Injury & Suspension Cheat Sheet

by Andrew Sears | Draft Prep | Sep 2nd 2010

Vincent JacksonWith fantasy drafts in full swing, now is a great time to take a look around the league at the injuries and suspensions that can impact the value of players. The last thing any fantasy owner wants is to be the person that unknowingly selects a guy who is going to be out of action. That’s why we’re creating a cheat sheet of sorts that summarizes all of the latest injury & suspension information so you’re up to date on the most recent player statuses.

What follows is a breakdown of all the important injuries and suspensions along with how long each player is expected to be out of action. We also note each player’s Average Draft Position (ADP) and Expert Consensus Rank (ECR) to give you an idea of how these players are currently being valued.

Significant Injuries/Suspensions

Let’s first take a look at the guys that are going to miss a significant amount of action:

[table id=17 /]

Player Notes:

  • Ben Roethlisberger is currently suspended for 6 games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He’s set to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday where there is a strong chance the suspension will be reduced to 4 games. Either way, any owner that drafts Roethlisberger will only have him for at best 75% of the season so keep that in mind when you’re looking at QBs.
    *9/3 Note: Roethlisberger’s suspension was in fact reduced to 4 games*

  • Of everyone on the list, Vincent Jackson’s situation is the most unpredictable. He not only will miss the season’s first 3 games due to suspension but he is also involved in a nasty contract dispute with the Chargers where he is threatening to sit out the entire season.  Despite Jackson’s claims, most observers expect that he will play at least 6 games this year to avoid losing a year of service time that would delay his timetable to become a free agent. So, if you’re thinking about drafting Jackson, know that he could miss a significant portion of the season and it’s also possible that he’ll be traded at some point by the Chargers (Seattle is a rumored destination).

  • Wait, did I say Vincent Jackson’s situation was the most unpredictable? Scratch that! The Bengals were so eager to get rid of Antonio Bryant that they released him despite the fact that they will now pay him nearly $8 million for playing 0 games in Cincinnati. Not exactly a great return on investment. Given that Bryant no longer has a team and is saddled with a lingering knee injury, he is a player with a very uncertain fantasy outlook.

Lingering Injuries

Next, let’s examine the players who are banged up but the injuries aren’t as immediately serious. These guys might not miss much action (if any games at all) but you’ll want to keep their injuries in mind during your draft process since these injuries could linger throughout the season:

[table id=18 /]

Player Notes

  • The big player of interest on this list is Maurice Jones-Drew. After an initial report indicated that Jones-Drew would be out for the season due to knee surgery, the injury is now being downplayed as soreness and he is fully expected to be ready for week 1 of the upcoming season. So, at least for now, it appears that this injury will not have much of a fantasy impact.
  • Bills running back Fred Jackson fractured his hand early in the pre-season and was expected to miss up to the first two games of the season but there is now optimism that he could return in time for week 1. Despite the positive news, Jackson’s fantasy value has taken a hit and his role is expected to be limited early on in the season due to both the injury as well as the emergence of rookie C.J. Spiller.
  • Knowson Moreno is still recovering from a serious hamstring injury that knocked him out of action for most of August. The Broncos aren’t saying whether Moreno will be available for week 1 but the safe bet is that he’ll be suited up to play. However, given the nagging nature of hamstring issues it’s probably a good idea to adjust your draft value of Moreno accordingly.
  • Percy Harvin is back working out with the Vikings after collapsing during practice a few weeks ago as a result of Harvin’s ongoing bout with migraine headaches. Even though the Vikings believe they can control the situation, Harvin has missed time in the past due to migraines so it’s likely that the uncertainty of “will he or won’t he play each week” is going to cause fantasy owners to question his appropriate value.
  • Steve Slaton suffered a turf toe injury during Houston’s preseason victory over Dallas and is questionable for the Texans’ first game. Given the lingering effects of turf toe injuries and the emergence of teammate Arian Foster, Slaton’s fantasy potential has taken a big hit going into the season.
  • Raiders running back Michael Bush underwent surgery on Monday for an injury to a fractured left thumb. While there is no definite timetable for his return, it is believed that Bush should be back in action early in the season. The uncertainty of how this affects Bush’s ability to carry the ball will likely impact how early he is taken in upcoming fantasy drafts.
  • No player’s injury status is more surprising than Patriots WR Wes Welker. Despite tearing both his ACL and MCL just 7 months ago, Welker has remarkably taken part in preseason activities and is fully in line to play in New England’s season opener. Given the short recovery period for such a significant injury, however, there’s no doubt that there will be plenty of questions as to how much Welker can be counted on for fantasy production this season.

So there you have it. A breakdown of all the significant injuries and suspensions that could impact your upcoming fantasy draft. Hopefully you find this information helpful as an overview as you try to decide what value each player can bring to your fantasy team.

As always, feel free to leave your feedback and let us know if you think we’re missing anyone important.

Photo Credit: Link

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