Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Latest news on Julio Jones, A.J. Brown, Diontae Johnson, more affecting Week 4 WR rankings

Apparently, injuries come in bunches this season for wide receivers on the same team, as the Titans, Steelers, and Giants each have a pair of WRs dealing with ailments ahead of Week 4. Julio Jones and A.J. Brown leave a huge hole in the Titans’ offense if they can’t go; Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster are important pass-catchers in the Steelers passing game; and Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton’s statuses will determine if Kadarius Toney will be a factor for the first time in his career for the Giants. That said, it’s shaping up to be a headache-filled week for fantasy owners trying to figure out who to start at WR.

For all the latest fantasy updates, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy. For updates on banged-up RBs Dalvin CookJosh JacobsDarrell Henderson, and Elijah Mitchellclick here; for the latest on Lamar Jackson, go here; for more on ailing pass-catchers Rob GronkowskiGeorge KittleDeAndre Hopkins, and Antonio Browngo here

WEEK 4 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Is Julio Jones playing Week 4?

UPDATE: Jones missed practice on Thursday, putting his status this week in jeopardy.

UPDATE 2: Jones has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s game.

Jones (leg) was nowhere to be found late in his Week 3 matchup with the Colts, but it was announced it was more of a “load management” situation than anything. However, after missing practice on Wednesday and receiving minor treatment, his Week 4 availability is in question.

Here’s the deal with Julio — if the Titans’ had a tough matchup in Week 4, he’d likely be playing for sure. However, they expect to beat the Jets, so they may take it easy on him. In a 17-game season, we’re going to see this a lot from a number of players around the league. That said, he hasn’t been ruled out, but there’s a chance he’s out. We’ll get into A.J. Brown below, but if one or both is out, the top Titans’ options at WR include Chester Rogers, Nick Westbrook-Ihkine, and maybe Josh Reynolds. You don’t want to start any of these guy unless you’re in deep leagues, as you’d have to think this will be the Derrick Henry show.

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If Jones does play, he’s our WR15 in standard and WR16 in PPR leagues.

WEEK 4 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

A.J. Brown injury update

UPDATE: Brown missed practice on Thursday, yet another indication he’s unlikely to play this week.

UPDATE 2: Brown has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s game. 

While Brown hasn’t been ruled out yet, he’s trending toward missing Week 4 because of a pulled hamstring. As with Julio, the Titans will be cautious with Brown during the next two weeks. After taking on the Jets, they’ll host the Jaguars. The idea is to get through these two easy matchups without further injuring either of their star wideouts.

We fully expect Brown to miss Week 4, so we took him out of our rankings earlier in the week.

WEEK 4 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

Diontae Johnson injury update

UPDATE: Johnson got in a full practice on Thursday, so barring a setback, he should be good to go this week.

UPDATE 2: Johnson is not on the Steelers final injury report, so he will active on Sunday against Green Bay. Surprisingly, Chase Claypool (hamstring) was downgraded to “questionable” and seems likely to miss the game.

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Johnson (knee) was out for Week 3, but he took the practice field Wednesday in a limited fashion. Practicing in any variety is a good sign for Johnson, and his arrow in regards to his Week 4 availability is pointing in the right direction. If he does miss, James Washington sees an expanded role in the offense — even more so if JuJu Smith-Schuster is out (see below). Also look out for rookie tight end, Pat Freiermith, to see an increase in usage.

We’re speculating that Johnson will play, and we rank him as the WR28 in PPR leagues and WR32 in standard leagues. He could finish as high as a WR1 in PPR leagues based on pure volume against a weak Packers’ secondary.

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JuJu Smith-Schuster injury update

UPDATE: Smith-Schuster was limited in practice on Thursday, putting him on track to play this week.

UPDATE 2: Smith-Schuster is not on the Steelers final injury, so he will be active on Sunday against Green Bay. Surprisingly, Chase Claypool (hamstring) was downgraded to “questionable” and seems likely to miss the game.

Smith-Schuster (ribs) did not practice Wednesday, so we can assume his chances of playing are bleaker than Johnson’s. He’s been unproductive so far this season, ranking at WR48 in PPR and WR56 in standard through three weeks. His injury surely won’t help his cause to bounce back.

Still, with Big Ben attempting just over 43 passes per game, his PPR upside is still there. If he does play, we rank him as the WR36 in PPR and WR38 in standard.

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WEEK 4 FANTASY: Start ’em, sit ’em | Sleepers | Busts

Sterling Shepard/Darius Slayton injury update

UPDATE: Both Shepard and Slayton missed practice again on Thursday, putting their statuses in serious jeopardy for this week. 

UPDATE 2: Giants beat writer Dan Duggan said Friday it’s “safe to assume” both Shepard and Slayton will be out for Week 4. 

UPDATE 3: Both Giants WRs have been officially ruled out for Sunday’s game.

Shepard and Slayton both sustained hamstring injuries in Week 3 and might be game-time decisions heading into Week 4 against the Saints. Neither WR practiced Wednesday, and as we see with A.J. Brown and Christian McCaffrey, hamstring injuries can easily be more than a one-week recovery for explosive players.

If one or both of them miss Week 4, Kadarius Toney, Collin Johnson, and C.J. Board are the next WRs on the depth chart. You’d have to think the Giants will want to finally get their first-round rookie Toney involved, but Johnson out-targeted him last week despite Toney playing more snaps. That said, with a week to prepare, Toney should see increased usage. This is also a chance for Kenny Golladay to finally show up and establish himself as the No. 1 WR in the offense for Daniel Jones.

In standard leagues, we have Shepard ranked at 31 and Slayton ranked at 67 among WRs. For PPR, Shepard is the WR30 and Slayton comes in at WR67. The injury concerns combined with a good Saints’ defense hurt their chances this week.