This article will be updated as practice reports roll in throughout the weekend. For the most up to date injury data between updates, bookmark this link and check it periodically.
What This Is:
*A no-nonsense quick-hitting analysis of fantasy-relevant player injuries that could impact performance on game day.
*A preview of the current week’s fantasy-relevant players with an injury through Thursday night.
What This Is Not:
*A comprehensive analysis of players who are on bye or currently on the I.R.
*A look ahead to injuries impacting fantasy football beyond Week 9.
For any questions related to this article such as “should I drop [player A] for [player B]?” please refer to the staff’s weekly projections. This is not the final version and will be continually updated through Sunday morning, so definitely bookmark this article.
The following general rules apply for big shake-ups on the weekend:
*Players who are downgraded from full or even partial practice to “Did Not Practice” on Friday or Saturday, for any medical reason, are a long shot to play. Typically you’ll see teams say these players are a “game time decision” which is code for “they ain’t playing”.
*Players who have a concussion have up until Saturday night/Sunday morning to clear the protocol.
*If no “final update” is available, the player has either been officially ruled out or no news is good news.
The following players have already been ruled out as of Friday evening so get them out of your lineup!
Antonio Brown - COVID
Zach Ertz - COVID - Note that Ertz is still on the COVID list and is at a high risk to sit Week Three. Be sure to check the InjuryTracker periodically.
The following players are “DOUBTFUL” and highly unlikely to play.
Elijah Mitchell - Shoulder/stinger
Josh Jacobs - Ankle/toe
Tee Higgins - Shoulder
The following notable players practiced in full on Friday and are on track to play without limitations.
Derek Carr - Ankle
Carr is on pace to break NFL passing records and has looked impressive from a fantasy perspective. In Week Two, his ankle was rolled up in a high ankle mechanism. He was surprisingly a full participant in practice all week and should be ready to roll in Week Three. Not that he’s Michael Vick or anything, but a less mobile Carr (pun intended) is in the cards making him minimally to moderately volatile in Week Three.
Ben Roethlisberger - Left pec
Big Ben was limited before working his way up to a full participant in practice Friday. This is his non-throwing arm so it shouldn’t necessarily impact his deep ball but stabilizing the ball in the pocket and getting up from the ground could be a problem for him. There are plenty of other options this week than a 39 year old coming off a mystery soft tissue strain.
Baker Mayfield - Left shoulder
Mayfield took down a defender with his left shoulder and later proclaimed while on the sideline that the shoulder briefly popped out then “popped back in again”. Now, this is obviously not ideal for any athlete but it sounds like this is something that Baker is familiar with. It’s an extremely common occurrence in many athletes. It’s not great that he was still protecting his shoulder in practice but until this becomes a recurring problem, he carries only minimal volatility for Week three.
Carson Wentz - Ankles
Wentz suffered two ankle sprains, one of which was a high ankle. He practiced on Friday and is a legitimate game-time decision. There’s no good reason to start Wentz unless you’re in a super deep two-QB league.
Dalvin Cook - Ankle
Cook suffered a high ankle sprain in Week Two and didn’t practice all week. He’s officially questionable and when asked if Cook could go, Mike Zimmer said it was possible. Zimmer doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to injury transparency and this seems more like a competitive advantage angle he’s taking. If Cook is active, he’s highly volatile. In reality, it’s more than likely Alexander Mattison season.
Darrell Henderson Jr. - Ribs
Henderson has damaged cartilage in his ribs which can be as painful as it sounds. He hasn’t practiced all week and the Rams say he’s a game time decision. Since 2016, there have been 10 RBs listed on the official report with a ribs injury who also didn’t practice all week. None of them ended up being active. Even if Henderson goes, there’s no telling how much volume he’ll see and/or how much pain he’ll be in. If he’s active, he’s maximally volatile.
Trey Sermon - Concussion
Sermon cleared concussion protocol and is ready to take on the running back load as his teammate Elijah Mitchell is highly unlikely to go this week. Sermon carries minimal to moderate volatility as there is some concern for a recurrence for another concussion so early out.
Saquon Barkley - Knee
Saquon is on here because it’s John Hansen good vibe, I’m feeling the start of his true comeback in 2021 as he saw 84% of New York snaps in Week Two and tore off a vintage Saquon run for 40 yards. With that volume and even just a handful of more targets, Barkley is a massive play just waiting to happen. Oh, and Atlanta’s defense is bad and the Giants are a three point favorite at home.
DeAndre Hopkins - Ribs - “Game time decision”
Nuk is notorious for rarely practicing in full. Here’s the full story on how he’s only missed two games since 2017 but has miraculously been on the injury report nearly every week of the season. In fact, he was a “game time decision” three times in 2020 alone. We can’t discount the idea that this is a legitimate injury. If active, which is the expectation at this point, this could be a great place to be overweight relative to the field as it might scare off some more conservative players. It’s not a risk-free scenario but history tells us there’s a good chance this injury is closer to nothing.
Odell Beckham Jr. - Knee
Temper expectations for OBJ in his first week back, but at just $5,300 on DraftKings, he could show some value with Jarvis Landry out. In season-long leagues, he’s fine as a WR 3 or flex option.
Amari Cooper - Ribs
The major difference between cracked ribs for somebody like Tua and somebody like Cooper is the fact that imaging (x-rays) don’t always correlate to a person’s pain level. Cooper practiced in a limited capacity all week so it’s evident that even though he’s not necessarily 100%, his pain tolerance/capacity is decent. Cooper always has the potential to bust, but with this rib injury, he’s moderately to maximally volatile in Week Three. This is due to a potential exacerbation or worsening of the injury with one hit. He should only be faded in shallower leagues, though, as all it takes is one deep shot from Dak for him to pay off.
Kenny Golladay - Hip
Golladay is having a tough start and is now dealing with a”hip” injury. The problem is this could be a recurrence from his 2020 mystery hip issue. Little is known of the ailment other than the fact that he was limited all week. He carries moderate volatility this week.
Evan Engram - Calf
Engram could make his debut in Week Three but don’t necessarily count on it yet as he was still limited all week and is battling through a recurrence injury from 2020. Temper expectations.
TENTATIVE PROJECTED RETURN DATES:
The following dates are estimates based on historical data and the updates directly from the team. They are educated guesses and not set in stone.
Rashod Bateman - Week Four/Five
Michael Gallup - Week Five
Michael Thomas - Week Seven
Diontae Johnson - Week Four/Five
Tee Higgins - Week Four
Curtis Samuel - Unknown
Jerry Jeudy - Week Five/Six
Jarvis Landry - Week Six
Antonio Brown - Symptom Dependent/unknown
Tyrell Williams - Week Six/unknown
Russell Gage - Week Five
Christian McCaffrey - Week Six/Seven
Dalvin - Week Four/Five
Elijah Mitchell - Week Four
Jeff Wilson - Week 10-12
JaMycal Hasty - Week Six
Josh Jacobs - Week Four
Tyrod Taylor - Week Six/Seven
Tua Tagovailoa - Week Six
Ryan Fitzpatrick - Week 10
Andy Dalton - Week Five
Zach Ertz - Week Three