By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Something everyone needs to know when heading into their fantasy football drafts is who is hurt and who is out for the season. The last thing you want to do is take an injured star in the second round of your draft and then realize that he’s out for the season. I mention this because in some drafts I’ve done throughout the years, it inevitably happens. Because of this, many people like to push back the start of their drafts to avoid the inevitable preseason injury that disrupts your season.
Allow me to help. Below is a list of injuries that have occurred throughout the preseason. Some have major ramifications, others may be minor but should be monitored in the event they became major. At the very least, you’ve been warned.
RB Spencer Ware (KC) – Ware tore his PCL in the Chiefs’ third preseason game and was carted off the field. He’s done for the season folks. I have no issue vaulting rookie Kareem Hunt into the top 20 at RB. Seriously. It’s not a secret that I didn’t think Ware would end the season as the Chiefs starting tailback, but with Ware’s season over, Hunt becomes a fourth round pick.
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG) – This is the big one folks. OBJ sprained an ankle in the Giants second preseason game. It’s reportedly so bad that it may cause OBJ to miss the Giants first game of the season. Call me crazy, but I still don’t think this should massively alter his draft status any. He missed four games his rookie season and still finished with over 1,300 yards and 12 TDs. He’s still a top 5 WR. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
TE Jordan Reed (WSH) – Reed has himself a new injury to add to the list. Shocker, am I right? This time it’s a toe injury that head coach Jay Gruden is handling with care. And rightfully so. The good news is he’s practicing. Gruden may hold him out for the rest of the preseason. And why shouldn’t he? Reed’s health is a major key to the success of QB Kirk Cousins and the Redskins’ offense.
RB Devonta Freeman (ATL) – Freeman suffered his second career concussion leading up to the Falcons’ third preseason game. Through three seasons, Freeman has only missed one game. Lucky for the Falcons, they have a starting caliber RB behind Freeman in Tevin Coleman. Draft both with confidence. Remember, it’s the preseason. I don’t think this will linger, but you never know with concussions. Wouldn’t hurt to monitor this.
WR Julian Edelman (NE) – Edelman suffered a torn ACL during the Patriots’ third preseason game versus the Lions. With so many weapons in the Patriots wide receiver corps, maybe this isn’t a big deal for QB Tom Brady. But Edelman is a major player for Brady and the Patriots. With Edelman down for the season, look for Chris Hogan to step up and be Brady’s new favorite white guy to throw passes to. That sentence felt kind of racist, but history doesn’t lie folks. The real beneficiary? Brandin Cooks. He’s a WR1 if you didn’t think he was already.
RB Jordan Howard (CHI) – Howard suffered an eye injury and missed the Bears’ second preseason game. He wouldn’t have played much anyway, so I’m hardly worried with this one. Still though. If it turns into pink eye, it’s contagious you know.
WR Jordan Matthews (BUF) – It’s still weird typing BUF next to Matthews’ name. But alas, here we are. One day after being traded to the Bills, Matthews cracked his sternum. The guy just can’t catch a break, no pun intended. It should heal in time for the beginning of the season, but with the missed time, he won’t be able to build chemistry with QB Tyrod Taylor. He should have top 40 numbers by default, but it’ll be close.
TE Eric Ebron (DET) – Ebron is once again missing the bulk of the preseason, this time for a hamstring injury. He’ll end up fine during the season, but if you’re smart, stop drafting the guy expecting him to be a top 10 TE. He hasn’t done it yet and he’s not going to. Sorry for the harsh truth.
WR Quincy Enunwa (NYJ) – Doesn’t this one suck? I mean, he was in line for like, every single receiving target from the cavalcade of QBs the Jets will inevitably trot out this year. Now those targets will be divvied up between Robby Anderson and rookie ArDarius Stewart. I prefer the latter if that helps any.
RB Kenneth Dixon (BAL) – Just in case you missed this one, Dixon was supposed to serve a four game suspension at the start of this season, but then tore up his knee and will instead miss the whole season. Bummer. You can grab Terrance West late and get top 35 numbers for cheap.
QB Joe Flacco (BAL) – Another Raven on the list, Flacco is still fighting a back injury. The Ravens are understandably being cautious, but it’s looking like Flacco may miss at least the first game of the season. You’re not worried about Flacco, per se, but his presence boosts the value of Wallace and Maclin. Without him, insert Ryan Mallett and Wallace and Maclin don’t sniff your fantasy lineups. Get well soon, Flacco.
