The Infirmary Report: Week 1 Injury Round-Up

by Jason Allwine · Injuries

The worst part of our beloved game is the frequency of injuries. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of such a fast-paced, contact-heavy sport. It’s something that is important to remember as we approach the first full week of the preseason. Luckily for the NFL players, they have access to some of the best doctors in the world and can usually return to form at least by the next season. Unfortunately for us fantasy players, it’s not always easy to know when a player will get hurt. To another degree, sometimes your roster isn’t big enough to plan ahead for an injury. This series, the Infirmary Report, will give you advice on the injuries that have happened every week during the season. Without further ado, here are the injuries from last week with a bonus check-in on players that are still battling injuries heading into the season.

Antoine Wesley, WR, Cardinals

Injury: Antoine Wesley has a groin and hip injury.

Expected Return: Week 5

Key Takeaway: 

Fantasy owners that pick the right Cardinals WR to own this year will be immensely rewarded. With DeAndre Hopkins suspended, Antoine Wesley hurt, and Christian Kirk gone, there’s so many vacant targets leftover from last year. Whether it’s Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, or the aging A.J. Green– someone is bound to crush their ADP and make fantasy owners extremely happy. Currently, my money is on Moore even if he’s battling an injury still.

Rondale Moore, WR, Cardinals

Injury: Rondale Moore is currently battling an undisclosed injury.

Expected Return: Questionable Week 1

Key Takeaway: 

This injury doesn’t seem major, but we all know how coach talk goes. Let’s go with the best possible scenario when analyzing this injury though. Moore is a prolific athlete on an offense with tons of available targets. If this injury is truly day to day, he will be great value. Reports are coming out that he will be used out of the backfield too which is something that makes him even more of an asset. If he gets utilized in a Deebo Samuel type role, then there is no doubt he will be the Cardinals receiver to own this year.

Zach Ertz, TE, Cardinals

Injury: Zach Ertz is still battling a calf injury suffered early August.

Expected Return: Questionable Week 1

Key Takeaway:

It’s time to get off the Zach Ertz train while you still can. He is now 32 years old with an extensive injury history. Not to mention the Cardinals drafted his heir apparent, Trey McBride, in the second round this year. Ertz will lose the job sooner or later whether by injury or by being outperformed. The risk does not outweigh the reward in this case. Ertz was productive last season, but he did so without DeAndre Hopkins. So, right now he’s battling an injury, and it’s looking like he won’t get up to full speed by Week 1. Also, a Hopkins return will be right around the corner.

Drake London, WR, Falcons

Injury: Drake London is still battling a knee injury suffered Week 1 of the preseason.

Expected Return: Questionable Week 1

Key Takeaway:

The biggest takeaway from this is that if you’re a believer in London, now’s the time to buy low. It’s always concerning when a rookie doesn’t get a lot of reps because that means they will have to try to get up to speed during actual games. However, London is the WR1 no matter how you spin it. Although, WR1 is target No. 2 behind Kyle Pitts. It’s important to note that London has avoided the PUP list so far, so it’s likely this injury isn’t serious and he will be good to go for Week 1. If you want in on the London hype, then now’s your chance.

J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens

Injury: Both Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins are recovering from ACL injuries sustained last season.

Expected Return: Edwards has landed on short-term IR, but Dobbins is still Questionable for Week 1.

Key Takeaway:

The Ravens backfield will be ravenous this season. Edwards won’t return for a few weeks, and Dobbins will not be fully healed for awhile either. With Lamar Jackson also getting carries, and Mike Davis being a “serviceable” option, the Ravens have no need to give Dobbins or Edwards workhorse volume until they show they are healthy. Running backs on offenses led by mobile QBs already have lower upsides. Add to the fact both of these guys are recovering from ACL tears, and it’s a recipe for disappointment.

Isaiah McKenzie, WR, Bills

Injury: Isaiah McKenzie is battling an undisclosed injury.

Expected Return: Questionable Week 1

Key Takeaway: 

Pretty much the only takeaway for this is the hype train for McKenzie needs to wait a little longer. And if he misses time, Jamison Crowder is an excellent pickup and DFS option. The fact he has avoided IR means it’s likely not that serious of an injury, and they are just resting him to be sure. Hopefully, he will be good to go for Week 2 at the very least.

The Bears WRs

Injury: N’Keal Harry, Tajae Sharpe, Velus Jones, and Byron Pringle are all battling injuries.

Expected Return: Harry and Sharpe are on IR, Pringle and Jones are Questionable for Week 1

Key Takeaway:

There are two ways to read into this. One, fade Justin Fields. Two, Cole Kmet is a great value tight end option. This is a weak wide receiver corps to say the least, which makes Kmet the likely second receiving option for Fields. That should be plenty of targets for a team that figures to be playing from behind more often than not. Now, depending on how you feel about Darnell Mooney, Kmet, and the rest of the receiving corps is how you should feel about Fields this year. Personally, I wouldn’t take the risk. However, he is a cheap upside play at the QB position regardless. Taking him definitely could pay off, but it’s merely a bet on athleticism.

James Washington, WR, Cowboys

Injury: James Washington is battling a foot injury suffered at practice last month.

Expected Return: Week 5 or 6

Key Takeaway: 

Dalton Schultz is going to provide excellent value. Michael Gallup is also injured leaving essentially just Jalen Tolbert and CeeDee Lamb. Schultz averaged six targets a game last season with a much more crowded receiving corps. He was top five in fantasy points per game among tight ends and had three 20+ point performances. He is without a doubt Dak Prescott‘s safety blanket going into the year, and he will provide top five tight end value without a top five tight end price.

Greg Dulcich, TE, Broncos

Injury: Greg Dulcich is battling a hamstring injury that has landed him on short-term IR.

