Week 4 brought us two significant running back injuries and COVID-19 situations that will affect week 5 slates and beyond. Let’s take a look at these situations.
Nick Chubb – OUT with a knee injury for approximately 6 weeks
– Kareem Hunt ($6,500 DK/7,000 FD)
– D’Ernest Johnson ($4,700 DK/$5,300 FD)
Analysis: Chubb being out for an extended period of time opens a window of opportunity for Kareem Hunt to be a RB1 immediately. The Cleveland Browns are a run first team and Chubb is the lead back for this offense, carrying a 64% of rushing attempts in our projections along with a 5% market share of targets. There’s a pretty good chance that Hunt simply replaces that spot in the depth chart, with D’Ernest Johnson playing a backup role. A backup role in this offense is plenty valuable and Johnson’s price tags aren’t full just yet. On the flip side, Johnson saw 13 carries with Chubb going down last week but didn’t receive a single red zone opportunity and didn’t contribute in the passing game either (0 targets). He’ll likely get a little of both with Chubb not around, but make no mistake about it, Hunt’s role will be much bigger in both the passing game and in the red zone. Hunt is the more valuable back and his price tags are still a bit light relative to the opportunity he’s about to receive.
Diontae Johnson – Questionable to play with a concussion
– Juju Smith-Schuster ($6,700 DK/$7,300 FD)
– James Washington ($4,900 DK/$4,800 FD)
– Chase Claypool ($4,100 DK/$4,900 FD)
The Steelers were unable to play last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak hitting the Tennessee Titans. They’ll play this week though, and Diontae Johnson’s status hasn’t been updated. This is what we said about this situation last week:
Analysis: While there wouldn’t be a material difference in Juju’s playing time if Johnson sits, his target share would certainly have a bigger ceiling. His price tags are mostly fair while Washington’s and Claypool’s aren’t. With Johnson exiting the game earlier last week, Washington played 61% of snaps and saw a team high 7 targets while Claypool played a whopping 76% of snaps and received 4 targets. Both have shown an ability to make big plays, which would make them very intriguing as value targets IF more opportunity is available via Johnson potentially sitting. Johnson isn’t just another starter in this offense – he’s a starter that’s an intricate part of the passing offense, as he saw 10 and 13 targets in the first two weeks of the season.
Austin Ekeler – OUT with a significant hamstring injury for at least 4-6 weeks
– Joshua Kelley
– Justin Jackson
Analysis: The Los Angeles Chargers will be playing on Monday night against the New Orleans Saints. Austin Ekeler won’t play in that game and he’s out for at least 4-6 weeks. Ekeler sustained a significant hamstring injury last Sunday. In that game, we were projecting Ekeler for a 42% market share of rushing attempts and a 15% market share of targets. Justin Jackson is back in the fold for the Chargers, but Ekeler being out is very significant for both the running game and passing game. It’s possible that Kelley and Jackson split the workload evenly moving forward. However, given that Jackson just returned from injury, it’s also entirely possible that Kelley gets the bigger share as long as he’s producing. Price tags haven’t been released for this game and that’ll be important to evaluate as it could end up being a main separator for these two players if we project them evenly from a workload perspective.
– Cam Newton
Analysis: It’s highly unlikely that Newton plays this week with the Patriots having a quick turnaround. One of Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham will start this week. Hoyer was horrific on Monday Night Football but Stidham came in and threw two interceptions as well. One of those interceptions was not his fault and if we had to guess, he likely has an edge over Hoyer given how bad the latter looks at this point of his career. Both are incredibly cheap but are unlikely to bring a lot of value to the table given their skills and the fact that they’re part of a run first offense.
– Tennessee Titans
Analysis: The Titans had a COVID-19 outbreak last week with 10 players and 10 staffers contracting the virus. The team administered tests on Monday and didn’t receive another positive. They’ll need another batch of negative tests on Tuesday to have a chance of being in the clear. We should know more about this situation later today.
Other Injuries we’re monitoring for main slate
– Christian McCaffrey (has already been ruled out for at least one more week; could return for week 6 vs. the Chicago Bears)
– Julio Jones (left Monday night’s game with a hamstring injury; if he’s ruled out for this week, expect Calvin Ridley to be very busy and Russell Gage to pick up more targets; Olamide Zaccheus saw 9 targets on Monday and could be somewhat relevant as a pure punt as well)
– Noah Fant (already ruled out as he’s week to week with an ankle injury; Albert O has been inactive but it’s possible that they play him some to have a receiving threat at the TE position. Our expectation is that most of Fant’s team high 20% market share of targets get funneled to the receivers/running backs)
– Phillip Lindsay (has been out since week 1 but is expected to play in week 5 against the New England Patriots)
– Drew Lock (questionable to play; coach Fangio said he might be ready to play in week 5)
– Raheem Mostert (will likely be questionable to play this week though coach Shanahan is expecting Mostert back at practice on Wednesday)
– Jimmy Garoppolo (coach Shanahan said he’s not entirely sure if Garoppolo will suit up in week 5; Nick Mullens was pulled last week in favor of C.J. Beathard – that’s something to monitor this week)
– Zack Moss (missed the last two games with a toe injury; status hasn’t been updated at this point so we’ll consider him questionable to play this week)
– Philadelphia Eagles Receivers (Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside were all out last week and their statuses haven’t been updated thus far; we’ll consider them questionable at best to play this week)
– Sam Darnold (plans to play through AC joint injury)
– Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards (both missed last week and should be questionable to play this week)
– Cam Akers (has missed the past two games; likely questionable to play this week)