- Looking at the prognoses for Brandin Cooks, Matt Breida and other injured fantasy football stars.
The injury bug had one of its more impactful weeks of the season in Week 5, claiming Matt Breida for a couple of weeks, and knocking Jay Ajayi out for the season. We’ll give you the injury nuts and bolts, provided by 4for4’s Russell Manalastas, a physical therapist and strength coach based in New York, and the fantasy spin to go with them, in the SI.com Training Room for Week 6.
Matt Breida, RB, 49ers
Injury: High ankle sprain
Injury take: Breida injured his ankle early in Sunday’s game and was not able to return. His MRI revealed a high ankle sprain, which typically requires more recovery time than a traditional inversion/rolling-of-the-ankle-type sprain. Swelling and pain are of course present, but what really makes this a challenging injury for athletes, especially running backs, is the way it compromises the ability to cut and change direction. The same area that handles the stress of a change of direction is where the injury is located with a high ankle sprain, making this a tough injury to manage. Breida will miss at least a game or two, and there’s serious potential for him to miss a month depending on the pace of his rehab.
Fantasy spin: We covered Alfred Morris’s fantasy value, which skyrockets in the wake of Breida’s injury, in this week’s waiver wire. If you’re a Breida owner and Morris is available in your league, you need to make him a priority. If Morris isn’t an option, there aren’t a ton of great directions for you to go in on the wire. Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Ronald Jones and Marlon Mack should be among your top claims if Morris is already owned.
Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp, WRs, Rams
Injury take: Both Cooks and Kupp left the Rams’ 33-31 win over the Sehawks in Week 5 with concussions, and are now in the league’s standard protocol. The hit on Cooks looked worse, but concussions can be significantly different, regardless of how it appears at impact. Both will be up against the clock to clear the concussion protocol, as we regularly see players sit out a week in the new regime. For what it’s worth, Sean McVay did sound confident on Monday that one or both would be available, but we won’t really know how likely that is until later in the week. They’ll both need to pass through protocol and be cleared by an independent doctor in order to suit up for Week 6. Keep a close eye on their practice schedules this week. If they’re back by Friday, they should be good for Sunday.
Fantasy spin: First and foremost, it should go without saying that fantasy football couldn’t matter less when compared with a brain injury. If one or both of Cooks and Kupp need to sit out this week, then so be it. With that said, this is a relatively easy situation for fantasy owners to manage. Concussions are rarely longer than one-week injuries. If either one of Cooks or Kupp play this week, they should be in your lineup. If they’re out, find a replacement, and you’ll likely have them back in Week 7. If you need to turn to the waiver wire for your replacement, the top, widely available options include Keke Coutee, Christian Kirk and Chris Godwin.
Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
Injury: Fractured foot
Injury take: There are reports are stating that Olsen could return from the fractured foot he sustained in Week 2 as early as this week. While the news is certainly encouraging given what he’s been through with that foot dating back to last season, he is still a high-risk player. We simply don’t know how long the foot, and the rest of his body for that matter, will hold up to the sport. The other concern I have is whether the fracture is fully healed and how serious is his risk of re-injury. The Panthers will surely ease Olsen back into the lineup to, excuse the pun, get his feet wet, but he’s likely still a few weeks away from being fully effective, and even that might be optimistic.
Fantasy spin: The tight end position has been a nightmare in fantasy leagues this season. Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz are living up to lofty expectations, Eric Ebron and Jared Cook are exceeding theirs, and George Kittle has managed to meet his, even with Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending knee injury. Rob Gronkowski is still Rob Gronkowski, but he hasn’t been his usual dominant self this season. Pretty much every other tight end in the league has been anywhere between a mild and massive disappointment. All that means that, unless you own one of the six tight ends named above, a healthy Olsen would be an upgrade from whoever you’re playing at the position. If you have an available stash spot on your roster, using it on Olsen makes plenty of sense.