anywhere close to a full game since Week 9 when he logged 77 percent of snaps. However, he is cheap exposure to this explosive Chiefs offense on the two and four-game slates across the industry.
Ware will go through pregame warmups to test out his injured hamstring, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Chiefs “doubt” he will be able to play in Saturday’s Divisional Round matchup against the Indianapolis Colts due to the aforementioned hamstring ailment. Ware’s likely absence will allow Damien Williams to continue working as the Chiefs undisputed lead back, and he is averaging exactly 16 touches per game in the three weeks Ware has been sidelined.
Trey Burton was a late addition to the injury report on Saturday and won’t play today vs The Eagles. If you are in need of a late swap Both Adam Shaheen and Dallas Goedert can be subbed in for Burton. Shaheen is more of a pure dart play than Goedert since The Bears offense has shown the propensity to spread the ball around. Even though Goedert is not the clear-cut number one option for the Eagles he has seen three or more targets in his last seven starts and appears to be a player that The Eagles make an attempt to work into the offense.
Austin Ekeler was set to test out his injured groin in pre-game workouts today. According to Adam Schefter, the pre-game workout went well and Ekeler will play today vs The Ravens. Ekeler will continue to back up Melvin Gordan and will see his normal amount of action in the offense.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is reporting that the Chargers won’t activate Henry from the PUP list on Saturday, which effectively rules him of Sunday’s Wild Card matchup against the Baltimore Ravens due to a torn ACL that’s kept him sidelined since OTA’s this past spring. Even if Henry was active, head coach Anthony Lynn had already confirmed that he would have been subject to a strict pitch count, though the exact number of snaps was not disclosed. In Henry’s absence, Antonio Gates and Virgil Green will continue to be the primary tight ends in one and two-tight end sets.
Hilton will be active for Saturday’s matchup against the Houston Texans after previously being listed as questionable on the Colts’ injury report due to an ankle injury that’s hampered him for the last several weeks, while Inman is also active despite dealing with his respective ailments. Even though he was held out of practice all week, Hilton was always expected to play in today’s contest, and he has absolutely dominated the Texans this season, posting a 13-314-0 line on 18 targets in two games this season. As for Inman, he is second among Colts wide receivers in snaps the last six weeks, so he’ll remain in consideration as a contrarian option in tournaments, though Hilton and Eric Ebron clearly remain Andrew Luck’s preferred targets.
Coutee will be active for Saturday’s Wild Card matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, after previously being listed as questionable with a hamstring injury that had forced him to miss five consecutive weeks. Despite such a long absence, Coutee is trending towards being a popular option in daily fantasy formats this afternoon, so he makes for an interesting fade candidate considering the potential risk of re-injury and how well the Colts have defended slot wide receivers this season. Vyncint Smith appears likely to be the wide receiver opposite DeAndre Hopkins in three-wide sets with DeAndre Carter backing up Coutee in the slot, which makes Smith an intriguing leverage play in Texans stacks or as a low-owned one-off punt.
SNF Inactives are out and as expected Marcus Mariota is out. News surfaced earlier today that Blaine Gabbert would start as Mariota is not healthy enough to play in a must-win game for the Titans. From an offensive perspective, we can expect the run-heavy Titans to continue a game plan centered around Derrick Henery. The Colts appear to be full strength as both T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron are active for tonight’s game.
The Seahawks are in the precious situation of not having much to play for this week. Locked into the No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the NFC, its possible to see the Seahawks rest key players ahead of next week’s wild-card game. With Rashaad Penny able to practice this week and now listed as active we could see the team us all him in conjunction with Mike Davis and Chris Carson. The addition of Penny makes it hard to point to a clear source of value in a deep Seahawks backfield.
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