Another week down, another pile of injuries to analyze. Per the nature of this violent sport, the list continues to grow. Our mission at the Fantasy Injury Team is to provide you with weekly analysis of each injury impacting a significant fantasy-relevant player. Let’s look at the week 5 fantasy football injury report for the NFC!
week 4 fantasy football injury report: qbs
Jones departed part way through Sunday’s game against Chicago with an ankle injury. Jones was forced back into the game after backup Tyrod Taylor left with a concussion. He was able to practice on Wednesday this week, and video’s seen on Twitter looked promising for his ability to suit up this week.
There is limited data on QBs playing after ankle sprains, but with it being his left (non-push-off) leg, it’s unlikely this will impact his ability to throw very much. The videos at practice today looked like he was moving around fairly well. Jones won’t be affected by this too much if he plays.
Winston could not play in London against Minnesota this past week due to the multiple fractures in his lumbar spine. In the prior two games, Jameis was clearly struggling due to pain, as his average fantasy points per game dropped to 13.6. Dalton is a capable multi-week fill-in for Winston, and New Orleans may consider letting Jameis continue to rest until he is truly ready to play.
As previously mentioned, low back pain can impact a thrower’s ability to generate power and maintain accuracy. This is due to the force transfer to create the throwing motion. Force always starts from the ground up. A thrower pushes off their back leg, and the force transfers through the back via rotation and finally into the shoulder, arm, and hand. Pain can limit an athlete’s willingness to rotate, thus reducing both power and accuracy.
Reports state that Prescott hopes to return in week 5 against the Rams. Prescott suffered a fracture to his throwing hand thumb in week one and had surgery shortly after. Will Dak be ready?
Typical bone healing takes 4-6 weeks; however, the fracture that Dak had to his thumb was managed via surgery, which provides significant stability, reducing the chance for a re-fracture. The challenge will be his ability to grip and manipulate the ball properly. Prescott had stitches removed last Monday but was still dealing with typical swelling, stiffness, and weakness.
Swelling, stiffness, and weakness will always occur after surgery. The swelling and immobilization of the joint that typically follows surgery lead to stiffness. When a muscle is not being used, it gets weak, fast!
Prescott was seen lightly throwing in the week 3 Monday night game warmups. He will continue to increase his strengthening and throwing as he rehabs. While week 5 is not out of the question, a week 6 return against division rival Philadelphia is more likely.
The best comparisons we have are Drew Brees, who returned in 5 weeks from a thumb ligament surgery, and Russell Wilson, who returned in 3 weeks from finger surgery last year. Brees returned to form right away, scoring 25.9 fantasy points, while Wilson struggled, scoring 7.6 and 8.5 in his first two games.
Brady missed practice Wednesday due to shoulder and finger injuries on his throwing side. Brady does not practice Wednesdays anyway, and reports on his injury are not very detailed. We will have to check in daily for updates.
week 4 fantasy football injury report: Rbs
McCaffrey logged 87% of snaps on Sunday despite coming into the game with a questionable tag due to a quad injury. Clearly, the injury was not very severe, as McCaffrey went for 21.3 fantasy points against Arizona.
No stranger to the injury report. We will monitor practice reports this week to see if CMC is dealing with any new injuries this week. As of now, he remains a must-start RB1 in all formats.
Swift missed week 4 due to both shoulder and ankle injuries. As discussed last week, the shoulder injury is not much of a concern for his fantasy outlook when he returns, but the ankle could be.
Ankle sprains have a high recurrence. Swift himself has injured this ankle twice now, just a quarter of the way through the season. Recurring ankle sprains often lead to chronic stiffness in the ankle, potentially altering mechanics up the chain into the knee, hip, low back, and even the opposite shoulder.
A chronically stiff ankle can no longer absorb shock when the athlete strikes the ground. This increases force into the knee, hip, and lower back. Additionally, there is a neural connection from the ankle’s dorsiflexion motion (ankle bending upward) to activating the glute muscles. Therefore ankle stiffness contributes to a weakening of the glute muscles, which creates all sorts of problems. These issues can and certainly are being managed as well as possible by Detroit’s medical staff to prevent these issues from occurring.
