Early Injury Notes

Injuries play a key part in our decision making process for daily fantasy games. The opportunity created for low cost players on offense and the matchup opportunities to exploit on defense can be the difference between winning and losing. This article will try to list all the injuries that could create value for your fantasy rosters and the likelihood that each event will occur.

Who’s Out?

Andre Ellington (RB) – Ellington is out for at least a few weeks with a knee injury. David Johnson is the guy who has everyone excited, but the rookie will probably only see a small bump in usage. Chris Johnson (CJ2K) is likely to carry the bulk of the load for the Cardinals who will also probably lean more on the pass here. With Teammate Mike Lupati (G) also out with a knee and (T) Bobby Massie suspended for another week, the running game is going to be less than 100%.

Terell Suggs (DE/LB) – Losing Suggs for the season is a big blow to that Ravens defense, but they have some talented players around him who can pick up the slack. It still weakens the pass rush considerably though. It may not matter much against the Raiders this week, but against better offenses, his leadership and disruptive plat will be missed.

Dez Bryant (WR) – This one is going to hurt the Cowboys. No Dez for two months is not an ideal situation. The Beneficiary of his snaps will be Devin Street according to reports. It will likely mean an uptick in targets for Terrence Williams. Jason Witten is likely to see the most extra targets, especially in the red zone.

Jordy Nelson (WR) – This one is not new. I just wanted to make sure everyone knew, because he was so highly used last season. It looks like his work will be spread around among a number of guys, including Randall Cobb, James Jones, Davante Adams, and TE Richard Rodgers.

Antonio Cromartie (CB) – Cromartie has a hyper extended knee that looked bad since it was a non-contact injury. That usually means an ACL, but thankfully it was not. I still would not expect to see him for a few weeks, but the Jets have not officially ruled him out, so the severity of the injury may not be as bad as reported originally. It would help the Indy passing game if Cro was hobbled or out though. Guys like TY, Andre Johnson, and Moncrief would get a tick up.

Victor Cruz (WR) – The Salsa dancing WR for the Giants is listed as doubtful, but still has not even practiced. It is likely he will be out for this one as well, meaning Rueben Randle and Preston Parker will remain the team’s second and third WR options behind Beckham.

Leveon Bell (RB) – Bell is still suspended for this matchup, but will be back next week. D’Angelo Williams gets another week of fantasy relevancy in his absence.

Martavius Bryant (WR) – Bryant is suspended until week 5. Marcus Wheaton sees the snaps with him out, but the targets went to Heath Miller and Antonio Brown in the first game and will likely do that again here.

Antonio Gates (TE) – He is suspended until week 5 as well, so Ladarius Green stays in the mix as a cheap TE option. He had a really nice game in week 1, so he is in play.

Reggie Bush (RB) – Bush is looking very doubtful to play in week 2 as well, meaning Carlos Hyde will see ALL the carries again here. The game script is not as favorable for him, but the lack of competition at the position means he will see a heavy workload as long as the game stays close.

DeSean Jackson (WR) – The hamstring injury seems pretty serious here and we will likely lose Jackson for a few weeks. Andre Roberts will benefit with the playing time, but the targets will go towards Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed who should both see a ton of passes until D Jax returns.

Todd Gurley (RB) – It seems Gurley is not ready to play yet, although there is an outside chance. With Tre Mason likely returning and taking the lead role, Gurley at best would be a third down or change of pace guy. With his likely absence, Benny Cunningham should continue to be the guy who sees those snaps in passing situations with Mason doing the early down and red zone running.

Who is just hurt? Names to keep an Eye on

Michael Floyd (WR) – The Hand injury that has been bothering Floyd is still there. He did play limited snaps in the first game though, so it is likely he will do so again at a minimum. Still not 100% but looks like he will play again. John Brown is the guy I like best for added targets, but Fitzgerald could see a few more too with Floyd limited.

Devin Hester (WR) – He has a toe injury and is listed as day to day currently. Julio Jones also popped up on the injury report with a hamstring issue, but unlike Hester, no one is doubting whether or not he plays. Leonard Hankerson will see a few more snaps in three wide sets with no hester, but the targets are still going to Julio first, to Roddy second, and then everyone else fights for the scraps.

Lorenzo Taliafero (RB) – The Ravens back up ball carrier has a knee issue and is questionable for week 2. Forsett is already firmly planted as the lead back, but should see an uptick if his back up is not dressing for this one. He will get all the carries he can handle, especially if the defense can stop the Raiders and force a few turnovers.

Justin Forsett (RB) – This was a late addition to the list, but apparently Forsett sat out of practice Wednesday. We have no idea how serious it is right now, but it’s definitely a situation that needs monitoring.

Luke Keuchly (LB) – The Panthers tackling machine is in the NFL concussion protocol right now and has yet to be cleared to play. Carolina would really like to have him back as he has lead the team and been near the league lead in tackles over the last few years. It looks like he will play, but if not you have to uptick the offense.

Jonthon Stewart (RB) – He still is likely to play, but his name appearing on the injury report is concerning. It was called a maintenance day by the coach, but it is still not good to see that happening in week two to a guy who has been injury prone through out his career. Unless things get worse, we will assume he will be in. Fozzy Whitaker saw the #2 RB duties in the opener, so he is next in line. Cameron Artis-Payne is an interesting rookie who would also see time if Stewart were to miss a game or leave early with injury.

Alshon Jefferey (WR) – Practiced in full Tuesday and is really in no danger of missing. He is listed on the report and is a big name, so I wanted to give you his status. He had a solid game in week 1 at less than 100%, so I can only see upside from here for him.

