The preseason is now halfway over and we are just a few weeks away from the Bears and Packers on Thursday Night Football. Fantasy drafts are happening every day and GMs need to make critical decisions based on injuries that take place during the preseason. The important thing to remember is that NFL teams will be overly cautious and conservative with their players. This means that any type of injury sustained during the preseason likely means shutting players down until the regular season. GMs should not overreact to those types of updates unless there is a real risk of a player not be ready for the start of the season. So without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the walking wounded in the fantasy football emergency room.
Odell Beckham , Jr. (WR-CLE)
Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham , Jr. did not play in the team’s second preseason game against the Colts as he is dealing with a hip injury. Beckham stated that he would be on the field if this was a regular-season game so the injury does not appear to be anything to be concerned about. He is motivated to impress his new team and stick it to the Giants, so he could be in for a monster season catching passes from Baker Mayfield . Fantasy GMs do need to be cautious about the fact that he does have a significant injury history as he has only played all 16 games in a season once and has missed 21 games overall in his five-year career. That being said, he is still a first-round draft pick after catching 77 passes for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 2018.
Andrew Luck (QB-IND)
The saga of Andrew Luck ’s injury continues as he tried working his way back from a calf/ankle injury that has dominated storylines most of the preseason. Luck was apparently recorded warming up before the Colts second preseason game against Cleveland. This has to be considered a good sign right now as the team indicated they are cautiously optimistic that he will play in Week 1. However, fantasy GMs need more clarity on this issue as Luck’s draft value is uncertain. The good news is that Colts coach Frank Reich has said he wants a decision made after the third preseason game so it appears we should know for sure what Luck’s status will be very soon. He is clearly a top fantasy quarterback when healthy as he threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns along with 15 interceptions last year. Jacoby Brissett would get the start if Luck is not ready to go for Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Keenan Allen (WR-LAC)
The Chargers are having a rough preseason in terms of injuries and we can add star wide receiver Keenan Allen to this list. He sustained an ankle injury during practice that will likely keep him sidelined for the remainder of the preseason. The good news for fantasy GMs is that he is expected to be ready for Week 1 against the Colts. However, this is not etched in stone as the severity of Allen’s ankle injury is not entirely know. The Chargers will need to rely on Allen more than ever if Melvin Gordon continues to hold out. He can be an elite wide receiver as he was targeted 136 times last year and caught 97 passes for 1,196 yards and six touchdowns.
Amari Cooper (WR-DAL)
The Cowboys are currently without star running back Ezekiel Elliott due to a contract dispute and now they will likely be without Amari Cooper for the rest of the preseason. Cooper is suffering from some plantar fasciitis irritation and a heel injury so the Cowboys will likely keep him on the sidelines until the regular season begins. Right now there is no cause for concern about his status for Week 1 against the Giants. Cooper thrived upon arriving in Dallas last year and could be in for a huge season now that he is playing for a free-agent contract. He saw his numbers significantly escalate once he joined Dak Prescott and company, so now he will have a full season with Dallas and should be able to improve upon his 75 receptions for 1,005 yards and seven touchdowns he had last year split between the Raiders and Cowboys.
Kenyan Drake (RB-MIA)
Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake suffered a foot injury last week and is expected to miss the rest of the preseason. His status for the regular season is up in the air right now which means that Kalen Ballage will be the starter until Drake is able to return. Fantasy GMs should not be running to draft Ballage with any urgency as he does not have a much of a sample size to rely upon. Drake did not run the ball well last year as he only amassed 535 yards and four touchdowns, but he was an effective receiver out of the backfield catching 53 passes for 477 yards and five touchdowns last year. His value is in PPR leagues so stay away from Miami’s backfield in non-PPR leagues.
Derwin James (DB-LAC)
Chargers safety Derwin James suffered a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right and will likely be out for three to four months. He is going to undergo surgery to remove a screw in his foot that bent. James initially had the screw inserted in his foot in college and now will find himself on injured reserve with the hope of returning at some point later this season. James had an incredible rookie season earning a 1st-team All-Pro selection with 105 tackles along with 3.5 sacks and three interceptions. He will be sorely missed by the Chargers whose secondary could be more prone to opposing offenses even more now.
Avery Williamson (LB-NYJ)
The Jets suffered a major loss to their defense as Avery Williamson will miss the entire 2019 season with a torn ACL in his right knee. He sustained the injury during the Jets second preseason game last week against Atlanta in a collision with a teammate. Williamson underwent an MRI that confirmed the injury, so he will be lost for the tear. The veteran linebacker had a very solid debut season with the Jets last year making 120 tackles along with three sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles last year.
D'Onta Foreman (RB-IND)
The Colts have placed running back D’onta Foreman on injured reserve meaning he will not play at all this season. He is in the midst of recovering from a biceps injury after recently being released by the Texans. Foreman has had an injury-marred career in the NFL thus far and his prospects for making the Colts team next year are up in the air. He does not have any value in keeper leagues at this point.