- Looking at the prognoses for T.Y. Hilton, Leonard Fournette and other injured fantasy football stars.
Week 4 was another relatively quiet one on the injury front, with just a couple of multi-week injuries suffered by fantasy relevant players. Things likely won’t remain so quiet, but this was one of the best injury months, in terms of there not being very many, in recent memory. We’ll give you the injury nuts and bolts, and the fantasy spin to go with them, in the SI.com Training Room for Week 5.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
Injury: Strained hamstring
Injury take: The Colts are already pessimistic about Hilton's Week 5 status which makes it sound like the strain he's dealing with is more significant than typical tightness that is commonly reported. We'll have more information as the week progresses, although the fact that the Colts play on Thursday night could complicate the usual injury reporting timeline. It sounds like Hilton owners will have to plan on playing without him for a couple of weeks, at the least.
Fantasy spin: There’s not a whole lot Hilton owners can do except hope that the injury isn’t too serious. You’re not going to easily replace Hilton’s production in the trade market, and you can’t replace it on the waiver wire. In Indianapolis, Chester Rogers, Ryan Grant and Zach Pascal all get a bump in value, at least in the short term. We discussed all three at length in this week’s waiver wire column.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
Injury: Aggravation of hamstring strain
Injury take: Remember when Fournette and Doug Marrone both said that they didn't think the back would miss much time after suffering his hamstring injury Week 1? Well, now we're looking at an aggravation of the issue in his first game back after missing two weeks. Fournette got 11 carries before leaving the game, running for 30 yards. This is a terrible sign, as aggravations generally take longer to recover than the initial injury. In short, aggravations typically happen because the player returns before tissue strength is fully recovered, meaning already damaged tissue was weakened even further. I wouldn't expect Fournette back anytime soon, with the Jaguars likely ensuring that he's 100% before he comes back this time. This news won’t make fantasy owners happy, but the Jaguars are looking at the long-term implications of having him completely healthy for the rest of the season, and, ideally, the playoffs.
Fantasy spin: T.J. Yeldon was pressed into action again when Fournette left the game, and he came through with one of his most productive games of the season. He carried the ball 18 times for 52 yards, caught three passes for 48 yards, and scored two touchdowns. The Jaguars have treated the backfield differently when Fournette is declared out before a game rather than leaving in the middle of it, giving Corey Grant nearly as large a role as Yeldon. We have to assume that will be the case as long as Fournette is out. Still, Yeldon will show up on the RB3/flex radar, whereas Grant is barely a player worth adding in the deepest leagues.
Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks
Injury take: Carson was inactive for Week 4 due to the hip injury he sustained in Week 3. Although there was some potential that his hip would’ve responded well by game time, the Seahawks ended up holding him out, turning to Mike Davis to lead the backfield. With that being said, it sounds like Carson is much closer to being back on the field than he is to missing another game. The Seahawks may limit his practice again this week but there’s a better chance of him playing for Week 5.
Fantasy spin: It seemed like Carson was going to play until the Seahawks designated him inactive 90 minutes before kickoff against the Cardinals in Week 4. With that in mind, it’s likely he’ll be back on the field in the team’s game with the Rams on Sunday. Davis is still worth adding after what he did in the win over the Cardinals, but Carson would likely slot right back in as the starter if he’s active in Week 5. It is a tough matchup, however, and Carson would likely be outside the top 25 in the weekly running back rankings.
O.J. Howard, TE, Buccaneers
Injury: Sprained MCL
Injury take: Howard exited Week 4 against the Bears in the second half and did not return. An MRI taken on Monday showed that the team wasn’t merely being cautious with the game out of hand. Howard will miss two-to-four weeks because of a sprained MCL. That timetable sounds like it's a lower-grade sprain, so the hope is that he’s able to work on getting the pain down and ramp up his strength and agility work to allow for a smooth recovery. He’ll likely wear a brace upon his return to reduce likelihood of aggravation, but keep an eye on his recovery when the Buccaneers are back on the regular injury reporting schedule after their bye this week.
Fantasy spin: The Buccaneers have a bye in Week 5, timed well for Howard and his fantasy owners. The tight end will still miss a game or two, but he’ll be right back on the fantasy radar when he returns. He was off to a decent start this season, so his owners should do what they can to keep him on the roster. If you cannot afford, or do not need, to roster two tight ends, though, he’s droppable in light of his timetable for return. Cameron Brate, meanwhile, enters the picture as a streamer at tight end, and may have lasting power as a low-end TE1, especially if Jameis Winston takes back over as the starter in Tampa.