From a fantasy standpoint, we see a decline of 2.4 fantasy points in the first game returned from an ankle sprain compared to pre-injury averages, with only 29% meeting or exceeding their pre-injury point average. Swift, however, is one of the 29%. Returning from his first ankle sprain this season, he outperformed his pre-injury average. Swift can put up massive points with little volume, making him a must-start when he returns. However, fantasy players should temper expectations.
Despite logging a 70% snap rate in week 3 and with no reported setbacks to his rib injury, Kamara missed week 4 against Minnesota due to the injury. This will be one that we truly have to monitor throughout the week. While rib injuries are unlikely to impact a running back’s performance when on the field, they may continue to rest Kamara until he heals more or put him on a snap count.
Similar to Swift, Kamara historically can produce with a smaller volume. If he is reportedly on a snap restriction, that does not necessarily mean he can’t be started in fantasy. Kamara plays Seattle’s 4th worst rush defense this week.
Montgomery could not play in week 4 due to an injury that was vaguely reported as a high ankle sprain. High ankle sprains can impact a runner’s ability to create power when pushing through their leg to cut. In Montgomery’s case, however, it did not appear his injury was very severe as he was close to playing last week.
Historically, RBs miss 2.2 games and see a mild decline in fantasy points (1.1) when they return, with 35% meeting or exceeding their pre-injury fantasy average in the first game. They quickly return to baseline, nearly 60% meeting or exceeding pre-injury fantasy points by weeks 2-3. These numbers are not very daunting, particularly for a player whose team has the third most rushing attempts this season.
Robinson has been designated to return to practice after suffering non-fatal gunshot wounds to the lower extremity just before the start of the season. Rivera believes that Robinson will not only be ready to play soon but will be productive.
It was never made clear where exactly Robinson was shot, the depth of the bullet, or any other details about the wound, making it hard to gauge how affected he would be. We can tell that his quick return likely means his muscles, bones, and nerves were not severely impacted. With that assumption, I see no reason he would have a much lasting functional impact from the gunshots.
It will be interesting to see what kind of role Robinson takes on when he gets back on the field. Starter Antionio Gibson is averaging an unimpressive 3.3 yards per carry, leaving plenty of opportunity for the rookie.
Patterson was placed on the IR on Monday due to an undisclosed knee injury. This will put the 31-year-old RB out for at least the next 4 weeks. Atlanta has not stated what Patterson’s knee injury is but did mention that he underwent a “minor medical procedure.” This could be any number of things. It certainly could be a meniscus debridement similar to Zack Wilson, a procedure to drain swelling out of the knee, an injection, or many other things.
What we can conclude is that no tissues are being repaired. There is a significant rehab process with any ACL, PCL, meniscus repair, or tibial plateau fracture. This is good news that none of these more severe procedures took place.
We cannot provide a detailed analysis until we have more information on Patterson’s injury. In his absence, look for rookie Tyler Allgier, Caleb Huntley, and Damian Williams coming off a rib injury, to compete for touches in the Atlanta backfield.
week 4 fantasy football injury report: WRs
Amon-Ra St. Brown
The emerging superstar missed week 4 due to an ankle injury. Before missing this week, St. Brown had accounted for 33% of Detroit’s passing yards, making him the clear WR1 for Jarad Goff.
Ankle injuries will impact a player’s lateral quickness, which could impact St. Brown’s route running and run after catch. However, despite this, WRs only average a modest decline of 0.8 fantasy points in their first game after an ankle sprain, with 42% having no trouble meeting or exceeding pre-injury scoring. If St. Brown plays, he remains a must-start.
The rookie Dotson, who has 4 touchdowns on the season, will miss a few games due to a hamstring injury suffered in week 4. Dotson has been a major part of Washington’s offense so far, and fantasy owners have been pleased by the early production from the Penn State product.
