Fantasy Football: Trey Lance injury case, Week 3 early waiver targets and more key injury updates

Fantasy Football: Trey Lance injury case, Week 3 early waiver targets and more key injury updates

Fantasy Football: Trey Lance injury case, Week 3 early waiver targets and more key injury updates

Injuries have defined the first two weeks of the NFL season, and we got another significant one Sunday, when 49ers QB Trey Lance suffered an ankle injury that is expected to require season-ending surgery. And of course, he wasn’t the only player to leave Sunday’s games with injuries – in addition to the number of big names already sitting out Sunday, we saw Jerry Jeudy, James Conner, Damien Harris and Dalton Schultz sit out Sunday’s games.

You know how it goes—injuries are a part of life in the NFL, and especially early in the season, there’s always an increased risk, but it’s still disappointing every time it happens. In Lance’s case, he suffered the injury before we really had a chance to see what he could do as a full-time starter, and we likely won’t get another chance to see him until next season.

Lance’s injury isn’t going to dominate Fantasy Football discussions the way some other significant injuries can, but it’s still a big blow to those of us who counted on him being their starter. And, of course, that has potentially dire consequences for the 49ers offense — luckily, they were able to keep Jimmy Garoppolo in the end.

We’ll get into Lance’s injury, what it means for the 49ers, and who you might be able to get to help replace him in tonight’s newsletter, along with the rest of the Week 2 injuries you need to know about, plus your early look at my top waiver-wire targets for Week 3.

Week 2 Injury summary

Lance’s injury sounds like it’s going to be a season-ender, and it comes after he played in such poor conditions in Week 1 that we really didn’t get to see what this offense would look like with him at the helm. And now we probably won’t until next season, Lance’s third in the league. That’s a huge bummer for a player as talented as him, and if you draft Lance to be your starter, it leaves an obvious hole in your roster—and one that you can’t just expect Jimmy Garoppolo to fill.

Because while Lance was unproven, expectations were much higher than they’ve ever been for Garoppolo, and rightfully so. Garoppolo is a good player, but Lance’s rushing upside made him a potential Fantasy difference maker. Garoppolo will never be.

But maybe Tua Tagovailoa could be? The Dolphins have been pretty pass-happy, and we saw the upside of what that could mean in Week 1, when he matched Dan Marino’s franchise record with six touchdown passes. You might cringe at the inclusion of Tagovailoa in the same breath as Marino, but with Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill ranking among the league’s most electrifying playmakers, Tagovailoa doesn’t have to be incredible to have a chance to etch his name into Dolphins record order a couple more times.

Of course, Tagovailoa is only available in 20% of CBS Fantasy leagues, so he may not be an option. Justin Fields might be your best option if he’s out there, though he’s only available in 37% of leagues, so that might not help either. The truth of the matter is that there is no obvious guy out there who needs to start on waivers in most leagues. Among the quarterbacks available in more than half of CBS Fantasy leagues, Marcus Mariota and Daniel Jones likely have the most upside thanks to their rushing potential, though neither has put together two good games yet.

So your best bet might be to try to swing a trade. If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t light it up this week, he’d be a prime acquisition candidate, like Dak Prescott, assuming you can live without him for a few weeks. Maybe you can stream for a few weeks — Jared Goff vs. the Vikings or Ryan Tannehill vs. the Raiders in Week 3, and Jones vs. the Bears or Mitchell Trubisky vs. the Jets in Week 4 — and by then Prescott could be back to right. ship.

But the point is that there is no obvious solution that is widely available. Garoppolo may actually be about as good as anyone available in your league. We know he doesn’t have much upside, but he is a stable option with good playmakers. And, if nothing else, the transition from Lance to Garoppolo makes it a little easier to project the likes of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, who will hopefully be back next week.

Because Garoppolo isn’t going to run the ball himself like Lance was. That means the 49ers should be more pass-happy with him at QB — though they’ll still likely be one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league regardless. For example, we can project 30-35 pass attempts per week for the 49ers, compared to more like 20-30 with Lance most weeks. Between that and Garoppolo being a non-factor as a red-zone rusher, it’s easier to see how all of Samuel, Aiyuk and Kittle could thrive — even if Samuel is still a clear outlier among the trio in terms of Fantasy value.

All in all, the ceiling for both your Fantasy team and the 49ers is probably lower without Lance than it would have been otherwise. But at least the 49ers know what they have in Garoppolo. You might not be so lucky.

Here are the other injuries we will see after Sunday’s games:

  • Jerry Jeudy (shoulder) — Jeudy landed hard after being hit, and it looks like this one could potentially be pretty serious — he was ruled out shortly after halftime after leaving the game in the first quarter. It’s frustrating after his 2021 campaign was derailed by a high ankle injury early on, though we don’t have any specifics at this point. Courtland Sutton stepped in when Jeudy left the game, finishing with seven catches for 122 yards on 11 targets, and that could be what he needs to live up to his exorbitant draft price. Before Jeudy’s injury, it’s not clear Sutton was the No. 1 option in the offense, but if Jeudy misses significant time, there would be no choice.
  • James Conner (ankle) — Conner left the game early in the third quarter and watched from the sidelines as the Cardinals came back to win in overtime. Eno Benjamin had been the No. 2 back before the injury, but he shared the work with Darrel Williams after the injury – Williams finished with eight carries for 59 yards and a touchdown, while Benjamin was eight for 31, plus three catches for 20 yards (Williams had two for 3 yards). If Conner misses time, this looks to be by committee, and Williams got the first crack at goal line work, an important thing in this offense. I prefer Benjamin for Fantasy, but both could be in the RB3 lineup if Conner is out.
  • Damien Harris (knee) — It doesn’t sound like this is a serious injury, as Harris told reporters after the game: “I’m fine, dog!” He grabbed his knee after a late carry, so we’ll just keep an eye for now, with Rhamondre Stevenson likely in line for a significant workload should Harris miss time.
  • Dalton Schultz (leg) – Schultz left in the fourth quarter after going down hard and it looked like he grabbed his knee, possibly. We don’t have any more details than that, but it’s something to keep an eye on for an offense already missing Prescott. I wouldn’t expect much from Jake Ferguson if Schultz was sidelined, but that could make Michael Gallup’s impending return even more important to the Cowboys offense.


Here’s who I’m looking at coming out of Sunday’s action:

Top goals:

  1. Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets
  2. Chris Olave, WR, Saints
  3. Curtis Samuel, WR, Commander
  4. Raheem Mostert, RB, Dolphins
  5. Eno Benjamin, RB, Cardinals

For the rest of my top priorities and why I’m aiming for them, go here.

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