Hooper missed practice on Friday with a non-COVID illness, but head coach Kevin Stefanski later revealed to reporters on a Zoom call that Hooper was suffering from appendicitis and had to undergo an appendectomy. This obviously rules Hooper out of Sunday’s Week 7 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, and according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it could sideline him for the Browns’ Week 8 contest as well. The Browns have been among the league leaders in 1-2 personnel (double tight end sets), so both Harrison Bryant and David Njoku will be in line for an increased opportunity through the passing game this weekend. Although we don’t have a great sample size with both Bryant and Njoku on the field together, Bryant clearly ran ahead of Njoku in Week 1 before Hooper established himself as the undisputed alpha at the tight end position in the weeks to come.
Mixon was held out of practice for a third consecutive day on Friday, and he’s already officially been ruled out of Sunday’s Week 7 matchup against the Cleveland Browns as recovers from a foot injury. Mixon was in the midst of his usual workhorse role before being forced to exit this past week’s contest with his aforementioned injury, and now that he’s set to be inactive this weekend, Gio Bernard will undoubtedly step into a similar role given his prowess in the passing game out of the backfield. Even with just a 27.8% snap rate on the season, Bernard has managed to accumulate an 8.4% target share from rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, giving him a sizable floor and similar ceiling to Mixon, even if he cedes some carries to the likes of Semaje Perine and Trayveon Williams.
The Giants officially activated Shepard from injured reserve earlier this afternoon, and he’s officially been cleared to play and will be active for Thursday night’s Week 7 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles after missing four games due to a toe injury. There haven’t been any reports on how limited Shepard might be, if at all, but assuming he’s close to full health, he should regain the starting wide receiver role opposite Darius Slayton on the outside and likely cut into the massive target share Slayton has accumulated over the previous two weeks. However, outside of the single-game contests around the daily fantasy industry, Shepard will be a difficult option to target given the uncertainty surrounding his injury and role in the offense moving forward.
Jackson still hasn’t put in a full practice after being limited in Tuesday’s session, but head coach Doug Pederson still believes that Jackson will be ready to go for Thursday night’s Week 7 matchup against the New York Giants despite still recovering from a hamstring injury that’s kept him sidelined for three straight games. Meanwhile, Jeffery is set to be inactive once again and it’s beginning to feel like the Eagles are in no rush to have him active on gamedays with the emergence of Travis Fulgham and rookie Jalen Reagor on track to return in one of the next few games. Even though Jackson will likely be active, it’s almost guaranteed that he will be eased back into action and won’t see a full complement of snaps with Jon Hightower flashing serviceable downfield ability over the last couple of weeks
The Dolphins will be on bye in Week 7, but the organization announced this morning that Tagovailoa will be the team’s starting quarterback for their Week 8 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams and moving forward. The timing of the decision is so peculiar that the quarterback change following the bye week had to be Miami’s original plan going into the season, especially with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading them to a 3-3 record and playing extremely well through six games. This means that Fitzpatrick now is a backup quarterback once again for the remainder of the 2020 season barring a trade to a quarterback-needy team prior to the NFL trade deadline in two weeks.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed with reporters on a Zoom conference call Monday that Mostert has a high ankle sprain and will likely be placed on injured reserve in the coming days, effectively ruling him out for Sunday’s Week 7 matchup against the New England Patriots and the following two weeks. Shanahan also reiterated that Tevin Coleman isn’t expected to return any time soon, so Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson Jr., and JaMycal Hasty are set to be the Niners backfield for the foreseeable future. Hasty actually out-carried McKinnon 9-6 in this past Sunday night’s win over the Los Angeles Rams, but with Wilson inactive for that contest, it’ll be tough gauge what Hasty’s role will be moving forward, especially since McKinnon handled over 92% of the running back snaps the last time Mostert and Coleman were both sidelined.
Jeff Wilson and Dante Pettis are both inactive. The 49ers will have Raheem Mostert and Jerick McKinnon as their top RBs, with FB Kyle Juszczyk possibly getting some work. Dante Pettis being inactive isn’t surprising, as he hasn’t had a real role in the offense since Week 1.
Early reports Sunday indicated Fournette would play, but he is officially inactive. This should set Ronald Jones up once again in a great spot. Even if LeSean McCoy takes on a slightly larger role, Jones should be the clear top back here, as he has been the past two weeks.
Breshad Perriman is active for the first time since Week 2, but returns to a depleted Jets’ offense led by QB Joe Flacco. The Jets also released Le’Veon Bell this past week, taking away one of their few offensive weapons. The Jets are likely to have a tough day Sunday against the Dolphins.
Tyler Eifert is active after being listed as questionable this week. He is clearly the top TE for the Jaguars, getting more targets while running significantly more routes than TE James O’Shaughnessy each week.
Darius Slayton will be active Sunday for the Giants. He has been a focal point of the offense this season, including 11 targets last week, and should continue having a similar role.
As expected, Edelman is active despite being listed as questionable. He should function in his normal role as a top option for the Patriots’ passing game.
Lock and Lindsay will both be active for the Broncos Sunday. Lock did have a questionable designation heading into this game, but he is all cleared, while Lindsay will play for the first time since Week 1.
The Browns had listed their trio of offensive weapons as questionable for Sunday, but all 3 have been cleared and will play.
Samuel is inactive Sunday, a big loss for the Panthers’ offense. Not only was Samuel consistently involved in the passing game, he had been getting multiple rush attempts each game since CMC went out. His absence will give more touches to the entire offense, and his rush attempts could be returned back to the RBs, or lead to a slight increase in passing. Either way, RB Mike Davis is in position for another huge day in both the passing and running game.