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!
Let’s start with taking a look at the Thursday game between the Giants and the Washington Football Team.
After Ryan Fitzpatrick, a pick of mine to finish in the top 10 for QB scoring, went down with a hip injury that’s going to sideline him for 8 weeks there was plenty of uncertainty in Taylor Heinicke but his performance was really not too bad. Pretty good actually. With 336 air yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT he showed that his playoff performance wasn’t an anomaly and could be worth a roster spot in deeper leagues or in SuperFlex is you’re in need of a QB2. Terry McLaurin was still able to put up a solid stat line with 11 receptions, 107 yards, and a TD so he remains a must-start along with JD McKissic following him up in receiving yards, possibly putting him in like for some usage as a flex play should he keep his production up. Probably scaring the life out of Antonio Gibson owners.
Saquon Barkley looked like a shell of his former self with only 57 yards in 13 carries. You have to hope this is just residual healthy concerns lingering around and not a serious regression in his game but it’s not looking amazing at the moment. If he can’t turn things around in Week 3 against the Falcons, this thing could get ugly.
Moving on to Sunday, Will Fuller is officially out for the Dolphins against the Bills. Brian Flores has been private with the reasoning for Fuller’s absence but whatever it sounds pretty serious and we have to only hope that he’s back in action for Week 3 and there are no long-term repercussions. Look for Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker to remain the top receivers in Miami with Mike Gesicki taking a downturn in Week 1.
For the Colts matchup against the Rams, Parris Campbell with an abdomen injury and Michael Pittman with a hurt ankle are both listed as questionable in an already depleted receiving room. Zach Pascal is probably the only receiver worth taking a look at in deeper leagues or in a replacement role against a very stout Rams defense.
For the Texans, DeShaun Watson is, unsurprisingly, still a healthy scratch with all the legal drama surrounding him. In his absence, Tyrod Taylor actually had a solid game against the Jaguars with 2 TDs and 291 yards. However, it was against a… very bad-looking Jacksonville squad and now he’ll be playing against an extremely strong Cleveland Browns team. Rough but if you truly are in need, you probably could do worse.
For the Browns, Odell Beckham Jr. has been ruled out again for week 2 with his lingering knee injury. In his absence, Jarvis Landry is still the WR1 on the roster but David Njoku had a few flashes of brilliance against the Chiefs and could be worth a watch if you’re struggling at TE especially against a rough Houston secondary.
The Broncos lost a major piece of the young offense with the injury of Jerry Jeudy, out for 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain. In his absence, against a very bad Jacksonville team, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick are strong targets with KJ Hamler a solid deep threat if he can keep the ball in his hands. Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam are also in line for more targets at TE, Albert emerging as a possible sleeper in Denver.
For the Jets, Jamison Crowder is finally back in action after his groin injury and a COVID diagnosis giving Zach Wilson another target along with Corey Davis. It’s to be seen how the target share between the two shakes out but he profiles to be an impact player if he can remain healthy.
For the Patriots, Jonnu Smith is listed as a limited participant in Thursday’s practice with a supposed hip industry. Who knows the severity of the injury as is the way of life in New England but should he be out Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers could be targeted more and could give way to more Hunter Henry play at TE.
The 49ers are hit with the injury bug early again, this time losing Raheem Mostert for the season with chipped cartilage in his knee. Really tough break for the 49ers but this has given way to an extreme level of hype for rookie Elijah Mitchell who had over 100 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Lions with Trey Sermon a healthy scratch and JaMychel Hasty only with a single touch. It’s still up in the air how this backfield shakes out and chances are someone in your league has already paid out the wazoo for Mitchell but it could end up working out to some decent returns, especially in Week 2 against a mediocre Philadelphia rush defense. Brandon Aiyuk is also supposedly out of his dog house and should be back in play Week 2 but who knows since according to Shanahan he is a bad boy and a lazy bones.
