Week 3 Fantasy Football Injury Recap

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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 3 and take a look at what fantasy managers can expect heading into Week 4 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 Mac Jones, New England Patriots

Left High Ankle Sprain: Out multiple weeks
Jones suffered a left high ankle sprain on Sunday against the Ravens, which is being described as “significant.” As of writing this article Tuesday morning, the Patriots have yet to officially decide the best course of action for their QB, as they’re deciding between conservative management (rest and rehab) or surgery. Given that the team is even considering surgery, it tells us that this is an injury that is going to keep Jones out for multiple weeks, with the exact recovery timeline dependent on the treatment plan. Should the team opt for the Tightrope Procedure, which has been used with other NFL players (namely Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama), Jones would be looking at a recovery timeline of about four weeks. It’s possible he lands on IR. Until Jones can get healthy, the team will turn to veteran journeyman, Brian Hoyer.

Players impacted: Brian Hoyer, Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Hunter Henry

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Back Injury: Questionable for Week 4
Tua was shaken up after getting hit in the backfield on Sunday against the Bills, showing signs that are often consistent with a concussion. However, after exiting the game, he cleared concussion protocol, with reports after the Dolphins/Bills game suggesting that it was actually Tua’s back that was causing him so much discomfort. Fortunately, he finished the game, but the difficult thing with back injuries is that they are often worse the following day and can linger for several days. With the Dolphins playing on Thursday Night Football against the Bengals, it’s an extremely quick turnaround for the Miami southpaw. The Dolphins didn’t participate on Monday, but the league requires them to submit an estimated injury report. It’s notable that they listed Tua as a DNP Monday.

Players impacted: Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill

RB D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

Shoulder Sprain: Out multiple weeks
Swift entered the week questionable due to a lingering ankle injury that he picked up in Week 1, but it’s the shoulder injury that is going to keep him out of the lineup moving forward. He injured his left shoulder against the Vikings, an injury that is being reported as a “sprain.” Without many details here, it’s difficult to comment on the specifics, but usually, the term “sprain” refers to an AC joint injury, which Swift did injure in 2021. Regardless of the specifics here, head coach Dan Campbell told reporters on Monday that Swift may benefit from being out until after the team’s bye week. That would suggest Swift is set to miss the next two weeks, returning in Week 7 after the Lions’ Week 6 bye, assuming he recovers as expected. Look for Jamaal Williams to get multiple starts.

Players impacted: Jamaal Williams

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RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

Left Shoulder Dislocation: Week-to-week
Going back to high school and college, Dalvin Cook has dislocated his shoulder several times, which is the unfortunate reality with this type of injury – the more it happens, the higher the risk of re-injury. As we’ve seen over the last few years from Cook, that has come to fruition. Last year when Cook dislocated the same left shoulder, he missed one game then returned the following week. Cook himself has said that he is hopeful to play in Week 4 while wearing the shoulder harness (The Device!). The goal of the harness is to limit how far you can move your arm away from your body to limit risk of re-dislocation. Functionally, this could limit his catch radius but shouldn’t affect his ability to carry the football. If there’s one silver lining to this situation, it’s that Dalvin is very familiar with the injury, the recovery and how to play in an effective way with the harness. This week is particularly interesting for Cook and the Vikings as they play early Sunday morning in London. As a result, we should get clarity on Cook’s status with plenty of time to make any necessary fantasy adjustments. If Cook can’t go, look for Alexander Mattison to get the start. He’s averaged 24.7 total opportunities and 20.4 PPR points per game in 6 career games without Cook.

Players impacted: Alexander Mattison

RB David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Right Ankle Injury (Exact Diagnosis Unknown): Week-to-week
Montgomery got his right leg rolled up on in the first half of the Bears game against the Texans, resulting in an injury to his right ankle. The mechanism of the injury is consistent with a high ankle sprain, and because his knee collapsed inward, potentially a sprained MCL. On Monday, however, head coach, Matt Eberflus, described Montgomery as “day-to-day” but also wouldn’t rule out an IR stint. It’s possible Montgomery escaped significant injury, but I would be cautious taking the coach’s words as fact. I would consider Montgomery truly questionable for Week 4 with the possibility he misses more time than that. Backup RB Khalil Herbert came in for Montgomery and posted a 20/157/2 rushing line while catching both of his targets for an additional 12 yards. In four games last season without Montgomery in the lineup, Herbert averaged 22 total opportunities and 97 total yards per game. 

