Injuries play a key part in our decision making process for daily fantasy games. The opportunity created for low cost players on offense and the match up opportunities to exploit on defense can be the difference between winning and losing. This article will try to list all the injuries that could create value for your fantasy rosters and the likelihood that each event will occur.

WHO TO KEEP AN EYE ON

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John Brown (WR) – This could be big news for Week 8. John Brown has been playing through a hamstring injury. The Cardinals are on bye next week. Word is they are considering holding him out to give him two weeks to rest up and get right. If they do hold him out, Michael Floyd will be the biggest beneficiary and should see most of the added snaps and targets.

Update: Brown did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but did practice on a limited basis Friday. He is still listed as a game time decision. If he is out, Floyd becomes a better player. If he is in, that would be a lot of mouths to feed in what looks like a run heavish game plan.

Leonard Hankerson (WR) – Hankerson was held out of practice on Wednesday and his status for the weekend is very much in doubt. Roddy White will likely get an uptick if he can’t go, but definitely check back later in the week for more news.

Update: It looks like Hankerson will be out this week. Justin Hardy is expected to see more snaps in his absence and so will Roddy White. Julio Jones is the likeliest to see increased targets.

Crockett Gillmore (TE) – He played last week and will likely play again on Sunday. It’s the only real concern the Ravens have as far as injury status, but this one is likely to be a non-issue come game day, despite the questionable tag that is lingering.

Andrew Hawkins (WR) – Hawkins is in the league’s concussion protocol and missed Wednesday’s practice. If he is unable to go, we might see Dwayne Bowe make an appearance. Neither guy will be a big part of the offense though, so it’s not earth shattering news either way.

Update: Hawkins is still in the concussion protocol. Taylor Gabriel and Brian Hartline should take his place, but neither should see big targets.

Josh McCown (QB) – McCown has a shoulder injury that kept him out of practice Wednesday. Word is he will play this weekend, but shoulder injuries are serious for a guy whose job is to throw the ball. I think he will wind up playing, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on here. Johnny Football would likely start in his absence.

Update: This is not a good report. McCown is going to give it a go, but the coach has already said he plans to play both and will be quick to take McCown out if he doesn’t feel right. I would not want to touch this situation either way and it’s best to leave it alone.

Joseph Randle (RB) – Randle skipped a scheduled treatment on his oblique Wednesday, the same day he lost his starting job to Darren McFadden. This is a mess, but the take away for fantasy is that McFadden has become the lead back in Dallas whether or not Randle is healthy.

Update: After leaving the team facility earlier in the week, Randle will be out for this game. It looks like Darren McFadden will again handle a huge load. The match up is not ideal, but he should get a lot of touches for a cheap price tag.

Dez Bryant (WR) – Dez was back at practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday. He has been out for a number of weeks and the word is he will play Sunday. He may be limited and could be rusty, but it’s nice to know we have Dez back in our life. He is definitely not as potent without his boy Tony Romo who is still a few weeks away, but anytime you can add back a guy with his talent level it is a positive.

Update: Dez is back. He unfortunately does not have an easy match up with the Seahawks and his quarterback Tony Romo is also on the shelf. It’s not the ideal spot to roll him out, but it is good to see him return.

Emanuel Sanders (WR) – Manny Sanders is a gamer so I would expect him to play this weekend. He did sit out practice to nurse the shoulder injury he had though, so make sure to check back for updates if you plan on using him.

Update: He practiced in full on Friday and is a go for Saturday.

Brandon Pettigrew (TE) – Pettigrew is back on the practice field and should be ready to play this week. Eric Ebron has emerged as a solid TE in the league, so it looks like Pettigrew will be a blocking tight end at best on Sunday. He should not eat into too many Ebron snaps and will likely not be used in obvious passing situations.

Update: He is listed as probable along with teammate Joique Bell. Both guys should go this weekend.

Davante Adams (WR) – Adams is back at practice and on track to play this weekend. His return hurts Ty Montgomery and all the WRs a little bit really. Adams did disappoint early season expectations though, so I would not overvalue the impact of his return on guys like Cobb or Jones.

Cecil Shorts (WR) – The good news is shorts was seen doing some light running, but he still did not practice. When he was out last week, we saw the volume go to Nate Washington, who had a big game. No Shorts would again be a boost for Washington, so monitor this one to see if that will be the case Sunday.

Update: Shorts is definitely out. With Arian foster done too, that should mean a pass heavy game plan and one less target. Nate Washington and DeAndre Hopkins should be the two guys who benefit most.

Jeremy Maclin (WR) – Maclin is back at practice, out of the concussion protocol, and looking forward to getting on the field Sunday against the Lions. No reason to doubt he will here.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) – Beckham is finally back to full practice this week. If you had any reservations about using him in the past few games, those are likely a non-issue going forward.

