When you’re drafting this weekend, you’ll no doubt be concerned whenever you see one of those red medical crosses next to a player you’re contemplating drafting.
What’s the injury? Will it cost him time? Should you skip him and draft someone else? Perhaps it’s worth targeting a player with a minor injury to get better value in your fantasy draft?
With this weekend set to contain fantasy drafts across the football-loving landscape, here’s an update on some of the most important injuries to fantasy-relevant players:
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys
Lamb’s “lacerated toe” apparently sounds worse than it is, as Dak Prescott’s top wideout returned to practice this week and should be full go in Week 1. His injury designation should probably be gone in the next few days.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
Here’s another key Dallas wideout and some good news — Gallup will not be starting the season on the PUP list, insinuating that he will not be missing four games. He will, assumably, be activated sometime between Weeks 1 and 3, as he continues to recover from a torn ACL. Jalen Tolbert still holds value as a Week 1 WR2 for the Cowboys, who could keep catching passes as Gallup gets his sea legs.
Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
Sanders hasn’t practiced for a while and his hamstring issue has to be at least a little worrisome, as the Birds’ lead back has not really been healthy much lately. He is in line to get RB1 carries if he is healthy come September.
Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
Each of Los Angeles’ top running backs are working back from soft tissue injuries. Their lack of practice time is a little concerning but it’s also precautionary. Their draft positions shouldn’t take too much of a hit.
Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals
Higgins has seen action in 11-on-11 drills has he’s worked back from shoulder surgery. He may not get any preseason snaps but he should be healthy when the season starts.
J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ravens
Dobbins is a popular sleeper pick, even we like him this season, but he hasn’t had any 11-on-11 time this preseason and is slowly and meticulously working back from an ACL tear. He may not play in Week 1 but he will clearly play sometime early this season Ameer Abdullah could be his fill-in (with Gus Edwards similarly working back from an ACL and on the PUP list).
David Montgomery, RB, Bears
Yet to see preseason action due to an undisclosed “day-to-day” injury, Montgomery should be fine. His backup is likely to be Khalil Herbert.
Jalen Waddle, WR, Dolphins
It’s an undisclosed injury that is keeping Miami’s WR2 from practicing and playing at the tail end of training camp. His absence seems more preventative than it does worrisome, and his draft stock should not be impacted without any other pertinent info leaking out.
Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers
Since his season-ending ACL injury wasn’t until last season’s Week 15, a return for this season’s Week 1 is extremely unlikely. Not on the PUP list, Godwin could return before Week 4, but with the injury still raw and other options for Tom Brady, Godwin might be someone to avoid at his current ADP.
Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers
Reports are saying Mitchell will be ready to play in Week 1, despite having not practiced since Aug 10. He has a hamstring injury, and if there are any setbacks Jeff Wilson should be the starter for San Francisco.
Darren Waller, TE, Raiders
With Devante Adams in Vegas now, Waller’s target share was already set to take at least a minor hit. His hamstring injury, which has bothered him all training camp, could be another strike against him. It seems like a toss up as to whether he’ll be ready to start the regular season.
Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
It’s been a while since Thomas, at one point a target monster in New Orleans, has been fully healthy. And this offseason is no different as he nurses a hamstring issue. It could wane before the season begins, but any injury to Thomas is noteworthy and drafting him anywhere in the first half of your draft comes with a risk.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Chiefs
Many expect JuJu to be the top wideout in the Chiefs’ new-look offense, but a knee injury has hampered him for the last week plus. It seems probable that he will be ready in Week 1, and Andy Reid sounds optimistic, but there’s a chance he does miss time, so watch his status closely.
Drake London, WR, Falcons
The Falcons’ top rookie hurt his knee in the preseason opener a few weeks ago, but team officials are calling it “not a long-term thing.” If they are to be believed, he could be ready Week 1, but his status seems to be touch or go as of right now.
Damien Harris, RB, Patriots
On Wednesday, Harris walked off of the practice field under his own power after an undisclosed ailment made him leave early as the Patriots and Raiders continued practice. It seems minor, and more info should come out soon.
Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals
Burrow is finally practicing in full again after minor surgery and should be 100% when the season starts.
James Robinson, RB, Jaguars
Robinson has participated in drills this week and is seeking to prove he has elite athleticism, returning from a ruptured Achilles he sustained last year. He may not be 100% in Week 1 but he does look like he will eventually take some carries from Travis Etienne, who’ll start (ahead of rookie Snoop Conner) to begin the year.
Kenneth Walker III, Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
Penny might start the season as Seattle’s RB1, assuming his current COVID-19 diagnosis resolves itself before the season begins. That is because Walker is coming back from a hernia, and his status for Week 1 is unknown. Walker should emerge as the starter at some point, so draft him accordingly.
Robert Woods, Treylon Burks, WR, Titans
Woods should start Week 1 but will be in his first season since an ACL tear. Burks has had nagging injuries all preseason, and conditioning issues, and might be someone to avoid unless he’s there very late in your fantasy draft.
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