It's Sunday morning! Time to finalize your lineups in season-long and DFS formats. With so much news flying around all week, are you finding it challenging to keep up with it all? Well, you're in luck.
Every Sunday morning here on Sports Illustrated, we'll condense all the major news and notes into this last-minute advice column to get you fully up to speed before the 1 p.m. EST games kick off. It will include everything you need to know from injuries, to surprise inactives, to crucial weather information, and more. We won't just tell you what's happening. We'll give you the analysis you can use to help you win. Don't set your lineups before checking Sports Illustrated on Sunday mornings.
QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (STARTING)
Ryan is expected to return after missing his first start since 2009 with an injured ankle. The Saints have been an OK matchup for fantasy QBs in totality this season, but they've been stingy over the past five weeks. They've allowed an average of just 12 fantasy points per game to QBs in that time frame. However, Ryan is a stud. He's thrown for at least 300 yards in every game he's finished this season. He's a must-start and a mid-level QB1 this week.
QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (STARTING)
Barring an unforeseen setback, Mahomes will start today in Nashville against the Titans. The knee injury only cost him two games, and he looked pretty good celebrating on the field with his teammates at the end of last week’s game. This one is pretty simple: If Mahomes starts, you play him. He’s a Top 3 QB this week.
QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (DOUBTFUL)
Stafford has been dealing with hip and back injuries and is not expected to play today, per Ian Rapoport. This is terrible news for Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones owners who would see a significant drop in value with Jeff Driskel starting. The Bears' defense isn't as tight of a matchup as it once was, but it's stingy enough to make Stafford more of a QB2 for fantasy purposes this week, so you can ignore Driskel in all formats.
QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (PROBABLE)
Jackson popped up on the Ravens' injury report on Thursday after sitting out practice with an illness. He practiced in full on Friday and will start today. Play Jackson with confidence, as he has a good shot to finish as the highest-scoring fantasy QB.
QB Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts (OUT)
Brissett was officially ruled out by the Colts on Saturday. It's disappointing because he had a juicy matchup with a Miami team that's allowed 19 passing touchdowns in eight games this season, and Brissett had feasted on bad defenses at home this season. Brian Hoyer will start in his place. He had some success last week taking over for the injured Brissett but isn't in consideration for those in single-QB leagues.
RB Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets (ACTIVE)
Bell had an MRI on his knee earlier this week and missed Wednesday's practice. He was limited at practice on Thursday and Friday, but head coach Adam Gase told reporters "it looks good" when it comes to Bell's chances to play against the Giants. Bell himself said on Twitter Saturday that he's going to suit up. Barring an unforeseen setback, get him into your lineups. If he doesn't play for some reason, Bilal Powell is an RB2 against a struggling Giants rush defense. Other backs on the roster include Ty Montgomery, who hasn't played a snap in either of the last two games and Josh Adams, who was elevated to the main roster earlier this week.
RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (ACTIVE)
Fantasy managers rejoice as Kamara makes his triumphant return to the field today after missing two games with knee and ankle injuries. Insert him right back into your lineup this week against a porous Falcons defense, but beware that Latavius Murray may get more touches than he did before Kamara was injured. Still, Kamara is a surefire RB1 this week.
RB David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (ACTIVE)
A few days of extra rest did wonders for Johnson, who is expected to return to action on Sunday to face off against the coach who drafted him, Bruce Arians. The Buccaneers boast the best rushing defense in the NFL and third-best when it comes to fantasy points allowed to the position. We're also not sure how many touches Kenyan Drake will get after his strong Thursday Night Football performance ten days ago. Value Johnson as an RB2 this week.
RB Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (ACTIVE)
Despite being listed as questionable and only getting limited practice time in most of the week, there was little doubt about McCaffrey’s status. He’s the fantasy MVP so far and the straw that stirs the drink in Carolina. Start him! Duh.
RB James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers (OUT)
Conner did get some practice time this week, but the shoulder injury is bothering him enough to keep him sidelined another week. Jaylen Samuels should get the bulk of the touches in Conner's absence. He was a PPR monster last week but was generally ineffective. That means he'll likely split work with...
RB Trey Edmunds, Pittsburgh Steelers (ACTIVE)
Edmunds has been plagued by a ribs injury and missed some practice this week. However, he returned to practice on Friday and should play this afternoon. Edmunds led all Steelers in rushing attempts and yards last week and has an excellent chance to do so again this week. He's a low-level FLEX play if you're desperate.
RB Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers (QUESTIONABLE)
Breida was limited in practice on Thursday with an ankle injury but is expected to play on Monday night. There’s plenty of volume in the 49ers backfield for multiple players to have success. Breida had more carries than Tevin Coleman in Week 9, but that trend isn’t a guarantee week to week. Value Breida as a low-end RB2 or high-end FLEX this week against Seattle.
WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (OUT)
It's starting to look like a lost season for Green. Injured early in the preseason, Green is yet to play in a game. He suffered a setback in his recovery from an ankle injury. He's now out indefinitely and could be an IR candidate. Make sure he's not in your lineups today and start planning for a stretch run without the star receiver.
WR Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (QUESTIONABLE)
Brown was added to the injury report on Friday (ankle/thigh) after a limited practice. It's the same group of injuries Brown has been dealing with for several weeks, so it was concerning, but he's expected to play in Sunday's great matchup with the Bengals. Brown hasn't had more than 50 yards receiving in a game since Week 2, so he's more of a WR3 for Week 10.
WR Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (DOUBTFUL)
Davis missed practice all week with a hip injury, and it would be a massive surprise if he suits up against the Chiefs. Few fantasy managers were relying on him, even with six teams on bye, but his absence does provide a boost for A.J. Brown, who moves into high-end WR3 territory. Tajae Sharpe should get some more reps, but he isn't startable.
WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (OUT)
Shepard will miss this week and possibly the rest of the season due to complications from the most recent concussion he suffered. After progressing toward playing last week, his concussion symptoms returned, and he was ruled out. He suffered two concussions in a four-week span earlier this season, so the Giants are understandably extremely cautious with the young man's long-term health. Golden Tate remains the No. 1 option, with Darius Slayton and Cody Latimer being next up on the depth chart.
WR T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (OUT)
Hilton’s calf injury was expected to keep him out multiple weeks, so this is no surprise. You likely already have a back-up plan. The juicy matchup with the Dolphins made the other Colts WRs trendy pick-ups on the waiver wire. Both Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers are WR3s this week, especially with rookie Parris Campbell injured as well. Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle are both TE1s.
WR Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (ACTIVE)
Adams was not listed in Green Bay’s final injury report on Friday. He caught seven of his 11 targets for 41 yards last week against the Chargers. Adams is a must-start whenever he’s active, so feel free to roll with him as a WR1 this week. Note, Marquez Valdes-Scantling was also not listed on the Packers’ final injury report.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (QUESTIONABLE)
A surprise late addition to the injury report on Friday, Smith-Schuster was limited in practice with a foot issue. Keep a close eye on this because it is a 4:25 p.m. EST kick-off. If Smith-Schuster plays, he's on the WR2/WR3 borderline in a tough matchup against the Rams. If he's out, Diontae Johnson moves into low-end WR3 territory. No other Steelers WRs are worth starting.
WR Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams (OUT)
Cooks took a violent hit two weeks ago that resulted in a concussion, the fifth of his NFL career. He did travel with the team, but mostly to meet with specialists in Pittsburgh. There's a real chance he misses time beyond this week, so plan accordingly. Expanded roles for TE Gerald Everett and WR Josh Reynolds are expected in this matchup. Everett is a low-end TE1, while Reynolds is a low-end WR4.
WR Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (OUT)
Thielen was ruled out for Sunday Night Football on Friday with a hamstring injury. He tried to return to soon, injuring himself early in Week 9 after missing Week 8. Stefon Diggs is the clear No. 1 with Olabisi Johnson and Laquon Treadwell serving as the next men up in the Minnesota passing game. Aside from Diggs, no other Vikings pass-catcher is a recommended play this week.
WR Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (QUESTIONABLE)
Cooper is dealing with an injured left knee but expects to play on Sunday Night. He poo-pooed the idea that he couldn't play through the injury, but have a back-up plan in place just in case. Randall Cobb is available in the vast majority of leagues and has a favorable matchup in the slot against the Vikings.
WR Josh Gordon, Seattle Seahawks (QUESTIONABLE)
Head coach Pete Carroll made a point of playing his cards close to the vest this week when it came to discussing Gordon's availability. He said they'd "take it all the way to Monday." The upside for Gordon in his first game with his new team isn't high enough to risk waiting until Monday. If you must, make sure you at least add a player like Deebo Samuel as an emergency fill-in.
TE Evan Engram, New York Giants (OUT)
Engram has a low-grade mid-foot sprain and will sit out today's game against the Jets. The Giants have a bye next week, so fantasy managers will need to find a multi-week fill-in. Rhett Ellison isn't fantasy relevant, and most of Engram's targets should go to Saquon Barkley and Golden Tate this week. If you need TE help this week, O.J. Howard, Jack Doyle, and Gerald Everett are all reliable options.
TEs O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ACTIVE)
Both Tampa Bay tight ends were not listed on the final injury report and will play against the worst TE-defending team in the NFL. Both are risky plays, but the reward could be fruitful against a defense that’s allowed nine touchdowns to TEs in nine games this season.
TE Chris Herndon IV, New York Jets (QUESTIONABLE)
Herndon was active last week, but that was essentially a paper transaction (he played 0 snaps). He only got in a limited practice on Friday with his hamstring injury, but head coach Adam Gase said he has a good chance at playing against the Giants. Adam Schefter confirmed that on early Sunday morning. You likely have better options elsewhere. We still don't know how he fits in Gase's offense after missing a tremendous amount of time. He's outside of the Top 12 TEs this week.
TE George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (DOUBTFUL)
It appears Kittle will miss MNF after not practicing on Thursday or Friday. Fantasy managers must prepare accordingly. If he's active, he's a must-start, but you can't risk it. If you want to roll the dice and wait it out, pick up Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister. That way, you're guaranteed to have a starting TE no matter what on MNF. The other MNF option is Kittle's back-up Ross Dwelley. That's a far riskier play.O.J. Howard, Jack Doyle, and Gerald Everett are all solid, safer alternatives.
K Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers (QUESTIONABLE)
Gould is the No. 12 fantasy kicker in average points per game this season, but there is more than a decent chance he’s out for Monday Night Football. The 49ers signed Chase McLaughlin earlier this week, and there’s no reason to take a chance and wind up with a big 0 to end the fantasy week. Matt Gay and Chris Boswell are solid fill-ins available in at least 60% of leagues.
The Bengals have a new starting quarterback coming off their bye week, and his name is Ryan Finley. Finley was taken with the second pick of the fourth round in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Bengals traded up six spots to take the 6-foot-4 former NC State QB. He's had two weeks to prepare for a Ravens defense that ranks in the top half of the league against opposing fantasy QBs. Even with only 26 starting QBs this week, Finley is not a recommended play.
To the delight of fantasy managers everywhere, it's mild week weather-wise. The only weather note of significance is in Green Bay, where the majority of the game will be played at or below freezing. Even so, there's less than a 15% chance of precipitation and wind speeds will be about 10 MPH. No fantasy rankings are affected.