Rams eye Week 5 for WR Cooper Kupp’s return

Wed Sep 27 6:29pm ET
Field Level Media

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay said Wednesday that All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp is on track to return to the team after Week 4, the first week he's eligible to come off injured reserve.

The Rams play the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5.

Kupp went on IR with chronic hamstring issues and has missed the first three games of the season. He has one more to sit out -- this week at Indianapolis -- before he's eligible to come back. McVay said Kupp is "progressing" and "ramping up his workload."

"He's doing a great job with (VP of sports medicine) Reggie (Scott) and his group, but when you're talking about returning to performance and returning to play, those are different things," McVay told reporters. "And we want him to be able to return to performance at the level that he's capable of."

Kupp, 30, was first injured in a training camp practice Aug. 1, leaving the field 30 minutes into a workout. He was originally expected to be out one to two weeks, but he missed all three preseason games. He returned to practice before the Aug. 26 preseason game against the Denver Broncos before having a setback with the injury.

Kupp had been seeing a specialist in Minnesota to help with the lingering hamstring problem.

Kupp won the receiving triple crown in 2021, leading the NFL with 145 catches, 1,947 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns, and won NFL Offensive Player of the Year. He was limited to nine games in 2022 with a high ankle sprain.

The Rams (1-2) travel to play the Colts (2-1) on Sunday.

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Player Notes
Foster Moreau Sep 28 12:50am ET
Foster Moreau

New Orleans Saints tight end Foster Moreau (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday, per Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. The 26-year-old got in a limited session last Thursday before being listed as doubtful and ultimately ruled out for Week 3's affair with the Green Bay Packers. Moreau owns just two catches for 20 yards through two outings with both receptions coming in Week 2. If the fifth-year veteran is inactive once again in Week 4's date with the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans' tight end group would remain more condensed toward Juwan Johnson and Jimmy Graham, the latter of whom hit paydirt last Sunday.

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Durham Smythe Sep 28 12:40am ET
Durham Smythe

Miami Dolphins tight end Durham Smythe (hamstring) was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice, per David Furones of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The 28-year-old could be having his reps managed, considering he didn't have to leave last Sunday's game at any point. Smythe drew a lone target for a 15-yard catch amid Week 3's 70-point bonanza versus the Denver Broncos despite Jaylen Waddle's (concussion) absence. While the sixth-year man could get more attention if Waddle cannot get cleared for Week 4's potential shootout with the Buffalo Bills, Smythe would still only be worth a shot in the deepest of TE-premium fantasy leagues.

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River Cracraft Sep 28 12:20am ET
River Cracraft

Miami Dolphins wide receiver River Cracraft (shoulder) is likely facing an extended absence due to a shoulder injury he sustained in Week 3 versus the Denver Broncos, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The 28-year-old suffered the setback during the second quarter of last Sunday's game, posting one catch for 13 yards before exiting. Cracraft entered that one primed for an expanded role without Jaylen Waddle (concussion). Miami's receiving corps could be razor-thin behind Tyreek Hill in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills if Waddle cannot pass concussion protocol ahead of play with Erik Ezukanma (neck) also not practicing on Wednesday. Braxton Berrios could be on the deep-league radar in a possible shootout depending on the level of availability of the Dolphins' receivers.

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Irv Smith Jr. Sep 28 12:10am ET
Irv Smith Jr.

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Irv Smith Jr. (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday, per Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. The 25-year-old missed Week 3 versus the Los Angeles Rams with a hamstring injury, and Wednesday's lack of activity doesn't spell a good start toward a possible return. Smith, who has caught five of his seven targets for 27 yards in two games this year, was a limited practice participant last Thursday and Friday before being ruled out on Monday. If the former second-round pick is unable to suit up once again for Week 4 against the Tennessee Titans, expect slot man Tyler Boyd to act as the main beneficiary after recording 17 targets in the past two contests.

From RotoBaller

C.J. Stroud Sep 27 11:50pm ET
C.J. Stroud

Houston Texans left tackle Josh Jones (hand) is expected to miss the Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a hand injury, according to league sources. Meanwhile, Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee) remains sidelined with a lingering knee injury and is on track to miss his third straight game. The Texans could go with second-year pro Austin Deculus at left tackle, or they could choose to move George Fant to the left side where he has a considerable amount of experience. Elevating Geron Christian from the practice squad is another option. Currently, Deculus is preparing to protect rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud's blind side this Sunday. It could translate into a long day for Stroud and the Texans' offense against Steelers pass-rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.

