Leading up to gameday each week Aaron Larson (@aalarson) examines the hottest NFL rumors and offers insights for potential fantasy football implications they might have heading into the weekend. So, grab your beverage or snack of choice and get ready for the weekend with some good old-fashioned fantasy football speculation.
Rumor: After reportedly feeling the best he has all season, Doug Baldwin is now listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision against the Panthers Sunday.
Fantasy Fallout: Baldwin is coming off of his strongest performance of the season (prompting some analysts to dub him a must-start). It’s never good when a groin injury pops up on the injury report late in the week, so now you may want to pivot away from Baldwin if you have other options.
Rumor: Jimmy Graham is planning to play with a broken thumb Sunday night against the Vikings.
Fantasy Fallout: Graham was reportedly able to catch passes normally in practice despite the heavy padding and taping on the injured thumb. He’s never been much of a blocker, so as long as it holds up in the passing game, he should be good to go. Graham hasn’t had the season the Packers, and fantasy owners were hoping for, but it’s doubtful that there are any better fantasy options available for his owners.
Rumor: Melvin Gordon popped up as questionable on the injury report with a sore knee and hamstring.
Fantasy Fallout: It’s always worrisome to see a stud running back go from full to limited practices as the week goes on, but head coach Anthony Lynn just chalked it up to being sore at this point in the season. If the Chargers do decide to rest Gordon, Austin Ekeler becomes a strong start at running back against the Cardinals.
Rumor: Tom Brady has been limited or missed practice for multiple reasons this week. He’s officially listed as questionable for Sunday
Fantasy Fallout: This isn’t anything new for the Patriots and Tom Brady. It would be a shock if he didn’t play this week, but if he doesn’t, it would be Brian Hoyer to get the start. Fantasy owners need to pay attention just in case of the unlikely event that Brady is out.
Rumor: AJ Green hasn’t practiced all week, but has been upgraded to questionable for Sunday’s game against the Browns.
Fantasy Fallout: It seems unlikely that Green will play, but if he does fantasy owners should feel pretty comfortable starting him. If he sits, the Bengals will have Tyler Boyd and John Ross seeing the majority of snaps and targets at wide receiver.
Rumor: Rob Gronkowski is good to go this week after missing three of the last four games.
Fantasy Fallout: Gronk has had a disappointing fantasy season, with only one touchdown in the seven games that he’s been active. That being said, you have to immediately slot him back into your lineup when he’s active, which it sounds like he will be this week. He’s a threat to score anytime he’s on the field.
Rumor: Torrey Smith might return for the Panthers Sunday, but Devin Funchess is doubtful to play.
Fantasy Fallout: Carolina has some exciting young receivers in DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel, who each caught touchdown passes last week. Moore has been much more involved in the offense lately, seeing over 70% of the Panthers offensive snaps in the past four weeks, so he is the Carolina receiver you want on your fantasy team this week.