Fantasy Football Injury Report: August 21
Michael Stein goes over the top injuries throughout the NFL over this past week.
The NFL season is set to begin in just under three weeks (we hope) and it is certainly going to be unique. Following suit with the other major professional sports, stadiums will be empty and we will all have to worry about players’ exposure to COVID-19. The best we can do right now is prepare for drafts like normal and then pivot when necessary if things devolve. Players theoretically should be healthier (injury-wise) heading into the 2020 season since there are no preseason games. However, there are always injuries that arise during training camp that affect draft strategy and roster management. The wild card this year is the potential for missing time due to COVID-19. All fantasy GMs are subject to the same risks, so we have to hope that the NFL and its players and teams take the precautions seriously to avoid any exposure or outbreaks. So without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the walking wounded in the fantasy football emergency room.
Nick Chubb (RB-CLE)
The Browns were one of the league’s biggest disappointments in 2019, but running back Nick Chubb was not to blame. He rushed for 1,494 yards and eight touchdowns last year solidifying himself as one of the premiere running backs in the league. He is currently in the league’s concussion protocol but has been attending meetings and appears to be asymptomatic according to Cleveland’s coaching staff. It is likely that the Browns will have him avoid any further contact during training camp in order to ensure he is ready for Week 1 against Baltimore. Chubb should still be considered one of the top picks in any fantasy league format
Tyreek Hill (WR-KC)
Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has been diagnosed with a strained hamstring. The team is downplaying the severity of the injury and is only referring to it as a minor ailment. Hill is one of the most explosive players in the league, so any leg injury is going to be cause for concern. However, the regular season is still three weeks away so he should have plenty of time to rest and heal before taking the field. Hill did miss four games last year and still caught 58 passes for 860 yards and seven touchdowns. He is a solid WR1 as Patrick Mahomes top wide receiver.
T.Y. Hilton (WR-IND)
Veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton began training camp on the Active/NFI list due to a hamstring injury. This came after missing six games last year due to various ailments, so there were obvious questions about his health and durability. The Colts are confident that Hilton will be healthy heading into 2020 as the focal point of the offense. Fantasy GMs can expect a bounce-back season from Hilton because he will have veteran Philip Rivers at quarterback instead of Jacoby Brissett who struggled mightily last year. He is a solid WR2 option in any fantasy league format.
Sony Michel (RB-NE)
The Patriots will look quite different in 2020 with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski both in Tampa Bay. However, they still have a carousel of running backs that Bill Belichick will utilize at his discretion. Sony Michel is entering his third season but he is hampered by a foot injury that could cost him six games if he is placed on the reserve/PUP list. The Patriots are clearly concerned because they signed veteran Lamar Miller as a reclamation project after he missed the entire 2019 due to tearing his ACL and MCL in August 2019. New England also drafted Damien Harris in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft, so they have multiple options along with Rex Burkhead and James White in order to offset Michel’s potential absence and Brandon Bolden ’s decision to opt out. Michel is normally a solid RB2 after rushing for 912 yards and seven touchdowns last year, but he carries significant risk heading into 2020.
Miles Sanders (RB-PHI)
Fantasy GMs are concerned about Miles Sanders’ status for the regular season after he was designated as week-to-week with a lower body injury. However, it has been reported that the Eagles believe Sanders will be ready for Week 1, which is great news. Sanders has emerged as a top-25 pick coming off his rookie season where he rushed for 818 yards and three touchdowns along catching 50 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns. If he is still banged up and his availability comes into question, then Boston Scott is a great late-round draft option as Sanders’ handcuff.
Deebo Samuel (WR-SF)
The 49ers have already been decimated by injuries at the wide receiver position. Deebo Samuel is coming off a very successful rookie season in which he caught 57 passes for 802 yards and three touchdowns. However, he suffered a broken foot this summer and underwent surgery. It seemed almost impossible to think he could be ready for the regular season, but now the 49ers are hopeful he can take the field. It is more realistic to think he will miss one to two games given that he needs to get back on the field to practice and get in game shape. Samuel is still a solid mid-round fantasy option assuming you have depth at the wide receiver position already.
Evan Engram (TE-NYG)
Giants tight end Evan Engram has had an injury-marred career and is looking to gain the trust of his teammates, fans and fantasy GMs. He missed eight games last year due to undergoing Lisfranc surgery and is working hard to be ready for Week 1. He avoided the PUP list when training camp started and has been credited by Giants coaching staff for the rehab work he has put in this summer. Engram has the ability to torch linebackers covering him in the middle of the field and could be a huge fantasy asset if he can stay on the field. It would not be surprising if he emerges as one of Daniel Jones’ favorite targets. Fantasy GMs should have high hopes for Engram but should also keep a viable second tight end rostered as well.
Jalen Hurd (WR-SF)
The 49ers are not only dealing with Deebo Samue’s injury, but they will be without Jalen Hurd for the second consecutive season. Hurd, who missed all of 2019 with a back injury, was expected to be a big part of San Francisco’s offense in a variety of roles. However, he suffered a season-ending ACL injury and will have to wait until 2021 to make his NFL debut. This likely means Kendrick Bourne will assume a bigger role in the slot which boosts his fantasy value as a late-round option.
Denzel Mims (WR-NYJ)
The Jets selected Mims in the 2nd round of the 2020 Draft in order to address the wide receiver position which has been a vacuous hole for the franchise in recent years. He may have to wait to make his season debut as he suffered a hamstring injury in practice this week and there is no timeframe for his return. We will likely get additional information in the next few days, but fantasy GMs should pass on him in most standard leagues. The Jets will likely be going with Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder as their primary wide receivers, so Mims will have an uphill battle finding some targets once he is able to take the field again.
Want to find out the difference between a player being injury prone or prone to injury? Take a look at our Seasonal Strategies feature from the 2020 NFL Draft Guide 'Identifying Injury-Prone Players' written by Ryan Hallam as he gives you tips when it comes to drafting or avoiding certain players that have dealt with past injuries!
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