Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season is all but in the books, and as always, we’re spending our Monday morning assessing the damage to our lineups and sorting out who may be unavailable next week – and beyond. Here are the major injury storylines we’re keeping an eye on heading into Week 6.
De’Von Achane to Miss Time with Knee Injury
This one wasn’t necessarily on our radar on Sunday, but it’s quickly become one of the bigger injury developments of the week. De’Von Achane has erupted for over 33 fantasy points per game since Week 3 in Miami’s fast, explosive offensive attack. It’s now looking like he could be out for at least four weeks if he ends up on IR.
Achane’s absence cements Raheem Mostert as the team’s RB1, although Mostert has gotten more opportunities than Achane through five weeks and done significantly less with his chances. Mostert’s also available in only 5% of leagues. Chris Brooks and Salvon Ahmed are both available in nearly all leagues, but it’s not likely either becomes viable for fantasy even if Achane is out for several weeks.
James Conner Exits in 2nd Quarter with Knee Injury
If the 2023 Arizona Cardinals weren’t already sad enough for you, they just got sadder, losing RB James Conner to a knee injury in their 34-20 loss to Cincinnati. In his postgame media availability, head coach Jonathan Gannon didn’t provide any major updates:
Conner was on his way to a decent performance before going down, rushing six times for 46 yards and hurting himself on a 35-yard scamper. Undrafted free agent Emari Demercado out of TCU fulfilled Arizona’s backfield duties in Conner’s absence, but that was also due to Keaontay Ingram‘s second consecutive DNP with a neck injury. Ingram and Demercado are both owned in only 1% of leagues, so if Conner does miss any time, Ingram’s status should be monitored closely this week to see who may lead this backfield next week.
We finally received an update on Conner’s injured knee, and it wasn’t what we were hoping for:
Whether or not he ends up on IR, it looks like Conner will miss some time. It’s likely that Emari Demercado is a popular waiver target now, but don’t forget about Keontay Ingram, who practiced in a limited capacity late last week and could return in Week 6.
Anthony Richardson Leaves Game with AC Joint Sprain in Throwing Shoulder
For the third time in his first four NFL starts, Anthony Richardson left Sunday’s game with an injury. Richardson landed hard on his right throwing shoulder late in the game and immediately stayed down, paving the way for Gardner Minshew to come in and lead a victory over Tennessee. Initial X-Rays were negative, and the injury is now being reported as an AC joint sprain. Derek Carr suffered a similar injury earlier this year and didn’t miss any time, so obviously the hope is that Richardson will be in the same boat.
Minshew is arguably one of the best backup QBs in the league, finishing this game 11/14 for 155 yards, so the Colts pass catchers on your roster are still in good shape if Richardson does have to miss a week or two.
Colts HC Shane Steichen provided an unfortunate update on his QB’s status on Monday:
Hopefully Richardson avoids an IR stint, but regardless it looks like Minshew will have the reigns for at least Week 6.
Justin Jefferson Suffers Hamstring Injury, Puts Up Dud vs. Kansas City
We’ve come to expect nothing but greatness from Justin Jefferson coming off three consecutive Pro Bowl seasons to start his career, but he caught just three passes for 28 yards on Sunday. To make matters worse, Jefferson suffered a hamstring injury in the second half while running a route.
Jefferson hasn’t missed a game in his young career, but that streak may be in jeopardy heading into Week 6. Head coach Kevin O’Connell said postgame it’s “still very early” to make an assessment and the team will “get him back as soon as we possibly can,” so this appears to be another wait-and-see situation in Minneapolis.
Details are still slim on the severity of Jefferson’s injury, but Kevin O’Connell made some more comments today that aren’t particularly optimistic. Jefferson managers may have to prepare for at least a one-game absence from their WR1.
More bad news — Jefferson will be out a minimum of four games, potentially longer. K.J. Osborn is owned in just 10% of leagues, and should see a significant bump in touches alongside rookie Jordan Addison (88% owned) in Jefferson’s absence. T.J. Hockenson should also see even more red zone looks as well.
Other Notable Injuries
Travis Kelce – Ankle
Right before halftime, Travis Kelce suffered what appeared to be a non-contact leg injury and went to the locker room. Thankfully, Taylor Swift wasn’t in the building to witness it. Kelce came back in the second half and finished the game with 10 catches for 67 yards and a touchdown, so he should be good to go, but Kansas City does have a short week as they host Denver on Thursday Night Football.
Daniel Jones – Neck
When you get sacked more than anyone else in football, eventually one of those sacks will result in an injury. That came true for Daniel Jones in Week 5 as he left the game with a neck injury late in New York’s 31-16 loss to Miami. Jones suffered a season-ending neck injury in 2021 and said postgame this pain “feels similar” to his previous experience, which isn’t promising. Tyrod Taylor is next in line to get sacked eight times a game if Jones does in fact miss time.
Giants HC Brian Daboll had a surprisingly positive update on Monday regarding Jones’ status:
Tank Dell – Head
An early-season waiver favorite, Texans rookie wideout Tank Dell left in the first half on Sunday with a head injury and didn’t return. If Dell isn’t cleared for Week 6, his absence opens up more opportunities for Nico Hollins, Robert Woods, and Dalton Schultz in what’s been a surprisingly impressive Houston passing attack. John Metchie III could also move into a more fantasy-relevant role if Dell isn’t active next week against New Orleans.