Fantasy Football Injury Report: Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Michael Thomas sidelined

Fantasy Football Injury Report: Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Michael Thomas sidelined

Fantasy Injuries: Preseason Week 2 WR update

News for pass catchers is essential in PPR leagues — let’s break down the WR fallout.

When will Michael Thomas return from injury?

Unfortunately for those looking for a clear answer, there is none. After undergoing a second surgery to repair ligaments in his ankle, Thomas’ timeline is up in the air. The one thing we do know is that he will miss the start of the season. According to multiple reports, Thomas needs roughly four months to recover. It could be as early as Week 3 (unlikely) but as late as Week 8, costing fantasy managers nearly half the season. 

Thomas’ ankle issues still linger after suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 1 of his 2020 season. He missed six weeks before returning, also suffering a quad injury and serving a one-game suspension. When Thomas returned, he caught 37 passes for 421 yards before being placed on the injured reserve due to the ankle injury.

With Thomas out and with no guarantee to return, there is an open competition for the WR1 role for the Saints. Tre’Quan Smith came in with the lead, but Marquez Callaway seems to have closed the gap and possibly even passed him. Callaway has been the favorite practice target for both Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston and caught 3 of 4 targets for 61 yards in New Orleans’ first preseason game.

While Thomas would resume WR1 duties when he comes back, the winner of this Smith-Callaway battle will be a constant contributor for fantasy.

Justin Jefferson

The breakout receiver of 2020, Justin Jefferson suffered a scary injury on August 6. Jefferson came down on his left shoulder after making a catch and was in immediate pain. He did return to practice just 10 days later, as it was revealed the injury was not as severe as initially feared. After being diagnosed with an AC joint sprain, he’s not likely to miss Week 1.

Kenny Golladay 

If you pay a guy $72 million over four years, you would hope he can stay healthy. Yet, Giants WR Kenny Golladay’s trend of missing time has followed him to the Motor City. He could be seen grabbing at the back of his left leg after making a reception and fumbling the ball on the first play of 7-on-7 drills on August 3. 

Initial reports were Golladay would miss “two to three weeks” as he recovers from his hamstring injury. Based on this timeline, Golladay should be ready for Week 1. Dan Duggan, a Giants beat reporter for The Athletic, reported that Golladay was spotted on the JUGS machine before Tuesday’s practice [August 17]. With fantasy football drafts firing off, managers may need to make their decision to draft Golladay before we get another update.

Still, even if healthy, it is hard to have 100% faith in Golladay in fantasy. He played only five games last season because of hamstring and hip injuries, catching 20 passes for 338 yards and 2 touchdowns with the Lions. Golladay is going as the WR23 on Fleaflicker but will be a staple on injury reports. He now finds himself in a jam-packed WR room with Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and rookie Kadarius Toney.

Chase Claypool 

For the second time in as many weeks, Chase Claypool gave fantasy managers an injury scare. Claypool aggravated his shoulder during the Hall of Fame Game, but he suffered an ankle sprain during Tuesday’s [August 17] practice and had to be helped off the field.

Fortunately, the latest update on Claypool is that it was a “minor” ankle sprain, meaning he will not be on the injury report long, giving fantasy football managers some much-needed good news.

Rashod Bateman 

Selected with the 27th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens will be without rookie Rashod Bateman for an extended period of time. 

On August 9, Bateman suffered a serious groin injury when he made a cut on a route and then went down in noticeable pain. The next day, Bateman underwent core muscle surgery with Dr. William Meyers and received a six-to-eight-week recovery window.

“He’ll be back from that sometime in September,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I think that’s pretty good news.” 

Well, I guess we have different versions of “good news.” Bateman went from a flex option to now in the mid-to-late 70s at the position. Once we get an update and Bateman is no longer on the injury report, how long can fantasy football managers start him? He still would have to get his legs under him and in “game shape.”

Bateman is a stash and hold for the back half of the season and a potential playoff push. But this does not change the potential lack of volume that plagues all Ravens pass catchers, healthy or not.

Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.