Week 7 Injury Report

This season has been brutal for injuries. It is starting to feel like fantasy football, and the NFL will come down to a battle of attrition. On the week 7 injury report, we have a number of key players at all positions dealing with critical injuries that may influence their seasons. Fantasy players will want to read below to find out how each injury projects to impact their favorite players.

Week 7 Injury Report: Quarterbacks

Justin Fields

Injury: Thumb dislocation.

Justin Fields unfortunately finds himself on the week 7 injury report with a thumb dislocation. The thumb is what separates humans from other species. For a quarterback, the thumb function is essential for gripping and throwing. Most commonly, the metacarpophalangeal joint (MCP) is what is dislocated and is often associated with a thumb ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). This is not to be mistaken for the elbow UCL (Brock Purdy).

week 7 injury report

In some cases, thumb dislocations can be treated conservatively, but more severe cases require surgery. Reports from Chicago suggest that surgery is not a consideration at this time, which is great for Field’s prognosis. Conservative care involves reducing pain and swelling, restoring range of motion, and, most importantly, grip strength. In my experience, this takes about 2-4 weeks.

Expected Return: Weeks 8-10

Fantasy Impact: Fantasy fallout from Fields injury will be completely dependent on how well he can grip the ball. I would expect Chicago, as a bottom-feeding NFL team, to have no motivation to rush their quarterback onto the field before he is ready. They will likely allow him to rehab enough to be minimally impacted by this injury. Accuracy could take a hit, but his rushing upside will not. Fields will likely be a fantasy starter again when he returns.

Trevor Lawrence

Injury: Knee sprain.

Trevor Lawrence is on the week 7 injury report with a knee sprain. The video analysis of Lawrence’s injury never showed any abnormal displacement of the knee that would have warranted major concern. Lawrence was seen walking with a mild limp after the game, but again, nothing alarming. The Jaguars have not given an indication of what tissue was injured but do state that his injury is not major.

This type of report is common in mild knee sprains that are not severe enough to provide a more detailed diagnosis. These types of knee injuries follow the same functional pattern. Pain, swelling, and stiffness can impact movement and must be normalized for full function. If it’s a minor injury (this is minor), this usually takes a few days. It’s Lawrence’s left knee, so it’s not the leg he pushes off of for throwing power. In short, this should not impact him outside of mobility. The problem is they play on Thursday night, which limits the available time to get the pain, swelling, and stiffness resolved.

Expected Return: Week 7-8

Fantasy Impact: This will not impact Lawrence’s throwing. Trevor has run for 147 yards (14.7 fantasy points, 2.5 ppg) this season. Rushing could be limited, but that is not a massive part of his fantasy upside.

Ryan Tannehill

Injury: High ankle sprain

Tannehill, who suffered two right high ankle sprains last year, the second of which led to the tightrope procedure, has once again suffered a right high ankle sprain.

week 7 injury report

The problem with high ankle sprains is they lead to instability of the ankle joint. The tibia and fibula bones of the shin are gaped away from one another, and the ankle loses its ability to create power when pushing. As a right-handed thrower, he pushes off his right ankle to create throwing power. Similar to how we have seen Joe Burrow struggle with the right calf injury, it is reasonable to expect this to impact Tannehill’s throwing power.

What is unique here is that Tannehill had the tightrope procedure on this ankle. I am not aware of any examples of football players who have had the tightrope procedure (the rope is still in the ankle) who suffer another high ankle sprain. It is possible the rope still being in place will reduce the impact of this injury. It is also entirely possible that this injury disrupts the rope in place.

Either way, reports out of Tennessee do not expect Tannehill to have another surgery. His timetable to return will be determined more after the week 7 bye.

Expected Return: Week 8-10

Fantasy Impact: This being his right leg will impact Tannehill’s ability to create throwing power. He has already been absolutely dreadful this year; there is no reason to continue to roster him in 1QB leagues.

