The RB injury report for Week 8 has some intriguing implications for fantasy football managers. With the first NFL injury reports for Sunday having been released on Wednesday and then updated throughout the week, let’s look at the fantasy implications of those latest injury updates, which include the likes of Ezekiel Elliott, Chuba Hubbard, D’Andre Swift, James Conner, and others.
RB Injury Report Heading Into Week 8
Please note that practice status listings are as follows: DNP – did not participate, LP – limited participant, FP – full participant.
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Ezekiel Elliott, DAL | Knee (Doubtful)
It initially seemed precautionary that Ezekiel Elliott missed practice Wednesday with an MCL knee sprain and a thigh bruise. The injury happened when he collided with Detroit Lions safety DeShon Elliott on Sunday.
While the Cowboys’ RB briefly left the game, he was able to return. Just two carries after injury, Zeke was able to hurdle his namesake, suggesting the knee issue was not limiting him too much.
It is not a huge surprise that the veteran running back was given a rest day with this sprain. We also saw him miss practice again Thursday. However, at this point, it is not clear whether Zeke will miss the Week 8 game against the Chicago Bears. Another consideration is that the Cowboys are on a bye in Week 9. That would give Zeke two weeks to rest while only missing one game.
When Elliott spoke to the media, he said his knee felt better today than Monday. When asked about his chance of playing Sunday, he added, “I don’t know right now. We got a lot of time until Sunday.” However, he did add he could play Sunday without needing to practice this week.
If Zeke does miss the game, Tony Pollard would figure to see an increase in carries. During his media availability Wednesday, head coach Mike McCarthy suggested that Pollard could see a full workload if Zeke was out.
“We’re so, so fortunate to have Tony and Zeke here,” McCarthy said. “I think both are fully capable of carrying a full load.”
On Friday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested that Zeke might be out in Week 8. Jones pointed to the bye for the Cowboys in Week 9, providing too good of an opportunity to pass up the chance to get Elliott fully healthy. Pollard was later tagged as questionable by the Cowboys.
That said, do not be surprised if we see the Cowboys elevate Qadree Ollison from the practice squad or sign Malik Davis, who has already been elevated twice. They placed their third-string RB, Rico Dowdle, on the IR last week.
Chuba Hubbard, CAR | Ankle (Out)
Another player who was not a surprise to see on the Week 8 RB injury report is Chuba Hubbard. The Carolina Panthers RB left the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth quarter. Hubbard worked out on the stationary bike Wednesday while wearing a red non-contact jersey.
After the game Sunday, it was reported that Hubbard could have returned to the game if required. That suggested he avoided a major injury and could be in line to play Sunday. However, the Panthers ruled Hubbard out on Friday.
After practice on Wednesday, interim head coach Steve Wilks said he hoped Hubbard can progress and could be ready for Sunday. Hubbard had 63 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine rushing attempts, with two receptions for 10 yards on three targets in Week 7.
With Hubbard set to miss the game, we would likely see an increase in work for D’Onta Foreman. After Hubbard left the game, Foreman handled the bulk of the work, having mixed in with Hubbard before that. Foreman finished with 15 rushing attempts for 118 yards while adding 27 receiving yards on two receptions.
The Panthers have Raheem Blackshear as the third RB on their roster, with Spencer Brown on the practice squad. If we see them try out veteran backs this week, then we will get an indication that the injury for Hubbard may be more serious than they initially let on.
Josh Jacobs, LV | Foot (Cleared)
Josh Jacobs was limited in practice on Wednesday with a foot issue. Coming off of a three-touchdown day against the Houston Texans, Jacobs is now a slight question mark for Week 8. However, there was not seemingly a huge amount of panic from the Raiders’ beat writers. Jacobs is not on the final Week 8 injury report.
The expectation should be that Jacobs will suit up in Week 8 and be started as usual by fantasy managers. However, if he does not, then Zamir White would be expected to handle the bulk of the carries. Right now, that is not a concern, but if you have a spare bench spot, stashing White in case of a setback for Jacobs would be prudent.
D’Andre Swift, DET | Shoulder (Cleared)
There was good news for fantasy managers as D’Andre Swift finally got in a full practice for the first time since Week 1. Swift carries no injury designation into the weekend. He should be active in Week 8, barring an unforeseen setback. However, fantasy managers should not expect him to touch the ball 15-20 times, necessarily.
Jamaal Williams has done a solid job as the lead back, and we could easily see Swift eased back in. If he is active, it is close to impossible not to start him. This is simply a public service announcement to not get your hopes too high as much as anything.
James Conner (Ribs – Out) and Darrel Williams (Knee – Questionable)
With both James Conner and Darrel Williams returning to practice in Week 8, things just got a lot more complicated in the Cardinals backfield. Eno Benjamin has done a solid job holding down the fort, but Conner would be expected to return as the main option.
He was able to get to be questionable for Thursday Night Football in Week 7, so he appeared to have a decent shot to play in Week 8. However, Conner was downgraded to a non-participant on Friday before being ruled out.
Williams is a game-time decision after being limited all week. It is not certain how much he would play, even if he is active. Therefore, Eno Benjamin and Keaontay Ingram should still play a significant amount in Week 8, regardless of Williams’ status.
Darrell Henderson Jr., LAR | Illness (Cleared)
There is no immediate concern with Darrell Henderson Jr. being listed on the Los Angeles Rams injury report for Week 8. With it being an illness designation, we should expect to see Henderson on the field this week. He was upgraded to Thursday and could yet be a full participant on Friday. Malcolm Brown and Ronnie Rivers could be intriguing deeper league additions if Henderson is downgraded on Friday.
Raheem Mostert, MIA | Knee (Cleared)
It is somewhat intriguing to note that Raheem Mostert was downgraded from a full participant on Wednesday to a limited participant on Thursday. In previous weeks we have seen Mostert open the week limited before being upgraded to a full participant.
This move in the other direction for Mostert’s status is something to monitor. While Mostert remained limited Friday, he carries no injury designation into the weekend. He should be a full go in Week 8.