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August 02, 2019

Fantasy football injuries (and holdouts): The latest on Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, A.J. Green, Derrick Henry and more

Here we go. 

Your fantasy draft is coming up. You've picked your draft order, browsed through mock drafts and player rankings, settled on a hilarious team name and are now desperately trying to keep track of the constantly changing landscape of fantasy football injuries, holdouts and suspensions.

We've taken the liberty of piecing together the latest news on a bevy of the most important players currently with their ability to play Week 1 in doubt. Here's a look at news on some of the NFL's most key players:

QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF/ST | K | FLEX 


Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers

It's not clear how Gordon's strategy will work, exactly, as his agent reportedly asked for a trade and the Chargers brass told Gordon's camp "no." Gordon will continue to hold out — he is due just over $5 million this season. What are the fantasy implications here? Well, assuming no other team would offer enough for Gordon (they won't), Gordon is sort of stuck, since he is under contract right now.

He doesn't exactly fit the scenario set course by Le'Veon Bell last year since Bell was technically a free agent and unhappy under his franchise tag. Gordon is not a free agent and must play a portion of this year to earn free agent status — probably six weeks of games — or he will be ruled to still be under contract for the final season of his deal. 

Keep an eye on Gordon's case. There is a pretty good chance he has to give in and play at some point. 

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

Elliott, who is reportedly keeping in shape while on an extended vacation, technically needs to report by August 6 to accrue a full season. Having played just three NFL seasons, Elliott is further away from free agency than Gordon. His leverage really only comes from his refusal to play hurting the chances of the Cowboys being successful this season.

There hasn't been much movement on the part of the Dallas front office, but Elliott will need to play football one way or another before he has the power to actually make more money. Here's a little more on the situation from CBS's Will Brinson:

If Zeke skipped eight or nine games in 2019, he would likely ensure his contract did not toll and while he might not get an accrued season in 2019, he would head into 2020 needing just one more year to get that four years. The Cowboys could stop him from accruing that season by negating his fifth-year option -- it's guaranteed for performance only -- but that would involve cutting him, thereby making him immediately an unrestricted free agent. It's a sneaky piece of leverage for Elliott, even though he would simply find himself in roughly the same spot Gordon is now next year at this time. [CBS Sports]

Injury updates

A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

Green is a top three round WR if healthy. But he isn't right now after sustaining an ankle injury that threatens to cost him a game or two when the regular season arrives. Here's the latest from

Though coach Zac Taylor hasn't provided an exact timetable for Green's return from an ankle procedure, he did acknowledge that the wideout is expected to miss at least a couple of regular-season games, reports. "I don't like to make that projection because everybody heals a little bit differently, but we're ready for him to come back when he feels healthy and ready to go," Taylor noted Tuesday. "Hopefully, it's not more than a couple of games." [ESPN]

Andrew Luck, QB, Colts

Luck has been missing a lot of time with a calf injury and the Colts are being as cautious as they can with their star QB. With fears that over-extension could lead to a Kevin Durant-like Achilles tear, Luck may not see significant reps until things ramp up prior to the season starting. According to The Athletic, however, Luck expects to be ready for Week 1.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Rams

Probably also falling into the category of being overly cautious, Cooks left practice Thursday with a slight hamstring tweak, saying "it got a little bit tight." There doesn't look to be any reason for concern on this one.

Derrick Henry, RB, Titans

The Tennessee RB is out of his walking boot, which is a good sign, but his strained calf injury is one that could cost him at least two weeks. Which means Dion Lewis will have a chance to show what he can do in the featured back role to start the season.

Sterling Shephard, WR, Giants

Shepard's thumb injury is healing, slowly, and the wide receiver says he hopes to have his splint removed next week. It seems 50-50 as to whether he'll be ready to go in time for the start of the season.

Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles

Sanders hurt his foot Thursday in practice. Here's what our Jimmy Kempski had to say about the injury:

Miles Sanders took a handoff and was immediately met in the backfield by a defensive linemen (didn't catch who), but Sanders spun out of his grasp to the left, where he ran smack dab into Rasul Douglas. Sanders went down, and stayed down for a minute or so, while trainers looked at his left foot. Sanders got up, slowly walked off, and eventually headed to the medical tent. He later made his way back out to the field, but did not participate in the rest of practice. After practice, Doug Pederson said he thought Sanders was fine, but they were going to do more tests.

Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons

This duo of wideouts sat out Thursday night's first (of five?!) preseason games for Atlanta. Both were precautionary and both should be fine as training camp continues.

Trey Burton, TE, Bears

Burton continues to sit out practices with a sports hernia injury. He has told the media he's starting to feel better and it doesn't appear the injury will cost him serious playing time.

Duke Johnson, RB, Browns

Johnson, who is quietly on the trade block, is nursing a hamstring injury but should recover sometime soon.

Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, RB, Packers

Both Green Bay RBs sat out the most recent of practices for precautionary purposes as each of them works their way back from hamstring injuries.

Thomas Rawls, RB, Jaguars

Rawls is nursing a hamstring injury as well and has been out all week. 


Golden Tate, WR, Giants

Tate doesn't look like he expects to win his appeal of a four-game suspension for using PEDs. 

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