Injuries Change the NFL Landscape in Week 7
There are no two ways around it, Week 7 was a brutal week for injuries. There are injuries every week, but it seems there’s always one week out of the year that kicks us right in the teeth. In a week where we lost Breece Hall, Mike Williams, David Njoku, and DK Metcalf among others, I think we can agree that this was the kick-in-the-teeth week.
Matt and James are back behind their mics to break down what it all means from a fantasy perspective on this week’s episode of Reception Perception: The Show.
Let’s just rip the bandaid off and start with the most painful injury loss – rookie Breece Hall tore his ACL on Sunday and is out for the season. This was a blow for fantasy rosters everywhere, but it’s also a huge hit to the New York Jets. That offense is built around their youngster running back and it’s working as the Jets are sitting at 5-2.
Matt makes a point about how the splash plays have come from the run game so far this season. Breece Hall is explosive, 18.8% of his runs go for 10+ yards. Compare that to Michael Carter’s 4.4% of runs going for 10+, it’s clear Hall is the playmaker in that offense.
Remember when OC Mike LaFleur tried to coach speak us into believing that Carter was the “heartbeat” of the offense?
So, the Jets are winning but they were winning on the back of a good defense and an explosive running back, not the arm of their second-year quarterback. Zach Wilson, who is 33rd in EPA per drop back, and the pass-catchers are going to have to deliver some explosive plays now that Breece is out for the season.
Matt and James did an episode a week or two back about the Jets’ current team-building situation. You can listen to it here. It really gave me a good perspective on their situation this season and moving forward.
They touched on it again this week, which segued into Elijah Moore, the second-year wide receiver requesting a trade following a game where he saw zero targets. James doesn’t love the way Robert Saleh handled the request and subsequential benching of Elijah Moore. Matt thinks Moore could have at least not tweeted about it.
While the guys were recording, news dropped that Jaguar James Robinson had been traded to the Jets, in an attempt to dull the pain of losing Breece Hall. It was becoming increasingly clear that the Jaguars were ready to put all their eggs in Travis Etienne’s basket and they were able to find a team ready to deal for the former UDFA Robinson.
Unfortunately, we are not moving on from injuries just yet. The Chargers lost Mike Williams for what sounds like a handful of weeks in Week 7. Right as soon as they were getting Keenan Allen back. Not to mention the Chargers also lost JC Jackson from the defensive side of the ball. They’ve taken injury hits at every level and side of the ball so far this season.
OC Joe Lombardi sure isn’t helping the situation offensively for the Chargers. I don’t know how you look at Justin Herbert and think a short passing game is the answer. I’m begging Joe to let Herb uncork it.
Matt thinks the Chargers could be in the market for a wideout as the trade deadline closes in. Just picture Brandin Cooks in that powder blue and tell me you don’t get a little excited. James and Matt both think they could get it done for a 3rd round draft pick.
As if the tight end landscape wasn’t already treacherous for fantasy football managers, they lost a viable option this weekend when David Njoku went down with a high ankle sprain.
The Browns will have to turn to wideouts Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones to run their offense. Speaking of Cooper and Peoples-Jones check out this nugget from Scott Barrett about their home and away game performances. Wild.
Deshaun Watson is due to return from his suspension in Week 13, check out what Matt and James have to say about how and when he can elevate this Browns offense.
It was reassuring to hear Matt and James say they also wondered if DK Metcalf was taking another cart ride to the restroom, but that wasn’t the case in Week 7. The Seahawks wideout left the game with a knee injury in the second quarter of the game against the Chargers on Sunday.
This season, Geno Smith has been a very nice surprise to Seahawks and football fans alike. How much will it affect him to lose Metcalf for any amount of time? During the game wide receiver Marquise Goodwin stepped up in a big way for Seattle.
Tyler Lockett is a 1B wide receiver (and probably one of the most underrated fantasy assets year after year) and in the last three weeks, we’ve seen rookie running back Kenneth Walker III breakout for the ‘hawks as well.
The guys talked about Breece Hall’s ability to make splash plays earlier in the show, Ken Walker has that same appeal. From Week 5 through Week 7 since Walker has taken over the backfield (due to an injury to Rashaad Penny) 19% of his run plays have gone for 10 or more yards.
Pete Carroll is an unreliable narrator, so we can’t be sure of the severity of Metcalf’s injury or how much time he’ll miss. What we do know about Carroll and the Seahawks is that they have an identity on offense.
Matt and James look into the future a little about what the Seahawks could do with Geno Smith and their draft picks. One of which is the Broncos’ first-round pick, a pick that’s skyrocketing as the Broncos continue to lose.
After the Packers fell to the Commanders on Sunday, wideout Allen Lazard was spotted in a sling. Green Bay’s pass-catching corps can not afford any more hits. It was already weak to enter the season and now it’s arguably downright bad.
Ultimately, the Packers made this bed when they shipped Davante Adams to the Raiders in the off-season and then did absolutely nothing to bring in talent for former MVP Aaron Rodgers to throw to. It’s truly baffling.
Also, not pertaining to injuries but a great little discourse on which team is most likely to turn their season around: Packers or Buccaneers. Plus, Matt and James think we might need to be keeping an extra eye on rookie running back Rachaad White.
Matt Ryan Benched
I’d like to state for the record that I specifically asked Matt to spin rookie quarterback Sam Ehlinger into a positive thing for Michael Pittman Jr. and he did not do that. So, if that’s what you’re looking for here you’ll have to search elsewhere.
From a real football perspective, getting a more mobile quarterback like Ehlinger behind that offensive line is probably a good move. But can he sling it? From a fantasy football perspective, it’s a little bit bleak.
Ehlinger will need to lock into Pittman Jr. early and often for him to continue seeing the volume that’s so good for PPR. James also thinks rookie Alec Pierce will take a significant hit from the Colts’ switch at quarterback.
Matt eloquently summed it all up when he said “We’re down bad.”