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Joey Bosa Sep 27 11:40pm ET
Joey Bosa

Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Joey Bosa (hamstring, toe) and safety Derwin James Jr. (hamstring) both missed practice on Wednesday, as well as linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. (groin). Bosa is rarely 100 percent healthy and is now dealing with two injuries, but as long as he's able to return to practice by Friday, he should be able to suit up this weekend in a divisional showdown against the Las Vegas Raiders. Bosa has three sacks and six tackles (five solo) so far in three games and is in play as a starting pass-rusher in IDP formats if he's active against Vegas this Sunday. James was injured in the Week 3 win over the Vikings, but he, too, will have a chance to play if he can return to practice in the next two days.

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Tre'Quan Smith Sep 27 11:30pm ET
Tre'Quan Smith

The Denver Broncos are bringing in former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (groin) for a visit after he was released by the Saints on Tuesday. Smith played five seasons for the Saints, with four coming under head coach Sean Payton. The 27-year-old former third-round pick by the Saints in 2018 out of Central Florida had 131 receptions in 196 targets for 1,764 yards and 18 touchdowns in his five years in the Big Easy. The Broncos will put Smith through a physical before potentially signing him after the Saints placed him on Injured Reserve to begin the 2023 season. Payton is familiar with Smith from their time together in New Orleans, but he'll be a long shot to return any kind of fantasy value if he ends up signing with the Broncos.

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Zach Wilson Sep 27 11:20pm ET
Zach Wilson

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh has been supportive of quarterback Zach Wilson despite his struggles under center through the first three weeks of the season, but that could change in a hurry. "We all acknowledge that he has to play better. He definitely needs to get better," Saleh said. Wilson led the Jets to a win in the season opener over Buffalo after Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles on the first series of the game, but he's been downright bad in two games since, going 30-for-63 (47.6%) for 327 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions while taking six sacks. Word out of New York is that Jets players are frustrated that the team continues to stick with Wilson despite his struggles, so if Saleh doesn't want to lose the locker room, he might have to make a switch sooner than later if Wilson falls flat in Week 4 on Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Trevor Siemian Sep 27 11:20pm ET
Trevor Siemian

New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian, who was signed to the practice squad on Tuesday, will be inactive in Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, according to head coach Robert Saleh. Saleh knows that Siemian is a fast learner, but he will not say how long it will take before he's ready to play. For most Jets fans and apparently some of the players, New York can't replace the struggling Zach Wilson fast enough. Wilson will probably be playing for his starting spot this weekend in a tough matchup against the defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs. Siemian, 31, has started 30 NFL games in six NFL seasons, but he hasn't won a game since 2017 and won't necessarily be an upgrade over Wilson or Tim Boyle, the other signal-caller on the Jets' roster.

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Christian Watson Sep 27 11:10pm ET
Christian Watson

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (hamstring), who is listed as questionable for Thursday night's divisional showdown against the Detroit Lions, will make his season debut, barring an unexpected setback, according to a source. It's not a huge surprise after he told reporters he had "planned" to play earlier this week. The 24-year-old had an impressive nine touchdowns as a rookie in 14 games in 2022, so his return will be a big lift for quarterback Jordan Love and Green Bay's offense. The Packers could also be getting top RB Aaron Jones (hamstring) back from a hammy injury of his own, so the offense should be at close to full strength, minus some key offensive linemen up front. Watson has WR2 upside when healthy, but he'll be extra risky in his first start this year with the chance he's eased into the offense.

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Jimmy Garoppolo Sep 27 10:53pm ET
Jimmy Garoppolo

Las Vegas Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion) 'is doing well' in his recovery from a concussion, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, and Fowler said the Raiders are optimistic that Garoppolo will be able to play in Week 4.

Fantasy Spin: Although Garoppolo doesn't have much fantasy appeal, having him under center would be good news for Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers.

From TheHuddle

Trevor Lawrence Sep 27 10:50pm ET
Trevor Lawrence

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence heads into a tricky Week 4 matchup against the Falcons at Wembley Stadium this Sunday. The game is part of the NFL's London series, which will feature three different October showdowns. Lawrence has looked shaky to start the year with back-to-back sub-15 point performances. The Atlanta defense has been fairly middle-of-the-pack, allowing at least 20 points in each game this year. Teams have had more success attacking through the air, which should allow Lawrence to finally get things going across the pond. The Jacksonville offense is in dire need of spirited performance from their young stars. While Lawrence has done nothing to instill any sort of confidence in fantasy managers this year, this is his best shot for breaking through with Buffalo and New Orleans looming over the next few weeks.

