Fantasy football: Andrew Luck is just the start of NFL dilemmas

Fantasy football: Andrew Luck is just the start of NFL dilemmas

It was a wild Week 3 of the NFL preseason. Injuries to key players and a surprise retirement mean many of the players you were hoping to draft for your fantasy teams may not be available. Here’s what you need to know:

— The excitement from the kickoff of the college football season was eclipsed by a shocking report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Andrew Luck is retiring from the NFL. Most recently, Luck was dealing with a calf strain and bone issue in his leg, prompting the Colts (and fantasy owners) to plan for the likelihood that he would miss time anyway. Jacoby Brissett went 4-11 as the starter in 2017 when Luck was out all season due to a shoulder injury. This is undoubtedly a downgrade for the other members of the Colts offense, most notably receiver T.Y. Hilton, but Brissett should be more prepared to take on the starting role having had two full years in the Indianapolis system.

— Veteran Lamar Miller was carted off the field on Saturday during the Texans’ preseason game in Dallas. Head coach Bill O’Brien told the media that Miller had torn his ACL and was placed on injured reserve. Historically a third-down pass catcher, newly acquired Duke Johnson Jr. will get more carries as a result. He is undervalued at his current ADP and has decent upside as a flex.

— Cam Newton was injured during the Panthers’ preseason game against the Patriots on Thursday. He exited the stadium in a walking boot that evening with what was later revealed to be a midfoot sprain. Newton participated in a modified practice on Monday and the Panthers have remained “cautiously optimistic” he will be ready to go in Week 1 against the Rams. However, Newton’s mobility and physical style of play, which makes him a risky fantasy asset, means that any lower-body injury is cause for concern. Be prepared to use a backup if Newton suffers any setbacks.

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— A.J. Green is still using a knee scooter and has not made any visible progress towards on-field work. Jay Morrison of The Athletic said that “there is no updated timeline for Green” since it was initially confirmed he would miss multiple regular season games. Green’s lack of progression is worrisome. Tyler Boyd will take on a lot of the workload while Green is out, but fantasy owners should also keep an eye on former 2017 first-round draft pick John Ross. Ross has battling a hamstring injury since the beginning of training camp, but has been back at practice since Sunday and is expected to start in the Bengals’ season opener against the Seahawks.

— Sterling Shepard fractured his thumb earlier in the preseason, but is expected to be ready for the regular season. If healthy, he will see significant number of targets with Golden Tate suspended for four games and Corey Coleman out for the year with a torn ACL. He should be in the consideration as a WR3/flex option with a high upside.

— Tight end Jordan Reed sustained a concussion during last Thursday’s game against the Falcons. Reed, a former third-round pick in the 2013 draft, has been a big part of the Redskins offense when on the field, but has only appeared in 65 games in his career due to injuries. This is his fourth concussion, and though head coach Jay Gruden expects him to start in the season opener against the Eagles, Reed’s injury history makes him a risky play in fantasy. Make sure to draft another tight end to back up Reed in the event he misses time.

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— Green Bay receiver Equanimeous St. Brown suffered a high ankle sprain during the third preseason game against the Raiders last Thursday. St. Brown had to be helped off the field and Adam Schefter reported that he could be out for six weeks. The Packers are deep at the receiver position: Before the injury, St. Brown was vying with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison for the No. 2 spot behind Davante Adams. Both Valdes-Scantling and Allison are being drafted in the late rounds, but should be worthy of consideration given how valuable Aaron Rodgers’ second receiver has been for fantasy in the past.