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Fantasy Injury Updates: Raheem Mostert, Leonard Fournette, Phillip Lindsay, more impacting Week 5 RB rankings

Several starting running backs have been out of action across the NFL over the past few weeks. Ahead of Week 5, it seems that at least some of Raheem Mostert, Leonard Fournette, Phillip Lindsay, Le’Veon Bell, Zack Moss, and Cam Akers should have a chance to play. Their respective statuses will have a big impact on our Week 5 fantasy RB rankings and will certainly affect the waiver wire strategy of RB-needy fantasy owners that need to win now.

For more injury updates on these players and other players across the NFL, check back here and on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.

WEEK 5 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Raheem Mostert injury update

After missing the past two games with an injury, there is some hope among fantasy owners that Mostert (knee) will be able to return to action for a juicy Week 5 matchup against the Dolphins. Unfortunately, it looks as though Mostert may be another week away from returning.

Per Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is “not real optimistic” about Mostert’s chances of returning this week. Wednesday’s practice should be a good barometer of what Mostert can do this week, but Shanahan’s comments seem to indicate that Mostert may need some more time to heal up.

If Mostert is out in Week 5, that means that Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr. will handle the backfield duties for the 49ers once again. McKinnon could be a high-end RB2 in a solid matchup considering that he shouldered most of the workload against the Eagles last week while Wilson would be more of a TD-dependent flex play. 

Is Leonard Fournette playing in Week 5?

Fournette (ankle) was held out of the Bucs’ Week 4 game against the Chargers, and the expectation is that on a short week he would likely not return to the Tampa Bay lineup. However, despite being listed as a non-participant at Monday’s practice, Brian Arians said that “there’s a chance” Fournette could play against the Bears, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

If Fournette can get healthy for Thursday’s game, he will be a potential flex play, as he’ll be in line for a bigger workload with LeSean McCoy (ankle) doubtful for the game. Ronald Jones is still the better play at the RB position after logging 26 touches and 128 scrimmage yards against the Chargers last week. And if Fournette can’t suit up, Jones should be a volume-based RB2 even against a tough Bears defense while Ke’Shawn Vaughn would also be worth considering as a lower-end flex play.

WEEK 5 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Is Phillip Lindsay playing in Week 5?

Just two days before the Broncos’ Thursday night game against the New York Jets, Broncos coach Vic Fangio confirmed that Lindsay (toe) was close to returning, per NFL Network’s James Palmer. Denver ultimately elected to hold Lindsay out in their Week 4 contest but with 10 days to heal before his Week 5 game, Lindsay should be ready to go against the Patriots.

Lindsay should be a high-end flex play off the bat, and it will be interesting to see how he ends up splitting touches with Melvin Gordon. If you have an option comparable to Lindsay for your flex spot, it may be best to trust them this week solely because of Lindsay’s matchup and uncertain carry share, but if you’ve been eagerly awaiting Lindsay’s return, fire him up and don’t look back.

Le’Veon Bell injury update

Bell (hamstring) has been out since getting hurt in the Jets’ Week 1 matchup with the Bills, but it looks like the veteran runner is ready to return to action against the Cardinals in Week 5.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Bell has been targeting a Week 5 return since landing on IR. That would ensure that he only misses the minimum three games required for a player that has been placed on IR. Barring any sort of setback, Bell should be good to go for the Jets.

Bell’s return means that Frank Gore can fade back into fantasy irrelevance, as he simply won’t get enough volume to warrant being started. Bell will be considered a low-end RB2 in standard formats considering how bad the Jets have been this season, but in our PPR RB rankings, he will rise up a bit as he could quickly become one of Sam Darnold’s favorite targets (or Joe Flacco’s if Darnold’s shoulder keeps him out moving forward).

WEEK 5 WAIVER WIRE: Top pickups | Buy-low, sell-high

Zack Moss injury news

Moss (toe) practiced on a limited basis all last week leading up to the Bills’ Sunday afternoon game against the Raiders and was declared out after being a true game-time decision. It’s important to note that Moss did progress last week after failing to practice the previous week, so he did improve week-to-week. His Wednesday status will give fantasy owners a glimpse at whether or not he has a chance to play this week.

If Moss can’t suit up, Devin Singletary will continue to handle a bulk of the workload for the Bills against the Titans. If Moss does play, both he and Singletary will be flex plays, with Singletary being more of a receiving and yardage threat while Moss is more of a TD threat near the end zone.

Is Cam Akers playing in Week 5?

Akers (ribs) has missed the last two games in full and most of the team’s Week 2 victory over the Eagles after suffering a rib injury. According to ESPN’s Lindsay Thiry, Sean McVay has said that he expected Akers will return to the Rams’ backfield rotation in Week 5.

While Akers’ return is certainly good news for his fantasy owners, it’s unclear how he’ll fit into the team’s RB rotation. Darrell Henderson appeared to be emerging as the backfield leader two weeks ago but ended up splitting touches with Malcolm Brown and being out-produced by the veteran last week. The Rams may continue to employ a frustrating back-by-committee approach that rides the hot hand, so Akers is, at best, a speculative flex play this week.

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