NFL Injury Report: October 22
Michael Stein breaks down the injury situations across the NFL, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
Fantasy football is a volatile endeavor in that things change drastically from week to week. That challenge is part of what makes fantasy football so much fun to do while also wreaking havoc on your state of mind. It is virtually impossible to avoid exposure to injuries, so GMs must constantly be scouring the waiver wire looking to add depth and flexibility to rosters. Seeking backups and handcuffs is a proactive approach to handling the adversity of injuries, so kudos to those who had Chase Edmonds in your lineup this week. So without any further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the walking wounded in the fantasy football emergency room.
Adam Thielen (WR-MIN)
Fantasy GMs will be without Adam Thielen for Week 8 as the Vikings wide receiver suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday against Detroit. Minnesota has a quick turnaround this week as they play Washington on Thursday night. It is because of the schedule that all but ended Thielen’s chances of playing this week. He is hoping to rest and recover in time to be back on the field for Week 9. Thielen and the rest of the Vikings pass offense got off to a very slow start, but they have exploded over the past three weeks raising Thielen’s totals to 27 receptions for 391 yards and six touchdowns including four in the past three games. OlaBisi Johnson should see most of the snaps in Thielen’s absence and would be a solid streaming option for Week 8 if you need a replacement.
Drew Brees (QB-NO)
Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees has been out since Week 2 when he underwent surgery on his injured thumb. He will start practicing again this week and could be in line to return for Week 8 against Arizona. The dilemma in New Orleans is that the Saints are undefeated since Teddy Bridgewater took over and they have bye next week. They could very well go with Bridgewater one more week in a very winnable game and would allow Brees to have an extra two weeks to practice and rest. Fantasy GMs will need to follow this situation throughout the week because whatever the Saints decide to do will have major fantasy implications.
Alvin Kamara (RB-NO)
The Saints will evaluate Alvin Kamara similar to Drew Brees in that they could give their star running back some additional time off while still having a good chance to win. Kamara was held out of Sunday’s game with a high ankle sprain but New Orleans did not miss a beat as Latavius Murray chewed up Chicago’s vaunted defense. The Saints will play a red hot Arizona team but should still be able to defeat them even with Bridgewater and Murray on the field. Fantasy GMs desperately need Kamara on the field and being productive, but they may have to wait until after the Week 9 bye to have him back.
David Johnson (RB-ARZ)
Fantasy GMs are not pleased with Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury as he activated David Johnson for Sunday’s game against the Giants only to pull him after the first series. Johnson is still dealing with a back injury and allegedly did not feel right on the couple of plays he was on the field for this past week. Chase Edmonds stepped in and obliterated the Giants defense by scoring three long touchdowns and dominating the game. Arizona will have a much tougher opponent next week against the Saints so whoever is rushing the ball will have their hands full. The concern here is that Johnson may miss some extra time because Arizona is working out some free agent running backs looking for depth at the position. Edmonds explosion on Sunday all but assures he will be scooped up in every fantasy league so put your bids in for him now if he is still floating around on the waiver wire.
Matt Ryan (QB-ATL)
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was taken out of Sunday’s game against the Rams with a sprained ankle. He was later seen in a walking boot and underwent an MRI that confirmed the sprain. The good news is that he doing some aquatic exercises to rehab the ankle already and has a chance to play this week against Seattle. Ryan has been a pillar of endurance throughout his career as he has not missed a game since his second season in 2009. Atlanta has had an abysmal season but Ryan has been productive throwing for 2,170 yards along with 15 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. The team just traded Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots so that is one less weapon Ryan will have at his disposal. Check back for updates later in the week to see whether Ryan is making enough progress to play in Week 8. Matt Schaub would get the start if Ryan is unable to take the field.
Kerryon Johnson (RB-DET)
Johnson was removed from Sunday’s game against Minnesota with a knee injury that will likely cost him at least one game. He was seen on the sideline with a brace on his knee which does not bode well for his availability this coming Sunday. Fantasy GMs would be missing a salivating matchup for Johnson against the Giants who just allowed Chase Edmonds to run all over the field against them. The second year running back has rushed for 308 yards and two touchdowns along with nine catches for 126 yards and one touchdown making him a consistent viable fantasy starter. Rookie running back Ty Johnson got most of the playing time after he left the game so he should certainly be targeted on the waiver wire ahead of the favorable matchup against the Giants.
A.J. Green (WR-CIN)
Fantasy GMs are growing increasingly frustrated at the fact that A.J. Green has yet to return from his ankle injury. Green was likely drafted in the mid to late rounds with the expectation that he would miss a few weeks and be back early in the season. He has not been ruled out yet for Week 8 but it seems likely that Cincinnati will wait another week to bring him back as they face a tough matchup against the Rams rebuilt secondary. The Bengals have been a disaster all season so expectations should be tempered when he eventually does come back and take the field. GMs who have stashed him this long should continue to do so at this point.
Will Fuller (WR-HOU)
Texans wide receiver Will Fuller has to be one of the most frustrating players to own on a fantasy team. There is no disputing his raw talent and ability to light up the scoreboard. However, he is one of the most injury-prone players in the league and simply cannot be trusted. Just a couple weeks ago, he had over 200 yards receiving and all three of his touchdowns. Now he has suffered another hamstring injury and is expected to miss several weeks. Fuller epitomizes “all or nothing” when it comes to fantasy football, and right now he is nothing because GMs can comfortably drop him. Kenny Stills will likely take over for Fuller opposite of DeAndre Hopkins making him a solid waiver wire target for this week.
Adrian Peterson (RB-WAS)
The Redskins have been one of the worst teams in the league this year and fired their coach already. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson has been the key figure in their new offense under Bill Callahan but it has not turned into many points over the past two games. He is dealing with an ankle injury and underwent an MRI on Monday to have everything checked out. The Redskins have a quick turnaround this week as they play on Thursday night, so Peterson will not be 100% even if he does take the field. This is not a good matchup for the future Hall of Famer as he will be up against his former team that happens to have one of the best defenses in the league.
Delanie Walker (TE-TEN)
Fantasy GMs have been struggling to find consistency at the tight end position all year. One of the most dependable options over the years appears to be slowing down a bit as Delanie Walker continues to suffer from an ankle injury. He tried playing through it on Sunday against the Chargers but was unable to do so. His status for Week 8 is in jeopardy, which is unfortunate because Tennessee has an appetizing matchup against Tampa Bay whose defense is not particularly adept against the pass. Jonnu Smith would get the start if Walker is unable to take the field making him a waiver wire option for Week 8.
Mason Rudolph (QB-PIT)
The Steelers just had their bye week coming off a win with rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges playing for Mason Rudolph who had a concussion. Now Rudolph has been cleared from the league’s concussion protocol and is in line to return next Monday night against Miami. This is great news for fantasy GMs as Rudolph should be able to have his way with a terrible Miami team on national television. This bodes well for fellow Steelers players such as James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster who have been almost invisible from a fantasy perspective thus far.