Fantasy Injury Updates: Nick Chubb, Austin Ekeler, Kenyan Drake among RBs impacting Week 5 waiver wire decisions

The 2020 NFL season hasn’t been a kind one from an injury standpoint, and as usual, running backs have fallen prey to the injury bug. In Week 4, fantasy football owners saw the likes of Nick Chubb, Austin Ekeler, and Kenyan Drake go down and fail to return to their respective games. Now, each player is raising questions about their status moving forward and how the longevity of their injury may impact Week 5 fantasy RB rankings, waiver wire strategy, and even impact buy-low/sell-high trade opportunities for owners desperate to win now.

For more injury updates on these players and other players across the NFL, check back here and on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Nick Chubb injury update

Chubb left the Browns’ win over the Cowboys with a knee injury in the first half after he was rolled up on while in pass protection. While he was almost immediately ruled out after the injury, the Browns are “cautiously optimistic” that Chubb may have avoided a torn ACL, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. Chubb will have an MRI Monday to confirm the diagnosis, but the initial news about the injury seems to be positive.

Still, it’s possible — if not, likely — that Chubb will miss some time with the injury. In his stead, Kareem Hunt will operate as Cleveland’s lead back with D’Ernest Johnson mixing in as the top complement to him. Hunt has been excellent on the season and is averaging 5.5 yards per carry while totaling 317 scrimmage yards and five TDs on the year.

Meanwhile, Johnson totaled 95 yards on 13 carries against the Cowboys, so he may be a solid flex play in weaker matchups if Chubb is out. Chubb owners will want to try to scoop Johnson off the waiver wire, as he may be one of the few readily available RB alternatives on the waiver wire.

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Austin Ekeler injury update

Ekeler suffered a hamstring injury in the Chargers’ loss to the Bucs in Week 4 and had to leave on a cart. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Ekeler is expected to miss multiple weeks with the injury pending the results of an MRI.

As long as Ekeler is out, the Chargers’ backfield will likely be a split between rookie Joshua Kelley and third-year veteran Justin Jackson. Kelley has performed well to start the season, racking up 258 scrimmage yards and a TD as Ekeler’s top backup to start the season. Jackson returned from an injury last week and racked up 21 yards on eight touches against a tough run defense.

Kelley is in the early lead to be the RB2, but both players are worth owning. It’s easy to imagine them both being flex plays until Ekeler is healthy enough to play again.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Is Kenyan Drake playing in Week 5?

Drake (chest) left the Cardinals’ loss to the Panthers in the fourth quarter and didn’t return. When asked about the status of Drake and guard Justin Pugh after the game, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t provide full updates but also said that he doesn’t “believe it was anything major” according to ESPN’s John Weinfuss.

If Drake misses time with the injury, Chase Edmonds would be the top option in the Cardinals backfield and he would instantly be a solid RB2 based on potential volume alone. Edmonds already has 17 catches and two receiving TDs on the year, so he could take some of the workload away from Drake even if he gets healthy. He’s a player to have on your fantasy rosters, especially in PPR formats. 

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