Fantasy Football Injury Report: Wes Welker Concussed and Cam Newton Banged Up

Wes Welker
Wes Welker

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos: Wes Welker Suffers Third Concussion in Past Year

Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Wes Welker sustained a concussion in Saturday night’s game against the Houston Texans. This is the third concussion for the pass catcher in the past year, and it looks like his 2014 season, and potentially his football career, is in jeopardy.

After a second concussion, not only are people more prone to further concussions, but any concussion that they may sustain can have a greater impact on long-term health. Repeated concussions may lead to long-lasting problems with movement, learning and/or speaking. Even if the risk of this happening is small, it’s not something to be laughed at or glossed over when you put a player’s life outside of football into the picture. I don’t think there’s any chance that the Broncos or Welker will rush the process.

As far as fantasy impact goes, Welker’s injury opens the door for newly signed wideout Emmanuel Sanders, who some projected to split time with Welker coming out of the slot anyways since Sanders never had much success split out wide. I believe that Welker will miss a big portion of 2014, which means that I’m going to firmly rank Sanders as a top 20 WR. My only concern with Sanders prior to this injury was that he wasn’t going to get on the field enough to be a top fantasy producer. That’s all changed.

The wide receiver spot opposite Demaryius Thomas is still up for grabs, and it remains to be seen who has the upper hand. Andre Caldwell is competing with rookie Cody Latimer, and it’s worth mentioning that Caldwell played before Latimer on Saturday. Whomever winds up winning the job will be worth at least a late round flier or waiver pickup.

Cam Newton

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers: MRI Reveals Hairline Rib Fracture for QB Cam Newton

Newton suffered the fracture after getting hit scrambling Friday night against the New England Patriots. The Carolina Panthers’ franchise QB was wearing a flak jacket at the time, but wound up getting hit in a small area where there was no protection.

A hairline fracture is just the medical term of classifying it as a simple fracture, where there is a crack at just a single point of the bone. The most common symptoms of a rib fracture is pain, which usually occurs during breathing or coughing. With time and proper management, the fracture will close and heal.

The timetable for hairline fractures is unclear, as it depends a lot on a person’s pain tolerance level. Newton’s one of the league’s toughest QBs, and hasn’t missed a single game in his three year career. I expect him to be ready to go by September 7, which is Carolina’s first regular season game against Tampa Bay. But with an injury like this, it does make sense for the coaching staff to limit Newton’s scrambling, and perhaps reduce his work at the goal line. If that happens, you’re looking at a low-end QB1.

Sam Bradford

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Rams: Sam Bradford Out for the Season with Torn ACL

For the second straight year, St. Louis Rams’ quarterback Sam Bradford has torn his left ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season. He was hurt in the first quarter of Saturday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns when he landed awkwardly on his knee after getting hit by Browns DE Amonty Bryant.

Initially, Bradford said that he felt fine and that he would be back soon, but then ESPN reported that in reality, the injury he suffered was much worse than everyone had anticipated. Very few professional athletes recover from a single torn ACL, much less two torn ACLs. The road to recovery is not just hard on the body, but also on the mind. It takes a lot of will and mental toughness to come back from such a devastating injury, even with medical advances.

Bradford was garnering very little attention in redraft leagues to start with, but with his injury, it’s almost impossible to feel good about taking any player from the Rams’ offense other than Zac Stacy. Stacy proved that he could be an effective fantasy option without Bradford in 2013 (200-759-7) and will remain the guy that the Rams lean on the most. 300 carries isn’t out the question for the borderline RB1/2. I’d completely avoid any other players at this point unless Shaun Hill proves he can be an effective starter.

Quick Hits:

Baltimore Ravens’ RB Bernard Pierce tweeted out “I’m fine” the other night after taking a big hit and experiencing some concussion-like symptoms. He’s expected to be ready for Week 1 against the Bengals … Matt Schaub is dealing with a sore elbow, which may be the perfect excuse for Oakland Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen to bench him in favor of rookie Derek Carr … It sounds like Arian Foster is feeling good enough to play in the Houston Texans’ preseason finale … Denver Broncos’ RB Montee Ball got his first action post-appendectomy and touched the ball eight times, gaining 34 total yards. He’s well worth a first round selection … If you were looking to see more of New Orleans Saints’ first round pick Brandin Cooks on Friday night, you were obviously disappointed, as he missed the teams’ third preseason game due to a stomach virus.

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