2017 Fantasy Football Injury Report: September 22
Michael Stein brings you all the latest updates on injuries around NFL and the fantasy impact of players going on and coming off the IR.
We are not even done with the third week of the NFL season and it already feels like the bi-weekly injury report is a full-length novel. Fantasy GMs have their work cut out for them this year if these first couple weeks are any indication of what is to come. Managing injuries and overcoming roster chaos are two of the most important factors in separating the winners from losers throughout the course of a long fantasy season. That work has already begun in full earnest. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy football emergency room.
Melvin Gordon (RB-LAC) – It is concerning that Gordon was added to the injury list late in the week with a knee injury, but we do not have any reason to suspect his status for Sunday’s game against Kansas City is in jeopardy. Gordon does have a history with knee issues but he is still a lock to be a RB1 this week and every week going forward. He has struggled running the ball thus far averaging less than three yards per carry, but he does have one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown. Expect him to be on the field and very active in what should be a high scoring affair against the Chiefs.
Jay Ajayi (RB-MIA) – The Dolphins have a favorable matchup this week against the Jets so it was disconcerting to see Ajayi’s name show up on their injury report. He did not practice on Thursday due to a knee injury but Miamis coaching staff has indicated that Ajayi is sure to play on Sunday. He will be one of the best options of the weekend going up against a Jets defense that has been torn to shreds over the first two weeks. Ajayi could be in for one of his vintage 200-yard games this Sunday afternoon.
Amari Cooper (WR-OAK) – Cooper has been on the Raiders injury report for several weeks in a row with a knee issue, but he keeps showing up on the field which is all fantasy GMs care about. He has been outperformed by teammate Michael Crabtree, but Cooper still remains one of the top wide receivers in the league. He will have a tough matchup in prime-time this Sunday night when he goes up against Josh Norman of the Redskins. He is still a WR1 but Crabtree could be the better option this weekend.
Jordan Reed (TE-WAS) – Speaking of injured players for the Sunday night game, Jordan Reed will also be one of the walking wounded on the field for the prime-time game. Reed is dealing with a chest and toe injury, and he has been limited in practice. Injuries are nothing new to Reed who has missed a significant number of games in his career. He will find a way to make it onto the field on Sunday night, but it is unknown how productive he will be given his limitations right now. GMs need to start him if he is going to play because the Redskins and Raiders should light up the scoreboard.
Cam Newton (QB-CAR) – It seems obvious that Newton is not physically 100% as indicated by his overall performance through two weeks. He was limited in practice on Thursday and listed with both an ankle and shoulder injury. He will play on Sunday and has an opportunity to get real healthy against a terrible Saints defense. With Greg Olsen out, Newton will have to rely on his wide receivers more which means increased targets for Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess.
Jimmy Graham (TE-SEA) – Graham continues to struggle with his health this week as he has missed a couple days of practice in a row due to an ankle injury. If he is unable to play then Luke Wilson would probably see most of the snaps. Seattle’s offense has been awful enough the first couple weeks so losing Graham for any amount of time could make them even worse. Even if Graham is able to suit up he won’t be playing at 100% which makes him a very risky fantasy option.
J.J. Nelson (WR-ARZ) – Nelson is now apparent on everyone’s radar after accumulating ten catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns over the first two weeks. He has emerged as Carson Palmer’s top option thus far and is being scooped off the waiver wire in almost all leagues. However, he was limited in practice on Thursday with a hamstring injury. The good news is that Arizona will have an extra day off this week because they play on Monday night against Dallas. The Cowboys were just torched by Denver so if Nelson is healthy he could be in for a big game against a susceptible Dallas secondary.
Kelvin Benjamin (WR-CAR) – The Panthers offense has been non-existent for the first two weeks thanks in large part to Cam Newton’s health and inconsistency. Now they will be even more challenged with Greg Olsen on injured reserve, so it is time for Kelvin Benjamin to step up and take over. He has seven catches for 102 yards and no touchdowns thus far, but look for him to be heavily targeted against a porous New Orleans defense. Benjamin practiced in full despite a knee and rib injury, so his status for this Sunday should not be in doubt. He is a solid option for a breakout week.
