Welcome to the Week 6 injury report and fantasy football impact article. Injuries are the worst part of football, but we can’t pretend like they don’t happen and that they don’t have an impact on fantasy football decisions.
Each week during the 2021 NFL season, I’ll walk us through the key injury news and notes to know each week. We’ll do an initial run Monday featuring injuries known on game-day. But because we don’t always know all of the bumps and bruises sustained until practices begin, we’ll also run an update Saturday so you have the latest info and analysis before kickoff.
Here are the fantasy-relevant players nursing injuries. These players were either limited at practice or did not practice at all in their most recent practice report (typically Friday). Note that some other players may be playing through injuries that don’t prevent them from being limited or missing practice, so they won’t be listed here. This list is for the injuries that are serious enough to keep them off the field, even in practice.
- Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (finger) — Wilson was placed on IR and will miss at least three games, with some reports saying he’ll be out 6-8 weeks. In the meantime, it’s Geno Smith under center for the Seahawks. Everyone in Seattle’s passing attack is downgraded, and Smith himself doesn’t need to be picked up.
- Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (shoulder) — Murray was limited Wednesday and Thursday but practiced in full Friday and is good to go.
- Daniel Jones, New York Giants (concussion) — Jones has been cleared to play and has no injury designation for Week 6.
- Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (hamstring) — There was a lot of optimism CMC would return this week, but he’s officially out for Week 6. Chuba Hubbard is once again a rock-solid fantasy RB2. He has managed limited practices in back-to-back weeks, at least, so let’s consider McCaffrey week-to-week at this point.
- Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns (calf) — Chubb missed practice all week and will miss the game. He’s week-to-week. Kareem Hunt becomes a smash top-10 fantasy RB in the meantime.
- Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (ankle) — Barkley is out for Week 6 after not practicing all week. Devontae Booker is a solid fantasy RB2 after notching 19 touches last week with Barkley out most of the game. Barkley hasn’t been placed on IR, which suggests New York thinks he may be able to return as soon as next week.
- Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns (wrist/ankle) — As noted above, Hunt is a must-start fantasy RB this week — but that’s if he plays. Hunt is questionable after not practicing Wednesday and Thursday before logging a limited session Friday. The limited session is good news, but if he misses Demetric Felton and D’Ernest Johnson would likely split the backfield in Week 6 as fantasy punt options.
- Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (ribs) — He’s questionable after limited practices all week and is expected to play. If he can’t go, Tony Pollard is a top-10 RB.
- Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (ankle) — He was limited all week but will have no injury designation for Week 6. Fire him up.
- D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions (groin) — Swift has been limited in practice all year, but it has not impacted his game status yet.
- Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team (shin) — Gibson has been playing through this shin injury with no limitation on game day. That said, he missed Wednesday and was limited Thursday/Friday. It’s a situation to monitor but unlikely (it seems) to threaten his availability for now.
- Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (neck) — Carson has been placed on IR and will not be eligible to return until at least Week 10. It will be the Alex Collins show in Seattle. Collins is an RB2/flex play that may end up being more TD dependent than people hope with Seattle’s entire offensive identity up in the air right now because of Russell Wilson’s stint on IR.
- Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (ankle) — Mixon was limited Wednesday, missed Thursday, and limited Friday, but he’ll supposedly see a “normal” workload in Week 6. After managing just 11 touches last week to Samaje Perine’s 15, Mixon owners should tread carefully. At the very least, Mixon appears on track to be the lead back again, especially with Perine on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
- Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (illness) — Jacobs missed Thursday and was limited Friday with an illness but is expected to play on Sunday. He’ll be good for his 18-20 touches.
- Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals (shoulder) — Edmonds logged limited practices all week and appears on track to play in Week 6. You can safely start him in the flex, assuming he ends up being a go. He played through this injury last week.
- Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos (hip) — Gordon missed Wednesday and was limited Thursday/Friday. He’s expected to play and will continue to split work with Javonte Williams, making both players Flex options. If Gordon misses, Williams becomes a strong fantasy RB2.
