Well, it took more than two months, but we finally had a quiet week of injuries. There doesn’t appear to be any season-ending injuries with this week’s group, and thankfully all of the injuries that did occur shouldn’t have a hugely negative fantasy impact. Still, all these injuries are worth monitoring, and some of them may provide opportunities for other players that can be useful in fantasy. So, let’s run through the list:
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers pulled Winston from Sunday’s game against the Saints after the first half, most likely because he appeared to aggravate the shoulder that he originally injured in Week 6. With less than a minute to go in the first half, Winston took a hit from Saints defensive end Alex Okafor and landed hard on his right shoulder. He stayed in the game for two more plays, but his shoulder clearly bothered him when he tried to throw the ball. He was declared questionable, but he did not return to the game. Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter said Winston will get an X-ray on his shoulder to determine if he sustained a new injury.
We will have to wait for Winston’s imaging results before we know his long-term prognosis. If he is forced to miss time, then backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick — who was under center for the entire second half of Sunday’s game — will be asked to run the offense. The Buccaneers were in complete disarray with both Winston and Fitzpatrick on Sunday (gaining only 200 yards of total offense), but the team still has plenty of weapons that should make most fantasy lineups. While Fitzpatrick is a downgrade from Winston, he’s still one of the better backups in the league and should keep studs like Mike Evans and Doug Martin in the “must-start” category. DeSean Jackson and Cameron Brate should also remain in the starting conversation for most people, although it’s not crazy to bench either one of them if you have safer options.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Lacy left Sunday’s game against the Redskins with a groin injury after the first quarter. He was declared doubtful to return and remained sidelined for the rest of the game.
The Seahawks planned to give Lacy a significant workload in Sunday’s game, but that plan quickly fell apart when he got injured. It’s unclear if Lacy will miss time in the future, but his Week 10 availability will be in question since the Seahawks play again on Thursday night. If Lacy can’t go on Thursday, Thomas Rawls — who rushed for 39 yards on nine carries and caught both of his targets for 31 yards in Sunday’s game — would warrant starting consideration. Seattle’s running game has been a mess ever since Chris Carson broke his ankle in Week 4, but the recent trade for left tackle Duane Brown could give the Seahawks backs more running room going forward. An improved offensive line and an increased workload should be enough for Rawls to re-enter the FLEX conversation. Pick up Rawls if he’s available, and feel free to use him as a bye week fill-in if Lacy sits.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Bryant left Sunday’s game against the Chiefs with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. He was declared questionable, but he did not return to the game.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has described Bryant’s injury as a sprain, but he said the team is still waiting to learn more about the severity. Meanwhile, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News tweeted that Bryant doesn’t seem overly concerned about his ankle, despite it being a little sore and bruised. At this point, it seems reasonable to expect Bryant to be ready for Week 10, but you’ll want to monitor this week’s practice reports closely.
If Bryant is unable to play next week, fifth-year receiver Terrance Williams could be in for an expanded role. Williams has been inconsistent throughout his career in Dallas, but he has a good combination of size and speed, and he exploded to the tune of nine catches for 141 yards on Sunday. Williams did limp off the field at one point, so you’ll want to make sure that he’s healthy before you pick him up and start him. But if he’s healthy and Bryant sits, Williams can be considered a boom-or-bust WR3 option. And for those who play in deeper PPR leagues, Cowboys slot receiver Cole Beasley — who finished Sunday’s game with four catches for 24 yards and two touchdowns — might also be worth a look.