30 Nov

The Lede: Betting Implications of Week 3 Injuries

Week 3 of the NFL preseason is treated as each team’s dress rehearsal. Starters generally play the entire first-half, and the depth charts become much more clear. However, there are a few coaches wishing they’d taken their stars out a little earlier this weekend.

The Patriots’ leading receiver from 2016, Julian Edelman, had to be carted off the field in the first quarter of New England’s Week 3 tilt against the Lions after making a hard cut on the turf. New England’s fears were confirmed shortly after: Edelman tore his ACL and will be out for the season. Also on Friday, the Chiefs lost their leading rusher from 2016, as Spencer Ware tore his PCL and damaged his LCL. Ware is also likely to be sidelined for the entire season. And last but not least, the Bears’ leading receiver from 2016, Cameron Meredith, was left grabbing his knee after making a catch and taking contact over the middle of the field against the Titans. Meredith is believed to have torn his ACL, too. Takeaway: Though all of these injuries should be viewed as significant losses to their respective teams, two of the three teams have the depth to overcome them, and the other is the Bears. Edelman was Brady’s most trusted target in New England, but with a healthy Rob Gronkowski and the addition of Brandin Cooks, New England will remain Super Bowl favorites. If you’re focused on fantasy football implications, the loss moves Cooks up a few WR slots — I have him as the WR10 now. Satellite back James White also sees his value increase, as he will likely take over some of Edelman’s duties as Tom Brady’s safety net. Although Ware was expected to be the Week 1 starter for Kansas City, not many pundits believed he would hold the job for long. Third-round rookie Kareem Hunt has been a standout in the preseason and is arguably out-hyping Patrick Mahomes, which says a lot considering the Chiefs moved up 17 spots in the first-round to grab the QB. It was likely Hunt was going to be Andy Reid’s feature back sooner rather than later. With Ware out of the picture, expect Hunt to be one of the first 14 RBs off the board in your fantasy drafts. The Bears, while nowhere near Super Bowl contenders, are facing a critical year in 2017. The franchise needs to see growth from its young squad to justify retaining the current John Fox/Ryan Pace regime. With two unproven QBs on the roster, and a brutally thin receiving corps, Chicago couldn’t handle losing its one reliable target, Cameron Meredith. The loss may not have much of an impact on their win-loss record, but Mike Glennon will now be relying upon Kevin White, Victor Cruz, and Kendall Wright as his top WRs. It’s also an unpleasant situation to throw a rookie into midway through the season. The loss of Meredith both hurts the growth prospects for the two QBs and prevents ownership from accurately assessing the team’s prognosis.

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