Posted by Tom Christ

Week 5 Fantasy Football Injury Report

October 7, 2022

We are just about a quarter of the way through the regular season!  There is no shortage of players to discuss in the Week 5 Fantasy Football Injury Report.  Last week we saw high-profile players like Jonathan Taylor and Javonte Williams get injured, and this week we have several players looking to make a return to action after missing time.  Let’s look at the biggest names in football that are dealing with injuries.  As always, you can catch the Fantasy Injury Team podcast on Apple and Spotify for more information!


Tua Tagovailoa

We love our football, and there is no question about that.  But with football comes inherent dangers.  This was displayed Thursday night when the Miami Dolphins played the Cincinnati Bengals.  There was already controversy around Tua from the prior week when he suffered what looked like a head injury but was quickly allowed to return to the game.  

In the second quarter of Thursday night’s battle, Tua suffered a significant head injury leading to what is called “decorticate posturing,” aka the fencing reflex.  This is an involuntary motor reflex that occurs with a brain stem injury.  Luckily for Tua, he quickly regained control of his body, and this did not turn out to be a full-blown traumatic brain injury (TBI), but this postural response often indicates a true TBI.  Furthermore, if he suffered a concussion the prior Sunday, there is no way that this concussion was fully healed.  A second concussion, on top of a pre-existing concussion, significantly magnifies the severity of the second concussion.  
This week’s interview on the Fantasy Injury Team podcast went into more detail about this type of concussion, the expected recovery, and the rehab process for this type of injury.  Concussion specialist Andrew Tear-Ketter expects Tua to miss several weeks as he recovers.

Daniel Jones

Jones exited partway through Sunday’s game against Chicago with a left ankle injury, though he did return after backup Tyrod Taylor left with a concussion. Jones practiced on Wednesday this week, and video’s seen on Twitter showed him moving around well.

Since Jones is a right-handed quarterback, he must generate his power to throw by pushing off his right foot.  With this being his left foot, power generation should not be an issue.  The potential issue would be the weight shift to his left foot during his follow-through.  If still in pain come Sunday, this could cause issues with the follow-through, leading to occasional inaccurate throws.  However, based on the practice video from Wednesday, he does not appear to be in much pain at this time, and it is unlikely this injury will hinder him much.

Jameis Winston

Winston sat out the London against Minnesota this past week due to multiple fractures in his lumbar spine. Jameis battled through this in the two previous games but was clearly struggling due to pain, as his average fantasy points per game dropped to 13.6. Dalton is a capable multi-week fill-in for Winston, and New Orleans may consider letting Jameis continue to rest until he is ready to play.

Back pain can alter a thrower’s ability to generate power and maintain accuracy. This is due to the force transfer to create the throwing motion. Force always starts from the ground up. A thrower pushes off their back leg, and the force transfers through the back via rotation and finally into the shoulder, arm, and hand. Pain can limit an athlete’s willingness to rotate, thus reducing both power and accuracy. 

Mac Jones

Jones participated in what is described as a “scaled-back practice” as he recovers from a left high-ankle sprain that initially described as serious.  Video from Wednesday’s practice shows Jones lightly throwing with the other QBs, and you can see he is limping as he is quick to get off his left foot when he is walking. 

The challenge for Jones will be his ability to navigate the pocket and be stable during the follow-through.  As mentioned above with Daniel Jones, a right-handed thrower will shift most of their weight onto the left foot during the follow-through.  Therefore, their left foot must be very stable to take on this rapid weight shift; otherwise, accuracy is in jeopardy.  With Jones clearly showing he is not ready to accept full weight during walking, which is a much less strenuous action than throwing, Jones is not close to 100% yet.  To further support this, NFL Networks Mike Girardi reported that Jones still has “a fair bit of instability” in his ankle. I would not expect Jones to play this week; if he does, he will be far from 100%. 

Dak Prescott

Prescott is not likely to play in week 5, but a week six return is likely.  

Typical bone healing takes 4-6 weeks; however, the fracture that Dak had to his thumb was managed via surgery, which provides significant stability, reducing the chance for a re-fracture. The challenge will be his ability to grip and manipulate the ball properly, which Jerry Jones has stated Dak is not able to do well enough. Prescott had stitches removed last Monday but was still dealing with typical swelling, stiffness, and weakness.

Swelling, stiffness, and weakness will always occur after surgery. The swelling and immobilization of the joint that typically follows surgery lead to stiffness. When a muscle is not being used, it gets weak, fast!

