It’s been a brutal season of injuries and early suspension drama throughout the NFL this year. For coaches and fantasy owners alike, it’s also been a very strategic season in which everyone’s scrambling to figure out who will be the next man up.
Odell Beckham Jr.
In New York, OBJ was the most recent victim of what looked to be a very serious injury. On a short route late in the game against the Chargers, Beckham had his leg and foot completely twisted back. Early word is that Beckham will require surgery, which likely signals the end of his season.
Matters weren’t any better for other NY Giants receivers, as both Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard left the game with minor injuries. At this point, the Giants receiving corps is very thin, which points to rookie TE Evan Engram becoming the number one option. He’s already been added in most fantasy leagues, but if he’s still available, then you’ll want to pick him up.
Stud rookie running back Dalvin Cook was on his way to a spectacular season after posting 444-yards and two touchdowns through four weeks before succumbing to a torn ACL last week. He ranked among the top three backs at the time of injury, which included fellow rookie phenom Kareem Hunt and the resurgent Todd Gurley.
With Cook down, the Minnesota Vikings will roll out both Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. Neither back has had much run this year, so it’s hard to say who will emerge, if anyone. Latavius Murray has never been one to do much with his carries after contact, but is the better goal line option. McKinnon is a smaller and shiftier back that has a better chance to establish himself as the main guy, though he’s unlikely to scare any defenders. It’s certainly a situation to watch when the Vikings take on the Bears this Monday. Our early hunch says that McKinnon might be the guy.
Andrew Luck has yet to take a snap this season after having (right) shoulder surgery. Word on the street is that he’s resumed throwing and may try to make a season debut sometime in November. With the Colts struggling in just about every category and already possessing a terrible offensive line, there seems no reason to rush Andrew Luck back. Even so, it took Cam Newton four games into the season to ‘get right’ after dealing with a similar injury situation.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was acquired from the New England Patriots earlier in the season after the Scott Tolzien project failed miserably. For all intents and purposes, Brissett is a decent quarterback, definitely worth streaming during the bye weeks.
Derek Carr was knocked out the game last week against the Broncos and was diagnosed with a transverse process fracture. We don’t exactly know what that means either, but it’s something to do with his back. Originally scheduled to be out for up to six weeks, reports have surfaced that Carr will now only miss one game. As Carr is the emotional leader of this Raiders team, it’s hard to see the squad advancing without him.
E.J. Manuel stepped in nicely to finish the game in which Carr was injured, but he’s no more than a stop gap for a game or two. The Raiders need to figure out their backup QB situation, as the team seems fragile at the position under center.
In the first game of the season, running back David Johnson was placed on IR with a wrist injury that required immediate surgery. While reports suggest that Johnson could return as soon as week-10 for a matchup against Seattle, it’s tough to see the Cardinals rushing him back if the team continues to rack up losses.
In Johnson’s absence, running back Andre Ellington has taken on most of the work in a committee role with veteran Chris Johnson. Like most committee backfields, it’s one that’s extremely murky and offers little upside. Andre Ellington is a flex option at best and Chris Johnson can be left alone.
Ezekiel Elliott’s situation is weird, borderline disturbing, to say the least. Without knowing the exact misconduct that took place, Zeke was originally suspended for the first 6-weeks of the season. Apparently that decision was overruled and Zeke’s been playing since game one. Now, Zeke’s eligible to be suspended again, as soon as this week, pending a court ruling.
If Zeke sits, then the Cowboys have both Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden in line behind him. Morris seems the favorite to get first crack at the job should the suspension come down. Aside from Morris looking like the far superior backup, McFadden’s been a healthy scratch the past two games.