By the end of this week — when the severity of the hamstring, groin, knee, and shoulder injuries suffered in Week 2 crystallizes — fantasy owners may only have one or two players lost for a significant amount of time.
While this may seem like good news, it’s actually going to create a messy set of logic games on the waiver wire.
THE INJURY REPORT
Take Jonathan Stewart’s hamstring injury, for instance. Stewart owners are going to have to decide whether to add Fozzy Whitaker (who had 131 total yards filling in for Stewart) or Cameron Artis-Payne (who has been a healthy scratch the past two weeks, but more neatly fits the “lead back” profile). And even if an owner successfully claims the correct back, there’s Mike Tolbert stealing touchdowns — followed by the possibility of Stewart being healthy enough to play. Once that’s all settled, a fundamental fantasy dilemma remains: Do you let go of a potential star who’s off to a slow start (someone like Titans wideout Rishard Matthews) for an iffy player with a new opportunity?
This is going to be an issue throughout fantasy football.
Adrian Peterson’s knee injury appears serious enough to keep him out for a significant amount of time, and while Jerick McKinnon seems like the obvious backup, it was Matt Asiata getting six carries in Monday’s win — McKinnon got two. In an odd twist, Peterson’s wife said after the game that he’ll be OK and was walking on the injured knee, according to a tweet from Larry Fitzgerald, Sr., a prominent member of the Minneapolis-area media and the father of the Arizona wide receiver.
MORE SIGNIFICANT INJURIES
In Detroit, Ameer Abdullah’s foot injury opens the door for either second-year running back Zach Zenner or rookie Dwayne Washington. Zenner has been a healthy scratch the last two weeks, while Washington had 56 total yards Sunday, most of them on two big plays. Washington may quietly be the most intriguing add of the week.
In San Diego, a Danny Woodhead injury turns all eyes to… Kenneth Farrow? The rookie caught 74 passes over four years at the University of Houston, and is the closest thing the Chargers have to a Woodhead-style pass-catching back. Expect the Chargers — if Woodhead is out — to get creative with their playmakers, like Travis Benjamin and Dontrelle Inman.
A BRIEF INTERMISSION TO LOOK AT ACTUAL PERFORMANCES
Browns receiver Corey Coleman built on his Week 1 momentum with a Week 2 full-on explosion, catching five passes on eight targets for 104 yards and two touchdowns. He is available in 38 percent of CBSSports.com leagues. But, a fun fact: Terrelle Pryor had more targets from new starter Josh McCown (who, naturally, also may be hurt).
Will Fuller also put forth a 104-yard game — his second 100-yard game in a row — to prove his legitimacy as Houston’s No. 2 receiver and confirm a fantasy-friendly rapport with Brock Osweiler.
Willie Snead (five catches on eight targets, 54 yards and a TD) and Stefon Diggs (nine catches, 11 targets, 182 yards, TD) continued to remind us that their 2015 breakouts weren’t flukes. Diggs, especially, looked like a bona fide NFL superstar Sunday night, with a series of deft moves and cuts against Green Bay.
The Steelers had a value shift at wide receiver, as Sammie Coates (available in 81 percent of CBSSports.com leagues) hauled in 97 yards on two receptions, while last week’s waiver wire darling, Eli Rogers, managed just one catch for 9 yards.
Titans rookie Taj Sharpe finished with an unimpressive four catches for 33 yards, but received a team-high seven targets, so he isn’t a “drop” candidate just yet. In the same game, Lions wideout Golden Tate managed just two catches for 13 yards, but they came on nine targets. While Tate has been a bit of a bust thus far, he has 16 targets on the season — more than Eric Decker, Allen Hurns, or Travis Benjamin.
WE NOW RETURN TO YOUR REGULARLY-SCHEDULED INJURY UPDATES
Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulder injury and Tom Brady’s impending return will create a messy window for the Patriots in Week 3 (a Thursday night game) and Week 4, as their only healthy, non-suspended quarterback is rookie Jacoby Brissett. Expect to hear names like T.J. Yates and Ryan Lindley thrown around, but expect Brissett to start.
Arian Foster (backup: Jay Ajayi), Thomas Rawls (backup: Christine Michael) and Doug Martin (backup: probably Charles Sims, maybe Jacquizz Rodgers) also suffered injuries, but the extent won’t be known until later this week.
And it would be wise to keep an eye on Brandon Marshall’s status. While he’s been known to play through injury, a possible MCL issue could sideline him and bring Quincy Enunwa up wide receiver rankings for Week 3.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com.