For anyone that watched or read about the early afternoon NFL games in Week 2, the major headline was the number of injuries (unless you're a Cowboys fan, I suppose). From a fantasy standpoint, the running back position was hit especially hard, with some big names going down with what could be season-ending injuries.
On Monday, many players will likely be headed to get an MRI or some other imaging or meeting with a specialist to determine the extent of their injuries, but fantasy owners need to be prepared. Owners of Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Raheem Mostert, and Cam Akers should be on alert.
The biggest injury to be concerned about is Barkley. The team fears that he may have torn his ACL, ending his season.
The immediate replacement for Barkley is Dion Lewis. He looked serviceable after Barkley left, but the Giants offense as a whole is a mess, so it's hard to gauge how well he can perform. Wayne Gallman also is on the roster, but Lewis should be the priority. It is likely that the Giants take a look at Devonta Freeman, who is still a free agent, or possibly, Lamar Miller.
McCaffrey owners need to hold their breath as he is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of his ankle injury. Best case, it's just a tweak. Worst case, it's a high ankle sprain, which carries about a four-week timeline where the player is out. With the distinct possibility that McCaffrey will miss at least one game, Carolina will move forward with Mike Davis as the primary ball carrier. Davis figures to be a popular waiver wire target this week, but it doesn't make him a must-add necessarily as the Panthers' offensive line needs to improve for him to have any success. Carolina also has Trenton Cannon on their roster and Reggie Bonnafon is on the practice squad.
Elsewhere, Mostert left with a knee injury as San Francisco saw numerous players go down in their win over the New York Jets, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) and defensive end Nick Bosa (possible torn ACL). In Mostert's case, it's uncertain when his injury occurred and he was playing extremely well prior to it, including an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game. Mostert also will undergo an MRI on Monday.
For the 49ers, the initial feeling is that his injury isn't a serious one that is going to cause him to miss multiple weeks. Should he miss any time, Tevin Coleman figures to get the start with Jerick McKinnon (who played very well after Mostert left Sunday's game) could see an increased role.
Then there's Akers, the Rams' second-round draft pick who was finally getting a chance to start. He was hurt on the opening drive of their game against Philadelphia and ruled out with a rib injury. A "rib injury" is still somewhat vague, but fantasy owners should prepare for a range of outcomes and the possibility he will miss a game or two.
Darrell Henderson Jr. took full advantage of Akers' absence, putting up 121 total yards and a touchdown, a week after Malcolm Brown had the big game against Dallas. Brown was dealing with a finger injury, which is why Henderson saw so many touches (14 total). How the work will be distributed between the two of them moving forward remains to be seen, but both are in line for more work depending on the severity of Akers' injury.
Overall, it was a tough week to be a football player — or a fantasy owner. The waiver wire column (which will be up Tuesday morning) will talk about other possible options that are available (but none of this will likely be as good as the stud running back that will have to ride on the fantasy bench). We can just hope Week 3 is better.
— Rankings by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.