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Jauan Jennings Sep 27 9:20pm ET
Jauan Jennings

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings missed practice on Wednesday with a shin injury. All three of the 49ers' top receivers are dealing with injury as Deebo Samuel (ribs) did not practice and Brandon Aiyuk (shoulder) was limited. Jennings failed to capitalize on Aiyuk's absence in Week 3 as he finished with just two catches for 31 yards and played on just 37.3% of the offensive snaps. Jennings will not be a fantasy option in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals, regardless of whether Samuel and/or Aiyuk are able to give it a go.

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Cordarrelle Patterson Sep 27 9:20pm ET
Cordarrelle Patterson

Atlanta Falcons running back/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) got in a limited practice session on Wednesday. Patterson has yet to take the field in 2023 as he has been dealing with a thigh injury since the beginning of the season. The veteran could be back in the fold in Week 4, although his role in the offense remains to be seen after the Falcons drafted Bijan Robinson in the first round of this past NFL draft. Patterson is best left on waivers until there is more clarity on how exactly the Falcons intend to deploy him on offense in 2023.

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Gerald Everett Sep 27 9:00pm ET
Gerald Everett

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Gerald Everett (illness) missed practice on Wednesday due to an illness. It would be surprising if Everett wasn't able to return to the practice field later this week, but we'll keep a close eye on his status leading up to Sunday's contest against the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders. Receiver Mike Williams (knee) suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the Week 3 win over the Minnesota Vikings, so that should mean more targets to go around for the rest of LA's pass-catchers the rest of the way, including Everett. The 29-year-old caught all six of his targets last Sunday for 30 yards. If his illness keeps him out against the Raiders, Donald Parham Jr. would be a popular streamer at tight end.

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Kadarius Toney Sep 27 9:00pm ET
Kadarius Toney

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney (toe) was listed as a limited practice participant on Wednesday. Toney played in the Week 3 blowout win over the Chicago Bears despite being listed as questionable for that contest. However, he played just two offensive snaps and still isn't 100 percent healthy. The oft-injured 24-year-old former first-rounder was expected to be eased into the offense early this year, but his involvement so far through three weeks has made him droppable in 12-team fantasy leagues. Toney has been targeted 11 times and has caught seven passes for just 35 yards through three weeks. As long as he doesn't suffer a setback this week, he should play on Sunday night against the New York Jets, but he's not a realistic flex play in standard-sized leagues right now.

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Allen Robinson Sep 27 8:50pm ET
Allen Robinson

As expected, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Allen Robinson II (ankle) sat out of the first practice of the week on Wednesday after injuring his ankle in the Week 3 win over the Las Vegas Raiders last Sunday night. Head coach Mike Tomlin said that Robinson could be limited in the early portion of the week because of the ankle injury, but it sounds like he should have a chance to play in Week 4 against the Houston Texans if he makes progress later in the week. The 30-year-old has failed to take advantage of Diontae Johnson (hamstring) being on Injured Reserve early in the year, catching 11 of 15 targets for 100 yards and no touchdowns through three games. If he's out or limited this Sunday, Calvin Austin III and George Pickens would see even more targets as the top two wideouts.

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Jeremy McNichols Sep 27 8:43pm ET
Jeremy McNichols

Free-agent TE Jake Tonges was signed to the San Francisco 49ers practice squad Wednesday, Sept. 27. The team also released RB Jeremy McNichols from the practice squad.

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Tyler Higbee Sep 27 8:40pm ET
Tyler Higbee

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (Achilles) was not present for the team's practice on Wednesday due to an Achilles injury. It's not a great start to a short week for Higbee, but if he can get back on the practice field in the next two days, he'll have a shot at playing in Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts. The 30-year-old has operated as a decent low-end TE1 for fantasy managers through the first three weeks and has seen more targets with receiver Cooper Kupp (hamstring) beginning the year on Injured Reserve. Higbee had a season-high 71 receiving yards on five catches in the Monday night loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. If he's unable to play this week, Brycen Hopkins would likely serve as the Rams' No. 1 pass-catching tight end.

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Derek Carr Sep 27 8:30pm ET
Derek Carr

New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (shoulder) was unable to practice on Wednesday. Carr is week-to-week heading into Week 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday after suffering an AC joint sprain in his right shoulder in the Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The 32-year-old is unlikely to make a return this week. Backup Jameis Winston didn't look good at all after taking over for the injured Carr last Sunday, but he's in line to make his first start of 2023 in Week 4. Winston could fare better with a full week to prepare with starter's repetitions in practice, and the Saints offense is also getting running back Alvin Kamara back from suspension. The 29-year-old Winston will be in play as a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues if Carr is officially ruled out.

From RotoBaller