As indicated by its headline (and as you may recall from last season), the purpose of this column is to stockpile all of Sunday’s key injuries and analyze their immediate impact. And with Week 1 proving itself to be altogether wretched for the Rams as far as ligaments, joints, muscles and appendages are concerned, St. Louis has the dubious honor of leading off the injury roll call:
Sam Bradford, QB, STL (finger)
The Injury: X-rays on Bradford’s right index finger came back negative, but Peter King reports that the Rams are concerned that he may have “some nerve damage,” a diagnosis that had coach Steve Spagnuolo divulging that “I'll be praying all night.” Bradford, meanwhile, is more optimistic (as players often are), telling reporters after the game that “I don't see any way that I'm not going to be on that field [playing] next Monday.”
Fantasy Impact: If Bradford’s head coach is holding his breath, then fantasy owners should be as well. Especially since the next person in line to start is 34-year-old A.J. Feeley, who went 2-for-6 for 21 yards in his first regular season NFL appearance since 2007.
Steven Jackson, RB, STL (quad)
The Injury: After not showing much in the way of wheels during the preseason, Jackson showcased some trademark explosive running on a 47-yard TD run in the first quarter, but had only one more carry on the day due to quad trouble.
Fantasy Impact: The Rams are expected to update Jackson’s status Monday morning, and fantasy owners should be prepared to use a waiver claim on Cadillac Williams (19 rush, 91 yds; 6 rec, 49 yds) pending the results of that update.
Danny Amendola, WR, STL (elbow)
The Injury: How bad is Amendola’s dislocated left elbow? The answer: very. Shortly after the injury happened, the Rams announced via Twitter that Amendola’s “season is likely in doubt,” with ESPN’s John Clayton later sharing the slightly less pessimistic report that Amendola is expected to miss 8-10 weeks.
Fantasy Impact: Rookie Greg Salas got a look on Sunday after a highly disappointing training camp, and had an ugly drop (in addition to one catch for 21 yards). Salas shouldn’t be a consideration in fantasy leagues at the moment, and Brandon Gibson (3 rec, 50 yds) seems like a more likely beneficiary. It’s also worth noting that Adam Caplan of FOX Sports has floated the suggestion that the Rams sign Brandon Stokley to take over Amendola’s slot role.
Arian Foster, RB, HOU (hamstring)
The Injury: After Foster showed up to the stadium in a golf cart (and was subsequently inactive), Gary Kubiak was noncommittal about his star RB’s status for Week 2, saying (per the team’s Twitter feed) that "I think until he steps on the field, there's some question. The next test will be Wednesday [at practice]."
Fantasy Impact: Derrick Ward (11 rush, 39 yds, 1 TD) got the early carries Sunday, but left the blowout win over the Colts with an ankle injury. Ward told the Houston Chronicle that his departure was precautionary, and even if Ward does play next week, Ben Tate (24 rush, 116 yds, 1 TD) has the look of a must-start against Miami next week if Foster is out.
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Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG (knee)
The Injury: Nicks (7 rec, 122 yds) had X-rays on his knee after Sunday’s game, which came back negative.
Fantasy Impact: We’ll be watching closely for updates as the week progresses, but at the moment it doesn’t sound like there’s a significant cause for concern here.
Mike Tolbert, RB, SD (knee)
The Injury: Things didn’t look good for Tolbert (93 total yards, 3 TDs) when he limped off the field late in the fourth quarter, but Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com reports that the injury is "not believed to be serious."
Fantasy Impact: Any missed time for Tolbert would be a big development for Ryan Mathews’ value, but as of now it doesn’t look like Tolbert is slated to miss significant time.
Marcedes Lewis, TE, JAX (calf)
The Injury: Initially thought to be dealing with leg cramps, Lewis (2 rec, 28 yds) may actually have a calf strain, according to beat writer Tania Ganguli.
Fantasy Impact: Lewis missed significant time during Sunday’s game, which helps explain his limited production. If he does miss a game or games due to the injury, fantasy owners will want to look outside of Jacksonville for a TE replacement rather than turn to Jacksonville’s version of Zach Miller.
Roy Williams, CHI, WR (groin)
The Injury: Williams (4 rec, 55 yds) came up with a slight limp and immediately took a seat on the bench after picking up a fourth-quarter first down.
Fantasy Impact: Williams showed some modest signs of statistical life on Sunday, but Johnny Knox (3 rec, 60 yds) remains the better long-term option, and would see a considerable boost in value if Williams is out next week.
Michael Crabtree, WR, SF (foot)
The Injury: Crabtree told the Sacramento Bee that his surgically-repaired left foot “hurt so bad” during Sunday’s game, then went for an MRI, which came back negative.
Fantasy Impact: Crabtree had just one catch for four yards, and even when healthy remains quite far from being trustworthy in fantasy leagues.
Andy Dalton, QB, CIN (wrist)
The Injury: Dalton (10-for-15, 81 yds, TD) didn’t play in the second half due to wrist trouble, but early indications are that he avoided a serious injury. Dalton is being called probable for Week 2.
Fantasy Impact: Bruce Gradkowski (5-for-12, 92 yds, TD) would start if Dalton is somehow forced to sit, but this is really only a situation to monitor in extremely deep leagues or two-QB formats.
Kevin Walter, WR, HOU (shoulder)
The Injury: Profootballtalk.com reports that Walter is out 10-12 weeks with a “broken” left shoulder.
Fantasy Impact: Jacoby Jones (3 rec, 43 yds, one return TD) stands to benefit, but probably isn’t worth an add unless you’re playing in a deeper league.
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Other Injury Notes: More bad news for the Rams: RT Jason Smith is believed to have a high ankle sprain, and his backup (Adam Goldberg) struggled badly in pass protection last year … The Rams also lost LCB Ronald Bartell due to a shoulder stinger, but it’s not believed to be serious … Trouble in San Diego: Nate Kaeding reportedly suffered a torn left ACL on Sunday’s opening kickoff, and DE Luis Castillo – a vital cog in the Chargers’ defense – reportedly suffered a broken tibia … Steelers OLB James Harrison left in the fourth quarter with an apparent right knee injury … After a fast start, Dez Bryant was visibly hindered by leg cramps during the latter part of Sunday night's game ... Felix Jones briefly came up limping in the fourth quarter, but returned on Dallas' next possession ... Ravens rookie CB Jimmy Smith (ankle) left early, though X-rays were negative … Titans DE William Hayes suffered a shoulder injury, leaving Tennessee’s top three defensive ends currently sidelined … Per beat writer Joe Person, Panthers MLB Jon Beason has what coach Ron Rivera labeled a “dire” left ankle injury … Bills LCB Terrence McGee (hamstring) and linebacker Shawne Merriman (shoulder) both left Sunday’s game early … Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick was carted to the locker room with an ankle injury, and RCB Mike Jenkins left after taking a shot to the upper body, further depleting an already thin Dallas secondary … The Kansas City Star reports that SS Eric Berry’s knee injury “could be serious.”
(Note: For a comprehensive breakdown of all the key happenings from Sunday, be sure to check out Chris Wesseling’s “The Morning After” column every Monday.)