We all know the frustration of hamstring injuries. Research shows that a previous hamstring injury increases the risk for a second one by 2.7 times, especially when returning too soon (Kadarius Toney). Hamstrings are by far the most common injury in football and most commonly occur with wide receivers. This is because the load on the hamstring muscles increases dramatically when a runner increases speed from 80%-100% of a sprint, which wide receivers do more than any other position.
Reports say that Dotson is expected to miss 1-2 weeks, indicating it is likely a grade I injury, much less severe than it could be. On average, WRs miss 1.8 games and struggle in their first game after injury averaging 2.5 points below their pre-injury average, with only 28% meeting or exceeding their pre-injury average. This begins to normalize after 2-3 weeks.
Godwin enters game two post hamstring injury and game three post ACL injury. The bad news for Godwin is he is still at higher risk for re-injury of either of these injuries. The good news is that in the second and third games back from these injuries, wide receivers return to their baseline fantasy production. In games 2-3 after an ACL tear, WRs improve from averaging 4.7 points below pre-injury average to 1.7 points below pre-injury average, and in games 2-3 after a hamstring injury WRs improve from averaging 2.5 points below pre-injury average to 0.8 points below pre-injury average.
These numbers signal better days ahead for the reliable receiver. But fantasy managers must be aware that he remains at an elevated risk for injury coming off of these injuries.
Thomas missed Sunday’s game in London due to a toe injury. He did not take part in Wednesday’s practice and will be one to follow throughout the week. He appeared close to playing last week, which makes us believe he can be ready to go against Seattle’s defense which is currently 4th worst in the league against the pass.
If Thomas suits up, his toe injury may slow him down a bit, but Thomas does not rely on speed or elite athleticism. His game is built on savvy route running, setting up his defenders, using his big body, and his spectacular hands. Even if he is slightly slower, I would not expect his game to be affected very much.
Jones was on the field for much of the first half last week after missing two games due to a PCL injury. Jones appeared to have re-aggravated this injury at the beginning of the second half and did not return for the rest of the game.
He practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday, a good sign for his ability to take the field this week. However, this type of injury can linger. The PCL won’t actually heal; instead, “recovery” from this injury is managing pain and swelling. Both of these can rear their ugly heads anytime during the season. Because of this, Julio will be tricky to gauge his effectiveness this season. It will be wise to continue to follow the Tampa Bay reporters, but Julio has never been one to practice much during the week.
Chark missed last week due to an ankle injury and did not practice to start this week. Quarterback Jarad Goff and the Lion’s passing game has been surprisingly good this season, making Chark somewhat interesting.
When he does return, fantasy players should know that WRs see only minimal decline in fantasy stats in the first game after an ankle sprain, with an average of 0.8 points below their pre-injury average and 42% meeting or exceeding their pre-injury average.
week 4 fantasy football injury report: TEs
Pitts frustrating season continues. The ultra-talented tight end missed practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury. Perhaps this helps explain why Pitts only played 62% of snaps last week, or perhaps not.
Either way, Pitts is great because of his athleticism. Pitts ran an insane 4.4 40-meter dash time, and this top-end speed is precisely what a hamstring injury impacts. When a runner accelerates their sprint from 80-100%, the load on the hamstring increases dramatically. This is likely why our data shows WRs and TEs are more impacted than RBs from hamstring injuries. RBs must run very fast, but they rarely reach top-end speed, whereas route runners frequently hit close to their peak speed.
Tight ends average 1.8 points below their pre-injury average in the first game after a hamstring injury, with 36% meeting or exceeding their baseline.
Schultz failed to log any fantasy points last week in his return from a PCL injury. Despite this, he was on the field for 90% of snaps, a good sign. There are no reported setbacks to date, and fantasy players can hope for better days ahead.
As mentioned above with Julio, Schultz could continue to see his knee injury flare back up throughout the season. Still, there are not many better TE options on the waiver wire.
Brate is in the concussion protocol. We will have to monitor reports out of Tampa to see if he can go next week. Regardless, Brate has not shown much fantasy value this year.
For more information check out our injury pages! Week 5 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!