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SHOW ME WHERE IT HURTS: Week 2 Injury Fallout

It was another brutal week on the injury front, as a handful of impact players were knocked out of their games, including a few who may not return for many weeks. As always, we wish them all a quick recovery. This article primarily focuses on fantasy-relevant players who got injured over the weekend, did not return to their games, and could miss time in the future. Here’s what we know, along with an analysis of the fantasy impact: 

All stats are from Pro Football Reference.

Injury

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers

Olsen suffered a non-contact injury to his right foot early in the second quarter against the Bills, and he told reporters after the game that the foot is broken. Olsen is expected to be out for an extended period of time, although the Panthers are yet to give a timetable.

Impact

Olsen hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year with the Bears in 2007, so there isn’t any precedent for how the Panthers offense will function without him. However, Olsen has surpassed 75 receptions and 1,000 yards in each of his last three seasons in Carolina, so some of that production will get redistributed.

Veteran Ed Dickson will most likely replace Olsen as the team’s every down tight end, while third-year tight end Chris Manhertz could also see some added work, but neither one is fantasy relevant at this point. Carolina’s more fantasy-relevant pass-catchers — like Kelvin Benjamin and Christian McCaffrey — could see a slight uptick in usage.

However, the most intriguing beneficiary of Olsen’s injury is third-year receiver Devin Funchess. Funchess caught 4-of-7 targets for 68 yards in Week 2, and now he has a good opportunity to build off that strong performance while Olsen recovers. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Funchess is a big-bodied receiver who actually played tight end for two years at the University of Michigan, before switching to wide receiver in his final year of college. A second-round draft pick in 2015, Funchess has tantalized fantasy owners with his potential, although that potential has not translated into NFL production yet. But with Olsen possibly sidelined for several weeks, Funchess has a chance to work his way into FLEX consideration. He’s a good speculative pickup.

Injury

Rob Kelley, RB, Washington Redskins

Kelley sustained a rib injury on a 2-yard run in the second quarter against the Rams, and he was later ruled out for the rest of the game. After the game, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that Kelley may have a fractured rib, although no official diagnosis or timetable has been given.

Impact

If Kelley misses time, fifth-year back Chris Thompson and fourth-round rookie Samaje Perine would both be in line for expanded roles.

Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins

As the third-down back for Washington, Thompson only had six touches against the Rams, but he exploded for 106 total yards and two touchdowns, including an impressive 61-yard run. At 5-foot-8 and 195 pounds, Thompson doesn’t have the size to be a bell cow. Still, he’s an elusive and decisive runner when he’s in space, and he’ll likely get some first and second-down work if Kelley is sidelined. During Kelley’s potential absence, Thompson is a solid FLEX play in PPR leagues and a decent pickup in any format.

Samaje Perine, RB, Washington Redskins

After Kelley went down, Perine took over as the early-down back, registering 21 carries for 67 yards. The rookie out of Oklahoma burst onto the national scene when he broke the NCAA FBS single game rushing record during his freshman year in 2014. He’s a tough, no-nonsense runner, and at 5-foot-11 and 233 pounds, he has the size to be a workhorse if necessary. Nevertheless, Perine lacks top-end speed and he struggled mightily in the preseason, so it’s unclear if his talent can translate to the NFL. Still, he’s the favorite to take over most of the early-down work if Kelley’s injury keeps him out. That would make Perine a must-add and a high-floor FLEX with upside.

About Jay Devineni

A journalist by trade, Jay is in St. Louis and still a loyal Rams fan. He earned a Master's Degree in Journalism from Columbia University and is a published sports writer.