With Week One of the 2020 NFL season in the books, teams (and fantasy players) now look to pick up the pieces and prepare for next week. Unfortunately for many players, that means dealing with injuries in what must have felt like a pre-season game. Let’s catch up on the news as attention turns to Week Two.
Thomas Trending Down
Saints WR Michael Thomas entered the season with high expectations coming off a record-setting season. Week One was a major disappointment for Thomas, despite his team coming out on top of division-rival Tampa Bay. Thomas only saw five targets, catching three for 17 yards. Thomas has only had one game in his career with fewer yards and his three receptions match the low mark for his career.
Adding injury to the insulting performance, Thomas limped off the field late in the game after a teammate rolled up on his ankle. It was later reported that the injury was a high ankle sprain, though the Saints didn’t seem concerned. Thomas was not expected to miss any time as the injury was something Thomas believed he could “play through.”
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero dropped the bomb late Tuesday that the ankle injury was worse than originally believed and Thomas is now expected to “miss several weeks.” The team is even reportedly considering placing Thomas on the injured reserve list, which would keep him out for a minimum of the next three games.
It is difficult to project how roles may shake out for the Saints with Thomas out of the lineup but looking back at the opener sheds a little light on the situation. RB Alvin Kamara led the team with eight targets while TE Jared Cook saw seven looks. Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders each drew five targets. I expect this to continue with Kamara and Cook seeing the bulk of the work when New Orleans faces the Raiders on Monday night. Sanders becomes a startable fantasy option while WR Tre’Quan Smith should be added from waiver wires.
On Sunday, WR Allen Robinson saw a team-high nine targets and his team pulled off a surprising fourth-quarter comeback to steal a Week One win from a division rival. Everything seems great, right? Not so fast.
On Tuesday, Robinson removed all references to the Bears from his social media, signaling his frustration with the team and his long-term contract talks. Back in January, Robinson reminded everyone of his goal, saying, “I want to be in Chicago if they’ll have me.” It was a clear message from the team’s top offensive player. Late in July, Robinson voiced his frustration with the team and the lack of progress they had made. “We haven’t heard nothing. I think just as far as me and my agent, we’re not necessarily anticipating hearing anything at this point.” He later added, “We’re going into camp preparing ourselves to have a good year.”
The frustration has clearly continued to grow for Robinson as the team has reportedly not shown a willingness to discuss a long-term deal. It is a perplexing move from GM Ryan pace, though he has developed a reputation for similar decisions.
After the social media tactic, Bears beat writer Brad Biggs reported that Robinson had “asked about a possible trade.” While it’s not the full-blown trade demand evidently, it should be enough to force the Bears into action.
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Jets Injury Woes
It can be debated which team fared the worst in Week One, but my vote goes to the Jets, who were getting thrashed by the Bills before closing the gap to make the final score respectable. The Jets were already playing short-handed, especially at the wide receiver position, but as they often do, things got worse for this team.
Star RB Le’Veon Bell was in and out of the lineup on Sunday as he was dealing with a hamstring injury. Ultimately, he rushed just six times for 14 yards and was losing carries to veteran RB Frank Gore even before the injury. Following the game, HC Adam Gase suggested Bell could miss a “couple of weeks,” which was the first indication this injury might be more serious than fantasy players had realized.
On Tuesday, the Jets placed Bell on the injured reserve list, which means they will be without their starting back for at least the next three games. The duo of Gore and RB Josh Adams are expected to share the backfield in Bell’s absence, though rookie RB Lamical Perine could also earn playing time if he can recover from the ankle injury that kept him out in Week One. It is difficult to rely on any Jets player in fantasy lineups, given their poor offensive start to the season.
The 49ers signed veteran WR Mohamed Sanu and could see an immediate role, given the status of the 49ers’ depth chart. WR Deebo Samuel is on the IR and rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk also missed Week One with an injury. … Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay suffered a turf toe injury on Monday night and his Week Two status is reportedly in doubt. … The Texans placed TE Kahale Warring on the injured reserve list. … The Jets placed rookie WR Denzel Mims (hamstrings) on the injured reserve and the team is reportedly worried Mims may not be ready to make an impact until the mid-season point. …Steelers HC Mike Tomlin didn’t shed much light on RB James Conner’s injury, saying he’d “leave the light on” for Conner. Tomlin also added that he doesn’t have any long-term concerns about Conner’s durability.