Fantasy football owners have gotten used to being without key pass-catchers this year, and Week 8 doesn’t figure to be any different. Michael Thomas hasn’t played since Week 1, and Emmanuel Sanders is on the COVID list in New Orleans; Jamison Crowder and TEs Dallas Goedert and Austin Hooper are also dealing with maladies of their own, so fantasy football owners will have to play close attention to all of these pass-catching weapons as they look to make key waiver wire pickups and start ’em, sit ’em decisions.
For updates on Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Tevin Coleman, click here; for news on Aaron Jones, Miles Sanders, and Joe Mixon, go here. For more fantasy injury updates and news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
Is Michael Thomas playing Week 8?
Fantasy owners have to be frustrated with Thomas, who hasn’t played since Week 1. First, he was nursing a high-ankle sprain. Then, he was suspended a game for punching a teammate in practice. After a bye week, he pulled his hamstring in practice, missed Week 7, and there are serious questions about when he will return.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Thomas is “in jeopardy” of missing the Saints’ Week 8 game against the Bears because of the hamstring injury. If he’s out, the team could be very shorthanded at receiver depending on the health of Emmanuel Sanders (COVID) and Marquez Callaway (ankle).
With Thomas likely out, Tre’Quan Smith will continue to be a fantasy-relevant option while Callaway and Sanders will continue to see plenty of targets if they play. Thomas owners will hope that he can return in Week 9, but since soft-tissue injuries tend to linger, it’s unclear what his timetable for return may be.
Dallas Goedert injury update
Goedert has been out for the Eagles since suffering an ankle injury in Week 3 against the Bengals. Some are hoping that he will return to action ahead of a favorable matchup against the Cowboys in Week 8, but it looks like he will be out longer than that.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Goedert is targeting a Week 10 comeback. That means he will miss the Dallas game, get an extra week to heal during the Eagles’ bye, and then return against the Giants, if all goes well.
Until Goedert returns, Richard Rodgers will be the Eagles’ top TE, as Zach Ertz (ankle) is out with an injury, as well. Rodgers will be a TE1 this week because of the matchup and the volume of targets going his way.
Is Jamison Crowder playing Week 8?
Crowder (groin) was listed as “questionable” late last week before being downgraded to “doubtful” ahead of New York’s game against the Bills. Ahead of Week 8, he’ll need to be watched closely in practice, and SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano confirmed that the Jets were re-evaluating Crowder on Monday.
If Crowder can log limited practice or a full practice early in the week, he should have a chance to play. The thing to look out for is late-week downgrades in practice status, as we saw last week for the talented receiver. If he is downgraded again or is a non-participant in practice, his chances of playing against the Chiefs will diminish.
Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman would be the top two receivers for the Jets if Crowder has to miss another week of action, though it should be noted that Perriman is in the league’s concussion protocol. If Perriman is out, Jeff Smith would see significantly more targets. All are readily available on the waiver wire if you’re hardpressed for a Crowder replacement.
Is Emmanuel Sanders playing Week 8?
Before the Saints’ Week 7 game against the Panthers, Sanders was placed on the COVID list after testing positive for the virus, per ESPN’s Mike Triplett. He is now quarantining away from the team.
It’s unclear whether Sanders will be able to play in Week 8. Asymptomatic players can play 10 days after they test positive; however, if he has symptoms, he will likely be out another week.
Sanders’ potential absence means that Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway must step up again and serve as the Saints’ top two receivers with Michael Thomas (hamstring) also potentially out. That will mean a boost for TE Jared Cook and RB Alvin Kamara as pass-catchers, too.
Austin Hooper injury update
Hooper had an emergency appendectomy a few days before the Browns played the Bengals last week. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the procedure could keep Hooper out of action in Week 8 against the Raiders.
The Browns had no trouble getting production at the TE position with Hooper out last week. Harrison Bryant and David Njoku combined for three TDs against the Bengals, and the duo will lead the way once again if Hooper misses more time. Bryant is the better receiving weapon, so he’s the recommended start if you need a streamer. Check out our Week 8 TE rankings for more on the position.