NFL Injury Report: October 28
Howard Bender recaps the injury news following Week 8 and offers up potential return timetables and suggestions for replacement players for fantasy football.
The biggest injury news over the last several days has been the Texans loss of J.J. Watt who suffered a torn pectoral muscle and had season-ending surgery. For those in IDP leagues, that’s a huge blow and while you’re never sunk, it does hurt, given where Watt was likely drafted. For those who don’t play in IDP leagues, the effect isn’t impactful at all, but there are still a number of injury notes, you’re going to have to pay attention to heading into waivers and Week 9.
Matt Ryan , ATL – Quite the streak was broken as Matty Ice failed to start for the Falcons for the first time in 10 years due to an ankle injury. The team got by with Matt Schaub , but fully expect Ryan to return to his duties in Week 10 as he gets the bye week to increase his recovery time. Maybe the team will also figure out their coaching woes by then.
Joe Flacco , DEN – The neck injury is no joke and while Flacco seems to have dodged a bullet – that being no surgery and not considered career-threatening – he is expected to miss 5-to-6 weeks. You don’t want to say he’s done for the season, but, in truth, it makes little sense for the Broncos to bring him back in 14 or 15 unless the Broncos are in a position to make the playoffs and advance. They could just be better off letting Brandon Allen or even Drew Lock finish the season. We’ll see what happens, but he should be dropped in all formats.
Patrick Mahomes , KC – Despite reports of his super-human strength and videos of him on the practice field, the Chiefs did not roll out Mahomes this week against the Packers. Smart. It’s a dislocated kneecap and while surgery was avoided and he’s got some mobility, how his body reacts to taking a low hit to the legs needs to be further investigated. The team is saying he has a realistic chance to return in Week 10, but before you go activating him, take a look at the medical reports during his recovery period.
Case Keenum , WAS – Knocked out of action during Thursday’s loss to the Vikings, Keenum remains in the league’s concussion protocol, awaiting additional tests and possible clearance. Redskins interim coach Bill Callahan said that, if cleared, Keenum would be the team’s starting quarterback in Week 9 against Buffalo.
Chase Edmonds , ARI – He suffered a hamstring injury early on in Sunday’s game and has already been ruled out for the Cardinals Week 9 match-up on Thursday. In fact, head coach Kliff Kingsbury alluded to the possibility that this injury could hold Edmonds out for close to three weeks. We know that David Johnson ’s back and ankle issues are week-to-week, so this definitely puts Kenyan Drake in a good spot for fantasy owners. Of course, it’s still Kenyan Drake , amirite?
Royce Freeman , DEN – Though the shoulder injury has been deemed minor and Freeman is fully expected to play this week, it is worth noting as we are expecting a heavy lean on the ground game in the wake of the Joe Flacco injury news. Freeman has been carving out a bigger role for himself each week, but the team may back off a little this week just to ensure he doesn’t so any more damage to it. Not something to be too alarmed over, but just take notice and keep it in mind.
Alvin Kamara , NO – He missed another game with the ankle issue, but with the bye week coming up, we fully expect Kamara to be back on the field in Week 10. This has definitely been frustrating for fantasy owners, but if you want to look on the bright side of things, the late-season struggles we witnessed from him last year were more him being worn down than anything. He was the go-to guy for the first four weeks of the season and the team barely lightened his load once Mark Ingram returned. This year, he’s now missed two weeks and has the bye, so he should be well-rested and ready to go for the second half.
Miles Sanders, PHI – It seems odd the Eagles didn’t send him for an MRI, but apparently the x-rays taken on Sanders’ shoulder were sufficient and no structural damage was in sight. Head coach Doug Pederson said the running back would be alright and is considered day-to-day. We’ll wait for practice reports this week to check on Sanders’ progress, however, as Pederson said DeSean Jackson was also day-to-day and that was weeks ago.
James Conner , PIT – He suffered a shoulder injury late in the game Monday night and reports Tuesday had head coach Mike Tomlin telling the media it was an AC joint injury. Tomlin added that this would likely limit Conner’s reps at practice early in the week, but did not seem to think this would hold the running back out of action when the Steelers host the Colts in Week 9. Keep a close watch throughout the week to make sure he doesn’t experience any type of setback.
Benny Snell, PIT – The Steelers haven’t done much reporting on Snell’s status after injuring his knee Monday night and not returning to the game. Perhaps it’s minor and Tomlin was erring on the side of caution holding him out, but the Steelers RB corps is looking thin with both Conner and Snell banged-up and Jaylen Samuels still working his way back.
