15 Top Fantasy Players With Injury Concerns: Are They Worth It?

Aug 15, 2017
15 Top Fantasy Players With Injury Concerns: Are They Worth It?


I am happy to back for another year with 4for4 and this amazing team that continues to get better every year! This article will focus on players that are either recovering from injuries or surgeries and what their outlook is for this upcoming season. With draft season right around the corner, knowing who is a lock to perform and who has the potential to weigh down your team is crucial to your success. As a sports physical therapist, I'm looking for ways to minimize risk in the early rounds where you know production is going to be crucial and where to take risks in later rounds depending on where a player's health stands.

Read up on our injury glossary to learn more about various ailments NFL players suffer.

LeVeon Bell, Steelers

Sports Hernia

Worth It? YES.

Bell and David Johnson are considered the top-two fantasy running backs in 2017. This is even more so now with the Ezekiel Elliott suspension. Although he is one of the most dynamic running backs in the game, Bell has had injuries pile up on him over the past few seasons. Sports Hernia surgery last year, an MCL sprain in 2015, and a lisfranc foot sprain in 2013 are hard to ignore, while someone like David Johnson’s injury history is not as vast. If Bell continues to hold out due to contract issues, the possibility that a soft tissue injury creeps up could be more likely due to not being exposed to the normal stresses of training camp and preseason. His talent isn't in question, but his ability to stay on the field for the entire season is.

Julio Jones, Falcons

Bunion Surgery

Worth It? YES.

The only real concern with Julio is not so much his health but more rather how the Falcons offense is going to look with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. The Falcons have made it clear they want to get Jones the ball more in the red zone, which will only help his cause to possibly be the top WR by the end of the season.

Sammy Watkins, Bills

Jones Foot Fracture Revision

Worth It? IT DEPENDS.

Now playing with Jared Goff, following his trade to the Rams, Watkins' fantasy value has diminished, as Goff did not show well last season and it remains to be seen where his progression is this year. Watkins has shown to be a very dynamic player when on the field, but, unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case lately. There’s a lot of risk with the former Bill, especially for where he is currently going in drafts, but those who do return from a second surgery to address the Jones fracture end up performing well. Keep an eye on where he falls in your draft. If you're feeling good about how your roster is shaping up, then maybe you can afford to take a shot on him. Just don't rely on him being your top or even second option at WR.

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

Multiple Back Surgeries

Worth It? YES.

As long as you account for the possibility Gronk ends up missing a handful of games, and you are okay with that, then he should once again be a steady source of fantasy points with Tom Brady at the helm. With more weapons than ever before in New England, Gronk might be even more valuable in fantasy drafts.

Ameer Abdullah, Lions

Lisfranc Foot Surgery

Worth It? YES.

Our own Joe Holka has charted Ameer Abdullah in his rushing expectation series and his research shows Abdullah performs well when given the opportunity. He looks to be completely healthy from the lisfranc foot injury he sustained last year, and should have great value for where he is going based on his ADP (78 overall).

Marshawn Lynch, Raiders

Low Back Issues

Worth It? NO.

I want to convince myself the Lynch returning to the NFL is the Beast Mode from his prime in Seattle. Unfortunately, he’s a year older, hasn’t played in the NFL in over a year, likely still has lower back concerns, and has more talent in the Raiders backfield to compete with than what he was used to in Seattle. Lynch is going in the third round of drafts, which is just too rich for my blood. I’ll pass.

Alshon Jeffery, Eagles

Multiple Soft Tissue Injuries

Worth It? IT DEPENDS.

Jeffery has a lot of opportunity with the Eagles this year, as they just shipped out Jordan Matthews to the Bills, and he doesn’t have a lot of competition for targets. However, you cannot deny the fact Jeffery's struggle with injuries over the last few seasons makes him a risky proposition. He’s already sitting out practices due to a shoulder issue, which has forced him to miss time developing chemistry with Carson Wentz. Jeffery is someone to avoid in fantasy drafts.

Keenan Allen, Chargers

ACL Reconstruction

Worth It? NO.

Playing only 9 games in the past two seasons is definitely a red flag. Considering he did tear his ACL last year and seems to be close to 100% is great, but he's currently going in the fourth round in both 10- and 12-team league drafts, which seems a little steep for someone returning from a major knee injury. Keenan Allen has all the talent in the world and could cause me to put my foot in my mouth this year, but with an ADP in the first few rounds, you want to make sure you minimize risk as much as possible to be successful. That doesn't seem like a certainty with Allen.

Jordan Reed, Redskins

Turf Toe

Worth It? YES.

Reed continues to have injury issues that will continue to make people skeptical about drafting him, but his ceiling can’t be overlooked. If you do draft Reed, it might not be a bad idea to grab Vernon Davis in later rounds if you have the roster space to protect yourself. Turf toe is an injury that can be reaggravated and linger, as pushing off the toe to run can be very uncomfortable. Keep an eye on Reed's status before your draft to see where he stands.

Cam Newton, Panthers

Rotator Cuff Surgery

Worth It? YES.

Recency bias will have a lot of people shying away from Newton due to the struggles he and the Panthers went through last season. But let’s not forget he is only one season removed from his MVP season. He’s a strong candidate to bounce back, especially since the Panthers have done a lot to put pieces around him to keep him upright this season.

Andrew Luck, Colts

Shoulder Labrum Surgery

Worth It? NO.

Luck’s return from shoulder surgery continues to be murky at best, so until we get a better feel as to where he is in his throwing, I would be very hesitant to pull the trigger on drafting him. Reports saying Luck might not be ready for Week 1 is a huge red flag, and also means his recovery has been slower than expected. Unless he falls drastically, and you have a backup plan, look elsewhere at the quarterback position. Yes, he’s got all the talent in the world, but there is going to be some ramp up time needed, and the arm strength might not fully be there to start the season. His offensive line continues to be an issue as well, so there is definitely some red flags for Luck heading into this season.

Tyler Eifert, Bengals

Back Surgery

Worth It? YES.

Eifert seems to have recovered well from back surgery he underwent in December and claims to be 100% healthy. Injuries will always be something to monitor closely with Eifert (has only played 22 games in the past three seasons), but his red zone presence makes him a strong candidate to return to TE1 status if he can stay on the field.

Eddie Lacy, Seahawks

Ankle Surgery

Worth It? NO.

The Seahawks backfield is going to be interesting to keep an eye on this season. The fact the Seahawks had to insert an offseason weight requirement clause in Lacy's contract is a red flag, especially since he is still recovering from ankle surgery. Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise will be knocking on the door if Lacy falters, making this is a situation to avoid.

Jamaal Charles, Broncos

Multiple Knee Surgeries

Worth It? YES.

Losing the last two seasons to knee surgeries has seen Charles's stock plummet into the late rounds of fantasy drafts. Considering the Broncos want to get him 8—10 touches per game, his draft stock could continue to suppress, but if he has anything left in the tank then he could provide solid value. He’s worth the risk given his draft position to see if you could catch lightning in a bottle.

Adrian Peterson, Saints

Knee Meniscus Repair

Worth It? NO.

Much like Eddie Lacy, Peterson falls in the same category in that there are a lot of mouths to feed in the Saints backfield with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Peterson could surprise people, but don't expect the heavy usage we have seen from him over the years when he was the workhorse in Minnesota.


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