As always seems to be the case there were plenty of injuries during Week 5 of the NFL season. Which are the most important for fantasy owners to be aware of? Let’s take a look:
6) Chris Johnson – Running Back – Tennessee Titans
According to Jim Wyatt (via Twitter):
“Munchak said Chris Johnson should be back for Texans game after hamstring tightness Sunday”.
It’s a situation that is worth monitoring, but it doesn’t seem like one that is concerning for fantasy owners especially with the Titans on a bye for Week 6. Monitor the situation, just in case, but it appears like he’s going to be a safe play in Week 7.
Johnson has been playing better of late, rushing for 152 yards and 1 TD on 37 carries over the past two weeks. Keep in mind that his Week 5 performance (51 yards rushing) was limited by a blowout (they lost 38-17) and the injury.
5) Ryan Mathews – Running Back – San Diego Chargers
The Chargers likely caught a break that their bye week is coming up, because it will give both Mathews (calf) and Mike Tolbert (concussion) a chance to heal without having to miss any time. According to Scott Bair of the North County Times (click here for the article):
“Mathews remained productive despite early injuries. He had a career-high 125 yards on 24 carries. His injuries, just like Tolbert, aren’t expected to affect his playing status for the Oct. 23 game at the New York Jets following next week’s bye.”
It is something that needs to be monitored given Mathews' injury history, but for now it appears like he has avoided a serious issue. Thus far in 2011 Mathews has rushed for 413 yards and 3 TD while adding 20 receptions for 261 yards. If healthy he’s a lock as a RB2, at worst, so continue to monitor the situation.
Obviously Tolbert is the second in line if Mathews is unable to go, with Jacob Hester being the third option. However, with the bye week, I would expect Mathews to be fine for Week 7.
4) Mario Williams – Defensive End – Houston Texans
The Texans’ defense has quietly been emerging as a solid play in all formats. Unfortunately, with Williams out for the season due to a torn pectoral muscle, that status seems impossible to maintain.
You have to wonder if a defense that has allowed just 19.0 points per game through five weeks will be able to replace the pressure he puts on opposing offenses. It goes without question that they won’t be able to replicate his presence.
Williams accounts for 5.0 sacks and a forced fumble. That’s one-third of the team’s sack total (15) for the year and 20 percent of their forced fumbles (5).
He is the marquee member of the team’s defense. While they may still be a viable option depending on the match-up, this loss quickly drops them from must use status. With the Ravens on the schedule for Week 6 fantasy owners will want to go to the waiver wire for a potential replacement.
3) Joseph Addai – Running Back – Indianapolis Colts
He left in the first quarter of Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury, with six carries for 19 yards. Delone Carter and Donald Brown took over the running back duties in his absence, though neither was overly impressive.
Sure, Brown had 38 yards on eightcarries, though it included one 16-yard run. Carter had an ugly line of 12 carries for 22 yards and 1 TD. Then again, it’s not like Addai had been impressive with 19 yards on six carries prior to the injury. In fact, he’s failed to break a run of more than 15 yards all year long.
It’s not like their Week 5 opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, have been a juggernaut against the run this season. They currently have allowed 119.6 rushing yards/game, putting them in the bottom half of the league.
So, if Addai is unable to play in Week 6 against the Bengals, would Carter or Brown be recommended options? Not likely, considering the issues they had in Week 5 and how good the Bengals have actually been (88.6 rushing yards/game). While Cincinnati has also been good against the pass (191.0 passing yards/game), Curtis Painter and the passing attack figures to get the bigger boost in value.
2) Julio Jones – Wide Receiver – Atlanta Falcons
While Michael Turner has been able to find the end zone of late, he really has not been producing on the ground. Over the past three games he has 146 yards rushing on 53 carries which translates to 2.8 yards/carry.
The team needs to keep its passing game intact in order to succeed, so seeing Julio Jones finish Week 5 on the sidelines with a hamstring injury has got to be a major concern. Sure, he wasn’t producing as expected prior to the injury, and he hasn’t found the end zone this season, but he can’t correct either of those issues if he isn’t playing.
Jones had posted back-to-back 100-plus yard games in Weeks 3 and 4 and provided another weapon for Matt Ryan and opposing defenses to pay attention to. If he’s not there, defenses will be able to tighten up on Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.
While we aren’t going to downgrade the other options, monitor the news closely. Obviously everyone would be better off if Jones is in the lineup.
1) LeGarrette Blount – Running Back – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
According to Stephen Holder of the St. Petersburg Times (click here for the post):
“Asked whether Blount could have returned to the game, coach Raheem Morris said, “I just listen to what my doctors tell me. I know he didn’t come back. He was icing down. Healthy men have to play. That was Kregg Lumpkin and Allen Bradford when we pulled (Earnest Graham) out of there.”
It apparently was a knee injury that kept Blount from returning to the game, and with the team not yet commenting about his status, fantasy owners have got to be concerned. You will want to be prepared for life without Blount, just in case.
As for the potential replacements, the Buccaneers are set to face the New Orleans Saints. They have been middle of the road against the run thus far (107.6 rushing yards/game), but none of the options Tampa Bay has is up to the level of Maurice Jones-Drew or DeAngelo Williams. Barring good news on Blount, this is going to be a situation to avoid.
Like I said, those are far from the only injuries from Week 5. Which other ones have caught your attention?
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