Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Michael Thomas, Diontae Johnson, Cam Akers, Rashaad Penny (2022)
It’s never too early to check in on player injury statuses ahead of the 2022 season, and our news desk has you covered. Let’s take a look at the latest injury news and notes around the NFL.
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Saints head coach Dennis Allen says he expects wide receiver Michael Thomas to be ready for Week 1 according to ESPN’s Katherine Terrell. (Source: Katherine Terrell on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Allen reportedly said, “When the ball kicks off for real, Mike Thomas is going to be ready to go, and we’re excited about that.” Fantasy managers should be excited about that too. Thomas has missed most of the past two seasons, including all of 2021, with an ankle injury. Thomas caught 40 balls for 438 yards but no touchdowns in limited time, mostly late after fantasy relevance, in 2020. He underwent ankle surgery in July 2021 causing him to end up missing all of that season. This season Thomas will be three years removed from his 2019 season where he lead the NFL in receptions (149-NFL record) and yards (1.725) and hauled in nine touchdowns on his way to being named Offensive Player of the year. Thomas, with his 66 ADP (6th round) can offer high ceiling value if he can come close to his fantasy potential. Thomas may be the recipient of more deep balls with Jameis Winston slinging passes this season rather than Drew Brees who famously went years between 40-air yard passes. The 29-year-old appears to be all systems go for the regular season and has the fantasy production history to warrant the gamble as fantasy managers’ WR2, maybe even WR1 depending on how you draft around him. Fantasy football is a crap shoot when it comes to injuries and if the likes of Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, with their more varied and/or severe injury histories, are going in the first round, Thomas is definitely worth the risk in relatively later rounds.
Diontae Johnson returned to practice on Tuesday after missing the Steelers first preseason game with a hip flexor injury according to ESPN NFL Nation’s Brooke Pryor. (Source: Brooke Pryor on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Johnson would have likely not played in the preseason opener against the Seahawks last Saturday but the hip flexor issue made sure he didn’t. Johnson reportedly said Tuesday he’s “back healthy” and added he’s “back running around feeling like [himself and] making plays like the usual” so he appears no worse for the wear. Johnson may even play “a little bit” in Saturday’s preseason game in Jacksonville. Johnson hasn’t practiced much this training camp after his weeklong “hold-in” at the start of camp that ultimately culminated in a two-year contract extension worth $18.355 million. Then, once he signed the extension and returned to practice, it wasn’t long before the hip flexor injury cost him more days. Johnson appears to be healthy and satisfied with his contract so expect another stellar season from Johnson as he begins another season as the Steelers’ WR1.
Cam Akers is dealing with a soft-tissue injury, but it is not considered to be serious. (Source: Jeremy Fowler on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Akers has been nursing this soft-tissue injury over the past few days, but fortunately for the team, it’s not considered serious and he should be good to go for Week 1. He will be held out of some preseason practices and games, but those are precautionary measures and he should be good to go.
Rashaad Penny (groin) has returned to practice. (Source: Bob Condotta on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Penny has been dealing with a groin injury that has left him sidelined for a little while, but it appears it is finally getting better and he has returned to practice. The injury shouldn’t be worrisome for fantasy managers, unless he reaggravates it, which could indicate it being a lingering issue. For fantasy purposes, every day that he practices and Ken Walker (hernia) doesn’t is more assurance for Penny’s role this year.
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