The first batch of COVID related problems has arrived. Booooooo! That being said, I wouldn’t panic yet. One game that will be played on a different day at a different time, not even canceled, is not nearly enough to make me worry about the season. The PGA has gone through this, and to a greater extent, and more similarly, the MLB has gone through this as well. Both professional sports leagues had initial rough patches to start their respective seasons after returning from COVID, but here we are, the PGA just finished its season and playoffs, and the MLB is rolling into its playoffs. To be honest, there’s too much money at stake for the NFL to allow this to get out of control. I fully expect this to be a brief blip on the radar as the season continues to roll on. Now, let’s dive into a more enjoyable topic than COVID, your injured fantasy players! (sigh).
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Week 3 Injuries
Tarik Cohen, RB, CHI – Knee
Cohen signs an extension just over a week ago, and then subsequently tears his ACL. This is a cruel game. With no one other than Cordarrelle Patterson to share the load with, expect David Montgomery to see an extra bump in total touches the rest of season.
Prognosis: Cohen will be out a minimum of 9 months (magic ACL recovery number) with a shot for week 1 of 2021 if no significant setbacks throughout rehab.
Chris Carson, RB, SEA – Knee
Two weeks in a row, a dirty hit gets a player hurt. Last week was Jimmy G, this week, Chris Carson. Current reports are a knee sprain of the mild variety, and, based on the video of Carson getting alligator rolled by a Cowboys’ defender, the most likely injury is a grade I MCL sprain. The good news with these types of injuries, there is no ligamentous instability or large tearing of the fibers, which essentially bases a player’s ability to play on pain tolerance. Now, the injury will not be fully healed, and he will be at an increased risk for additional damage, but if he convinces Pete Carroll that he’s good to go, I think he can be out there, albeit likely limited from a total touch standpoint. Carroll on Wednesday said, “Chris is sounding positive” about playing Sunday.
Prognosis: Day to day, likely GTD. I would be comfortable playing him if he is active.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, SF – Ribs
Finally, a chance to shine in San Francisco. After two years of waiting, Jet was making his first start in a San Fran uniform, unfortunately, his day would be cut short after tallying 77 total yards and a touchdown, suffering a rib injury. Despite this, McKinnon was back to full practice on Wednesday demonstrating the injury was nothing serious and tells me he should be 100% for Sunday against my Eagles (HOW BAD DO THEY LOOK?). After leading the team in rush attempts despite leaving early, I expect more of the same from McKinnon in week four (assuming Mostert is out), in what will be a tougher defensive matchup on the ground. That being said, McKinnon should have a solid day through the passing game.
Prognosis: Likely will not be on the final injury report after practicing in full on Wed.
Chris Godwin, WR, TB; Mike Williams, WR, LAC; DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI – Hamstring
Welcome to the seemingly weekly hamstring segment. After no real offseason and players left to their own devices prior to training camp, this hamstring epidemic was a problem that was relatively easy to foresee, and, well, here’s three more. As a general rule of thumb, expect players to miss AT LEAST one week regardless of severity, as, if the injury were to worsen, the chance of it becoming a multi-week (potentially season-long) problem increases, so it’s best to allow for at least one week of tissue healing. Even if the player doesn’t ride the pine in reality after a “minor” hamstring injury, he should be on your bench in fantasy. The re-injury risk is simply too high after just one week.
After finishing last season on IR due to a hamstring injury, Chris Godwin dealing with another hammy issue in the early stages of 2020. Depending on the leg that is injured, I will be more or less concerned as it is reportedly a mild strain. If it were to the same leg that he injured in 2019, I’d be a little more concerned going forward in 2020.
As for Djax and Mike Williams, not a ton of information is out currently regarding the severity of their respective hamstring strains, but regardless, both are big play, field stretchers who, if limited, will likely have their ceilings capped with basement type of fantasy floors. Both are risky starts to begin with, and now even more so. I’d be out on both in week four.
Prognosis: Full severity on all is relatively unknown at this stage. Practice reports should be monitored, but I would confidently sit all three this week regardless of gameday status. If you’re in a pinch and Godwin is active, I may risk it, but the other two, nope.
John Brown, WR, BUF – Calf
Already battling a foot injury heading into week three, Smoky Brown ended up leaving Sunday’s thriller against the Rams with a calf injury. Brown has yet to practice this week leaving his week four up in the air. Calf strains along with hamstring strains are two soft tissue injuries that have among the highest recurrence rates of any injury. Considering Brown exited early Sunday, and was unable to return in a game he was needed, this is likely more than a mild calf strain. Watch practice reports, but I don’t expect Brown to play. If he does, don’t do it.
Prognosis: Depending on severity 2-4 weeks
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, IND – Calf
Turns out the Colts’ rookie suffered a pretty serious injury on Sunday in what was reportedly compartment syndrome in his lower leg. Essentially, what happens here is that there are separate areas in the calf region (back, front, side) where if there is trauma to the region, dangerous pressure can build up and impinge upon muscles, nerves, and arteries potentially causing severe damage if not relieved. This “relief” comes from an incision. Assuming all goes well and there are no complications such as infection, Pittman is likely to miss 1-2 months with the Colts already saying they plan on taking it slow after another Colts’ player wound up with an infection after also having compartment syndrome.
Prognosis: Out 1-2 months
Dallas Goedert, TE, PHI – Ankle
Keep ‘em coming Philly. Yet ANOTHER Eagles’ player down for an extended period after an injury that, initial reports suggested was a high ankle sprain, ended up being a fracture. With a high ankle sprain that is forceful enough, the bones that make up the “high ankle” can actually be fractured. Evidently, the fracture is relatively stable as Goedert will not need surgery. Despite this, I don’t see Goedert returning before, at a minimum, eight weeks considering the healing properties of a weight-bearing bone, but we will see as the true extent of the injury has not been revealed.
Prognosis: Assuming fracture of a weight-bearing bone, out 8-12 weeks. Monitor injury reports regarding the extent of the injury.
Thursday Night Breakdown – Denver Broncos @ New York Jets
Yuck. Good luck with any fantasy players in this game. Honestly, good luck watching this game. From an injury perspective, the main question marks are Jamison Crowder and Phillip Lindsay who have both been able to log limited practices all week and are listed as questionable for TNF. Crowder is recovering from a hamstring injury and is hoping to go in week four. Lindsay has been dealing with turf toe since week one and was reportedly close to playing on Sunday. I expect both to be active assuming no setbacks in pregame warmups, with Crowder likely to return to his role as a target monster for Darnold.