- David Johnson nabbed the spotlight, but he wasn't the only fantasy-relevant player to suffer an injury in Week 1. How his owners, and those of Danny Woodhead and Allen Robinson, should be planning for the future.
Week 1 is always full of optimism and hope as the fantasy football season gets underway. Unfortunately, all it takes is one injury to turn that optimism into abject pessimism and create the feeling that the season is over. Injuries are unavoidable in fantasy football, and knowing what to do after those injuries is crucial. All season, we’ll cover the previous weekend’s most significant injuries, help you understand the diagnoses and prognoses, and give you advice on what to do next
David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
Injury: dislocated wrist
Bottom Line: This is a huge blow for those who spent their first round pick, and likely the first overall pick, on Johnson. The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that Johnson will undergo surgery that will sideline him for two to three months. The team placed him on IR, though with a designation to return. While that does give his owners some hope that he’ll be back for the playoff run, it’s hard to burn a roster spot on a player all season who may not play another down. And, even if he does, his owners could be out of playoff contention by time he returns.
Potential Replacements: Kerwynn Williams, Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington. Williams and Ellington were already on the roster, and the Cardinals added old friend Johnson off the street, as well as D.J. Foster off the Patriots practice squad. That only further muddles the situation, which is likely to be a full-blown committee. It’s impossible to replace the elite production Johnson has given the Cardinals, which could force them to rely more on the pass in his absence. None of the backs who will take over in his stead is likely to move the fantasy needle very much.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Ravens
Injury: strained hamstring
Bottom Line: Woodhead seemed to be on his way to a big game with three catches for 33 yards on the Ravens opening drive, but he pulled up lame on a 3rd down play at the end of the possession with a left hamstring injury. The fact that he had to be carted off was a terrible sign, as that usually means the injury is significant enough for the player to have difficulty walking. What’s more, it’s the same hamstring that cost him time in the preseason, and had him questionable for much of the week leading up to the Ravens game with the Bengals. Hamstring aggravations, or, for that matter, any soft tissue aggravation, have a tendency to take longer to heal than the original injury because of further tissue damage. The strength of that tissue is compromised, as well, so there needs to be extra caution in getting the tissue to heal completely before starting to ramp up activity. Add that up, and it sounds like Woodhead will face an extended absence.
Potential Replacements: Terrance West, Buck Allen. Allen had a significant role in the game against the Bengals, logging 33 snaps compared to West’s 27. Allen had fallen out of favor with the Ravens coaching staff, but injuries to Kenneth Dixon and now Woodhead have him back into the spotlight. He’ll serve as the pass-catching back and potentially more, which makes him an intriguing player in fantasy leagues for the foreseeable future.
For more information, updated throughout the week, be sure to check out our weekly training room article over at 4for4.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars
Injury: torn ACL
Bottom Line: Non-contact injuries are almost always the most significant, and Robinson’s knee injury is no exception. The Jaguars have confirmed that Robinson tore his ACL and will be out for the season. It’s a tough blow for the Jaguars and Robinson’s fantasy owners
Potential Replacements: Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns. The Jaguars seem content riding rookie running back Leonard Fournette to help hide the deficiencies of Blake Bortles. They won’t run Fournette into the ground, though, and will have to throw during the game at some point, with both Lee and Hurns set to benefit from the absence of Robinson. Both are worth looking at on the waiver wire, though Lee is likely to be more popular.