There are some big injury decisions still looming as we head into Sunday’s game. Here’s the latest on some of the biggest names before kickoff.
Justin Herbert – rib cartilage fracture – Herbert may try to play through this. If he does he will receive a pain-killing injection. This helps a lot more than just a flak jacket, which provides extra protection to the injured area. Rib cartilage fractures can be more painful and slower to heal than a rib fracture. Cartilage doesn’t receive good blood flow and can linger for months if it’s serious. Herbert will play if he feels he can be effective despite the injury. That’s easier said than doesn’t, especially in the first week. More on his injury.
Alvin Kamara – rib cartilage fracture – This is the same injury Justin Herbert is dealing with. Kamara was injured in week 1 and missed week 2. Now two weeks removed from the injury he should be feeling a bit better but it won’t be fully healed for awhile. As a running back it’s impossible to avoid big hits, so he could be in and out of the game depending on his pain level. I’m expecting him to receive an injection before the game and wear extra padding. He’s highly volatile in week 3 but should still be in most fantasy lineups.
James Conner – ankle sprain – He’s trending toward playing but clearly won’t be 100%. The good news is this appeared to be a standard low ankle sprain, and it comes with a two week Optimal Recovery Time. He’s going to be a risky fantasy option today, so if you have another reasonable fill-in go with them in week 3 and plan to start Conner again in week 4. More.
J.K. Dobbins – knee – Dobbins is ready for his season debut, just over a year removed from a torn ACL, LCL, meniscus and hamstring. That’s about as bad as it gets for a knee injury. I’m not expecting him to be back to his old self yet, and the Ravens will ease him back in. We should get an idea of how Dobbins is feeling on Sunday, but don’t plug him into lineups yet. He also still comes with a High Injury Risk. More.
Jameis Winston – back fractures – Winston toughed it out in week 2 after suffering multiple back fractures in the season opener. He’s expected to do the same again today. I suspect that these are transverse process fractures, which can be painful but are possible to play through. The risk of making the injury worse is also fairly low. It takes a lot of toughness and will limit his upside for the next few weeks.
Christian McCaffrey – ankle – He was a mid-week addition to the injury report with ankle soreness but was a FP on Friday and isn’t on the final injury report. He’s good to go, and I’m not really concerned about his ability to perform at a high level today. What I am now concerned about though is lingering soreness throughout the season. CMC will continue to be a high upside but very high risk player this season.
D’Andre Swift – ankle – He played through the injury last week and will do so again today. While the Lions will likely limit his carries, he should see enough important snaps to be worth starting in fantasy lineups. His upside isn’t quite as high this week, but he needs to be in lineups. Elevated Injury Risk.
George Kittle – groin – It’s finally time for his season debut. Kittle has been nursing a groin strain, which comes with a three week Optimal Recovery Time according to our algorithm. His injury Risk remains High as this is easily aggravated, but he’s one of the most talented tight ends at a very thin position. Kittle is a must-start.
Michael Gallup – ACL – I don’t like that the Cowboys are planning to play him as he’s over a month away from the nine month mark following ACL surgery. The rate of re-tear is significantly higher before nine months, and he’s at risk for a compensatory injury (just look at what happened to Chris Godwin). Stay away from him in fantasy lineups until he proves he is going to play enough and be effective. I don’t see it happening for awhile.
Players OUT: Chris Godwin (hamstring), Julio Jones (knee), Trey Lance (ankle fracture-dislocation)