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#Dalvin Cook injured; fantasy owners fearing the worst

Dalvin Cook injured; fantasy owners fearing the worst
GANNETT Syndication Service  /  USA TODAY Sports

On a day in which a number of NFL offenses came to life, the biggest fantasy news on Sunday was what could be a season-ending injury. 

Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook -- who ran for 66 yards and a touchdown in a little more than one half of action -- left early in the third quarter with what's feared to be a torn knee ligament. We'll know more when the results of an MRI are available on Monday, but fantasy owners should prepare for the worst.

The next man up? Latavius Murray carries seven times for 21 yards and caught two passes, while Jerick McKinnon had two carries for zero yards. Both are worth picking up off the waiver wire because neither one will likely dominate the workload.

More injuries

Cook wasn't the only important player to leave early on Sunday. 

-- Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones exited with hip flexor injury after catching three passes for 30 yards. The Falcons also lost Mohamed Sanu to a hamstring injury and finished the game with Justin Hardy, Taylor Gabriel and Nick Williams running routes. Hardy had two catches for 12 yards and QB Matt Ryan's only touchdown. 

-- Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota ran for a pair of touchdowns at Houston, but the second one proved to be costly when he appeared to hurt his hamstring on the run. There was no word on how long he might be out, but he'll have an MRI on Monday.

Mariota threw a pair of interceptions in his 10 passing attempts before giving way to backup Matt Cassel in a blowout loss. Cassel was ineffective, going 4-for-10 for 21 yards with two interceptions and a lost fumble. 

-- Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr left in the third quarter with back spasms. He was 10-for-18 for 143 yards and a touchdown. Backup EJ Manuel couldn't rally the Raiders to victory in Denver; he threw for 106 yards and an interception.

Kickers do matter

Some fantasy leagues have eliminated the kicker position from fantasy rosters because of the seemingly random nature of kicker scoring.

For those who still count on kickers, the Los Angeles Rams' Greg Zeuerlein gave teams a turbo boost on Sunday -- connecting on all seven of his field goal attempts (and both extra points) for a total of 23 points. 

In leagues that award bonus points for long field goals, four of Zeuerlein's kicks were more than 40 yards. 

Early waiver wire

Fantasy owners looking to get a jump on this week's free agent pickups should keep an eye on the running back situation in Minnesota. Murray hadn't logged more than 10 snaps in any game until he replaced Cook on Sunday. Meanwhile, McKinnon was on the field twice as often as Murray was over the first three weeks.

Murray is the bigger back (6-3, 225 pounds), but McKinnon should have more fantasy value in PPR leagues.

The Falcons receiving corps could also be worth mining this week if Jones and/or Sanu are limited.

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller broke his collarbone in preseason, but returned on Sunday in a big way. He caught four passes for 35 yards, but two of them were touchdowns. Consider him a solid second receiver, especially with rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson maturing quickly (283 yards, 4 TDs in Week 4).

The Cincinnati Bengals were once again without starting tight end Tyler Eifert on Sunday, but backup Tyler Kroft stepped in quite nicely. He caught six of his seven targets for 68 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 

Broad Shoulders Award 

About that offensive resurgence in Week 4 ... running back Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers enjoyed his first dominant game of the season, torching the Baltimore Ravens defense for 144 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 44 more yards.

Bell racked up 34.6 fantasy points (PPR scoring) to just barely edge Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams for our weekly honor, which goes to the player who single-handedly leads his fantasy teams to victory.

Gurley rushed for 121 yards and caught seven passes for 94 more, including a touchdown -- good for 34.5 fantasy points. 


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