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August 30, 2019

Fantasy football injuries (and holdouts): How much time will Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon miss? The latest on Kenny Stills, DeSean Jackson and more

With very few players of fantasy football interest playing in Preseason Week 4, you'd think you could rest easy. But alas, the injury and holdout news keeps filing in. 

Take a look below to get some very important details on the status of a handful of very important players for fantasy football. If you are drafting this weekend, or plotting moves for Week 1, information is king when it comes to fantasy football.

Here's the latest:

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

If you already drafted Elliott, make sure you have a back up plan for Week 1. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted Thursday that he is accepting that Elliott will miss some games. Neither side of the contract dispute are close, though Jones did say he expects Elliott to play at some point.

“He can‘t and won‘t miss them all,” Jones told USA Today. “We need Zeke. We’re a better team with Zeke. But we need to be able to win when we need to without players because of injuries, suspension or in this case, hold out."

Elliott may seem to have the upper hand now, but contract-wise, the fourth-year pro must suit up and play to accrue the necessary service time to eventually become a free agent. Otherwise he remains under Cowboys control on his rookie deal.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers

"I haven't solved this one yet," Chargers GM Tom Telesco said of the continuing Gordon hold out. 

Not a ton is really known about the status of any negotiations, though Gordon did respond to a tweet from a fantasy football playing fan a couple days ago, offended by where he was drafted.

Does that mean he will play through the final year of his rookie contract? Does it mean he knows a deal may be in place sometime soon? All we know for sure is that in order for him to be worthy of a pick higher than Round 6, he will need to return to the field sometime very soon.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles

Initial reports said Jackson's broken finger was no big deal but hours after reporters learned of the injury — which occurred earlier this week — it was feared he may miss time. However, Jackson was seen wearing a movable splint on the sidelines of Thursday night's preseason game, and Eagles insider Dave Spadaro reported that Jackson would be ready to go in Week 1. Head coach Doug Pederson confirmed after the game, saying DJax would "be fine."  Still, be cautious but you can nab Jackson when appropriate in your draft.

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins

Stills projects to be one of Ryan Fitzpatrick's top targets this season — if he makes the team? 

According to reports by several football writers, Stills' days in Miami may be numbered as he recovers from a minor injury. This is a situation without much information to go by — but to pay close attention to as the WR may actually find up on another team before the season starts.

D.K. Metcalf, David Moore, WR, Seahawks

The wideout situation in Seattle is not looking great for Week 1. Metcalf, a speedy second round pick this April who underwent a minor knee procedure last week, is in "wait and see" mode according to head coach Pete Carroll. He seems to have a day to day injury but could miss the first week or so. 

Fellow WR Moore, working back from a shoulder injury, will likely make the 53-man roster (reports say) which means he'll be healthy enough to play at some point over the first few weeks of the season but probably not right away. That all just makes Tyler Lockett even more valuable as Week 1 approaches.

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

Newton hurt his foot last week while playing in the third preseason game. While many feared the worst, x-rays came back negative and according to team officials, Newton will be back by Week 1. In fact, head coach Ron Rivera said he had "no doubt." His draft stock shouldn't suffer much.

Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys

Cooper has been suffering through painful plantar fasciitis and hasn't been practicing. He said last week that he planned to play in Week 1, pain or not, and it sounds like that same outlook remains. Just keep this in mind when drafting him.

Keke Coutee, WR, Texans

An ankle injury has Houston "not hopeful" the wide receiver will be ready to go in Week 1. He has been doing his best to practice but it sounds as though the team is not optimistic. His draft stock will take a hit as his timetable is unknown.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers

Recovering from knee surgery, McKinnon reportedly suffered a setback in practice this week. He's a stay away player for the time being.

Lamar Miller, RB, Texans

Miller tore his ACL and is on Houston's IR. He's not draftable this year.

Kareem Hunt, RB, Browns

Hunt is already slated to miss 10 games due to suspension, so his sports hernia surgery (which happened Thursday) won't effect that timetable much. 

Graham Gano, K, Panthers

Just be careful when you draft your kicker. Gano has been out all summer with a knee injury which is apparently not getting any better. Carolina will likely add him to the IR when the season starts and designate him eligible to return after Week 8. 

D.J. Chark, Titans

Those hoping to nab a sleeper or a keeper in Chark should beware that he remains in the concussion protocol, and has yet to be cleared for Week 1.

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