Fantasy Football

Return Of The Injured Fantasy Football Impact Players: Welcome Back!


If you play fantasy football long enough, you sooner or later deal with the gut-wrenching news that your first-rounder, game changer, fantasy stud, well… you get my point… falls to injury and is out for the season.  Wow, what devastating news!

It’s not only a roster loss of the injured player, but also a loss of hard work and dedication during your draft prep time. Is your season really over? Well, of course not! You should never give up! There are other strategies and analysis that require completion too. Isn’t that also part of the fun and excitement of playing fantasy sports?

The Fantasy Football world suffered multiple injuries to stud players in the 2017 season. These injuries had major impacts on their NFL teams and subsequently on fantasy rosters around the globe. A perfect example is the broken collarbone of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. This injury had a trickle-down effect on the entire Packers roster and impacted several fantasy relevant players.

Brett Hundley came in at quarterback and showed he is not ready to lead an NFL team. His play affected the receivers – especially Jordy Nelson. The loss of Rodgers made Jordy Nelson irrelevant in fantasy circles. Randall Cobb did not (could not) make his presence felt. The Packers defense was on the field an overwhelming amount of time, which contributed to ineffective play and injuries throughout the defense.

Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

My point is that all injuries create issues across the entire fantasy landscape. While you may not have had Rodgers on your fantasy team and felt that enormous loss, you felt that loss if you owned Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson, etc.

I came up with a list of 10 fantasy impact players who were injured and/or lost for the 2017 season.

What kind of impact will these players have in 2018? Who should you target in next year’s fantasy drafts? Who should you ignore?  Find out the answers to those questions and more in my analysis of the…

Return Of The Injured Fantasy Football Impact Players

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

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Another surgery? More rest? Another trip to Europe? The unknowns on Andrew Luck are endless. He failed to progress through the final throwing phase of rehab following shoulder surgery to repair a labrum issue. If Luck experiences pain as he increases his throwing regimen, a second surgery could be required. That operation would require a three-to-six month rehab and possibly threaten his 2018 season.

If Luck is the Colts’ opening day starter in 2018, it will be about 617 days between live NFL snaps. The pessimism abounds on the future health of Andrew Luck and his shoulder. There are legitimate concerns as to whether Luck will ever play again. The Colts need caution when it comes to Luck and hold on tightly to Jacoby Brissett. He has shown flashes of being a starting caliber quarterback and at least will give the Colts the best backup they’ve had behind Luck.

Fantasy owners who rode the Luck fantasy train coming into this season with the hope that he would come back during the season were shafted. It will be very difficult to trust him until we actually see Luck practice and in a game. Until then, there is no need for fantasy players to be looking for Andrew Luck to help their fantasy teams in 2018.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

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Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone in Week 6 and was able to come back and try to lead the Packers to the playoffs. Well, that didn’t go as planned. In his Week 15 return, he definitely did not look like the Aaron Rodgers that the Packers and fantasy fans drool over. He threw three interceptions for the first time since 2009. He took massive hits and enough that he was subsequently placed directly back on the injured reserve.

Regardless, Rodgers’ injury showed how important he is to the Packers. The Packers will need to maximize their championship odds in 2018, which will be quarterback Aaron Rodgers in his age 35 season. They need to make changes now.

They had the most starting offensive line combinations in the NFL and a defense that couldn’t stop anyone. Rodgers’ window of mastery is not going to last forever, and the Packers need to maximize their championship opportunities in the short-term even if it hampers them in the long-term.

The Packers began to secure the talent by signing WR Davante Adams to a four-year extension. Adams has come into his own and is a bona fide stud receiver and required commodity to work with Rodgers, especially with Jordy Nelson looking like all of his injuries have finally caught up with him.

It is imperative that the Packers upgrade their offensive line to protect Rodgers and to institute a consistent running game. It looks like they have a nice RB duo in Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones to complement Rodgers and the passing attack. If they can improve their defense to bend but don’t break, the Packers will once again ride Rodgers to the playoffs. Rodgers will lead the passing attack and your fantasy team to the playoffs.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

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Deshaun Watson was off to an outstanding first season, then he tore his ACL. The Texans looked like an offensive force with Watson on the field, but without him, they looked like a team praying for a win.

Watson has the skill, opportunity and supporting cast to be great for a long time. He will have a full offseason to recover and get an even better grasp of the Texans offense. Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Watson have created magic together in the limited amount of weeks playing together. Will Fuller has become a quality secondary option. Lamar Miller is an RB1 that defenses have to be aware of and can do damage on the ground and catching passes out of the backfield.

