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2022 NFL Draft: John Metchie III Injury Overview (Fantasy Football)

2022 NFL Draft: John Metchie III Injury Overview (Fantasy Football)

Do we buy in on an “Adrian Peterson-like” recovery for John Metchie III? Not exactly, but he’s still amongst the most undervalued prospects in this year’s NFL Draft.

Andrew Erickson Mock Draft

Metchie tore his ACL in early December, which would put him ~8 months into recovery by the time training camp starts. He has announced his expectation that he’ll be medically cleared well before that, which is optimistic but not unrealistic. The average NFL WR takes 10 months to get back into game shape post-ACL, but that timeline can be pushed up to 7-9. We’ve been hearing from Metchie’s coaches and physical therapists that his rehab has been moving at lightspeed, which is great if it’s true, but there’s no way to bank on it. After all, we would never hear anything to the contrary about NFL prospects from their own teams leading up to the draft.

Regardless, it is definitely possible for Metchie to start Week 1 for the team who picks him nine months after surgery. But, the key issue is productivity. Will he really be able to perform at an elite level after that amount of time? To answer the question, we look to the data.

NFL Draft: What is John Metchie’s Biggest Health Risk? partner-arrow

NFL WRs tend to see a fairly significant dip in their performance levels for the first 12-18 months after surgery. The duration and magnitude of the downward trends vary from player to player, but younger age and higher draft stock are both associated with softer and more temporary blows to productivity. Both variables work in his favor. The other factor to consider is pre-injury athleticism. We don’t have the luxury of formal combine or Pro Day stats to work with here, but the scouting report on Metchie is that he’s athletically solid – not elite – for an NFL wideout.

Putting it all together:

  • Yes, it’s very realistic for Metchie to be ready to play Week 1, although the highest probability is to see him about one month into the season.
  • No, we wouldn’t expect to see the full-strength player early on. The SportsMedAnalytics algorithm predicts a 10-14 month progression – which puts Metchie at ~Weeks 6-10 – before he reaches those levels.

But, Metchie still has one more injury that nobody seems to be talking about here. At the end of 2020, he played through a stress fracture in his tibia. This far out, the injury itself is not of much concern. However, it generally takes a while to recover, and Metchie’s 2021 stats make that pretty clear. In his first six games, Metchie scored only two TDs and maxed out at 76 yards in a single game. That’s a major contrast compared to his final eight games of ’21 when he scored six total TDs and averaged 108 yards per game.

Although we’re all (rightfully) focused on the ACL, this tibia and its temporary performance impact have led to the undervaluing of Metchie’s peak production. Once he gets back there – either late ’22 or early ’23 – he could very realistically be a meaningful contributor to your dynasty team for many years to come. Re-draft teams have a less clear decision, but for us, it will come down to the offensive system he joins. If the Bills, Chargers, Chiefs, or Patriots take him, so will we. Otherwise, we’ll put him back on our watch lists this time next year.

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