While we knew the starters for most teams would play in the third NFL preseason game, we simply hoped no major injuries would crop up. Obviously no one ever wants a player to get hurt, but for those in fantasy football leagues that have already drafted, you don't want to see one of your guys go down with injury.
Thankfully, this week seems to have gone with only a few injuries, none of which appear to be too serious as of now. The biggest name and injury scare was Randall Cobb. After already losing Jordy Nelson for the season, Aaron Rodgers watched as his current top wide receiver left the field in pain.
While the questions surrounding Cobb's injury were whether it was a fractured collar bone or shoulder injury, the MRI results, as reported, revealed a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. Clearly this is better than a fractured collar bone, but AC joint injuries can linger in receivers.
While the Packers won't rush Cobb back until he's ready, be prepared to be without your WR1 for Week 1. The reports are optimistic, but after losing Nelson, the Packers want to make sure that they will have their top wideout for the long haul. If Cobb is out Week 1, Rodgers' fantasy value does take a hit, but he's still Aaron Rodgers. Even if he is throwing to Davante Adams, Jeff Janis and Ty Montgomery. The long-term implications of Cobb's situation shouldn't affect season-long fantasy owners, but daily fantasy owners need to be prepared to grab bargain receivers in Green Bay.
Also, in deeper leagues, don't overlook Janis and Montgomery. If Cobb misses time for this injury or something else down the road, they will be the guys to fill in as much as possible.
Other Injuries Around the League
Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars (hand)
This isn't a new injury, as Thomas has been sidelined with a broken bone in his hand since the first preseason game. However, initially the reports were that the hand would heal on its own and he'd be ready for Week 1, wearing just a protective cast. Now it appears that Thomas needs surgery on his hand, and will likely be out for at least the first month of the season. Tight end Marcedes Lewis will take over, but Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns will likely end up seeing most of Blake Bortles' targets. This is a blow to Jacksonville's offense, especially in the red zone. Thomas drops out of the top 10 tight ends with this news. Unless fantasy owners draft back-up tight ends, Thomas can remain undrafted.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts (head)
In the third preseason game, Hilton suffered a concussion and is now in the league's concussion protocol. He did look good in the game, but he does need to be cleared in order to play in Week 1. Keep an eye on his practice schedule to see how he progresses. If he were to miss the first week of regular games, Andre Johnson and tight end Dwayne Allen should pick up some extra targets. No need at this point to worry about the season; just cross your fingers he's ok to be cleared soon.
Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams (hamstring)
Everyone knew Mason's time as the starting running back in St. Louis was limited with the addition of Todd Gurley, however, everyone thought that Mason would at least get through the first few games of the season before Gurley started taking carries away. Apparently even that is questionable, as Mason injured his hamstring in the third preseason game of the year and is questionable for Week 1 of the regular season. Benny Cunningham is now poised to be the starting running back for the Rams. While the plan was to ease Gurley into game action, the Rams may be forced to bring him along sooner than they originally intended. Mason, at this point, is only worth a late-round pick. Gurley is the back to own in St. Louis, but don't reach for him.
Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns (head)
Rookie Johnson could have been the starting running back for the Browns… if only he could stay healthy. He's missed most of the preseason with a hamstring injury already. He was able to play in the third preseason game, but ended up suffering a concussion, and is now in the league's concussion protocol. Depending on how he responds, it is still feasible he will be ready for Week 1, but not a guarantee. Currently Isaiah Crowell is the No. 1 running back for Cleveland, although it's mostly by default at this point. If possible the Cleveland running back situation is one to avoid for fantasy owners. Crowell will get you some carries, at least early in the year. Johnson has potential to be the feature back as the year goes on or he could be a complete bust. Both backs should only be drafted in the late rounds.
Garrett Hartley, K, Pittsburgh Steelers (hamstring)
It's not a good year to be a kicker for Pittsburgh. First, Shaun Suisham tore his ACL; now Hartley has a hamstring injury severe enough that the Steelers placed him on Injured Reserve. Former Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee will now try his luck for the Steelers. In 11 seasons in Jacksonville, he's made 317 out of 322 extra points and 235 out of 291 field goals (mostly from over 40 yards). He's worth drafting in fantasy leagues, but only in the last round of your draft.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.