Week 5 was a much less painful week for fantasy GMs in terms of critical injuries.  In fact, this coming week could also see the return of some elite players so that is even more good news.  Fantasy GMs have to expect to deal with injuries, so the issue becomes how to overcome those injuries and tread water until the star players return.  These GMs will get big boosts in the lineup when elite players come back while also maintaining roster depth and flexibility. So without any further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the walking wounded in the fantasy football emergency room.

Patrick Mahomes (QB-KC)

It appears that Patrick Mahomes is human as he had a sub-standard game compared to what we usually see from him on a weekly basis.  Part of the reason he seemed out of sorts against the Colts this past Sunday night is that he was dealing with an ankle injury for most of the game.  He aggravated the ankle during the first half and subsequently got stepped on later in the game which clearly hampered his mobility.  Mahomes is at his best when he is on the move so this was certainly a factor in the Chiefs loss.  He was able to stay in the game and play through it, so whatever injury he was dealing with does not appear to be a major concern.  Mahomes has thrown for 1,831 yards along with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions, and he remains the clear-cut number one quarterback in the league.  He will have a favorable matchup next week against the Texans and should have Tyreek Hill back on the field as well.

Saquon Barkley (RB-NYG)

Giants running back Saquon Barkley sustained a high ankle sprain a couple weeks ago and was projected to miss 4-8 weeks.  It has been three weeks and he already has a good chance of returning this Thursday night when the Giants face the Patriots.  Barkley is as tough as they come and practiced in a limited capacity on Monday.  The Giants will be without Sterling Shepard and Wayne Gallman, so the team does need Barkley on the field to have any type of chance against New England’s defense.  Continue to follow for updates over the next couple days and be ready to put Barkley back in your lineup as a RB1.

David Johnson (RB-ARZ)

Johnson’s back apparently locked up on him during the Cardinals victory over Cincinnati this past week.  He was still able to play and provided 156 yards from scrimmage, so it did not appear the injury affected him very much.  However, Arizona has indicated that they will monitor Johnson throughout the week and left open the possibility of keeping him out of next week’s game against Atlanta.  This would be a big loss for fantasy GMs because the Falcons defense has been horrendous and Johnson would have an opportunity to light up the scoreboard.  GMs should monitor his status during the week and target Chase Edmonds on the waiver wire as insurance.

Brandin Cooks (WR-LAR)

Cooks is now in the league’s concussion protocol after being removed from Thursday night’s game against Seattle.  He took a hard hit on the ground after making a great catch and was clearly dazed.  He has the benefit of having a few extra days off since the Rams played on Thursday, but his status for Week 6 is questionable at best right now.  Josh Reynolds would see an expanded role in the offense if Cooks is unable to play next week against the 49ers.

Tyreek Hill (WR-KC)

Hill has been out since fracturing his clavicle in Week 1 but returned to practice in a limited capacity last week.  The Chiefs opted to give him another week of rest but all signs are now pointing towards his return this coming week against Houston.  Fantasy GMs will receive a huge boost placing Hill back in lineups as he is one of the most explosive players in the league.  Monitor his status throughout the week and ensure that he does not have any setbacks before locking him into your Week 6 lineup.

Sammy Watkins (WR-KC)

Fantasy GMs thought this was the year that Sammy Watkins would firmly entrench himself as a fantasy stud. This belief was further emboldened by his Week 1 performance where he had 198 yards receiving and three touchdowns.  He has been relatively silent since then and is now dealing with a hamstring injury that forced him out of Sunday night’s game against the Colts.  Watkins has a lengthy injury history so GMs have never been able to depend on him.  The Chiefs will likely have Tyeek Hill back on the field for Week 6 so they can afford to give Watkins extra rest.  His absence keeps Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle in the conversation as a WR3 or Flex option for another week.

Sterling Shepard (WR-NYG)

The Giants cannot seem to catch a break as Sterling Shepard has suffered his second concussion this year.  He will definitely miss this Thursday’s game against the Patriots and it is conceivable that he misses even more time than that given how conservative teams are when dealing with head injuries.  Shepard was thrust into the Giants number one receiver role this year after Odell Beckham, Jr. was traded and Golden Tate was suspended for the first four games.  Now Tate will have a chance to emerge as the team’s top receiver, but he faces a daunting task of going against New England’s dominant defense.  Bill Belicheck should have a field day disrupting rookie Daniel Jones and the Giants offense.

Phillip Dorsett (WR-NE)

Just when fantasy GMs were getting comfortable playing Dorsett he sustains an injury.  Dorsett had to leave Sunday’s game against the Redskins with a strained hamstring and he is considered week to week right now.  This vague status makes it all but certain he will not play on Thursday night against the Giants.  This is a real letdown for fantasy GMs because Dorsett would have had a field day against the Giants horrendous defense.  His absence should open the door for Jakobi Meyers to see additional playing time.  Keep Dorsett stashed if you can because he has become one of Tom Brady’s favorite red zone targets.

Marquise Brown (WR-BAL)

Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown was hampered by an ankle injury this past week against the Steelers.  He was limited in the snaps he played in because of the injury but Baltimore does not seem to think this will be a long-term concern.  Brown exploded in Week 1 and then was relatively quiet until catching his third touchdown pass in Week 5 against Pittsburgh.  He is a borderline WR3 so GMs should monitor his status throughout the week to help determine whether he will play in Week 6.

Mason Rudolph (QB-PIT)

It keeps getting worse for the Steelers who have decimated by injuries all season.  Mason Rudolph, the backup quarterback who took over for Ben Roethlisberger, has been fairly serviceable throwing for 646 yards along with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.  Unfortunately, he took a very hard fall on Sunday and hit his head on the ground.  He is now in the league’s concussion protocol as third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges finished the game against the Ravens.  It is a fair assumption that Rudolph will miss Week 6, so this even further diminishes the value of Steelers players such as James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Wayne Gallman (RB-NYG)

Gallman is in the league’s concussion protocol and has already been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Patriots.  This coincides with the potential return of Saquon Barkley so Gallman was not likely going to be much of a factor anyway.  He is worth stashing for depth, especially if there is concern about Barkley re-injuring the ankle.

Clay Matthews (LB-LAR)

Matthews suffered a broken jaw while tackling Chris Carson last Thursday in Seattle.  The veteran linebacker will undergo surgery and is expected to miss up to a month.  He signed with the Rams as a free agent and accumulated 19 tackles along with six sacks and two forced fumbles thus far.  He is worth owning in IDP leagues so stash him if you have the roster flexibility.  His absence does decrease the value of the Rams D/ST.