Week Four Injury Report

Week three was less eventful for injuries than prior weeks, however; we still have a loaded week four injury report. Last week we lost Chargers Mike Williams for the season, but hopefully we welcome back a number of key players who have been out with injury. Below, we breakdown the injuries impacting key players and how their injuries may impact their fantasy production.

Week Four Injury Report: Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes

Injury: Ankle sprain

Mahomes sprained his right ankle in Sunday’s romping over the Chicago Bears but was able to finish the game. He did not appear bothered by the injury at the moment. Often times with ankle sprains, the adrenaline pumping during the game can mask the pain of a sprain. Typically the second day is worse, and the ankle will swell, limiting range of motion, creating pain, and impairing function. If minor enough, which Mahomes injury appeared, it is possible that a proper tape job will have him playing in full next week.

week four injury report

Expected Return: Week 4

Fantasy Impact: It is his right ankle; therefore, the ankle he pushes off to create power when throwing. While this has the potential to impact his throwing, Mahomes is simply different than the rest, and it is not expected to limit him at all. Additionally, QBs hardly see any decline in fantasy production after ankle sprains.

Derek Carr

Injury: AC Joint Sprain

Carr finds himself on the week four injury report as he deals with an AC joint sprain to his throwing shoulder. The Acromioclavicular (AC) joint is the junction of the collar bone (clavicle) and a portion of the shoulder blade called the acromion. The joint is held together by ligaments called the acromioclavicular ligament and the coracoid ligament. The term “sprain” indicates an injury to ligaments; therefore, these ligaments are what is injured.

week four injury report

During the throwing motion, the shoulder must rotate, elevate, and come across the body. During any shoulder motion, the AC joint must move slightly. An injury to the AC joint can cause pain and inflammation that can impede this motion, limiting throw power and accuracy. Grade I and II AC joint injuries (which Carr falls into) respond well to rest and rehab.

Expected Return: Weeks 5-6. Rehab will focus on regaining range of motion, reducing pain and swelling, and regaining strength. When he has these factors normalized, he will be able to play.

Fantasy Impact: This is an injury to Carr’s throwing shoulder and, therefore, will likely have an impact on this throw power and accuracy. NFL players are typically rushed back to play before they are fully healed, so I expect a decline in fantasy production in his first game or two when he returns. Specifically, I would expect him to miss some deep balls.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Injury: Concussion

Garoppolo did not practice Wednesday. He will have to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol in order to play this week.

Expected Return: Week 4-5

Fantasy Impact: We do not expect any decline in fantasy production when players return from a concussion.

Anthony Richardson

Injury: Concussion

Richardson practiced in full on Wednesday, putting him on track to play this week.

Expected Return: Week 4

Fantasy Impact: We do not expect any decline in fantasy production when players return from a concussion.

Bryce Young

Injury: Ankle Sprain

A similar analysis to Mahomes above. An ankle sprain to a quarterback’s back leg can impact throw power, whereas an injury to the front leg can impact accuracy as it may cause them to be less stable during the follow-through. History of an ankle sprain renders an athlete 26% more likely to have another ankle sprain.

Expected Return: Week 4-5

Fantasy Impact: Depending on how close to 100% Young is, which we can gauge by practice participation, he may see a dip in throw power or accuracy, which could negatively impact his stat line. However, we hardly see any decline in QB fantasy production after ankle sprains. Young is a talented prospect but has not yet made himself fantasy-relevant.

Week Four Injury Report: Running Backs

Saquon Barkley

Injury: High Ankle Sprain

We finally got clarity from Barkley himself that his injury is a high ankle sprain. A high ankle sprain is worse than a traditional lateral ankle sprain. With a high ankle sprain, the two shin bones, the Tibia and Fibula, which are typically held together by strong ligaments and connective tissues, can become separated from one another as these ligaments and connective tissue are injured. The severity of the injury determines the level of separation of the two bones. The separation of the Tibia and Fibula leads to instability within the ankle, making it difficult to push off and create power.

week four injury report

Depending on the severity, these bones don’t always neatly realign, and chronic instability can occur, and re-injury rates are high. We saw last season, Jonathan Taylor re-injured his high ankle sprain three times, and he is still dealing with it this year!

