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Week 2 was a bit kinder than Week 1 in terms of severity, but the volume of injuries to star-level players has exploded, leaving a lot of uncertainty for many looking to fill their fantasy lineups. Most notably, Nick Chubb suffered a gruesome knee injury Monday night that had the sports world in collective shock. Chubb has been one of the most effective and efficient running backs in the league since 2018. Hopefully, he can rehabilitate and return to full strength, as he has been an absolute joy to watch during his career. Furthermore, several young QBs and reliable WRs appear to have their status in doubt for this weekend and potentially moving forward. Let’s dive into the biggest injury news around the league, their outlooks, and who could step up as we head into Week 3.
RB Nick Chubb (knee), Cleveland Browns (IR)
Chubb suffered a devastating knee injury Monday night that will cost him the rest of the 2023 season. In his stead, Jerome Ford looked spry, breaking a 69-yard run while also drawing four targets. The Browns also brought back a familiar face in Kareem Hunt, but through two weeks, the Browns lead the NFL in rushing attempts. Week 3 represents a tough matchup against a Titans defense that ranks first in RB fantasy points allowed and has limited opposing rushers to 2.7 yards per carry through two weeks, but the Browns' propensity for the ground game leaves plenty of opportunity for each back to make a weekly impact moving forward.
QB Joe Burrow (calf), Cincinnati Bengals
Burrow is considered day-to-day by head coach Zac Taylor and put in a limited practice Thursday, leaving some optimism around his status for Monday night. However, this is an issue that is becoming worrisome for the Bengals, as he clearly has not looked like himself through two weeks. It would not be shocking for the Bengals to give him a week or two off to fully recover, leaving Jake Browning as the primary option behind center, severely hampering the ceilings of the Bengals' skill position players.
QB Anthony Richardson (concussion), Indianapolis Colts
Richardson left Sunday’s game with concussion symptoms and has not practiced this week. With the recent history of shoddy concussion protocols around the league, especially at QB, and a lack of practice ahead of a matchup against a stiff Baltimore Ravens defense it is doubtful the Colts throw him out there. Backup Gardner Minshew was efficient in his place Sunday with an adjusted completion percentage over 90% and led two touchdown drives. Against Baltimore this weekend, it is hard to feel confident about any Colts without Richardson in the lineup.
QB Bryce Young (ankle), Carolina Panthers
Young popped up on the injury report Wednesday and will not play this weekend against Seattle, propelling journeyman Andy Dalton into the starting lineup. This situation is still unfolding, so his availability beyond this weekend is still up in the air after the Panthers started their season 0-2. It would not be shocking if Carolina played this slow and safe. Dalton is a savvy veteran in his own right, but the talent around him is not up to par to feel confident in any Panthers players as weekly fantasy options.
RB David Montgomery (thigh), Detroit Lions
Montgomery has been called day-to-day by head coach Dan Campbell but has not practiced this week ahead of the Lions matchup with Atlanta. Interestingly, Montgomery seemed less optimistic about his health than his coach, making his status incredibly muddy for this week. Rookie Jahmyr Gibbs played an increased snap count in Week 2, drawing nine targets, and Craig Reynolds appears to be next in line for carries. Fire up Gibbs with confidence against a Falcons defense that looked exploitable against the Panthers' run game in Week 1.
WR Jaylen Waddle (concussion), Miami Dolphins
Waddle did not participate in practice Thursday, leaving him unlikely to play against Denver this weekend as he works his way through concussion protocol. The Dolphins will certainly miss his big-play ability in an intriguing matchup against a Broncos defense that has allowed 12 passes of 15-plus yards through two weeks. Tyreek Hill (ankle) is questionable for Sunday in his own right but remains a must-start even without Waddle to alleviate coverage rolls.
RB Jamaal Williams (hamstring), New Orleans Saints
Williams went out early against the Panthers on Monday night and is unlikely to play against Green Bay on Sunday. Tony Jones Jr. was the only RB to receive a snap after Williams went down, but rookie third-round pick Kendre Miller (hamstring) has practiced in full this week after missing the first two weeks of the season. Expect Miller to receive the bulk of the backfield work with Jones rotating in while they both may cede some carries to Taysom Hill, who averaged 8.3 yards per carry against Carolina.
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) & RB Justice Hill (foot), Baltimore Ravens
Neither OBJ or Hill practiced Wednesday or Thursday, leaving their status against Indianapolis highly in doubt. After JK Dobbins went down in Week 1, Hill was primed to be one of the primary beneficiaries, but if he is unable to go, expect a full workload for Gus Edwards with Melvin Gordon or Kenyan Drake mixing in. Beckham has been a reliable target for Lamar through two weeks, but if he is unavailable, expect Nelson Agholor and Rashod Bateman to split his vacated snaps while Zay Flowers should be considered a must-play against a Colts defense that has allowed the fourth-most passing yards through two weeks in the NFL and 15 receptions of 15-plus yards.
Others to monitor
RB Austin Ekeler (ankle), Los Angeles Chargers
Ekeler missed Week 2 and has not practiced thus far this week, forcing Joshua Kelley (three yards per carry in Week 2) into the lead-back role once again. There is a slight chance Ekeler forces his way back into the lineup Sunday against Minnesota, but hopes are not high as this looks like it could be a multi-week injury.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (toe), Detroit Lions
St. Brown reportedly is dealing with a mild turf toe that caused him to miss practice early in the week, but he has returned Thursday, providing optimism for his status ahead of a favorable matchup with the Falcons secondary. While worth monitoring heading into Sunday for a late scratch, St. Brown is a must-start if he’s in the lineup.
RB Aaron Jones (hamstring), Green Bay Packers
Jones’ status is up in the air for a second straight week due to a hamstring issue, but he is trending in the right direction after practicing Thursday in a limited fashion. Ahead of a tough matchup against the Saints defensive front, it is still tough to keep Jones out of the lineup, but if comparable options are in play, it would make sense to wait a week until he is fully healthy.
WR D.K. Metcalf (ribs), Seattle Seahawks
Metcalf did not practice Wednesday after getting banged up against the Lions in week 2. Independent of his Thursday practice participation, plan for the worst case with a potential alternative plan with the Seahawks playing in the late window on Sunday.
WRs Davante Adams (concussion) & Jakobi Meyers (concussion), Las Vegas Raiders
Both Adams and Meyers practiced in full this week, which bodes well for their availability for Sunday night against Pittsburgh. With it being a night game, it is always recommended to have a backup plan in case of emergency, but both are solid plays against a Steelers secondary that was diced up by Jimmy Garoppolo’s former team in Week 1.
WR Christian Watson (hamstring), Green Bay Packers
After practicing in a limited fashion on Wednesday, Watson did not participate on Thursday, putting his status up in the air for another week. Watch for his potential availability on Sunday morning but expect Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed to continue their strong starts if he is unable to go.
WR Zay Jones (knee), Jacksonville Jaguars
Jones did not practice Thursday ahead of a favorable matchup against the Texans. Through two weeks, Jones is second in the NFL with four end zone targets, increasing the opportunity for Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk to seize those high-value targets, while Evan Engram (13 targets through two weeks) should also factor in as a strong play.
WR Brandin Cooks (knee), Dallas Cowboys
Cooks was a late scratch against the Jets in Week 2, but his status for this weekend’s late window matchup with Arizona is trending positively after practicing Thursday. If you have comparable options in the noon window, it is not a bad idea to lean into, but Cooks could be set up for success against a Cardinals secondary that allowed six passing plays of 15-plus yards and 0.3 EPA per play against the Giants in Week 2.