Week 1 Fantasy Football Injury Recap
As The Fantasy Footballers’ lead injury analyst and sports physical therapist, I’ll be recapping the previous week’s injuries and giving a projected timeline for recovery all season long. Let’s look at the biggest injuries from Week 1 and take a look at what fantasy managers can expect heading into Week 2 and beyond.
Don’t forget to check out JoinTheFoot.com for additional premium resources, including access to the Injury Blitz Podcast hosted by yours truly. This bonus podcast, available to all #FootClan Premier members, is a short, yet informative injury podcast that drops late in the week in order to provide all the injury updates you need to set your lineup each week.
QB Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Fractured Thumb: Out 6-8 weeks
Dak injured his right thumb in the 4th quarter Sunday night against the Bucs, suffering a fracture at the base of the thumb. He underwent surgery on Monday to insert a pin and plate into the base of the thumb to stabilize the joint. Reports surrounding the Cowboys franchise QB have been mixed over the last 24 hours. Initial reports suggested a 6-8 week recovery timeline with Ian Rappoport suggesting the Cowboys are “looking at” Week 8 for a return. This morning, Tom Pelissero reported there’s a chance Dak could be back in 4-6 weeks. How quickly Dak returns will depend on how well the fracture is healing and the functionality of the thumb. It’s impossible to grip and throw a football effectively if you lack the dexterity and strength of the thumb, making this a wide range of outcomes for Dak that depends on several factors. Regardless, expect Prescott out until at least mid October at the earliest. I’m expecting him to return in late October.
Players impacted: CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott, Dalton Schultz
QB Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Back Spasms: Day-to-Day
Jones injured his back on Sunday in the team’s loss to Miami and underwent X-rays after the game. Those came back clean, suggesting there’s no fracture for Jones. Reports have indicated he’s dealing with “back spasms” but this is not a diagnosis. Rather, it’s a symptom. Jones himself has suggested he’ll practice this week, so we’ll see what New England’s practice reports say. Lower back injuries can be tedious, and in my experience, rarely recover in just a week. If Jones is out there Sunday, he’ll probably be battling some soreness and stiffness. It would make sense for the team to emphasize the run and/or focus on quick hitters to get the ball out of Jones’ hands quickly in Week 2. For now, consider him questionable for Week 2.
Players impacted: Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker
RB Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers
MCL Sprain: Out 8 weeks
Mitchell sprained his MCL, the ligament that sits on the inside of the knee, in the Niners Week 1 loss to Chicago. He’s set to miss up to 8 weeks recovering from this injury and has already been placed on Injured Reserve. Look for Jeff Wilson Jr. to lead the 49ers backfield moving forward. Rookies Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price are also names to monitor.
Players impacted: Jeff Wilson Jr., Jordan Mason, Tyrion Davis-Price
RB Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Foot Injury (Diagnosis Unknown): Day-to-Day
Najee picked up a foot injury on Sunday against Cincy, exiting late in the 2nd half. He remained on the sideline late in the game and throughout overtime, but it is notable the team decided to hold him out, giving every touch to Jaylen Warren in Najee’s absence. The team has downplayed the severity of the injury, but it is worth noting that this is the same foot that Najee injured early in training camp when he dealt with a mild Lisfranc sprain. To me, the mechanism looked like a high ankle sprain as seen in the video below. The Score’s Jordan Schultz reports there’s a “good chance” Harris will play in Week 2. We’ll see what the practice reports say.
Players impacted: Jaylen Warren
Every report seems to indicate the Najee injury isn't serious. Maybe it's not, but this looks a lot like a high ankle mechanism to me. We'll see what he does in practice this week pic.twitter.com/5SJoNP8ZgI
— Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT) September 13, 2022
RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Rib Injury: Day-to-Day
Kamara’s usage on Sunday was a bit peculiar. He only played 62% of the snaps and saw 9 rushing attempts and 4 targets. Largely ineffective, it now makes sense as head coach, Dennis Allen said Alvin Kamara was battling a rib issue in Week 1 against the Falcons but “thinks he’s going to be fine.” This is likely a bruised rib, which shouldn’t keep Kamara out for Week 2. He may miss some practice time this week, however.
Players impacted: Mark Ingram
WR Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hamstring Strain: Out 2-4 weeks
Godwin’s recovery from January ACL surgery has gone extremely well. So well, in fact, that he was able to suit up in Week 1 just 8 months out from surgery, which was a surprise to many, including myself. On my Injury Blitz show, I predicted Godwin would sit given that he had yet to practice without a non-contact jersey. It seems as though he may have been rushed back given the new hamstring injury sustained on Sunday night against Dallas. It’s not uncommon for athletes working their way back from ACL surgery to have soft tissue injuries, as it takes time for the muscles around the knee to also return to peak performance. Godwin will be sidelined “a few weeks” per reports, suggesting this is likely a grade II strain. One silver lining of this situation is that he’ll have extra time for the surgical site of the ACL in the knee joint to become stronger, making the risk of re-tearing the ligament less as time goes by. Look for Godwin to miss the rest of September.
Players impacted: Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Russell Gage, Tom Brady
WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Left Hamstring Strain: Out 2-4 weeks
Allen was off to a great start in Week 1, but came up holding the back of his left thigh while running a route Sunday against the Raiders. The Charger WR is extremely unlikely to suit up in Week 2, especially considering the Bolts play on Thursday night on a short week. Allen has an outside chance of returning for Week 3, but a more realistic outcome is that Keenan is back in the lineup in Week 4 or 5. As always, the concern with a WR with a hamstring strain is being rushed back too quickly. The greatest risk of re-injury is within the first two weeks back on the field.
Players impacted: Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer, Justin Herbert
WR Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
Higgins exited Week 1 early against the Steelers after taking a hit to the head. He’s now in the league’s concussion protocol. We’ll see how Higgins progresses throughout the week in terms of practice participation. Per league rules, he’ll need to be cleared by Saturday for a chance to play on Sunday. Consider him truly questionable for Week 2.
Players impacted: Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Joe Burrow