DeVante Parker (WR-MIA) – Parker is trending in the wrong direction after he missed practice on Thursday due to an ankle injury. It does not mean he won’t play on Sunday, but his status has become murky until we see what he does on Friday. Parker and the Dolphins have a great matchup against the Jets in Week 3 so it would be a shame if he was unable to play and take advantage of that. Check back over the weekend for a status update on him but be prepared for an alternative such as Kenny Stills in the event Parker cannot play.
Corey Coleman (WR-CLE) – It seems like déjà vu all over again as Coleman was placed on Injured Reserve with a broken hand. He underwent surgery and will miss at least six weeks before he can begin practicing again. Coleman was one of the only bright spots for the Browns after catching six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown through the first couple weeks. Coleman suffered a similar injury last year after having a big impact early in the season. He would normally be a candidate to stash on your bench if this was a shorter absence, but he will miss a couple months and wasting a roster spot on him is not going to help if you can’t make it into your league’s playoffs.
Tyler Eifert (TE-CIN) – It is the same old story with Eifert who spends as much time on the bench as he does on the field. He is expected to miss this week’s game against the Packers due to concurrent knee and back injuries. Eifert missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday so his chances of playing this weekend appear pretty grim. Tyler Kroft is expected to take his place so he could be a streaming option if you are desperate simply because we expect the Bengals to be playing from behind and forced to throw the ball all day.
Chris Hogan (WR-NE) – The Patriots righted the ship in a big way last week and it is expected that their offense will not stop again. Chris Hogan was added to the injury list this week with a knee injury and was limited in practice on Thursday. However, he is expected to be healthy and play this weekend against Houston. His role in New England’s passing game should remain status quo even with Danny Amendola set to return. The two receivers have similar skillsets but Hogan tends to provide bigger plays and more explosiveness.
Danny Amendola (WR-NE) – The oft-injured Patriots receiver is recovering from a concussion he sustained during the team’s loss to Kansas City in Week 1. He has practiced in a limited capacity this week which is a good indication he is heading towards a return this weekend. Amendola had six catches for 100 yards a couple weeks ago so he should be a featured option in New England’s offense.
J.J. Watt (DL-HOU) – Watt has been dealing with a finger injury he sustained last week against the Bengals but he is expected to play this Sunday against New England. The Texans defensive lineman has gotten a lot of attention for his efforts raising money for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and now he would like to get some attention for the pressure he wants to put on Tom Brady. Watt is looking for his first sack of the year and the Texans will be in for a long day against a Patriots offense which looks like is back to clicking on all cylinders.
Marlon Mack (RB-IND) – Mack has the distinction of being last in the league in yards per carry with 1.3. His 16 rushes for 21 yards have netted him that dubious honor but he does have a rushing touchdown on his ledger. Mack is dealing with a shoulder injury and was held out of practice on Thursday marking a downgrade for him. If he is unable to play this weekend against Cleveland, then look for Robert Turbin to see more snaps backing up the ageless Frank Gore.
Evan Engram (TE-NYG) – The Giants rookie tight end caught his first career touchdown pass but also suffered his first career concussion. He has been practicing this week but we don’t know whether he has finished going through the concussion protocol. Given his status at practice the past few days it would be very surprising if he didn’t play on Sunday against the Eagles. The Giants offense has been atrocious but Engram has the team’s only touchdown of the year so far making him a TE2 option.
DeMarco Murray (RB-TEN) – Murray missed a couple days of practice this week as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. The veteran running back is questionable for this Sunday’s game against Seattle which would be a very tough matchup even if he was fully healthy. Murray is a very risky fantasy selection this weekend so the safer bet is to go with Derrick Henry who has outplayed Murray on all levels thus far.
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).