Players impacted: Khalil Herbert

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RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Ankle Injury: Day-to-day
Mixon didn’t play in the 4th quarter of the Bengals win over the Jets due to an ankle injury. Head coach, Zac Taylor, told reporters after the game, “The ankle was a little sore. As we were grinding it out there and Samaje was having success, we felt like we were controlling the clock pretty well and we just didn’t make the switch. He could have gone.” We’ll have to see how Mixon responds to treatment and monitor the Bengals practice reports on a short week. The Bengals have a quick turnaround as they play the Dolphins on Thursday night, and as a result, it’s possible we see Mixon miss practice time in an effort to get him healthy before Thursday, but Taylor told reporters Monday that Mixon should be “good to go” for Thursday Night Football.

Players impacted: Samaje Perine, Chris Evans

WR Sterling Shepard

Torn ACL: Out for the year
Absolutely brutal luck for the Giants WR, who missed a portion of 2021 after tearing his Achilles. Shepard was running a route down the sideline on the last offensive play of the game for New York when the injury happened in non-contact fashion as is usually the case with this injury. He’ll undergo surgery and begin rehabbing for the 2023 season. Shepard turns 30 in February and has one final year left on his current deal with the Giants. Kenny Golladay, who appeared to have fallen out of favor with the current coaching staff, will now have a chance to play a meaningful role with Shepard done for the year.

Players impacted: Daniel Jones, Kenny Golladay, Richie James

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions

Ankle Sprain: Week-to-week
The Lions’ top weapon in the receiving game injured his right ankle on Sunday against the Vikings. He briefly exited then returned to finish the game with his ankle heavily taped. Per Tom Pelissero, the results from tests Monday on ARSB’s ankle were “encouraging.” Worth noting Pelissero also reported that the team plans to be cautious with their star WR. This sounds like the type of injury that could keep him out in Week 4, but is unlikely to lead an extended absence.

Players impacted: Jared Goff, D.J. Chark, Josh Reynolds, T.J. Hockenson

WR Sammy Watkins, Green Bay Packers

Hamstring Strain: Placed on Injured Reserve
Watkins missed practice last week with a hamstring injury then was placed on Injured Reserve over the weekend, meaning he’ll be out for the next month at a minimum. This sounds like a grade II injury based on the fact that the team placed him on IR. Watkins will be back in the lineup likely in late October and now carries a shaky fantasy profile for the remainder of the season.

Players impacted: Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs

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WR Julio Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PCL Sprain: Likely to return in Week 4
Jones missed Weeks 2 and 3 with a knee injury with the specifics of the injury unknown at the time. However, news broke on Sunday that Julio is dealing with a partially torn PCL in his knee. These injuries can affect a player’s performance for several weeks, so even though Jones may return in Week 4, his performance is in question. This injury adds much for volatility to Jones’ rest of season outlook.

Players impacted: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage

WR Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

Toe Injury (Diagnosis Unknown): Week-to-week
Thomas was originally questionable to return with what was described as a foot injury, but after the game it was confirmed that Thomas is dealing with a toe injury. It is worth noting this is on the same leg as the ankle injury that kept Thomas out for the 2021 season. The team has reported the injury is not considered serious, but an interesting thing to note with Thomas and Landry (below) is that both are part of the London game this week, adding in extra travel time, which could affect their usual recovery/treatment. Consider Thomas week-to-week for now and be sure to monitor Thomas’ practice participation ahead of Week 4. The hope is that this is not turf, as this injury can affect a WR’s explosiveness for multiple weeks.

Players impacted: Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave, Jameis Winston

WR Jarvis Landry, New Orleans Saints

Ankle Injury (Diagnosis Unknown): Week-to-week
Jarvis Landry exited Week 3 early with an ankle injury and did not return. Reports around the Saints suggest that this injury is not considered serious. For now, consider Landry week-to-week and monitor the Week 4 practice reports for New Orleans’ game against the Vikings in London. Hopefully we get more news throughout the week on the specifics of Landry’s ankle injury as that would provide more clarity on his Week 4 availability.

Players impacted: Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Jameis Winston

WR A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals

Bone Bruise: Out Week 4, Likely out multiple weeks
Green exited Week 3 with a knee injury and didn’t return. Bone bruises in the knee joint are notoriously slow to heal and can linger for multiple weeks. The initial report on Green is that could miss “at least this week.” That alone tells us this is likely a multi-week absence for the veteran. The Cardinals are reportedly getting Rondale Moore (hamstring) back in the next few weeks, and DeAndre Hopkins is due back after his six-game suspension, which should help with the depth issues for Kyler Murray and a Cardinals offense that ranks 31st behind only the Bears in yards per passing play. Until then, however, the Cardinals are dealing with major injury woes to their WR core with Green not expected to play in Week 4.

Players impacted: Kyler Murray, Greg Dortch, Marquise Brown, Zach Ertz

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