While rankings and projections are beneficial, nothing is more critical for fantasy football than following injuries, as the landscape will change with nearly every significant one. Now entering Week 2 of the preseason, here are some critical injury reports to watch, any updates on their status, and their fantasy football impact.
Fantasy Football Injury Report: Preseason Week 2 QB update
Here is where we currently stand on several of the critical fantasy football QBs dealing with injuries.
Likely the most impactful injury to come out of training camp/OTAs was Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz’s foot. Looking to restart his career with a new team but with a familiar face running the ship, the narrative quickly took a turn for the worse.
On August 2, reports came out that Wentz would undergo surgery on his injured left foot and be sidelined for approximately five to 12 weeks from the surgery. The team and doctors believe this was not a new injury but one from potentially back in high school that just now became an issue.
After the initial shock wore off, all reports have been positive, noting the team has been “encouraged” by their QB’s rehab.
“We’re at the two-week window,” head coach Frank Reich said to reporters during Colts training camp Monday [August 16]. “We feel good about where we’re at, at the two-week window.”
It seems we will be closer to the five-week timeline than the potential 12-week side, which is fantastic for fantasy football managers. The Colts have several fantasy-relevant players, including a first-round RB in Jonathan Taylor and WRs Michael Pittman Jr., T.Y. Hilton, and Parris Campbell representing value in different areas of the draft.
To get the maximum value of said players, we need Wentz under center as the Colts offense is nowhere nearly as explosive with Jacob Eason or Sam Ehlinger at the helm. In drafts, I would move forward assuming we see Wentz by Week 3 of the regular season.
First, the concern centered on his surgically repaired ankle. Now, it’s a shoulder injury that is making waves. But as of now, it seems the news of his second MRI was blown out of proportion. Go figure, the internet freaking out over preseason news — how novel.
Prescott told reporters that his shoulder is progressing well enough to start in the season opener on September 9 in Tampa against Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. He went on to say that he has had no soreness in the last couple of days of throwing since leaving practice on July 28, when he underwent an MRI exam that showed a strained muscle in his right shoulder/back.
As far as injury reports go, this is as good of an update as fantasy football managers could have hoped for with just a few weeks until kickoff of the regular season. The Cowboys look to be one of the most potent offenses in the NFL and filled with playmakers. Ezekiel Elliott is a top-five RB. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are both high-end WR2s with Michael Gallup in the WR3/flex territory. But none of that can happen without Prescott — something we saw last season when the offense came to a screeching halt.
If there has been one “positive,” it has been the increased reps for Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci, who continue to battle for the QB2 role on the depth chart.
As far as debuts go, Justin Fields was about as good as it gets on Saturday [August 14]. The rookie QB went 14 of 20 passing for 142 yards with a TD while adding 33 yards and a score on 5 rushes against the Miami Dolphins.
However, on Wednesday, Fields found his way on the Bears’ injury report with groin soreness. But it seems this was just a scare. Fields returned to practice on Thursday and will see significant action against the Bills, according to head coach Matt Nagy.
“I think yesterday giving Justin the day off to help him was good, and he feels good,” Nagy said. “We want to sacrifice that day of practice to be able to get him right for Saturday.”
I know Andy Dalton has said it is “his time,” but that clock is ticking quicker and quicker by the minute. We know how special Fields is, and so do the Bears. Once he gets under center, every person on this offense takes a noticeable jump in value, all the way from David Montgomery to Cole Kmet. It especially benefits Darnell Mooney, my favorite breakout candidate at receiver.
Those taking action on preseason NFL odds continue to monitor injury report updates concerning Fields. Still, those in fantasy football need not worry as this will not carry over into Week 1.
Fantasy Football Injury Report: Preseason Week 2 RB update
Let’s see how injury bugs are affecting RB committees.
While not suffering a significant injury, D’Andre Swift has been scaled back in his workload as he deals with groin tightness. With guys still getting their bodies in “game shape,” soft tissue injuries are not uncommon to see on injury reports.
The concern with Swift is that while head coach Dan Campbell has expressed a sense of ease when it comes to his star RB’s status, we’ve seen Swift ramp up practice only to tone it back down the next day. We will get an answer tomorrow to see if this trend continues.
On Thursday [August 19], Swift returned to practice and “took a heavy load of reps,” according to Lions senior reporter and insider Tim Twentyman. This is a positive sign for Swift, and Friday’s injury report will be telling as to his status for the team’s game on Saturday against the Steelers.
The Giants are taking no chances when it comes to Saquon Barkley and his return from a torn ACL suffered in Week 2 of 2020. Barkley came off the PUP (physically unable to perform) list last Monday and, as head coach Joe Judge put it, “responded well to the volume” in his first week of practice.
With the team conducting joint practices with the Cleveland Browns ahead of their game, Barkley has been limited to individual drills or rehab separate from the team.
“At this point, the focus is really to kind of get him moving more and more within the football movements,” Judge said. “I wouldn’t anticipate him being in any kind of live drills this week. We’ll see where it goes as we go down further and further when his body is ready for all of football.”
Barkley is almost certainly not going to see any work in live drills this preseason, and there remains the chance he misses the first week or two of the regular season. I do not have any concerns once he comes back. According to reports, Barkley has done everything right, and given the time of the injury, he has had plenty of time for it to be completely healed.
Barkley will be a staple in injury reports. Even with periodic updates, fantasy football managers need to consider that he could easily miss up to three weeks when they draft him as early as the sixth overall pick. If you are okay with this risk, I would not throw away 13-14 weeks of production over a potentially slow start.
After undergoing ankle surgery in the offseason, Bills RB Zack Moss also has been dealing with a hamstring strain, forcing him to miss the team’s first preseason game. However, things are about to change.
Spotted back in action throughout practice this week, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Moss would play against the Bears this week in his press conference.
Moss is competing with Devin Singletary and Matt Breida for the Bills’ starting RB role. The 2020 third-rounder rushed for 481 yards and 4 touchdowns while hauling in 94 receiving yards and a score over 13 games in 2020. Singletary had a productive first preseason game, rushing 8 times for 42 yards and scoring a 6-yard receiving TD.
Keep an eye on the injury report for updates heading into Saturday. If Singletary can put together another solid performance, he could come out as the lead back and the one fantasy football managers should target in drafts.