Next Man Up:
Each and every week, players across the NFL suffer injuries. This weekly article will explore the injuries that affect your dynasty squads. We will briefly discuss both the injured players themselves and the players who stand to benefit or suffer as a result. In order to make them easier to follow, we will break down the injuries by division. Without further ado, let us examine the Week 1 injuries and the next men up.
Dolphins WR DeVante Parker exited the team’s loss to the division rival Patriots with a hamstring injury. Parker had entered the game with a questionable tag stemming from that exact same hamstring. Head Coach Brian Flores said that they would reevaluate the situation on Monday. Hamstrings can be tricky injuries to overcome for skill players. If Parker is forced to miss time, look for second-year teammate Preston Williams to act as a target hog. You can also expect an uptick in targets for pass-catching TE Mike Gesicki. Keep an eye on how this issue plays out as the Dolphins prepare for next week’s contest against Buffalo.
Jets RB Le’Veon Bell exited week 1 with a hamstring injury. The talented RB had rolled out on a wheel route before going down in the open field, grasping his hamstring. Head Coach Adam Gase took the blame for the injury, saying after the game that he should not have allowed Bell back into the game in the second half. This is the second time over the last couple of weeks that Bell has been reported to be dealing with a hamstring issue. It is quite possible the team may look to keep him out until he is fully recovered this time around. If he misses time, Frank Gore will likely carry most of the load with others, including Lamical Perine mixing in. Those relying on Bell should potentially look to make other plans. The best indication we currently have is that Bell has not been sent to IR, so the team believes he will be out for less than three weeks.
Texans RB Duke Johnson exited the season opener with a leg injury. He did not return to the game. This was after starter David Johnson was checked out for a left wrist that turned out to be nothing. It was later revealed to be a sprained ankle. He has already been listed as questionable for week two despite the extended layoff. Any absence for Duke moving forward would mean that much more work for David heading forward. The team has already called up practice squad RB Scottie Phillips indicating they may be expecting a Duke Johnson absence. David Johnson should once again become a 3-down Bell Cow in Duke’s absence.
Colts RB Marlon Mack was carted off the field following a non-contact injury. This was the most devastating injury of opening Sunday. After undergoing testing, the team revealed that Mack tore his Achilles tendon, meaning he will miss the rest of the 2020 campaign. What a devastating blow for Mack and his managers. Heading into free agency, Mack will need to prove he is healthy in what looks to be a deep FA and rookie class next offseason. As for the Colts, they are actually well situated to handle this injury. Rookie stud Jonathan Taylor and pass-catching specialist Nyheim Hines will pair to form a formidable tandem moving forward. This injury seems to have cleared up a murky situation in Indy. Stock is certainly up for the two remaining healthy players.
Cleveland TE David Njoku was forced from his team’s Week 1 loss to the division rival Ravens with a knee injury. Despite receiving little attention throughout training camp and being the subject of trade rumors, Njoku led all Browns TEs in receptions and yards. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski’s scheme is notoriously TE friendly. On Monday, Njoku was sent to IR, so he will miss a minimum of three weeks. In his absence, look for impressive rookie Harrison Bryant to join highly paid starter, Austin Hooper.
Pittsburgh RB James Conner exited Monday Night Football with an ankle injury. At the time he left the game he had only 6 carries for 9 yards. Training Camp darling Benny Snell came in and took over the game turning in a 19/113/0 stat line. Snell looked spry and helped the Steelers take over and win the game. The more things change the more they stay the same. James Conner simply cannot stay healthy. Mike Tomlin and crew continue to attempt to make a Bell Cow out of the former Pitt Panther but his body simply cannot hold up to the beating. Keep an eye on how Conner progresses this week. If he is forced to miss time Snell has shown to be capable of shouldering the load for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh RB James Conner exited Monday Night Football with an ankle injury. At the time he left the game, he had only six carries for 9 yards. Training Camp darling Benny Snell came in and took over the game turning in a 19/113/0 stat line. Snell looked spry and helped the Steelers take over and win the game. The more things change, the more they stay the same. James Conner cannot stay healthy. Mike Tomlin and crew continue to attempt to make a bell cow out of the former Pitt Panther, but his body cannot simply hold up to the beating. Keep an eye on how Conner progresses this week. If he is forced to miss time, Snell has shown to be capable of shouldering the load for the Steelers.
