After returning to practice in Week 4, the question of is Chris Godwin playing this week is very much on the lips of fantasy football managers. Having missed the past two games with a hamstring injury sustained in the first week, can we expect to see Godwin on the field in Week 4, and what are the fantasy implications if he does play?
Is Chris Godwin playing today?
After being absent from practice through Week 2 and Week 3, Godwin was able to practice in a limited fashion throughout Week 4. He was given the questionable tag by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading into the weekend.
When Godwin was injured, Week 4 or Week 5 was identified as the most likely return dates, barring a setback. Therefore, it is no surprise to see him with a chance to be on the field this week.
The reports regarding Godwin’s availability from Sunday morning are a little confusing. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero appear to be under the impression that Godwin will play in Week 4.
However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter had reported earlier that while the Buccaneers were optimistic, Tampa Bay wants to test both Godwin and Julio Jones in pregame to be sure. Therefore, we should see them, but it is far from a certainty.
What should fantasy managers do with Godwin in Week 4?
The fact that the Buccaneers’ Week 4 game is on Sunday Night Football makes this a somewhat brutal situation for fantasy managers. If Godwin does work out in pre-game and then cannot go, the options to turn to will be extremely limited, with just four teams left to play. The fact the Buccaneers elevated WR Cole Beasley from the practice squad for this game provides a reason for caution.
However, there are a few options for fantasy managers to alleviate the stress around Godwin’s availability. One is to make sure that they have another Buccaneers or Chiefs player on their roster that they can easily put into their lineup if Godwin is a late inactive. That security will ensure fantasy managers are not scrambling late on Sunday to ensure they field a full lineup.
The other alternative that fantasy managers can take is simply to sit Godwin this week. Even if he is active, we have no idea how much he will play or what his role will be.
The Buccaneers pushed him in Week 1 as he returned from a knee injury, and he ended up with a knee injury. They will surely not want to take that risk again in Week 4, just as he is getting back.
Therefore, Godwin is a risky fantasy play this week. He may only be used in high-leverage situations or on certain play designs. While that does have potential value, it is limited.
For that reason, Godwin is ranked as the WR105 in PFN’s Week 4 WR fantasy rankings and 244th overall in the PPR fantasy rankings. We simply do not know what to expect from him in terms of snaps or targets this week.
What does this all mean for Mike Evans and Russell Gage’s fantasy value?
The presence of Godwin on the field should not have a major impact on the fantasy value of Evans. Their roles are extremely different, and while it might limit opportunities slightly in terms of targets, the impact should not be all that major. Evans is a top 12 option in the Week 4 WR fantasy rankings.
The situation for Gage is somewhat different. In the absence of Godwin, his role has primarily been out of the slot. That is where we could see Godwin slide into if he is active.
Additionally, if Jones is also active, then we could even see Gage coming off the field if the Buccaneers roll with Evans, Godwin, and Jones on some plays. Given that Gage’s fantasy value has been extremely dependent on targets, with an average depth of target of just 3.4 yards, a potential loss of playing time is a concern.
This week, the impact should not be huge because Godwin and Jones should be fairly limited. However, looking ahead, there are some major red flags for Gage’s fantasy value.
In Week 4, Gage is a 14-team flex consideration. However, if he has another double-digit target game, as he did in Week 3, then fantasy managers should be looking to sell immediately in Week 5, before Godwin and Jones returning eats into a significant portion of his snap share.