For Week 9, fantasy owners may be scrambling to find players with a pulse to fill in their starting lineups. Six teams on bye diminish the player pool before you even factor in injuries. A few have already been ruled out (including Spencer Ware, Hunter Henry and Alex Smith), but on the whole, the injury report is lighter than it has been in previous weeks.
However, there are still several players shaping up to be game-time decisions, so be sure to check the inactive report before kickoff. Below are the key running backs and tight ends listed as Questionable that fantasy owners need to pay the most attention to. And don’t forget to consult the quarterback/wide receiver list before setting your starting lineup.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington
Note: All games are on Sunday, Nov. 6 unless otherwise noted. All times are ET.
LeSean McCoy (hamstring), RB, Buffalo Bills at Seattle Seahawks, 8:30 p.m. (Monday)
After foolishly letting McCoy play in Week 7, he sat out Week 8 and appears on track to get back out there this week. Fantasy owners have a tough call to make here as McCoy doesn't play until Monday night. The Seattle run defense has been stout as well, only allowing two touchdowns to a running back all year (both to Carlos Hyde in Week 3). The Seahawks have allowed three running backs to rush for more than 100 yards, including David Johnson in Week 7 and Tim Hightower in Week 8. If McCoy is active, fantasy owners should start him as a RB2. All signs do point to that being the case, but McCoy owners should hang on to Mike Gillislee, just to be safe.
Carlos Hyde (shoulder), RB, San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints, 4:05 p.m.
UPDATE: Hyde is OUT today.
Dealing with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, Hyde may be listed as Questionable, but he’s probably closer to Doubtful for Week 9. The matchup against the Saints is a good one, but between the late afternoon start time and the shoulder injury, fantasy owners should plan on Hyde staying on their bench. Behind Hyde on the team is DuJuan Harris, however, Mike Davis and Shaun Draughn also will share the work. In San Francisco’s last game (Week 7, 49ers had bye in Week 8), Draughn served as the pass-catching back while Harris led the way with 11 carries (David had seven) in Hyde’s absence. Despite the appealing matchup, the 49ers’ entire backfield should be avoided.
Theo Riddick (ankle), RB, Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.
Riddick was able to put in limited practices this week after playing last Sunday. He should be fine for today, and fantasy owners may be relying on him with so many other injuries and players on bye. In PPR leagues, he's a solid RB2. He's barely getting double-digit carries on a team that loves to throw the ball. The Vikings just allowed Jordan Howard to run all over them last week, to the tune of 202 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Riddick's health is not a question, but his usage is what's frustrating to fantasy owners.
Delanie Walker (groin), TE, Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers, 4:25 p.m.
Walker practiced on Wednesday, and he was added to the injury report Thursday with a groin injury. He did not practice on Friday and appears to be a game-time decision for Sunday. This is brutal for fantasy owners, as tight end is thin this week with six teams on bye, and the fact that the Titans don't play until the late afternoon games. On Friday afternoon, Walker admitted to pulling his groin in practice and had some concern about how it would feel after the cross-country flight. He expects to play, but fantasy owners should have a backup plan in place. Los Angeles’ Lance Kendricks is available in almost 90 percent of leagues, and he has a great matchup against the Panthers. The Rams also play in the late afternoon slot of games in Week 9.
Jimmy Graham (knee), TE, Seattle Seahawks vs. Buffalo Bills, 8:30 p.m. (Monday)
Graham has battled the knee issue for much of the season, but he'll be fine for Monday night. Fantasy owners were a little nervous after he went from a full practice participating on Thursday to being limited on Friday. However, the Seahawks haven't shown any signs of concern, and Graham may just be getting a bit of rest. He had a quiet Week 8 (3-34-0) in what should have been a great matchup and a revenge game against his former team. He should bounce back and is a clear TE1 for Week 9.
Jerick McKinnon (ankle), RB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
After practicing both Thursday and Friday, McKinnon is on track to play on Sunday. He missed Week 8 with the ankle injury, but now should regain his role alongside Matt Asiata behind a poor offensive line that can't block. McKinnon is a low RB2 even though the Lions have allowed two receiving touchdowns to running backs this year. Overall, the Lions have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to the position, including just one rushing touchdown and only two 100-yard rushers.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.