Week 3 Fantasy Injury Worry-O-Meter: Lamar Jackson, Dalvin Cook, Tee Higgins & More

Week 3 Fantasy Injury Worry-O-Meter: Lamar Jackson, Dalvin Cook, Tee Higgins & More article feature image
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Todd Olszewski/Getty Images. Pictured: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson.

Week 2 was a bloodbath for injuries, which means a crowded Week 3 injury report. Star running backs Dalvin Cook and Josh Jacobs are banged up. Signal-callers Carson Wentz, Derek Carr and Ben Roethlisberger are all question marks. Receiver Antonio Brown is on the COVID-19/reserve list. And the entire 49ers backfield is dealing with some form of injury.

Below is a recap of injuries around the NFL to fantasy-relevant players that will help you set your lineups and dominate your leagues. I also included my very non-scientific “worry-o-meter,” which indicates on a scale of zero to five just how concerned I am about that player’s injury status when it comes to their Week 3 outlook.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens (hip, illness)

Jackson hasn’t been on the Ravens’ injury report this week, but did miss practice on Thursday while reportedly dealing with a stomach bug and a sore hip that he landed on during a front flip into the end zone. The hip could be a non-issue, with The Athletic reporting Jackson’s absence from practice was unrelated, but it is definitely worth monitoring. The stomach bug isn’t expect to impact his status come Sunday.

Next up on the depth chart is Tyler Huntley, a 2020 undrafted free agent from Utah. He has appeared in two NFL games in his career and completed three of five attempts for 15 yards and has 10 rushing attempts for 23 yards. If Huntley were to get the start, it would be a major downgrade for the entire Baltimore offense. Ty’Son Williams, Latavius Murray, Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews would all be much riskier plays for fantasy with significantly lower upside.

Worry-o-meter: 2 out of 5.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings (ankle)

Cook scared fantasy managers after suffering an ankle injury in Week 2 against the Cardinals. He briefly went to the injury tent, but ultimately returned to the game and finished with 24 touches for 148 all-purpose yards. He was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and head coach Mike Zimmer told the Star Tribunee he expects Cook will play in this week’s matchup against the Seahawks.

If Cook were to suffer a setback and be ruled inactive for Week 3, backup Alexander Mattison would benefit significantly and would be an RB2 play, especially against Seattle’s run defense.

Worry-o-meter: 2 out of 5.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders (toe, ankle)

Jacobs is dealing with a toe and ankle injury that sidelined him in Week 2. Head coach Jon Gruden told the media on Monday that Jacobs is “very questionable” to play in the team’s Week 3 matchup against the Dolphins. Jacobs was a non-participant in Wednesday’s practice, which doesn’t bode well for his availability.

If he were to miss the game, running backs Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber would get a bump in rankings with Drake more involved in the passing game.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers (knee)

Johnson was also a non-participant in Wednesday’s practice for the Steelers after suffering an injury scare in Week 2 against the Raiders. It appears he evaded a serious injury, and head coach Mike Tomlin told the media on Tuesday that Johnson’s knee injury is “looking better, not to be confused with great.”

Absent more information, it feels like a coin flip whether or not Johnson will be available for the team’s Week 3 divisional clash with the Bengals. Receivers Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster would be the biggest beneficiaries should Johnson miss time.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals (shoulder)

Higgins did not practice on Wednesday and is considered day-to-day with a shoulder injury, according to head coach Zac Taylor. This would be a major blow to the Bengals’ receiving corps given Higgins has seen the highest target share through two weeks. If he plays, consider him a WR2. If he sits out Week 3 against the Steelers, both Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd would get significant boosts and quarterback Joe Burrow would take a slight downgrade.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

Antonio Brown, WR, Buccaneers (COVID-19)

Brown was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list on Wednesday after testing positive for the virus. It’s worth noting that all the Buccaneers are vaccinated, which means Brown could theoretically play in Sunday’s game if he is asymptomatic and has two negative tests 24 hours apart. Head coach Bruce Arians did indicate that the team is preparing for Sunday’s road matchup against the Rams with or without Brown.

“We’ve got plenty of guys with a proven track record at that position,” Arians said on Wednesday.

Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski would likely see higher target shares if Brown misses the game. Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson could pick up more work as well, though neither are enticing for fantasy purposes.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers (shoulder)

Mitchell was one of four 49ers running backs to suffer injuries in the team’s Week 2 matchup against the Eagles. JaMycal Hasty suffered an ankle sprain and has already been ruled out for Week 3, Trey Sermon sustained a concussion on his very first NFL carry, Kyle Juszczyk briefly exited with a groin injury, and Mitchell suffered a shoulder injury. Mitchell sat out of practice on Wednesday, which is a bit concerning in regards to his Week 3 availability, though head coach Kyle Shanahan characterized the injury as a “stinger,” and is optimistic he will play this week versus the Packers.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

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Trey Sermon, RB, 49ers (concussion)

Sermon has had quite the start to his NFL career. He was a healthy scratch in Week 1 and seemingly lost his job to Elijah Mitchell. He was active in Week 2 with Raheem Mostert out for the year, but fumbled on his very first NFL carry and suffered a concussion in the process. The good news is Sermon practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday and Kyle Shanahan said he is “on a good path to play” in Week 3.

