Week 8 Fantasy Football Injury Report: NFC

Another week full of frustrating and devastating injuries. We saw rookie sensation Breece Hall’s season end and scary-looking injuries to star receivers Mike Williams and DK Metcalf. Let’s dive into the week 8 fantasy football injury report for the NFC.

Quarterbacks: Week 8 fantasy football injury report

Jameis Winston

Week 8 fantasy football injury report
Photo courtesy of Instagram @jaboowins

Winston was healthy enough to serve as Andy Dalton’s backup last week. New Orleans had previously stated they would wait until Jameis was 100% healthy to play him. However, reports came out today that Dalton will be starting this week despite Winston being healthy.

Running Backs: Week 8 fantasy football injury report

D’Andre Swift

We expected Swift to suit up in week 7, but unfortunately, he missed another week. The combination of Swift’s ankle and shoulder injuries must be taking longer to heal than anticipated. Detroit is struggling this season and could use their star running back.

As mentioned in previous posts, the ankle injury would be the one with the potential to slow him down on the field. An ankle sprain can impact a player’s lateral agility and quickness, which is Swift’s game. Running backs average 2.4 fantasy points below their pre-injury average when they return from an ankle sprain. But Swift is so elite that fantasy players will accept a slight decline in fantasy output, as he can still put up massive numbers.

We will continue to monitor practice reports this week in hopes that Swift will play against Miami’s defense, which has allowed eight rushing touchdowns this year. 

Ezekiel Elliot

Week 8 fantasy football injury report

Zeke missed practice Wednesday with an MCL injury and thigh bruise and is expected to miss week eight.

Reports out of Dallas suggest Elliot is dealing with stiffness in his knee. Often times after a sprain of a ligament, there is swelling and muscle guarding. The swelling can create stiffness because the fluid takes up space in the joint, making it harder to move. Muscle guarding is a term used to describe reflexive spasms or tightening of a muscle that occurs to protect an injury. This will also lead to stiffness as the muscle guarding will attempt to prevent motion.

MCL Injury

The swelling and muscle guarding can be managed via rehab and anti-inflammatories but may take a few days to get under control, putting his week eight status in jeopardy. On average, running backs miss three games due to an MCL sprain and, unfortunately, see a notable decline of 2.9 fantasy points when they return. This, combined with Tony Pollard’s continued emergence, makes Elliot’s situation concerning for fantasy players. 

James Conner

Conner practiced on Wednesday, ahead of Sunday’s matchup against Minnesota’s 14th-ranked rush defense. Conner missed the past two weeks due to a nagging rib injury. Rib injuries typically won’t impact a player’s athletic ability when on the field, but Arizona may choose to reduce Conner’s snap percentage to prevent setbacks. Eno Benjamin has filled in nicely for Arizona, and Darrell Williams also appears on track to return this week.

If his injury does impact his performance, it may be in the form of fumbles. The pec and lat muscles are both highly involved in holding onto the football and attach to the ribs. Therefore, with a contraction of these muscles (as in preventing defenders from stripping the ball), these muscles must pull firmly on the ribs, which hurts!

It would be risky to start Conner this week. Before his injury, he was not playing at a high level, and both Williams and Benjamin appear to be cutting into his workload. 

Chubba Hubbard

With superstar Christian McCaffrey out of Carolina, the door opened for Chubba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman to take over the backfield. Hubbard, unfortunately, injured his ankle last week, paving the way for Foreman to run for 118 yards.

Hubbard did not practice on Wednesday and remains questionable for week eight against Atlanta’s 5th-ranked rush defense. An ankle sprain will impact a runner’s ability to quickly change directions, a big part of Hubbard’s game. Running backs average missing 1.3 games due to an ankle sprain and score 2.4 fantasy points below their pre-injury average in the first game after a sprain. Hubbard is a desperation play this week at best. 

Wide Receivers: Week 8 fantasy football injury report

Amon-Ra St. Brown

Amon-Ra suffered a concussion early in the week seven matchup against Dallas. St. Brown will have to progress through the NFL’s 5-stage concussion protocol to play in week eight against Miami’s 24th-ranked passing defense.

St. Brown is several games removed from a strong fantasy output after suffering an ankle injury in week three. Still, few have the upside and volume of St. Brown, and it is a must-start. 

