Week 4 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 4 and take a look at what fantasy managers can expect heading into Week 5 and beyond.
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Concussion: Out Week 5
By now, the situation surrounding Tua is well documented. He was injured in Week 3 then picked up a scary head injury on Thursday night in Week 4 against the Bengals. Given that this is his second head injury in less than a week’s time, the recovery timeline for Tua is now longer than usual. To no surprise, head coach Mike McDaniel has already announced that his QB will be out for Week 5. There’s a possibility he’s also out in Week 6. Teddy Bridgewater will start on Sunday against the Jets.
Hoyer got the start in Week 4 with Mac Jones out due to his high ankle sprain. However, he exited in the first half due to a concussion, giving way to third-stringer, Bailey Zappe. The Patriots’ QB situation will be important to monitor this week as Mac Jones is still in danger of missing Week 5 against the Lions. If Hoyer is unable to clear protocol and Jones remains out, Zappe is likely to be back under center next Sunday.
Left Ankle Sprain: Questionable for Week 5
Jones picked up a left ankle injury while being tackled on a scramble attempt. He limped off the field then got his ankle taped. While out, backup QB Tyrod Taylor entered the game but was also forced to exit due to a concussion, which forced Jones back into the game at less than 100%. Initial tests on Jones ankle didn’t reveal any structural damage, and he’s currently being called “day-to-day.” As we saw with David Montgomery last week, that “day-to-day” diagnosis can often be misleading, especially considering the ankle is likely to swell a bit early in the week. Jones also has to travel to London for this week’s game against the Packers, which adds some volatility to his recovery. I’m not suggesting he won’t play, but I do think there’s more to the injury than just being “day-to-day.” If he suits up, his mobility and rushing upside could be compromised.
Right Shoulder Soreness: Day-to-day
Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett told reporters on Monday that Wilson is dealing with some right shoulder soreness following the team’s Week 4 game against the Raiders. They listed Wilson as an estimated ‘Limited’ participant on their injury report ahead of Thursday night, but he is fully expected to play against the Colts without limitation.
Torn ACL, LCL, and Postero-Lateral Corner: Out for the year
Javonte Williams‘ 2022 season is over after he suffered a significant right knee injury Sunday against the Raiders. Williams took a carry and as soon as he got to the line of scrimmage, he planted his right leg to brace for contact, and his knee buckled. The injury for Williams is a serious one with damage to the ACL, LCL (ligament on the outside of the knee), and the postero-lateral corner (a generic term for ligaments and tissues in the back corner of the knee). Essentially, this multi-ligament injury is one that usually results in at least a year recovery, as opposed to the traditional 9-month recovery for an isolated ACL tear. Williams will undergo surgery to reconstruct his knee and begin rehabbing for the 2023 season. Obviously, we have a long time before now and Week 1 of 2023, but as we saw with J.K. Dobbins who suffered a similar injury, this recovery is one that could linger into the regular season of next year. After Williams left on Sunday, Mike Boone actually logged more snaps, routes run, targets, and tied MGIII with three carries.
Left Ankle Injury: Questionable for Week 5
Taylor exited in the 4th quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return after his ankle got turned while being tackled as a defender landed on his lower leg. The mechanism is consistent with an eversion sprain or a high ankle sprain. While the initial reports indicated that the tests on Taylor’s ankle were favorable, that does not mean he’ll play Thursday night with the most recent report suggesting he has a “chance” to play. It’s a quick turnaround for the Indy RB1 as the Colts take on the Broncos on Thursday Night Football, making his Week 5 status questionable at best. If he can play, I expect him to be severely limited with just four days to recover from the injury. Indianapolis listed Taylor as a ‘DNP’ on their estimated Monday practice report.
Knee Procedure: Placed on Injured Reserve, expected to return
Patterson entered Week 4 questionable due to his knee injury. He missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday before getting in a limited session on Friday and ultimately playing in Week 4. The specifics surrounding Patterson’s knee issue aren’t known as of this writing, but I suspect some type of meniscus injury and/or bone bruise given that the team has announced he’ll go on IR with a chance to return. Regardless, Patterson is out for the next four weeks, opening up plenty of opportunity in the Falcons backfield.
Unspecified Knee Injury: Out Week 5
It’s difficult to comment on the exact nature of Golladay’s knee injury without knowing specifically what’s going on, but head coach Brian Dabbol told reporters on Monday that “things aren’t looking good” for Golladay to play in Week 5. Fully benched for borderline NFL talent anyways, this shouldn’t impact our fantasy rosters, but the Giants WR room could be incredibly thin for Sunday morning’s London game against the Packers if Kadarius Toney (hamstring) and Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) can’t get healthy in time.
Turf Toe: Out multiple weeks, could land on IR
The #18 overall pick for the Titans injured his left foot on Sunday against the Colts after catching a pass on a crossing route. His foot and ankle got trapped under a defender while being tackled, resulting in the turf toe injury that ended his Week 4 early. Turf toe is a particularly difficult injury for a WR because of how the big toe gets stressed while pushing off at the line of scrimmage and during the running stride. Reports around this injury indicate that Burks won’t require surgery, but that doesn’t mean Burks won’t require a multi-week absence. If this is a grade II injury, he’ll likely miss at least four weeks, and as a result, it’s possible the team places him on IR to allow him to fully heal for the second half of the year.
Hamstring Strain: Out 1-2 weeks
The Commanders’ rookie WR left Week 4 against Dallas with a hamstring injury and did not return. Hamstring injuries are the most common injury to NFL WRs, and in the vast majority of cases, these result in at least one missed game. Look for Dotson to sit in Week 5 against the Titans, and for now, consider Dotson questionable for Week 6.
Left High Ankle Sprain and Fibula Fracture: Out for the year
Crowder’s 2022 season is over after he suffered a severe left ankle injury on Sunday against the Ravens. Crowder limped to the sideline and was placed in an aircast before being carted to the locker room. He’ll require surgery to stabilize the fracture and now faces about a 6-month recovery timeline. For reference, this injury is similar to that of Odell Beckham from 2017.
McKenzie left Week 4 early after taking a hit to the head, resulting in a concussion. He now enters the league’s concussion protocol and should be considered questionable for Week 5. We’ll have to monitor what he does in practice this week as that will give some insight as to how well McKenzie is progressing through the league’s protocol. With Jamison Crowder out for the year, McKenzie now has a chance to play as the team’s every down slot WR. Over the last two weeks, he’s capitalized on his limited playing time, posting a combined 11-97-2 stat line on 15 targets.
Left High Ankle Sprain: Likely out multiple weeks
Smith got his left leg rolled up on, which is often consistent with a mechanism for a high ankle sprain. He limped off the field being exiting into the medical tent. Shortly after, it was announced that Smith would not return, ending his day early. Smith wasn’t fantasy relevant, but this injury could open up more obvious playing time for Hunter Henry, who played 84% of the snaps on Sunday against the Packers.
Players impacted: Hunter Henry