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David Chao, MD: Top 5 Actionable NFL Injury Issues for Week 4

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COVID is the lead topic in the NFL with Patriots vs. Chiefs on hold and a new Saints positive test. We tried to provide some objective analysis on how the virus is transmitted and why chasing positive tests is not the answer. However, here the topic is football and how injuries can help you with a winning card in Fantasy, DFS and wagering. Last week, we were 4-1 in providing solid advice to Outkick readers.

The notable exception still had good injury information but we discussed why John Lynch is smarter than me in this week’s podcast

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Here are this week’s top five team injury issues to consider this week:

Chargers missing 10 starters

The Chargers will be missing five starters on each side of the ball (Flip the field view and use hover feature to see details on both sides). This includes 3/5ths of the offensive line and the starting QB as well as three out of the four top defensive players in Derwin James, Chris Harris Jr. and Melvin Ingram.

With an overall health grade of C+ versus a Buccaneers team with an A- grade, this is a significant mismatch. The sharp bettors have already moved the early line from Tampa Bay -4.5 to now -7. Last week with a similar Injury Index mismatch, the same Bucs easily dominated the Broncos wire to wire on the road. Once again it is a healthy team against one that is banged up with likely similar results but this time the Bucs are at home.

Eagles earn first D+ grade of the year

We respect NFL rosters and teams almost never grade out this poorly but such is the fate of the Philadelphia passing offense health this week. The Eagles are without their top three wide receivers and will have to activate ones from the practice squad while missing Dallas Goedert. Only Zach Ertz remains out of the top five targets for Carson Wentz. Four out of five offensive line starters are dealing with health issues or are on injured reserve and now Jason Peters joins them on IR.

A word of caution before jumping in. The line opened at 49ers -3 and now has ballooned to -7.5. Hidden injury information is most actionable but the Eagles woes are well documented by now.

Bear in mind the 49ers have their own injury issues on both sides of the ball. San Francisco gets George Kittle back but is still missing Jimmy Garoppolo and its top two RBs. Defensively, the 49ers are missing key players at all three levels including difference maker Nick Bosa.

Meanwhile the Eagles defense will miss CB Avonte Maddox but their front seven have gotten much healthier. The injury index of both squads are close since these are among the two most injured teams. Seems the smart move would have been to jump on the injury info early and now have a chance to play the huge 4.5 point middle for a “free” chance to win. Otherwise consider that both offenses are hampered for a play on the totals.

3 home underdogs healthier 

The Dolphins, Bears and Lions are three home underdogs that have health over their opponents. The Seahawks are undefeated and have Russell Wilson but their injury index is a full grade lower than the Dolphins who look to keep it close. The Bears are quietly undefeated, yet changed QBs and are getting points against a Colts team that has lost a key player (Marlon Mack, Malik Hooker, Parris Campbell) for the season in each of the first three weeks. The talk is about the Saints without Michael Thomas again but the big worry should be about not have both top corners Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins. The Lions are getting points at home with Matthew Stafford and a now fully heathy Kenny Golladay looking to take advantage.

2 heavy favorites

The Ravens and Rams, both 2-1, are about a full grade healthier than their opponents Washington and the Giants, respectively. Being the better and healthier team is always the right side to be on. The question is whether you want to lay the double-digit points or take heavy negative odds on the money line.

1 team of contrasts

In terms of health, the winless Vikings are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Their offense is fully healthy while the defense has major issues with the three best players at each level out. At least, so far, they have avoided COVID despite playing the Titans. On the defensive line, pass rusher Danielle Hunter may be out for the season with potential surgery. Anthony Barr, their best linebacker, is out with a pectoral tendon tear. Mike Hughes is out with a neck issues and several other corners are missing too. Meanwhile, the 0-3 Texans are quite healthy looking to get into the win column and avoid virtual playoff elimination.

If you’re physically located in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia, you can now make your sports bets with FanDuel, and they’re giving you a $1,000 risk-free first bet.

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For full field views and injury index info for all games, got to and use this special Outkick link to sign up for free. 

Written by Pro Football Doc

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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