Prescott is rehabbing and should have a good chance to play in week six against the division-rival Eagles.  The best comparisons we have are Drew Brees, who returned in 5 weeks from a thumb ligament surgery, and Russell Wilson, who returned in 3 weeks from finger surgery last year. Brees returned to form right away, scoring 25.9 fantasy points, while Wilson struggled, scoring 7.6 and 8.5 in his first two games. 

Zack Wilson

Wilson was limited in practice on Wednesday due to an ankle injury.  It is unclear which ankle was injured, but it appears minor and is not a concern now.

As expected, Wilson looked fully recovered from his meniscus injury suffered in the preseason.  The former second-overall pick looks to prove his worth this year with a suddenly loaded Jets offense. 

Tom Brady

The GOAT missed practice Wednesday with a right shoulder and finger injury.  Brady never practices on Wednesdays, so we will have to continue to monitor this situation.  Depending on the severity, a right shoulder and finger injury can impact his throwing mechanics.  Practice reports Thursday and Friday should give us more insight. 

Running Backs

D’Andre Swift

Swift sat out last week’s shoot-out due to ankle and shoulder injuries. Ankle sprains have a high recurrence. Swift himself has injured this ankle twice now, just a quarter of the way through the season. Recurring ankle sprains often lead to chronic stiffness in the ankle, potentially altering mechanics up the chain into the knee, hip, low back, and even the opposite shoulder. A chronically stiff ankle loses its ability to absorb shock when the athlete strikes the ground. This increases force into the knee, hip, and lower back.

Additionally, there is a neural connection from the ankle’s dorsiflexion motion (ankle bending upward) to activating the glute muscles. Therefore ankle stiffness contributes to a weakening the glute muscles, which creates all sorts of problems. These issues can and certainly are being managed as well as possible by Detroit’s medical staff to prevent these issues from occurring.

We see running backs fantasy points drop by an average of 2.4 points in the first game returned from an ankle sprain, and only 29% meet or exceed their pre-injury average in the first game. An apparent decline, however, this season Swift has already been part of the 29% as in week two, he out-performed his average while returning from an ankle injury suffered in week 1. Swift’s shoulder injury is less concerning from a performance standpoint.  Sure it can be re-injured, but with it being an upper-body injury, it would not impact his athleticism. 

Jonathan Taylor

Taylor has already been ruled out for Thursday night’s game with a high ankle sprain.  High ankle sprains will create a gap between the two shin bones, the tibia and the fibula.  This gapping makes the ankle less rigid, making it harder to produce power when cutting.  With less severe high ankle sprains, this gaping does not impact an athlete much.  It is hard to tell at this point how severe Taylor’s injury is, but he will likely don a brace or heavy tape to help approximate the tibia and fibula to correct the gap formation from the sprain.

Running backs, surprisingly, do not see much of a decline in fantasy stats when they return from a high ankle sprain.  They average missing 2.2 games, but this can vary widely, scoring only 1.1 points below their pre-injury average in the first game back, with 35% able to meet or exceed their pre-injury average. When Taylor is back in the lineup, I expect him to be an elite option right away. 

Alvin Kamara

Despite logging a 70% snap rate in week three and with no reported setbacks to his rib injury, Kamara missed week four against Minnesota due to the injury. This will be one that we truly have to monitor throughout the week. While rib injuries are unlikely to impact a running back’s performance when on the field, they may continue to rest Kamara until he heals more or put him on a snap count.

Similar to Swift, Kamara historically can produce with a smaller volume. If he is reportedly on a snap restriction, that does not necessarily mean he can’t be started in fantasy. Kamara plays Seattle’s 4th worst rush defense this week. 

Javonte Williams

What an unfortunate injury for an up-and-coming superstar!  The 22-year-old suffered a significant knee injury diagnosed as an ACL tear and a posterior lateral corner injury.  NFL fans all know what an ACL tear is, but what is a posterior lateral corner injury? The posterior lateral corner describes the back-outside portion of the knee.  The PCL, the LCL, and the lateral meniscus meet together in this region.  With a posterior lateral corner injury, these structures are typically injured and require repair.  While we don’t have clearly defined reports stating that all of the structures named earlier were injured, the term posterior lateral corner injury typically does indicate this.

This type of injury carries a very long recovery.  Each injured structure slows down the rehab process significantly.  For example, if the meniscus is injured and needs repairing, he will not be able to bear weight on that leg for 4-6 weeks!  This leads to significant weakness in the entire leg.  The process of regaining range of motion also is slowed down significantly when multiple structures are healing.  The closest example is J.K. Dobbins, who suffered an ACL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring injury in the preseason of 2021.  It took Dobbins 56 weeks to return to the NFL field after an injury.  If the same timeline holds for Williams, it will be weeks 8-9 of next season that he returns.

