Fantasy football managers look for every single advantage they can get in their leagues on their way to a championship. This may involve looking at players to target on the waiver wire or to acquire for cheap, but it can also involve stashing some players that may be soon set to return off of injured reserve (IR).
With that in mind, we do the research here at Pro Football Network to make sure that you have every last bit of information you need to dominate your league this season. Here’s the latest news regarding the players who have been placed on IR to begin the 2023 NFL season.
Behind in research? Get a trade offer in your dynasty or redraft league? Not sure who to start or sit this week? Leverage PFN’s FREE fantasy tools — our Fantasy Football Draft Kit, Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Calculator, and Start/Sit Optimizer! Put the finishing touch on your A+ draft with 1 of our 525+ fantasy football team names.
Which Players Will Be Starting the Season on IR?
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
What the Arizona Cardinals do with Kyler Murray this year is going to be fascinating to watch. The talented and dynamic QB is rehabbing a torn ACL from last season and was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to begin the year.
KYLER MURRAY IS ELECTRIC. #AZCardinals
— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021
However, Arizona seems like they are barreling towards a full-on rebuild here in 2023 with their eyes set on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. With that being the case, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Murray watch from the sidelines for the entirety of this year.
Murray has just been named a team captain, though, and all reports are signaling that the Cardinals may look to play him when he’s fully healthy. However, if they have a clear losing record by Week 5 or 6, will they still feel the same way?
Murray’s a fine stash in 1QB formats if you have the space just simply because of the rushing upside he presents. But you need to acknowledge that he may just end up taking space on your roster here in 2023.
Kene Nwangwu, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Kene Nwangwu didn’t figure to have a prolific role in this Vikings offense, but there was an opportunity for him to step forward and take over the RB2 role behind Alexander Mattison.
Unfortunately, Nwangwu missed several weeks of training camp with a presumed back injury, and he was placed on IR by Minnesota this past week. This means he’ll miss at least four games, but Nwangwu’s role is projected to be primarily on special teams in 2023. He shouldn’t be someone that fantasy managers are looking to stash.
Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, Miami Dolphins
Jeff Wilson Jr. had been hyped up as a potential late-round steal in fantasy drafts, but just this last week, the Miami Dolphins placed him on IR with midsection and finger injuries, and all attention turned to the other running backs in this explosive offense.
Wilson has the talent to be the lead option in Miami’s backfield when he’s fully healthy, so he’s absolutely worth stashing if you have the space on your roster or an open IR spot. With just Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane ahead of him on the depth chart, Wilson may find his way into the RB1 role as soon as he returns.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor’s situation is making a very strong case for why fantasy leagues should draft as late as possible each and every year. For those who drafted just a couple of weeks ago, they’re now left with a player on their roster that won’t play at least the first four games of the season.
After a trade request from Taylor was denied, the Colts decided to place the dynamic RB on the PUP list to begin the 2023 season as he’s nursing an ankle injury. However, this situation is far from figured out, and there’s a legitimate possibility that we won’t see JT on the field at all this year.
Still, Taylor’s worth stashing on your IR if you have the ability to because of his talent level and what he could be when he’s out on the field. However, don’t hold your breath for him immediately being back in the starting lineup for the Colts come Week 5. There’s a lot that has to be figured out before that point.
Jelani Woods, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Jelani Woods is a superhero from an athletic perspective, which does make him an intriguing option for fantasy football. While he’s still very raw and needs a lot of development, Woods could easily be Anthony Richardson’s new best friend in the red zone.
Unfortunately, Woods was placed on IR just recently with a hamstring injury. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll be ready to return immediately when the first four weeks of the season pass, but he’s most likely best left on your waiver wire. We don’t know if he’s the TE to roster from this Indianapolis offense.
Kyle Philips, WR, Tennessee Titans
Kyle Philips had an impressive debut in his rookie season, but he quickly struggled with injury and missed the majority of the year. Unfortunately, he seems to have been bitten by the injury bug again going into 2023, with the Titans placing him on IR recently with an MCL injury.
With DeAndre Hopkins and Treylon Burks above him on the depth chart — in a run-heavy scheme — it’s highly unlikely that Philips becomes fantasy relevant this season if everyone else stays healthy. For the time being, he’s someone that can remain on your waiver wire.
Tyquan Thornton, WR, New England Patriots
Tyquan Thornton received significant enough draft capital in the 2022 NFL Draft for fantasy managers to take notice, but he’s done very little up to this point to generate excitement.
In his rookie season, Thornton played in just 13 games and reeled in 22 of 45 targets for 247 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Heading into 2023, it wasn’t clear if Thornton even had one of the starting roles in this offense locked up, which makes his fantasy outlook incredibly murky.
At this point, Thornton is a stash merely in deep leagues if you have the space. There’s no guarantee that he sees much playing time when he returns, which means that there are probably better investments for your IR spot this season.
Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast
Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.