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 as the 2023 NFL season marches along.
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Which Players Are on IR in Week 2?
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy managers are going to be watching the state of the Arizona Cardinals closely this year as they try to figure out whether or not Kyler Murray will come back and play in 2023.
If this team is 0-4 by the time Murray is ready to come off of the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, there’s a strong chance that the team will allow him to continue resting and to recover, and they move forward with Joshua Dobbs. Arizona could also potentially see what they have in rookie QB Clayton Tune.
The possibility of securing Caleb Williams out of USC or Drake Maye out of North Carolina could very easily entice the Cardinals to go 0-17 this season and keep Murray on the sidelines. As of right now, heading into Week 2, the Cardinals have not provided any sort of update.
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 before the start of the season. 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.
Evan Hull, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Evan Hull showed some flashes during his first NFL game, but an unfortunate knee injury that he sustained against the Jacksonville Jaguars is now going to sideline him for the next four weeks, as he was placed on IR before the start of Week 2.
Indianapolis’ backfield is one to avoid right now due to the uncertainty surrounding it. Hull’s appeal for fantasy was that he could start to see some work by Week 3 or so if he impressed the coaching staff, but Jonathan Taylor should be expected back in Week 5. As Hull won’t be back until Week 6 now — at the earliest — he’s someone that you can drop to your waiver wire.
Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, Miami Dolphins
Jeff Wilson Jr. had been hyped up as a potential late-round steal in fantasy drafts, but just before the start of Week 1, the Miami Dolphins placed him on IR with midsection and finger injuries. As a result, 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
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 to nurse an ankle injury. However, just this past week, we got news that Taylor is expected to pass his physical here soon and should be ready to return to the field as soon as he’s able to in Week 5.
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. This Colts offense desperately needs him back out there, and all signs are pointing to that he’ll be ready to go as soon as he’s able to play.
Jelani Woods, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Jelani Woods is a superhero from an athletic perspective, which makes 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 before Week 1 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. However, we don’t know if Woods is the TE to roster from this Indianapolis offense.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp’s obviously the biggest name here to be mentioned on the IR report up to this point. After suffering a setback with his hamstring injury before Week 1, the team decided to play it safe and give him time to fully recover, which is truly the smart decision.
Fantasy managers that drafted Cooper Kupp talking to the rest of their team: pic.twitter.com/ZNR7uKd50q
— Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) September 6, 2023
Unfortunately, that means that fantasy managers who spent a premium pick on the fantasy football superstar are now left with a spot to fill on their roster for the first four weeks of the season. All indications are that Kupp will return in Week 5 as soon as he’s able to, but there’s always a chance of re-aggravating the issue.
Should you trade Kupp in your fantasy league because of all of the unknown variables? It’s worth considering.
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 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.
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