The second week of the NFL season was plagued with injuries, as a series of high-profile players left games early. As the diagnoses came in Sunday night and Monday morning, the news was often troubling. And there were major fantasy football implications.

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, the No. 1 pick in most fantasy drafts, was removed twice during Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will miss four to six weeks with an ankle injury, although he said he hopes to be back “a lot earlier” than that. New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, a Top 5 fantasy pick, tore his ACL against the Chicago Bears and is out for the season. (The Giants signed free agent Devonta Freeman, who had two 1,000-yard rushing seasons with the Falcons, to a one-year deal on Tuesday.) San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert is dealing with an MCL injury and he likely won’t play in Week 3. Fellow 49ers running back Tevin Coleman also sprained his knee in Week 2, according to Coach Kyle Shanahan, and he might not play, either, with ESPN reporting that Coleman will miss “multiple weeks.”

Then there are the quarterbacks. San Francisco starter Jimmy Garoppolo left his team’s win with a high ankle sprain, although he has a chance to play in Week 3. Drew Lock of the Denver Broncos suffered a sprained rotator cuff and will miss three to five weeks. Tyrod Taylor suffered a chest injury before the Los Angeles Chargers’ game against the Kansas City Chiefs even started, and his status is unclear.

There are more. Courtland Sutton of the Denver Broncos suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season. Packers wideout Davante Adams — the favorite target of Aaron Rodgers — was forced to leave Green Bay’s win because of a hamstring injury, although Coach Matt LaFleur downplayed the injury’s significance. Other injuries worth monitoring include those suffered by tight end George Kittle (knee); wide receivers Parris Campbell (knee), Breshad Perriman (ankle) and Sterling Shepard (toe); plus running back Cam Akers (ribs). (Campbell was put on injured reserve with an MCL/PCL injury, meaning he will miss at least three weeks.)

Expect a feeding frenzy on this week’s waiver wire, with some fantasy GMs scrambling to fill their injury voids and others looking to bolster their depth with reserve players now rising up the depth chart. Here are some options that should be available this week, listed by position in order of scarcity.

Running backs

Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams (available in 55 percent of fantasy leagues)

The second-year pro led the Rams in carries (12) and rushing yards (81) plus scored a touchdown against the Eagles on Sunday, after just three carries for six yards in Week 1. Malcolm Brown is used more on passing plays, but Henderson showed he can be involved there, too, making two catches for an additional 40 yards against the Eagles. Akers has separated rib cartilage but should be able to play in Week 3.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, San Francisco 49ers (available in 81 percent of fantasy leagues)

Mostert was replaced in part by McKinnon, who rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown on just three carries, his longest run a 55-yard scamper on his second attempt of the game. McKinnon is also the more elusive back, with three runs of 15 yards or more and a team-high 2.3 yards per carry after contact.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins (available in 88 percent of fantasy leagues)

Gaskin, for the second week in a row, has been the biggest surprise out of the backfield for the Dolphins. On Sunday, he carried the ball seven times for 46 yards and caught six passes for 36 yards. No player on the team had more touches. Gaskin also leads all Miami running backs in snaps played.

Devonta Freeman, New York Giants (available in 93 percent of fantasy leagues)

In his first three years as a starter for the Atlanta Falcons, Freeman touched the ball 851 times for 4,357 yards from scrimmage and 35 total touchdowns. He was cut by the Falcons in March. He signed a one-year deal with the Giants on Tuesday.

Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis, RB, New York Giants (each available in 99 percent of fantasy leagues)

The Giants will likely employ a running-back-by-committee approach including Freeman, Lewis and Gallman going forward. Neither of the latter two has been remarkable at the start of the 2020 campaign, but Lewis did get 10 carries in relief of Barkley against the Bears.

“It’s going to take all of us,” Lewis told reporters. “We’ve all got to step up. Obviously, Saquon’s one of the best running backs in the league. So nobody’s going to be able to do what he’s done. We’ve just got to do what we can do, try to be ourselves, do whatever the coaches ask us to do and work hard every day.”

