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The news: 49ers Christian McCaffrey did not practice on Thursday due to an ankle injury.
What it means in fantasy: McCaffrey has missed consecutive practices to begin the week, which does not bode well for his availability on Sunday against the Cardinals. Fantasy managers will have a better indication of his game status after Friday’s practice reports, but realistically, McCaffrey is unlikely to play much in this game even if he suits up because San Francisco is a huge favorite and has Super Bowl aspirations. The regular season finale isn’t the time to gamble with his health. In the event McCaffrey is ruled out, Tyrion Davis-Price and Jordan Mason would fill the void.
The news: Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III and RB DeeJay Dallas did not practice on Thursday.
What it means in fantasy: Walker III and Dallas both have ankle injuries and have missed consecutive practices. Both running backs have played through injuries in recent weeks. It’s important that fantasy managers monitor Friday’s practice reports. The game has playoff implications as the Seahawks can clinch a spot if they beat the Rams and the Lions beat the Packers on Sunday night.
The news: Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett did not practice on Thursday.
What it means in fantasy: Lockett has missed consecutive practices, but head coach Pete Caroll says he is “determined” to play. Lockett sustained a leg injury against the Jets in Week 17 after returning from a hand injury. While he returned to the game, Lockett is still having some trouble with the injury as the Seahawks prepare to play the Rams in Week 18. More clarity will be provided by his practice status on Friday. Lockett should be viewed as a flex option due to his risk of reinjury.
The news: Cardinals RB James Conner did not practice Thursday due to knee and shin injuries.
What it means in fantasy: That’s back-to-back missed practices for Conner. The Cardinals have been eliminated from playoff contention, so Conner is a candidate to be ruled out against the 49ers on Sunday. Conner is still under contract with Arizona heading into 2023, so keeping him healthy should be a priority. In the event that Conner is ruled out, Corey Clement and Keaontay Ingram would form a running back by committee for the Cardinals.
The news: Raiders RB Josh Jacobs did not practice on Thursday due to hip and oblique injuries.
What it means in fantasy: Jacobs missed two practices this week due to personal reasons and is questionable for Week 18 against the Chiefs. The Raiders’ playoff hopes were dashed after losing to the 49ers in Week 17, but Jacobs will likely play in Week 18. He is looking to cap off an incredible season and is a free agent in 2023. Jacobs is also currently leading the league in rushing with 1,608 yards. Nick Chubb is ranked second with 1,448 rushing yards.
The news: Commanders RB Antonio Gibson was placed on injured reserve and RB Brian Robinson Jr. did not practice on Thursday.
What it means in fantasy: This news shouldn’t come as a surprise to fantasy managers since the Commanders are already eliminated from postseason contention. Due to a knee injury, Robinson has missed consecutive practices and is unlikely to play against the Cowboys in Week 18. Additionally, a cynic might point out that a win could alter the Commanders’ NFL draft position in 2023. Jonathan Williams would be Washington’s lead back if Robinson is ruled out.
The news: 49ers WR Deebo Samuel was a full participant in Thursday’s practice.
What it means in fantasy: Samuel has been sidelined with ankle and knee injuries since Week 14’s matchup against the Buccaneers. He has been a full participant in two consecutive practices. In a game against the Cardinals, in which the 49ers are huge favourites, Samuel is unlikely to play a full complement of snaps. San Francisco may have won the NFC West, but Sunday’s game is not without stakes. With a win over the Cardinals and a loss for the Eagles to the Giants, the 49ers would win the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
The news: Titans WR Treylon Burks did not practice on Thursday due to a groin injury.
What it means in fantasy: Burks is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against the Jaguars. He has suffered three separate injuries during his rookie season, a turf toe injury being the most recent. Head coach Mike Vrabel told reporters that he believes Burks will be fine for Saturday’s game but this news is suboptimal for a Titans team playing on a short week (Saturday) with the winner of this game taking the AFC South. The circumstances make it difficult to trust Burks as anything more than a flex option for a run-heavy Titans offense that will feature Joshua Dobbs under center.
The news: Steelers WR Diontae Johnson was a full participant in practice on Thursday.
What it means in fantasy: Johnson missed practice on Wednesday due to a hip injury. In terms of fantasy points per game, he’s been a disappointment for fantasy managers this season averaging 10.8. He’s caught only 84 of 137 targets and hasn’t scored a touchdown. Johnson is a flex option against the Browns for an 8-8 Steelers team with a real chance to make the playoffs. The Steelers will qualify for the postseason if they defeat Cleveland and the Dolphins and Patriots both lose.
Today on ESPN.com/Fantasy and in the ESPN Fantasy App
Mike Clay’s Playbook: projections and analysis for every game
• The Fantasy Football cheat sheet: the week’s best advice in one place
• Inactives Watch: who’s in, who’s out and what does it mean?
• After the games: Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft’s fantasy highs and lows
• Fantasy Football Now: Sunday at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2
In Case You Missed It:
Field Yates’ Fantasy Field Pass: A way-too-early 2023 first-round mock draft
Tristan H. Cockcroft’s positional matchup map
Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS Best Buys for Week 18
• “Fantasy Focus” podcast: Field Yates, Stephania Bell, Daniel Dopp and Mike Clay preview everything you need to know for Week 18 including what teams have something to play for and players you can still trust in a championship lineup. Plus, Adam Schefter joins to give positive updates on Damar Hamlin. The list | Watch