Injuries continue to mount in the 2023 NFL season. It is inevitable that every fantasy football manager will navigate at least some of them throughout the season. San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel is dealing with knee and rib injuries. What is the latest on his status, and is he likely to play against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4?
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Latest News Surrounding Deebo Samuel
The 49ers’ Week 3 game occurred on Thursday night. That means Samuel will have had three extra days to recover from his injuries.
Late in the fourth quarter, Samuel caught a pass over the middle and ran violently through several different tacklers. It was an impressive display of power but also an unnecessary one, as he already had gotten the first down, and the game was well in hand. Sure enough, Samuel stayed down after the play before walking off the field.
Everything appeared fine, as Samuel returned to the game a few plays later, even catching a long touchdown down the sidelines. However, everything is clearly not fine, as Samuel did not practice on Wednesday.
On the one hand, Wednesday practices are largely meaningless, especially for veterans like Deebo. Fantasy managers should not be alarmed just yet. But there is definitely more cause for concern when a player who played on Thursday night isn’t practicing the following Wednesday, given the extra time off.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has yet to provide any update on the severity of Samuel’s injury. It is possible this is just a maintenance day for a veteran who really doesn’t need that much practice in season.
Long-time 49ers beat reporter Cam Inman offered his thoughts on the situation.
Deebo Samuel has a rib and a knee issue, the latter coming to light day after Thursday's win. He did not look too incapacitated when we saw in locker room Monday.
Jennings has a shin issue
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) September 27, 2023
Thursday update: Deebo Samuel was once again a DNP at practice. Beat reporters don’t seem overly concerned, but if Samuel does not at least return to a limited session on Friday, fantasy managers should operate under the assumption he is not playing Sunday.
What Does This Mean for Samuel’s Fantasy Ranking?
It doesn’t sound as if Samuel’s injuries are overly serious. The fact that he was able to return to the game last week is definitely an encouraging sign, even though he’s not practicing six days later. I am definitely far more concerned with a potential knee issue than the rib issue, though.
Without more information, any conclusions I draw would be pure speculation based on years of experience dissecting comments from coaches and beat reporters. My guess at this time is Samuel doesn’t miss more than a week. However, I do think there is a better than 50% chance he will sit out this Sunday.
The 49ers play the Cardinals. Obviously, as we saw last week, no team should be overlooked because anything can happen in the NFL. With that said, the 49ers have to believe they can comfortably dispatch the Cardinals at home.
As a result, they may err on the side of caution, much like they did with Brandon Aiyuk’s shoulder last week, and opt to hold Samuel out in a very winnable contest.
MORE: Fantasy News Tracker
Our PFN Consensus Rankings are still ranking Samuel as if he will play. When and if that changes, we will update the rankings immediately. Aiyuk would tick up in the rankings if Samuel were to sit. George Kittle would also increase in value, but given the state of the TE position, he’s already as high as he can reasonably go.
We will update this article as soon as we have information from Shanahan’s press conference — if he provides any.
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