NFL Injury Report: September 20
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across the NFL, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
It has been a brutal start to the season for quarterbacks as we can add another big name to the list of signal callers who might be out. Fantasy GMs typically wait until later in drafts to take their quarterbacks and standard leagues usually do not see multiple quarterbacks taken, so there should be plenty of options on the waiver wire. However, in two-QB or SuperFlex leagues, the pickings are slim so be sure to be aggressive when bidding on these backups. So without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the walking wounded in the fantasy football emergency room.
Cam Newton (QB-CAR)
Being an NFL quarterback is a dangerous job as we have seen several go down with injuries over the first couple weeks. We can now add Cam Newton to the list as he is unlikely going to play in Week 3 due to a foot injury. It appears he re-aggravated the injury he sustained during the preseason and was seen in a walking boot this week. This means that Kyle Allen would get the start in Newton’s place which does little for the value of Greg Olsen , D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel . We can expect to see a heavy dose of Christian McCaffrey against the Cardinals who will likely stack the box against him. This injury could potentially cost Newton for Week 4 so GMs need to prepare for that.
James Conner (RB-PIT)
It has been rare for there to be good news coming from the Steelers this season after starting 0-2 and losing Ben Roethlisberger for the year. However, running back James Conner practiced in a full capacity on Thursday which means that he will be good to go for this week’s game against San Francisco. Conner was dealing with a knee injury that knocked him out of last week’s game, but he appears to have recovered and will be on the field for Week 3. Conner’s value is now certainly downgraded with Mason Rudolph at quarterback, but he is still a must-start as the Steelers will be leaning on him even more.
Josh Jacobs (RB-OAK)
There was some confusion this week over what injury Jacobs was dealing with as one report indicated it was his groin while another indicated it was his hip. Regardless of that, he has been limited in practice this week and also dealt with an illness that caused him to lose ten pounds. The fact he did practice at all on Thursday is a good indicator that he will be ready to play this weekend against the Vikings in what should be a very tough matchup for the rookie. Jacobs has been very solid through the first two games rushing for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He will have a difficult time continuing that success against a very good Minnesota defense, especially if he is not 100%.
Marlon Mack (RB-IND)
There is growing concern whether Marlon Mack will be able to play this weekend against Atlanta as he remains sidelined with a calf injury. His availability in practice on Friday will go a long way in determining his status so GMs should check back later in the day for an update. Mack has been extremely solid thus far rushing for 225 yards and one touchdown over the first couple weeks. He is a must-start if he plays but Jordan Wilkins should be targeted on the waiver wire just in case Mack is not ready to go.
Mark Andrews (TE-BAL)
Fantasy GMs should be convinced by now that Mark Andrews is the real deal. He has 16 catches for 220 yards and two touchdowns through the first two weeks of the season and he has emerged as a legitimate TE1 option. He missed some practice last week with a foot injury but came back late in the week and subsequently caught eight passes for 112 yards and a touchdown against Arizona. He continued that pattern this week with returning to practice late in the week so we fully expect him on the field for Week 3 against the Chiefs in what should be a high-scoring game. Andrews is a top tight end option and should also be a Flex if you already have Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz .
DeSean Jackson (WR-PHI)
The prognosis does not look good for DeSean Jackson to play this weekend against the Lions. He is dealing with a groin injury he sustained last Sunday night and the expectation is that he could miss the next two games because the Eagles have a quick turnaround for Week 4 next Thursday night. Jackson has been explosive in his return to Philadelphia catching eight passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns in less than two games. GMs should look for Nelson Agholor on the waiver wire as a suitable replacement given Alshon Jeffery is also injured.
Damien Williams (RB-KC)
Williams still has not practiced this week as he continues to deal with a knee injury. He was seen walking with a limp on Thursday so it is looking more and more like he will miss this week’s game against Baltimore. Williams has gotten off to a slow start to the season averaging less than two yards per carry so perhaps the rest will benefit him in the end. If Williams is inactive for Sunday then the Chiefs will rely on LeSean McCoy at less than 100% along with Darwin Thompson to run the ball.
LeSean McCoy (RB-KC)
While the outlook for Damien Williams seems grim, it is much more positive for McCoy who did return to practice on Thursday in a limited capacity. He is dealing with an ankle injury so he probably will not be at full strength. Despite that, McCoy is a solid RB2 option in what should be a shootout against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Darwin Thompson will serve as McCoy’s backup and should see a fair number of snaps given the Chiefs will likely limit McCoy’s playing time.
David Njoku (TE-CLE)
Njoku left Monday night’s game against the Jets with a concussion but it appears he is dealing with something far more serious. He has been diagnosed with a broken wrist and is expected to miss a month. It is unknown right now whether he will require surgery, but fantasy GMs can expect to be without him for an extended period of time. This is a big loss for the Browns who will likely look outside the organization for some depth at the position. Fantasy GMs may be in a tough position in terms of whether to drop Njoku because roster spots are limited and bye weeks begin next week.
Jimmy Graham (TE-GB)
Fantasy GMs have grown tired of being disappointed by Jimmy Graham . He was likely not even drafted in many leagues but showed some signs of life after catching a touchdown pass in Week 1. Graham followed that up with a stinker against the Vikings when he was only targeted once. He is dealing with a groin injury and has not practiced this week. The Packers brought up a tight end from the practice squad this week so there is definite concern over Graham’s availability for Week 3. He is not a good fantasy option this week whether he plays or not.
Devin Singletary (RB-BUF)
The Bills are one of the biggest stories of the young NFL season starting 2-0 on the road and now head home to play the bumbling Bengals. Rookie running Devin Singletary has shown his explosiveness averaging over ten yards per carry thus far including his first NFL touchdown last week against the Giants. He had to leave the game with a hamstring injury and has not practiced all week. This is not a good sign in terms of his availability for Week 3 so GMs should make alternative arrangements as Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon should share the action out of the backfield. Gore just continues to produce at his advanced age and is a viable RB2 option this week if Singletary does not play.