Week 1 was a rough one for injuries, but thankfully Week 2 was much better. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be anything season-ending for any fantasy studs, although there are a few players who could miss some time. Here’s a rundown of all of this week’s injuries, including the fantasy impact:
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon left Thursday’s game against the Ravens with a right knee injury, and he underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee on Saturday. Multiple reports suggest that Mixon will be sidelined for at least two weeks, and some reports suggest that it could be three or four weeks.
With Mixon out, sixth-year running back Giovani Bernard will assume lead-back duties, which should afford him enough volume to be in the RB2 conversation — especially in PPR leagues. In the two games that Mixon missed last year, Bernard had 25 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown, while also catching nine passes for 81 yards. He accumulated those stats against two solid defensive fronts (the Bears and Vikings), so it’s reasonable to expect him to surpass those numbers over the next couple games. Rookie Mark Walton and third-year back Tra Carson could also be involved in the backfield while Mixon sits, but neither player is expected to be much of a factor. Instead, Bernard will be the man, so go pick him up if he’s available in your league.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
McCoy left Sunday’s game against the Chargers with a rib injury in the third quarter. He suffered the injury when a lineman fell on top of him at the end of a run, and he was clutching his chest when he walked off the field. He returned to the game for one more run, but he subsequently exited for good.
It’s unclear if this injury will threaten McCoy’s future availability, but if he does miss Week 3, then Chris Ivory and Marcus Murphy would both take on a bigger role. Ivory — who scored a 1-yard touchdown in Week 2 before McCoy left the game — would be the preferred pickup, although neither player is likely to be very effective against a stout Vikings defense next week. Unless we get word that McCoy’s injury will keep him out for multiple weeks, it’s probably best to leave his backups on the waiver wire.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald left Sunday’s game against the Rams with a hamstring injury in the third quarter. After the game, head coach Steve Wilks said that he believes the injury is minor.
Fitzgerald’s injury will need to be evaluated further, but Wilks’ comments suggest that there isn’t much concern. If the injury does force Fitzgerald to miss time, rookie Christian Kirk and second-year receiver Chad Williams would likely see an uptick in targets. With the Cardinals offense struggling, neither player would be an automatic start. However, Kirk’s quickness and experience in the slot could make him a focal point of the offense, so he may be worth a speculative add in deep leagues. It’s also worth noting that second-year tight end Ricky Seals-Jones is second on the team (after Fitzgerald) with 12 targets through the first two games. If Fitzgerald is out of the lineup, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound tight end would easily be the biggest pass-catcher on the team, making him a solid deep-league streaming option.
Greg Zuerlein, K, Los Angeles Rams
Zuerlein injured his groin before Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, possibly during pre-game warmups. He was officially listed as questionable for the game, but he did not play.
Without another place-kicker on the roster, the Rams had to get creative — they had punter Johnny Hekker kick a 20-yard field goal and an extra point, and they also went for two on three occasions. The severity of Zuerlein’s injury is unknown at the moment, so we’ll have to wait for the Rams to give us more information. Since Zuerlein has been one of the best kickers in fantasy over the last year, it’s worth holding onto him until we have an official prognosis. However, he’s still just a kicker, so feel free to drop him if he is ruled out for Week 3.