Week 5 injury watch: Aaron Rodgers' depleted receiving corps

While Aaron Rodgers continues to make progress with the knee injury he suffered in the season opener, the Packers' receiving corps has trended in the opposite direction.

Rodgers expects to play against the Lions, his fifth start in as many weeks this year. However, all three of his top wideouts appeared on the injury report, with none considered a lock to return in time for Sunday. That could leave Green Bay vulnerable in a key divisional matchup while fantasy players scramble for alternatives late in the week.

On the other end of the injury spectrum, several key players return from multi-game absences. That comes as welcome news for fantasy players dealing with byes (Bears and Buccaneers) in Week 5.

Bengals: Giovani Bernard (knee), Joe Mixon (knee) - After a productive two-game stint as the Bengals' lead back, Giovani Bernand will miss Sunday's game against the Dolphins with a knee injury. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Bernard could miss as many as four weeks with what sources describe as an MCL sprain. Meanwhile, Joe Mixon expects to return from a knee injury of his own to retake control of the Cincinnati backfield.

Chiefs: Sammy Watkins (hamstring) - The Sammy Watkins rollercoaster took another plunge on Monday when the receiver strained his hamstring during the first half of play. Watkins left without registering a touch, the latest in a long history of frustrations for the talented wideout. The Chiefs officially listed as Watkins as questionable to suit up this week, but he could see limited opportunities as a precaution even if he plays.

Falcons: Tevin Coleman (shin), Devonta Freeman (knee) - After missing the Falcons' last three outings, Devonta Freeman will finally return from his knee injury. While that gives fantasy players another top running back for Week 5, it creates complications for those who rode Tevin Coleman in recent weeks. Coleman averaged 18 touches during Freeman's recent absence, but that figure drops to roughly 11.5 when the two of them have played together under Atlanta offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Furthermore, Coleman has only exceeded 12 touches with Freeman active five times since the start of 2017. If Coleman plays through his shin injury, he can expect a significantly reduced workload.

49ers: Marquise Goodwin (hamstring, quadriceps) - Though Marquise Goodwin returned to practice as a partial participant Thursday after missing Wednesday's session entirely, the wideout's status for Sunday remains at least somewhat concerning. Goodwin already missed one game earlier this season, and now has multiple injuries. 49ers receivers don't hold quite as much value as they did with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, and Goodwin's production -- five catches for 54 yards a touchdown, two carries for 2 yards -- does little to suggest a breakout looms around the corner.

Jaguars: Leonard Fournette (hamstring) - Leonard Fournette's return to the field lasted less than a half, with the former first-round pick dropping out of last week's game after re-aggravating his hamstring. That injury will cost Fournette Sunday's tilt with the Chiefs, meaning he will have missed as many games in 2018 as he did all of his rookie season. While Fournette remains sidelined, T.J. Yeldon will continue to see the vast majority of the backfield work for Jacksonville's offense. Yeldon has averaged nearly 16 touches a game this season and 17 over the last two weeks.

Packers: Davante Adams (calf), Geronimo Allison (concussion, hamstring), Randall Cobb (hamstring) - The Packers ruled out Randall Cobb on Friday, removing the most experienced wideout from an already strained receiving corps. Davante Adams didn't practice Thursday with his calf injury, though he will try to return for Saturday's walkthrough. Meanwhile, head coach Mike McCarthy expressed "hope" that Geronimo Allison might clear the concussion protocol in time for the game. If all three fall short of returning, Aaron Rodgers will have to throw extensively to his running backs, tight ends and a trio of unproven rookie wide receivers.

Panthers: Greg Olsen (foot) - The Panthers officially ruled out Greg Olsen for Sunday's game against the Giants, but the veteran tight end returned to practice for the first time since injuring his foot in the season opener. That suggests Olsen could return soon, perhaps as early as Week 6. As such, fantasy players should consider adding him now if available.

Ravens: Alex Collins (knee), Hayden Hurst (foot) - The injury news looks promising in Baltimore as Alex Collins practiced in full Friday, setting up a likely return against the Browns Sunday. Meanwhile, first-round pick Hayden Hurst could make his NFL debut this weekend. The rookie tight end remained limited in practice throughout the week, but the Ravens officially listed him as questionable.

Seahawks: Chris Carson (hip) - The Seahawks made Chris Carson a surprising late scratch for Week 4's contest against the Cardinals, but it doesn't appear the running back will miss more time with his hip injury. Head coach Pete Carroll confirmed that Carson will play Sunday against the Rams, reshuffling an already confusing backfield rotation. Carson probably won't see anywhere close to the 34 touches he received two weeks ago against the Cowboys, but he should retake the lead role if he stays healthy.

Texans: Will Fuller (hamstring), Lamar Miller (chest) - The hamstring injury that sidelined Will Fuller midway through last week's game against doesn't look likely to keep him out of Sunday's all-Texas showdown. Fuller should have plenty of opportunities with the Cowboys zoned in on DeAndre Hopkins. In the backfield, Lamar Miller looks like a game-time decision after being limited in practice all week. Alfred Blue would pick up most of the work if Miller doesn't play.

Vikings: Dalvin Cook (hamstring) - Dalvin Cook did some limited work Friday after missing practice the two previous days. Officially questionable, Cook would face a stout Eagles defense if he suits up this weekend. Philadelphia hasn't allowed more than 62 rushing yards to any individual player this season, and while Cook offers value as a pass catcher, the Vikings could again limit his snaps to prevent reinjury.

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