Deebo Samuel

Week 8 fantasy football injury report

Deebo injured his hamstring in week seven and did not practice on Wednesday. Despite injuring his hamstring on Sunday, Deebo still logged 86% of snaps, and his injury is not considered severe.

Hamstring injuries impact the quick, speedy players the most and affect receivers more than running backs. This is because the strain on the hamstring increases dramatically when a runner increases from 80-100% of their top speed. Deebo relies on his run after the catch (or handoff), and he could be hindered by this injury this week against Jalen Ramsey and the 8th-ranked passing defense of the LA Rams.

Receivers average missing 1.8 games due to a hamstring injury and score 2.8 fantasy points below their pre-injury average. Fantasy players likely have to start Deebo, but expectations should be tempered. 

DK Metcalf

Metcalf injured his patellar tendon on Sunday when landing awkwardly while attempting to make a catch near the endzone. Initial thoughts on Twitter were an ACL tear, but his knee did not collapse into the valgus motion (knee caving in) that we typically see with an ACL injury.  

Ultimately Metcalf sustained a strain to the patellar tendon, and his status is unclear, but he did avoid serious injury. This is a relief for Seahawks fans and fantasy players rostering Metcalf. A more serious patellar tendon injury could have meant season-ending surgery.

Nonetheless, this type of injury can be stubborn to heal. The four strong quad muscles pull on the patella via the quad tendon, and this force is subsequently transmitted to the patellar tendon to pull on the shin to create movement in the knee. Because of this critical role of the patellar tendon, this injury characteristically results in sharp pain when running, cutting, jumping, and all other athletic activities. Metcalf is not the shiftiest of receivers, and it would not be unreasonable to expect this to slow him down when he returns.

Patellar tendon injury

Mike Evans

Evans has been cleared for Thursday night’s game against Baltimore’s 26th-ranked passing defense. Evans sustained a minor ankle sprain in week seven, but this injury appears to be behind him.

Receivers see a decline of 1.8 fantasy points in the first game after an ankle sprain. Despite this decline in stats, Evans does not project as the type that would be affected by this injury. An ankle sprain will slow down the shifty-quick players more than the deep threat and big-body types. Fantasy players can start Evans with confidence.

Michael Thomas

Who even knows at this point? Thomas’s turf toe continues to linger, and he did not practice to start this week. At this point, we will have to literally see Thomas on the field before we can believe what any reports say.  I still hold onto hopes that he will be a second half of the season league winner!

Allen Lazard

Lazard is dealing with a shoulder injury sustained in week seven and does not appear on track to play in week eight.

Reports on shoulder injuries in the NFL are often vague and do not give us much detail on the actual injury. Regardless, the shoulder is vital to a receiver’s ability to reach up and catch balls and pump his arms forward and back when running. Certain shoulder injuries can limit an athlete’s ability to reach above head due to pain and/or weakness of the shoulder muscles. Lazard will have to be recovered enough to easily raise his arms above his head and have no difficulty with running before playing again. The good news is when he does return, it is unlikely this type of injury will impact his fantasy output

Russell Gage

Gage has been ruled out for week eight with yet another setback from his hamstring. Gage injured his hamstring in the preseason and has been on the injury report multiple times this season.

Hamstring injuries have a high recurrence rate. A previous hamstring injury (such as Gage’s in the preseason) increases the risk for a second by 2.7x! Often, with recurring hamstring injuries, it is not only the hamstring that is aggravated, but the sciatic nerve can be either stuck or inflamed. Any time a nerve is stuck or inflamed, the body may utilize muscle to protect it, leading to an injury of the muscle. I can’t say this is the case for Gage, but this is something that Tampa’s training staff should consider.

Receivers average missing 1.8 games due to a hamstring injury and score 2.8 fantasy points below their pre-injury average when they return. Expect Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to see frequent targets in his absence. 

Tight Ends: Week 8 fantasy football injury report

Dalton Schultz

No change here. Schultz will continue to deal with recurring pain and swelling with his PCL injury. There is no way to predict how Schultz’s second half of the season will look as the re-aggravations can be unpredictable. When he is on the field, Prescott likes him. This makes it challenging for fantasy players to determine if they want to keep Schultz or drop him. The tight-end landscape is scarce, so fantasy players may want to hold onto him for now unless a better opportunity arises. 

More Information

For more information, check out our injury pages! Check out our week 8 fantasy football injury: AFC page! We discuss each player’s outlook on our weekly podcast and daily updates on twitter!

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