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Fantasy Football Injury Analysis: Matthew Stafford, Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, J.K. Dobbins (2022)

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford’s injury sounds worse than it is.

NFL injury headlines offer MAJOR fantasy advantages if you decode them correctly, and that’s why I’m here to help. I’m Deepak Chona, MD, founder of SportsMedAnalytics, the #1 most accurate NFL injury analysis platform in the industry since 2020. We combine big data and machine learning with my foundation in orthopedic sports medicine from training at Stanford and Harvard to reach conclusions that win leagues. Hit us up on IG, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and any podcast streaming platform. This year we’re pumped to team up with FantasyPros to bring the advantage directly to your teams, week after week.

And with that intro out of the way, let’s dive right in on this week’s most talked about players.

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1) Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR)

We’re seeing a lot of concerning headlines, but looking closer is actually relatively reassuring. Most likely, Stafford is dealing with a partial UCL tear. It’s better known as the “Tommy John” ligament that you hear about in baseball pitchers, and injection plus rehab is a pretty successful regimen. Because Stafford has rested this elbow for a while, it’s not all that surprising that the Rams would give him time off in between throwing days.

To be clear, the rest does NOT indicate a setback. Rather, it’s part of a planned controlled rehab protocol that is pretty typical. This could flare up during the year, but it’s not likely to change too much about his game. After all, he was throwing 40 times with a 70% completion rate and putting up ~300 yards per game at the end of last year, all while dealing with the same injury. Overall low concern: 3/10.

2) Chris Godwin (WR – TB)

Time to pump the brakes on some of the excitement. Practice footage looks promising that he’s heading in the right direction, but he’s not yet cleared for practice, and he’s still using a large brace on the knee. Typical ACL timelines would place Godwin back in game action in October, and based on his progression so far, that’s still what we’d expect. By November, we’re probably looking at 85-90% of his pre-injury self. If we see Godwin in September, expect limited snap counts. Overall medium injury impact: 6/10.

3) Michael Thomas (WR – NO)

I’m all in here. MT is being slept on because of the poorly managed injury. Basically, he tried nonoperative treatment, it failed, and he then went on to surgery. That process, unfortunately, cost him an extra season to recover. But, it’s important to remember 2 things here:

  • The initial damage wasn’t so severe, or else they would’ve operated right away.
  • The surgery takes 4-6 months to recover from, and he’s now had over 1 year.

Altogether, production data post-ankle ligament surgery is promising and leads us to expect Thomas to return to the top 15 WR form this season. He’s getting drafted at WR 31, which feels like robbery right now. Low injury impact: 2/10.

4) JK Dobbins (RB – BAL)

Dobbins’s injury was more severe than the typical ACL because it also reportedly involved another ligament (LCL). These average 15 months to return from and tend to drop productivity pretty significantly. But, if you factor in Dobbins’s age, draft capital, and pre-injury athletic metrics (highest rated SPARQ scores coming out of high school), Dobbins is primed for an early return to form. The SportsMedAnalytics algorithm calls it a 75% chance of returning by Week 1. Although he probably won’t see a full workload right away, we’d expect Dobbins to be around 85% of his pre-injury explosiveness. In other words, he’s probably worth the cost at his current ADP (in the RB 20-25 range), depending on your roster construction. Medium injury impact: 4/10.

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