We see this every year, a plethora of injuries in week one. Medical research tells us that the beginning of any sports season shows increased rates of injury as players get re-acclimated to game speed. This season, we lost JK Dobbins and Aaron Rodgers for the season to an Achilles injury, and we have a few other key players whose week two status is up in the air due to injury. Thus, the week two fantasy football injuries are prevalent, and we are here to break them down to help you make the best roster decisions.
Week Two Fantasy Football Injuries: Quarterback
The week two fantasy football injuries list starts with the future hall of fame, Aaron Rodgers. Twitter (X) exploded on Monday night, as the newest Jet went down on just the game’s fourth play. Speculation was endless as the Jets took their time to provide any insight on his injury. Ultimately, it was an Achilles rupture for Rodgers. The 39-year-old quarterback’s season is over; we will wait to see what he will do next year.
At 39, this will be a very challenging injury to return from. Before joining the Jets this offseason, Rodgers had signaled that he was close to retirement. He later stated that he expects to play at least a few years with the Jets. The Achilles is the single most difficult orthopedic injury for an athlete to return from. The Achilles is responsible for withstanding up to 10 times the body weight in force with running and jumping, and quite often, athletes never fully regain the strength and power of the injured calf-Achilles complex.
Fortunately for Rodgers, this is his left Achilles, and he has a whole year to rehab. This being a left-sided injury is huge. When a right-handed quarterback throws, he generates power from the ground up. This means the back (right) leg pushes aggressively off the ground utilizing all major lower body muscles, including the calf-Achilles complex. A 10-30% decline in calf strength (often seen persisting a year after Achilles surgery) would significantly impact his throw power. Since this is his left Achilles, if Rodgers wants to, he reasonably could return for week one next year and play well. He is worth holding onto in dynasty.
Week Two Fantasy Football Injuries: Running Backs
Like Rodgers above, Dobbins will miss the remainder of the season with an Achilles tear. Dobbins missed all of 2021 rehabbing an ACL tear and multiple games last season for a second procedure to clean up scar tissue in his knee. Dobbins will undergo surgery on Friday.
The typical timeline for recovery is 9-12 months, but running backs rarely return to their prior form after this injury. As mentioned above with Rodgers, we see a major decline in calf strength even a full year out from surgery. This impacts athletes’ ability to accelerate, change direction, and regain their full athletic ability. Dobbins is only 24 years old, which works in his favor. But the young stud faces a major uphill battle.
In redraft, you drop him. In dynasty, I would consider getting whatever I can in a trade.
Ekeler missed practice Wednesday as he deals with an ankle injury sustained in week one, as well as to attend the funeral of his agent and close friend. The Chargers have not provided specifics to the type of ankle injury, but coach Brandon Staley has listed Ekeler as day-to-day.
For a back like Ekeler, who utilizes his agility and change of direction, any ankle injury could slow him down. Ankle injuries also carry a high recurrence rate, with medical literature suggesting when an athlete suffers an ankle injury, there is a 26% chance they will suffer another.
We don’t know what type of ankle injury Ekeler is dealing with, but lateral ankle sprains show roughly an 11% decline in fantasy production, whereas high ankle sprains surprisingly do not show any drop-off in fantasy production for running backs. I believe the lack of any decline from a high ankle sprain to be more by chance, as high ankle sprains clearly impact function.
Aaron Jones left the game Sunday after injuring his hamstring on a 35-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. The 28-year-old hamstring injury is not expected to be serious, but we must monitor his readiness for week two.
Hamstring injuries have a wide spectrum of severity. While most running backs only miss one game, the NFL average for RBs is to miss 2.2 games. The hamstring is highly involved in sprinting, and the stress on the hamstring increases dramatically at top-end sprint speed. This is why we saw Jones injury occur at the end of such a long run. It takes 30-40 yards to build up to top speed; therefore, it usually takes a long run for injury to occur.
Despite the hamstring’s involvement in sprinting, running backs surprisingly see no decline in fantasy production and only a 6% decline in snap rate in the first game after a hamstring injury. Re-injury risk is obviously high, but if Jones plays, fantasy managers can start him with expectations of him to produce.
Conner is dealing with a calf injury that left him limited in practice on Wednesday. The calf is vital in sprinting and explosiveness for athletes. The calf-Achilles complex essentially functions as a spring, loading, and recoiling to propel the athletes forward. With grades 2 or 3 injuries, strength loss is prevalent enough that it can impact this spring-like mechanism. With Conner practicing Wednesday, he is likely dealing with a minor injury that would not impact strength or power.
Calf injuries do have high recurrence rates, with medical literature suggesting 14-16%. On average, running backs do not see much decline in fantasy production after a calf injury; however, this is highly skewed by performances from Josh Jacobs in 2022 and Jeff Wilson Jr. in 2020, both of whom played well above their average in the first game back. If you remove those two players from the data set, RBs see a massive decline of 40% in fantasy production in the first game after a calf injury.
Mostert did not practice Wednesday with a vague knee injury. Reports close to Miami suggest this is not actually an injury but a maintenance day. At this time, we are not concerned.
Gainwell has been ruled out for Thursday night’s matchup against Minnesota due to a rib injury. Rib injuries are very challenging to play through. The ribs expand and recoil with breathing, making breathing very painful. With exertion, the respiration rate increases, leading to more frequent breaths and, thus, more pain. The ribs are also an attachment site for many key muscles involved in holding a football, such as the lats, the pecs, as well as the abdominals, which are critically involved with taking on contact. For this reason, running backs playing through rib injuries can be a major challenge.
It does not sound like Gainwell’s ribs are broken, which should allow for a quicker return to the field. Thursday night was just too quick of a turnaround.
