Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season kicked off in grand fashion with plenty of exciting games, but it also saw a wave of talented players suffer injuries that will put them on the injury report this week.
As we see every season, especially early in the NFL schedule, plenty of players suffer lower-body injuries that put their availability for the next game in jeopardy. In even worse circumstances, a top player suffers a season-ending injury.
We saw plenty of players go down this week, including stars like Michael Thomas and DeVante Parker.
With preparation for Week 2 now underway and players beginning medical treatment on Monday, we examine the latest news on key names who will be on the NFL’s injury report this week.
Coming off a 1,000-yard season in 2019, expectations were high for Mack. He was set to share touches with rookie Jonathan Taylor, and Indianapolis believed both runners were capable of dominating. Unfortunately, those plans came crashing down in Week 1.
Mack suffered a non-contact leg injury early on Sunday, leaving the field on a cart. The Colts feared Mack tore his Achilles tendon, and an MRI confirmed the diagnosis on Monday. Set to become a free agent in 2021, Mack will now miss the rest of the 2020 season.
If any team can overcome losing its starting running back without its running game taking a step back, it’s the Colts. While Nyheim Hines has primarily been a third-down back in his career, he impressed in Week 1 with two touchdowns and averaged four yards per carry.
Of course, the focus in Indianapolis shifts to Taylor. He was a wrecking ball at Wisconsin with a game-changing ability whom the Colts snagged with the No. 41 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He can be a workhorse in this offense but will split work early on with Hines. Ultimately, Taylor could become a high-end back running behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines.
The Saints walked off the field in Week 1 with a huge victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it might have come at a cost. Late in Sunday’s game, All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas was blocking when one of his teammates accidentally rolled right into his ankle.
According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Thomas was able to walk around in the locker room after the game without issue. While trainers were waiting to examine the ankle, it’s a good sign that he was able to move around.
Thomas hasn’t missed a game in his past three seasons, proving a willingness to fight through the little bumps and bruises that come with a grueling NFL season. However, he’s incredibly valuable to this offense, and the Saints will prioritize his long-term health over a single game.
For now, Thomas should be considered likely to play in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders. If he’s on the field, we expect a rebound performance after he finished Week 1 with just 17 receiving yards. A matchup against the Raiders secondary is the perfect game to get on track.
Parker came into Week 1 with a hamstring injury. The Dolphins were hopeful he could make it through Sunday’s game without a setback. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before he suffered an aggravation and was forced to finish his day on the sideline.
According to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe, Parker is likely to miss some time with the injury. Given the nature of soft-tissue injuries and the risks of aggravation, missing Week 2 seems likely. If Parker can’t play next week, the next possible return would be in Week 3 when Miami plays on "Thursday Night Football."
Fantasy players should prepare for Parker to reasonably miss the next two games with the injury. While it could be limited to a one-game absence, the Dolphins may see the benefit in giving Parker an additional week off and then allowing him to return in Week 4.
It’s a tough blow for the Dolphins and fantasy players, who enjoyed Parker’s breakout 2019 campaign with 1,202 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. In his absence, Preston Williams has a chance to step in as Miami’s No. 1 receiver and the go-to target for Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’s a risky play to begin with, but looming matchups against Tre’Davious White in Week 2 and C.J. Henderson in Week 3 make Williams a FLEX play in the best-case scenario.
Late in the week, Philadelphia was hopeful Sanders could take the field in the season opener against the Washington Football Team. But on Saturday, the Eagles ruled Sanders out for Week 1 out of precaution.
It might have been the right decision. Philadelphia played without three starters along the offensive line and was destroyed by Washington’s front seven. While things will be difficult in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark reported Monday there is hopes Sanders will play against Los Angeles.
There’s no denying Sanders boasts the abilities to be a dangerous all-purpose back. He racked up 818 rushing yards with 509 receiving yards in his rookie season, looking explosive each time he touched the football. When the Eagles went into training camp, they planned to feature Sanders in their offense this season.
We also saw on "Sunday Night Football" that teams can run the ball against the Rams. Ezekiel Elliott went off for 127 scrimmage yards and two total touchdowns, carrying the Dallas Cowboys. If Sanders is cleared to play in Week 2, he should be in fantasy lineups.