The Texans are built to win for the next several years. Their defense has been a force for the past three seasons and they will get elite DE JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus back to a front seven that is good as any in the NFL. Additionally, the Texans will get back another offensive weapon in D’Onta Foreman. Foreman suffered a torn Achilles in his best game as a pro. He looked explosive and will be an integral part of the Texans offense, if fully healthy.

Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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Carson Wentz launched into the MVP conversation in his second season and lifted the Eagles to an NFC East title this season with unbelievable plays each week. In a Week 14 prime matchup against the Rams, Wentz took a colossal hit on a touchdown run that ended up not counting. The awful developments became a reality for Eagles and fantasy fans, Wentz tore his left ACL and is out for the season.

The injury robs Wentz of the chance to finish one of the best seasons in Eagles history and diminishes the excitement of a division title for a championship-starved fan base. He went to the injured reserve as the NFL’s leader in touchdown passes, and he owned a 101.9 passer rating. In addition to leading the Eagles to the playoffs, Wentz was helping many fantasy teams to their playoffs, but then left fantasy owners scuffling to find a replacement quarterback.

The questions will loom over Wentz’s journey back to the lineup. Recoveries from ACL tears typically take nine to 12 months, meaning Wentz will more than likely miss all of the Eagles’ offseason program in 2018 and might have to sit out a portion of his third NFL season.There is a reasonable chance he can be ready and effective as a pocket QB for the start of the ‘18 season, but it might take halfway through the season (or longer) to get back to being the dual threat that he is.

Wentz’s recovery will be the fantasy hot topic going into 2018. Keeper/dynasty league owners will be crossing their fingers with the hope that he recovers and continues his career trajectory skyward. While redraft leagues will be monitoring his status to determine when to take a chance on Wentz during their drafts.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

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Dalvin Cook was one of college football’s most productive running backs last year, totaling 2,253 total yards from scrimmage with 20 total touchdowns. It was his second season in a row he scored 20 times, and he almost had back-to-back 2,000 total yard seasons as well.

The Vikings selected Cook in the second round in the 2017 draft even though they already had running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon on their roster. The Vikings spent money to rebuild their mediocre offensive line and it definitely looks like it paid off as their offense prospered due to the improved running game and better pass protection.

Cook was named the starting running back coming into 2017 due to the question marks on the offensive line going into this season. The former Seminole is the only running back the Vikings have who can overcome a possible mediocre line. He can create plays while Murray and McKinnon can’t consistently do that.

Fantasy owners didn’t have much time to see Dalvin Cook as an NFL running back, but he showed enough to validate very high expectations next season. Through four games, Cook was third in the league with 354 rushing yards on 74 carriers. He was the heart of Minnesota’s rushing attack with more than 300 yards more than the next closest rusher. Barring setbacks, Dalvin Cook will return to a high-powered offensive force, and he should regain lead-back duties. Do not hesitate to acquire him.

D’Onta Foreman RB, Houston Texans

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The Deshaun Watson era at quarterback in Houston has begun, and we are now on the cusp of the Foreman era at running back. The Texans invested a third-round pick in D’Onta Foreman due to the lack of efficiency of veteran starting running back Lamar Miller. Miller’s production drops significantly when used as a bell-cow back. He couldn’t carry the load of a three-down back for 16 games last season which was the heaviest workload of his NFL career.

Under head coach Bill O’Brien, the Texans have run the ball more than any team in the league, and in adding Foreman to go with Miller, that run-first philosophy doesn’t figure to change. Miller will lead the backfield, but Foreman deserves to be the Texans’ go-to back inside the red zone. Foreman has a burst to the outside that Miller lacks.

Foreman was starting to get more snaps and then in Week 11, he suffered an injury while finishing off a 34-yard touchdown run, his second score of the day as part of a 10-carry, 65-yard effort on the ground. Unfortunately, the rookie’s season came to an end as it was confirmed that Foreman suffered a torn Achilles.

Heading into the 2018 season, fantasy owners should monitor the status of Foreman’s recovery. He was just starting to break out and show his potential. Owners should always be willing to take a chance on skill players with RB1 potential. There will be tremendous value in taking a shot at Foreman.

