Fantasy Football: Injuries for Week 4, replacement advice - Sports Illustrated

The week’s injury report is less about quantity and more about quality. Fact is, we had fewer injuries in Week 3 but the ones we did have were to major NFL superstars, one of which was a consensus top-three pick in fantasy football drafts. Yes, of course I’m talking about Saquon Barkley. More on him in a bit. 

Fortunately, we didn’t see any season-ending injuries to skilled position players, and to be frank—NFL players and fantasy manager deserve as much. After dealing with long-term or season-ending injuries to Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Tyreek Hill, David Njoku, Hunter Henry and Nick Foles in recent weeks, we were somewhat given a break in Week 4. Yes, the amount of injuries were low, but the significance of the players that did go down this past weekend was high.

Let’s get to it.

Won’t See Them Again In 2019

Happy to report this category doesn’t have any new players to add after Week 3. Still dealing with the repercussions from losing a player from a previous week? Head over to Adam Ronis’s Week 4 waiver wire article.

Might Be A While Before We See Them Again

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants, ankle

The motif of this week’s injury article is quality over quantity, and when it comes to quality, there’s no bigger name that went down in Week 3 than the Giants' second-year rusher. A consensus top-three pick in nearly every fantasy football draft, Barkley was well on his way to finishing as a top player at the position. He ran for over 100 yards in each of the team’s first two contests, scored a touchdown in Week 2 and caught 11 passes in the first three weeks. Just when the Giants' offense starts taking on new life with quarterback Daniel Jones, Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain.

The emotional rollercoaster of having Barkley on your team:

*Sees Barkley is slow to get up* “Come on Saquon. You’re fine. Please be fine!!!!”

*Sees Barkley limp to the sideline* “Just get some tape. You are super-human. You’ll be OK.”

*Sees Barkley being helped to locker room barely able to walk* “Please if there is a fantasy football God. Please let it just be minor.”

*Sees Barkley return to the sideline with a heavy-duty walking boot and crutches” “IT’S ALL OVER. MY SEASON IS DONE!!!”

*Sees black on screen due to remote being thrown at TV* ———————

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting Barkley will be out four-to-eight weeks. It’s downright torturous to lose your first-round pick at any point, let alone this early in the year. Can you still recover without Saquon? Yes, of course, but it won’t be as simple as inserting his backup Wayne Gallman into your lineup. You’ll have to get creative with your roster, hit on a big free agent from the waiver wire, pull off a trade and hope your misfortune ends with Barkley’s injury and doesn’t carry over to anywhere else on your team.

TY Hilton, Indianapolis Colts, quad

Heading into Week 3, the Colts speedster was questionable with a quad injury, the same quad injury that forced him out of action against the Falcons. The only reason I’m listing Hilton in this section and not “Should be OK…” is purely for the fact he aggravated an injury that was already hampering his practice routine. It was a close game against the Falcons (Indy won 27-24) so the Colts clearly could have used their top playmaker on the field, but the fact he sat out the rest of the game indicates the quad injury is limiting his ability.

Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers, shoulder

After catching two touchdowns from backup quarterback Mason Rudolph in Week 2, expectations were high for McDonald heading into the team’s game against the 49ers. Those expectations quickly came to an end as the Steelers' tight end suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and did not return to action. He finished with just one catch for 10 yards before the injury. It’s unclear if the problem with his shoulder is considered longterm since there’s no update just yet. I’ll tag him as questionable at best for Week 4.

Should Be OK But Expect A Questionable Tag and Limited Practice

Julian Edelman, New England Patriots, chest

The Patriots' slot receiver was having a good game (seven catches, 62 yards and a score) against a defenseless Jets team when he exited with a chest injury and did not return. Edelman’s X-Rays came back negative so we know nothing is broken, thus there’s optimism he’ll be fine for Week 5. Those familiar with how the Patriots prepare their injury report know we won’t get much out of head coach Bill Belichick on Edelman’s availability until gameday. I’m fairly certain Tom Brady is still listed as questionable on a weekly basis because of his torn ACL back in 2008 … but I digress. It’s very simple, if Edelman suits up in Week 4, he’s in your lineup, no need to overthink using the productive pass catcher.

Nothing to See Here?

Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos, shoulder

The Broncos' second-year running back briefly left the game against the Packers but was able to return. Freeman missed about 10 plays while his shoulder was being evaluated. Freeman picked up 63 yards on 15 carries but was outplayed by backfield mate Phillip Lindsay, who totaled 81 yards and scored two touchdowns. Freeman’s fantasy performance would have been much more satisfying if the Broncos' power back didn’t have a touchdown called back on a phantom holding call. Seems like he’ll be fine for the team’s matchup against the Jaguars in Week 4.

LeSean McCoy, Kansas City Chiefs, ankle

The Chiefs' veteran rusher was questionable heading into Week 3 with an ankle injury, which he apparently aggravated in the fourth quarter of the team’s victory over the Ravens. Backup Darrel Williams handled most of the running back duties while McCoy was sidelined. It’s unclear if the Chiefs were being cautious with McCoy at the end of the game or if he could have played through the injury. Whoever is in the Kansas City backfield produces solid fantasy stats, so be sure to keep on an eye on McCoy’s practice schedule this week.

In the Protocol

Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons

Allen Hurns, Miami Dolphins

Injured But Not On The Fantasy Radar

Chad Beebe, Minnesota Vikings

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