Injury Report: Post Week 4
We had some more stars go down with injuries this week, so let's get into it. Here is a summary of the injuries we saw during the 15 NFL games of Week 4, and what their fantasy implications may be.
Nick Chubb - MCL Sprain - IR
You hate to see it. Nick Chubb went down with what was apparently an ankle injury at the time, but was later determined to be an MCL Sprain. Chubb is expected to "miss several weeks, but be back in 2020." That's an incredibly vague timetable. MCL sprains can be serious for running back depending on the severity, and if I had to guess how many weeks Chubb will miss, I would say 5-6. For now, Kareem Hunt immediately becomes at the very least a top 5 running back for me. D'Ernest Johnson is someone that should now be owned in deeper leagues, but not started quite yet. We don't know for sure whether the Browns used two RB's prior to Chubb's injury because they had two starting caliber backs, or if Stefanski genuinely likes to have a rotation at the position.
Austin Ekeler - Hamstring Pull - IR (likely)
Austin Ekeler went down with a hamstring injury, and a hyperextended knee during Week 4's matchup with the Buccaneers. Anyone who has ever pulled a hammy or hyperextended their knee can tell you, it's not an experience you'd wish on anyone. Ekeler is yet to be placed on IR, but likely will be, and is slated to miss 4-6 weeks. For now, the job belongs to Joshua Kelley, but pay close attention to Justin Jackson, as both will get work, and Kelley has been largely unproductive since Week 1. Herbert's fantasy value takes a hit, and so does Keenan Allen's slightly, as he is now undoubtedly the first weapon a defense will try to take away.
Julio Jones - Reaggravated Hamstring - Questionable
In my Week 2 article, I said pay attention to Julio's hamstring injury. He is 31 years old and these things tend to linger when athletically gifted people such as Julio enter the later stages of their career. Julio first tweaked his hamstring in the pre season, and was a game time decision heading into Week 2's matchup with the Cowboys. In that game he reaggravated it, and would wind up missing Week 3. Julio was a game time decision yet again entering his Week 4 matchup, and would leave the game for good just before halftime. Keep an eye on Julio. I don't expect him to play this week, but his season long availability should be the bigger focus here. As far as fantasy implications, without Julio, I don't believe that Matt Ryan is startable in 10 man, 1 QB leagues. I believe that Ridley also takes a hit, as he is now the center of any defense's game plan/attention for every week that Julio misses. This does benefit Hurst however, as targets open up. I'm still not comfortable starting Hurst just yet.
Mike Evans - Ankle - Questionable
Mike Evans has been fighting injuries all season long. First it was a hamstring, which he cleared, and then on Sunday, he was tackled awkwardly, and it looked serious. Evans didn't miss much time, returned, and finished with a 7/122/1 stat line in Sunday's win. Usually, this wouldn't have a place in the article, but the Buccaneers play on TNF. Evans will have only had 4 full days to prepare for the game, and didn't practice at all on Tuesday or Wednesday. As of right now, Evans carries a questionable designation heading into the game, and the Buccaneers are already without Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, Justin Watson, and Leonard Fournette. If Evans plays, start him, if not, don't start any Buccaneers other than possibly Ronald Jones II.
Sam Darnold - AC Joint Sprain - Out
Darnold went down with the same injury as Drew Lock on last Thursday night. He suffered an AC Joint sprain in his throwing shoulder, and has already been declared out for this Sunday's matchup. We have seen players fight through AC Joint sprains, such as Courtland Sutton, but it's much tougher for quarterbacks in their throwing shoulder. The injury's main drawback is that it limits the range of motion, and ability to raise one's arm over their head. Darnold will likely miss multiple weeks. For now, I would not start Jamison Crowder this week, as he has a tough matchup, and we want to see who Joe Flacco will like to target. If Le'Veon Bell returns, you may have to start him, given the draft capital you spent on him, but temper your expectations.