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SHOW ME WHERE IT HURTS: Week 7 Injury Fallout

It’s not a great time to be an Arizona Cardinals fan. The team’s playoff hopes seemed slim after star running back David Johnson went down in Week 1, but the Cardinals managed to keep themselves in contention with the best win of their season in Week 6. And then, just when everything seemed to be back on track, quarterback Carson Palmer breaks his arm. Now it seems like the end is nigh for the Cards, with the playoffs just a pipe dream. Hopefully your fantasy team’s playoff hopes are more substantial, but either way, I’m here to give you the rundown on all of Week 7’s injuries, including Palmer’s. Here’s everything we know, along with the fantasy impact:

 

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Palmer left Sunday’s game against the Rams in the second quarter with a left arm injury. He took a big hit after a throw (which resulted in an interception), and he did not return to the game. Following the game, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians stated that Palmer has a broken arm, will undergo surgery, and is expected to miss eight weeks.

Impact

Palmer’s injury timeline effectively rules him out for the entirety of the fantasy season, and backup quarterback Drew Stanton will run the offense in his absence. Although Palmer has been inconsistent at times, Stanton is still a clear downgrade, and it will now be difficult to trust any Arizona receiver aside from Larry Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald, himself, should also be downgraded. In the seven games that he has played with Stanton starting, Fitzgerald has averaged 4.4 receptions for 46 yards and 0.29 touchdowns per game. Six of those games occurred in 2014, although the seventh game (Week 5 of 2016) was more encouraging — Fitzgerald caught six passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns. He has been a WR1 in all formats thus far, but he’ll likely be a WR2 in PPR leagues and a WR3 in standard leagues going forward.

Arizona’s running game is also likely to suffer. After exploding in his first game as a Cardinal last week, Adrian Peterson plodded his way to just 21 yards on 11 carries against a vulnerable Rams run defense on Sunday. Behind a struggling offensive line with a backup QB now at the helm, Peterson is nothing more than a volume-based FLEX play for the rest of the season.

 

Jay Cutler, QB, Miami Dolphins

Cutler left Sunday’s game against the Jets in the third quarter with a chest injury. He landed on his left side after a hard hit, and he was subsequently taken to the locker room. Cutler did not return to the game, and Dolphins head coach Adam Gase stated that he will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the injury.

Impact

We will have to wait for Cutler’s test results to come in before we know his injury timeline, but it seems likely that he could at least miss Week 8 since the Dolphins play on Thursday night. If Cutler does miss time, Matt Moore will start in his place, and he isn’t really a downgrade. Moore led the Dolphins to a comeback victory after Cutler left the game, and the overall numbers for both quarterbacks ended up being fairly similar:

Jay Cutler Matt Moore
Comp-Att 12-16 13-21
Pass Yards 138 188
TD-INT 2-1 2-1
Passer Rating 114.1 102.9

Looking beyond Sunday’s game, the numbers suggest that Moore could actually be an upgrade compared to Cutler. In three regular season starts last year, Moore was more effective than Cutler has been through six games this year:

Jay Cutler in 2017 Matt Moore in 2016
Completion Percentage 62.8 63.2
Yards Per Attempt 5.5 8.3
Passer Rating 78.8 105.6

Given Moore’s effectiveness, you should feel confident that Miami’s fantasy-relevant players will remain at or above their current value. In addition, Kenny Stills’ value could go way up with Moore at quarterback. Stills caught both of Moore’s touchdown passes, and his skill as a vertical threat plays to Moore’s strengths. Moore’s 8.3 yards per attempt last year dwarfs Cutler’s 5.5 yards per attempt this year. Those numbers, along with Moore and Cutler’s nearly identical completion percentage, suggest that Moore is a much more effective downfield passer. If Moore starts at QB and DeVante Parker remains sidelined with his ankle injury, Stills is an excellent FLEX play.

 

Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans

Walker left Sunday’s game against the Browns with a right ankle injury in overtime. His ankle got awkwardly wedged under a defender as he was making a catch, and he limped to the sideline. Walker did not return to the game, and Titans head coach Mike Mularkey stated that he suffered an ankle sprain.

Impact

The Titans have not given any indication of the severity of Walker’s injury at this point, but he will have some extra time to heal since the team is on bye in Week 8. If Walker is forced to miss time after the bye, third-round rookie Jonnu Smith would be next in line. Smith was an electric pass-catching tight end at Florida International, and at 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds, his profile is similar to Walker’s. Smith had some inconsistent hands in college and could require some time to adjust to the NFL game, but his athleticism still puts him on the TE2 radar if Walker is out. Pick him up in Week 9 if you’re desperate at the tight end position or need a bye week fill-in.

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.