Raheem Mostert , SF – After suffering a knee injury, Mostert was held out of practice again Tuesday and may not be available for Thursday’s tilt with the Cardinals. His teammates, as you will see below, are also banged-up, so check in on practice Wednesday to see who has the potential to play alongside Tevin Coleman . Mostert’s injury doesn’t seem to bad, but it is a short week on the turnaround.
Matt Breida , SF – He left Sunday’s game relatively early with an ankle injury and could be in danger of missing Thursday’s game. He was held out of practice Tuesday and head coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t seem overly optimistic. Breida has been in this spot several times before and has come back form injuries deemed more serious, so be careful there’s no gamesmanship going on and suddenly Breida becomes a lead rusher.
Marquise Brown , BAL – The Ravens had their bye in Week 8, giving Brown another full week of recovery time. He hasn’t played since Week 5, but three weeks should be enough for him to be fully recovered. Head coach John Harbaugh expects the rookie wideout to take the field this week which is definitely a necessity as this passing attack hasn’t been the same without him.
Davante Adams , GB – This toe injury has been a nightmare for fantasy owners as it’s been four weeks since Adams took the field. The hope is that he will be ready to return in Week 9 against the Chargers, but it’s simply a matter of how much he practices. Last week he did some light workouts and caught a few passes, but unless he puts in a full practice by Friday, his absence could be extended.
Marqise Lee , JAC – This dude is just made out of glass, isn’t he? This time it’s a shoulder injury and apparently, it’s bad enough that the Jaguars placed him on IR on Tuesday. His season is over which does breathe a little life in to the fantasy value of Chris Conley . Lee can be dropped in all formats and if you’re holding him in dynasty, it may be time to let go.
Dede Westbrook , JAC – Tough one for fantasy owners who started Westbrook this week as a neck and shoulder issue put an early end to his day on Sunday, leaving his owners with a big, fat goose egg. The Jaguars remain optimistic and head coach Doug Marrone indicated that Westbrook should be available for Week 9. Neck issues are never good (see Joe Flacco ), so expect the team to be cautious with their slot receiver. Monitor practice reports this week and maybe give a look to either Chris Conley or even Keelan Cole on waivers.
Brandin Cooks , LAR – Another early exit on Sunday, this time due to a concussion. Cooks left the game in the first quarter, got checked out in the blue tent and was immediately sent back to the locker room. He is officially in the league’s concussion protocol and will not set foot on the practice field until he is cleared.
Sterling Shepard , NYG – He missed his third-straight game with a concussion after failing to be cleared by the league’s protocol. He put in some limited practices last week, but has yet to be cleared for contact. While the Giants aren’t showing much in the way of concern, the fact that he’s been out for this long should tell you that he’s not going to be rushed back at all and could be in danger of missing this week’s game against Dallas.
DeSean Jackson , PHI – It’s been six games since DJax was on the field and based on what head coach Doug Pederson is saying, it doesn’t seem likely that he will return in Week 9 either. Pederson said Jackson would be incorporated into Eagles’ practices but would be used sparingly. That doesn’t sound like someone who will be suiting up to play the Bears this week. You can continue to monitor the practice schedule, but it doesn’t seem likely that he will play.
Charles Clay , ARI – Hard to believe a 78-year old man who uses a walker would be found on the injury report, but here’s Clay, in all his glory, dealing with a back injury and missing practice. This isn’t going to impact fantasy owners, or at least not ones who play in leagues of 14 or fewer teams, but we may as well report it.
Jeff Heuerman , DEN – Another low-impact injury for fantasy owners, but significant for the Broncos as a knee injury puts Heuerman on the shelf and maybe for more than just a couple of weeks. He is slated to have an MRI to ascertain the severity of the injury, but for now, Noah Fant owners should perk up a bit as he could be in line for an increased workload.
Chris Herndon , NYJ – In one of the more frustrating injuries to deal with, Herndon’s hamstring has now held him out for three weeks following his four-game suspension and a bye week. We keep hearing reports that he is close, but you won’t know if he’s going to be on the field this week against Miami until later on in the week. If you’re relying on Herndon, it could be this week, but we do not recommend dropping the playable tight end you’ve been using.
O.J. Howard , TB – A hamstring injury held Howard out of Sunday’s game against the Titans and he is being labeled as week-to-week for now. He was able to put in a limited practice last Wednesday but missed the next two days, so there is a chance he could miss additional time if he aggravated the issue late in the week. Monitor the practice reports, but get yourself some Cameron Brate if you need a replacement.
Delanie Walker , TEN – He was limited in practice two weeks ago with an undisclosed ankle issue, but he tried to play through it. Of course, we know how that went as he left Week 7 in the first quarter and then was unable to suit up for Week 8. It doesn’t sound all that promising for Walker to practice this week either, so Jonnu Smith should remain in line for a solid snap count and targets.