The NFL went through a reckoning this weekend, with numerous high-profile fantasy football players suffering injuries that may or may not cost them some time. Players like Diontae Johnson and Allen Lazard suffered injuries but then returned to the game, so they don’t make the list. But, there are still seven players who suffered injuries significant enough to worry about. Let’s dive in.
Breece Hall, N.Y. Jets (knee)
This one is the most impactful, as Breece Hall is a stud rookie running back on the verge of stardom, and head coach Robert Saleh said that they fear that it is likely an ACL tear. Depending on the severity, he could be back as soon as week one next year, or he could be J.K. Dobbins and this could also derail next season. Obviously, in redraft leagues, the moment they confirm an ACL tear, you can move on from Breece Hall. Hall’s backup, Michael Carter, is rostered in 66% of Yahoo! leagues and 70% of ESPN leagues, so there isn’t much that you can do to go out and add Michael Carter, except go double check to make sure that he’s available, and to dump all your FAB on him as he should be an RB2 until the end of the year.
At the end of the day, it’s going to be back to being Michael Carter’s job. He played on 43-of-59 snaps in this one, compared to 10 snaps for Ty Johnson. Carter finished last year as the lead back, getting over 45% of snaps for the first time in week four, and averaging 75 yards on 11 carries and 3 catches per game. He was an up-and-down prospect in that time frame, finishing as RB1 in week 8, and outside the top 35 at the position in three of the last four weeks of 2021. But, as C.H. Herms pointed out this week: the Jets throw to the backs more this season. In fact, Michael Carter already had as many touches in just over a half as he averaged last year: he had 12 carries and 2 catches after Hall’s injury just before half-time.
While Ty Johnson worked in following the injury, there’s nothing to indicate that he would be anything more than an 8-10 touch per game part-time back.
D.K. Metcalf, Seattle (knee)
This one is impactful but might have a more short-term bent to it. The Seahawks might be playing it with their usual sunny demeanor, but they said that Metcalf’s X-rays came back negative. Unfortunately, that doesn’t show the full array of injuries. Luckily, he didn’t seem to fail the ACL test, meaning that he could have escaped the worst of it. We will certainly know more before next weekend. Unless Metcalf has a season-ending injury, then there’s no limit to the amount of time you wait for a talent like Metcalf (unless you’re in a roster crunch).
Behind Metcalf, Tyler Lockett isn’t anything to worry about: he’s 91% rostered, so you either have him on your roster already, or you don’t. Don’t trade for Lockett thinking that he would take a step forward: the whole Seahawks offense is likely to contract, offsetting whatever extra target share he picks up from Metcalf. Still, he becomes a preferred start in all 3WR leagues. I don’t care much for the players behind Metcalf, but you can take a cheap flier on Marquise Goodwin, who finished this week with 4 catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns, though he had just 5 targets on just over half of snaps.
There might be an uptick in usage for both Noah Fant and Will Dissly, and they’re worth a look, though that’s mostly in the “last call and you don’t want to go home alone,” level of desperation out of players who don’t have an elite tight end. I prefer Fant over Dissly, mostly because Fant is the more explosive athlete of the two and already showed himself as a sustained fantasy-relevant tight end from his time in Denver.
Mike Williams, L.A. Chargers (ankle)
The Chargers carted Mike Williams off after he suffered an ankle sprain that left him unable to put any weight on it during their drubbing at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. It’s not certain how much time he would miss with his ankle injury, but it might be time to turn back to Josh Palmer (20% rostered on Yahoo!) as long as Williams is out. Palmer is the only receiver on the roster who comes close to matching Williams’ profile on the Chargers. I wouldn’t put a lot of weight into Josh Palmer doing much, however, as the Chargers have their bye week in week eight, giving Mike Williams almost two full weeks of recovery time.
Still, Palmer, who had 12 targets, 9 receptions, and 57 yards in the Chargers’ week six matchup prior to leaving with a concussion, is worth an addition after waivers run. Don’t go out of your way to use FAB or waiver priority on him, but he’s worth a speculative pickup if Mike Williams’ injury is more than a couple of weeks.
Corey Davis, N.Y. Jets (sprained MCL)
Corey Davis isn’t widely rostered, but he should have been prior to this week. Keeping the best option in the Jets’ passing game off of our rosters might have saved us from some headaches this week, as Davis finished with one target, no catches, and what Robert Saleh said is a sprained MCL. Should he miss any time, then the previously-exiled Elijah Moore returns to get 5 targets per game in a terrible offense, and you can give Garrett Wilson (50% rostered) a stay of execution, as he is likely the main beneficiary of any targets, should the Jets finally decide to throw the football. Personally, I’m not going out of my way to get a part of the Jets’ passing game that gets the Patriots, Bills, the bye, and the Patriots again in week 11.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit (concussion)
This one is going to be a little bit of a question mark, considering that if ARSB clears concussion protocols, then there’s nothing to see here. Instead of a receiver stepping up and taking those targets, however, the Lions simply refused to pass the ball. Goff threw the ball just 26 times, after averaging 37 pass attempts so far this season. The beneficiary seemed to be Kalif Raymond, who had 6 targets (a 23% share). The flow chart said that it should be Josh Reynolds, but Reynolds was dealing with an injury of his own, so he was mostly not available in this one. Should Amon-Ra St. Brown miss next week, then Josh Reynolds (37% rostered) is your man to add. If Sun God plays, then you can ignore this situation.
David Njoku, Cleveland (ankle)
David Njoku sprained his ankle against the Ravens, but despite being in crutches and on a walking boot, his injury isn’t considered serious by Cleveland brass. If Njoku misses time, it’s a bit presumptive to add Harrison Bryant, as the Browns will likely rotate more targets to Kareem Hunt, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Amari Cooper, instead. Despite this likely outcome, Harrison Bryant does enter the streaming discussion should Njoku miss significant time because anyone with a warm body and targets belongs in that discussion.
Chuba Hubbard, Carolina (ankle)
Prior to leaving the game with his ankle injury, Chuba had 73 yards on 11 touches, including a touchdown run. But, D’Onta Foreman had the bulk of the work without Christian McCaffrey, turning 15 carries into 118 yards. Chuba’s ankle isn’t a long-term thing, and he could have returned if needed, according to Adam Schefter. Both Foreman and Chuba are both rostering in most leagues, and they are only 49% and 36% rostered, respectively. It sounds like we escaped pain with this one.
Mike Boone, Denver (ankle)
Mike Boone played just 9 snaps before injuring his ankle, but he was already getting phased out of the Broncos’ running game prior to that. Granted, he was injured in the second quarter, but Boone also played just 51 snaps in the two weeks prior to that, or about 38% of snaps. He was the short end of a three-man platoon that broke toward Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray this week. The Broncos seem worried about Boone going forward, as they signed Marlon Mack off the 49ers’ practice squad on Monday morning. Let this be your sign to cut Boone if you dumped a bunch of FAB into him a couple of weeks ago.