While rankings and projections are beneficial, nothing is more important for fantasy football than following injuries, as a player’s outlook (and team’s context) will change with nearly every occurrence. Now that the preseason is officially behind us and we await opening night, here is an update on some critical injury reports to watch including Austin Ekeler and A.J. Brown, and their fantasy football impact.
Fantasy Football Injury Report: QB update
Here is where we currently stand on several of the critical fantasy football QBs dealing with injuries.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday that Colts quarterback Carson Wentz would be a full participant in practice and play Week 1. This is good news considering he underwent foot surgery in early August and was recently on the COVID-19 list.
Indianapolis’ signal-caller is on track to take the field against the Seahawks with his new team. Wentz has been touted as a breakout QB candidate all offseason due to his reunion with former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Wentz may have limited mobility, and the loss of wide receiver T.Y. Hilton lowers his fantasy ceiling in Week 1. He can be viewed as a mid-range QB2.
Fantasy Football Injury Report: RB update
Let’s see how injury bugs are affecting RB committees.
It was surprising to see Ekeler not practicing on the field during the open period. He was working off to the side with trainers. This is another notable injury situation for fantasy managers to monitor. The Chargers will need all of the offensive firepower they can muster against Washington’s defense.
The Chargers’ star running back has been phenomenal on a per-game basis as a runner and receiver out of the backfield. Ekeler has averaged 16.2 opportunities and 18.4 PPR fantasy points per game since 2019 in 26 active games. He was expected to take on an even bigger role this season.
If Ekeler is inactive, Justin Jackson would be the next running back up. From a fantasy perspective, he’d be a viable flex option.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell confirmed this morning that running back D’Andre Swift will be ready to go in Week 1. This is fantastic news for fantasy managers who drafted him. However, Swift has missed so much time during the preseason with this groin injury — these are the type of injuries that can linger.
Swift is slated to split touches in the backfield with free-agent addition Jamaal Williams. The Lions will open the season against a stout 49ers defense. Swift can be viewed as more of an RB3 in Week 1.
Early in the first quarter of Baltimore’s preseason Week 3 contest, Dobbins took a hit to his knee on a screen pass and immediately went down in pain. He was helped off the field by medical staff after being unable to put weight on his left leg. After a quick stint in the medical tent, Dobbins was carted to the locker room. On Sunday [August 29], an MRI confirmed Dobbins tore his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season.
Ravens RB Gus Edwards will now assume RB1 duties with Ty’Son Williams and newly signed Le’Veon Bell rounding out the committee. Edwards is a must-draft player in fantasy as he projects to be a high-end RB3 or low-end RB2 in a run-happy offense.
WR injury update
News for pass catchers is essential in PPR leagues — let’s break down the WR fallout.
Godwin was limited early in the week due to a quad injury. Nonetheless, the 25-year-old receiver was left off the final Week 1 injury report and is expected to play Thursday night against the Cowboys.
This is great news considering Godwin missed four games last season. The receiver has been productive whenever he’s been on the field. Over the last two seasons, Godwin has averaged nearly 8 targets (4.5 from the slot), 6 receptions, 83.6 receiving yards, and 18 PPR fantasy points per game.
Godwin is a WR2 against an improved but exploitable Cowboys secondary. Dallas’ defense allowed the fifth-most PPR fantasy points per game (42) to wide receivers last season.
Mitchell Tischler of the Washington Football Talk pod recorded a video of Samuel pulling up on a route during Thursday’s practice, resulting in a DNP for the day. NBC Sports’ JP Finlay mentioned that Samuel has dealt with a groin injury all summer, limiting him to only one practice over the last four months.
Samuel’s availability for Sunday’s matchup against the Chargers is in jeopardy. If he is ruled out on Sunday, it would open the door for third-round rookie Dyami Brown to become fantasy-relevant. Cam Sims would also be an option in deeper formats. My recommendation is to continue to monitor Samuel’s status over the coming days and plan accordingly with your fantasy roster.
TE injury update
Which fantasy-relevant tight ends are on the injury report as the season draws closer?
Engram continues to deal with a calf strain that caused him to exit the Giants’ final preseason game. He avoided a three-game minimum absence by avoiding IR. Even so, Engram did not practice today. This does not bode well for his availability in Week 1 against the Broncos. Tight end Kaden Smith has also missed time. As a reminder, Levine Toilolo suffered a torn Achilles back in August.
With this news, TE Kyle Rudolph is quickly thrust into a big role for the Giants. Luckily, he is a capable veteran tight end. Rudolph has four 50-plus-catch seasons on his NFL résumé, including a career-high 83 in 2016.
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