We are three weeks into the NFL season, and the injury list is starting to pile up! In the week 4 fantasy football injury report for the NFC, we will discuss the most recent injuries and how they will impact your fantasy rosters.
Week 4 fantasy football injury report: QBs
Well reported now, Winston is dealing with multiple fractures in his lumbar spine. We have seen Jameis struggle since suffering this injury, averaging only 13.6 fantasy points in the two games played with this injury.
Jameis is known for his accuracy, and by that, I, of course, mean his ability to accurately throw the ball to the wrong team. He has thrown a Winston-Esque five interceptions in the two games he played dealing with this injury.
The good news is it does not appear that Jameis has suffered any setbacks thus far. The inflammatory phase of healing from a fracture typically takes 7-10 days. This is the phase of healing that is most painful and most likely to influence performance. He is past this now, and as long as there are no setbacks, I expect his performance to start to improve.
Week 4 fantasy football injury report: RBs
Swift re-aggravated his week one ankle sprain and suffered what is being reported simply as a “shoulder sprain.” Currently, coach Dan Campbell is expecting the star RB to miss a few weeks.
The re-injury to the ankle sprain is not unexpected, as this type of injury carries a high re-injury risk. When Swift does return, this injury is what would impact his performance more so than the shoulder. We see a decline of 2.6 fantasy points compared to the pre-injury baseline in the first game when RBs return after a lateral ankle sprain. Of that sample, only 26% of RBs met or exceeded their pre-injury baseline in that first game. However, D’Andre Swift is part of that 26%. That said, whenever he returns, I expect Detroit to be cautious with his workload, especially since Jamaal Williams has been playing so well.
The shoulder injury is a bit vague right now, and we will have to continue to monitor the Detroit beat reporters for more details. As of now, it is being reported simply as a shoulder sprain. Within this, it could be a true sprain to the glenohumeral ligaments or an AC joint sprain. RBs average missing 3.2 games due to an AC joint sprain, but much less from a glenohumeral ligament sprain. Neither injury shows a notable decline in fantasy football points when they return.
Cook suffered yet another shoulder dislocation, to the same shoulder that he dealt with recurring dislocations last season. The good news is that Cook should not miss much time due to this injury, and his performance when on the field should not be impacted. The bad news is that this type of injury has a very high recurrence rate. It will not be surprising if his shoulder continues to dislocate during games this season.
He will wear a protective harness designed to hold the shoulder into the socket; however, this alone will not be enough to prevent another dislocation if he is hit the wrong way.
Typically with a shoulder dislocation, the labrum tears. The labrums job is to help hold the humerus bone in the shoulder socket. The labrum will not heal without surgery; however, in many cases rehabbing the shoulder can allow the rotator cuff muscles to become strong enough to compensate for the loss of the labrum’s integrity.
Cook could have had surgery on his shoulder in the offseason but elected to rehab instead. For many people, rehab is enough to manage a dislocation and prevent future issues. However, NFL running back is exposed to more stress on the shoulder than the average person. Because of this, I expect Cook will rehab his shoulder during the season, allowing him to continue playing, and undergo surgery in the offseason.
As of this writing, reports on Montgomery’s ankle injury are vague, but it sounds like it may be a minor high ankle sprain. Head coach Matt Eberflus told reporters that his running back is “day-to-day,” indicating low severity.
The medical literature states that high ankle sprains are a 4-6 week injury; however, this is not always true. Our data shows that running backs miss only 2.2 games on average. Understanding the discrepancy here is simple, every injury has a spectrum. Christian McCaffrey missed six games two years ago due to a severe high ankle sprain. Montgomery’s presumed high ankle sprain sounds mild, so that he may play next week.
Performance, however, may be impacted. A high ankle sprain will affect the ability to plant and cut off the ankle, which is vital for running backs. We often see players look slower when cutting off the injured ankle. There are two reasons for this. 1) Pain inhibits function. 2) With a high ankle sprain, there is a separation of the tibia and fibula bones, impacting the ankle’s ability to create power. This leads to a slower push-off.
Historically we see running backs score an average of 1.1 fantasy points less than their pre-injury baseline. This number is not overly concerning; however, only 35% of RBs meet or exceed their pre-injury baseline in the first game. This coupled with the emergence of Montgomery’s counterpart Khalil Herbert, makes it unlikely Montgomery will see his typical workload if he plays.
CMC did not practice Wednesday due to a thigh injury. At this time, it is not believed to be serious and fantasy players should not be overly concerned. We will continue to monitor this throughout the week.
week 4 fantasy football injury report: WRs
Amon-Ra St. Brown
St. Brown suffered what appears to be an ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings. Testing suggests that St. Brown’s injury is not severe, but it is possible he could miss some time.
St. Brown is a massive part of the Detroit offense, accounting for 33% of their passing yards through 3 games. The good news for fantasy players with St. Brown is that when he does return from his ankle injury, WRs average only a modest 1 point per game decline in the first game back, with 41% showing no decrease in fantasy performance. Whenever he plays next, he can be started with confidence.
