Aaron Rodgers. Deshaun Watson. Carson Palmer. Andrew Luck. That’s the list of starting-caliber fantasy quarterbacks who have missed significant playing time this year and, as a result, have also tanked the fantasy value of some of their teammates. Today, it sounds like we’ll have to add two more names to the list, including the man who was arguably the front-runner for league MVP. It’s a tough thing for any team (real or fantasy) to deal with, but unfortunately, it’s part of the game. Here’s everything we know about the injuries to those two quarterbacks, plus everyone else who got hurt this week:
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Wentz left Sunday’s game against the Rams with a knee injury in the third quarter. He took a hard hit from Rams linebacker Mark Barron as he scrambled into the end zone, although the touchdown was called back due to a holding penalty. After he finished the drive with a touchdown pass four plays later, he was taken out of the game and quickly ruled out. Multiple sources have reported that the Eagles are concerned that Wentz may have torn his ACL. He will undergo an MRI today.
The Eagles will have to wait for the MRI results before they can know for sure if Wentz tore his ACL, but the initial prognosis is obviously concerning. Even if he didn’t tear his ACL, Wentz’s injury sounds serious enough that he will likely miss some time (if not the remainder of the season). That’s a devastating blow for the highest scoring offense in the league, and it puts fantasy owners in an awkward position going forward. With backup quarterback Nick Foles likely to be under center next week, all of Philadelphia’s fantasy-relevant players will take a hit.
While Foles did have an incredible 2013 season with the Eagles, his meager numbers across the rest of his career suggest that it was an outlier. As such, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor — both of whom have delivered WR2 numbers this year — should drop down to WR3 territory. In the 10 passes that Foles threw after Wentz left the game, two of them went to Jeffery (he caught one for 10 yards) while three of them went to Agholor (he caught two of them for 10 yards). Both receivers will be hard to trust without Wentz, but with juicy matchups against the Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys over the next three weeks, they are still worth considering if you don’t have good bench options.
The one Eagles player that remains a must-start is tight end Zach Ertz, assuming he is fully recovered from his concussion symptoms. Ertz led the team in red zone targets, catches, and touchdowns coming into Sunday, and he should be a good safety valve for the typically skittish Foles. As for the Eagles running game — it was difficult to trust anyone in the committee when Wentz was healthy, so all the running backs are probably unstartable with Foles at quarterback. Jay Ajayi could still merit low-end FLEX consideration, but he’ll likely see fewer scoring opportunities and less favorable game scripts, making him only a desperation option.
Josh McCown, QB, New York Jets
McCown left Sunday’s game against the Broncos with a left hand injury in the third quarter. He was taken to the locker room to be evaluated and was listed as questionable to return, but he was later downgraded to out. After the game, Jets head coach Todd Bowles said that McCown broke his hand and that he’s unsure if the quarterback will be able to play in any of the final three games. McCown will receive further testing today.
Although an injury to his non-throwing hand does not technically rule out McCown for the rest of the season, the presence of broken bones and the Jets’ 5-8 record may be enough for the team to evaluate its younger QB options. Those options would be Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, and both quarterbacks would be a significant downgrade from McCown. Robby Anderson has had a stellar season as the Jets’ No. 1 receiver, and Jermaine Kearse has been impressive in his own right, but the presence of Petty or Hackenberg under center will limit the upside of both. However, there’s still some hope for Anderson: he averaged 4.3 catches, 83 receiving yards, and 0.33 touchdowns per game in the three games that Petty started and finished last year. It’s a small sample size, but that production suggests that he should remain in the WR3 conversation if Petty starts next week. Kearse, on the other hand, is probably too risky to start, as are Austin Seferian-Jenkins and all of the team’s running backs.
Tom Savage, QB, Houston Texans
Savage left Sunday’s game against the 49ers after taking a hit in the second quarter. After getting checked out on the sideline, he briefly returned to the game before being removed again soon after. At that point, Savage was taken to the locker room and ruled out for the rest of the game. After the game, the team confirmed that he is in the concussion protocol.
Savage’s availability next week will depend on his ability to clear the concussion protocol. If he is unable to clear it by Sunday, then backup quarterback T.J. Yates would get the start (although, given Savage’s poor play, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a quarterback change even if he’s healthy). After Savage left the game, Yates completed 14-of-26 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to DeAndre Hopkins. With 11 receptions on 16 targets for 149 yards and the aforementioned two touchdowns on Sunday, it’s obvious that Hopkins is the focal point of the offense regardless of who is playing quarterback. Even in a tough matchup against the Jaguars next week, he’s a must-start with Savage or Yates. Lamar Miller’s usage also makes him a solid fantasy starter with either quarterback at the helm, but no other Texans players should be cracking your lineup.