Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
After spending all offseason and preseason grinding for Week 1, it truly hurts to see players have their hard work taken away in an instant, but such is the disposition of the game we love. The nature of fantasy football can, at times, make us forget that these athletes are people too, making it all the more difficult to stomach when a player of Aaron Rodgers’ caliber gets hit with such a devastating injury.
But the game of football rolls on, and the next-man-up mentality becomes a requirement rather than coach speak. The list is already quite extensive, and will only grow as the season progresses, but injuries don’t have to spell the end of a player, team, or fantasy manager’s hopes. Let’s have a look at some of the biggest injury news around the NFL from week 1, their outlooks, and who could stand to benefit from those vacated snaps.
QB Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets: Achilles (IR)
The long-awaited debut was not long-lived after Rodgers suffered a heart-breaking Achilles injury early in Monday night’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills, propelling Zach Wilson back into a starting role. Wilson has not been a model of consistency in his young career, leaving the outlook for the Jets offense up in the air for the remainder of the season. With Breece Hall (13.1 yards after contact per attempt) and Dalvin Cook heading up the backfield behind PFF’s Week 1 highest-graded run blocking OL (77.9 team run blocking grade), the Jets should feature the ground game heavily while Wilson likely limits Garrett Wilson’s ceiling after reaching 100 yards just once in their nine starts together last season, although they did connect on their first touchdown this past weekend.
RB JK Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens: Achilles (IR)
Dobbins just cannot catch a break when it comes to his health, suffering a torn Achilles against Houston in Week 1 that will shelve him for the remainder of the season. Prior to injury, Dobbins looked spry and appeared to be in line for a monster workload, playing 30 of a possible 37 snaps, tallying eight carries and two targets. With Dobbins out, the work shifts to veterans Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, who likely see a continued rotation moving forward. Hill was the main beneficiary after Dobbins' injury, finding the endzone twice on eight carries despite averaging just 1.1 yards per carry on 19 total snaps while Edwards churned out four yards per carry on eight attempts over 15 snaps. Fantasy managers likely jumped on Hill after his two scores, but Edwards has a longer track record of success at the NFL level and the play style to handle a larger workload, giving him the edge for the rest of the season. Nonetheless, Hill still has plenty of standalone value as a change of pace back who likely sees more work on passing downs.
RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers: Ankle