Week 8 gave us a break from serious injuries, as most high-end fantasy names escaped with just a few bumps and bruises. But, just as players start to get healthy, bye weeks are starting to hit HARD. Falcons, Rams, Saints, and Bengals are all on bye this week, which takes some significant firepower out of your lineups, including the top two scoring wide receivers (and three of the top six!). In a desolate waiver wire landscape, understanding injury prognoses can help you find a bye week spot start to keep your fantasy rig rollin’. So, without further ado, let’s pop up the tent, and dive in!
Sam Darnold, QB, NYJ – Thumb
After seeing ghosts in week 7 against the Pats…he may have seen some more on Sunday versus the Jags as he threw three more picks and sprained his thumb in the process. While the exact injury is unclear, head coach Adam Gase believes Darnold should be fine for week 9. Best guess is a similar injury to Drew Brees without a full tendon rupture, hence just a low-grade sprain. At that point, the ability to play will come down to pain tolerance, which Darnold also stated will be the challenge going forward. Assuming Darnold plays, he should be viewed as a high-end streaming option despite his recent struggles against the two top half of the league defenses. The Dolphins, to put it kindly, are not a top half defense.
Prognosis: Day-to-day; No missed time, full recovery 2-4 weeks
Joe Flacco, QB, DEN – Neck
Flacco suffered a herniated disk in the Broncos’ Week 8 loss to the Colts. Flacco, who has been nothing short of awful this season, has likely played his last down as the starting quarterback for the Broncos, or any other team for that matter, as this type of injury has a fairly lengthy recovery timeline. When thinking of a herniated disk, a good metaphor is to think of it as a jelly donut. Essentially, Flacco’s spine compressed the “donut” causing the “jelly” to bulge out of it likely leading to nerve pain in his shoulder and arm. This injury is not career-ending by any means (Flacco probably ended his own career with his play this year), but it’s doubtful that the Broncos would elect to re-insert Flacco versus seeing what they have in Brandon Allen, or potentially Drew Lock, at the end of the season. Regardless, FIRE UP the Browns defense this week as Brandon Allen will make his first career start at home for the Broncos.
Prognosis: 1-2 months
Chase Edmonds, RB, ARI – Hamstring
After stabbing fantasy owners in the heart last week while he sat on peoples’ benches (also my bench), this week, Chase Edmonds left the knife in and twisted it as he ruined peoples’ starting lineups with a strained hammy (yes, again, also my lineup). Initial reports have Edmonds missing multiple weeks which tells me this is a significant strain, something I detailed with Will Fuller last week. Considering Edmonds lengthy absence, with the addition of Kenyan Drake to the backfield, plus David Johnson getting healthy by the time Edmonds returns, I would be comfortable dropping Edmonds going forward.
Prognosis: 3-6 weeks
Aaron Jones, RB, GB – Shoulder
Aaron Jones left the first half of Sunday night’s game against the Chiefs with an unspecified shoulder injury. Thankfully for his fantasy owners, Jones returned and did not demonstrate any lingering deficits due to the injury as he finished with over 200 scrimmage yards and 2 touchdowns. Jones is not listed on the Packers injury report to start the week. He’s good.
Prognosis: Not Injured
Matt Breida, RB, SF – Ankle
It just wouldn’t be a 49ers game these days unless Matt Breida got banged up, which he did, as Breida injured his ankle in the blowout win over the Panthers. The Niners play on Thursday this week, so Breida’s practice availability will be key in determining his availability as we, currently, do not know the exact injury diagnosis. His estimated availability as of Monday was limited. In the past, Breida has played through many injuries, including ankle injuries, when most did not think he could go, and has been effective. It’s possible that, even if Breida is a go, Kyle Shanahan could elect to dish out more of the load to Raheem Mostert or Jeff Wilson, BUT they too are also banged up, which, in the end, may just allow Tevin Coleman to take on more of the workload in an absolutely delicious matchup against the Cardinals. Whichever of Breida and/or Mostert is active, they can be utilized as flex options in what should be another run-heavy game for the 49ers. Both Breida and Mostert did not practice on Tuesday.
