Fantasy Injury Updates: Julio Jones, Adam Thielen, Brandon Aiyuk, more WRs impacting Week 13 waiver wire strategy

Fantasy Injury Updates: Julio Jones, Adam Thielen, Brandon Aiyuk, more WRs impacting Week 13 waiver wire strategy

Julio Jones (hamstring), DJ Chark (ribs), and Kenny Golladay (hip) all were out of commission last week due to injuries, and Adam Thielen and Brandon Aiyuk were inactive after being placed on their teams’ respective COVID lists. With one week separating many fantasy football owners from the fantasy playoffs, owners will need to know the latest news and updates about these WRs, as they could influence waiver wire strategy and key start ’em, sit ’em decisions. Here’s what we know about each situation and what to watch for in the coming weeks.

For updates on banged-up RBs, such as David Johnson, Todd Gurley, Myles Gaskin, and more, click here; for the latest on RBs on the COVID list, including Jonathan Taylor, James Conner, JK Dobbins, and Mark Ingram, go here; for news on Lamar Jackson and Tua Tagovailoa, go here. For all the latest fantasy updates, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Is Julio Jones playing this week?

It was always expected that Jones (hamstring) would miss at least one week after aggravating his nagging hamstring injury against the Saints in Week 11. Jones did practice in the lead-up to Week 12 but only on a limited basis for two days before being downgraded to a non-participant in Friday’s practice. That late-week downgrade indicated that Jones wouldn’t be ready to play, and sure enough, he was inactive for the Falcons’ win against the Raiders.

Ahead of Week 13, Jones should have a chance to get back on the practice field. It will be particularly important to watch his Wednesday practice status. If he’s a non-participant at that point, it would be a bad sign, but so long as he doesn’t log any “DNP” tags throughout the week, he should at least have a chance to play against the Saints. He may end up being truly questionable, but we should know more about his status on Friday.

If Jones can’t play, Russell Gage will be the biggest beneficiary in terms of playing time. The normal No. 3 receiver will become the starter across from Calvin Ridley while Christian Blake and Brandon Powell would rotate in as the No. 3 receiver. Olamide Zaccheaus (toe) left the game against the Raiders and didn’t return, so Ridley, Gage, Blake, and Powell would be left to carry the load at receiver.

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Is Adam Thielen playing this week?

Thielen had to miss the Vikings’ Week 12 game after testing positive for COVID. However, there is a chance that it was a false positive, as NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Thielen tested positive and then negative for the virus. He still sat in Week 12, but some additional information about his status should be available in the coming days.

Given that Thielen was placed on the COVID list on Nov. 23, there’s a good chance he should be able to return for Minnesota’s Week 13 game, as 13 days would have passed between his placement on the COVID list (which likely came from his positive test) and the team’s next game. NFL rules stipulate that asymptomatic players may return to action 10 days after the initial positive test or if they test negative for five straight days after testing positive.

Thielen will need to be watched in the coming days, but unless he is symptomatic, he should be available to play. However, on the off-chance he isn’t, Justin Jefferson would continue to be a WR1 against a weak Jaguars pass defense while Olabisi Johnson and Chad Beebe could be worth speculative flex plays.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Is Brandon Aiyuk playing this week?

Aiyuk missed the 49ers’ Week 12 game after landing on the COVID list. Like Thielen, it appears that he will have a chance to play in Week 13.

Aiyuk had previously been placed on the COVID list Nov. 20, so provided that he’s asymptomatic, he will be able to return. If he’s symptomatic, things will get a bit trickier, as he’ll need to be away from the team for 10 days and be 72 hours removed from his last symptoms before he can practice again. There has been no indication if Aiyuk is symptomatic or asymptomatic, so it’s hard to say with certainty whether he will return.

If Aiyuk does make it back for Week 13, he will be a welcome addition for the 49ers as they take on a Bills defense that has one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL (Tre’Davious White). If Aiyuk can’t play, it will be up to Deebo Samuel and Jordan Reed to handle most of the targets. Kendrick Bourne and Richie James would also see increased playing time, but they’d be nothing more than potential bargain-bin DFS plays.

Is DJ Chark playing this week?

Chark (ribs) was a non-participant at Jaguars practice all last week and was declared out on Friday well ahead of Jacksonville’s game against the Browns. The fact that he couldn’t practice last week will make his practice status this week all the more important to watch.

If Chark can get in a limited practice on Wednesday, that should indicate that he has a chance to play against the Vikings in Week 13. If he’s still listed as a DNP, that would have him trending toward missing the game. Either way, it’s hard to count on him to return because the Jaguars, a one-win team, won’t want to rush him back if he’s not 100 percent.

Should Chark be absent in this favorable matchup, Keelan Cole and Collin Johnson would be intriguing plays against a Vikings defense that has struggled badly against WRs this year. They would be plug-and-play WR3/flex options with WR2 ceilings, so feel free to target them in a favorable matchup in either season-long leagues or DFS tournaments.

Is Kenny Golladay playing this week?

Golladay (hip) was unable to play on Thanksgiving, but with a mini-bye ahead of the Lions’ Week 13 game, he should theoretically be closer to returning.

Golladay was listed as a limited participant on last week’s Lions injury report on Monday before being out of action on Tuesday, and that’s notable because the Monday report was just a practice estimation. So, that means the coaching staff evidently thought that Golladay was closer to returning than he was.

Wednesday will be the first time that the Lions release an injury report this week, so if Golladay can be upgraded to “limited” or full,” he will have a chance to play. If he’s a “DNP” that means he may have trouble getting back on the field this weekend. With the Lions virtually eliminated from playoff contention, they have no reason to rush Golladay back, so that’s something to keep in mind, as well.

If Golladay is out, Marvin Jones will continue to be the Lions’ No. 1 receiver while Marvin Hall and Quintez Cephus play the other receiver spots. Hall is the more appealing fantasy option because of his big-play ability, so feel free to use him should Golladay miss another game.