Broncos WRs Courtland Sutton & KJ Hamler both missed the team opener. Although they were not injured during Monday Night Football, their absence certainly affected the target distribution. Both players were questionable heading into the game. Keep an eye on Sutton’s shoulder and Hamler’s hamstring as the week plays out. If they are forced to miss another game, look for Jeudy, Fant, and company to soak up additional targets from Drew Lock.
Denver RB Philip Lindsay left his team’s week one loss to the Titans with what has been described as a minor case of turf toe. This will obviously slow the third-year back and could cost him next week’s game against the stout Steelers D. Lindsay’s absence would mean a boost in the usage for teammate Melvin Gordon. However, with such a tough matchup, it is not advisable to boost Gordon’s prospects above what they were for week 1. Keep an eye on how this one progresses, but early indications are that it is relatively minor.
Eagles RB Boston Scott left the team’s Week 1 loss to the division rival Washington Football Team with an undisclosed injury. He was able to return to the contest but was limited down the stretch. Scott’s real value lies in the absence of starting RB Miles Sanders. Keep an eye on Scott during the coming week. Despite the dreadful Eagles O-line, any starting RB is worth the attention of dynasty managers.
Dallas TE Blake Jarwin was forced from the first half of Sunday night football with a non-contact right knee injury. Considered a breakout candidate by some, this injury did not look good. Early indications are that he tore his ACL, meaning he will be out the rest of the season. The Cowboys will be forced to turn to former Stanford Cardinal Dalton Shultz or Blake Bell. Truly a sad turn of events for a player that waited his turn behind Jason Witten for years. The Cowboys likely wish they could turn to ole reliable now, but he is in Vegas with Gruden and the Raiders. In your TE premium leagues, scoop up Dalton Shultz and hope for the best. Stanford has a long history of churning out quality TE’s and Shultz is not without some promise moving forward.
Giants WR Golden Tate missed the team’s Monday night opener with a hamstring injury. The shortened training camp and lack of a pre-season led to an epidemic of hamstring ailments leading up to and during the Week 1 contests. Tate should be back in the lineup in short order. As long as he misses time, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard will get a bump in targets.
Eagles RB Miles Sanders missed the team’s opening loss to Washington with a hamstring injury. The Eagles O-line looked brutal in this contest. The Washington D-line was stifling against the run and the pass. Sanders reportedly has a chance to play in Week 2 against the Rams. Sanders is a trendy sophomore stud, but if things don’t change, he may find tough sledding behind this line. Keep an eye out for reports about his impending return.
Saints WR Michael Thomas suffered a high ankle sprain in the team’s Week 1 victory. High ankle sprains tend to linger for quite some time. Thomas has already come out and stated that he would be ready to go next week against the Raiders in Las Vegas. His confidence is a welcome sign that, hopefully, this injury is relatively minor. His subpar performance against Tampa may or may not have been a result of the injury. If nothing else, he will command the respect of opposing defenses and open up things for his teammates across the board. If, for some reason, he is forced to miss time, look for new teammate Emmanuel Sanders and RB Alvin Kamara to see a bump in usage in the passing game.
UPDATE: After the initial submission of this article, it was revealed that the ankle injury Michael Thomas sustained was more severe than was first believed. It is now being reported that he will miss a couple of weeks. Keep an eye on if he is sent to short term IR this week. With the Saint’s early bye week, it wouldn’t be surprising if they held him out until their return in week 7. If he is not sent to IR, he will be back in less then three weeks. In his absence, look for Emmanuel Sanders and Alvin Kamara to soak up a ton of targets in the passing game. Taysom Hill could be a dark horse to take on a larger role as well.
Detroit WR Kenny Golladay missed the team’s loss to the division rival Bears with a hamstring injury. As with many of the other players on this week’s list, the lack of a true camp or pre-season may have contributed to the soft tissue injury. Golladay was one of an unusually high number of players to suffer from hamstring ailments this week. His absence was felt as Detroit struggled to close out their division rivals in their home opener. In his place, rookie Quintez Cephus made some noise alongside veteran starter Marvin Jones. If Golladay cannot go for week two, look for Cephus to draw the start again and for TE TJ Hockenson to play a significant role in the passing game.
San Francisco All-Pro TE George Kittle gave us all a legitimate scare when it appeared Cardinals Safety Budda Baker hyperextended his knee. Kittle departed the field early for halftime. Kittle managed to return after the half but failed to catch another pass the rest of the afternoon. It was reported Monday that he was dealing with a sprained knee. Keep an eye on any issues with Kittle’s knee moving forward. It seems disaster was averted, but it would be prudent to arrange a backup plan if the team decides to take it easy with their all-world TE.
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