This week’s injury list is mercifully short, although our prayers go out to Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller, who suffered what may have been a career-threatening injury. It’s our job to analyze the fantasy impact of these injuries, but it’s important to remember that these are real people who put their bodies on the line each and every week of the season. Fantasy football is a great way to enhance our enjoyment of the NFL, but the players will always be the driving force that makes it work. So, before we delve into the fantasy impact, we just want to show our appreciation for players like Miller, who risk so much on the field and make our Sundays way more fun. With that said, let’s run through all the injuries, along with the fantasy impact:
Zach Miller, TE, Chicago Bears
Miller left Sunday’s game against the Saints with a left knee injury in the third quarter. He was attempting to haul in a pass (which was originally ruled a touchdown but was later overturned), when his leg buckled and his knee appeared to bend in the wrong direction. Miller was carted to the locker room following the gruesome injury, and multiple sources have reported that he suffered a dislocated knee.
The Bears have not given an injury timeline yet, but the injury itself looked devastating, and it’s probably safe to say that Miller will be out for the remainder of the season. With Miller sidelined, fifth-year tight end Dion Sims and second-round rookie Adam Shaheen will both see an uptick in usage. Neither player is worth a pickup at this point, although you should keep an eye on Shaheen. Although Sims has significantly out-snapped Shaheen thus far this year, Shaheen’s enormous size (6-foot-6, 278 pounds) and impressive combine performance shot him up many team’s draft boards. It will likely take some time for Shaheen to break out at the NFL level (if he ever breaks out), but given the state of the tight end position in fantasy, he should be on the TE2 radar.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
Reed left Sunday’s game against the Cowboys with a hamstring injury in the second quarter, hobbling off the field after running a route. He came out with the team after halftime but returned to the locker room soon after. Reed was originally designated as questionable to return before being downgraded to doubtful and eventually being ruled out.
Unfortunately for Reed — who has never played a full 16-game season — this injury will now be added to the long list of injuries that have plagued him throughout his five-year career. The Redskins have not given any indication regarding Reed’s future availability, but if he is forced to miss time, then Vernon Davis would immediately be startable as a Top-10 tight end. In the five games Reed has missed over the last two seasons, Davis has averaged 3.8 receptions for 49 yards and 0.4 touchdowns. While those aren’t monster numbers, they represent significant stability at an otherwise fickle position. If you have Reed on your team, you should roster Davis as a handcuff.
Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots
Hogan left Sunday’s game against the Chargers with a right shoulder injury in the fourth quarter. After catching a pass, he took a helmet to the right arm and was escorted off the field. Hogan was listed as questionable, but he did not return to the game. He had his arm in a sling after the game and will undergo an MRI today.
We will have to wait for Hogan’s MRI results before we know his injury timeline, but he’ll fortunately have an extra week to recover since the Patriots are on bye in Week 9. If Hogan is forced to miss time after the bye, Phillip Dorsett would likely take over for him on the outside. As a former first-round pick with the Colts, Dorsett is an intriguing player in New England’s spread-it-around offense. Still, Dorsett’s lackluster production has made him a disappointment thus far, so he should only be rostered in very deep leagues.
The receiver who really stands to gain the most from Hogan’s possible absence is Danny Amendola. Amendola has been a useful WR4 in PPR leagues this year, but Hogan’s injury could propel him into high-end WR3 territory. Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks will still be higher than Amendola on the Patriots’ pass-catching totem pole, but Tom Brady has shown many times that he can support several different receivers in his offense. Pick up Amendola if he’s available, and feel free to roll him out as a FLEX if Hogan is sidelined in the future.