- Damien Harris, New England Patriots (ribs) — Harris was limited Thursday/Friday, making him likely to play on Sunday. But the Patriots game starts at 4:25 p.m. ET, making him risky unless you have a backup option. Rhamondre Stevenson would push for 20 rush attempts if Harris misses, and Brandon Bolden would make for a punt option in PPR leagues.
- Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions (hip/illness) — Williams was limited Wednesday and out Thursday before returning in limited fashion Friday. He’s questionable for Week 6 but likely to go after returning to practice Friday. If Williams goes, he’s a flex play. If he misses, D'Andre Swift becomes a top-five play.
- Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (quad) — Hill did not practice Wednesday and Thursday and was limited Friday. The return Friday means Hill is trending in the right direction, but keep an eye on this one. Mecole Hardman becoms a solid fantasy WR3 if Hill misses.
- DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (illness) — Hopkins missed Wednesday and Thursday but was a full participant on Friday. He’ll play.
- Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (ankle) — He missed Wednesday and Thursday and was limited Friday. Even with that shaky week of practice, Jefferson has no injury designation for Week 6 and is good to go, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
- Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (knee) — Williams is questionable after missing practice all week. He’ll be a game-time decision for the 1 p.m. ET kickoff. Keenan Allen would push for 30-40% team target market share if Williams misses, and Jalen Guyton would become a viable punt option.
- Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team (hamstring) — McLaurin surprisingly missed practice Friday with a hamstring injury but is expected to play. However, the total for the KC/WAS game still dropped 1.5 points, so this is definitely a situation to monitor.
- DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (foot) — Metcalf was either limited or a no-show this week, but he’s already been ruled in for Week 6. Metcalf is in the fantasy WR2 grouping with Russell Wilson out, but he still belongs in your fantasy lineups.
- Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (foot) — Thielen had the same practice schedule as Jefferson (above) this week. And, like Jefferson, Thielen is already ruled in for Week 6, so slot him in as your WR3.
- Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (ankle) — Robinson didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday and was limited Friday. He’s questionable. Robinson is not a must-start anymore but still worth rostering because the talent may overcome the situation at any point. Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet would see more work if Robinson misses.
- Kadarius Toney, New York Giants (ankle) — Toney was limited this week but is expected to play. The new WR1 in New York will push Sterling Shepard for the team lead in targets and is a must-play in fantasy after his 10-catch, 189-yard performance in Week 5.
- Kenny Golladay, New York Giants (knee) — Golladay missed practice all week and is out for Week 6. Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney should dominate the targets.
- Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (hamstring) — Shepard will make his return after logging limited practices this week. With Golladay out, Shepard will content with Toney for the team lead in targets.
- DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (shoulder/hamstring) — Parker will miss Week 6, pumping Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki and Myles Gaskin up the rankings.
- Darius Slayton, New York Giants (hamstring) — Slayton was limited at practice this week and is questionable for Week 6. He makes for a viable punt with Golladay out this week, but Shepard and Toney will eat up a lot of the targets.
- Curtis Samuel, Washington Football Team (groin) — Samuel is out again and may land on IR again.
- Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ribs) — The Buccaneers already played (Thursday), but Gronk did not. He’s week-to-week. O.J. Howard is the Bucs TE to own in the meantime.
- T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (knee) — Hockenson was limited at practice this week, but he should play after playing through this same injury last week.
- Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (knee) — Tonyan logged limited practices all week but will play in Week 6. He’s just a TD-dependent streaming option now with a very low floor.
Original Injury Run
New injuries this week:
- Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (neck) — Burrow came out of the game but returned and played the game out without any limitations. However, he went to the hospital post-game for a possible throat contusion. Definitely a situation to monitor. Ja’Marr Chase’s stock would take a big hit if Burrow misses time.