DeShaun Watson

Injury: Rotator cuff “contusion”

Plain and simple, the reports out of Cleveland cannot possibly be correct. A contusion would not have lasted this long. We have been told it is a “subscapularis muscle contusion.” The subscapularis is one of the four rotator cuff muscles and is involved in holding the arm bone in the shoulder socket with overhead motion (like throwing) and helping drive the arm forward during throwing. It is a very important muscle but is rarely injured in isolation. There is no chance that this is a contusion he is dealing with. He likely has a true rotator cuff injury. I don’t doubt the subscapularis is involved, but again, it rarely is injured in isolation, so he likely also has one or two other muscles injured.

The sound of rotator cuff injury will likely scare off a lot of fantasy players. Yes, rotator cuffs often need to be surgically repaired, which would put Watson out for the season. But many rotator cuff tears respond great to conservative rehab. I routinely help patients rehab rotator cuff injuries back to full strength with no pain. The time frame, with Watson being injured in week 3 and at risk of missing week 7, is more indicative of a rotator cuff tear rather than a contusion.

Expected Return: TBD

There have been numerous conflicting reports, likely because the reported diagnosis is wrong.

Fantasy Impact: An injury to a quarterback’s throwing shoulder will obviously have the potential to impact his fantasy production as a thrower. Whenever Watson returns, it is reasonable to expect a hit on his fantasy production.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Injury: Low back.

We are still awaiting details on Garoppolo’s back injury. Garoppolo went to the hospital to ensure nothing catastrophic occurred and was released shortly after. Any type of back injury can impact a quarterback’s ability to rotate, which is pivotal in creating throwing power, and for accuracy.

Expected Return: TBD

We are still awaiting details.

Fantasy Impact: I would expect Garoppolo to lose some power and accuracy on his throw when he returns, which could translate to a dip in production.

Daniel Jones

Injury: Neck injury.

Specifics of Jones neck injury have not been provided, but we do have reports that pain is referring to his shoulder. This is highly common. In fact, I see this literally every week in my practice.

The first thought that comes to many people’s mind is a nerve injury. Yes, neck injuries can be associated with nerve injury, which can travel into the shoulder, arm, and hand. At this point, there is no indication that Jones pain is traveling past his shoulder. When I hear this type of report, my first thought is something called a facet dysfunction. Facets are the joints that connect each vertebra (spine bone). Facets have very predictable pain patterns, often referring to the shoulder and shoulder blade region, but never past the shoulder.

week 7 injury report

Facet injuries are also highly common when someone is exposed to physical contact, like playing football. While I cannot say for sure that this is what Jones is dealing with, this is the most likely situation. If this is a facet dysfunction, these typically respond great with a few weeks of rehab. If he does actually have nerve involvement, such as a disc injury or nerve root impingement, his prognosis would not be as good.

Expected Return: Week 7-8

Fantasy Impact: I would not expect this to impact Jones production.

Week 7 Injury Report: Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey

Injury: Oblique injury.

McCaffrey joins us on the week 7 injury report as he injured his oblique in week 6, and of course, the fantasy football community freaked out. The obliques are key abdominal muscles that we often see injured in football players. The obliques play a key role in torso rotation, such as turning to make a catch and bracing for contact.

week 7 injury report

While oblique injuries can be fairly painful, they rarely cause long-term issues and don’t often impact fantasy football production. This season, both Jaylen Waddle and Puka Nacua have dealt with oblique injuries and responded just fine.

Shortly after undergoing an MRI, it was reported that McCaffrey has a shot to play Monday night. That tells us the MRI results are less than concerning.

Expected Return: Week 7-8

Fantasy Impact: I do not expect this to hinder McCaffrey’s production

David Montgomery

Injury: Rib cartilage injury.

