At first glance, fans were right to fear the worst. But the Raiders eased concerns by tweeting today that Heyward-Bey was released from the hospital after being treated for a neck strain and concussion. The team believes the speedy wideout should make a full recovery, which is the best news of all.
While it's good to see Heyward-Bey taking steps in the right direction already, fantasy owners can feel safe releasing him after a slow start to the season even before the injury. He's too inconsistent to rely on as a starter.
It's unclear how his combination of injuries will keep him out of the Raiders lineup, but the NFL is taking concussions more seriously than ever. He won't be cleared until he's fully recovered from the head injury.
Heyward-Bey has made just nine catches for 98 yards and one touchdown through three weeks. It's certainly not the type of production fantasy owners were expecting after his strong finish to last season, when he became worth owning.
The Raiders offense relies mainly on running back Darren McFadden. Not only does he lead the team in rushing, but he's also one of the most targeted players in the passing game. That takes away catches from receivers like Heyward-Bey.
Denarius Moore has also emerged as a popular target for Carson Palmer. He led the team with five catches against the Steelers and seems to have taken over as the team's go-to receiver—another piece of bad news for Heyward-Bey.
At this point, there simply isn't enough upside to keep him on fantasy rosters. Nobody knows when he'll get back on the field at full strength, and even when he does return, his numbers won't warrant a starting spot.
It's better to cut him loose now and go after a waiver-wire option like Ramses Barden than to wait on Heyward-Bey and get inconsistent production. He hasn't shown enough to pass on a potential impact player to keep him on a roster.
The Raiders offense clearly has bigger priorities than getting him the ball, and the offense isn't explosive enough to own the team's No. 2 wide receiver.
Pick up a free agent with some upside instead. Heyward-Bey should still be available if you want him back at a later date, anyway.