Expected Return: Weeks 4-6. Running backs averaged missing 2.5 games, with a range of zero to six games missed.

Fantasy Impact: As mentioned above, a high ankle sprain can lead to loss of stability of the ankle, making it harder to cut and create power. If Barkley returns too quickly, I expect his production to take a notable hit.

Austin Ekeler

Injury: High Ankle Sprain

The same analysis for Barkley above can be said about Ekeler’s high ankle sprain. Ekeler returned to practice on Wednesday, making it possible that he plays this week.

Expected Return: Weeks 4-7. Ekeler states he is healing well and may be ready soon. On the contrary, coach Brandon Staley stated last week there is no timetable for return. The Chargers have a week five bye, so does it even make sense for him to play next week?

Fantasy Impact: Similar to Barkley above, I expect Ekeler to struggle with cutting and power in the first game or two back after this injury, which will likely impact his stat line.

Aaron Jones

Injury: Hamstring injury

Jones missed the past two games with a hamstring injury suffered in week one. Jones was estimated as a limited participant in Monday’s practice and may be able to return for Thursday night’s game. Hamstrings impact acceleration and top-end sprint speed. Usually, injury occurs when a player is hitting their top sprint speed, which takes 30-40 yards of running to achieve. This is why we see receivers impacted much more than running backs. The presence of a hamstring injury in-season leads to a 5 times greater risk for another hamstring injury that season. Jones is certainly at risk for this injury to recur.

week four injury report

Expected Return: Week 4-5

Fantasy Impact: As mentioned above, the load on the hamstring increases at the top-end sprint speed. Running backs rarely have the space to get to top speed. Because of this, we actually see no decline in production when running backs return after a hamstring injury. If Jones plays, he should be started, understanding that re-injury risk is high.

James Conner

Injury: Back

A back injury can be a lot of things, and right now Arizona has not told us much. Conner did not appear to get injured during Sunday’s win against Dallas, so it is entirely possible he is dealing with soreness and stiffness versus a major injury. This is one we will need to monitor throughout the week. Often times soreness and stiffness resolves when an athlete is warmed up.

Expected Return: Week 4-5

Fantasy Impact: We will revisit this later in the week, but if he is dealing with soreness/stiffness I would not expect much impact on his production.

David Montgomery

Injury: Thigh injury

Montgomery is on the week four injury report as he presses to return for Thursday night. Montgomery missed week three as he dealt with a thigh injury. Typically, “thigh injury” indicates an injury to the quad muscles. The quads are incredibly powerful muscles that are highly utilized with acceleration, sprinting, cutting, and all athletic motions. If a quad muscle is functioning at less than 100%, it is likely to hinder a running back’s explosiveness and change of direction. Quad injuries carry roughly a 10% recurrence rate.

Expected Return: Week 4-5

Fantasy Impact: We see a decline of 16% in fantasy production in running backs in their first game back from a quad injury, with nearly 33% meeting or exceeding their pre-injury fantasy baseline in the first game back. For Montgomery, I would not be shocked if he plays below his baseline. When he first was injured, he stated that he would likely be out for several weeks, indicating this was more than just a minor injury. Playing Thursday night gives him less time to be ready. If he plays, I doubt he is at 100%, and fantasy players will need to determine if they are willing to accept a potentially below baseline performance.

Kareem Hunt

Injury: Groin, ribs

After signing a week ago, Hunt is on the week four injury report. Hunt did not practice on Wednesday, but it sounds like he will play on Sunday. The groin muscles are highly involved in single-leg function and stability, such as running, jumping, and landing. Fortunately, the groin muscles are less involved in lateral cutting, making a groin injury less likely to impact athletic performance.

week four injury report

Ribs are challenging. Ribs are stressed with breathing, running, and bracing for a hit. Typically, if minor, athletes can play through a rib injury. Hunt’s sounds minor.

Expected return: Week 4

Fantasy Impact: Both of Hunt’s injuries sound minor. Running backs, on average, show no decline in fantasy production after a groin injury. For his rib injury, while a bad hit could make this injury worse, as long as he can tolerate the pain, he should play fine.

Gus Edwards

Injury: Concussion

Edwards practiced in full on Wednesday, putting him on track to play this week.

Expected Return: Week 4

Fantasy Impact: We do not expect any decline in fantasy production when players return from a concussion.