Bilal Powell (RB) – Powell has been banged up and missing both practices and games. He missed again Wednesday, but Ivory did practice in full despite being on the injury report, so this is a lot less worrisome now.

Update: He is out. Ivory will be the main back with Zac Stacy as his backup.

Eric Decker (WR) – His banged up knee is still bothering him, which is why he was held out of practice Wednesday. It’s too early in the week to know if it was a rest day or something to be concerned with. Teammate Devin Smith (WR) also sat out, so it would be a bigger concern if both guys were not going to play.

Update: Decker was limited at practice all week. His status is up in the air, but reports are that he will be a go for Sunday. We are not really sure how healthy he is, so I would temper expectations. Fellow WR Devin Smith is definitely out, so that is a concern.

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Ben Roethlisberger (QB) – This is the big news of the week and so far all signs are strongly pointing to Ben making his return. This ticks up the entire passing game as Roethlisberger was putting up huge numbers the second half of the 2014 season and finally has all his weapons back and healthy here.

Update: Big Ben is gearing up to play and is listed as Probable. This helps Antonio Brown, Martavius Bryant, and Le’Veon Bell who should all benefit.

Melvin Gordon (RB) – Gordon is practicing in full this week. He did not last week and that was why he was held out of the first half. Have to think this news would kill Oliver’s worth and it does ding Woodhead a little bit. Woodhead’s role is still safe though, so I would not downgrade him much with Gordon back.

Update: Gordon practiced and is probable for week 8. Coaches were upset with his fumbling and Danny Woodhead has been great, so at best he sees first and second down work again. Woodhead makes some sense for his ability to catch the ball, but also likely takes a tick down.

Antonio Gates (TE) – The tight end was held out of practice Wednesday after missing all of last week. It’s looking likely he will sit again, which puts Ladarius Green back in play for a very cheap price.

Update: Gates is still only listed as questionable, but he has not practiced all week and is very likely out. If so, Ladarius Green will be the replacement again. The Ravens have been tough on tight ends, but that might just be a matter of choice as wide receivers have killed them.

Thomas Rawls (RB) – Rawls sat out practice Wednesday with a leg injury. He is looking doubtful to go Sunday. If he is out, Fred Jackson would get an uptick in usage as the primary back up. Marshawn Lynch is healthy though, so neither Rawls nor Jackson are in line for big numbers.

Update: Rawls will play. It basically takes Fred Jackson off the table as a potential minimum price play. Marshawn is still the guy who will get the carries so it’s not worth worrying about too much.

Carlos Hyde (RB) – Hyde sat out Wednesday’s practice and the word is that will be a theme for him this week. Coaches do expect him to suit up on Sunday though, so it’s a small concern, but nothing huge.

Update: Hyde is out for a few weeks. Some reports are that Reggie Bush will start. Others are saying it will be Hayne, the australian football player. It’s a messy situation against a good defense, so neither guy is on the radar here.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE) – Jenkins is likely to play this week after returning to practice. He could be a big part of the offense with a lot of the WRs in Tampa a little banged up.

Update: What looked promising earlier in the week has fizzled fast. Jenkins will likely miss another game here. With V-Jax out already too, we have a trio of unknown WRs and Mike Evans. Charles Simms may also see more field time to help soak up the extra targets.

Marcus Mariota (QB) – Mariota practiced in full yesterday and said he plans to start this weekend. He practiced almost all of last week on at least a limited basis too and still missed the game, so we have to continue to monitor this situation for any news out of Titans camp.

Update: The word is he will be back next week, but that means another start for Zach Mettenberger here. He was OK in relief last season, so it is basically a neutral move for the pass catchers.

WHO’S OUT?

Darren Fells (TE) – Fells has an issue with his shoulder that will keep him out of the Arizona line up for a few weeks. Jermaine Gresham should see added snaps in his absence, but Gresham has not been good in limited time so far this year.

Arian Foster (RB) – We just got him back and just like that he is gone again. Chris Polk, Alfred Blue, and Jonathon Grimes all stand to see increased carries, but the beneficiaries are the passing game here. We saw tons of attempts when Foster was out early in the season and they are likely to go with that strategy again here.

Harry Douglas (WR) – Douglas missed practice Wednesday after missing the game last week. Justin Hunter took his spot that day and will likely be in line to do so again on Sunday. He is not going to see a lot of targets, so it’s not a great play either way.

Vincent Jackson (WR) – There is a small chance he could play, but the word is that is highly unlikely. V Jax was a big part of the offense and we saw the huge game Evans had with him missing most of the second half last week. I would expect that to be the case again here if V Jax is out.