Fantasy Football Injury Recap for Week 1

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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 1 and take a look at what fantasy managers can expect heading into Week 2 and beyond.

Don’t forget to check out 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.

Marlon Mack

Torn Right Achilles: Out for the year
Marlon Mack was running a route out of the backfield on Sunday against the Jaguars when he quickly changed direction and fell to the turf. Immediately after, he was unable to push off on his right foot when limping to the sideline, the classic sign of a torn Achilles. An MRI confirmed what the Colts initially feared after the injury: a torn Achilles tendon in Mack’s right ankle. Mack will undergo surgery this week and will be placed on injured reserve, ending his season.

Players impacted: Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines

George Kittle

Knee Hyperextension: Week to week
Jimmy Garoppolo overthrew Kittle, and when he landed, the defender drove his knee backward with his foot planted on the ground. This knee hyperextension mechanism of injury can lead to serious injuries including ACL and PCL injuries. The knee sprain that Kittle is battling is not new to him – he suffered the exact same injury on Halloween last year against the same Arizona Cardinals. He returned to play in both contests, but the issue with these injuries is that swelling and stiffness in the knee joint develop over the course of the next 24 hours, so just because Kittle returned to play, it doesn’t mean that he’s in the clear for Week 2. I would actually expect Kittle to miss Week 2 or play at well less than 100%. He missed two games after his injury last season.

Players impacted: Jordan Reed, Jimmy Garoppolo

Le’Veon Bell

Hamstring Strain: Out at least 2 weeks
Le’Veon Bell is likely to miss at least Week 2 and potentially longer after he suffered a hamstring strain on Sunday. There are initial concerns that Bell will miss multiple games and the fact these reports are surfacing just one day after the injury tell us he’s a long shot to play in Week 2 and that Bell is likely dealing with a grade II hamstring strain, which typically requires at least three weeks (maybe longer) for a recovery.

Players impacted: Frank Gore, La’Mical Perine (ankle injury), Josh Adams

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Michael Thomas

Left High Ankle Sprain: Week to week
Thomas got his left ankle rolled up on from behind while blocking for his teammate, Latavius Murray. Thomas is fortunate to avoid major injury, as this could have been much worse. If Thomas’ foot and ankle stayed planted on the ground, he would have suffered an injury that would have kept him out for upwards of a month. Fantasy managers can exhale, however. Thomas has a chance to play in Week 2, but his situation is one that should be watched closely. I’ll discuss Thomas’ injury in more detail at the end of the week on the Injury Blitz Podcast.

Players impacted: Emmanuel Sanders, Jared Cook, Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara

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DeVante Parker

Hamstring Strain: Likely Out Week 2
Parker picked up a hamstring injury late in camp and entered Week 1 on the injury report. As is the case with soft tissue injuries, hamstring strains are an injury that has an elevated recurrence rate, and we saw this with Parker on Sunday. Because this is an aggravation of a pre-existing injury, it’s reasonable to project Parker to miss Week 2, and potentially, Week 3.

Players impacted: Mike Gesicki, Preston Williams

Blake Jarwin

Torn ACL: Out for the year
Jarwin was running a route, cut on his right leg, and immediately fell to the turf in a classic mechanism of injury for a torn ACL. The MRI confirmed what was expected: a torn ACL in Jarwin’s right knee. He was fortunate to avoid any additional injury to the knee, and therefore, Jarwin is very likely to be ready for training camp in 2021.

Players impacted: Dalton Schultz, Dak Prescott

Duke Johnson

Sprained Ankle: Out at least one week
Johnson sprained his left ankle on Thursday Night Football against the Chiefs and will miss at least Week 2. I would expect Duke to potentially miss Week 3 as well based on the severity of his injury.

Players impacted: David Johnson, Deshaun Watson

Jordan Howard

Hamstring Strain: Week to week
Howard only carried the ball eight times for seven yards on Sunday against New England before leaving early with a hamstring injury. Like most soft tissue injuries, his recovery will be difficult to predict and is likely to be a week-to-week situation. Don’t be surprised to see him miss Week 2.

Players impacted: Myles Gaskin, Matt Breida

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David Njoku

MCL Sprain: IR to Return
Njoku injured the MCL in his knee on Sunday in Week 1 and will miss at least three weeks after the Browns placed him on injured reserve. The injury is likely a grade II sprain, which requires anywhere from two to four weeks. His injury won’t require surgery, and his injury will heal in full without surgery. Because Njoku was placed on IR, he won’t be eligible to return until Week 5.

Players impacted: Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant

Justin Jackson

Quad Injury: Week to week
The Chargers’ backup RB picked up a quadriceps injury and didn’t return to the game on Sunday. This injury is important for Joshua Kelley, who came out and appeared to take control of the complementary role alongside Austin Ekeler. Worth noting, Jackson also dealt with a foot sprain in training camp.

Players impacted: Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley

James Conner

Left Ankle Sprain: Week to week
The offseason story lines around James Conner when it comes to fantasy football were all about his draft day value and whether or not Conner could stay healthy. Unfortunately, Conner picked up an ankle injury during Monday Night Football and didn’t return to the game. The team is reportedly optimistic for Conner to make a quick recovery, but even with a mild ankle sprain, the recovery timeline is longer than a week. Conner could play in Week 2, but I would expect him to play with his ankle taped for extra stability if he’s active. This can limit lateral quickness and burst.

Players impacted: Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels

Phillip Lindsay

Turf Toe: Likely out Week 2
Lindsay exited Monday Night Football early after picking up a turf toe injury, which is a sprain of the ligaments surrounding the big toe. For running backs specifically, this is a troubling injury as the extension of the big toe is crucial for push off when accelerating. Lindsay will go through additional evaluation on Tuesday, but even with a “mild” turf toe injury, Lindsay should be considered doubtful for Week 2. Look for him to miss multiple days of practice this week.

Players impacted: Melvin Gordon, Royce Freeman

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Michael Branco says:

Very interested

Stink Bait says:

The Steelers offensive line looked awful for the first quarter and a half, and then played better. Unfortunately Conner was getting slammed before reaching the line of scrimmage. Benny Snell took his place and looked far better as a runner. Of course, Snell isn’t trusted as a pass receiver at this point. Conner is a free agent after this year. If Snell continues to run with the anger, speed, and success that we saw last night, my gut is telling me he could keep the starting job and run with it. As a Conner owner, that would crush me, but Snell is available.

The problem is in the 14-team, high-dollar 4-keeper league that I play in, we can only roster a max of four RB (playing a max of two each week – an no flex). I have Conner, Todd Gurley (my RB keepers -ugh), Jonathan Taylor, and Zack Moss. Snell is available. Should I take a chance and dump Conner for Snell?

Matt says:

I thought it ended up being Devante Parker with the hamstring injury, not Jordan Howard?

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