While reading this injury report is great to help you determine your fantasy starting lineup, be sure to always check the inactive list before game time on Sunday morning. Last week, Jeremy Maclin was listed as questionable, but we all thought he would play. However, he was a surprise inactive, and many people were burned by taking a zero in his starting spot. This week, he is listed as probable and has practiced in full, so he should be active, but always double check.
Note: All games are at 1 p.m. ET unless otherwise noted.
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Washington
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants at New Orleans Saints
Probable – Hamstring
Beckham will play this week, which is great news for fantasy owners. He was able to practice this week, so he may be getting healthier. While ODB hasn't been the top-3 WR that may fantasy owners hoped for this season, he has been a solid WR2 with WR1 upside. Against the Saints this week, ODB can be penciled in as a WR1. He has four touchdowns this season, and after this week, it should be more.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Doubtful – Knee
While the Buccaneers have refused to officially rule VJax out, he's not going to play on Sunday after injuring his knee and not practicing all week. While reports have varied from him being out for multiple weeks or being able to play next week, the reality is he's out today, and Mike Evans will be fed the ball as much as possible. Look for Doug Martin to also have an expanded role in the passing game, with Charles Sims jumping in as well. The receivers behind Jackson on the depth chart
(Donteea Dye as an example) are just desperation options.
Steve Smith Sr., WR, Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers
Probable – Knee
With three 100-yard games this season, Smith is easily on the WR2 radar this week. He will play on Sunday in a good matchup with San Diego. He has three touchdowns on the year as well and the knee injury isn't a concern for a guy that is playing with fractures in his back. He should be started this week and Kamar Aiken falls back to a bye-week fill-in.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns
Questionable – Hamstring
The good news for fantasy owners is that Brown is playing in an early game this week, as his status will likely come down to a game-time decision. Brown apparently has hamstring injuries in both legs, and Arizona does have a bye in Week 9. It wouldn't be surprising to see him sit this week and get healthy for Week 10 and beyond. However, if he is active, start him as a WR1.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Houston Texans vs Tennessee Titans
Out – Hamstring
When Shorts has been out, Nate Washington has stepped up (even though last week's 9/127/2 stat line was mostly fueled by garbage time). Shorts is out again this week, pushing Washington onto the WR3 radar. The matchup is a good one, although the Texans have struggled offensively when Arian Foster hasn't been leading the offense. While they struggle to replace Foster, shy away from the Texans’ offense (outside of DeAndre Hopkins) if possible.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Out – Hamstring
After pulling his hamstring in Week 7 (and leaving fantasy owners with a zero), Hankerson has been ruled out for Week 8. He has been disappointing following the first four games of the season, and can be dropped in 10-team leagues. Fantasy owners searching for a desperation option can look to Justin Hardy, a rookie who may have a role depending on his performance. Roddy White will be in the mix and Julio Jones gets a bigger boost than usual.
Harry Douglas, WR, Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Out – Ribs
Last week when Douglas was out, it looked like it could be an opportunity for Dorial Green-Beckham. The reality for those that started DGB: a zero. It's hard to trust any Titans wide receiver, although the matchup is good and Zach Mettenberger proved competent in Week 7. Justin Hunter is the flyer for fantasy owners that are desperate, but he’s the epitome of “boom or bust.”
— 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.