Montgomery is on the week 7 injury report with a rib cartilage injury. Ribs can be tricky, particularly for running backs. A rib injury impacts every movement a player makes. Ribs expand and recoil when breathing; therefore, the pain will increase when the depth and rate of breathing increase with physical activity. Many muscles involved in shoulder and arm movement, particularly the lats, pecs, and obliques, attach to the ribs; therefore, the arm motion in running and catching can be painful. Lastly, getting hit hurts!

This is the same injury Alvin Kamara dealt with last season, and missed one game.

Expected Return: Weeks 8 or 10 (bye week 9)

Fantasy Impact: As Montgomery eases back into the lineup, I expect the Lions to reduce his workload initially to protect him. Reduced volume could lead to fewer fantasy points, but from a per-play standpoint, this should not hinder his production.

Jahmyr Gibbs

Injury: Hamstring

Gibbs continues to recover from his hamstring injury suffered during practice ahead of week 5. Hamstrings are big, strong, powerful muscles that are highly active during running and cutting. In particular, the load on the hamstring increases dramatically at top-end sprinting speed. The involvement of hamstrings at peak speed is why they impact speed players, particularly receivers, the most, as receivers have space to get up to full speed.

Expected Return: Week 7-8

Fantasy Impact: While, on average, running backs see no hit in fantasy production after a hamstring injury, Gibbs profiles as the type of runner that would see a decline. Gibbs is a speed back and a pass catcher. As mentioned above, hamstrings impact speed and pass catchers the most.

Aaron Jones

Injury: Hamstring

Jones, who missed weeks 2-3 due to a hamstring injury, re-aggravated his hamstring in week 4, causing him to miss week 5. Oh boy, the notorious recurring hamstring strain. The medical literature tells us that one hamstring strain in a season increases the risk for another by five times. Add in that he is 28 years old, and we are even more concerned for this to linger all season.

Jones starts this week limited in practice and will have to be monitored throughout the week. Green Bay tends to be conservative when bringing players back from injury, as evidenced by his 35% snap share in week 4. It’s hard to want to trust Jones this week.

Expected Return: Week 7-8

Fantasy Impact: While running backs do not typically see a dip in fantasy production after a hamstring injury, Green Bay’s tendency to be conservative when bringing players back from injury hints that AJ Dillon may see the bulk of the work when Jones returns, at least for the first game.

Kyren Williams

Injury: Ankle sprain.

Mixed reports on whether this is a traditional lateral ankle sprain or a high ankle sprain. What we do know is Williams will not play this week and could miss multiple games. Whichever type of sprain can impact a runner’s ability to change direction. A smaller back like Williams relies on his change of direction ability to make plays.

Ankle sprains lead to instability in the ankle. When it’s a lateral sprain, the ankle is more prone to rolling inward, causing more injury to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. High ankle sprains cause instability between the tibia and fibula bones of the shin, making the ankle less able to create power when pushing off the ground. Research shows that up to 40% of athletes who suffer an ankle sprain go on to develop a condition called “chronic ankle instability” I would say most NFL running backs have chronic ankle instability that is managed via taping and bracing.

Expected Return: Week 9 or 11 (bye week 10)

Fantasy Impact: Interestingly, for high ankle sprains running backs do not see a dip in fantasy production in the first game back. I view this as a coincidence rather than a correlation. With lateral sprains running backs see a 10% decline in fantasy production.

Roschon Johnson

Injury: Concussion

As of this writing (Wednesday), Roschon has not resumed practicing after suffering a concussion in week 5. Continuing to monitor practice reports will be vital.

Expected Return: Week 7-8

Fantasy Impact: We do not expect a decline in fantasy production following a concussion.

Craig Reynolds

Injury: Hamstring and toe

Reynolds missed practice Wednesday as he nurses both hamstring and toe injuries. Explanations of hamstring injuries can be seen above. Toe injuries also can be a problem. The toe must extend up to 90° with running. Both the range of motion and the ability to push off the toe can be hindered by toe injuries, leading to a reduction in speed and acceleration. Both of these injuries carry high recurrence rates and are challenging to offload.

