The last time Greg Olsen missed a game? His second Sunday. Olsen sat out the first two weeks of his career with a sprained knee. He’s been up 160 consecutive games since, catching 625 passes and becoming the first tight end to post three straight 1,000-yard campaigns.
That all came to an end Sunday, where, having caught just one pass for 10 yards, Olsen pulled up lame at the end of a route where he was neither targeted nor contacted. Perhaps confused, the Panthers first listed Olsen as “probable” to return. The tune changed at halftime, where Olsen was suddenly declared out. The post-game diagnosis of a broken foot seemed to belie the film, making the injury that much more frustrating.
Undergoing surgery, 32-year-old Olsen is likely to spend at least the next eight weeks on injured reserve, and could quite possibly be staring at a season-ending ailment. Foot injuries have a way of lingering and incurring setbacks. That would be devastating for the Panthers, who lack any proven targets beyond Kelvin Benjamin, and have had trouble getting Cam Newton on the same page with Christian McCaffrey in the early going.
30-year-old Ed Dickson slides in as Olsen’s replacement. Once upon a time — 2011 — Dickson had some fantasy value as he split time with Dennis Pitta in Baltimore. History will not be repeating itself in Carolina, where Dickson has caught 64 passes in 48 games. He’s a blocker. Owners looking to make up for Olsen’s loss will have to venture outside the state of North Carolina. While not scintillating, the options aren’t quite dire. On the veteran front, Ben Watson came alive on Sunday while Jared Cook continued his decent start in Oakland. Zach Miller was heavily targeted for the receiver-desperate Bears. Young guns Evan Engram, David Njoku, O.J. Howard and George Kittle are all less than 50 percent owned in Yahoo leagues. Streaming will be the best approach, with the hope that someone might stick.
As for Olsen, this is probably the end for him as a fantasy force. He finished slow in 2016, and ex-GM Dave Gettleman was unwilling to give him a contract extension. None of the $6.5 million he’s due in 2018 is guaranteed. Although fiercely loyal Panthers owner Jerry Richardson will be unlikely to move on, time probably has other ideas. That’s sad, but a late bloomer who spent years being underutilized in Chicago, at least Olsen had his moment in the sun.
Five Week 2 Storylines
Derrick Henry taking the wheel from DeMarco Murray. With Murray struggling and supposedly battling a minor hamstring injury, Henry got the opportunity to close the Jaguars out in the second half. Close he did, finishing with 14 carries for a new career-high (by 27) 92 yards. 10/87 of that came after the break, where a tired Jags defense couldn’t contain the colossal Henry. One half does not a changing of the guard make, but Murray’s slow 2017 start comes on the heels of his slow 2016 finish. Heisman Trophy-winning Henry was the No. 45 overall pick of last year’s draft, which would have put him ahead of Joe Mixon and Kareem Hunt this spring. When he’s knocking at your door, sooner or later it’s going to come down. That probably won’t be in Week 3 against the Seahawks’ stout defense, but when it comes to Henry and time in the Titans’ backfield, it might be only a matter of it.
Chris Carson’s seizure of No. 1 status in Seattle. It only took one game for Carson to make Eddie Lacy a healthy scratch. For the second, he zoomed past Thomas Rawls on the depth chart, almost single-handedly preventing the Seahawks from suffering an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the 49ers. Pro Football Focus charted Carson as out-snapping Rawls 51-16. He out-touched him 21-5, and out-gained him 100-4. The performance came after coach Pete Carroll said earlier in the week that he was “anxious to see more” of his seventh-round back. He wasn’t the only one, as some of Carson’s teammates reportedly believed he “should have been the guy all along.” We’re guessing he will be going forward.
Corey Coleman’s broken hand. For the second time in as many NFL seasons, Coleman has a broken hand. That’s a tough way to make a living as a wide receiver. It’s positively devastating news for the Browns, who have lost Coleman on the heels of a promising Week 1, and in the midst of Kenny Britt going full Dwayne Bowe. It’s unclear how much time Coleman might miss, but it is clear the Browns will have nothing resembling a No. 1 receiver without him. Rashard Higgins did what he could against the Ravens. Perhaps Duke Johnson will become even more involved as a pass catcher. Even with the rise of injured reserve spots in fantasy football, Coleman will be a tough hold in 12-team leagues.
Buck Allen staying hot in Baltimore. Allen was the leader of the Ravens’ backfield against the Browns, out-snapping Terrance West 42-15, out-touching him 19-10 and out-gaining him 101-45. Allen was the more effective player both on the ground and through the air. Perhaps Allen’s touch advantage won’t be so dramatic every game, but he’s officially the weekly favorite to lead the Ravens’ backfield. For Week 3, he has an inadvisable matchup in the Jaguars. Allen will remain best limited to FLEX duties for that one.