Mike Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers (available in 99 percent of fantasy leagues)

Davis, claimed off waivers from the Chicago Bears last November, did not get much work on the ground with McCaffrey hurt (one carry for a yard), but he did catch all eight of his targets for 74 yards for Carolina on Sunday. He has not started much during his career (10 games since 2015) and his most productive season was in 2018 as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. That year, he played in 15 games and finished with 728 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns.


Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (available in 55 percent of fantasy leagues)

The No. 1 overall pick in April finished with 316 passing yards and three touchdowns on Thursday night. Perhaps more impressive: The young quarterback went 8 for 16 for 82 yards and a touchdown when facing Browns pass pressure, per Pro Football Focus.

Ryan Tannehill, QB Tennessee Titans (available in 66 percent of fantasy leagues)

Tannehill, without the services of top wide receiver A.J. Brown, completed 18 of 24 passes for 239 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions, in a Week 2 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. In case you’ve forgotten, he also led the league in passer rating (117.5) in 2019.

Gardner Minshew, QB Jacksonville Jaguars (available in 80 percent of fantasy leagues)

The second-year passer finished with 339 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to Tannehill’s Titans. Dating back to last season, that gives Minshew and his mustache three consecutive weeks with three touchdown passes.

Wide receivers

Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons (available in 80 percent of fantasy leagues)

For the second week in a row, Gage was productive, despite playing alongside Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. His latest outing included nine targets, six catches, 46 yards and a touchdown. He even threw a pass that should have been a touchdown, but Jones had an uncharacteristic drop and it was incomplete.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR Green Bay Packers (available in 83 percent of fantasy leagues)

The 26-year-old has the second-highest share of targets for the Packers this season (18 percent) and is the primary beneficiary if Adams misses an extended length of time. And despite his low catch rate (54 percent), he is still on track to produce 1,280 yards and eight touchdowns over a 16-game season at his current volume.

Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (available in 93 percent of fantasy leagues)

Claypool, a second-round pick in 2020, saw his snap count increase from 19 in Week 1 to 24 in Week 2, at the expense of teammate James Washington.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (available in 98 percent of fantasy leagues)

Minshew has targeted Cole a team-high 12 times in two games and the 27-year-old has caught 11 of those targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with six catches for 58 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.

“Cole, he plays multiple spots and he has had a really good camp,” Jaguars Coach Doug Marrone said in August. “He’s got really good hands, can play all three positions, he makes the tough catch, he’s been very consistent, he’s become better at this route running, he’s been able to get in and out a little better, so you see an improvement from last year to this year.”

Adam Humphries, WR, Tennessee Titans (available in 98 percent of fantasy leagues)

With A.J. Brown sidelined with a bone bruise in his knee, Humphries now has 11 catches (on 13 targets) for 95 yards and a touchdown in two games. Tannehill has a 122.8 passer rating when Humphries is targeted so far this season.

Andy Isabella, WR, Arizona Cardinals (available in 99 percent of fantasy leagues)

Isabella played just 14 out of 77 offensive snaps against the Washington Football Team in Week 2, but he still made an impact, catching two passes for 67 yards, including a 54-yard strike in the second quarter.

Tight ends

Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans (available in 61 percent of fantasy leagues)

Smith, a third-round pick in 2017, had four catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. He also caught a touchdown pass in the season opener at Denver, leaving him tied with Tyler Higbee of the Rams for the most touchdowns at the position. Smith is also sure-handed, dropping only one pass on 44 targets during the 2019 season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys (available in 99 percent of fantasy leagues)

With starter Blake Jarwin out, Schultz has climbed up the depth chart. He led the team in targets (10) on Sunday in the Cowboys’ miraculous comeback against the Atlanta Falcons, catching nine for 88 yards and a touchdown.