WR Breshad Perriman (BAL) – Starting every year on the injury report seems to be a thing for Perriman. Not something any fantasy owner likes to see by the way. This time, it’s a hamstring. Three weeks into August, he’s still not practicing. Luckily for the Ravens, they still have Mike Wallace and brought in Jeremy Maclin to be their starting wide receivers. This is a make or break campaign for Perriman. I’m betting on break.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz (HOU) – The Fedora (not sure that’s his nickname, but it’s a lot easier to type out than Fiedorowicz so I’m making this a thing) suffered a quad injury and missed the second preseason game. The Texans do have Ryan Griffin as an option at TE so the Texans aren’t short on options. But as someone who was in for 60.4% of the Texans offensive snaps, The Fedora (seriously, it’s going to be a thing) is rather important. He’ll be fine folks.
WR Will Fuller V (HOU) – Fuller broke his collarbone in practice and is slated to miss 2-3 months. This should open the door for more targets in DeAndre Hopkins’ direction. Don’t sleep on Braxton Miller though. He’s going to get some play in the slot and should see his fair share of targets in the first six weeks of the season.
RB Leonard Fournette (JAX) – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Fournette is hurt. I know right? Story of his college career. He injured his foot and now everyone is freaking out about whether they can count on the former LSU star for the 2017 season. Then you realize he plays for Jacksonville and you’re forced to pause and ask yourself why you’d want to rely on him in the first place. Do I think this is a big deal? No. But with his history, it’s worth monitoring because, let’s face it, the Jaguars are built to be his team and therefore, a standout fantasy option at RB this season.
WR John Brown (ARI) – Are we really surprised to see Brown’s name here? After dealing with a myriad or injuries over his young career, Brown is once again dealing with yet another soft-tissue injury, this time to his quadriceps. He’s practicing, but not playing, which makes me think the Cardinals are just being cautious. But with Brown’s history, this is something to take note of. He’s expected to play a huge role in the Cardinals offense with Michael Floyd no longer on the team. His draft price is low, so taking a flier on him, or even J.J. Nelson, isn’t the worst thing you could do.
TE Jimmy Graham (SEA) – Graham has been dealing with back spasms for the better part of a week and was held out of the Seahawks’ second preseason game. I wouldn’t worry too much about this one, but definitely keep your eyes glued to your Twitter feed to see if anything new surfaces in regards to this supposed anomaly.
WR Cameron Meredith (CHI) – Meredith didn’t want to be left out of the party, so during the Bears’ third preseason game, he too tore his ACL and is done for the season. If Jordan Howard didn’t already have a hard enough time generating yards, he does now. With Meredith out, the onus falls on former first round pick Kevin White to show why he was a first round pick. Look for White during the late rounds and pray he stays healthy. Another sneaky grab: remember Kendall Wright? I know, I forgot about him as well. He’s a slot receiver and I can’t imagine Mike Glennon will have a ton of time to go deep, which he prefers. Late round stash at best though. It is the Bears we’re talking about.
QB Andrew Luck (IND) – Luck remains on the physically unable to perform list as a result of offseason shoulder surgery. Will he be ready to play come the start of the season? He’s starting to throw and his strength is improving, but with his current price of a 9th round pick, he’s worth the gamble. Even if he misses the first six games, QB is so deep that in the final half of your fantasy season you’ll get top five numbers from the Colts’ QB.
WR Donte Moncrief (IND) – Luck isn’t the only Colts player nursing a shoulder injury. The potential Moncrief exhibits almost isn’t worth the headache at this point. He’s a late round flier at best, but if Luck misses the first six weeks, Moncrief will have zero fantasy relevance. Seriously, nada.
RB Theo Riddick (DET) – Riddick ended the 2016 season on IR after injuring both his wrists. He had offseason surgery and has yet to appear in any of the Lions first two preseason games – he finally appeared in the third game but had only two touches. Cause for concern? Factor in his average draft position of 31st amongst RBs in 9th round, maybe. Look, Ameer Abdullah is a skilled pass catcher. Maybe the Lions are being overly cautious because Riddick is a huge part of their passing game, but they don’t need to rush him as a result of the presence of Abdullah. You’ve been warned.