David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

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David Johnson, the consensus No. 1 pick in fantasy drafts coming into this season, suffered a wrist injury in Week 1 that required surgery and was lost for the entire season. Just to remind fantasy owners, Johnson was dynamite in 2016, catching 80 balls and running the ball 293 times for a combined 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns.

If you owned him, I am sorry for your loss this season. Take solace that Johnson will be fully recovered for 2018 and expect the Cardinals to continue to feature him. A Top 5 pick in any format.

Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants

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Odell Beckham lost his 2017 season with an ankle injury in Week 5.  We can expect him to make a full recovery from his season-ending broken ankle. The star wideout will make $8.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract. Over the summer, Beckham said he wanted to be the highest-paid player in all of football.

There is no doubt that Beckham is one of the game’s best receivers. Since he entered the NFL in 2014, he ranks second in touchdown catches. His 94.1 receiving yards per game is the second-highest average in NFL history. Unfortunately, his future with the Giants seems risky. The Giants are a team in flux. They have just hired Dave Gettleman as their new general manager. He will have a tremendous amount of work to do rebuilding this mess.

Beckham’s future is one of the crucial decisions awaiting new general manager Dave Gettleman. It would be foolish to let Beckham leave. Do his brilliant play and his potential outweigh his turbulent past and sometimes outlandish behavior? Is Beckham worth the most lucrative contract for a WR in NFL history?

With hardly any salary cap space and a top 3 pick awaiting them in the 2018 draft, the roster will endure a major overhaul. No one is safe – including Eli Manning. If he stays next season, will Beckham produce with either rookie’s Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen throwing him the ball? While Beckham is an immense talent, his landing spot for next season remains undetermined as is his fantasy outlook and value.

Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

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Julian Edelman’s season was over before it even began when he tore his ACL in the preseason. With a year to recover from an ACL tear, he will most likely be ready for the 2018 season. Edelman will look to reassert his role in the Patriots offense as one of Tom Brady‘s favorite targets.

He is in his final year of a four-year contract. Since 2012, he has averaged over 10 yards per catch and over 60 yards receiving per game. Edelman remains one of the best slot receivers in the league with a unique skill set.

Prudent dynasty fantasy owners have already stashed Edelman in IR slots if he was somehow available. He makes a sneaky pickup based upon his low draft value next season. The Patriots overcame the loss of Edelman by virtue of still having Tom Brady. He led an assortment of varying skills of receivers, tight ends, and running backs to “do their job” into another playoff run. Of course, Brady will welcome Edelman back next season and target him continuously to make Edelman a PPR monster. Fantasy owners should take note.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Allen Robinson landed on the Injured Reserve in Week 1 with a torn ACL, but the Jaguars saw several wideouts emerge in his absence. Marqise Lee stepped up and was a steady producer although he missed the final few games with an injury. In Lee’s absence, rookies Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole finished the year on hot streaks. Robinson and Lee head to free agency this offseason while veteran Allen Hurns will need his salary reduced to remain on the roster. The Jaguars’ receiver core is interesting and will be something to monitor going into the 2018 season.

Robinson was dominant in 2015 but fell back to earth in 2016. Now coming off a torn ACL, Robinson is a perfect candidate for a one-year prove it deal. Whether he returns to Jacksonville or hits the open market is the question. If he returns to Jacksonville, who is the Jaguars quarterback? Bortles? Eli Manning? Of course, this all assumes that Robinson returns completely healthy. If so, and if he returns to the Jaguars, he will have to fight for targets with their young breed of receivers. Obviously, that is not conducive to fantasy goodness.

If he were to hit the open market, there are several teams that are starving for viable receivers, including the Bears, Ravens, Colts, Niners, etc. Robinson’s fantasy value depends where he actually ends up. There is motivation to prove himself in hopes of obtaining a rich contract. That normally lends itself to fantasy stardom, well, for at least the 2018 season.

About Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic is from Cleveland, Ohio and a HUGE sports fan including NFL and college football(Go Buckeyes!) MLB (GO TRIBE), NBA (GO CAVS!) and MMA. He has been called a Sports Geek by friends and foes alike and that fits him perfectly. He has been competing in fantasy sports, mainly fantasy football and baseball for over 20 years. Dennis has won several leagues in each sport and is the team to beat in the league and everyone knows it. He FINALLY did it! Dennis broke down and gave in. Dennis joined the Twitter Universe. Please do all of us a favor and follow Dennis @ CALL_ME_SOS.

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