Football is back! Well, sort of. Training camp is here, and arguably the most highly covered element of the preseason is injuries. We will help you with what to make of the most important injury news in our weekly 2017 Fantasy Football Injury Report series.
Each week, leading up until the beginning of the regular season, I will be breaking down the most recent injury news on stars around the league and breaking down the Fantasy impact of that news.
Even though preseason games haven’t started yet, there are plenty of injuries to go over, so let’s get started.
2017 Fantasy Football Injury Report
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Latest News: Newton is progressing nicely after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn rotation cuff in March. He has begun throwing, and although he will be limited to start training camp, he should be ready for Week 1.
Fantasy Analysis: Shoulder injuries are never good for quarterbacks, so there is definitely reasonable concern here. However, the fact that he has begun throwing is huge. Newton is being taken as a low-end QB1 in drafts so far this year. We would not advise picking him that high due to inconsistency and now injury concerns, but if you could get him at a high-end QB2 price and pair him with another safer quarterback, his upside could pay huge dividends.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Latest News: Luck is recovering from surgery on a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Luck will start the preseason on the PUP list, but will start a throwing program soon and the Colts organization fully believes that he will be ready for Week 1.
Fantasy Analysis: Here we have ourselves another star quarterback with a shoulder injury. Luck has a little more uncertainty surrounding him, but he is also a better quarterback than the previously discussed Newton. He definitely carries some risk at his ADP (currently the fourth quarterback off the board), but if he falls due to his injury, he could be a great pick this year.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Latest News: Although Bridgewater is expected to begin training camp on the PUP list, he was able to throw passes during individual OTAs (per Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune), which makes a midseason return a possibility (per Bleacher Report).
Fantasy Analysis: At this point, this situation doesn’t have a huge Fantasy impact at the moment as the Vikings quarterback situation will be uncertain when he returns. Besides, he wasn’t exactly great when healthy (not to mention that he is still far away from a return). However, he is one to monitor for the future, especially in deeper or 2-QB leagues.
Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings
Latest News: Due to an ankle injury, Murray will open up the season on the active/PUP list.
Fantasy Analysis: Yes, Dalvin Cook will be the starter, but I am intrigued by Murray. He will open up the year as one of the most talented backup’s in the league, making him a must-stash if you own Cook. He could even be a good late-round flier who could pay huge dividends if Cook goes down or struggles. Even though this injury puts a question mark on the whole thing, Murray says that he is in fact fine, and he should return to practice soon, and if he does, he is a solid late-round pick.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Latest News: Due to a toe injury, Jones will be a limited participant at the start of the Falcons training camp.
Fantasy Analysis: When is Jones ever 100% healthy? Seriously, the guy always seems to have some sort of red letter next to his name on his player profile. He is one of the best wide receivers in the league, and the Falcons know that and have always took caution. This is more of the same. Don’t let this injury cause you to shy away from taking Jones in the middle of the first round in your upcoming drafts.
John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals
Latest News: Ross’ shoulder injury is progressing nicely and he should be able to play a game at some point in the preseason.
Fantasy Analysis: The Bengals have lacked a No. 2 receiver alongside A.J. Green since Marin Jones signed with the Lions. This is a situation to watch because Jones was very productive when he was in Cincy, and John Ross and his 4.2 speed are an even better compliment to Green. It is huge to have him in the preseason because I want to see how he plays before I draft him as I am always weary of drafting rookie receivers, but Ross’ situation may make him a boom or bust WR3 or flex.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
Latest News: Surgery is no longer an option for Williams, and he will be evaluated upon his arrival to camp.
Fantasy Analysis: This is good news for Williams, who initially looked like he could miss his entire rookie season. However, he still is likely to miss a good chunk of time in the regular season. He shouldn’t be drafted coming into the year (unless you are in a very deep league), but he is someone to pay attention to and put on your watch list so you could possibly jump the gun and pick him up off of waivers a couple of weeks before he makes his NFL debut.
Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
Latest News: Matthews will be limited at the start of training camp due to a knee injury.
Fantasy Analysis: While he is limited, there has been nothing to suggest that the injury is serious enough to effect his performance coming into the season. With Alshon Jeffery now in Philly, I expect Matthews to fly way under the radar and I am officially labeling him as a sleeper. He was never the No. 1 receiver type as the Eagles repeatedly threw him in the slot even though he was the best receiver on the team. With another year of progression for Carson Wentz and Matthews now finding himself in a role that better suits him, I will be all over picking Matthews as a sleeper late.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
Latest News: Per Bleacher Report, “His latest recovery is progressing smoothly.” During OTAs in June he was just over a year removed from the most recent surgery on his left foot. As John Kryk of the Toronto Sun noted, “Watkins showed impressive burst and was on the field for most of the first-team snaps in 11-on-11 drills.”
Fantasy Analysis: This is good news, but buyer beware. Watkins is a supremely talented athlete and wide receiver but has never really been able to stay both healthy and consistent. This year is a crucial year for Watkins, but with the risk that comes with him I would be staying away from him at his current high-end WR2 price. However, I am open to picking him if he falls as he is another guy with a huge ceiling.
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Latest News: Eifert should be fully ready for when the Bengals begin camp.
Fantasy Analysis: This wasn’t unexpected, as there wasn’t much concern surrounding Eifert. However, he still is an interesting player. He has huge potential as a red-zone threat, but his breakout 2015 season was likely an anomaly. However, that is not to say he can’t be a solid TE1. If he is able to stay healthy and get a few more catches between the 20s from Andy Dalton to boost his consistency, he should be able to pair that with enough touchdowns to satisfy his owners.
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