Fantasy Football Week 5 Injury Recap: Rashaad Penny suffers ‘serious’ ankle injury; Damien Harris leaves, too

When Rashaad Penny has been healthy, he’s been a very good running back in the NFL, but that has been a notable struggle for him across four-plus seasons in the NFL. And he made it through just four games before suffering an injury this season, as he was forced out of Week 5’s game against the Saints with an ankle injury.

As of Sunday afternoon, the extent of the injury is not yet known, but the eternally optimistic Pete Carroll did say Penny suffered a “serious” injury. Penny was spotted on crutches and sporting a walking boot on the ankle, so it seems safe to assume at this point that we’re not looking at a swift return for Penny. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Walker suffered a fractured tibia and could require surgery, which would obviously lead to a significant absence.

This could make Kenneth Walker III one of the biggest prizes on the waiver wire in Fantasy this season. Walker performed well in Penny’s absence, carrying the ball eight times for 88 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown, and this team has run the ball pretty well so far this season – their running backs have 535 rushing yards in five games while averaging 6.0 yards per carry.

And Walker figures to be a big part of the Seahawks plans if Penny has to miss any time. The 41st overall pick in this year’s draft rushed for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns in 12 games for Michigan State before declaring for the draft, and the 21-year-old figured to be the future of the RB position for a Seahawks team that wants to establish the run and has Penny on a one-year deal. That future might be more immediate than expected if Penny has to miss serious time, and for Fantasy purposes, expectations for Walker should be very similar as they have been for Penny – he’ll be an RB2/3 for Fantasy as long as Penny is out.

Walker is available in 32% of CBS Fantasy leagues and should be one of, if not the top waiver-wire target for Week 5 wherever he is available.

Damien Harris leaves with a hamstring injury

The Patriots have historically relied heavily on a committee in their backfields, but an injury to Damien Harris in Week 5 could change that. Harris was forced to leave Sunday’s game against the Lions after just four carries with a hamstring injury, and Rhamondre Stevenson took advantage of the situation and an excellent matchup to dominate.

Stevenson carried the ball 25 times for 161 yards, including a very impressive 49-yard carry that saw him break multiple tackles in the first half. He also had two catches for 14 yards, and likely would have had an even bigger role there if the game had been competitive – rookie Bailey Zappe attempted just 21 passes in a 29-0 win over the Lions.

The extent of Harris’ injury is not yet known at this time, and the Patriots tend to be pretty tight-lipped about injuries, so we probably won’t know what his chances of playing in Week 6 against the Browns are until later this week . The Patriots don’t have a bye until Week 10, so if Harris’ injury is serious, he could miss time. Stevenson was already playing pretty well prior to the injury, with 33 PPR points across Weeks 3 and 4, but he could be a top-12 RB if Harris has to miss time. I may not rank it that way, necessarily, but Stevenson should be viewed as a must-start RB if Harris is out. The Patriots didn’t have another running back see the field in Week 5, and they’ll likely need to add someone with Pierre Strong and Ty Montgomery dealing with injuries of their own. We’ll see who that might be, but Stevenson figures to dominate snaps either way.

Here are the other injuries we’ll be following from Week 5:

  • Teddy Bridgewater (head/elbow) – Bridgewater got hit by a free rusher on Miami’s first drive, taking a safety on a (questionable) intentional grounding call. Bridgewater was ruled out due to the new concussion protocol – the ATC spotter ruled Bridgewater a “no-go” after he stumbled while coming off the field. Bridgewater passed his concussion evaluation, per ESPN, but was ineligible to return and will have to be cleared in advance of Week 5 as a result. Tua Tagovialoa remains in the concussion protocol due to last week’s injury, so rookie Skylar Thompson played most of the game for Miami, going 19 for 33 with an interception in the 40-17 loss to the Jets. Miami also lost starting left tackle Terron Armstead with a toe injury that has lingered over the past few weeks. That offense, which once looked so promising, needs to get healthy quickly.
  • Chris Olave (concussion) – Olave hit his head on the turf during a third quarter touchdown grab and stayed on the ground for a few moments before he was helped off the field. Olave was ruled out shortly after going to the locker room, and he’ll have to be cleared through the league’s concussion protocol before being allowed to play in Week 6 against the Bengals. The Saints were already missing Michael Thomas (foot) and Jarvis Landry (ankle), and Olave had four catches for 54 yards and the touchdown on six targets before the injury.
  • Pat Freiermuth (concussion) – Freiermuth took a big hit on an 8-yard catch in the third quarter and was taken to the locker room, where testing confirmed a concussion. That’s a bit of a concern for Freiermuth, who suffered two concussions last season, although he didn’t miss any time. He’ll have to be cleared through the protocol before Week 6 against the Buccaneers next Sunday.