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Tuesday isn’t the most eventful day of the week for football news, but we’ll work with what we’ve got. Let’s dig into the most important notes from around the league with an eye on fantasy football.
Chiefs Send Clyde Edwards-Helaire to IR
Kansas City officially sent Edwards-Helaire to IR on Tuesday, meaning he will miss at least the next three games. The second-year pro suffered an MCL sprain during the Chiefs’ Week 5 loss to the Bills. In the meantime, Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon will see increased roles. Williams was the primary beneficiary after Edwards-Helaire left on Sunday Night Football, playing 24 snaps and handling five touches to McKinnon’s eight and one, respectively.
However, McKinnon did run 24 routes (many before CEH got hurt), more than he had run in the previous four weeks combined. While Williams is certainly the leader in the clubhouse, this could be a timeshare. Williams is worth picking up and starting, while McKinnon is nothing more than a bench stash.
NFL Network’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Chiefs have “looked into” Colts running back Marlon Mack ahead of the NFL’s November 2nd trade deadline. Mack would immediately challenge Williams for lead back duties during Edwards-Helaire’s absence and could siphon some carries from CEH once he returns. Indianapolis has been transparent about his availability with Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines locked up for the foreseeable future. Mack has admirably returned from an Achilles tear suffered last season – a notoriously difficult injury to come back from, especially as a running back – and has performed well when healthy during his career. It would be an ideal fit, although whoever replaces Edwards-Helaire likely won’t have much long-term value given the LSU product is expected to return in around three weeks. For the time being, target Williams on the waiver wire, stash McKinnon only if you have room, and keep an eye on rumors swirling for any news of Kansas City adding another back.
Broncos Sign John Brown to Practice Squad
Jerry Jeudy is expected to be back soon from a high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 1, but the Broncos could use an infusion of speed after sophomore wideout KJ Hamler tore his ACL a couple of weeks ago. Enter John Brown, who was surprisingly released by the Raiders during roster cutdowns after it became evident Henry Ruggs, Hunter Renfrow, and Bryan Edwards would be the team’s top-three receivers. Brown has struggled with availability during his career, but the 31-year-old wideout has been productive when on the field. He racked up 33 catches for 458 yards and three scores on 52 targets in 2020 with the Bills. While Brown wouldn’t be fantasy-relevant – at best, he’d be their WR4 and likely the sixth or seventh option – he would be a solid signing for a Broncos team that has had to deal with a myriad of injuries at the wide receiver position this season.
Dallas Goedert Sent to COVID-19 List
Zach Ertz has a sizable opportunity in front of him with Goedert presumably out for the Eagles’ Thursday night showdown against the defending champion Buccaneers in Week 6. While Goedert is playing the most snaps of any Philadelphia tight end, Ertz has had more balls thrown his way, out-targeting his younger teammate 25-19 on the season. Ertz will now see an uptick in snaps and should see strong volume against a pass-funnel Bucs defense.
Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins could also see more snaps with Goedert out. Both Eagles tight ends have played at least half of the snaps in every game this season. Goedert’s absence could force Nick Sirianni to use fewer 2-TE sets, opening up room for another wide receiver on the field. DeVonta Smith has established himself as Jalen Hurts‘ WR1 and primary target, but Reagor and Watkins have been sharing time and targets so far. Both get a small boost with Goedert out of the lineup. Watkins surpassed Reagor in snap share for the first time last week and could begin to assert himself as Philadelphia’s WR2, so he’s the preferred option behind Smith for fantasy purposes.
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Rob Gronkowski Ruled Out for Thursday Night Football
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said earlier this week that it would be “very close” whether Gronk could go on Thursday, but it didn’t end up being that close, as the star tight end was ruled out on Tuesday, per Jordan Schultz. Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard will have an increased role once again without Gronkowski. Brate has run more routes with Howard operating in a blocking role, so the former is the one to target for TE-needy teams, although there are likely better options available for your fantasy squads. Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown have suctioned a large portion of Tom Brady‘s targets, plus Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard have a role too, so there aren’t many targets left over for non-Gronk tight ends.
Other News and Notes
The Cardinals sent star defensive end Chandler Jones to the COVID-19 list on Tuesday. It’s a big hit to their pass rush considering Jones is one of the best in the business and makes up half of a fearsome duo alongside the always-great J.J. Watt.
The Steelers signed WR Anthony Miller to their practice squad. JuJu Smith-Schuster is out for the season after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 5, leaving Pittsburgh thin at receiver behind Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. Miller filled in for Houston when they were without Danny Amendola for a few games, and he should challenge Ray-Ray McCloud for slot snaps once he’s up to speed with the Steelers’ system.
The Lions moved second-year wideout Quintez Cephus to IR after the Wisconsin product broke his collarbone in Week 5. Cephus was the most productive Lions wideout through the first month of the season. Tyrell Williams still hasn’t played since Week 1. Amon-Ra St. Brown and Kalif Raymond will be Jared Goff‘s top-two options at wide receiver. Expect Detroit to lean even more heavily on D’Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson, and Jamaal Williams.
The Texans signed WR Chris Moore to their active roster after his huge performance in Week 5. Outside of Brandin Cooks, no Houston receiver is worth rostering, but Moore figures to challenge Chris Conley, Danny Amendola, and Nico Collins (once healthy) for looks.