The good news about Week 5 is that there were no season-ending injuries to any top-tier skill players. The bad news, as always, is that a number of notable names fell head-first into the infirmary. Here’s an early look at Sunday’s injury fallout:
In Chargers RB news, Ryan Mathews came out of Week 5 with calf and wrist injuries, and Mike Tolbert sustained a concussion. Despite the fact that Mathews reportedly left the stadium on crutches, indications are that neither of his injuries is serious, which is a big relief after the emerging RB1 ran 24 times for 125 yards. Mathews and Tolbert both get a chance to rest for Week 7 during a well-timed Week 6 bye.
Julio Jones (1 rec, 16 yds) pulled up with a left hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s game and walked off to the locker room. The strain didn't look too severe when it happened, and Jones wasn't limping seriously when he left, but any hamstring injury has the potential to be a multiple-week issue. Harry Douglas is next in line for targets if Jones misses any games.
Chris Johnson was sidelined with hamstring tightness late in Sunday's game, but appears to have avoided anything serious (and saved us from a "CJ2K Not OK" headline to this column). Johnson told the Nashville Tennessean that "I was set to go back in, but they didn't want to injure it more knowing that the game was pretty much out of hand." Johnson – who ran for his first TD of the season on Sunday – should be fine coming out of a Week 6 bye.
Joseph Addai saw his day end in the first quarter due to a hamstring injury. It’s terrible timing for Addai, who had a chance at some respectable RB2 production with Curtis Painter infusing at least a little bit of life into the Colts’ offense. Addai has never been Mr. Resilience, so it wouldn’t be remotely shocking to see him miss a game (or multiple games). With that in mind, Delone Carter (12 rush, 22 yds, TD; 2 rec, 12 yds) and Donald Brown (8 rush, 38 yds) could be worth consideration as bye week replacements, but neither is very appealing against a tough Bengals run D.
LeGarrette Blount left Sunday’s blowout loss with a knee injury. It’s certainly possible that the lopsided score contributed to Blount’s absence, but as of Sunday night it was unclear how significant this injury might be. Earnest Graham and Kregg Lumpkin would benefit if Blount misses time, but neither would be a worthwhile consideration outside of deeper formats.
Antonio Gates (foot) told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he's been planning to return in Week 7 all along. It's good news that he’s aiming to be back in a couple of weeks, but fantasy owners need to be preparing to shop Gates once he comes back and re-establishes value. His foot could easily flare up again during the second half of the season.
Follow me on Twitter: @MattStroup
Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring) was available in an emergency Sunday, but wasn’t needed. No word yet on Mendenhall’s availability for next week, but it’s obviously a positive development that the Steelers theoretically could have turned to him if needed. There’s certainly some cause for optimism that Mendenhall will be back in his lead RB role in Week 6.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Andre Johnson (hamstring) will attempt to practice this week. It doesn’t sound like he’s got much of a chance to play in Week 6, but this is a good development for his potential availability in Week 7.
Donald Jones (2 rec, 25 yds) left with an ankle injury, and was spotted on crutches and in a walking boot after Sunday’s game, with WGR 550 Buffalo's Joe Buscaglia reporting that Jones “looked crushed.” Jones missing time could result in some additional looks for David Nelson (1 rec, 6 yds, TD), but Jones alone won’t spring Nelson free after a second consecutive quiet week. Deeper league owners should keep an eye on Naaman Roosevelt (5 rec, 41 yds).
Tarvaris Jackson was knocked out of Sunday’s game with a strained pectoral muscle. Charlie Whitehurst (11-for-19, 149 yds, TD) looked solid in Jackson’s absence, but ProFootballTalk.com reports that Jackson is expected to be fine, and with the Seahawks headed into a bye, there’s a good chance he’ll be back under center for Week 7.
On the same day that he picked up his fifth sack of the season, Mario Williams tore his pectoral muscle, as reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Williams is headed for an MRI on Monday, and would likely be done for the season if surgery is deemed necessary.
Editor’s note: If you want to draft a new fantasy team, check out SnapDraft here.
More injury notes: Josh Morgan (5 rec, 75 yds) may be headed for the I.R. due to a fractured ankle, according to CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco ... Rob Gronkowski almost didn't play on Sunday due to a stomach illness, which partially helps explain his quiet day (and his absence during a long Patriots drive) ... Packers LT Chad Clifton was carted off with a hamstring injury, which contributed to Aaron Rodgers taking a season-high four sacks ... Matt Schaub took a scary-looking hit to his knee late in Sunday’s game, but stayed in and appeared to be fine … Aaron Hernandez (knee) limped to the locker room in the second quarter, but returned and clearly wasn’t slowed down afterward … Bucs DT Gerald McCoy is believed to have a high ankle sprain, according to the St. Petersburg Times … The Texans lost TE/FB James Casey to a torn pectoral muscle … Cardinals FS Kerry Rhodes left with a foot injury … Giants RG Chris Snee and LB Zak DeOssie both suffered concussions … Broncos DB Brian Dawkins left with a neck injury … Cardinals LG Daryn Colledge (concussion) did not return … Seahawks TE Zach Miller sustained what is believed to be a concussion, according to the Everett Herald … Panthers LB Omar Gaither left in the second quarter with a leg injury … Falcons SS William Moore left with a neck injury, CB Chris Owens suffered a concussion and Sean Weatherspoon sustained an apparent head injury of his own.
Reminder: For a complete wrap-up of all the key happenings from Sunday, check out Chris Wesseling’s The Morning After column on Monday.