Half way through the 2022 NFL season! Can you believe it? That means it is make-or-break time for fantasy football. Standard leagues will start the playoffs in week 14, giving us six weeks to position our teams to make a run. With that said, welcome the week 9 fantasy football injury report for the NFC!
Fantasy players must understand how injuries will impact their second half of the season push. For example, Ja’Marr Chase owners will not have their superstar for much, or all of the next six weeks. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, if you roster Chase and need to win now, you have to trade him!
Running Backs: Week 9 Fantasy Football Injury Report
Ingram suffered a grade II MCL sprain in week eight and will miss 3-4 weeks.
The MCL helps provide stability to the inside of the knee and, when injured, creates pain and swelling that leads to stiffness, as well as instability in the knee, making it difficult to plant and cut. For a running back, obviously, they must be able to plant and cut well to change direction. Rehab consists of pain and swelling control via massage, gentle range of motion, exercises to activate the leg musculature, and progressing to single leg stability and agility drills when tolerable.
Ingram, who is past his prime and barely fantasy relevant anymore, does not need to be rostered in any format.
Conner missed yet another game due to his rib injury. Clearly, the Cardinals want Conner at 100% before he hits the field again. Conner missed practice Wednesday, and we will have to continue to monitor practice reports to see if he will suit up against the Seahawk’s 4th worst rush defense.
The rib injury presents a unique challenge for running backs. The pecs, lats, and obliques are all strong muscles that attach to the ribs and pull strongly when holding the ball. This makes a running back susceptible to fumbles when dealing with a rib injury. Additionally, rib injuries hurt, and taking contact is very painful. That said, we do not typically see a decline in per-touch performance when dealing with rib injuries.
Neither Eno Benjamin nor Darrel Williams impressed last week, opening the door for Conner to lead the backfield again if he can play.
The Rams rookie has missed all but one play this season due to a severe high ankle sprain. I wrote last week about Williams’s rest-of-season outlook, as he hopes to return for week nine, and a lengthy description can be found there. Williams has suffered not one but two major lower body injuries in the past six months. Each contributes to foot and ankle stiffness that does not always improve after the injury has healed. Stiffness in the foot and ankle can negatively impact gait and running mechanics, which can render an athlete prone to injury.
That said, he is young, and youth is huge when recovering from injury. He walks into the worst rushing attack in the NFL, with LA averaging an abysmal 3.3 yards per carry. While durability is a concern, his opportunity could not be better. He must be rostered in all leagues, and if he suits up this week, he has flex potential pending reports on the expected workload.
While Hubbard sat out last week due to an ankle sprain, all his counterpart D’onta Forman did was rush for 118 yards and three touchdowns. This performance likely gave Foreman the stranglehold on the Carolina backfield for the time being.
Hubbard practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday and appears to have a shot at playing against Cincinnati’s 11th-ranked rush defense this week.I wrote last week about how Hubbard is a shifty back, and ankle sprains will impact lateral agility more so than downhill running. This does not bode well for Hubbard. With Hubbard’s injury and the emergence of D’onta Foreman, there is no reason to start Chuba this week.
Patterson returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his knee in week 4.
We still do not know what his injury was, but we do know that he had his knee scoped. This oftentimes will be a clean-out procedure for either a meniscus or cartilage issue. With any knee scope, returning to play depends on pain and swelling control. 4-5 weeks is typically more than enough time to control the pain and swelling, and in a small sample size, we see no decline in RB fantasy output in the first game back.We will continue to monitor Patterson’s activity in practice this week. If he plays, he is worth flex consideration, as he was the RB7 prior to the injury.
Wide Receivers: Week 9 Fantasy Football Injury Report
Here’s an excellent example of there being no reason to leave star players in the game when the game is over. Kupp was injured with a minute left when LA was down by 17 points. Sean McVay is a rock star of a head coach, but this one is on him. There is NO reason to have your best player in there when the game is already decided!
Luckily, Kupp has avoided a severe injury and is likely to play through his ankle sprain this week. Ankle sprains impact receivers’ agility, and Kupp is as agile as they come. I expect this to slow him down but not enough to keep him out of any fantasy lineups.
Receivers, on average, score 1.7 fantasy points below their pre-injury average in their first game after an ankle sprain, with 39% meeting or exceeding their average.
Lazard returned to practice Wednesday in a limited fashion as he recovers from a left shoulder injury. A receiver must have full shoulder range of motion to run and catch properly. Green Bay won’t put him on the field this week if Lazard’s range is not full.
His shoulder injury likely won’t impact per-play production; however, it may put Lazard on a snap restriction, impacting his overall fantasy output. Fantasy players must monitor Green Bay beat reporters this week to gauge if he is worth the risk to start.
Watson suffered a concussion last week and is questionable for week nine. He will have to work his way through the NFL’s concussion protocol. Fantasy players must monitor practice reports to see if Watson will play this week.
Thomas remains frustrating to fantasy players. For a detailed description of his turf toe injury, view previous posts. We will have to continue waiting for practice reports to understand when Thomas will play.
Like his teammate above, fantasy players will continue to wait to see when Landry will return from his ankle sprain. Receivers average missing 1.3 games due to an ankle sprain, and Landry is well past that now, indicating it was more severe. The risk following severe ankle sprains is for re-injury and the development of chronic ankle instability, as well as chronic ankle stiffness.
Chronic ankle instability is when an athlete repeatedly sprains their ankle, and the ligaments become so lax that they can no longer appropriately stabilize the ankle joint. This causes issues as the ankle ligaments stabilize the ankle and provide sensory information to the brain and spinal cord to help make reflex decisions while playing. The loss of this reflexive reactivity can impact a player’s ability to change their footing quickly, allowing them to remain stable while running, cutting, or landing from a jump, which can lead to further injury.
Chronic ankle stiffness reduces shock absorption from the ankle joint and subsequently increases loading through the rest of the leg and back. The increased loading elsewhere in the lower body can contribute to injury.
Ultimately, when Landry does return, it would be wise to sit him until he proves he can be a fantasy asset again.
Tight Ends: Week 9 Fantasy Football Injury Report
Irv Smith Jr.
Smith Jr. suffered a high ankle sprain in week eight that will keep him out 8-10 weeks. This is clearly a grade III sprain, and Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell has stated that surgery is on the table for Smith.
With this severe injury, the tibia and fibula bones are gapped away from each other, causing injury to the ligaments that typically keep them congruent. The main ligaments injured are the Anterior Inferior Talofibular Ligament, the Posterior Inferior Talofibular Ligament, the Interosseous Membrane, and sometimes the Deltoid ligament. With an expected 8-10 week absence and possible surgery, any or all of these ligaments could be compromised.
The surgery these days is usually the “tight rope” procedure made famous by Tua when in Alabama. A description can be found on our high ankle sprain page.
Smith can be dropped in all redraft formats, as he will not return before the end of the fantasy playoffs. Minnesota knew this, and they moved to acquire tight end TJ Hockenson to help make a playoff run.
Smith should be able to return to 100% next season, but he now runs the risk of chronic ankle stiffness that was mentioned above with Jarvis Landry.
Thomas logged a limited practice Wednesday as he manages a calf injury that he returned from last week. His return was unremarkable, playing 56% of snaps and failing to make a catch.
It is common for tight ends to dip in their fantasy output in the first game after a calf injury, though typically, they see only a mild dip in performance. By games 2-3, after a calf injury, tight-end fantasy output is back to their baseline.