At the rate injuries are happening, it doesn’t seem like we’ll have a quiet week this season. Unfortunately, this was arguably the worst week yet. Two dynamic rookie running backs suffered potential long-term injuries, two top fantasy quarterbacks didn’t make it through their games, two Falcons receivers missed the whole second half, and two Packers studs went down on Thursday night — and that’s not even everyone. As always, this list only includes fantasy-relevant players who got injured this week and could miss time in the future. Here’s the rundown:
All stats are from Pro Football Reference.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Cook left Sunday’s game against the Lions in the third quarter after suffering a non-contact knee injury. Cook’s left knee buckled when he made a cut, and NFL.com is reporting that he was diagnosed with a nearly complete ACL tear.
If Cook did indeed tear his ACL, he’ll be sidelined for the rest of the season. That’s a devastating loss for the Vikings, who would look to Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon to fill the void. Murray got the majority of the work after Cook left the game, rushing seven times for 21 yards, while also catching both of his targets for eight yards. Murray has never been the most efficient runner, but he was a 1,000-yard rusher with the Raiders in 2015, and he scored 12 touchdowns with them in 2016. His experience as a starter and effectiveness around the goal line make him a must-add in all leagues.
McKinnon was less effective than Murray after Cook went down, gaining no yards on two carries, and failing to haul in either of his targets. McKinnon also had a shot at the starting job in Minnesota last year after Adrian Peterson got injured, but he didn’t do much with it — he carried the ball 159 times for 539 yards (3.4 yards per carry) and two touchdowns, adding 43 catches for 255 yards and two more touchdowns through the air. Despite McKinnon’s ineffectiveness last season, Minnesota’s offensive line has gotten better. McKinnon is also a more natural pass-catcher than Murray, so he should have some value in PPR leagues. He won’t be consistent, but he’s worth a pickup if your roster is getting thin.
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Carson left Sunday night’s game against the Colts in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. Carson’s left leg got pinned awkwardly at the end of a run, and he remained down for a few minutes. He was given an air cast and carted off the field.
Seattle has not released any details about Carson’s injury yet, but the need for an air cast suggests that the injury could cost him some playing time. If Carson is unable to play, Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls could come back into the fold, while second-year running back J.D. McKissic could also get significant work.
After playing awful Week 1 and remaining on the sideline as a healthy scratch in Weeks 2 and 3, Lacy finally had a productive game, rushing for 52 yards on 11 carries. He won’t have the backfield to himself, but his performance on Monday night may have pushed him back atop Seattle’s RB depth chart. Lacy has probably been dropped in most leagues, so you should pick him up and see how Seattle’s backfield touches shake out in Week 5.
As good as Lacy was on Sunday night, McKissic may have been better. McKissic carried the ball four times for 38 yards and a touchdown, and he also caught one pass for a 27-yard touchdown. On his touchdown catch, he did a great job adjusting to the ball and picking it out of the air in tight coverage. A former wide receiver at Arkansas State, McKissic appears to be the preferred passing-down back as long as C.J. Prosise is sidelined with his week-to-week ankle injury. He’s worth a pickup, especially in PPR leagues.
After being a healthy scratch on Sunday night, Rawls could also rejoin the backfield rotation if Carson is out. However, he has only carried the ball five times for four yards in the two games he has played this season, so it doesn’t appear that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll wants to give him much work. Rawls could be worth a speculative add in deep leagues, but he’s best left on the waiver wire in most formats.