Early-Season Injuries Have Mangled FF Rosters


Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott’s gruesome injury has sidelined the Cowboys QB for at least the rest of the year.

This is a horrifying time of year, and it’s not just because of Halloween. If you play fantasy football (FF), the list of early-season injuries so far has been downright terrifying: Christian McCaffery, Michael Thomas, Saquon Barkley, Nick Bosa, Dak Prescott, Nick Chubb, Leighton Vander Esch, Courtland Sutton, Von Miller, Jurrell Casey, Anthony Barr, Stephon Gilmore, Derwin James, Austin Ekeler and Chris Godwin are or were on the injured reserve list. All of those players are significant contributors to their teams and will cost them throughout the 2020 NFL season.

Carolina Panthers All-Pro running back Christian MCCaffrey is still out of the lineup with a high ankle sprain. (Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.)

Of course, no fan wants to see any player injured, but for those who play fantasy football, these high profile names have had a huge impact on their rosters.

“I had the first pick [in my draft this year] and I picked Christian McCaffery, then next thing you know he gets injured in Week 2,” said seventh grader Jackson Zentner.  According to www.fantasypros.com, McCaffrey, the Carolina Panthers All-Pro running back, was the top fantasy player in the NFL last year, averaging 29.5 points per game. As a result, Zentner picked up McCaffery’s backup, Mike Davis, off of waivers, and  Davis is doing quite well at the moment, averaging 15.65 fantasy points over the last four weeks according to fantasydata.com

Another running back, the Cleveland Brown’s Nick Chubb, went down with an injury in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys. “I was very sad to see my second-round pick sprain his MCL and be out for six weeks,” said seventh grader Ryan Smith. He is going to keep Chubb in his IR spot for now, hoping to activate him when Chubb comes back from his injury. For the time being, Smith picked up Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson off of waivers, then traded him for Cardinals’ running back Kenyan Drake.

The number one fantasy football wide receiver last year, Michael Thomas, went down in Week 1 and ruined many FF players’ hopes. The Saints have struggled without Thomas, and are currently looking up at the Tampa Bay Bucs in the NFC South.  

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb is another star offensive player who has been sidelined this year. (Photo courtesy of https://steelersdepot.com.)

“[Thomas] was my first-round pick,” said seventh grader Aidan Brown. “I kind of wasted my pick on somebody who got injured, and I could have gotten somebody else who isn’t injured.” Brown still has Thomas on his roster, but inserted Seattle Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett in his place as he had him sitting on his bench. Lockett has been doing very well and had a career game against the Cardinals (15 receptions, 200 yards, 3 TDs) in Week 6. 

Another star receiver lost in Week 2 was the Denver Broncos’  star wideout Courtland Sutton who went down against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

“Courtland Sutton is injured on my fantasy football roster with an ACL and MCL tear,” said seventh grader Chase Zur. “He is one of the top receivers on the Broncos, and he would have given me more points,” she said. Zur replaced Sutton with Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J Brown. “I drafted him later than I expected, and I thought it was a great pick for such a good number one wide receiver on the Tennessee Titans in the late rounds,” Zur said. “I have been loving [Brown], a big factor to my team.”  

However, one of the most devastating injuries was the one suffered by Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott. He suffered a compound fracture and a dislocation of his ankle while getting tackled against the New York Giants in Week 5. He is out for this season and maybe even part of next season according to some reports. However, Dallas is only a half-game out of first place at 2-5, which tells you something about their division, the NFC East. 

“It was worse than an injury,” said sixth grader Griffon Alterman said about Prescott, “We weren’t able to see it on the TV close up, but it still looked as bad as when we saw it [later on].” 

However, Prescott’s backup, Andy Dalton, who was the starting quarterback for the 2-14 Cincinnati Bengals last year, is in the concussion protocol and may not start this week. He was   injured in his second game as Dallas’ starter in Week 7 against Washington. So now, Dallas may have to turn to third-string QB Ben DiNucci.

The bad news is that many of these injuries happened to high profile football players and were serious enough that those athletes have missed weeks at a time. The good news is that all FF players are in the same boat and have had to use their bench players or hit the waiver wire to find replacements. This may level the playing field in many leagues, and there’s no doubt it will make things interesting as the year progresses. Hopefully all of these players make a full recovery, unlike some FF rosters which have no chance from coming back from the damage these injuries have caused.