Four games into the NFL and fantasy seasons and the injury reports are littered with wide receivers. A few of these key wideouts (Brandin Cooks, Pierre Garcon) are listed as probable and put in a full practice at some point during the week. These guys are playing so they won’t be listed here or with the second wave of banged-up WRs.
Teams on bye: Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, New York Jets
Note: All games are at 1 p.m. ET unless otherwise noted.
Steve Smith Sr., WR, Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns
Doubtful – Back
Smith took a nasty hit last week late in the game against the Steelers and has several fractures in his back as a result. He may be listed as doubtful, but head coach John Harbaugh has already said Smith’s not playing. Smith doesn’t need surgery, so it likely will be a matter of pain tolerance moving forward. Keep a close on eye on the practice reports next week. With Smith and Breshad Perriman (knee, out indefinitely) both sidelined, Kamar Aiken moves into the No. 1 WR role for the Ravens.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears at Kansas City Chiefs
(UPDATE: OUT– Hamstring)
Jeffery keeps looking like he is going to play, and then he keeps sitting out. He practiced in a limited basis on Wednesday and Thursday, but he did not practice on Friday. When practice status changes like that, it is never a good sign in terms of playing status for the weekend. Don't expect to see Jeffery on the field this afternoon against the Chiefs.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans
(UPDATE: OUT - Calf)
Watkins is still battling a calf injury and he hasn't been able to practice in full. He's put in very limited practices, but it doesn't bode well for his playing status. It appears he hasn't suffered a setback, and he may be on track to play in Week 6, but don't expect to see him today.
Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears at Kansas City Chiefs
(UPDATE: OUT - Ankle)
While Royal did play last week (7/54/1), he showed up on the Wednesday practice report with an ankle injury. He did not practice all week, and even though he has been given the questionable tag, it doesn't look good for Royal after sitting out Friday. It is a good matchup, especially if Alshon Jeffery remains sidelined, but don't count on Royal this afternoon. Look for Marquess Wilson to fill in at WR, and TE Martellus Bennett should see a boost in targets.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins
Probable – Thumb
Hankerson has had two good games and two not-so-good games. While the pattern lends itself to a not-so-good game in Week 5, the reality is that the Washington secondary can be beat. Matt Ryan is playing at home, where he does well, and Hankerson has stepped up into the No. 2 WR role in Atlanta. Even though Roddy White has been complaining, Hankerson will get plenty of looks. The thumb injury isn't a concern, as he has been practicing all week.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons
Out – Hamstring
Jackson has already been ruled out for Week 5. While he has gotten some limited practice in, he hasn't practiced in full and is not ready to play. Watch the practice reports next week to see if he plays in Week 6.
— 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.