Godwin missed weeks two and three due to a hamstring injury in week one. He participated in practice for the first time since injuring his hamstring this week and will hope to take the field against Kansas City in what could be a classic shootout.
Coming off of a hamstring injury, wide receivers average 2.5 fantasy points below their pre-injury averages, with only 28% meeting or exceeding that number. We must also consider that Godwin is only about 9-months removed from ACL surgery. The combination of these injuries make for high re-injury rates and potential for limited snaps. Godwin a risky start if he plays.
Shepard suffered an unfortunate season-ending ACL injury at the end of the Monday night loss to Dallas. The injury video shows a non-contact mechanism of injury that appears more consistent with a patellar tendon tear, but testing revealed an ACL tear.
This is the same leg that Shepard tore his Achilles last season. Shepard returned from that injury in roughly nine months, much faster than typical. It is certainly possible that mechanical compensations from the Achilles injury may have played a role in this injury. Specifically, following an Achilles repair, there is often residual stiffness in the ankle and subsequent weakness of the glute and calf muscles. These factors increase loading through the front of the knee, and decrease stability of the leg, particularly when fatigued.
Shepard’s season is over, but fortunately, he will have almost an entire year to rehab to get ready for next season. Let’s hope for the best for him!
Michael Thomas suffered a toe injury in week three’s loss to Carolina. Early reports are that his injury is not severe and is not expected to cause Thomas to miss the trip to London for Sunday morning’s game against Minnesota.
Thomas has been no stranger to the injury report the past three seasons. This type of injury could impact his speed and ability to cut. These factors could affect his fantasy performance; however, Thomas does not rely as much on his speed as other wide receivers. Thomas is a savvy route runner who uses his body and exceptional hands to make plays. If he plays, I would not expect any issues due to the toe injury.
Landry is reportedly “battling foot soreness” after last week’s loss to Carolina. As seen in the tweet from Ian Rapoport above, it is not believed to be serious. In fact, if this is truly just soreness and no injury to any ligaments, he will actually feel better with light exercise throughout the week. Based on the current reporting, I cannot envision Landry missing the London game this week and would not expect his game to be hampered.
Finally, reports from Tampa Bay provided some clarity on Julio Jones knee injury. We learned that the future Hall-Of-Famer is dealing with a PCL injury. This is the same injury that Dallas tight end Dalton Schultz is dealing with. Julio has been questionable the past two weeks, ultimately missing each game.
The PCL’s primary job is to prevent the tibia (shin bone) from translating backward on the femur. It also assists the ACL in preventing unwanted rotation and inward collapsing of the knee. The difference is the PCL prevents these motions when the knee is already bent significantly. Because football is not played with our knees bent to 90° or more, the PCL injury is less impactful on athletic performance than its counterpart, the ACL.
To play, pain and swelling must be under control. Additionally, the pain and swelling from a PCL injury can impact quad strength and stability on one leg. A player, especially a wide receiver, is prone to additional non-contact injuries without adequate quad strength and single leg stability. Therefore Tampa is likely cautious and making sure Julio is ready to go.
When Julio does return, it would not be surprising to see him moving slightly slower than usual. However, with Tampa’s receiving corps depleted, Brady may still hammer Jones with targets making him a worthwhile play in fantasy if he can go.
The exciting slot receiver has not made his 2022 debut yet due to a lingering hamstring injury. Moore practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday, and coach Kliff Kingsbury admitted that he does not know if they can expect Moore out there this week.
As mentioned above, receivers see a decline of 2.5 fantasy points in their first game after a hamstring injury, with only 28% meeting or exceeding that value. If Moore suits up, he would be a risky play.
Toney, also dealing with a hamstring injury, did not practice on Wednesday. This is not a good sign for the second-year receiver who missed last week’s game against Dallas.
We discussed how we felt New York was rushing Toney back too fast after his training camp hamstring injury, and they appear to be paying the price. Hamstrings are notorious for re-aggravating when poorly managed. Even if Toney does find a way onto the field this week, he will likely see a reduced snap count and performance decline that we historically see when receivers return from a hamstring injury.
Week 4 fantasy football injury report: TEs
Schultz, dealing with a PCL injury, was close to playing on Monday night. Reports had already told us that his injury was minor, and it would not be surprising to see him suit up against Washington next week.
As mentioned in last week’s article, it would not be unexpected to see Schultz lose some of his athleticism in the first game or two after this injury. We saw Ezekiel Elliot’s stats take a significant decline last season when he returned from the same injury. As a tight end, however, Schultz relies less on his agility than a running back would, so he remains startable when he does return.
For more information check out our injury pages! Week 3 fantasy football injury report for the AFC will be coming out shortly. We discuss each players outlook on our weekly podcast, and daily updates on twitter!