It wasn’t the worst week for injuries, but it also wasn’t great. Among this week’s big injury stories: a surprise early-morning inactive and a potentially serious injury to a promising rookie. Here’s everything we know about those injuries (among others), along with the fantasy impact:
Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots
Michel left Sunday’s game against the Bears with a knee injury in the second quarter. He suffered the injury when defensive tackle Bilal Nichols spun him to the ground, causing his knee to twist awkwardly. He was assisted to the sideline by the medical staff before being carted to the locker room. Michel was originally listed as questionable to return, but he was later ruled out for the game. He will undergo an MRI on Monday.
The Patriots have not released any information about Michel’s injury, but his inability to put weight on his leg is certainly concerning. He also appeared to be in a lot of pain following the injury, so don’t be surprised if he is forced to miss significant time. That would be a big blow to the Patriots, who have already placed Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill on IR. If Michel suffers the same fate, then James White — who was already playing more than half of the team’s snaps — would get even more playing time. With Michel out, White received a career-high 11 carries on Sunday, in addition to eight receptions. Given the scarcity at the running back position, that type of workload would make White a low-end RB1 if Michel is sidelined going forward. Kenjon Barner is the only other running back on New England’s active roster, and he could also see double-digit touches from here on out, making him worth a pickup in deeper leagues. The Patriots would also likely add another running back if Michel is out, whether that means promoting Kenneth Farrow from the practice squad or signing a free agent (like Mike Gillislee). Either of those moves would decrease Barner’s value, so keep an eye on the news before you put in a waiver claim.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
After initially avoiding an injury designation for Sunday’s game against the Titans, Gordon was downgraded to questionable on Saturday, and he was eventually ruled out on Sunday with a hamstring injury. Gordon traveled to London for the game and participated in the team’s pre-game workout, but apparently the hamstring bothered him enough for the Chargers to declare him inactive.
While it’s concerning that Gordon went from healthy to inactive in just a couple days, he will have a bye next week to give him extra time to recover. If he ends up missing Week 9 against the Seahawks, then second-year back Austin Ekeler would get another start and be an RB2 option — especially in PPR leagues.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
McCoy left Sunday’s game against the Colts with a head injury in the first quarter. He suffered the injury when he got hit at the end of a run, and he did not return to the game. After the game, head coach Sean McDermott confirmed that McCoy is in the concussion protocol.
McCoy will now have to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol in order to play against the Patriots in Week 8. Unfortunately for those rostering McCoy, the game is on Monday night, so you’ll want to have a backup plan in case he is questionable heading into the weekend. If McCoy ends up sitting out, Chris Ivory would get the bulk of the carries, which would make him a flex option in deeper leagues. However, Ivory also left Sunday’s game with an injury (unspecified), so you’ll need to keep an eye on his status as well. If McCoy and Ivory both miss Week 8, then fourth-year back Marcus Murphy would most likely get the start. Murphy is a smaller, agile back who has been solid in limited action this season, so he could also be a usable flex if called upon.
Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos
Freeman left Thursday’s game against the Cardinals with an ankle injury, and he did not return. After the game, multiple reports indicated that the injury was a high-ankle sprain. Freeman underwent an MRI, and head coach Vance Joseph subsequently labeled him as day-to-day.
Freeman’s day-to-day status suggests that there’s a possibility he could play against the Chiefs in Week 8, so you’ll want to monitor the practice reports. If he’s unable to go, then undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay would get the lion’s share of the work, making him a strong RB2 against Kansas City’s soft run defense. Third-year back Devontae Booker would also get an uptick in usage, but his struggles (3.62 career yards per carry) indicate that he would be nothing more than a desperation dart throw.