Eddie Royal (WR) – It says Questionable, as he left the game briefly with a concussion last week. He was still the fourth most targeted Bear pass catcher on the day behind Bennett, Forte, and Alshon. He should play, but it is worth keeping an eye on. Marquess Wilson is also listed as doubtful, so just BEAR in mind some news may come in either direction on one or both of them.

Josh McCown (QB) – He is still in the league’s concussion protocol and will likely not practice until Friday at the earliest. If he is out, Johnny Manziel is likely to get the start. Johnny Football has been taking all the first team reps at practice and it looks likely he will be the guy. His massive turnover problem last week would be a boost to the Titans value if he is indeed going to be the QB.

Dwayne Bowe (WR) – He supposedly had a setback on Friday/Saturday of last week which is why he was inactive Sunday. He practiced in limited fashion so far and it does not look like he is going to play. He is not considered a starter anyway at this point, so the impact is minimal even if he does. It does however make a guy like Travis Benjamin more interesting at the WR position.

CJ Anderson (RB) – It is very murky around CJ with the short week. Some reports are saying he will be good to go and others are telling a different story. If he is out, then Ronnie Hillman will be the beneficiary. Definitely monitor this as the Denver game is Thursday night and even now we do not have any certainty about this situation.

Golden Tate (WR) – Tate has a bad Quad injury. He played through it Sunday, but is sitting out practice. He is likely to play again, but this injury is definitely bothering him, so at best you have to temper your expectations for Tate here. I think his loss is a boom for Eric Ebron and Calvin Johnson who looked more explosive in the first game. Tate struggled to create separation, so Stafford will likely continue to look elsewhere with targets.

Brandon Pettigew (TE) – Missed Wednesday’s practice with a bad hamstring injury and is questionable at best for Sunday. Eric Ebron looks to have a bigger role this year already, but would get a bump up if no longer losing snaps to Pettigew.

Nate Washington (WR) – He had a really good opening game for the Texans as he caught 6 of 11 balls for over 100 yards. He has an abdominal injury he suffered late in Sunday’s game, but it looks like he will play this weekend despite taking it easy all week in practice.

TY Hilton (WR) – This could be a big one and since they play on Monday night, it could be huge for late swap or as a flyer on non late swap sites. Hilton has a bruised knee. There is nothing broken, but the swelling and the pain are enough to have held him out of practice. For a speed guy who needs to run and cut on a dime, this is not good news at all. If Hilton can not go, Donte Moncrief  is the biggest beneficiary. He also gets a double bump, because he would have lined up opposite Antonio Cromartie who also may be out, which means Moncrief gets volume if TY can not play and a softer matchup if Cromartie is out on the other side. Very interesting play for the Monday night game here.

Toby Gerhart (RB) – The Jacksonville short yardage guy still seems to be banged up, but is inching closer to a return. If he can go, that hurts TJ Yeldon who is taking over that role in his place. If Gerhart is out, I guess that helps the case for Yelden, but still not enough to make me love him in a game with a bad script for his talents.

Marquis Lee (WR) – Lee is starting to do some work, but still is not 100%. He would make for an upgrade in the slot for Jacksonville, but he is always injured and not someone to rely on.

Jeff Allen (G) and Eric Fishers (T) – The whole right side of the chiefs line is likely out. Allen has an MCL, which is a multiple week problem for him. Fisher has a high ankle sprain, but word is he will sit too on the short week so he has plenty of time to rest up for the next game and be at full strength. The Denver pass rush looked great the other day, so this bumps up their D and ticks down the prospects of Alex Smith who should now see pressure in his face here.

Jerick McKinnon (RB) – Listed on the injury report, but he practiced in full and will likely be good to serve as Adrian Peterson’s backup again in this one.

Travaris Cadet (RB) – He is practicing in full, but with Blount back and the way Dion Lewis played in the first game, does that even matter? Not sure where he would land in the pecking order here and if he would even be active.

CJ Spiller (RB) – Practiced on a limited basis so far this week. Khiry Robinson and Mark Ingram had huge first weeks based mostly on PPR value from all the catches they had. With no Jimmy Graham in New Orleans anymore, it seems the short passing game has shifted from the TE to the running backs. A lot of that had to do with game plan as they needed to get the ball out fast to counter the KC pressure, but the take away is that a healthy Spiller could be a PPR monster in this offense. If he plays, it hurts Khiry and Ingram, if not both guy should be OK with Ingram the biggest beneficiary.

Derek Carr (QB) – Carr has an injury to his hand, but coach Jack Del Rio still expects him to start Sunday, although admits he is less than 100%. That means we should all be looking at that Ravens defense to have a big fantasy day.

Zach Ertz (TE) – Despite missing a lot of practice time, Ertz played Monday. He was on the field for 70% of the snaps which was an uptick from his average last season. He also saw 8 targets which was also an uptick. He only had 3 catches, but the volume jump makes him an intriguing guy to watch going forward. If he is held out, Brent Celek is the beneficiary, but I would be shocked if Ertz did not play here.

Tre Mason (RB) – Mason practiced in full Wednesday and is now looking like a definite for Sunday. He will slide back into the primary RB role and move Cunningham back to the bench. Mason had some huge games in 2014 and his explosiveness make him fantasy relevant if he is good to go in a game many expect the Rams to be leading and ultimately winning.

Mike Evans (WR) – He was limited in practice so far this week, but he was out most of last week and still played, so that is good. He did not have a big game and was likely hurting though, so that is bad. It looks like he will play, but I would not expect him to dominate as he is still less than 100%.

Delanie Walker (TE) – Walker is definitely hurting. He has an issue with his wrist and complained about having trouble stabilizing it. He left the game early in week 1, so this is a definite concern. If he is out, Anthony Fasano will likely be the big beneficiary of it. Still do not think I would look to play him though.