We’re less than two weeks away from the NFL Season, and that means teams are in the throws of practice. As so often happens during Training Camp, that means injuries that will impact fantasy football players. This is one of the two biggest drafting weekends of the year for re-draft leagues, so keeping a tab on injuries is key heading into Week 1. Below are updates an analysis for injuries to Bears’ running back David Montgomery, Eagles’ wide receiver Jalen Reagor and Chargers’ safety Derwin James.
In addition, disgruntled Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue found a trading partner and is on his way to Minnesota. Let’s dive in.
Montgomery May Miss Week 1
Montgomery slipped in practice this week and there were a wide variety of reports about what might be ailing him, including a possible torn groin. While many owners braced for the worst, it was diagnosed as groin strain. The prognosis is he’ll miss two to four weeks, which given the timing could have him ready for Week 1 or could have him missing a game or two, something the Bears’ can ill afford.
It’s possible Chicago will hit the market and bring in some insurance, or wait for final roster cuts and pluck someone who has been released. If not, and if Montgomery misses time, the load would likely fall to Tarik Cohen and Ryan Nall. Nall managed just two carries and eight yards in 2019, so he doesn’t bring much experience.
Cohen is an experienced back that’s likely rostered. He’s more of a receiving threat, but should be in line for a Week 1 boost if Montgomery is out and the Bears don’t play the market. If you own Montgomery and don’t have Cohen, Nall is a flier at this point I’m not rushing out to add. I’d watch reports and cuts, as I wager the Bears will add a veteran if they think Montgomery is trending toward missing games.
Reagor Out Three to Four Weeks
In 2019, the Eagles’ receiving corps was ravaged by injury, and this off-season they sought to protect against that. The Eagles acquired Marquise Goodwin from the 49ers, but he opted out. They also hit receiver in the draft, nabbing Jalen Reagor out of TCU. Reagor has looked solid and figured to be a key contributor from Week 1, but a shoulder injury Sunday appears to have derailed those plans. Early reports suggest Reagor could miss four weeks, with an MRI yet to come. That could leave the Eagles down their top new weapon for the first few weeks of the regular season, and leaves fantasy players down an explosive new option.
The Eagles have already suffered offensive line injuries, while star running back Miles Sanders and quarterback Carson Wentz are dealing with injuries that have them day-to-day or week-to-week heading into the season. In addition, veteran receiver Alshon Jeffrey is already struggling with his own injury. All of which leaves the team thin. With Reagor likely to miss time, the Eagles will rely on tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, as they did last year, but will also need someone to step up at receiver.
Among the candidates are DeSean Jackson, who missed most of 2019 with his own injuries but was explosive when he played, and second-year receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who underwhelmed as a rookie. The roster also includes Greg Ward, who stepped up last year, and another rookie, John Hightower. If Reagor does indeed miss time, my suggestion is to try and grab Arcega-Whiteside or Jackson if available on the wire. Either or both may see increased targets for a few weeks.
James Injured Again For Chargers
Chargers’ safety Derwin James, who missed 11 games in 2019 after surgery, left practice with what seemed like a hamstring injury on Sunday. Now, it’s being reported it’s a meniscus injury, which would force the safety to miss significant time. The Chargers have a talented, young defense, but injuries to key players like James caused the team to struggle last year. Now it appears the team will be without their star safety again as they try to get back on a winning path, dealing an early-season blow to the team’s chances.
For IDP players, be prepared with a quality backup for James. For those playing Team D/ST, I would lower expectations for the Chargers in the first part of the season.
Ngakoue Traded to the Vikings
On Sunday the Jacksonville Jaguars traded their star defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Minnesota Vikings. The deal included a 2021 Second Round Pick and a 2021 Fifth Round Pick that is conditional, and could go as high as a Third Round Pick. This marks the end of a tumultuous off-season for Ngakoue and the Jaguars, who tagged the fifth-year defender and were promptly told he wouldn’t return to play for them. He remained true to his word, and the Jaguars dealt him.
For the Vikings, in a competitive division with the Packers, Bears and Lions alongside some tough NFC opponents, this gives a boost to the defense in general and the pass rush in particular. Ngakoue registered 37.5 sacks, 14 forced fumbles and nine passes defensed in four seasons for the Jaguars. It’s a good spot for Ngakoue, and should boost the Vikings in the D/ST format. For the Jaguars, a team that was in the AFC Championship Game following the 2017, it’s another blow. The team’s once vaunted defense has been mostly dismantled, and moving on from Ngakoue, however necessary, further portends a tough 2020. The Jaguars seem a decent candidate for the No. 1 overall pick though games have yet to begin. I’d fade their team D/ST in all formats.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.