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  • How should fantasy managers adjust their lineups following injuries to some of the league's key players entering Week 3?
By Bill Enright
September 17, 2019

This week’s injury report is filled with big name players, causing major ripple effects on their teammates and thus the larger fantasy football world. Unfortunately, injuries are just part of the game and just like NFL coaches who have to game-plan without some of their stars, fantasy managers are tasked with that same responsibility.

But hey, you may be thinking, fantasy football is supposed to be fun!

Well, it’s only fun if you are winning, so let’s hope you don’t have too many of these players on your roster. It was a frustrating week to be a fantasy football manager with players like DeSean Jackson (zero points), Alshon Jeffery (zero points), Ben Roethlisberger (2 points), Drew Brees (negative points) in your lineups. They all started the game healthy but were forced out of action early due to injury. Let’s hope they all make a speedy recovery.

Won’t See Them Again In 2019

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, right elbow

Ben Roethlisberger's 2019 season comes to an end after just two games. The Steelers QB suffered an elbow injury in the first half of the team's match-up against the Seahawks and will undergo season ending surgery. Through six quarters of NFL action this season, Pittsburgh's signal caller completed 35-of-63 attempts for 351 yards and no touchdowns.

Fantasy impact: Mason Rudolph takes over as the Steelers’ starting quarterback which is a major downgrade in both talent and experience. The second-year passer out of Oklahoma State never saw the field as a rookie and will now start the first game of his career in Week 3 against the 49ers. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s value suffers the most. Without Roethlisberger, Smith-Schuster’s slow start to the season may continue. Drafted as a top-15 player, Smith-Schuster has yet to find the end zone or crack the 90-yard mark.

Might Be A While Before We See Them Again

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, thumb

The 40-year-old quarterback injured his thumb when his hand came into contact with Aaron Donald’s helmet. The 19-year veteran hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2015 but will now sit for approximately six weeks while torn ligaments in his thumb heal. Considering Brees’s preseason ADP, many fantasy mangers were relying on him as their QB1 and are now in need of an immediate replacement.

Fantasy Impact: Teddy Bridgewater takes over under-center for the Saints until roughly the start of November. Widely considered one of the league’s top backups, Bridgewater completed 17-of-30 passes for 165 yards while filling in for Brees in Week 2. The Saints have high expectations for the 2019 season. With offensive superstars like running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas, look for head coach Sean Payton to continue to force-feed his top playmakers the football. Even if that means relying on Bridgewater to make it happen.

Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles, calf

A shoulder and bicep injury kept Jeffery on the injury report for most of the preseason but now the veteran receiver is dealing with a calf strain. After a two-touchdown performance in Week 1, Jeffery put up a goose-egg in Week 2, thanks to the early-game setback against the Falcons. Though it is not considered a long-term problem, since it is a soft tissue injury, there’s reason to believe Philly won’t rush him back into action in Week 3.

Fantasy Impact: With Jeffery sidelined, and as you are about to read DeSean Jackson also dealing with an injury, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins will be bumped into the starting rotation alongside Nelson Agholor.

DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles, groin

Like his teammate Alshon Jeffery, Jackson was injured early in the team’s match-up vs. the Falcons. He too scored two touchdowns in Week 1, and thus fantasy managers inserted Jackson into their starting lineups against the Falcons only to be greatly disappointED with a 0.0-point performance.

Fantasy Impact: With the speedy Jackson out of the game, the Eagles and quarterback Carson Wentz had to change up their game plan a bit, and started featuring tight end Zach Ertz and wide receiver Nelson Agholor in the second half. Look for that trend to continue along with Arcega-Whiteside and Hollins getting more reps until Jackson is back on the field.

Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys, knee

A meniscus injury that requires arthroscopic surgery will force Gallup out of action for roughly two-to-four weeks.  With 15 targets and 226 yards through two games, Gallup was quickly emerging as a borderline WR2 for fantasy teams. Anyone with Gallup on their squad will now have to wait close to a month before getting him back in starting lineups.

Fantasy Impact: Devin Smith took over as the Cowboys’ deep threat against the Redskins while Gallup was out and turned that opportunity into three catches for 74 yards and a score. Quarterback Dak Prescott is off to a terrific start and given how well the Cowboys are playing on offense, Smith may be a fine short-term solution.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles, calf

Hampered by a calf strain all summer, the Eagles’ second-year tight end left in the first half of Week 2 with a similar calf injury. It may be a related issue to what he was dealing with in the summer, but the Eagles haven’t provided much detail on the severity or extent of the injury.

Fantasy Impact: The Eagles’ playmakers were dropping like wingless birds against the Falcons. Goedert joins Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson as the players quarterback Carson Wentz will likely be without for Week 3.