Expected Return: TBD

Fantasy Impact: While hamstring injuries do not typically lead to a dip in fantasy production for running backs, toe injuries can limit a back acceleration and top-end speed. If Reynolds remains limited throughout the week, it is possible these may hinder his production.

Week 7 Injury Report: Wide Receivers

Deebo Samuel

Injury: Shoulder

The San Fransico star is on the week 7 injury report with a shoulder injury. Deebo’s shoulder injury is not considered severe and may play Monday night. Shoulder injuries can limit the ability of a receiver to reach and make catches, but the team would not put the player back on the field if range of motion were limited. As an upper-body injury, it is not going to impact his ability to run routes and get open.

Expected Return: Week 7

Fantasy Impact: Receivers see no drop off in fantasy production after a shoulder injury. Snap rate is about 18% reduced.

Devonta Smith

Injury: Hamstring

Smith is a surprise add to the week 7 injury report. After playing 99% of snaps in week 6, Devonta Smith did not participate in practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury. Either he played through the injury, or this came about after the game. Either way, not practicing is not great. Wide receivers are more impacted by hamstring injury than any other position. This is because they have the space to run to get up to top speed, which is where the hamstring is most stressed. Monitoring Smith throughout the week will be critical.

Expected Return: Week 7-8

Fantasy Impact: Receivers see a 13% hit on fantasy production and a 14% hit on snap rate when they return from hamstring injuries. For Devonta, if we see an uptick in practice participation and reports do not sound concerning, you can still start him.

Dionte Johnson

Injury: Hamstring

Johnson is now off the IR and 6 weeks out from his hamstring injury. This is typically more than enough time to heal, and he should be close to 100%. What else is going in Johnson’s favor is his playing style. As a short-intermediate route savant, Johnson does not typically run routes that would maximally stress his hamstring. Johnson practiced in full on Wednesday and should have no limitations.

Expected Return: Week 7

Fantasy Impact: While receivers typically see a 13% dip in fantasy production, I do not expect this to be the case for Johnson. He should be at his baseline.

Zay Jones

Injury: Knee Sprain.

Jones has been battling a vague knee sprain for a good bit of the season, having already missed weeks 3, 4, and 6. Jones has been ruled out for Thursday night’s game.

Expected Return: Week 8

Fantasy Impact: Jones will not play this week.

Juju Smith-Schuster

Injury: Concussion

Juju returned to practice Wednesday, which bodes well for his week 7 outlook.

Expected Return: Week 7

Fantasy Impact: We do not expect a decline in fantasy production following a concussion.

Laviska Shenault

Injury: High ankle sprain

Laviska suffered a high ankle sprain in week 6, and is expected to miss several weeks. High ankle sprains lead to a loss of stability of the ankle, making it difficult to cut and change directions.

Expected Return: TBD

Fantasy Impact: With Shenault’s playing style, this projects to hinder his production when he does return.

Week 7 Injury Report: Tight Ends

Dallas Goedert

Injury: Groin

Goedert was limited in Wednesday’s practice due to a groin injury. Goedert played a season-low 77% of snaps in week 6, indicating he may have picked up the injury during the game. The groin muscles are very involved when on one leg, such as running, but are not very involved in cutting, and often players can play through groin injuries. Practicing, albeit limited, on Wednesday bodes well for Goedert’s ability to play this week.

Expected Return: Week 7

Fantasy Impact: Tight ends see a decline of 19% in fantasy points in their first game after a groin injury. This is, however a relatively small sample size. If Goedert plays, he is still more valuable than most tight ends.

Pat Freiermuth

Injury: Hamstring

Freiermuth logged a full practice Wednesday after missing week 5 with a hamstring injury. This indicates Muth is healing quicker than initially anticipated and bodes well for his week 7 outlook. Hamstrings typically impact speed players more than shorter route tight ends.

Expected Return: Week 7

Fantasy Impact: Tight ends see no dip in fantasy production after hamstring injuries.

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