Fantasy Football: Training camp injury roundup

2KCPWE8 Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is seen during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, October 17, 2021. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto)

  • Cause for concern in LA?: After missing eight games in 2022, Cooper Kupp will miss time this preseason with a hamstring injury. Can the inexperienced group behind him make the most of their extra reps?
  • Indianapolis Colts RB carousel: Jonathan Taylor has publicly requested a trade and refuted reports of a back injury while Zack Moss will miss significant time with a broken arm. Who is next the guy up?
  • Another year, another heartbreak: After losing 2022 to a torn ACL, Denver Broncos WR Tim Patrick had some steam once again among Broncos Nation as a potential breakout candidate. However, a torn Achilles will set him back another year.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Injuries are undoubtedly the worst part of football, and the pain is even worse when it occurs in a practice setting with no meaningful stakes on the line. Every season, training camp injuries come in a flurry, putting teams behind the 8-ball who do not have the depth to offset the losses. Last season was kinder than usual, but still saw names on the offensive side of the ball like Zach Wilson, James Washington, Sam Darnold, Gus Edwards, Khalil Herbert, Isaiah Spiller, Tyquan Thornton, Elijah Mitchell, and Michael Gallup go down or suffer setbacks in preseason or training camp, spilling into the regular season. However, injuries also open opportunities for depth players to earn the trust of their teammates and coaching staffs, potentially paving the way for preseason stars to earn a significant role in their respective offenses. Below we’ll outline some of the more recent injury news around the league, their immediate outlooks, and who could stand to benefit from any missed time.

QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Fresh off another elite season where he posted a 90.6 passing grade with 29 big-time throws, Burrow made potentially the biggest headline of training camp thus far after a non-contact injury brought the cart out during last Thursday’s practice. NFL fans held their breath awaiting news regarding the injury, fearing another injury to his right knee that cost him the back half of the 2020 season. However, early reports are promising as the Bengals are calling it a calf strain to his left leg, an injury which should only cost him a few weeks of practice time, hopefully putting him on track to miss minimal regular season time.

With only Trevor Siemian and Jake Browning rostered behind him, the Bengals signed Reid Sinnett as a camp arm, but the fantasy takeaways here are minimal, as none of these guys inspire much confidence as a standalone asset or player who can elevate the Bengals' skill position players. Burrow has significant chemistry established with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, and missed reps in preseason should not damage this rapport too much. At the moment, the hope is that the strained calf is not a lingering issue and Burrow returns to full strength sooner than later.

WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

The most recent injury news came Tuesday, as Kupp came up hobbling after a red zone rep, reportedly tweaking his hamstring. Kupp has a growing history of lower body injuries, including the high ankle sprain that limited him to just nine games last season, and a hamstring injury is not one to be taken lightly either, as they have the potential to linger over time. While the Rams certainly hope he will be back to full strength by Week 1, rushing him back into the fold could exacerbate any major issues, and L.A. needs Kupp healthy for the offense to be taken seriously, as he plays such an integral role in not only the passing game but the run game as well.

The Rams do not exactly have a stable of receivers behind Kupp to offset any missed time, but his absence will open the door for young receivers such as Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek to continue developing chemistry with Matthew Stafford while veterans Van Jefferson and Demarcus Robinson look to factor in as well. However, the biggest beneficiary has to be rookie fifth-round pick Puka Nacua, a BYU product who dealt with some injury issues in college but has received overwhelming praise from Stafford, Kupp and head coach Sean McVay for his cerebral approach, route running and ability to make plays after the catch — all traits which have made Kupp such a successful pro in that offense.

RBs Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss, Indianapolis Colts

Taylor shook the NFL world with his trade request this past week, and another layer to the saga unfolded as ESPN reported he was dealing with a back injury, a point which Taylor himself refuted publicly on X. Taylor is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list as he rehabs from ankle surgery, but his relationship with the Colts is precarious at best. Behind Taylor, the bruising Zack Moss appeared to be the primary beneficiary of Taylor’s missed time after coming over from Buffalo last season in a swap for Nyheim Hines but has suffered a significant setback of his own after breaking his arm on Monday, an injury that will likely keep him out until mid-September at the earliest.

