When the preseason was ending, and we were prepping for Week 1, there were very few fantasy football analysts who would have believed an injured fifth-round rookie would make headlines in Week 2. But that is what happens when you have the kind of debut game Puka Nacua had with the Los Angeles Rams.
But Nacua has popped up late in the week on the Rams injury list. Is the injury a threat to having Nacua miss Week 2 with the Rams? Or is it something the young receiver can likely play through? Let’s dig in and find out the latest on the Rams’ electric rookie receiver.
Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Start/Sit Optimizer to help you make the right decision!
Latest News Surrounding Puka Nacua
Nacua was the talk of the fantasy world after Week 1. With 10 catches on 15 targets for 119 yards in his first NFL game, you could understand why managers everywhere wanted to grab the rookie on waivers in leagues where he was available.
But on Thursday, Nacua suddenly appeared on the Rams injury report with an oblique injury. Nacua had taken many big hits from the Seattle Seahawks defense in Week 1, and the toll on him forced the receiver to miss all of Thursday’s practice for the Rams.
But good news for Rams fans and fantasy managers: Nacua was able to return to practice on Friday in a limited fashion. His official designation for Sunday’s home opener against the San Francisco 49ers is questionable, but head coach Sean McVay said he expects Nacua to go.
The gravity of Nacua possibly missing time was one of the bigger surprises in the young NFL season. But with Cooper Kupp out, the Rams could really use the services of the young rookie wide receiver on Sunday.
Will Nacua Play This Week?
According to McVay, Nacua should play on Sunday. Coaches don’t typically throw around that they expect a player to play if they have reservations. But, of course, we will monitor this all the way up to game time on Sunday.
For now, I would leave Nacua in my fantasy lineups if the wide receivers on my roster are not very deep. But be cautious. The Rams and 49ers do not play until 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. If Nacua does end up having to sit, your replacement for him may have already played in the 1:00 p.m. ET window.
But unless different news arises, I am going to take the head coach’s word. If McVay expects Nacua to play, I am willing to take the risk of keeping him in my lineup.
What Does This Mean For Nacua’s Fantasy Ranking?
It is hard not to get excited about the potential for Nacua moving forward in fantasy. While the 49ers are not a favorable matchup on Sunday, there is no denying that quarterback Matthew Stafford liked targeting the fifth-round rookie.
Nacua’s 15 targets were tied with Tyreek Hill for the most in the NFL in Week 1. When watching the game, you could almost mistake Nacua for Kupp with how often Stafford was looking his way. If that continues in Kupp’s absence, Nacua is a must-start in fantasy leagues.
Nacua could have a drop in production once Kupp returns to the team, but that is a worry for fantasy managers in Week 5. For now, get Nacua in your lineups if you are lucky enough to roster him.
And congratulations on your waiver bid or for having the foresight to pick up the rookie before Week 1. He certainly has been the steal of the NFL season thus far.