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Fantasy Football Injury Analysis: D’Andre Swift, George Kittle, JK Dobbins + More (Week 2)

D'Andre Swift

The expectation for D’Andre Swift is that he will play and play well.

SO MANY INJURIES, so I’m Dr. Deepak Chona here to break them down prior to Week 2. As always, hit us up on Twitter @SportMDAnalysis and @FantasyPros for questions!

D’Andre Swift (RB – DET)

Questionable with an ankle, we’d highly expect Swift to play. Even though he missed practices this week, low ankle sprains don’t typically hurt RB performance on the stat sheet, so I’d plan to start Swift if he’s on my roster.

George Kittle (TE – SF)

He’s back at practice, but we’d still expect Kittle to sit in Week 2 and return in Week 3. A grade 2 groin strain (assuming that report was accurate) rarely takes less than 2 weeks for tight ends and WRs to return from, and there’s a high rate of re-injury if he rushes back too quickly. It looks like a true game-time decision, but I’m anticipating an inactive listing in the pre-game reports.

JK Dobbins (RB – BAL)

This is looking like the week for Dobbins to return, but we’re avoiding him in all formats because you’d expect a progressive ramp-up in workload. Otherwise, you risk seeing what happened to Chris Godwin last Sunday. SportsMedAnalytics projects the workload limits to come off by Week 6 and Dobbins to look like 85% of his peak self by ~Week 9.

Kenneth Walker (RB – SEA)

Walker is very likely to play and to be a high percentage of what he was pre-injury. Abdominal and hernia-like groin procedures don’t result in much of a performance dip. The main question is the opportunity, but I’m encouraged that he’ll be start-able in the coming weeks once his role is better defined.

Mike Evans (WR – TB)

Very high likelihood that Evans plays. He’s commonly been on the injury report but is generally able to perform. Calf injuries have minor effects on WR performance (~10% decreases), but his playing style as an imposing, physical WR should help resist that trend. Starting him with confidence.

Najee Harris (RB – PIT)

Harris is off the injury report, but even before the Week 1 incident, Najee’s original Lisfranc (foot) sprain was still projected to be affecting his performance this week. Expect him to play, but do expect a production dip and elevated re-injury risk. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Jaylen Warren get extra touches out of the Steelers backfield.

Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)

Battling a rib injury that has kept him out of practice twice this week, Kamara still has a chance to play Sunday. The injury is all about pain control, so if he’s able to get on the field, data suggests his performance shouldn’t be heavily impacted. But be warned – one big hit could worsen the injury drastically, so it’s not safe to bank on the typical Kamara production. Keep a close eye on pre-game inactive lists and have a backup plan ready in the >50% chance that he doesn’t play.

Michael Pittman (WR – IND)

Sounds from coach Frank Reich that Pittman is likely to play, but I’m doing my best to avoid starting him. Quad strains less than a week out from injury for WRs tend to cause decreases in production and have high rates of re-injury. If he’s on your year-long roster, you may not have a lot of better options, but I’m passing in DFS formats.

*Update: Pittman has been ruled out

Justin Herbert (QB – LAC)

The fracture of the rib cartilage is SUPER painful. It’s not dangerous to play, but pain control is the key. The average time missed is ~2 weeks, but working hugely in Herbert’s favor is the 10-day recovery period between his injury and Week 3. Herbert will likely try a numbing injection to help get through this. We’ll have to monitor practice reports closely, but at this point, I’d anticipate a good chance of playing Week 3.

Chris Godwin (WR – TB)

The average hamstring strain takes WRs 3 weeks to return, but given that Chris Godwin just came off of the ACL, I’d expect them to take it slowly. Projecting return to the field ~Week 5-6, but he should return at close to pre-injury performance levels. At the end of the season, Godwin is still on track to look like a WR1-2.

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Tee Higgins (WR – CIN)

Expect Higgins to play without restrictions. Wide receivers coming off of concussions tend to bounce right back to pre-injury form, so I’m starting Higgins with confidence.

Jameis Winston (QB – NO)

QBs have high rates of playing through back injuries, even when listed as questionable or limited in practice. I’d expect Jameis to be out there and to look mostly like his pre-injury self. Do keep in mind that a big hit here could make this situation a lot worse.

Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)

Jerry Jones saying Dak may come back from thumb surgery on his throwing hand in 4 weeks feels outlandish. Aggressive return timelines are still 5-6 weeks, which is how long Drew Brees took. Anticipate Week 7-8 for Prescott’s return, with him probably not playing at full strength until their Week 10 showdown with the Packers.

Julio Jones (WR – TB)

Returning to practice Friday is a good sign that Jones will suit up. He’s often been injured, but we’d be more concerned if he was battling a hamstring strain, which is what kept him out the last 2 years. This status needs monitoring on the pre-game reports but would lean towards Julio being available at close to the normal performance level.

Keenan Allen (WR – LAC)

As expected, Allen missed Week 2 with a hamstring. The average hamstring takes 3 weeks for WRs, but we’re hearing his described as mild. Therefore, we’d project a Week 3 return at 90% of the pre-injury performance level. There is a ~20% re-aggravation rate for WRs in the first few weeks back, but if he avoids that risk, then he should be fine to return to your starting lineups.

Leonard Fournette (RB – TB)

Fournette is no stranger to the injury report, but this time I’d expect him to play. There is a relatively high re-aggravation rate for hamstring strains only 1 week after injury, so buyer beware. But, 3 limited practices in a row this week suggest that Fournette is on track for a nearly normal workload.

Kadarius Toney (WR – NYG)

A re-aggravation of a training camp hamstring strain doesn’t sound promising for Toney. He’s a true game-time decision, but I’d lean towards benching him either way, given that the injury just occurred this Thursday in practice. More likely expecting him to play Week 3, but still at only 80-90% of the pre-injury level.

Van Jefferson (WR – LAR)

Still out of practice with McVay calling him “week to week,” Jefferson does not look like he’ll be on the field very soon. It’s not totally surprising, given that he had two off-season knee surgeries, with the latest one being during training camp. Worth a buy-low stash for later if you have an empty IR spot, but I wouldn’t be looking for him to play at all before Week 5-6.

Mark Ingram (RB – NO)

Limited all week in practice with an ankle issue, Ingram is still likely to play. RBs don’t tend to miss games for low ankle sprains, and they don’t generally cause much of a performance decline either.

Wan’Dale Robinson (WR – NYG)

Robinson has been ruled out and didn’t practice at all this week. That suggests that coach Daboll and the Giants have been less than totally forthcoming about the seriousness of the injury. Most knee sprains for WRs take ~3 weeks, so I’d be looking for Robinson to be back on the practice field late next week or the week after in limited capacity.

Dontrell Hilliard (RB – TEN)

Hilliard is listed as questionable, but I’d lean heavily towards him sitting this week. Hamstrings for RBs usually progress through ~3 limited practices before they take the field. Look for Week 3-4 as the more likely return.

Brevin Jordan (TE – HOU)

I’d lean towards Brevin Jordan playing through this ankle injury, but he’s a case where you’ll need to watch the pre-game reports to know for sure. If he’s out there, don’t expect too much impact by the injury on his performance.

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If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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