Injury Insights 8/9
Though it’s early, it’s never too early to start thinking about how injuries will effect your fantasy team.Â There have been a number of camp injuries that could impact not only the afflicted player, but those who depend on him in some way for part of their fantasy value.Â Without further ado, here’s a look at some of those players:
Braylon Edwards, WR-Browns: After a disappointing 2008 campaign that was marred by drops (an NFL leading 16) and a quarterback controversy that blew up in former coach Romeo Crennel’s face, Edwards missed the start of training camp with the dreaded “undisclosed” injury.Â He did, however, return to practice at the end of the week, and reports were that he blended well immediately with QB Brady Quinn.Â Despite Edwards’ mercurial nature, he is in a contract year and has every motivation to prove his value.Â Besides, it’s not like a butter-finger wide receiver can’t have fantasy value (I’m looking at you, Mr. Owens).
Brandon Marshall, WR-Broncos: A diva wideout whose act is growing thin in the Mile High City, Marshall pulled up lame in his first practice with a hamstring injury, a favorite of the disgruntled wide receiver.Â Marshall is looking for a new contract, which the Broncos and new coach Josh McDaniels are understandably hesitant to give, given Marshall’s past (would you want to give a huge deal to a guy that put his arm through a TV wrestling with his brother?).Â Whether this is injury is real or not, the main hit to his fantasy value this year will be that the guy throwing him the rock is QB Kyle Orton, not Jay Cutler.Â If you’re a Marshall fan, this isn’t anything to fret about, but if you’re a doubter this is just another straw on the camel’s back.
Beanie Wells, RB-Cardinals: After Wells’ signed his contract, the first headline I read was “Wells’ signs contract, carted off field.”Â I thought it was something out of The Onion, but lo and behold, it was true–Wells’ left practice with an ankle injury, and is doubtful for the first preseason game against the Steelers on August 13th.Â Wells is on many sleeper lists to start the year, but a team that doesn’t run the ball and a back that can’t stay healthy mean that there isn’t much value in the Cards backfield outside of QB Kurt Warner.Â Besides, I’m not entirely convinced that RB Tim Hightower is an inferior back.Â I’d stay away from Wells until there’s some good news here.
Mark Clayton, WR-Ravens:Â Having WR Derrick Mason un-retire gave some depth to an already thin Ravens’ receiving corps, but Clayton’s injury puts them right back where they started.Â It looks like Clayton will be out for much if not all of the preseason, but coach John Harbaugh says he figures to be back by the start of the season.Â Nonetheless, hamstring injuries are known to linger, and his coach says he has “significant bleeding” in said hamstring.Â I don’t look for Clayton to be valuable for the first 2 or 3 games even if he returns on time, but the evolution of QB Joe Flacco and Clayton’s return to health could make him a nice second half sleeper.
Jonathan Stewart, RB-Panthers:Â Stewart is suffering from an Achilles injury, which is trouble for multiple reasons.Â For starters, it’s the same injury that he was hampered by at the end of last season, and that it didn’t get better after an offseason of rest is worrisome.Â It certainly won’t get much better from here on out, and he’s limited to one practice a day at this point.Â Next, the knock on him out of Oregon was that he was talented (many thought him the best back in last year’s draft, myself included), but injury prone.Â Our glimpses of him thus far in the NFL have done little to dispel either notion.Â Just know that if you grab Stewart, you’re playing with fire.Â He’ll be unpredictable in the best of cases, and absolutely infuriating at worst (there’s nothing worse than finding out he’ll be active, only to start him and have him get minimal carries).Â Fortunately for Stewart, his compatriot RB DeAngelo Williams is suffering from a toe injury and is similarly limited.Â I’ll be very interested to see how Stewart’s injury plays out–if he’s healthy, I think he can post top-10 back numbers this season.Â If he’s not…it’ll be ugly.
Reggie Bush, RB-Saints: Early reports from Saints’ camp had Bush leaving practice with knee injury and returning with a limp, but Bush and the Saints’ brass quickly dismissed these concerns.Â The plan all along, they said, was to limit Bush and ice his knee–the limp being a product of the ice pack taped to his leg.Â While he has some health issues to be wary of, this particular scare is just that–a scare.Â Bush seems to be on track to split time and touches with emerging sleeper RB Pierre Thomas, which ultimately could benefit Bush from a wear-and-tear perspective.
Harry Douglas, WR-Falcons: Douglas suffered a torn ACL in training camp, and his loss will eliminate a dimension from the Falcons’ blooming offense.Â Perhaps this injury is what gave the Falcons some urgency to sign WR Roddy White to his contract extension.Â Regardless, Douglas was a prime sleeper coming into 2009, but now he’ll be merely another injury question going into 2010.