With Taylor and Moss now unable to participate in training camp and preseason action, 2021 undrafted free agent Deon Jackson as well as rookie fifth-round pick Evan Hull appear to be in line to receive the bulk of the work in the backfiel, while the Colts also tried out Kenyan Drake, Devine Ozigbo and Benny Snell. Last season, Jackson received 68 carries at a 3.5 yards per-carry clip while also catching 30 passes for 209 yards. Hull, a Northwestern product, broke 900 yards on the ground in his last two seasons but most impressive was his 9.9 yards per reception on 54 catches, with 12 of these going for 15-plus yards. Jackson and Hull should both be roster locks, but a strong preseason showing could see one stepping into a significant role this season pending Taylor’s unresolved situation.

WR Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

After losing 2022 to an ACL tear in training camp, hopes were high among Broncos fans and pundits that he would return to full strength and build off his strong 2020 and 2021 campaigns, where he consistently flashed as a red zone weapon and deep threat, especially as Russell Wilson enters Year 2 and Sean Payton and Co. take over on the sideline. In his last two full seasons, he received 70-plus targets and surpassed 700 yards and five touchdowns in each year amid spotty QB play as a largely unheralded journeyman who originally came into the league in 2017 as a UDFA. Sadly, any major breakout will be postponed after Patrick went down with a torn Achilles that will cost him the entirety of the 2023 season.

Among those currently on the roster, Courtland Sutton is most similar to Patrick in body type and athletic profile, but Payton has hyped TE Greg Dulcich as a seam stretcher and mismatch weapon — traits he flashed last season with a 12.7-yard average depth of target and 12.4 yards per reception. Meanwhile, rookie second-rounder Marvin Mims looks to be a major beneficiary of Patrick’s missed time in three-WR sets, offering an entirely different profile as a smaller yet more explosive (19.3 yards per reception in 2022) and shifty (8.5 YAC per reception in 2022) option. Also worth mentioning here is the Broncos’ loss of the speedy K.J. Hamler, who was waived and will step away from football for the moment as he works through a recently identified heart condition.

WR Kadarius Toney, Kansas City Chiefs

The 20th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Toney has flashed significant playmaking ability with the ball in his hands when on the field, posting over 10.7 yards per reception the last two seasons despite seeing an average depth of target under five yards. Sadly, these occurrences have been few and far between to date, as Toney has struggled with a rash of lower body and shoulder injuries dating back to his time at the University of Florida, limiting him to just 19 games over the past two seasons.

Toney went down early in training camp with a meniscus injury and underwent a procedure that should see him back on the field for Week 1, barring any setbacks. In the meantime, the Chiefs boast a deep but mostly unproven receiver room which includes Skyy Moore, Richie James, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Justyn Ross, and rookie second-rounder Rashee Rice. Of this group, only “MVS” has a role locked up as the resident deep threat, leaving a boatload of reps on the table for this young group to earn the trust of Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs are clearly high on Toney, but the injuries are beginning to become a trend, leaving massive opportunities for guys like Moore, Rice, James, and Ross to prove their mettle.

Quick hits

WR Garrett Wilson, New York Jets

Amid a lot of training camp hype surrounding the new-look Jets, Wilson suffered a low ankle sprain that is reportedly day-to-day and is expected to be back to full practice within the next few days. Additional reps for Corey Davis and Mecole Hardman should prove beneficial while young unproven players such as Jason Brownlee, Irvin Charles, and Xavier Gipson battle for the backend of the WR depth chart. This is not a situation that should cause too much concern around Wilson’s availability but is worth watching as we move through training camp and preseason to monitor any potential setbacks.

RBs Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet, Seattle Seahawks

Walker (groin) and Charbonnet (shoulder) are both set to miss a few weeks with their respective injuries, leaving opportunities for a lot of vacated practice reps. With Travis Homer now in Chicago, DeeJay Dallas appears to be the incumbent, although rookie seventh-round pick Kenny McIntosh has received a fair amount of hype in training camp and looks the part of an NFL running back. Don’t expect either Dallas or McIntosh to be a threat long-term, as Walker and Charbonnet are the clear Nos. 1 and 2 once healthy, although Charbonnet’s injury could cost him some regular season time.

RB Trayveon Williams, Cincinnati Bengals

Williams suffered a right ankle injury on Tuesday that initially appeared serious, but reportedly will only cost him a few weeks. With Joe Mixon eating up the majority of snaps and Samaje Perine moving on to Denver, 2021 sixth-rounder Chris Evans and 2023 fifth-rounder Chase Brown will compete for the vacated backup reps. Both profile more as third-down backs, but Brown was the NCAA’s leading rusher last season. With Williams missing valuable practice reps, either Brown or Evans could snatch the backup job.


Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit