Fantasy Football: Fallout from Week 7 injuries to Adam Thielen, Matt Ryan, Kerryon Johnson and more
More key injuries are marring Week 7 Sunday. Here's the likely impact heading into Week 8.
You never want injuries to be the primary storyline for a week of Fantasy Football, but Week 7 ended up being as much about who didn't play as who did, especially during the early games. In a week when Alvin Kamara was already out and Christian McCaffrey was on a bye, we saw a number of big-name players go down with injuries, including:
That's most of the way to a not-half-bad Fantasy lineup in a 14-team league. Thankfully, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley were able to avoid the same fate by returning from issues that forced them off the field — and it turns out David Johnson didn't suffer a re-injury Sunday -- his lack of role was planned. Still, that's a ton of Fantasy relevant names off the board, and though we don't know the exact extent of any of these injuries, it seems safe to assume we may be without some of these names moving forward.
We'll take a look at the top early waiver wire options a bit later Sunday, but for now, let's look at what each of these injuries could mean if they do lead to missed time in Week 8 and beyond:
Thielen suffered his injury in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Lions, and it came while he was making a beautiful diving catch on a 25-yard touchdown. Thielen couldn't get up after making the catch, and was immediately helped to the sidelines. Though he stayed on the sidelines for the rest of the first half, Thielen was ultimately ruled out early in the second half.
Bisi Johnson (available in 100% of CBS Fantasy leagues). replaced Thielen in the lineup, and did a decent job, catching four of eight targets for 40 yards and a touchdown. He benefited from an unusually active passing day from Kirk Cousins, who attempted 34 passes, but Johnson wasn't the lone beneficiary of Thielen's absence. Stefon Diggs had seven catches for 142 yards, and perhaps most notably, rookie tight end Irv Smith (available in 97% of CBS Fantasy leagues) had his most active game, catching five of six passes for 60 yards in the 42-30 win.
Thielen will probably have a tough time getting back in time for Week 8 when the Vikings face Washington on Thursday. That's a dream matchup, and it is one that could put Johnson into Fantasy relevance, though you'd have to be wary of the Vikings falling back on their run-first-second-and-third ways. Both he and Smith Jr. would be just desperation plays if Thielen misses Week 8 and beyond, though there is optimism that Thielen won't miss much time, even if he does sit out Thursday night.
Ryan went to the locker room in the second half of a 37-10 blowout loss, and was replaced by Matt Schaub. Schaub moved the offense well in his lone drive, capping it off with a touchdown by Austin Hooper, but obviously this offense would be expected to take a significant step backwards if Ryan misses time. Ryan struggled for the first time all season against the Rams on Sunday, and Julio Jones and Hooper were the only two pass catchers to score in double figures in PPR scoring. If Ryan misses time, you'd be hard pressed to trust anyone beyond them, but it sounds like the injury may not be significant enough to keep Ryan out. That would be good news for this offense, so we'll have to watch this over the course of the week.
The good news for Johnson, relatively speaking, is that he was spotted on the sidelines with a brace on his right knee, not the same knee that cost him six games to close out his rookie season. Obviously, that is small comfort, but for now, it's what we have. The Lions have already had their bye week, so any time Kerryon is forced to miss will be crucial. They play the Giants next Sunday, and at this point, backup Ty Johnson (available in 94% of CBS Fantasy leagues) looks like he'll be one of the better waiver-wire targets for this week, unless we learn good news about Kerryon Johnson's status before Tuesday. Ty Johnson is a sixth-round rookie out of Maryland who rushed 10 times for 29 yards Sunday and added four receptions for 28 yards on four targets. J.D. McKissic (available in 99% of CBS Fantasy leagues) also saw time, but figures to be more of a passing-downs option behind Johnson if elevated to the No. 2 spot in the depth chart.
We're still waiting for Fuller to get through a full season healthy, and the wait will continue after Fuller suffered a hamstring injury Sunday. He was ruled out relatively quickly after going down in the first quarter, and NFL Network reports Monday he has "a rather significant hamstring pull" that will likely cost him several weeks. The good news in Houston is, this might be one place with a ready-made replacement waiting to step up in Kenny Stills (available in 64% of CBS Fantasy leagues). Stills isn't quite on Fuller's level as a deep threat, but he's proved more than capable in his career, with two seasons of at least 847 yards while averaging 16.0 yards per catch for his career. He had 105 yards on four catches and five targets Sunday, and should figure into the WR3 discussion if Fuller is out of the picture in Week 8 against the Raiders. The Texans bye comes in Week 10, so Fuller could sit out four weeks and miss just two games.
Smith's concussion came at a particularly bad time, as Devonta Freeman was ejected for his part in a fight Sunday, leaving the Falcons with just Brian Hill for the remainder of the game. Smith suffered the concussion in pass protection, and was pretty quickly ruled out for the game. Considering this is Smith's second concussion in the past month, a lengthier absence than the last time — which cost him just a few days of practice — seems likely. The 1-6 Falcons aren't likely to rush him back anyway, and with a bye coming in Week 9, we probably won't see Smith for a few more weeks. Hill (available in 100% of CBS Fantasy leagues) figures to see a larger role as the backup to Freeman, and Smith leaves behind a role that saw him lead the team in carries inside the 10-yard line, so Hill will be worth targeting on waivers this week.
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