With just 11 days left until the start of the 2020 NFL season, fantasy football drafts are happening at a rapid pace. Perhaps you've already had yours, but if you haven't, it's almost certainly happening this week. Because of that, fantasy football owners are trying to get the latest key pieces of news around the NFL to be sure they don't miss any last-minute changes to fantasy rankings and sleeper lists.
The Leonard Fournette release may have everyone up in arms, but sharp fantasy owners can try to capitalize on this moment by checking out some of the injury updates that are flying under the radar as a result of that. Over the weekend, key players, including Jalen Reagor, Cooper Kupp, D'Andre Swift, DeVante Parker, and Derwin James, had some injury news that could have an impact on rankings, sleepers, busts, and more.
For the latest fantasy injury news and updates, check back here and on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2020 cheat sheet
Jalen Reagor injury update
With the absence of Alshon Jeffery (foot) in the Eagles offense (likely for at least the first few weeks of the season), there was hope that rookie first-round pick Jalen Reagor could play a bigger role in the team's offense to begin the year. However, Reagor suffered a shoulder injury over the weekend that put his availability for the season into question. Luckily though, it looks like Reagor dodged a serious injury.
According to NFL Writer Geoff Mosher, Reagor will not need surgery to repair what is being called a slight labrum tear. He will probably be out four weeks, but the rookie should hopefully be able to return to the field without missing too much time early in the NFL season.
With Reagor out and Jeffery still on the PUP list, Philadelphia's offense could produce some sleepers at the receiver position early on in the 2020 campaign. DeSean Jackson will be the No. 1 receiver for Philly but beyond him, the competition for targets is wide open. Greg Ward, who produced last year amid injuries to the receiving corps, could be the biggest beneficiary, while 2019 second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside and 2020 fifth-round pick John Hightower will battle for playing time on the outside across from Jackson. Hightower probably has the advantage in that battle right now after performing well in camp.
Reagor's potential absence will also afford Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert more targets early in the season. Those two can be trusted as a rock-solid TE1 (Ertz) and a potential tight end streamer depending on the matchup (Goedert).
Is Cooper Kupp ready for Week 1?
In a recent Rams scrimmage, Kupp suffered what is being deemed a low ankle sprain. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Kupp won't practice much in the coming week, but the injury is being deemed "minor." And per Rapoport, had it been a game week, Kupp would have been able to see the field.
It sounds like the Rams are just being, rightfully, cautious with one of their clear-cut top offensive weapons with the NFL regular season drawing nearer. Kupp should still be an early selection in all fantasy formats and checks in as our seventh-ranked WR for the 2020 campaign. Don't let this minor issue scare you away from him.
Had Kupp's injury been more serious, TE Tyler Higbee, second-round rookie WR Van Jefferson, and WR Josh Reynolds would've been the top beneficiaries. Higbee, in particular, would have been positioned to get more targets over the middle of the field, so that will be something to watch in the regular season. for now, consider Kupp's potential absence maintenance to prep him for the season.
D'Andre Swift injury news
The second running back off the board in the 2020 NFL Draftt was expected to have a chance to unseat Kerryon Johnson in the battle for the lead role in the Detroit backfield. In the past week and a half, however, Swift has been absent from practice as he deals with a leg injury, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. That may give Johnson the early leg up in the Lions backfield, as head coach Matt Patricia indicated that Swift missing time was a "concern" because of his rookie status.
With Swift not having experienced a normal offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic along with the leg malady, it could take him more time to earn snaps in Detroit's backfield. Still, he should play a role for the team, as Johnson has missed 14 of 32 games during his two NFL seasons, so the Lions may not want him to handle a full workload. No matter how you slice it, Swift and Johnson are both still flex plays with upside until one emerges as the clear-cut leader in this potential backfield by committee.
Is DeVante Parker playing in Week 1?
According to Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, DeVante Parker is "nursing a minor injury issue." Brian Flores wouldn't provide a timetable on Parker's potential return, but he indicated that Parker shouldn't have trouble working up to full speed once he's back out there.
It doesn't sound like Parker is in danger of missing much time but if he does, second-year WR Preston Williams would be the biggest beneficiary. Williams was productive as an undrafted free agent last year before tearing his ACL and missing half of the season. He's a good WR sleeper and he could rise in the week-plus remaining before the season if Parker's injury turns out to be more serious than it sounds.
Tight end Mike Gesicki, another sleeper, would also benefit if Parker is out. But, again, it doesn't sound like the injury is anything major for Miami's top pass-catcher at this time.
How Derwin James' injury impacts D/ST fantasy rankings
The Los Angeles Chargers are expected to have one of the best defenses in both the NFL and fantasy football this season, but their stop unit took a blow over the weekend after star safety Derwin James suffered a knee injury that may keep him out long-term.
According to Ian Rapoport, James is expected to miss "significant time" after suffering a meniscus injury at practice. The extent of the injury isn't yet known, but his loss will be a big one for the Chargers.
James was a first-team All-Pro during his '18 rookie campaign but missed 11 games last year after suffering a stress fracture in his foot. In '18, the Chargers defensive unit ranked 15th overall in fantasy points, according to FantasyPros. In '19, they plummeted to 27th with James missing more than half the season. James alone doesn't account for that drop, but his absence surely hurts a team that originally came in at No. 9 in our D/ST rankings.