Fantasy Football 2020: Latest Injury News and Expert Reaction

Jake RillSenior Writer IAugust 26, 2020

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams runs during an NFL football camp practice Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

With just more than two weeks until the start of the 2020 NFL season, it's likely that your fantasy football league's draft is coming up quickly, if it hasn't already taken place. Either way, now is a good time to closely monitor injury updates to find out which players may not be smart choices to utilize.

Injuries also create opportunities for other players to step up into larger roles. So, while you may not have any of these injured players on your roster, there could be fill-in players who will be available in the late rounds of the draft (or on the waiver wire) and may be valuable additions.

As the NFL and fantasy football seasons quickly approach, here's a look at several noteworthy injuries around the league and some fantasy implications.


Where would targets go in Williams' absence?

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams may not be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero (h/t NFL.com's Kevin Patra), Williams is "expected to miss two to four weeks with his shoulder injury suffered this week in practice." 

Last season, Williams continued to improve, becoming a strong No. 2 receiving option alongside Keenan Allen in the Chargers' offense. In 15 games, Williams had a career-high 1,001 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns.

With Allen, tight end Hunter Henry and running back Austin Ekeler also on the field for Los Angeles, it's possible that many of the targets that would go Williams' way could be distributed among them if Williams misses time. Another name to watch could be second-year wide receiver Jalen Guyton.

"We need to get more speed on the field," Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn recently said about his team's No. 3 receiver battle, per Gilbert Manzano of the Orange County Register.

Guyton would bring speed on the outside for the Chargers, although he may still be just somebody to closely watch rather than draft in fantasy. As Mike Maher of FantasyPros puts it, "Add him to your scout team for now and monitor his development throughout the rest of training camp."


Will Sanders be set for Week 1?

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

It's not clear exactly what Miles Sanders injured, but the Philadelphia Eagles announced last week that the running back is week-to-week with a "lower-body injury." However, it may not end up being a huge concern, as ESPN's Tim McManus recently reported that Philadelphia is aiming to be "smart and cautious" in trying to have Sanders ready for Week 1 against Washington.

Chris Towers of CBS Sports believes that fantasy owners should still be fine to take Sanders early in the draft. The 23-year-old rushed for 818 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games last year as a rookie, and he could be poised for an even bigger year in 2020 if he stays healthy.

"There doesn't seem to be much reason to panic as of now—Sanders is still a viable early-round pick, though maybe now he moves to the back half of the second round," Towers wrote.

However, Towers also noted that Boston Scott should be on fantasy owners' radars. After rushing for 245 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games last season, Scott could be a good handcuff to have in case anything happens to Sanders, either with this current injury or something else down the road.


Williams to play through torn labrum

The option was available for Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams to undergo season-ending surgery on his shoulder, but it's not the path he's going to take. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Williams will rehab for a few weeks and then attempt to play through the injury this season.

With this development, Williams could be a risky fantasy play this year, because perhaps he could end up getting shut down if the injury worsens. But even if Williams only misses a short time, it could still provide opportunities for other receivers to make an impression heading into the season.

"While he’s out, that should open the door for wideouts such as Bryan Edwards to make headway," The Athletic's Tashan Reed recently wrote. "That could have implications going into the season."

Edwards is entering his rookie year after he was selected by Las Vegas in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft. The former South Carolina standout is part of a Raiders receiving corps that also includes fellow rookie Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones.