First Look: Week 2 NFL DFS Injury News and Notes
Typically, I’ll start this article by giving a first look at some of the best values of the week. However, week 1 of the NFL brought us so many injuries that the most important takeaway of this article will be mentioning those injuries and the potential repercussions they could bring. Without further ado, we’re onto week 2.
San Francisco 49ers
There is no shortage of big injuries heading into week 2 and it starts with a ridiculously banged-up 49ers squad. The 49ers were missing Deebo Samuel (placed on IR) and rookie Brandon Aiyuk last week. Samuel will miss at least the next two games while Aiyuk remains a question mark for this week as well. On top of the big wide receiver injuries, George Kittle suffered a knee sprain in week 1. Kittle ended up playing through the injury and missed just one snap the entire game. The fact that he played through could be perceived as a great sign but a) he didn’t receive a single target in the second half while he was playing hurt and b) we have no idea how the knee responded after the game. Kittle will end up being questionable this week.
Brandon Aiyuk: He’s $4,300 on DK and $4,900 on FD and will be a primary receiver simply by being active this week. We realize that’s a significant opportunity for a rookie receiver in his first game of the season, but that’s how thin the 49ers are at wide receiver. IF Kittle sits, Aiyuk could very well command a target share in the 20s%.
Jordan Reed: After suffering multiple career-threatening concussions, Reed is back and will play second fiddle to George Kittle in San Francisco. Reed was only able to play 16% of snaps in week 1, but keep in mind that he did so while Kittle played nearly every single snap. Reed will see his snap share and target share skyrocket if Kittle misses this game, and the price tag on DK ($2,600) is very alluring if news breaks in his favor.
San Francisco Running Backs: There is a chance that both Aiyuk and Kittle miss this game, in which case the 49ers running backs will have to command an even bigger target share. In week 1, both Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert generated a 15.6% market share of targets. Additionally, McKinnon sneakily generated 5 red zone opportunities (3 carries, 2 targets) to Mostert’s 1 red zone carry. It’s unlikely that these opportunities are this spread out moving forward, but if McKinnon can continue to carve out a bigger role, his price tags ($4,500 on DK, $4,900 on FD) could prove to be too cheap.
Mack tore his Achilles in Week 1. Enter Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. Hines had scored a touchdown (ended up with 2) before Mack got hurt anyway and saw 8 targets in week 1. Meanwhile, Jonathan Taylor, who wasn’t a prominent receiver in college, turned his 6 targets (!) into 6 catches and 67 receiving yards. IF Taylor is able to hang on to early downs and most of the red zone carries, he’ll be a very relevant value in week 2 as the Colts are 3 point favorites against the visiting Vikings. That type of workload is far from guaranteed given Hines’ performance in week 1, but both will benefit immensely with Mack very likely lost for the season. Taylor ($5,800) and Hines ($5,500) have enticing price tags on FD as most of the other options in their pricing range won’t have anywhere near the opportunities that they’ll command.
Jonathan Taylor ($5,700 DK/$5,800 FD)
Nyheim Hines ($5,300 DK/$5,500 FD)
Parris Campbell: While Campbell was tied with T.Y. Hilton for the most targets (9) in a Colts uniform in week 1, he also played the most snaps (61/74) of anyone on his team. He didn’t see any red zone work, but that’s bound to change given his playing time.
Conner sprained an ankle and didn’t return against the Giants in week 1. It’s not a serious injury and it shouldn’t result in missing multiple games, but he’ll be a clear question mark for week 2. With Conner out of the game, the Steelers turned to Benny Snell Jr, who answered with a 19 rushing attempts, 113 rushing yards effort. He also saw 1 target. The only other running back that got into the mix after Conner was hurt was Jaylen Samuels, and he only saw 1 carry and 1 target. Snell wouldn’t need workhorse treatment to return value at these price tags, but that’s the type of potential workload that he’ll have if Conner is ruled out.
Benny Snell Jr. ($4,500 DK/$4,600 FD)
Lindsay sustained a foot injury during week 1 and he didn’t come back with the team after halftime. He’ll likely be at least questionable for week 2. With Lindsay out of the picture, Melvin Gordon III will have an every-down role available. Royce Freeman saw 1 red zone carry and that was his only carry of the game. While it happened with Lindsay out of the game, that was also the only carry Freeman received. It was the Melvin Gordon III show, as he turned in a 15-78-1 in his Broncos’ debut. He did so with Lindsay (7 carries, 1 target) playing for a half. The matchup against Pittsburgh doesn’t look great at first glance but the opportunities alone are enough to overwhelm the matchup. Gordon III will need Lindsay to be ruled out in order to be a great DFS value, though.
Melvin Gordon III ($5,200 DK/$6,700 FD)
Other Significant Injuries To Monitor For Week 2
Michael Thomas (Questionable): Won’t be available on the main slate but will be a big question mark for those that are playing Monday Night Football showdown contests. Thomas sustained a high ankle sprain during week 1. Thomas is the clear cut top target in the Saints’ offense and if he’s out, Alvin Kamara, Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook will soak up more targets as the other primary options in this offense. TreQuan Smith would be emerge as a relevant showdown play IF Thomas is out as well.
DeVante Parker (Questionable): Parker came into week 1 with a hamstring injury and he left week one reaggravating the same injury. He wasn’t able to come back into the game. IF Parker sits, Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki would easily draw target shares in the low 20s (with clear upside for more).
Kenny Golladay (Questionable): Golladay missed week 1 and will be a question mark moving forward until he’s cleared. Marvin Jones Jr. will operate as the Lions’ WR1 while Golladay is out while more targets are available for others like T.J. Hockenson, Quintez Cephus and Danny Amendola.
Courtland Sutton (Questionable): Sutton ended up missing week 1 after suffering a shoulder injury in practice. Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant are clearly the best options in the passing game for the Broncos sans Sutton, though Melvin Gordon III would benefit as well. As mentioned earlier, Gordon III could be headed towards monstrous usage anyway if teammate Phillip Lindsay is out.
Duke Johnson (Questionable): Johnson sprained his ankle in week 1 against the Chiefs and didn’t return after the injury. He’s officially day-to-day but recently there were rumors that he could miss multiple games. IF Johnson is out, David Johnson will receive a true workhorse role as the Texans have a clear lack of depth behind these two running backs. The only other running back with NFL experience is Buddy Howell, who saw 5 carries last season. It’s also worth noting that David Johnson looked more like his old self in week 1, generating an 11-77-1 rushing line and catching 3 of his 4 targets. The matchup against Baltimore will be a clear challenge but the potential for big opportunities and a $5,800 price tag on DK makes him intriguing regardless.
Blake Jarwin (OUT): Jarwin has been ruled out for the season with an ACL tear. We’re expecting most of Jarwin’s target share to be spread among the receivers, Elliott/Pollock and TE Dalton Schultz. Speaking of receivers, Jarwin’s absence will likely open up the target tree for CeeDee Lamb, who saw the second highest target share (16.2%) of any Cowboy in week 1 despite making his NFL debut.
Golden Tate (Questionable): Tate was ruled out for Monday Night Football. Darius Slayton caught 6 of 9 targets and turned in a 6-102-2 line. Slayton benefited the most but we’d expect Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram to produce more IF Tate remains out for week 2. Saquon Barkley saw 9 targets as well but some of that had to do with a strong passing game script and the Steelers’ defense refusing to allow anything on the ground.
Brandin Cooks: Cooks played in week 1 but looked like a shell of himself while still battling a quad injury. He did practice on Monday but his status remains a bit up in the air. Even if Cooks plays, there’s a chance he remains limited.
LeVeon Bell (Likely OUT): Bell hasn’t officially been ruled out but he’s headed that way after coach Gase said he could miss up to a couple of weeks. Frank Gore is going to benefit as the Jets’ running back room lacks any semblance of depth, but his upside is questionable at best at this point of his career. La’Mical Perrine is also questionable to play but even if he plays it’s unlikely that he gets a significant role right away.
Philadelphia Eagles: Miles Sanders is still iffy to play week 2 while Alshon Jeffery (questionable) and Boston Scott (left with an apparent injury and didn’t return in week 1) are other question marks for the Eagles as well.
Denzel Mims (Questionable)
KJ Hamer (ruled out for MNF; likely going to be questionable for week 2)