David Montgomery

Montgomery could not play in week four due to an injury that was vaguely reported as a high ankle sprain. High ankle sprains can impact a runner’s ability to create power when pushing through their leg to cut. In Montgomery’s case, however, it did not appear his injury was very severe as he was close to playing last week.

Historically, RBs miss 2.2 games and see a mild decline in fantasy points (1.1) when they return, with 35% meeting or exceeding their pre-injury fantasy average in the first game. They quickly return to baseline, nearly 60% meeting or exceeding pre-injury fantasy points by weeks 2-3. These numbers are not very daunting, particularly for a player whose team has the third most rushing attempts this season. 

Brian Robinson

Robinson is off the IR a little over a month after suffering non-fatal gunshot wounds to the lower extremity. Rivera believes that Robinson will not only be ready to play soon but will be productive.

It was never made clear where exactly Robinson was shot, the depth of the bullet, or any other details about the wound, making it hard to gauge how affected he would be. We can tell that his quick return likely means his muscles, bones, and nerves were not severely impacted. With that assumption, I see no reason he would have a much lasting functional impact from the gunshots.

It will be interesting to see what kind of role Robinson takes on when he gets back on the field. Starter Antionio Gibson is averaging an unimpressive 3.3 yards per carry, leaving plenty of opportunity for the rookie. 

Cordarelle Patterson

Patterson was placed on the IR on Monday due to an undisclosed knee injury putting the 31-year-old RB out for at least the next four weeks. While the diagnosis of his injury is unclear, Atlanta did mention that he underwent a “minor medical procedure.” This could be several things, including a meniscus debridement similar to Zack Wilson,  draining swelling out of the knee, an injection, or many others.

The good news is that no tissues are being repaired. There is a significant rehab process with any ACL, PCL, meniscus repair, or tibial plateau fracture. Clearly, none of these procedures took place. In his absence, look for rookie Tyler Allgier, Caleb Huntley, and Damian Williams coming off a rib injury, to compete for touches in the Atlanta backfield. 

Wide Receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown

Detroit’s star receiver, who before missing week 4 owned 33% of the Lion’s passing yards, missed practice Wednesday as he continues to recover from an ankle injury. 

Ankle injuries affect lateral quickness, which could impact Brown’sowns route running and run after the catch. Despite the mechanical impact on running and cutting,  WRs only average a modest decline of 0.8 fantasy points in their first game after an ankle sprain, and 42% have no trouble meeting or exceeding pre-injury scoring. If St. Brown plays, he remains a must-start. 

Treylon Burks

Burks is expected to miss a few games as he deals with a turf toe injury.  Initial reports suggested the Titan’s rookie could end up on the IR, but this does not appear to be the case now. 

Turf toe can be tricky.  It’s an injury to the ligaments or tendons on the underside of the big toe.  When we run, the big toe must undergo up to 90 degrees of toe extension (toe pointing up towards the shin).  This stretches and stresses these ligaments and tendons.  Not only does this hurt, but the integrity of these ligaments and tendons is paramount for the foot’s ability to push off the ground with significant force.  This is why we often see players moving slowly if they return too soon and also why we see this injury linger.

With initial suspicion of IR, I expect this is a moderate-severity injury, and Tennessee would be wise not to rush back their first-round pick.  When Burks does return, fantasy players should wait and see how he looks before putting him in their lineups. 

Jahan Dotson

Dotson, who has four touchdowns on the season, will miss a few games due to a hamstring injury sustained in week 4. Dotson has been a big part of Washington’s offense so far, and fantasy owners have been pleased by the early production.

Hamstring injuries are frustrating. Research shows that a previous hamstring injury increases the risk of a second one by 2.7 times, especially when returning too soon. Hamstrings are the most common injury in football and most commonly occur with wide receivers. The frequency is because the load on the hamstring muscles increases dramatically when a runner increases speed from 80%-100% of a sprint, which wide receivers do more than any other position.

Dotson is expected to miss 1-2 weeks, indicating it is likely a grade I injury, much less severe than it could be. On average, WRs miss 1.8 games and struggle in their first game after injury averaging 2.5 points below their pre-injury average, with only 28% meeting or exceeding their pre-injury average. This begins to normalize after 2-3 weeks.

