Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Russell Wilson, Saquon Barkley, Joe Burrow (2021 Fantasy Football)
Injuries are sadly a part of football, and we’re going to have guys getting hurt every week. Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season was no different as there was a handful of injuries to notable players across the league. When you play fantasy football, paying attention to injuries is crucial to having success. While we don’t have all of the information yet for some players, here are all of the noteworthy injuries in Week 5 that impact fantasy football.
Russell Wilson (QB – SEA)
The Seattle Seahawks fell to 2-3 on Thursday Night Football, losing to the Los Angeles Rams at home. Besides the unfortunate loss to a division rival, the Seahawks witnessed Russell Wilson exit early with a finger injury. Wilson had his finger hit while attempting a pass, and it was discovered that he suffered an “extension tendon rupture” that required him to undergo surgery. The Pro Bowl signal-caller was given a six-to-eight-week timetable to return, but Wilson will attempt to return sooner than that. The Seahawks have a bye week in Week 9, so there’s a chance he could return in Week 10 when Seattle faces the Green Bay Packers. Geno Smith could be a viable fill-in option at quarterback if you’re desperate, especially if he looks as poised as he did on Thursday night in relief of Wilson.
Joe Burrow (QB – CIN)
Someone is going to need to teach Joe Burrow how to slide when he runs the ball. In the first half of Sunday’s contest versus the Packers, Burrow escaped the pocket and ran the ball in an attempt to get the first down. Burrow would lower his shoulder, only to take a hard hit from Darnell Savage, causing him to get tested for a concussion. The second-year quarterback wouldn’t miss a play in Sunday’s loss for the Cincinnati Bengals, but it was reported that he was getting checked for a throat contusion after the game concluded. There’s no reason to believe that Burrow will miss any time, though, it will be worth monitoring his status early in the week.
Daniel Jones (QB – NYG)
The New York Giants are battling a slew of injuries to their offense. Along with injuries to a bevy of their skill players, the Giants are now going to potentially be without Daniel Jones. New York ran a designed running play for Jones near the goal line, and the dual-threat quarterback tried to lower his shoulder to get points for the Giants. While getting stood up by defenders on the Dallas Cowboys, Jones lowered his head and took a helmet-to-helmet that left him woozy after the play. Jones would be carted off of the field and ruled out for the rest of the game. Before Jones can return to the field, he’ll need to clear the concussion protocol this week. If Jones cannot clear the protocol before later this week, Mike Glennon would be the starter, which would cause the skill players on the Giants to take a hit to their value in fantasy football.
Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
It was unfortunate to see Saquon Barkley go down with a lower leg injury in the first quarter of New York’s Week 5 loss to Dallas. Barkley has looked his usual self in recent weeks, but early in Sunday’s game, he stepped on a defender’s foot, causing his ankle to twist awkwardly. The dynamic running back would have a swollen ankle from the injury and would be carted off, forcing the Giants to hold him out for the rest of the game. Given that Barkley was coming back from a torn ACL this season, I expect New York to be cautious bringing him back. At the very least, it was revealed that Barkley didn’t suffer a broken ankle, so it’s not the worst-case scenario. If Barkley is sidelined for the Giants for any time, then Devontae Booker could be in line for a heavy workload in Week 6 versus the Rams.
Damien Harris (RB – NE)
The New England Patriots were almost upset by the Houston Texans in Week 5, only for them to make a comeback in the second half. Damien Harris scored the first touchdown of the game for the Patriots and appears to be the No. 1 running back for New England moving forward. Harris would fumble later in the game, but he wouldn’t be relegated by Bill Belichick for his mistake. However, Harris would leave the game in the fourth quarter with a rib injury. While we’ll get more information on Harris’ injury early in the week, Rhamondre Stevenson would be the next man up if Harris is forced to miss any games.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC)
It is weird to say that the Kansas City Chiefs are 2-3 through the first five weeks. The Chiefs lost 38-20 to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night after a long weather delay occurred at halftime. In the third quarter, Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered an apparent knee injury. Edwards-Helaire needed teammates to help him off the field as he couldn’t put any power on his leg. The second-year running back would fail to return to the game and his status for Week 6 is uncertain right now. Kansas City has a favorable schedule for running backs coming up as they face the Washington Football Team, Tennessee Titans, New York Giants, and the Green Bay Packers. If Edwards-Helaire cannot give it a go in Week 6, Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon would likely split the backfield duties.
