2018 NFL Injury Report: October 2
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across the NFL, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
This edition of the injury report has some familiar faces and big names on it, so GMs could be in for a tumultuous week. The waiver wire is likely very thin so there are not great alternatives out there if you are in need of replacements. The only solace you can take from this is that every other league member is likely dealing with the same dilemma, so no one is going to feel bad for anyone. So without any further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the 2018 fantasy football emergency room.
Rob Gronkowski (TE-NE)
It wouldn’t be a normal NFL season if we didn’t see Rob Gronkowski on the injury report. Gronkowski is dealing with an ankle injury which sidelined him at practice on Monday. He is considered day-to-day right now but that does not bode well for being ready to play on Thursday night against the Colts. Gronkowski has 17 catches for 233 yards and one touchdown thus far and would be a huge loss for fantasy GMs if he is inactive for Week 5.
Ezekiel Elliott (RB-DAL)
Fantasy GMs are concerned now that it is being reported that Ezekiel Elliott is dealing with ankle and knee injuries. Specifically, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett stated that Elliott is suffering from bursitis in his knee and an ankle sprain. It is likely that Elliott will play this week against Houston but it can be expected that his snaps will be shared with Rod Smith in order to help preserve Elliott’s health. However, if Elliott continues to be hampered with the injuries it is possible that he could be held inactive. We won’t know that until later in the week but Smith is certainly a viable waiver wire option.
T.Y. Hilton (WR-IND)
The Colts have indicated that T.Y. Hilton will likely miss Thursday’s game against the Patriots. He is dealing with a hamstring injury and with the short week it seems unlikely that he will have enough time to rest and recover in order to play. This is a big loss for Andrew Luck who will likely be engaged in another shootout against a New England team that seems to have rebounded after a sluggish start. Nyheim Hines had a big day catching passes out of the backfield last week against Houston so he could be in for another productive game if Hilton is out.
Leonard Fournette (RB-JAX)
Fantasy GMs are growing tired of Fournette who injured his hamstring again and will likely miss the next couple weeks. Fournette returned this past Sunday against the Jets after missing the previous two games but it seems as though he came back too quickly. Now the Jaguars are expected to be without Fournette for at least as long as his last absence, and maybe more. T.J. Yeldon will resume his duties as the primary running back for Jacksonville and is a solid RB2 option for the next couple weeks.
Will Fuller (WR-HOU)
Will Fuller may never truly be healthy as his hamstring continues to be an issue every week. He was taken out of this past week’s game against Indianapolis and is being closely monitored this week to determine his availability for the upcoming Sunday night game against Dallas. Fuller has been very productive catching 17 catches for 263 yards and three touchdowns. He has been hampered by the hamstring injury since last year so GMs will have to follow for updates throughout the week and plan for a contingency if he is going to be sidelined again and replaced by Keke Coutee .
Sammy Watkins (WR-KC)
Watkins was taken out of Monday night’s game against Denver with a hamstring injury and did not register a single reception. Hamstring injuries usually take some time to recover from and the Chiefs will have one less day to prepare for Jacksonville’s stellar defense this coming Sunday. If Watkins is not ready, then Chris Conley would step in his place as part of Kansas City’s high-powered offense. Even if Watkins is able to play, he is not a good fantasy option at less than 100% going up against the Jaguars secondary.
Randall Cobb (WR-GB)
Cobb was inactive for the Packers shutout of the Bills this past weekend and his status for Week 5 is also questionable with a hamstring injury. Green Bay was able to manage their offense without him against a hapless Buffalo team, but his absence in Week 5 could have bigger consequences especially if fellow wide receiver Geronimo Allison cannot play due to a concussion. With these injuries to wide receivers, look for Aaron Jones to be a big part of the offense again along with Aaron Rodgers favorite targets Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham .
Geronimo Allison (WR-GB)
Allison suffered a concussion in the second half of the Packers win over Buffalo on Sunday and is considered week-to-week. His status for Week 5 won’t be known until later in the week so Marquez Valdes-Scantling becomes a viable waiver wire addition given Green Bay’s injuries at the position. Allison has 19 catches for 289 yards and two touchdowns on the season and was on his way to becoming a viable WR3 in most league formats.
Tyler Eifert (TE-CIN)
Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert has endured so many injuries in his short career and missed so much time over the past couple years that seeing him back and healthy was a feel-good story. He even had 15 catches for 179 yards and one touchdown thus far before suffering a gruesome broken ankle on Sunday against Atlanta. He has already undergone surgery and vowed to be back, so the good news is that it does not appear to be a career-ending injury. Eifert can be dropped in all league formats and Tyler Kroft becomes an option on weeks where you desperately need a replacement.
O.J. Howard (TE-TB)
Howard suffered a sprained MCL in his knee and is expected to be out two to four weeks. He has been productive thus far with 11 catches for 222 yards and one touchdown during Tampa Bay’s improbable offensive start to the season. They are on a bye this week so that reduces the number of games Howard could miss. If Howard is not able to return for Week 6, then Cameron Brate will get the start in his place.
Earl Thomas (DB-SEA)
Seahawks defensive back Earl Thomas is clearly one of the best at his position in the whole league and has been lobbying for a trade in order to secure a better chance at a long-term lucrative contract. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken leg on Sunday and will miss the remainder of the season. Thomas had 22 tackles and three interceptions thus far making him valuable in IDP leagues. Now there is even more reason to target players going against Seattle’s defense.
ON THE MEND
Joe Mixon (RB-CIN)
The Bengals are not indicating either way whether Mixon will be able to return this week against Miami. He has missed the past couple weeks after undergoing minor knee surgery and is itching to get back after getting off to a hot start. Giovani Bernard has played well in Mixon’s absence so Cincinnati may choose to be more conservative with him. Even if Mixon does play, it is expected he would share rushing duties with Bernard in order to ease him back into the mix.
Devonta Freeman (RB-ATL)
Freeman has missed the past three games with a knee injury and his absence has derailed Atlanta’s running game. The Falcons are hopeful he can return this week against the Steelers but we won’t know more until later in the week. If Freeman does come back, GMs should temper expectations for him because he will still be sharing carries with Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith .
Chris Carson (RB-SEA)
Carson missed this past week’s game with a hip injury and saw break out for over 100 yards in his absence. Seattle expects Carson to play in Week 5 but there will likely be a committee in the backfield making Carson a risky fantasy option. He has 177 yards and one touchdown thus far and would only be a flex option if he is active.