Week Four Injury Report: Wide Receivers

Mike Williams

Injury: ACL tear

Mike Williams is on the week four injury report with a devastating ACL injury. This prolific Chargers offense will be without one of their key pieces for the rest of the season. When it comes to being ready for the following season after an ACL tear, there are several factors we need to consider.

  • Age: Williams is 28. At 28, age is not working in his favor for quick healing, but it is not necessarily working against him.
  • Time from surgery to week one: We do not know when Williams will undergo surgery, but hopefully, it’s this week. Every week over nine months post-op is favorable for week one availability.
  • Number of tissues repaired: At present, it is only reported that Williams has an ACL tear, nothing else. If this holds true, this is beneficial for his 2024 outlook.
  • Freak athlete? Mike Williams is elite at high-pointing the ball and, overall, a really impressive athlete. This bodes well for his recovery; however, it will be a challenge for him to fully regain this athleticism that makes him special.

Expected Return: 2024

Fantasy Impact: Receivers see a dip in fantasy production in the first season after an ACL tear, especially at the beginning of the season.

week four injury report

Jaylen Waddle

Injury: Concussion

Waddle practiced fully Wednesday, putting him on track to play in week 4

Expected Return: Week 4

Fantasy Impact: We do not expect any decline in fantasy production when players return from a concussion.

Deebo Samuel

Injury: Rib injury

Saumel is on the week four injury report with a rib injury. Ribs can be tricky. Luckily, he does not have a fracture, which can be very difficult to deal with. Understanding rib anatomy helps explain how ribs can impact fantasy production.

As we breathe, the ribs must expand and recoil. When a rib injury is present, this hurts, and often the body’s response is to shorten the depth of the breath to lessen the motion of the ribs. When we are competing in athletics, the respiration rate increases and the frequency of rib motion increases, which can be painful.

Several key athletic muscles attach to the ribs, including the lats, pecs, obliques, and several more. When reaching up to catch a ball, the lats are being stretched, and the obliques are either contracting to contort the body or bracing to absorb the hit. If the rib injury is near the attachment of these muscles, this can hurt but also limit shoulder or trunk motion.

Expected Return: Week 4-5

Fantasy Impact: This will depend on practice reports throughout the week. If he is able to practice on Thursday and/or Friday, he should be able to play at a high level. If he continues to miss practice but does end up playing, he likely will be playing on a snap restriction which could obviously impact his fantasy output.

Brandon Aiyuk

Injury: Shoulder injury

Aiyuk missed week three with a shoulder injury but was able to log a limited practice on Wednesday. Initial testing was looking at the clavicle (collar bone), which fortunately was ruled out for fracture. It is possible he is dealing with an Acromioclavicular (AC) joint injury. With shoulder injuries in wide receivers, the re-injury rate will be elevated slightly, but since the shoulder is not a weight-bearing joint, it does not impact athleticism like sprinting, cutting, jumping, etc.

Expected Return: Week 4-5

Fantasy Impact: As long as he is healthy enough to play, this should not impact his per-play production. However, we see a dip of 10-15% snap rate in receivers in the first game after a shoulder injury.

Christian Watson

Injury: Hamstring injury

Watson has not played yet this season as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Watson stated that he intends to play on Thursday night, despite being a limited participant in practice all week. Watson is a burner. The hamstring’s force increases dramatically when an athlete’s speed increases from 80-100% top speed. This is why hamstrings are such a problem for receivers. In order to get to top speed, it takes 30-40 yards, a distance only receivers run routinely in games. Watson has already injured this same hamstring once prior and will be at an elevated re-injury risk for several weeks.

Expected Return: Week 4-5

Fantasy Impact: With Watson not practicing more than in a limited capacity, he is not likely to be at 100%. Understanding how hamstring injuries can impact top-end speed, which is Watson’s game, I’d expect to see a dip in fantasy production. On average, receivers see a decline of 11% fantasy production and 16% snap rate in the first game after a hamstring injury

Week Four Injury Report: Tight Ends

Logan Thomas

Injury: Concussion

Thomas practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday, putting him in line to return in week four.

Expected Return: Week 4

Fantasy Impact: We do not expect any decline in fantasy production when players return from a concussion.

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