Tyreek Hill (WR – KC)
After Sunday night’s game, Andy Reid disclosed that Edwards-Helaire and Tyreek Hill sustained knee injuries. It is unknown when Hill suffered his knee injury, but it will be something to monitor as the week progresses. While Washington’s defense was expected to be a daunting unit this season, they’ve been far from it. Hill and the Chiefs should have plenty of success through the air against the Football Team in Week 6. The speedy wideout will be listed as questionable, so it’s worth paying attention to his practice status later in the week.
Kenny Golladay (WR – NYG)
The Giants couldn’t afford to suffer more injuries to players on their offense, but they, unfortunately, experienced a few injuries to members of their offense on Sunday. Aside from Jones and Barkley, Kenny Golladay would exit early against the Cowboys. Golladay said he hyperextended his knee and was unable to play through the injury. Seeing that Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton were already sidelined, having Golladay ruled out was far from ideal. Ahead of New York’s matchup with Los Angeles in Week 6, the Giants are hoping they can get Golladay, Shepard, and Slayton healthy. Kadarius Toney should continue playing a key role in the offense, given the ailing nature of the wide receivers on New York’s roster.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT)
There were signs of life from the offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5 as they were able to defeat the Denver Broncos at home. While Chase Claypool returned after a one-game absence from the offense, JuJu Smith-Schuster exited Sunday’s game early with a shoulder injury. Smith-Schuster was grimacing in pain as he came off the field and quickly made his way to the locker room. We’ll have to wait and see the diagnosis of Smith-Schuster’s injury before we know what to do with him in fantasy football, but the early indication is he’s heading to IR. Diontae Johnson and Claypool would see expanded workloads while James Washington would replace Smith-Schuster in three-wide-receiver sets. Najee Harris would also see a slight uptick in usage if Smith-Schuster misses time.
Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)
Christian McCaffrey sustained a hamstring injury in Week 3 against the Texans on Thursday Night Football. The Carolina Panthers refrained from placing him on injured reserve, and he was able to practice in a limited fashion ahead of Week 5. Seeing that McCaffrey could nearly play on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in Week 6 versus the Minnesota Vikings. If the Panthers elect to give him another week to heal, Chuba Hubbard will continue to handle the majority of the backfield touches for Carolina.
Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
Despite not practicing during the week leading up to Week 5 due to a sprained ankle, Joe Mixon started for the Bengals on Sunday against the Packers. Mixon saw a limited workload as he split the touches with Samaje Perine and Chris Evans. The talented running back still found the end zone on Sunday, even though he got only 11 touches. Given that Mixon was able to suit up and play in some capacity in Week 5 is a positive sign for his status entering Week 6. That said, Perine may cut into his usage as long as Mixon continues to battle an ankle injury.
Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN)
Dalvin Cook did everything he could to ensure that he would be active in Week 5, but the Vikings didn’t want to chance it. Cook has sustained two ankle injuries this season and has now missed two games for Minnesota. The Vikings are being cautious with their Pro Bowl running back, especially since they have a capable backup in Alexander Mattison. After nearing an opportunity to play on Sunday, we’ll have to pay close attention to his practice status this week. Cook could return to the field in Week 6 versus the Panthers if everything goes according to plan. But if Cook reaggravates the injury or is held out again, Mattison would see another heavy workload for the Vikings.
A.J. Brown (WR – TEN)
The Titans were without A.J. Brown and Julio Jones in their Week 4 loss to the New York Jets. While Jones was unable to return in Week 5, Brown made enough progress to return against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Brown would be on a snap count in Tennessee’s blowout win over Jacksonville, but seeing him return was a positive development. Following a limited snap share in Week 5, Brown could see his snaps increased in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.
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