Rob Gronkowski’s groin issue. Gronk dominated the hapless Saints before checking out, piling up 116 yards and a score on six catches. He finished the game on a stationary bike, but insisted afterward he was fine. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported something similar on Monday morning. Typically, this would be enough for us to rest easy. Not with Gronk, not with the Patriots. Although Gronk has clearly avoided a truly serious injury, his Week 3 status cannot be taken for granted. We’ve been down this road too many times before. Our first real clue will come Wednesday, when the Pats issue their first Week 3 injury report.
Five More Week 2 Storylines
LeGarrette Blount’s benching. The morning began with rumors of a reduced role for Blount. The afternoon ended with Blount generating zero yards on one touch, a catch. Darren Sproles led the Eagles in carries (10), while Carson Wentz paced in rushing yards (55). Sproles and Wendell Smallwood combining for 52 yards on 13 carries probably isn’t going to convince coach Doug Pederson to permanently mothball power-back Blount, but the small window he had to establish RB3 value in Philadelphia has already slammed shut. Perhaps it’s drastic advice, but you could probably drop Blount without coming to regret it.
Jordan Howard’s injury. Absent a localized comet hitting the Bears’ running back group on the sideline, it’s hard to see how Howard’s Sunday could have gone worse. Out-touched 15-9 by Tarik Cohen, Howard was out-gained 68-7. He was then spotted with his right arm in a sling afterward. Howard entered the game battling a shoulder issue, and either aggravated it or is barely playing through it. If he can get on the field for Week 3, it will be against the Steelers’ feisty run defense, and with 22 carries for 59 yards (2.68 YPC) through two games. It would not be an exaggeration to say everything went right for Howard as a rookie. It would be equally accurate to say everything has gone wrong as a sophomore. Howard is in danger of slipping to RB3 status.
Rob Kelley’s rib injury. Kelley was having one of the best games of his young career before going down against the Rams, generating 78 yards on just 12 carries. His 6.50 yards per tote was his second most for any start, regardless of workload. Kelley’s afternoon was extra impressive since backup Samaje Perine gained 11 fewer yards (67) on nine more carries. On the strength of a 61-yard run, passing-down back Chris Thompson had a 3/77/2 day on the ground. Kelley “may” have a broken rib, an injury that would sideline him multiple weeks. Dating all the way back to OTAs, Perine has failed to put pressure on Kelley, but he has a solid Week 3 matchup in the Raiders. For now, Kelley can be assumed to keep his job, but it all depends on how Perine performs in his absence.
Ben Watson’s awakening after a nonexistent Week 1. The Ravens finally established some order in their tight end corps, with Watson leading the way in snaps (50), targets (eight), catches (eight) and yards (91). Nick Boyle was on the field for 42 snaps (1/9), while Maxx Williams played 28 (4/21). There’s a strong chance this goes down as 36-year-old Watson’s best game of the season, but he’s now officially the Raven to stream in plum matchups. In theory, Williams still offers the most season-long upside.
DeShone Kizer’s migraine-shortened outing. The Browns’ offense was hardly humming Sunday, but it was a major surprise when Kizer disappeared after four drives. The reason — he had a migraine — was even more surprising. The second-round rookie’s migraine history was previously unknown. The headaches cost him two quarters against the Ravens, and create questions about whether this will become a Percy Harvin situation, with migraines an ever-looming threat. An already volatile rookie streamer just got that much more so.
1. If the Chargers no longer have fans to be devastated by their devastating losses, are they truly devastating?
2. What did the Saints’ defense look like before it was fixed?
3. So uhh, what was that, Dallas?
Early Waiver Look (Players owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)
DEF: Dolphins (@NYJ), 49ers (vs. LAR), Jaguars (vs. BAL), Bucs (@MIN)
Stats of the Week
Since 2015, the Chargers are 4-18 in games decided by seven points or less.
Tom Brady generated 180 more yards in Week 2 than he did in Week 1, and on just three more attempts. This could be the worst Saints defense since the last Saints defense.
Three. That’s how many first half turnovers Mike Glennon committed as the Bears fell behind 26-0 in Tampa. He’s averaging 6.05 yards per attempt through two games and has more turnovers than touchdowns. Mitchell Trubisky should be getting his arm warm.
From Raymond Summerlin: Neither the Seahawks nor 49ers had a touchdown through their first seven quarters of the season. The 49ers still don’t.
Quote of the Week: Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on Sam Bradford’s knee: “Sam is fine. He might play one game from now, he might play six weeks from now. Either way, he’s fine.” This is fine.
Tweet of the Week, from Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner: “You must be new here.” This was Renner’s response to Chargers coach Anthony Lynn’s assertion his team will “figure out how to win these close games.”
Thing I Will Defend All Week Award: The Dolphins calling a timeout before the Chargers’ last-second field goal attempt. Coach Adam Gase decided to give his team a chance to get the ball back instead of letting the Chargers drain the clock. This being the Chargers, it was a moot point.
The Why Oh Why Award: Why oh why is there already a London game this week? Lord have mercy.
Bills Quote of the Week Award: CBS announcer Kevin Harlan after the Bills lost 9-3 to the Panthers: “This is almost like a win for the Bills.”
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