In this series, we’ll cast a wide net to cover many different injuries that occurred during each week of the NFL regular season and what the implications are for your fantasy teams. If there were large injuries during the week, we’ll be sure to have a detailed piece in addition to this article. If there is any injury on your mind that you believe I missed, please feel free to comment below and I’ll give you my thoughts!
We’re now three full weeks into the 2018 season, and the only thing that’s been predictable thus far was Eric Ebron failing to live up to expectations in week three (sorry, I had to). But we did have more offensive firepower being put on display from the Steelers, Chiefs, Saints, and other quality teams.
We’ve come to a critical point in the fantasy season: 0-4 or 1-3 teams have a tough road ahead to make the fantasy playoffs. With this in mind, let’s look at this week’s key injuries and what they could mean for your fantasy teams.
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Jimmy Garoppolo, QB SF
Injury: Torn ACL
Jimmy G and the 49ers have not had a great start to the 2018 season. First Jerick McKinnon went down with an ACL injury in the preseason, and now the franchise quarterback himself has suffered the same injury. We don’t yet know who will take over as the 49ers quarterback for the rest of the season, but the team will surely take a step back statistically for the rest of this year.
This injury for Garoppolo will present a natural buying window, especially in superflex leagues, for owners who believe in his long-term upside. As it’s only the third week of the season, he should be able to recover without worry by the start of next season. For the other playmakers on this team, expectations should be lowered for the rest of this season.
Evan Engram, TE NYG
Injury: Sprained MCL
It’s no secret that Engram had one of the best rookie seasons for a tight end in the last decade last season. The now second-year tight end was having an up-and-down start to the 2018 season before getting knocked out of Sunday’s contest with a reported MCL injury. The Giants do not have a tight end of note to step up in Engram’s place should he miss games.
In the case that Engram misses a few weeks, Sterling Shepard should be the biggest short-term beneficiary. Shepard saw his biggest stat line of the year in week three no doubt thanks in part to Engram being off the field. This injury to Engram should not have an impact on his long-term value but may have lingering effects for the rest of the 2018 season.
Rex Burkhead, RB NE
Since recording 19 touches in week one, Burkhead has managed just eight in the following two weeks combined. Perhaps more worrisome for Burkhead owners isn’t the injury, but rather Sony Michel’s usage in just his second game back.
The Patriots’ first-round pick will seemingly be the focal point of the rushing attack moving forward. With James White the pass-catching specialist, Burkhead’s usage is unclear for the rest of the season. It’s unclear if Burkhead will be forced to miss any time with this injury, but it’ll be hard to trust him regardless in the near future.
A.J. Green, WR CIN
The Bengals’ superstar wideout exited the game in past Sunday with a groin injury, and reports are that Marvin Lewis is unsure if Green will be able to suit in up week four. The report also mentions that Green himself said he’d be fine to play. In any event, this injury will be one worth monitoring as the week progresses leading up to Sunday’s action. In the case Green doesn’t play, Andy Dalton would be less appealing as a streaming play this week, and Tyler Boyd would be a good WR2 play based on matchup and volume.
Anthony Miller, WR CHI
Injury: Dislocated Shoulder
A preseason star in his own right, Miller hasn’t necessarily translated hype to production yet this season. After suffering a dislocated left shoulder in week three’s contest, Miller did his best to try to play through the injury. This shoulder injury will last the rest of the season should Miller opt for off-season surgery instead of getting a procedure done in the near future.
For the remainder of 2018, the Bears may look to lean more heavily on Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton. The former, Gabriel, is averaging 22% of Chicago’s target share per week and has been a solid contributor thus far. An uninspiring depth play, I would compare Gabriel to Mohamed Sanu last season. Sneakily, Gabriel’s targets have gone up each week this season and could be a fine desperation play during bye weeks. Miller is still the one to own long-term, but I’d pivot to Gabriel for the rest of 2018.
Hopefully, your fantasy teams were able to avoid the injury bug again in week three, and even if so, there’s always moves to be made on the waiver wire to stay one step ahead of the competition. We’ll be back next week to discuss week three injuries and their impact for your fantasy teams.