What’s up, everybody!? Welcome to your first installment of the fantasy football weekly injury report for 2022. Just so we’re copacetic, let’s establish our norms and understand what an injury report is all about: 

1) I’m Not Adam Schefter: Sure, I have a personality that’s absolutely made for the internet, but I am not a full-time employee of the NFL or journalistic institution whose job it is to report up-to-the-minute injury status. I hear the mass exodus of readers clicking away right now. But wait! Hang around for a hot minute. All I’m saying: this article is written on Friday night for Saturday morning publication, and the NFL plays games Sundays at noon. If you want up-to-the-minute injury reports, please access those writers who get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to star on ESPN and have locker room access and a rolodex of professional secret leakers.

2) I Am EverywhereBlair: This means you’re getting pretty good fantasy football advice based on injury reports. Is your star injured? I’ll tell you an alternate play. Don’t like that alternate play? Who am I, Tennessee Williams? 

3) NFL Teams Lie: Some teams purposefully obscure their injury reports. Is a player actually injured, or is the team just messing with their opponent’s preparation? For this fantasy football injury report, I’m assuming all NFL injury reports are truthful. 

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Running backs ranked 40 thru 80 is money time for the fantasy managers looking to employ the RB Zero, RB Hero, or Wide Net approach to the position. If you can hit on a player or two from this group, they can improve your fantasy fortunes. Knowledge is the key. Not all third-string running backs are created equal. Good fantasy managers will know which backups are high-upside youngsters and which backups are aging veterans in the din of their NFL career. I recommend readers pay less attention to the rank of the players in this group, and more to their story, as the rankings from this group can be capricious. Pick out a dozen or so that you like, and make a point to get some of them.

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Finally, we’ve made it a metric week in your fantasy football season! Who has 1 kilowins so far? Or I suppose a deciwin? A microwin is all I can hope for…maybe read that sentence back again. Regardless of your system of measurement, we’re stuck in the trenches of fantasy football: the teams that can’t get out to see daylight, the teams that are awaiting reinforcements, the teams that decided to dig a new path forward to see if they can gain any ground on the opposition. And you wondered if sports had any relationship to the armed forces, didn’t ya? Let’s jump into the fray and see if we can’t get a megawin for your team this week. 

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Somewhere there’s an engineer searching for a power strip and typing “Chargers” into Google and getting this post at the top of their results page. Thanks SEO power! And sorry dear engineer, you didn’t want that surge protector anyway. You wanted to learn about the Bolts from Los Angeles! When the Los Angeles Chargers of San Diego host a game, they bring the power from the sky: the game was slightly delayed thanks to a massive storm passing through that even Xennials living in their parents’ basement could see. The refs were worried that Darren Waller — being the tallest thing in the stadium — would be struck down by lightning like no linebacker could do. Let’s catch you up on the Monday Night Football stats for your fantasy team! 

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No movie references or sarcasm this week. The fantasy football community lost someone truly beloved in Mike “Tags” Tagliere this week. As I sat on my bed and scrolled through my timeline on Saturday, I saw so many people thanking him for assisting them with their fantasy teams and how much he’ll be missed on podcasts. I also saw the messages from people in the fantasy sports industry who Tags helped get their start or was there to be a sounding board when needed. I never had the chance to meet him in person but I’ve heard from many people who knew and loved him well. The same people remembering and mourning are the ones who have encouraged, guided, and helped me. Tags never got to hear how much he was appreciated to the degree of what people are saying now. So let me encourage you, whatever you do in life, whether it be a stay-at-home dad, high school principal, or fantasy analyst: tell the people who have helped and encouraged you how much you love them and how much their help has meant to you. None of us know how long we have on this earth, but what we do know is how to say thank you. So while it might be too late, thank you Mike Tagliere for being a beacon in this industry and helping so many people. Thank you for your positivity which has rubbed off on so many of your listeners, colleagues, and fellow analysts. Your legacy is an everlasting ripple in this industry and you will be missed.

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Two weeks down, a whole bunch more to go folks! So don’t worry about being too overreactive when… Wait how many players are injured? This is just like week 2 last year? This is what happens when you shorten the preseason? Well, that changes things.

Maybe it is overreaction time, eh?

Here’s your weekly round-up of all those poor souls we’ve lost; all the hurting ankles, knees, toes, and groins (heh) you could ever ask for. Buckle up because this is a big one. 