Expected Return: Week 5

Key Takeaway:

Albert Okwuegbunam was being faded after the Broncos drafted Dulcich in the 3rd round of this year’s draft. Now it’s time for Albert O believers to stick to their guns and hope he produces well while Dulcich recovers. His profile is among the best in the league and Russell Wilson is a prolific passer. Okwuegbunam has the makings of a breakout season if all things align. Unfortunately at some point, Dulcich will return so keep an eye on it if you do own Okwuegbunam. If he does breakout, sell him before Dulcich returns.

Jameson Williams, WR, Lions

Injury: Jameson Williams is still battling an ACL injury suffered during the College Football National Championship.

Expected Return: Questionable Week 5, most likely Week 7 after the Bye

Key Takeaway:

IR Stash! IR Stash! IR Stash! While the Lions have a plethora of receiving options, Williams will bring that extra juice to really take that offense over the top. Those that put him in their IR until he returns will be paid off at the end of the season. He averaged 20 yards per reception in college and has sub 4.3 speed when healthy.

James Robinson, RB, Jaguars

Injury: James Robinson is still recovering from an Achilles injury suffered last season.

Expected Return: Questionable Week 1

Key Takeaway:

If he returns week 1 and can stay healthy, then Robinson will have been criminally underrated this offseason. His ADP on Underdog is 100 spots lower than Travis Etienne‘s even though both are recovering from injuries. Achilles injuries are notoriously bad for a running back’s explosiveness, but there’s always exceptions. Robinson has been a top fantasy RB in the past and will still be valuable in a split backfield. At the very least Etienne’s value is likely too high.

Van Jefferson, WR, Rams

Injury: Van Jefferson is recovering from knee surgery he had done during camp.

Expected Return: Questionable Week 1

Key Takeaway:

All wheels up for Allen Robinson! He finally has a good QB and isn’t the WR1 on his team. He’s also on one of the best offensive schemes in the NFL. If Jefferson misses time, then it means more potential targets for Robinson. This is great news for Robinson truthers. It’s also not terrible news for Jefferson. A surgery hopefully means his injury is healed. When he does return, he will bring speed to this Rams offense. And if Robinson does succeed, then it means more attention away from Jefferson.

Ty Montgomery, RB, Patriots

Injury: Ty Montgomery injured his ankle during the preseason finale.

Expected Return: No Timetable yet, Questionable Week 1

Key Takeaway:

Montgomery is an interesting IR spot flyer candidate. Beat reporters were impressed with him during camp. If he can avoid short term IR, he has a chance to take over the James White given his original position was wide receiver. He averaged 12.9 fantasy points per game in 2016 when he converted to running back while playing with the Packers. He has a solid profile as well including a 92nd percentile burst score. However, he does have injury history and is 30 years old. It reminds me of Cordarrelle Patterson last season which makes him an interesting IR stash. Montgomery is someone who can be successful with a limited workload.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints

Injury: Michael Thomas bas been battling a hamstring injury as well as recovery from ankle surgery.

Expected Return: Questionable Week 1

Key Takeaway:

Latest news is that he is back at practice, meaning he should be good to go for Week 1. However, I think it’s naïve to expect the same Michael Thomas we used to know.

Michael Thomas Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

He hasn’t played in a year and a half and is 30 years old. At the very least, he will have some rust to shake off. The Saints offense itself will probably have some growing pains without Sean Payton as well. Week 1 is a risky start if you own Thomas, but he could hopefully return to form after a few weeks if he can stay healthy.

Calvin Austin, WR, Steelers

Injury: Calvin Austin was placed on short-term IR due to a foot injury.

Expected Return: Week 5

Key Takeaway:

He’s an IR stash if you want one. He has a great speedster profile with a 98th percentile 40 yard dash, 95th percentile burst score, and 96th percentile agility score. So when he returns, he will have a role to stretch the field. How good of a role that is is yet to be determined as both quarterback options are unproven frankly. But, as far as IR stashes go at this point in the season, he’s one of the better ones.

Kenneth Walker, RB, Seahawks

Injury: Kenneth Walker is still recovering from hernia surgery.

Expected Return: Still no timetable- Questionable Week 1

Key Takeaway:

The Seahawks are probably going to take their time on this one. Rashaad Penny is only on a 1-year deal, so they have more of an interest in squeezing out that contract than risking the health of their future franchise running back. The only thing I wish they’d do is officially rule him out so he can be IR eligible. Until then, he is clogging a roster spot. Hopefully, he recovers soon as he profiles extremely well, and Penny could get injured at any point given his history.

Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers

Injury: Chris Godwin is recovering from a knee injury.

Expected Return: Week 1

Key Takeaway:

Practicing without the knee brace is great news heading into the season. Hopefully, that means he’s completely good to go. If that’s true, his current ADP and offseason value will pay off for those who took the chance. He averaged nine targets and 17.3 fantasy points per game before tearing his ACL & MCL. If he returns even close to that, owners will be ecstatic.

Brian Robinson, RB, Commanders

Injury: Brian Robinson is recovering from gunshot wounds suffered last week.

Expected Return: No Timetable for this type of injury- Questionable Week 5

Key Takeaway:

I’m very thankful this rookie RB survived the attempted robbery, and he might be able to return to the field this season. I hope his recovery continues to go well, and he can see the field as soon as possible. He had impressed the coaching staff greatly and even took the RB1 job from Antonio Gibson. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out the rest of the season. For now, he’s a solid IR stash.

Poe, Mascot, Ravens

Injury: Poe tore his ACL last weekend during a halftime game.

Expected Return: Out for Season

Key Takeaway: Fade ALL Ravens players all season. How can they play well without their mascot? /s