Look Like a Champion...
The Footballguys Shop is online now!
Indianapolis up 7
After missing three games, All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson (ankle) was designated by the team to return from the injured reserve list. Nelson was officially limited in practice but the fact he was in practice at all is an extremely positive sign. Chris Reed, his replacement, is a solid veteran, but Nelson is a game-changer. He is the highest graded guard in the league, and arguably the best lineman in football regardless of position. With a road prime-time matchup on the slate for Sunday Night at San Francisco, all signs point to Nelson's return this week on national television. The Colts carry a top-4 grade in the latest rankings, with upside to improve further should right tackle Braden Smith (foot) regain his health.
New Orleans up 7
Coming off a bye week, center Erik McCoy (calf) told interviewers he's "mentally, physically, [and] emotionally" ready for the game. McCoy's return would send Calvin Throckmorton to the bench. This upgrade also includes the return of left tackle Terron Armstead (elbow), as both he and McCoy returned to practice without any injury designation. James Hurst has done a decent job in his place but New Orleans' starting lineup can dominate. They retake 1st overall before facing a vulnerable Seattle defensive front on MNF.
Philadelphia up 6
Right tackle Lane Johnson (depression, anxiety) returned to practice after taking time away from the team to deal with his mental issues. The coaches have been outwardly supportive of this player, with the head coach wearing Johnson's #65 on the bill of his hat while he was away. Johnson is not the perennial Pro Bowler he used to be but his return represents a significant upgrade, not just in talent level, but for the morale of the offense. His return allows Jordan Mailata to move back to left tackle and would send Andre Dillard to the bench. With the trade deadline approaching, Dillard could be valuable trade bait, as the former first-rounder is one of the few starting-caliber left tackles without a starting job. The Eagles' offensive line grades 7th this week just prior to a favorable matchup at Las Vegas.
Dallas up 2
After missing five games serving a suspension (that he contested in federal court) right tackle La'el Collins has been reinstated by the league. Terrence Steele has been excellent in his place, and it would not be surprising if the swing tackle took a few reps away from Collins, that's how well he's been playing. It's more likely Steele returns to his depth role. The team will need a replacement plan at left tackle, where Tyron Smith is battling through his eleventh season. Smith was forced from last week's game against New England briefly with a neck injury, he went to the locker room, then returned to the game. The line is ranked 8th this week but the team is currently on a bye.
New England up 9
The Patriots' offensive line is slowly returning to health. Michael Onwenu was able to return last week against Dallas, and he played 100% of snaps at right tackle. Onwenu is a versatile and rare player, an absolute draft-day steal where they selected him in the middle rounds. The news at left tackle is more nebulous as Isaiah Wynn started but only played 9 snaps against Dallas. Between his knee injury and the COVID list, Wynn has looked very shaky of late. Wynn is not listed on the injury report in any way but after last week's benching, Justin Herron might get the start against a surprisingly active NY Jets' defensive front seven. There are rumors that Trent Brown (calf) could play left tackle upon his return. Right guard Shaq Mason is officially questionable after missing two games with an abdomen injury, and while he is limited in practice, he is also not included in the ranks. Mason seems close to a return but these groin/hernia issues have a way of lingering. To summarize, Brown, Wynn, and Mason are all not in the lineup, and yet the Patriots' line checks in at 17th. This line has serious upside to improve down the stretch as players return to health and form. With injuries mounting around the league, Michael Onwenu's return is worth ten slots in the latest rankings.
Continue reading this article with a Season Long Pro subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, ESPN