In Detroit, Tyrell Williams is still in concussion protocol and is still up in the air to be cleared for Sunday. With a healthy TJ Hockenson, D’Andre Swift, and Jamaal Williams, Tyrell likely wasn’t making a huge cut into the passing game but in deeper leagues, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Trinity Benson might be worth the lowest of fliers.
In Seattle, Rashaad Penny is out for at least a few weeks with a calf injury. If you were hoping on big-time Penny production this season, there’s still time to prepare for the 2022-2023 season you poor, poor soul.
The Ravens backfield situation still remains somewhat uncertain even with Ty’Son Williams putting together a serviceable Week 1 stat line, leading rushes behind Lamar Jackson and far outperforming Latavius Murray. Who knows how this continues to play out but for now Ty’Son remains the RB1 in Baltimore even with the activation of Devonta Freeman and the ghost of Le’Veon Bell lurking on the practice squad. Marquise Brown has now missed two days of practice as of Thursday with an ankle injury and could be a scratch Sunday. If so we may see the Sammy Watkins revenge game against the Chiefs and Mark Andrews give us the production he’s known for.
For the Cowboys, Michael Gallup was placed on the short-term IR until October with a calf injury, leading to Cedrick Wilson being poised to fill in as WR3 behind Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Word coming out of the Cowboys camp is that there is a lot of hype behind Wilson but it’s to be seen how he fits into the Dak Prescott offense. Could be worth a watch in deeper leagues.
In Vegas, the Raiders are poised to miss Josh Jacobs with a toe/ankle injury against the Steelers. He looked in pain and not quite himself against the Ravens and even so he still has two rushing touchdowns and when healthy is going to get those critical touches in Jon Gruden’s offense. For Week 2, Kenyan Drake should be featured prominently but will be facing a tough Pittsburgh defense behind a banged-up offensive line.
Other notable injuries around the league
Speaking of Vegas, Denzelle Good went down early for the Raiders and is out for the season with a torn ACL. Tough break but Jermaine Eluemunor came in and filled in well on that wild Thursday night. The Raiders are hoping this Tom Cable-led offensive line stays in touch and keeps Derek Carr off the floor and windows open for Kenyan Drake and Josh Jacobs.
For the Jets, LT Mekhi Becton is out 4-8 weeks with knee surgery, moving George Fant from RT to LT and put Morgan Moses at RT in the meantime. This doesn’t spell well for Zach Wilson who was sacked 6 times and hit 10 times by the Panthers and is facing rookie-QB-destroyed Bill Belichick in Week 2. We could be looking at Zach running for his life quite a bit Sunday.
The Patriots will be dealing with a possible absence from RT Trent Brown who struggled with remaining on the field in Vegas. Mac Jones should be fine even with a mediocre replacement at RT, Justin Herron.
For the 49ers, CB Jason Verrett has been placed on the IR and is out for the season with a torn ACL, further depleting a mediocre secondary and leaving them without a real impact player to match up against top receivers. LB Dre Greenlaw aggravated an existing groin injury during a Jared Goff pick-six, putting him out an estimated 4-6 weeks. Alongside injuries to CB Emmanuel Moseley, DT Javon Kinlaw, DL Arik Armstead, and LB Marcell Harris, the 49ers may be in line to give up some yardage to Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense similar to what we saw in the final moment against the Lions in Week 1. Yikes.
Speaking of Detroit, CB Jeff Okudah is out for the season after a mediocre 2020 with a ruptured Achilles. With Joe Schmo, Ben Dover, and Don KeDick headlining the Detroit secondary look for Aaron Rodgers to drop about 10,000,000 yards in the air against the Lions.
In Chicago, starting LT Jason Peters was taken out of the game against the Rams with a quad injury followed by his replacement rookie LT Larry Borom getting hit with a high ankle sprain. In their stead, Elijah Wilkinson looks to fill in and is pretty unproven at the position. Even against the Bengals, Andy Dalton could be receiving a few servings of dirt Sunday.
You can find me on Twitter eating dirt literally and metaphorically at @skorishism. Be sure to let me know what you think and who you’ll be playing Sunday in the comments below.