Hull suffered an unspecified knee injury in week one that is expected to keep him out for considerable time. At the time of this writing, there is little detail about what exactly Hull injured in his knee. Any knee injury is prone to swelling, impacting one leg’s range of motion, strength, and stability.
Without full range of motion and strength, it is challenging to create adequate speed and agility and withstand contact. Running backs predominately play on one leg at a time; therefore, any impact on his single-leg stability would impact his ability to cut and make him prone to further injury. The Colts will likely play it safe with their rookie and allow him ample time to recover.
In redraft, he is likely dropable.
Moss practiced in full on Wednesday as he returned from a broken forearm. This all but confirms he will suit up this week. We do not anticipate any negative impact on production from this injury. Upper body injuries rarely influence fantasy production, and re-injury risk is low.
With Jonathan Taylor on the IR and Evan Hull recently injured as well, it will be Moss and Deon Jackson manning the Colts backfield.
Week Two Fantasy Football Injuries: Wide Receivers
Another hamstring injury on the week two fantasy football injuries list. The Steelers receiver went down after making a cut and did not return. Johnson is expected to miss a few weeks indicating a moderate severity injury.
Johnson, being a receiver, has the ability to reach top-end speed on nearly every play while running routes. The distance receivers cover allows them to reach top speed, which puts more strain on the hamstring. This is why we see receivers most commonly suffer hamstring injuries and why we see them most negatively impacted in the first game after injury.
Receivers show an average decline of 12% in fantasy production and a 16% snap rate in the first game after a hamstring. Johnson is a fringe WR3/flex for most people’s fantasy teams. Because of this, it makes sense to let Johnson return to play before rushing him into your lineups when he comes back from this injury.
Sean Payton states that Jeudy was “close” to playing in week one. Jeudy was carted off the practice field on August 24th with a hamstring injury. As mentioned with Johnson above, hamstring injuries impact receivers the most since they can actually get to full speed on most plays.
NFL receivers average missing 1.8 games due to a hamstring injury. This number obviously ranges depending on severity. Jeudy was limited at practice on Wednesday, and if Payton’s words are to be trusted, he may be able to play this week.
Receivers see a decline of 12% in fantasy production and a 16% snap rate in their first game back from a hamstring injury. I would expect this drop-off to be consistent with Jeudy’s production if he plays this week.
Adams did not practice Wednesday with a foot injury. Adams played on 90% of snaps last week, and it was not previously reported that he was dealing with any injury. This may just be a rest day for the veteran receiver.
While details of the foot injury are not provided, any foot injury may impact an athlete’s ability to run, cut, or jump, especially a receiver. We will keep a close eye on Adams progression throughout the week.
Hopkins did not practice Wednesday with an unspecified ankle injury. Hopkins played 78% of snaps last week and apparently injured the ankle on the game’s final play. Specifics have not been provided, but with lateral ankle sprains, receivers average a decline of 11.5% fantasy production, whereas, with high ankle sprains, they see no decline in production but a 23% drop off in snap percentage.
Cooks did not practice on Wednesday with a vague knee injury. At this time, it does not sound major, and Coach McCarthy stated that he may practice Thursday. We will monitor Cooks status closely throughout the week.
Watson did not practice on Wednesday as he continues to rehab from a hamstring injury that kept him out of week one. The same analysis of the injury listed above with Johnson applies. For Watson to not practice at all on Wednesday tells us he may be further out from playing compared to Jeudy. Thursday and Friday practice reports will be crucial to monitor. Since his game is built on speed and explosiveness, I’d expect this injury to negatively impact his game if he does play.
Meyers is in the concussion protocol after taking a scary hit on Sunday. We will have to monitor Meyers progress through the protocol throughout the week. If he plays, we do not expect any decline in fantasy production.
Week Two Fantasy Football Injuries: Tight Ends
Kelce returned to practice Wednesday after missing week one with a bone bruise. As mentioned last week, the challenge is getting the pain and swelling down. A week of rest and rehab should be enough to allow him to regain the range of motion, strength, and single-leg stability needed to perform on the field. A short video of Kelce jogging and jumping into his teammate was encouraging. I expect some decreased athleticism for another week or two, but not enough to deter from starting this stud.
Just like week one, the week two fantasy football injuries includes Mark Andrews. Andrews was limited in Wednesday’s practice as he continues to recover from a quad injury. The quad is one of the most powerful muscles in the body, responsible for sprinting, cutting, jumping, and all athletic motions. Without full quad strength, athleticism declines.
Andrews has been nursing this injury for several weeks now and should be close to being healthy enough to be productive. Tight ends average missing 1.4 games and average a 17% decline in fantasy points, with only a 4% decline in snap rate. If Andrews suits up, you play him
Schultz was limited in practice Wednesday with a thigh injury. Typically, when reported as a thigh injury, it is a quad injury. If that is the case with Schultz, the same analysis above for Andrews applies. Tight ends see a drop of 17% in fantasy production and a 4% snap rate. While for Andrews, this is not enough to take him out of your lineup, for Schultz, it may be.
Dulcich will miss multiple games as he injured the same hamstring he dealt with last season. We know hamstrings are notorious in this league. Oftentimes, after a hamstring injury, the tissue does not heal as strong as it once was. This is a factor in recurring injury. When the tissue is not as strong as it once was, whether that be the cellular makeup or simply pure muscle strength imbalances, injury is more likely to occur. We don’t know if this is the case for Dulcich, but starting your career with multiple hamstring injuries on the same side is not great.
Tight ends surprisingly do not see much drop in fantasy production in their first game after injury. Still, Dulcich was not fantasy-relevant as is and can certainly be dropped in redraft.