- Daniel Jones, New York Giants (concussion) — Jones suffered a concussion in the second quarter and did not return. Mike Glennon took over and went 16-of-25 for 192 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. Kadarius Toney and Evan Engram were Glennon’s favorite targets.
- Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (concussion) — Hill suffered a concussion serving as a WR for the Saints. He’s not on the weekly fantasy radar, but he is the backup QB with the most fantasy upside, so it’s worth noting here.
Players who were already hurt:
- Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (calf) — Trey Lance went 15-of-29 for 192 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT with Garoppolo out. Lance added 16 rushes for 89 yards on the ground. The rushing prowess keeps him in the fantasy QB1 conversation, but the passing efficiency needs a bump for him to have a strong claim to the starting job once Garoppolo returns.
Short-term IR players: Tua Tagovailoa (droppable), Ryan Fitzpatrick (droppable), Tyrod Taylor (droppable)
New injuries this week:
- Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (ankle) — Barkley suffered an ankle sprain on a freak accident after a play. It’s not incredibly serious, but he is expected to miss Week 6 at least. He’s considered week-to-week in the meantime. Devontae Booker is a fantasy RB2 with Barkley out. He handled 19 touches and scored twice in Week 5.
- Damien Harris, New England Patriots (ribs) — Harris looked great, rushing 14 times for 58 yards and a score before injuring his ribs. Rhamondre Stevenson is a RB3/flex play if Harris misses time.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs (knee) — Edwards-Helaire had to be carried off the field Sunday after suffering a knee injury. If he misses time, Darrel Williams essentially becomes a plug-and-play replacement for CEH as a fantasy RB2.
Players who were already hurt:
- Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) — CMC missed his second straight game Sunday, and Chuba Hubbard was a workhorse, tallying 29 touches for 134 yards and a score. Hubbard is a must-start is CMC remains out.
- Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (ankle) — Alexander Mattison is a top-10 RB for as long as Cook is out and a viable flex play if Cook returns but is limited. Mattison had 32 touches for 153 yards and a score Sunday.
- Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team (shin) — Gibson’s shin injury really isn’t hindering him apparently. He had 22 touches.
- Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (ankle) — Mixon split with Samaje Perine since he wasn’t 100%. Perine out-touched Mixon 15-11, and both players scored. Perine is a valuable backup and Mixon will be hard to trust until he’s closer to 100%.
- Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals (shoulder) — The entire Cardinals offense was bad this week, so perhaps we shouldn’t read into it too much, but Edmonds did have a season-low 9 touches, and it’s not a stretch to think that was injury-related.
- David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (knee) — Montgomery is expected to be out for around a month, and Damien Williams got the start and managed 16 touches. But rookie Khalil Herbert actually led the team with 18 attempts. However, Williams saw all of the backfield targets and the goal-line rushes. Williams will be more valuable given those two factors, but he’s not a fantasy RB1 with Herbert seeing half the rush attempts. Still, with Justin Fields under center, this is a run-happy team, making Williams a solid RB2 and Herbert apparently a passable flex option.
New injuries this week:
- Kenny Golladay, New York Giants (knee) — Golladay missed the entire second half, but there was no obvious play in which he got hurt in the first half. We’ll have to wait to learn more. Golladay appears to have serious contention for the WR1 spot in New York with the rise of Kadarius Toney and once Sterling Shepard returns. Adding a lingering injury on top wouldn’t be good for Golladay.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (shoulder) — Smith-Schuster wouldbe a WR3/flex option when healthy, but he appeared to suffer a shoulder injury that caused considerable pain Sunday, and reports Monday morning indicate it could be serious enough to cost him the rest of the season. Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson get floor/ceiling boosts with Smith-Schuster missing time, and Najee Harris may see a bump in short-yardage targets.
- Deonte Harris, New Orleans Saints (hamstring) — Harris has emerged as a favorite deep target for Jameis Winston and hauled in a 72-yard TD Sunday before getting hurt. If he misses time, Marquez Callaway will see more targets and potentially an additional deep shot per game. He would become a stronger flex play.