Worry-o-meter: 2 out of 5.

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders (ankle)

Carr is banged up with an ankle injury that has put his Week 3 availability in jeopardy. He practiced in full on Wednesday, however, and “is ready to go,” according to head coach Jon Gruden.

If he were to suffer a setback and miss the game, third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman would get the start with Marcus Mariota on injured reserve. It almost goes without saying that Peterman would be a massive downgrade for the entire offense, though it appears things are trending in a positive direction for Carr.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers (chest)

Roethlisberger is dealing with a left pectoral injury he suffered in Week 2 against the Raiders, which he said occurred early in the game. He didn’t miss a snap, however, and completed 27 of 40 attempts for 295 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Roethlisberger has not attempted a pass since Sunday and was a non-participant in Wednesday’s practice, though that is standard protocol for the veteran. He told the media he is doing “everything he can” to start against the Bengals this week.

Mason Rudolph is the team’s second-string quarterback, followed by Dwayne Haskins — either QB would be a downgrade for all of the Pittsburgh pass-catchers.

Worry-o-meter: 2 out of 5.

Carson Wentz, QB, Colts (ankles)

Wentz suffered two ankle sprains in Week 2 and may sit out the team’s Week 3 duel against the Titans. The team remains hopeful he can play — a decision that may come down to the wire on Sunday — but are preparing backup Jacob Eason and practice squad QB Brett Hundley if Wentz is a no-go.

Eason or Hundley would be palpable downgrades for the Colts’ pass-catchers, namely Michael Pittman Jr. and Jack Doyle.

Worry-o-meter: 4 out of 5.

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Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants (hip)

Golladay has been dealing with a hamstring injury since the preseason, and is now dealing with a hip injury, per the Giants’ latest injury report. It’s a major concern, considering the 2019 receiving touchdowns leader missed the majority of last season with hamstring and hip injuries.

Golladay seems to be the WR2 in this offense behind Sterling Shepard and has yet to produce much in terms of fantasy. If he misses the game, Shepard and Darius Slayton would get a slight boost (and potentially even rookie Kadarius Toney).

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Browns (knee)

Beckham suffered a torn ACL in Week 7 last season and hasn’t seen the playing field since then. He was a full-participant in practice on Wednesday, which is a positive indicator that he may make his season debut this week against the Bears. This is good news for the Browns, given they just had to put receiver Jarvis Landry on injured reserve with a MCL sprain. Even if he does play, I would temper expectations in his first game back, especially against Chicago’s tough defense.

If Beckham misses another week, expect more targets for players like Kareem Hunt, Austin Hooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

Evan Engram, TE, Giants (calf)

Engram has yet to play this season while dealing with a calf injury he suffered during Week 3 of the preseason. He did practice on a limited basis on Wednesday for the first time since the injury, which is a great sign for his progress and eventual return.

“He’s still progressing, moving in the right direction. We were hopeful early coming out of camp — obviously, we didn’t put him on IR — we were hopeful to get him to this point. We’re going to have to see these next couple of days how he can string it together,” head coach Joe Judge said of his Pro Bowl tight end on Wednesday.

Backup tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Kaden Smith would continue to see work if Engram misses the team’s Week 3 matchup against the Falcons. Quarterback Daniel Jones would get a slight boost if he does play as one of Jones’ favorite targets.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Jaguars (shoulder)

Shenault suffered a shoulder injury during the team’s Week 2 loss against the Broncos that initially jeopardized his Week 3 availability. He practiced in full on Wednesday, however, and head coach Urban Meyer said he is a go this week.

On the off chance Shenault were to miss the game, Marvin Jones Jr. and D.J. Chark would stand to gain the most from a target perspective.

Worry-o-meter: 0 out of 5.

Russell Gage, WR, Falcons (ankle)

Gage is considered week-to-week while dealing with an ankle injury he suffered in Week 2 against the Buccaneers, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He was a non-participant in Wednesday’s practice and it’s unclear if he will be available against the Giants on Sunday.

Gage has been a non-factor for fantasy, mostly due to the Falcons’ overall ineffectiveness on offense. His absence probably has a minimal impact on the pass catchers around him and he is droppable in most leagues.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

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