Tee Higgins

There are conflicting reports for Higgins, some saying the star receiver has a knee injury, some saying an ankle injury.  Either way, no reports suggest anything serious, and Higgins did participate in practice Wednesday.  As long as there are no set backs, he should be full-go on Sunday against Baltimore’s last-ranked passing defense

Chris Godwin

Godwin enters game two post hamstring injury and game three post ACL injury. The bad news for Godwin is he is still at higher risk for re-injury of either of these injuries. The good news is that wide receivers begin to return to their baseline fantasy production in the second and third games back from these injuries. In games 2-3 after an ACL tear, WRs improve from averaging 4.7 points below pre-injury average to 1.7 points below pre-injury average, and in games 2-3 after a hamstring injury WRs improve from averaging 2.5 points below pre-injury average to 0.8 points below pre-injury average.

These numbers suggest better days ahead for the reliable receiver. But fantasy managers must be aware that he remains at an elevated risk for injury from these injuries. 

Rashad Bateman

Bateman is dealing with a mid-foot injury, often termed a Lisfranc injury.  Let’s not get confused here; the term Lisfranc is not always as severe as Travis Etienne or basketball player Chet Holmgren.  Remember, there is a wide range of severity for each injury.  In Etienne and Holmgren’s case, their injury needed surgery.  Similar to Najee Harris, Batemans does not.

The mid-foot injury could, however impact Bateman’s speed and agility.  Lateral agility, in particular, requires the foot to rotate into pronation and supination.  Part of these two motions occurs in the mid-foot, therefore stressing the injured region.  As we know, pain inhibits function.  Therefore if Bateman is still dealing with pain or inflammation in the mid-foot, I would expect some decline in his lateral agility.  If minor, though, it may not be enough of a hindrance to impact his game.  Monitoring practice reports will be very important for Batemans week five outlook. 

Michael Thomas

Thomas missed Sunday’s game in London due to a toe injury. He missed Wednesday’s practice and will be one to follow throughout the week. Thomas was close to playing last week, making us believe he can be ready to go against Seattle’s defense which is currently 4th worst in the league against the pass.

If Thomas plays, his toe injury may impact his speed and agility, but Thomas does not rely on speed or elite athleticism. His game is built on elite route running, using his size and his spectacular hands. Even if he is slightly slower, I would not expect his game to be affected very much. 

Julio Jones

Jones missed weeks two and three due to a PCL injury. Julio re-aggravated that injury at the beginning of the second half and did not return for the rest of the game.

Jones logged a limited practice Wednesday, a good sign for his ability to take the field this week. However, this type of injury can linger. The PCL won’t actually heal; instead, “recovery” from this injury is managing pain and swelling. Both of these can recur anytime during the season. Because of this, Julio will be tricky to gauge his effectiveness this season. It will be wise to continue to follow the Tampa Bay reporters, but Julio has never been one to practice much during the week. 

DJ Chark

Chark missed last week due to an ankle injury and did not practice to start this week. Quarterback Jarad Goff and the Lion’s passing game have exceeded expectations this season, making Chark somewhat interesting if he plays.

Fantasy players should know that WRs see only a minimal decline in fantasy stats in the first game after an ankle sprain, with an average of 0.8 points below their pre-injury average and 42% meeting or exceeding their pre-injury average.

Tight Ends

Kyle Pitts

What a frustrating start to his season!  The talented tight end missed practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury. Perhaps this helps explain why Pitts only played 62% of snaps last week, or not.

Pitts is great because of his athleticism. At his pro-day, he ran a blazing 4.4 40-meter dash time, and this top-end speed is precisely what a hamstring injury impacts. When a runner accelerates their sprint from 80-100%, the load on the hamstring increases dramatically. This is likely why we see WRs and TEs are more impacted than RBs from hamstring injuries. RBs must run very fast but rarely reach top-end speed, whereas route runners frequently hit close to their peak speed. Tight ends average 1.8 points below their pre-injury average in the first game after a hamstring injury, with 36% meeting or exceeding their baseline. 

Dalton Schultz

Schultz put up a goose egg last week in his return from a PCL injury. The good news is he was on the field for 90% of snaps. There are no reported setbacks, and fantasy players can hope for better days ahead. As mentioned above with Julio, Schultz could continue to see his knee injury flare back up throughout the season. Still, there are not many better TE options on the waiver wire.

Cameron Brate

Brate is in the concussion protocol. We will have to monitor reports out of Tampa to see if he can go next week. Regardless, Brate has not shown much fantasy value this year. 

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