The NFL is working through the Week 1 slate with the 1 p.m. ET games a wrap and the afternoon and primetime slates left to be played. While the rest of the schedule plays out, it’s time to start thinking through your fantasy football waiver wire options.
We’ve got a couple days until waivers runs in most leagues, but it’s never too early to figure out your plan. There will be breakout candidates to consider, but there are also injury situations to address.
The most notable injuries in the early part of Week 1 were at the running position. 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell, Steelers RB Najee Harris, and Saints RB Alvin Kamara also dealt with an injury. It’s also worth noting some big names that were inactive this week and will be worth tracking on the injury report the rest of the week.
Below is a rundown of notable skill position injuries, and who stands to benefit as you consider what to do with your waiver wire priority. We’ll update as more players get added to the injury report. And be sure to check back as we provide updates on each injury as new information comes along this week.
Robbie Gould, K, 49ers
The 49ers kicker was trucked on a kick return and had to leave the game with a knee injury. He limped off and it’s hard to see him turning around in time for Week 6. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky replaced him for extra points, but the 49ers will likely sign a new kicker ahead of Sunday’s game against the Falcons. Whomever that is has some fantasy value coming off a big Week 5 offensive performance.
James Conner/Darrel Williams, RB, Cardinals
Arizona lost both running backs to injury and Eno Benjamin took over in their place. Conner suffered a rib injury and Williams suffered a knee injury. We’ll find out more Monday, but Benjamin had a solid day in their place. He finished the day with 53 total yards and a touchdown. He would be the waiver pickup if Conner and Williams miss Week 6.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
UPDATE: After the game, head coach Pete Carroll said Penny “seriously hurt his ankle,” per Curtis Crabtree. He added that it would be tough for the Seahawks to get him back this season, per Corbin Smith. Ian Rapoport is describing the injury as a fracture tibia.
This could be the Kenneth Walker breakout opportunity. Penny injured his ankle in the third quarter and left the game. The Seahawks had to play from behind against New Orleans, so we did not see much of the ground game in Week 5. We might see several backs get work if Penny misses time, but Walker is in line for a big chance.
Chris Olave, WR, Saints
Olave suffered a head injury in the third quarter and was eventually ruled out with a concussion. He will have to work through the league’s concussion protocol and his status is uncertain ahead of Week 6. There are reports Michael Thomas is expected back next week, and if that does happen, he’ll likely see the lion’s share of work if Olave is unable to recover in time. If Jarvis Landry can get back from an ankle injury, he could also see extra work.
Damien Harris, RB, Patriots
Harris injured his hamstring after four carries. Rhamondre Stevenson took over and dominated with the role. He rushed for 149 yards on 23 carries in the Patriots win and is going to be a must-start if Harris misses any time. Stevenson is a valuable start even if Harris is around, but his value potentially skyrockets.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Dolphins
The Dolphins QB suffered a head injury and while he reportedly cleared the sideline concussion tests, the independent spotter would not clear him to return in light of changes to the protocols. Skylar Thompson replaced Bridgewater and struggled. We still don’t know Tua Tagovailoa’s status for Week 6, so this is a fluid situation.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Steelers
The Steelers TE suffered a concussion and was quickly ruled out. It’s his third concussion in two years and it would not be surprising to see him get back this coming week. Zach Gentry and Conner Heyward follow Freiermuth on the depth chart. Gentry finished Sunday’s game with four receptions for 32 yards while Heyward had two receptions for 12 yards.