Hello Fantasy Footballers,
The 2012-13 Fantasy Football season is finally upon us after a long offseason in which we had the chance to watch a number of star players continue their rehab workouts trying to recover from a variety of significant injuries.
This blog will highlight a few of the bigger names (Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Peyton Manning, among others) that could impact this upcoming fantasy football season and I’ll explain why some have a better chance than others to actually perform well for your team as you get ready for your league drafts.
Last year, I was invited to write blogs for this site late in the season just before the Super Bowl and didn’t get the chance to really provide meaningful injury analysis and predictions that would help you win your fantasy football league’s title. Well things will be different this year as I’m starting now and will be doing injury reports throughout the season. You’ll get to know which players you should give up on, which ones you should be patient with and hold onto, and most importantly how long are their injuries really going to keep from being an effective fantasy football player who is worthy of a roster spot in your weekly lineup.
In case you didn’t get a chance to read my Superbowl Edition titled “Why Rob Gronkowski Won't Do Much (If Anything) Sunday” last year, I accurately predicted that Gronkowski’s high ankle sprain would be too much to overcome and that despite the heavy media coverage and speculation about his role in the superbowl, it was pretty much a slam dunk that his performance would be poor. (You can find the link at http://rotosynthesis.rotowire.com/default.asp?Display=3578).
Alright, so let’s get this season started…….
We will begin with our Big 3 at running back which includes Jamaal Charles, Rashard Mendenhall, and, of course, Adrian Peterson. They all have one thing in common—they are attempting to return after having surgery to repair a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). The ACL is one of the major ligaments of the knee and provides it with the structural stability that allows NFL runningbacks to make sudden, quick changes in directions while they accelerate and decelerate to do so effectively. Although each of these players suffered the same type of injury, there is one reason why only Jamaal Charles has a chance to at least be considered a number one runningback in your early weeks compared to the others……and that reason is TIME! Jamaal Charles suffered his injury in Week 2 last year which has given him almost a full year now to rehab his surgically repaired knee. In comparison, Mendenhall and Peterson suffered their injuries very late in the season and have only now had close to 7 months to rehab. This makes a HUGE difference as there was a study done on NFL runningbacks and widereceivers who had suffered ACL injuries and the average number of weeks it took for them to compete their first game after injury was just under 56 weeks. While Jamaal Charles is approaching this amount of time, Mendenhall and Peterson are far from it. In addition, it usually takes another year after returning to the NFL for runningbacks to “trust” their surgically repaired knee. On average, most runningbacks will drop their previous healthy year’s production by about 1/3.
Conclusion: Jamaal Charles will be able to return to the NFL probably sometime during the first few weeks of the season but still don’t expect him to be a top 5 runningback in the NFL as that would be asking too much of almost anyone in his same position. As for Mendenhall, I think this someone who you have to really drop down in your draft for someone who will be able to help you during the first half of the season. Maybe try to get him later in your draft and hope he can fill in a hole for your team down the stretch. Adrian Peterson is still tricky in that he has really just been so good over the past several years. It’s hard to believe that any injury could bring someone this competitive and successful down to a more average level of play. Well, I’m going to have to say it. I don’t think you can really take this guy in the first couple of rounds. He’s probably still worth a third or fourth round pick just because he seems to find a way to be productive but you should definitely not be fooled into believing he’s 100% at the start of the season and worthy of a first round pick.
The next player is someone who will likely go down as one of the best, if not the best quarterback in the history of the game. None other than Peyton Manning….a Denver Bronco?!? The same reason why he was not resigned by the Colts is the same reason that I’ll present to you right now. Nobody knows what this guy will do and I’m sure the team doctors told this to management as well regarding his surgically repaired neck that required fusion of a couple of vertebrae. While he could go out there and lead the Broncos to an AFC West title, he could also play one snap and be done for the year and maybe even career. Now I’m not saying the latter is very likely but the point is when someone has the type of surgery he has, the biggest concern is the pressure that the fused vertebrae put on the other normal vertebrae and discs surrounding it. There is always that chance that it starts to cause abnormalities to develop in other levels of his spine and no one can really predict when this might happen which is obviously why the Colts could not commit to a long term deal with him.
Conclusion: Be careful, if you take Manning as your starting QB. Make sure you have a backup plan as it could turn out to be a draft-changing pick, but it could also lead to your demise if you don’t have another QB that can fill in if he goes down.
Now let’s visit the Arizona Cardinals backfield so that we can talk about Ryan Williams….remember this guy? He was the runningback that was looking like he was going to be a stud until he went down and ruptured his patellar tendon. These injuries are known to cause runningbacks to lose their explosiveness although new and improved repair techniques are allowing for better recoveries and just may give Williams a chance to return to form. He might not start the season but he just might be someone you may want to take a good look at to see if he really can get back to where he left off last preseason.
Conclusion: Ryan Williams could really go either way and I think we will know that sooner than later based on how he looks within the first couple games of being back. May be worth the a later round pick but should be dropped sooner than later if he isn’t impressive early on.
Lastly, we will quickly mention Jahvid Best to put an end to this story. Unfortunately, news surrounding concussions have become front and center for the NFL and have largely been mentioned in regards to retired players. However, there are some active players that are also finding out the hard way that concussions are not a laughing matter. Jahvid Best has to be the worst case of concussions currently preventing a promising star from getting the chance to prove himself in the NFL. After suffering another concussion causing him to miss 10 games last season, he still has not been cleared to play even though his coach is making promises that he will play next season and that it will be sooner than later. I hate to say it, but things aren’t looking good for Best. Clearly he is suffering from post-concussion syndrome and the fact that he hasn’t been cleared after this much time does not make me like the chances that he’s going to be able to return to play any significant role on the Lions’ roster this year. Even if he plays again, he is just a ticking time bomb waiting to suffer another concussion. While I really think he needs to retire from football rather than risk further brain injury, I definitely think we can all retire him from fantasy football relevancy.
Conclusion: Put Jahvid Best to rest. Retire him from your fantasy football roster.
Hopefully some of this information can help you make some key decisions in your drafts this year to help propel you to the top to take home the championship trophy of your league.
If you have any players that you would like analysis on, feel free to leave comments and I’ll try to address them.
Additionally, you can follow me on my Twitter account @DoctorKenton.
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Speaking of Gronkowski, what is his injury status
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By Dr.Kenton, 8/20/2012 11:42 PM
Usually after a high ankle sprain that involves surgical correction, you need about 6 months for full recovery. Gronkowski has had those 6 months now since the Super Bowl and while he might start a little slow in the first couple weeks of the season, he should be just fine.
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