Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Baker Mayfield, Kareem Hunt, Kadarius Toney (2021 Fantasy Football)
We came into Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season having just experienced an injury-littered week of games across the league in Week 5. Guys like Russell Wilson, Saquon Barkley, and JuJu Smith-Schuster all experienced injuries that will force them to miss time with their respective teams. Besides the countless injuries we had to maneuver ahead of Week 6, bye weeks were also a roadblock in creating lineups. The Atlanta Falcons, the New York Jets, the New Orleans Saints, and the San Francisco 49ers had their bye weeks in Week 6. Following another exhilarating week of NFL action, here are injuries that occurred in Week 6 and how we should move forward in fantasy football.
Baker Mayfield (QB – CLE)
It is already known that Baker Mayfield is playing through a partially torn labrum to his left shoulder that he sustained early in the season. During Sunday’s game versus the Arizona Cardinals, Mayfield was grimacing in pain after taking a hit to his shoulder, causing him to make a trip to the medical tent. While it looked like it could be a severe injury for Mayfield, he would return to the game on the next offensive drive. Even though Mayfield’s injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, it’s still an injury that has noticeably caused his performance on the field to decline. He also was seen in a sling after the game, which isn’t encouraging for his outlook for the rest of the season. It’s hard to trust Mayfield in fantasy football consistently for the rest of the season as he continues to battle a partially torn labrum.
Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE)
The Browns entered Sunday’s contest against the Cardinals banged up, and they left with more ailments on the offensive side of the ball. At the running back position, Nick Chubb was inactive in Week 6 with a calf injury, while Kareem Hunt suited up despite overcoming knee/wrist injuries throughout the week of practice. But in the second half of Sunday’s game, Hunt would suffer a right leg injury diagnosed as a calf injury. Hunt could not put any weight on his right leg and was ruled out in the fourth quarter. Cleveland plays on Thursday Night Football, so the team hopes that Chubb can return with Hunt potentially missing a week of action. At the very least, it’s not an Achilles injury for Hunt. Demetric Felton could see an increased role in the passing game if Hunt misses time.
Latavius Murray (RB – BAL)
The Los Angeles Chargers had no answer to the rushing attack of the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6. It began with a walk-in rushing touchdown for Latavius Murray from 14 yards out in the first quarter. Murray was among three running backs to score a touchdown for the Ravens on Sunday, but he would exit the game with an ankle ailment in the second half. Baltimore possesses a massive lead over the Los Angeles Chargers, so it remains to be seen if Murray’s injury is something that could force him to be sidelined or if he was held out as a precaution. If Murray is inactive in Week 7, Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, and Ty’Son Williams would all be candidates to get touches out of the backfield.
Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – CLE)
It was an ugly outing for the Browns in Week 6 versus the Cardinals. Besides losing in a disappointing fashion, Cleveland endured more injuries to notable players on Sunday. Chubb was already out, Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin were inactive, Baker Mayfield seemed to reaggravate his shoulder injury, and Kareem Hunt left with a calf injury. Aside from those injuries, Odell Beckham Jr. also exited the game with a shoulder ailment. Like Mayfield, Beckham returned to the game, but he would see his snaps monitored in a blowout loss. We will know more about Beckham’s shoulder injury ahead of Thursday night’s matchup against the Denver Broncos.
Kadarius Toney (WR – NYG)
Another team that entered Week 6 hampered by injuries was the New York Giants. Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Daniel Jones, and Kadarius Toney endured injuries in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys. While Jones was able to clear concussion protocol and play in Week 6, Toney was the only other guy listed above to play on Sunday. After a fast start versus the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Toney would sustain an ankle injury and would instantly be ruled out for the rest of the game. Regardless of Golladay’s status, Sterling Shepard should continue to see an uptick in targets in New York’s shorthanded offensive unit. Seeing that Toney has suffered two lower leg injuries in the past two weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants sit him until he’s back to one-hundred percent.
T.Y. Hilton/Parris Campbell (WR – IND)
There was excitement this week for the Indianapolis Colts as T.Y. Hilton was activated from injured reserve, and he made his season debut on Sunday. While Hilton led the team with four receptions for 80 yards, he would leave the game early with a quad injury. We will have to discover if Hilton’s injury will cause him to miss more time or if the Colts didn’t want to risk another injury to the veteran wideout. Besides Hilton, Parris Campbell was unable to finish the game after suffering a foot injury. Campbell just can’t seem to catch a break as he’s battled multiple injuries in his first few seasons in the NFL. Before getting hurt, Campbell had one reception for 51 yards that resulted in a touchdown. Zach Pascal would likely see the most significant increase in usage if Hilton and Campbell miss any time.
Russell Wilson (QB – SEA)
Russell Wilson sustained a finger injury in Week 5 against the Rams on Thursday Night Football. Since then, Wilson was placed on injured reserve after undergoing surgery on his finger. The soonest that Wilson can return to the field is in Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers due to the Seattle Seahawks having a bye week in Week 9. Geno Smith will replace Wilson under center in Seattle, and he shouldn’t be viewed as a viable fantasy football quarterback unless you are absolutely desperate at quarterback right now.
Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)
Matt Rhule had positive remarks about Christian McCaffrey earlier in the week leading up to Week 6, leading us to believe we could see the consensus No. 1 overall pick in drafts return from a multiple-game absence. Instead of returning to the field on Sunday, McCaffrey was placed on injured reserve over the weekend. Therefore, McCaffrey will miss a minimum of three more games for the Carolina Panthers. Chuba Hubbard will continue to have plenty of value in fantasy football while McCaffrey remains sidelined.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT)
The worst was expected for JuJu Smith-Schuster in Week 5 when he left the field with a shoulder injury that was visibly causing pain to the young wideout. Unfortunately, after undergoing an MRI, it was discovered that Smith-Schuster suffered a shoulder injury that will land him on injured reserve, and he’ll likely miss the rest of the season. Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Najee Harris should see their workloads increase with Smith-Schuster absent from the offense. James Washingon is also worth consideration in deeper leagues as he should be the No. 3 wide receiver on the Pittsburgh Steelers now.
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