With a game as violent as football, injuries are bound to happen. Two weeks into the 2021 NFL season and the ailments are starting to pile up, especially for the running back and quarterback positions.
Here are the key fantasy-relevant injuries to be aware of ahead of Week 3 and how to react.
Elijah Mitchell (RB) San Francisco 49ers – When it comes to banged-up backfields, the 49ers have become the NFC’s Ravens. After losing Raheem Mostert for the season, Mitchell was slated to take over as the team’s main runner before he too hurt his shoulder and had to leave the game. Fortunately, Mitchell was able to return because things only got worse for San Francisco. JaMycal Hasty suffered a high-ankle sprain and will miss at least one week, while our guy Trey Sermon broke free on his first carry but was hit hard, fumbled, and left the game with a concussion. The club signed Jaques Patrick off of Cincinnati’s practice squad and the massive UDFA could get some action as early as Week 3. Assuming Mitchell suits up, he’s got RB2 potential this week.
Darrell Henderson (RB) Los Angeles Rams – Henderson is battling a rib cartilage injury that occurred in the second half of LA’s Week 2 victory. His status for the team’s pivotal Week 3 tilt against the defending champs is still up in the air, but there is a reasonable chance Henderson could play with a flac jacket. If Henderson is ruled out or limited, Sony Michel will get an increased role.
Amari Cooper (WR) Dallas Cowboys – Cooper exited in the fourth quarter of Week 2 after getting hit in the ribs. An MRI revealed bruised ribs, which is a relief but also leaves Cooper’s Week 3 status in doubt. With Dallas playing on Monday, Cooper is a risky bet since we won’t necessarily know his status before the game and could be unable to pivot. Fantasy managers should plan on not having Cooper in their lineups this week unless we see a positive report before Saturday, although initial reports indicate the Cowboys are “hopeful” Cooper will be able to suit up for the team’s home opener. Cooper is tied for second in the NFL with 22 targets through two weeks
Josh Jacobs (RB) Las Vegas Raiders – After sitting out Week 2 with toe and ankle injuries, Jacobs is looking very questionable for the Raiders’ Week 3 home date with Miami. Expect the Raiders to roll with Peyton Barber and Kenyan Drake if Jacobs is forced to miss his second straight game.
Carson Wentz (QB) Indianapolis Colts – Another week, another injury for Carson Wentz. This time, the oft-injured Wentz somehow sprained both of his ankles versus the Rams, which puts his status for Week 3 into serious doubt. If Jacob Eason is forced to start, all Colts skill position players can be downgraded. We should have a better idea of Wentz’s status in the next day or two and will update members accordingly.
Tua Tagavailoa (QB) Miami Dolphins – X-rays for Tagovailoa’s ribs were negative, which is a good sign. Tua is considered day-t0-day but the Dolphins could choose to err on the side of caution since they have a solid QB2 in Jacoby Brissett. Consider Tagovailoa very questionable, and risky even if he starts with limited practice reps and, perhaps, a more conservative game plan in place.
Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) Cleveland Browns – Stlll no word on OBJ’s surgically-repaired knee. This is awfully concerning since Beckham was supposedly tearing it up in camp. Perhaps the Browns are only being cautious with their star wideout and will now activate him ahead of Week 3 with teammate Jarvis Landry (knee) out. If Beckham plays against the Bears, he’ll be a locked-in WR2.
Jarvis Landry (WR) Cleveland Browns – Cleveland, already thin at wideout, was forced to place Landry on IR with a knee injury. Landry essentially missed the whole game against Houston and will miss at least three more. In leagues with small rosters, Landry can be dropped. Expect the Browns to use Donovan Peoples-Jones in the slot while Landry is sidelined.
Tyrod Taylor (QB) Houston Texans – It’s a shame to see Taylor, who has played extraordinarily well in two games, placed on IR with a hamstring injury. There was no chance Taylor was playing this week on short rest but having out multiple weeks really hurts Houston’s already thin offense. Hold onto Taylor in Superflex leagues but all Texans except maybe Brandin Cooks look like a fade in Week 3.
Andy Dalton (QB) Chicago Bears – Dalton’s knee injury isn’t considered serious but the likelihood of the veteran starting again are not great. With Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy both fighting for their jobs, it’s only a matter of time before Justin Fields takes over the starting reigns for good. Expect Fields to get the nod this week in Cleveland but it won’t’ necessarily be an upgrade for Chicago’s pass-catching corps.
Nico Collins & Danny Amendola (WR) Houston Texans – Collins hurt his shoulder and has been placed on IR. That means the rookie wideout will miss a minimum of three games and can be dropped in all formats except for deep dynasty leagues. Amendola will also miss multiple games with a hamstring ailment and can be dropped in all formats.