- Curtis Samuel, Washington Football Team (groin) — Samuel entered the game hurt with a groin injury and appeared to re-aggravate it in the game. With Dyami Brown and Logan Thomas also hurt, DeAndre Carter stepped into a larger role, catching 4-of-8 targets for 62 yards. He’d be a punt option in deeper leagues if Samuel misses more time.
- Quintez Cephus, Detroit Lions (shoulder) — Cephus was immediately ruled out after injuring his shoulder. A flex option so far this year, Cephus’ injury opens up more targets for T.J. Hockenson and Amon-Ra St. Brown.
- Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (knee) — Andy Reid said Hill has a knee injury, but he was still targeted 13 times Sunday night. But given that Hill's speed is his best asset, a knee injury that slows him down would be noteworthy. If Hill misses time, Travis Kelce becomes even more valuable and Mecole Hardman becomes more than just a flex punt. Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson would likely become the next names to know … unless Josh Gordon (1 target) develops fast.
Players who were already hurt:
- Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (personal) — Ridley missed Week 5 for personal reasons. Kyle Pitts broke out with a 9-119-1 line and Cordarrelle Patterson was the WR2 with a 7-60-0 line.
- A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (hamstring) — Brown played and posted a 3-38-0 line. He would have scored but was tackled at the half-yard line.
- Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans (hamstring) — Jones missed his second game in a row. No Titans player had more than 3 receptions in this game, as Derrick Henry handled the rock 29 times for 130 yards and 3 scores.
- Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (hamstring) — Cooper played and posted a 3-60-1 line, nearly identical to his Week 4 line. His ceiling may be lower until he’s 100%, but he’s still a fantasy producer.
- Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (hamstring) — Claypool was not limited and posted a 5-130-1 line.
- Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos (ankle) — Sutton returned to alpha status with a 7-120-1 line.
- DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (shoulder, hamstring) — Parker’s game-time decision resulted in him being out. Mike Gesicki had 4 catches, Preston Williams had 3, and Jaylen Waddle disappointed with only 2 receptions. It was the Myles Gaskin show through the air, as he posted a 10-74-2 line. Gaskin appears to be revived in PPR leagues.
- Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (hamstring) — Shepard is week-to-week but may be losing targets to Kadarius Toney each game he misses.
- Darius Slayton, New York Giants (hamstring) — Slayton is week-to-week but may be losing targets to Kadarius Toney each game he misses.
Short-term IR players: Jarvis Landry (keep stashed); Michael Thomas (keep stashed); Jerry Jeudy (keep stashed); Michael Gallup (keep stashed); Tre'Quan Smith (stashable but not a must); Will Fuller (stashable but not a must)
New injuries this week:
- Maxx Williams, Arizona Cardinals (leg) — Williams had to be carted off the field. He was emerging as a near every-week TE option in fantasy leagues. Arizona’s receiving talent is so deep that Williams’ targets will likely just be spread around rather than giving any one player a significant bump.
- Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (stinger) — Kelce was hit in the head late in the game, but Andy Reid said after the game it was just a "stinger." It sounds less serious than a concussion, but we won't know for sure until Kelce's practice reports for the week start coming out. Blake Bell would be the next TE up in KC, but he's not a name you need to know for fantasy.
Players who were already hurt:
- George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (calf) — Kittle was placed on IR, which will keep him out at least two more games. He’s expected to return as soon as eligible. Ross Dwelley is the backup, and he was in the mix with a 2-25-0 line in Week 5. Six different 49ers had between 2 and 3 receptions, and none had more. Dwelley doesn’t need to be added.
- Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ribs) — Consider Gronk week-to-week, but the Bucs play on Thursday in Week 6. The short turnaround makes it less likely Gronk plays.
- T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (knee) — Hockenson played but was held in check, posting jus a 2-22-0 line. He’s now a low-end fantasy TE1 until he’s back to full strength.
Short-term IR players: Logan Thomas (keep stashed)