By: Chris Smith @BallIsLife_A2D
Fantasy Football Injury Implications – Week 1
What do most NFL teams have in common with your fantasy team? The answer: one injury, if handled incorrectly can derail your season. While I can’t guarantee you can recover from an injury, I can say that some of the top performers (Deshaun Watson, Alvin Kamara, Adam Theilen and more) in fantasy last season were waiver wire pickups in my league at the beginning of the year. All hope is not lost. With that out of the way here’s the latest on the injuries that could affect your team.
Jerick Mckinnon, RB, San Francisco 49ers: Torn ACL, Out for the Season
Just a few days before the start of the season, one of fantasy’s biggest breakout candidates, Jerick Mckinnon tore his ACL in practice and is out for the season. Mckinnon was an RB2 on a lot of fantasy teams, so this could mean trouble if you don’t have a quality RB3 on your roster. The simple solution here would be to pick up new 49ers RB Alfred Morris, assuming he’s still available. Morris has two 1,000 yard seasons under 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, and average 4.8 YPC last year in Dallas. Matt Breida also has increased value as a change of pace option and could be the starter initially.
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins: Torn ACL, Out for the Season
This is the big one ladies and gentlemen. Guice was a 2nd day pick by the Redskins considered to be a 2nd round pick in most fantasy leagues. Despite all of that promise, Guice is lost for the season. For those of you who either selected Guice and are now scrambling for a fallback option or had Guice picked out to select in their draft, the question is what now? The silver lining is that the Washington Redskins quarterback is Alex Smith who was brilliant last year with the Chiefs but works best with a balanced or run heavy attack, so there is little danger of Smith just passing the ball more to make up for the injury. If you are in a PPR league and haven’t drafted yet or even if you have, circle Chris Thompson’s name and do everything in your power to either draft or get him on your team. He was RB8 in most PPR formats before getting injured last year and should be around the same production with Guice’s injury. In standard league’s Thompson will be a little less prolific. The answer in this format could be to identity a favorite between Samaje Perine and Adrian Peterson (personally I’m going Peterson) as Rob Kelly has been far from impressive in his limited opportunities.
Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers: Torn ACL, Out for the Season
I know this injury occurred long before most of you drafted your fantasy teams, but I included it because of all of the unknowns at the position for the Chargers. Virgil Green currently sits atop the depth chart and to be perfectly honest, unless you are in a deeper league and/or are in desperate need of a backup tight end, I wouldn’t pick him up. There are two other things to keep an eye on as we get closer to week 1 with this situation. 1) Do the Chargers bring back Antonio Gates? He is past his prime, but he could be an interesting waiver wire option. 2) If not, does it mean more red zone targets for 2nd year receiver Mike Williams, who certainly has the size to be effective at the goal line.
Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Torn ACL, Out for the Season
Lee was carted off the field with a knee injury in the Jags 3rd Pre-Season game. With that said if you’re reading this, stop, go check your league’s waiver wire for Keelan Cole and if he’s available PICK HIM UP; then come back. Last season, when Lee and Allen Robinson were injured, Cole was a top 5 fantasy receiver. Now, he likely comes back to earth a bit, as rookie DJ Chark could steal some of the target share, but he is certainly a WR3 in 12 team leagues. Chark is also worth a back of the bench roster spot, but don’t get too carried away, the Jags don’t throw much.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Hamstring, Questionable for Week 1
When asked about Mack, Colts Coach Frank Reich stated it’s “ No slam dunk that he’s ready for Week 1”. If you are looking for insurance within the Colts roster, the most interesting player to pick up in PPR formats is rookie Nyheim Hines. In standard formats, Jordan Wilkins appears to be the leading candidate to start in place of Mack and is worth a pick up. I’d also look to the Lions LeGarrette Blount who should be the lead back in Detroit for the first two or three weeks of the season.
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Shoulder, Out for Week 1
Over the Off-Season, Jeffrey underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Reports have Jeffrey on track to be back on the field by week 1. There is a small chance Jeffrey could end up on the PUP list which would put him out for six weeks, if that happens, DO NOT DROP HIM. He’s a top 20 receiver, that some people will not want to hold on to due to the injury. If that’s the case in your league, pick him up. In the meantime, Nelson Agholor and Mike Wallace are very solid options. Especially Agholor. It’s also likely that this could mean a big role in 12 personnel and red zone packages for rookie Dallas Goedert.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins: Finger, Out Week 1
Parker is said to be feeling better, but is likely out for at least week one, and potentially week two. The Dolphins are now missing their top two receivers from last season, leaving a ton of available targets from assumed better QB play in Ryan Tannehill vs Jay Cutler last season. The top options to take those targets are likely Kenny Stills and Danny Amendola, either should be solid flex options.
Players likely to be available for Week 1
- Kallen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins
- Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots
- Rex Burkhead, RB, New England Patriots
- Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
- Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants
- James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
- George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
- Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks
- Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
- Rishard Matthews, WR, Tennessee Titans
- Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans
- Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
- Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins
- Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
- Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
About the Author – Chris Smith is a lifelong NFL Fanatic, hopeless Cowboys Fan, Obsessive Fantasy Football player and Lead Writer for ballislifesportsmedia.org “My passion is learning and debating sports and my mission is to bring that discussion to every fan I come in contact with”