Three weeks into the season is around the time we start to better understand which teams are primed to excel and which ones may struggle throughout the course of the campaign. That is very apparent as clear-cut tiers are beginning to take shape across the landscape. At the conclusion of Week 3, there will be just three undefeated teams remaining in the NFL: the Dolphins, 49ers, and either the Eagles or Buccaneers.
On the flip side, some teams who had mixed expectations going into the season look like they’re going to dwell on the bottom throughout, such as the 1-2 Jets, 0-3 Broncos, 1-2 Cardinals, 0-3 Vikings and 0-3 Bears. Any real predictions made can surely be chucked out the window at this point in time, as it is clear we are in for another roller coaster of a season with unknowns throughout.
What is known is that injuries will pile up all year long, and they are going to remain brutal. We had another round of decimating ailments hit during Week 3’s afternoon slate that I’ll breakdown here:
- Waiver Wire Picks
- Weekly Fantasy Football Expert Rankings
- Fantasy Football Start/Sit Advice
- Fantasy Football Trade Tools
NFL Injury Updates & Fantasy Football Impact
Most of the world saw what happened on last week’s “Monday Night Football.” But if you happen to be living under a rock, RB Nick Chubb went down with a gruesome leg injury that will cost him the season. Although this injury occurred in Week 2, I felt the need to touch on it here, as it occurred post-last week’s injury report article. You can’t help but feel bad for Chubb, who injured the same leg back similarly back in college. The good news is that the injury will ultimately not threaten his career.
Fantasy Impact: Chubb’s void leaves an obvious blow to fantasy managers who likely expended a late first-round pick on him this offseason. Backup RB Jerome Ford has already proven he can handle a feature-back workload, and he did so by scoring twice against Tennessee in Week 3. Hopefully, if you had been rostering Chubb, you also had his next-in-line handcuff on your bench as well. Despite Cleveland re-signing Kareem Hunt last week, it sounds like Ford will continue to handle the bulk of the carries going forward. He should be able to return solid RB2 value for as long as he remains the lead runner.
Just prior to publication, Mike Williams was diagnosed with an ACL tear following a play against the Vikings on Sunday. He will be out for the remainder of the season. It is a brutal blow to a player who simply cannot stay healthy, regardless of his situation on the field. Williams had been cooking against Minnesota before going down, hauling in seven of eight targets for 121 yards and a score.
Fantasy Impact: Williams’ absence, in theory, should open up an abundance of snaps for rookie WR Quentin Johnston going forward. I feel a bit more inclined to look past Josh Palmer, who is a serviceable but not splashy receiver in his own right and also does not play the same style of football as Williams. Johnston, on the other hand, is as close to a prototype as there can be when it comes to “Big Mike.” Coming in with a strong frame at 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, the Chargers will have no choice but to give their first-round receiver a ton more snaps going forward. He needs to be owned in fantasy leagues across the board as the situation in Los Angeles plays out.
Another debilitating injury to the fantasy football landscape (and New Orleans fans across the globe) was Saints’ QB Derek Carr going down hard on his throwing shoulder against the Packers on Sunday. He is believed to have suffered an injury to his AC joint, which could force him into missing an extended period of time. The good news is that the injury is not expected to be season-ending after tests concluded a sprain was the most likely diagnosis.
Fantasy Impact: If Carr will miss multiple weeks (and it sounds like he is likely to), all Saints’ pass-catching options need to be significantly downgraded for fantasy purposes. Backup QB Jameis Winston will be the next man up, but New Orleans will almost certainly attempt to pivot to a more run-heavy approach while involving QB/TE hybrid Taysom Hill in a multitude of situations. WR Chris Olave will likely remain safe as a WR2, given his propensity to produce regardless of who is throwing him the ball. However, receivers like Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed are certain to become question marks. Ideally, Carr only misses a week or two and can get back on the field sooner rather than later.
- All eyes will be on Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow on Monday night as he attempts to give it a go against the Rams following an 0-2 start. Initial reports on the day are that the franchise cornerstone plans to be out there, and hopefully, he’ll get through the game without any more setbacks to his nagging calf injury.
- QB Patrick Mahomes declared himself fine following what looked to be an ankle injury suffered against the Bears on Monday. He should be good to go against the Jets in Week 4 as fantasy’s continued QB1.
- Ravens’ RB Gus Edwards suffered a concussion against the Colts in Week 3’s upset loss. His practice status will need to be monitored ahead of Week 4. If unable to go, Baltimore will likely be forced to roll out a nauseating rotation of Melvin Gordon and Kenyan Drake at RB.
- Raiders’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo got rolled up on pretty badly against Pittsburgh on Monday night but later returned to action. He has since entered the NFL concussion protocol. His status will be worth watching at practice ahead of Week 4.