Ouch. It was a very painful Week 4 of the NFL season as several impact players suffered serious injuries which will have significant effects on fantasy leagues. These are critical injuries that will absolutely cause chaos within fantasy leagues because the bye weeks are starting this week so GMs will be hustling to the waiver wire. It is imperative that you always maintain sufficient depth at each major position on your roster because, as we all know too well, injuries are inevitable and everyone is equally susceptible. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy football emergency room.
Julio Jones (WR-ATL) – Jones was forced out of Sunday’s game against Buffalo with a hip flexor injury. He looked to be in pain early in the game and stayed in for several plays after until he headed to the back for further examination. The injury is not considered serious and the Falcons have a bye this coming week so Jones should have plenty of time to rest and recover in order to be back on the field against Miami in Week 6. Jones has gotten off to a pedestrian start to the season with 19 catches for 295 yards and no touchdowns, but he is still an elite wide receiver and one of the top fantasy options across the board.
Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR-NYG) – The Giants season has been a large dumpster fire thus far and much of their drama has been centered around their star wide receiver’s injuries and antics. He is a little banged up after the Giants loss to Tampa Bay suffering from soreness in his finger and also hurting his ankle. Neither of these injuries are going to cost him any game time, but he will likely be limited in practice this week. Beckham has 20 receptions for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the three games he has played and remains an elite WR1 option in next week’s game against the Chargers.
Derek Carr (QB-OAK) – The Raiders season was derailed last year when Carr suffered a broken leg late in the year, and now they will face the same adversity for a few weeks with him getting hurt again. Carr sustained a transverse process fracture in his back and is expected to miss anywhere between two to six weeks. That time frame could change depending on how much progress he makes, but the Raiders will certainly be without him for at least the next few weeks. E.J. Manuel will take over at quarterback which is bad news for fantasy GMs who have Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Look for Marshawn Lynch to be heavily relied upon in Oakland’s offense and expect more of the same struggles in the passing game that they have endured the past couple weeks.
Marcus Mariota (QB-TEN) – Last year, Mariota was injured on the same day as Derek Carr. In a strange twist of fate, they were both injured again this past Sunday. Mariota tweaked his hamstring and is being considered day-to-day. He likely will not practice this week and the Titans have already said that he could still play next week even if he does not hit the practice field. The former second overall draft pick has thrown for 792 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for another three touchdowns. He relies heavily on his legs so any hamstring injury is likely going to inhibit his ability to run. Look for further updates later in the week and hope that he is able to play against a dreadful Miami team in Week 4.
Dalvin Cook (RB-MIN) – It is devastating news that Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook has torn his ACL and is finished for the season. The injury looked bad when it happened but there was some hope that perhaps there was no structural damage. However, that was not to be. Cook was having a solid season thus far with 354 rushing yards and two touchdowns. This is a big loss for fantasy GMs who should be targeting Latavius Murray on the waiver wire.
Chris Carson (RB-SEA) – Carson was carted off the field during prime time on Sunday night against the Colts. He suffered a fractured leg and high ankle sprain late in the game during Seattle’s blowout win and has been placed on injured reserve. He could be back in two months but it is more likely that he won’t return before the end of the regular season. Carson had emerged as the featured running back in Seattle but now those responsibilities will fall to a combination of Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic who exploded onto the scene this past Sunday night. McKissic is an intriguing waiver wire option this week so consider him if looking for a replacement for Carson.
Jordan Matthews (WR-BUF) – Matthews finally caught his first touchdown as a member if the Bills this past weekend against Atlanta but then suffered a thumb injury which will require surgery. The injury is expected to sideline him for a month which means that Zay Jones steps up to be Buffalo’s top wide receiver. Fantasy GMs will need to utilize this roster spot now that bye weeks are starting, so feel free to drop Matthews to gain that roster flexibility. Matthews can be a solid WR3 if he could stay healthy and develop some consistency, but those are big question marks for him at this point.
Davante Adams (WR-GB) – We have all seen the devastating hit that Adams took last Thursday night and it is amazing that all he sustained was a concussion. While concussions are still serious injuries, he avoided something even more severe. Adams will likely need more time to recover so the chances of him playing this Sunday are slim to none. Geronimo Allison would step in for him and have an opportunity to see some targets with opposing defenses focused on Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
Jack Doyle (TE-IND) – Doyle left Sunday night’s game against Seattle with a concussion is now in the league’s protocol. It isn’t known yet whether he will be cleared in time to play next Sunday, so his status is up in the air and should be considered questionable at best. He has 17 catches for 163 yards thus far but has not found the end zone yet as Indianapolis is still adjusting to life without Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett has played admirably but anyone besides T.Y. Hilton is not worth starting at this point unless Doyle was your backup tight end playing for someone on a bye week.
Willie Snead (WR-NO) – Fantasy GMs will have to wait at least until Week 6 for Willie Snead’s season debut after he was inactive on Sunday against Miami. Snead was suspended for the first three weeks and then was held out due to a hamstring injury. New Orleans has a bye in Week 5 so he should have plenty of time to recover and be ready to take the field in Week 6. Drew Brees makes all of his wide receivers valuable fantasy assets so consider Snead a WR3 or Flex option once he is able to play.
Mohamed Sanu (WR-ATL) – Not only did Julio Jones leave the game on Sunday against Buffalo, but Atlanta’s second wide receiver Mohamed Sanu also left the game due to an injury. Sanu suffered a hamstring injury and is expected to miss between two to three weeks. Atlanta’s bye week is in Week 5 so that should minimize the impact of Sanu’s absence. Sanu has 16 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown which is one more score than Julio Jones has. If he is forced to miss Week 6 then look for Justin Hardy and Taylor Gabriel to see additional targets and playing time. Either could be a viable waiver wire streaming option for GMs who lack options due to other injuries and bye weeks.
Rob Kelley (RB-WAS) – Kelley was taken out of Monday night’s game against Kansas City with an ankle injury after running the ball seven times for 23 yards. The extent of the injury isn’t known yet so check back in later in the week for a further update. Washington has a bye next week so he will have extra time to recover and get ready for Week 6 against San Francisco.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and co-host of the Fantasy Alarm Podcast. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).