Prognosis: Day-to-day; GTD likely
Miles Sanders, RB, PHI – Shoulder
With limited touches, Sanders certainly made the most of them with over 100 total yards and a touchdown. Sanders did suffer a shoulder injury, again unspecified, but there is very little concern about this injury as, according to The Athletic’s Zach Berman, Sanders won’t miss time. Due to Jordan Howard doing most of the heavy lifting in the Eagles’ backfield, I wouldn’t expect this injury to hamper Sanders very much as he is typically working on the perimeter and downfield in the passing game. Sanders should be fine going forward, though I’m sure the Eagles will be protective of their rookie 2nd round pick.
James Conner, RB, PIT – Shoulder
Another shoulder issue for a running back, and another injury for James Conner as he suffered an acromioclavicular injury (AC joint) on Monday night against the Dolphins. Obvious initial fear is a potential clavicle fracture, which would essentially end his season, but assuming Conner just has a low-grade AC joint sprain he shouldn’t miss any time. We will have to monitor updates to ensure there is nothing more serious going on, but assuming all else is good, this will be a pain tolerance issue, which Conner discussed on a local radio appearance Tuesday. Don’t be surprised if we don’t see Conner much on the practice field this week, but that’s not necessarily a bad sign as Mike Tomlin said Conner doesn’t need a full week of practice to play on Sunday. Regardless of Conner’s status, I have been saying for the last 2 weeks to snag Jaylen Samuels if available, as Conner has continued to show that he can not hold up with a heavy workload.
NFL’s Concussion Protocol – Criteria for Return-to-Play
1.) Rest and Recovery – Player is prescribed rest until his signs and symptoms return to baseline.
2.) Light Aerobic Exercise – As soon as able, players will begin LIGHT exercise, for example riding a stationary bike at a low resistance.
3.) Continued Aerobic Exercise & Introduction of Strength Training – Progress aerobic activities as tolerated, and introduce strength training.
4.) Football Specific Activities – Player continues to progress aerobic and strengthening exercises as tolerated, and introduces NON-contact football activities
5.) Full Football Activity / Clearance – Player is cleared by the team physician and examined by an independent neurological consultant (INC). If INC agrees with the team physician, the player may return to full-contact practice and games.
Keenum suffered a concussion last Thursday against the Vikings. Keenum will work through the protocol leading up to Week 9 and considering he has three extra days to be cleared, there is a decent chance he is available as Bill Callahan has said he will be the starter if cleared. For what it’s worth, Redskins play the Bills this week, so Keenum should not be on the streaming radar regardless.
Brandin Cooks is the latest player to have suffered multiple concussions as Cooks had his second concussion of the season very early in the game on Sunday. As I detailed with players such as Ito Smith and Sterling Shepard, multiple concussions in a short time period can lead to more intense and longer-lasting symptoms, leading to a longer absence. Shepard, for instance, missed his third straight game this past weekend. On a positive note, Tuesday had some interesting news regarding Cooks’ status as he was scheduled to see a neuro specialist as he reportedly very quickly has become asymptomatic. This is great news for Cooks, BUT just because he doesn’t notice the impacts, doesn’t mean there are not any lingering effects. The specialist will likely use additional special testing to determine Cooks deficits. If there truly are none, then he may be able to return in week 10 after the Rams’ bye. Will monitor updates as they are released.
Our team of writers do an amazing job, so check out all of our weekly articles and follow the team on Twitter. Do yourself a favor and check out the best podcast in the business!! The Hateful 8 Fantasy Football Podcast.
Follow me on Twitter @DocMiragz
Also, follow the show @TheHateful8FF
Don't forget to check out the show via Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Podcast