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Joe Burrow injury: What status means for Week 3

Joe Burrow is dealing with a calf heading into Week 3 Monday Night Football. We break down what it means for betting and DFS decisions.

Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens at Paycor Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Pre-game update — Joe Burrow is going to start Week 3, per Ian Rapoport.

Monday update — There is optimism that Joe Burrow plays tonight against the Rams, per Dianna Russini. But, it isn’t a done deal. The team will need to weigh the chance of aggravating the injury vs. Burrow just not playing well because of the injury vs. going 0-3 with Jake Browning at the helm.

The Cincinnati Bengals host the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football to close out Week 3, and they face a tall order in this game. At 0-2, they’re fast approaching must-win territory. However, they also may be stuck trying to get a critical win without their starting quarterback, Joe Burrow. The team announced he is questionable for Monday’s game due to a calf injury.

Burrow did not practice on Thursday, but then got in limited work on Friday and Saturday. The team signed A.J. McCarron to the practice squad, while Jake Browning is the only other quarterback on the active roster. The team has until Monday to promote McCarron to the active roster.

Betting and DFS implications for Week 3

The betting implications are massive in this one. Browning and McCarron are clear downgrades from Burrow. The Bengals opened as 7.5-point favorites on the lookahead line and then re-opened at 6.5 on Sunday evening. The line heads into Sunday morning at three points at DraftKings Sportsbook. It seems a safe bet Burrow doesn’t play, which means you won’t be getting a better number than that three. If you think he does end up playing and can be effective, you’ll want to grab that number now.

The fantasy implications are more complicated. For season-long fantasy, you’ll likely want to bench Burrow unless you have Matthew Stafford or Baker Mayfield available to swap in on Monday — and are comfortable with those options. For DFS, you can wait until game day. If he sits, whomever ends up starting for Cincinnati will get some love in Showdown, but is a fairly low upside option. And yes, this means downgrading the receivers in Cincinnati. Joe Mixon might get even more work out of this if Burrow sits.