Should be OK But Expect A Questionable Tag And Limited Practice

James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers, knee

As if losing the starting quarterback wasn’t enough, the Steelers had a scare with their starting running back who left the game in the second half with a knee injury. Conner was able to get in the end zone and finished with 33 yards before exiting. The third-year rusher told the media he’s confident he’ll suit up in Week 3 against the 49ers.

Fantasy Impact: A sigh of relief from fantasy mangers who drafted the Steeler in the first or second round of their drafts. Sure, it’s bad news the team lost its starting quarterback, but Pittsburgh has one of the best offensive lines in the league and Conner should remain an RB1 moving forward. If he was to miss any action, Jaylen Samuels would take over as the Steelers’ starting running back.

Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs, knee

Injured in the fourth quarter of the team’s blowout victory over the Raiders, Williams left the field with a knee injury and did not return. There’s some speculation the injury isn’t considered to be serious but given Kansas City’s powerful offense, this is a situation we will closely monitor all week.

Fantasy Impact: Williams finished as RB12 in Week 1 but without a score in Week 2, he slipped all the way to 34th in PPR formats. If the injury forces him to miss time, look for the Chiefs to rely on LeSean McCoy (also injured, details below) and rookie Darwin Thompson.

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills, hamstring

With just 10 attempts on the year, the Bills’ rookie racked up 127 yards and a touchdown in two games but was hobbled by a hamstring injury in the second half of the team’s victory over the Giants.  The Bills are officially labeling Singletary as day-to-day.

Fantasy Impact: Buffalo will eventually start feeding their rookie the ball more, but this setback could delay that official transition from veteran Frank Gore to their newcomer. For now, and until Singletary is deemed 100% healthy, Gore is the lead back who will see the most carries.

Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders, groin

Head coach Jon Gruden told the media his rookie running back is dealing with a minor groin injury but didn’t give any indication if he’ll be able to play in Week 3. After he carried the ball 23 times in Week 1, the Raiders dialed back Jacobs’ attempts to just 13 (game script was a big factor) in Week 2.

Fantasy Impact: We’ll have to check on Jacobs’s injury designation on Friday as he likely won’t get in anything beyond a limited practice this week. The Raiders have a tough matchup against a solid Vikings run defense in Week 3.

Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders, hip

With two touchdowns through two games, Williams has quickly implanted himself as the only fantasy viable option from the Raiders’ wide receiving corps. A hip pointer will keep him out of practice this week, leaving him questionable for a tough bout against a stout Vikings secondary.

Fantasy Impact: Gruden was non-committal when asked if Williams would suit up against the Vikings.

Nothing To See Here?

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles, ribs/head

The biggest concern surrounding Philly heading into 2019 was whether Carson Wentz can stay healthy. Those concerns became a reality when Wentz took a few hard hits to the mid-section during the team’s loss to the Falcons. Wentz left the game for several plays, headed to the medical tent and was actually given a concussion test. Backup QB Josh McCown entered the game for a handful of snaps until Wentz was able to return to action.

Fantasy Impact: Wentz will likely be on the injury report with the rib injury for a while, but he won’t be in danger of missing any action unless he suffers further damage. Philly’s offense is pretty banged up right now with injuries to Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert but as we saw in the second half of Week 2, Wentz can still push the offense downfield no matter who is one the receiving end of his passes.

David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals, wrist

The Cardinals running back missed 15.5 half games in 2017 due to a wrist injury and fantasy managers were hoping history would not repeat itself when he left the game with another wrist injury. Their fears were quickly calmed as Johnson was able to re-enter the game and score a touchdown.

Fantasy Impact: The Cardinals know they need Johnson perhaps more than anyone else on offense outside of quarterback Kyler Murray, so expect them to give him some days to recover during the week instead of practicing.

Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles, evaluated for a concussion

Yes…another Eagles player on the list for this week. If you are keeping track, we’re up to five. Agholor was hit hard in the end-zone and clearly shaken up. He went to the sideline, where he was evaluated for a concussion, but was able to return to action.

Fantasy Impact: Given the rest of the injuries to Philly’s wide receivers, Agholor could end up being Carson Wentz’s top wide receiver in Week 3.

LeSean McCoy, Kansas City Chiefs, ankle

An ankle injury late in the fourth quarter forced McCoy to get an MRI on Monday but the injury is not expected to be serious.

Fantasy Impact: It sounds like the MRI was simply precautionary, and reports seem to indicate he is not dealing with a high ankle sprain (which would keep him out of action for at least a month). Bengals running back Joe Mixon played through a low ankle sprain in Week 2 but McCoy is eight years his elder, so his ankle may not heal as rapidly. If McCoy does miss any action—not suggesting he will—it would likely only be one game.

In The Protocol

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

Cody Latimer, New York Giants

Injured But Not On The Fantasy Radar

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, quad

Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints, leg

Trevor Siemian, New York Jets, ankle

Demaryius Thomas, New York Jets, hamstring

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