The more the NFL season progresses, the most the injuries will play a factor on the field.
Considering we just passed Week 2, our focus in the Injury Stock Watch continues to be on the players stocking down, instead of the ones trending up. And that’s because it’s still early in the year for injured players to return to the field, while on the other hand, several players are going down creating scenarios for unexpected names to benefit from that.
Here are some names to keep in mind for Week 3!
David Johnson (RB, Arizona Cardinals)
Hours after the game against the Baltimore Ravens, in which David Johnson suffered a wrist injury, the running back announced that he is ‘good to go’ for Week 3 over the Carolina Panthers. Johnson had only seven carries for 14 yards and a touchdown in Week 2, but the owners should be looking for a bounce-back performance from him versus the Panthers, who have the 25th ranked defense against the run this season.
Le’Veon Bell (RB, New York Jets)
Le’Veon Bell was listed as questionable due to a should injury until hours before Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns. Even though he will face the New England Patriots’ defense in Week 3, Bell should continue to handle a huge workload in the Sam Darnold-less offensive unit. Against the Browns, the running back had 31 touches for 129 yards and a lost fumble.
Mark Ingram (RB, Baltimore Ravens)
The Baltimore Ravens’ fans held their breath when Mark Ingram, who was questionable due to a shoulder issue before Week 2, exited last Sunday’s game over the Arizona Cardinals with apparently another injury. However, Ingram returned to the field minutes later and had a solid contribution for the second straight week: The veteran RB has posted 29 touches, 184 yards, and two TDs so far this season, and seems to be on track for another strong performance in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Stock Down (And Who Will Profit)
Ben Roethlisberger (QB, Pittsburgh Steelers)
The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t be able to rely on its long-time quarterback for the rest of the season, as Ben Roethlisberger is done for the year with an elbow injury. Roethlisberger, who led the NFL in passing yards last season, was under center for one of the league’s most exciting offenses before 2019 but failed to live up to the hype in the first two games.
Who Will Profit: Vance McDonald. Mason Rudolph is going to start at quarterback for Pittsburgh, which can mean good news for the fantasy owners who drafted McDonald but were getting disappointed with the tight end’s production early in September. It’s common to see filling-in QBs looking for easier, short-to-mid range throws, which often happens to be to the tight ends. Plus, Rudolph targeted McDonald seven times in two quarters against the Seattle Seahawks, which was good for seven catches, 38 yards, and two TDs.
James Conner (RB, Pittsburgh Steelers)
James Conner was knocked out of Sunday’s game early in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Although his injury ‘is a bruise or contusion, no tear,’ according to him, there are no guarantees he will play in Week 3 on the road against the San Francisco 49ers. Even if he does, Conner is averaging 2.6 yards per carry, and has yet to top 100 scrimmage yards in a game, with just one touchdown in 2019, playing behind an uncertain offensive unit.
Who Will Profit: Jaylen Samuels and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Samuels will likely get more touches in case any workload management is applied for Conner; the second-year RB had three runs for 18 yards last Sunday. Besides that, most of the times that the RB1 goes down, the No. 1 wide receiver gets more involved. With that in mind, depending on Conner’s status, Smith-Schuster can see more targets soon (he was targeted 16 times in two games thus far).
Drew Brees (QB, New Orleans Saints)
Drew Brees (thumb) will likely miss six weeks, which make his return reasonable for Week 10 against the Atlanta Falcons considering that the New Orleans Saints have a BYE in the previous Sunday. Without Brees, the Saints’ offense will be orchestrated only by head coach Sean Payton, who will start Teddy Bridgewater but should also involve Taysom Hill more often in the gameplan.
Who Will Profit: Alvin Kamara. While the Saints’ receiving corps might suffer a hit without the future hall of fame quarterback under center, I’m expecting Alvin Kamara to be featured in this offense. He has totaled 26 carries and 11 targets in two games this season. If New Orleans wants to win games without Brees, Kamara will have to put up better numbers.
DeSean Jackson/Alshon Jeffery (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)
Here’s a doubleheader from the Philadelphia Eagles’ receiving corps.
DeSean Jackson (abdominal strain) is expected to miss two weeks after being on the field for just 11 snaps versus the Falcons, and one week after a magnificent return to Philadelphia. Besides him, Alshon Jeffery (calf), who played in only six snaps Sunday night, may be seen as questionable for Week 3 and considering that the Eagles will have a short week before Week 4, the veteran wideout’s stock might be trending down in this case.
Who Will Profit: Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz. Overall, all the Eagles’ receivers should see a boost in their production if both Jackson and Jeffery are out. But Agholor and Ertz, in particular, are likely to be the ones profiting the most after what we saw against the Falcons. While the wide receiver had 11 targets, eight receptions, 107 yards, and one touchdown, the tight end hauled eight of his 16 targets, for 72 yards.
Michael Gallup (WR, Dallas Cowboys)
The Dallas Cowboys won’t be able to rely on one of franchise’s most favorite target for the remaining games in September (perhaps even longer) as Michael Gallup (knee) will miss two-to-four weeks. The second-year WR leads the Cowboys in targets, receptions, and receiving yards after two games played in 2019.
Who Will Profit: Devin Smith. Amari Cooper is an obvious answer here, but according to head coach Jason Garrett, “Devin (Smith) obviously will play more.” Smith led the Cowboys in receiving yards last Sunday against the Washington Redskins with 74, including a 51-yard TD early in the game, in just three receptions (three targets).
(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)