Week 2 Injury update: AFC

Week 1 was very exciting, with multiple upsets, surprises, and blowouts. Unfortunately for fantasy players, several injuries impacted performance. For our week 2 injury update I will look into critical players with several injuries and discuss their outlook. For additional injuries that are not directly fantasy relevant take a look here.

Quarterback week 2 injury update

Mac Jones

Mac Jones is dealing with “back spasms” heading into week 2.

Jones suffered a back injury in week 1 against the dolphins. The exact injury has not been released; however, reports note that the young QB has been dealing with “back spasms.” It was reported that Jones had X-Rays, which came back negative. This is a good start, but his status for week 2 is still in question.

Any time a person is dealing with back spasms, there is likely an underlying cause. Just because the X-Rays came back as negative does not mean Jones is in the clear. Back spasms are typically seen as a protective mechanism when the body does not want the injured person to move too much. These spasms can be excruciating, and if they cannot get them to calm down before Sunday, Jones could easily sit out in week 2. We will have to keep an eye on the practice reports throughout the week to better understand where Jones is at. Regardless of his status on Sunday, I would be looking to pivot off Jones after an abysmal performance from the Patriots in week 1.

Zach Wilson

There are no significant changes regarding Wilson’s knee injury at this time. Last week, I talked about Wilson on our Podcast, detailing that I thought he would be ready before week 4. The team, however, seems to be holding Wilson back for the first few weeks of the season. Reports show that Wilson is not participating in team drills this week and is only working individually with receivers. I would not expect him to be ready for week 2.

Running Back Injury Update

Najee Harris

Photo courtesy of Instagram @najee_harris

Najee Harris is undoubtedly our most significant injury question mark heading into week 2. Last week I discussed Harris’ Lisfranc injury expecting him to be 100% into week 1. This time around, I am not so confident. Harris was seen tangled up awkwardly and exited the field. His injury appeared to be some combination of a knee and foot issue, but reports thus far have only discussed his foot injury.

This week’s reports have been encouraging, and Harris himself came out to say that he would be practicing this week and playing in week 2 against the Patriots. It is excellent to hear Harris has this confidence regarding his injury. However, I want to caution fantasy players to keep a close eye on Harris ahead of week 2. If he suffers a setback in practice or the trainers decide to hold him out, I would not be surprised. If you have other options available, it may pay off to pivot off of Harris this week.

J.K. Dobbins

Dobbins sat out in week 1 as he recovered from his ACL reconstruction. As we all saw with Chris Godwin, coming back too soon after an ACL reconstruction can often lead to additional injuries, even if it is not a re-tear of the ACL. In the long term, this is likely better for Dobbins’ health, but for fantasy managers, this may be a frustrating first few weeks to navigate.

Dobbins recently talked about his injury, indicating his injury was not just a typical ACL tear. He spoke about also injuring his LCL, hamstring, and meniscus. When there are multiple injuries compared to a clean ACL tear, this compounds the difficulty of rehab. There are various weight bearing, range of motion, and strengthening restrictions which all delay return-to-play timelines. With Dobbins confirming the additional injuries, it is no surprise that he has still not returned to full participation. I discussed Dobbins on our Podcast, I likely would not be starting him in his first few games upon return.

Wide Receiver Injury update

Tee Higgins

Tee Higgins suffered a concussion early in week 1. Current research shows that most concussions will resolve in approximately 2 weeks. The NFL concussion protocol will enable players to get back in 1 week, assuming everything goes well. We will have to monitor this situation as everybody is different, and some individuals take longer than others to get back on the field. If he is ready for week 2, I would play him with no concerns.

Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen suffered a hamstring injury after going 4/4 and 66 yards in week one. This one hurts, as Allen appeared to be doing well before his injury. Reports on Allen have stated that he got an MRI and seems to have avoided a long-term injury. Our data on hamstring injuries shows that receivers miss an average of 1.8 games, and upon return they average -2.5 PPG in the first game back. Only 28% of receivers return to their baseline fantasy PPG in the first game back, but this number jumps to 48% in games 2-3 after returning from injury.

Although reports may initially seem encouraging, I personally do not love the sound of his injury. If it was only a minor strain or some cramping, the team likely would not have ordered an MRI to evaluate his injury. The fact that they needed to do so leads me to believe that he probably suffered at least a grade 2 sprain and may miss some time. The Chargers play on Thursday night this week. I would plan to be without Allen for week 2, possibly returning in week 3. Don’t be shocked if he misses week 3 as well; only time will tell.

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