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Two weeks into his eighth season in the NFL, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr leads the NFL in passing with 817 yards and is positioned as the QB8 in fantasy football. This comes after facing the Baltimore Ravens at home in Week 1 (QB 10, 24.0 fantasy points) and the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road in Week 2 (QB7, 24.18 fantasy points). Although the Week 1 matchup was average, Carr did what he had to do to win despite some inabilities to connect consistently with Darren Waller (19 targets to just 10 receptions). His ability to back up that top-10 positional performance with a big showing in Week 2 on the road is what really warrants this article and what begins to beg the question: can Derek Carr be a consistent fantasy starter capable of finishing inside the top 10 (or better) at the position by season’s end? It’s certainly an uphill battle for a man who puts money in the swear jar every time he lets an F-bomb slip, and apologizes to his teammates when he forgets to tidy up his locker. One thing we can’t debate is that Carr is a flat-out great guy, and for some reason, that seems to make him easier to doubt, year after year. But could this be the season Carr shifts into the left lane and passes QB2 territory by while airing the middle finger out the window, before promptly shifting back into the right lane for a swift exit to fantasy relevance?

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Ah, well. That was a rough week one. Some amazing games, spectacular moments, and lots of injuries. It’s always a bit of shell-shock from the offseason to week one, seeing all the guys you’ve salivated over (no innuendo intended) suddenly go down with an injury, erasing all the precious production you were waiting for. But this is football after all and injuries will happen. Profound right? Maybe not but whatever, you just want to know who’s gonna post those precious stats on the board, huh? You goddamned sicko? These are human beings! You just want that sweet, sweet fantasy advice, huh dirtbag?  Well, here it is!

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Monday Night Football debuted for the 2021 season with a battle between Lamar Jackson and the Las Vegas Raiders. Oh, I suppose there were some other Ravens in attendance too. How many Ravens are still healthy and playing? Is Terrell Suggs still playing? OK, let’s recap: the Ravens have been haunted by a lower-body abduction spirit throughout the preseason — they lost 3 RBs and a cornerback for the season to various leg injuries. Now with a stable of veteran RBs that had been starring in an off-Broadway production of The Replacements (the movie starring the man known as John Wick, not the ‘ Mats [double parentheses — The ‘Mats are Gods]) and a lead RB sourced from their practice squad, the Ravens are simply trying to make it through the day healthy. Aren’t we all right now? Also, if you watched the Peyton/Eli commentary of the game on ESPN2, I’m basically Eli Manning just getting overrun in conversation every chance I get. Imagine me as confused Eli as we go forward this season. Overtime edit: this game made sense in regulation, where it was a largely defensive effort. Then the 4th quarter came and it turned into a Blumhouse Production of football nightmares and unlikely heroes. The Raiders had to make it one inch to win (that’s what she said!) and instead ended up turning the ball over in the end zone. Then LJax fumbled the ball. Then the Raiders accidentally iced their own kicker and ended up passing the game-winning touchdown to Zay Jones, a player who I have a history with and who Peyton Manning couldn’t even name. 

Here’s what I saw on Monday Night Football for your fantasy football teams: 

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Well, my precious goblins and ghouls, the football season is finally upon us. And naturally, with that, I have the grave responsibility to inform you fine specimens of the injuries that can and will impact your Week 1 fantasy rosters. 

Such is life. 

Let’s jump in and see who might be available on your waiver or can receive a bump in production from the gaps left by these poor, hurt souls. 

Shall we? 

The first injury to look at is… *checks notes* Oh the entire Ravens backfield. That’s not good! In just a few days the Ravens have lost their breakout star J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill, and the most recently Gus Edwards to terrible season-ending injuries. In response, the team has signed Latavius Murray along with Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman to their practice squad presumably to try to keep Lamar from having to rush approximately 10,000,000 yards per game. As of now, it looks like the Ravens are going to start the last running back left standing before the leg injury bloodbath, Ty’Son Williams, who might just have an opportunity against an uncertain Raiders pass rush under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and a reshaped defense. Look for Latavius Murray and Ty’Son Williams as a possible pick-up in leagues you might have had one of the injured fellows in and if you are feeling very adventurous maybe take a look at Le’Veon Bell or Devonta Freeman for a possible bounce-back campaign. I’m still not betting on that though, sorry Blair

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The role of the every-down workhorse running back in todays NFL has pretty much disappeared. Guys like Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry are top tier backs who carry the bulk of their backfield’s workload, but even Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb and Ezekiel Elliot all have other backs who could be a thorn in their sides. After you get through the first few rounds in your draft, you land in that questionable territory at running back. This is the point where there are many backs who are going to be in a split backfield situation of some sort. This two-part series will look at some of those backfields and I will answer the question of “Which back are you backing?”

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