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Fantasy Football Draft Prep & Advice: Injuries to Know (2022)

JK Dobbins

JK Dobbins injury status is looking more and more concerning as Week 1 approaches.

Tons of injury news so no time to waste. Let’s dive in.

JK Dobbins (RB – BAL)

SportsMedAnalytics (SMA) projects him to beat the average recovery timeline, and you’ll probably start to see him on the field in the Week 3-5 range.

Based on the current reporting, he hasn’t been practicing fully and playing Week 1 doesn’t look likely. Our data projects him at 85% of his prior form by the mid-point of the season. If we see him out there in the first 6 weeks it’s likely on limited touches and less than peak explosiveness.

Cam Akers (RB – LAR)

There’s a very high chance that he’s going to be fine by Week 1. SMA projects him to start off the season at 90% of pre-injury levels, and he’s expected to see solid volume in an effective offense. I’ve been out on him only because that value at a round 3 or 4 price tag is higher risk than most of the other players available there.

James Robinson (RB – JAX)

SMA data projects him at 80% of his pre-injury baseline if he does play Week 1, which looks like the most probable outcome. For reference, the same data projected Cam Akers at 75% when he came back at the end of last season, so there’s definitely a noticeable difference expected. (Akers went from 4.3 ypc pre-injury to 2.6 in his return.)

As the season goes on, Robinson should pick up strength, hitting 90% around the halfway or two-thirds point of the season, but with Travis Etienne looking healthy and explosive off of his injury, it’s hard to imagine the Jags forcing the ball to Robinson early this year.

You are able to get him all the way down around pick 100, so I think he’s worth that cost, but I definitely would not be banking on him to start in my lineup early on.

Kenneth Walker III (RB – SEA)

Walker is now about 3 weeks out from surgery on what they’re vaguely calling a hernia-like condition. Return usually takes 6 weeks, so that puts him at about Week 3. The good news is that players do tend to bounce right back to pre-injury form after surgery, so if you liked him before you’re probably still safe to do so now.

Drake London (WR -ATL)

He’s been out for 2 weeks, and sounds like he’s dealing with a mild severity knee contusion. Most of those would heal up without issue within 4 weeks, which is his time frame from injury to Week 1. It’s fortunately not the type of issue that we’d expect to pop back up mid-season, so overall relatively good news here.

Jaylen Waddle (WR – MIA)

We can deduce a couple of things about Waddle’s injury despite the lack of information the Dolphins have given us. He’s had a wrap on his leg and now missed about 3 weeks of practice, so that points to a moderate severity soft-tissue type of injury like a hamstring strain. Coach Mike McDaniel said they’re being highly cautious, which suggests that we probably don’t have to worry about him missing Week 1. Based on limited info here we would estimate probably a 25% chance this pops back up in-season. Still, the good news is that Waddle played in 16 games last year so we should feel pretty good about his ability to play through minor issues.

Michael Thomas (WR – NO)

They tried nonoperative treatment and it failed, but because of the timing it cost him all of last year. Still, the fact that they tried nonoperative treatment at all suggests the injury severity wasn’t drastic to begin with (or else they would’ve gone straight to surgery).

Normal recovery takes 4-6 months and he’s now had over a full year, so there’s a high likelihood that he’s fully recovered from that issue. The more recent injury is a reportedly minor hamstring strain, and he’s now missed 2 weeks.

Given 3 weeks between injury and Week 1, he’s probably going to be full speed for the opener. There is about a 20% recurrence rate here, but at ADP in Round 5-6, I’m all in on MT.

Chris Godwin (WR – TB)

Coming off of January ACL surgery, Godwin looks to be progressing well but hasn’t been cleared for full contact practice yet. Week 1 could go either way, but I’d lean towards not seeing Godwin on the field. More likely we’re seeing him out there in October.

The key with the ACL is that there tends to be a performance dip the first year back for WRs. Godwin – a productive, young receiver with 80th percentile athletic metrics – projects to hit 85% of peak explosiveness in mid-October and 90% in November. If we see him play before that, anticipate a limited snap count and a player who’s not 100% of himself.

Jameson Williams (WR – DET)

Williams is officially on the Non-Football Injury List, so he’ll miss at least the first four weeks. But importantly that’s not really a setback here.

With a January ACL tear, you’re usually looking at about 10 months for the return. With Williams you can factor in his young age and mega-elite athleticism, so SMA projects his return a bit closer to 9 months, meaning October.

But, the ACL performance dip we talked about with Godwin does still apply, and our algorithm therefore projects him at under 90% until mid-November. Basically, I wouldn’t plan on Jameson Williams being in my lineup prior to that, so I’ve been avoiding him in redraft. But for dynasty, given that he’s likely to hit near 100% by the end of this year, and almost certainly by the start of next year, there’s potential value in a guy who was pre-injury drawing comparisons to the likes of Tyreek Hill.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR)

We think the reason OBJ hasn’t been signed is because he’s likely to miss all of this year. Repeat ACL tears average 3 months longer recovery than first time ones, and Odell took 11 months to come back from his first. A third tear could damage his knee to the point where he’d have permanent performance drop-offs as a WR, so you would expect him to be highly conservative here.

Again, I don’t expect him to play this year, but I do think he’ll be close to what he previously was at the start of 2023.

Michael Gallup (WR – DAL)

Gallup is off the PUP list, but his recovery clock started in February, so it’d be pretty aggressive to expect him back at close to full strength in September. Our data on Gallup – who’s a 26 year old with about 50th percentile athletic metrics – doesn’t have him hitting 85% speed until late November, so he should be pretty good in the last third of the season. The Cowboys are thin at WR – especially with James Washington going down – so you’ll probably see Gallup around Week 4. Still, he’ll probably be on a limited snap count and less than full explosiveness. I do like the talent and the fit, but just the injury timing makes him dicey for this season.

Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR)

Stafford is now on a load management program for his elbow, but it’s important to note that they’re not calling any of this an actual setback.

Additionally, he was playing through the same issue last post-season, at a time when it was probably more symptomatic than it is now. During those games Stafford was putting up 40 attempts and 300 yards per game. Those results make us believe they’ll probably be able to get him through this season without missing time. There is some mildly elevated risk here, but it’s not enough for me to downgrade the Rams WRs.

Gus Edwards (RB – BAL)

The ACL for Gus Edwards has him likely missing the first month of the season. But, he also doesn’t fit the profile of a guy who is likely to beat the trend of an ACL causing a 1-year decline in RB performance.

At age 27, he’s already a bit up there for a RB, and his athletic metrics put him around 60th percentile. As a result, this is a player who I’m avoiding in fantasy because even when he does come back this year, he’s probably going to have lost a step. He projects to gain that back by next year, but not in time to make an impact on 2022 lineups.

Zach Wilson (QB – NYJ)

The 2nd year QB tore his meniscus and had surgery now about 2 weeks ago. The average return here takes 4 weeks, and pocket QBs don’t tend to see their production impacted much by the injury.

The Jets have said he’ll only play if he practices before Week 1, and with a young potential franchise QB, the Jets obviously aren’t going to take any chances. This one is a toss-up, but data suggests Wilson will be out there Week 1.

Najee Harris (RB – PIT)

Sounds like he’s dealing with a grade 2 Lisfranc sprain that he picked up about 4 weeks ago. Week 1 will be 6 weeks out from injury, at which point we’d expect him to be playing without restrictions.

In-season durability concerns are also low with this injury, but performance usually takes 8 weeks to get all the way back to 100%. That would mean about Week 3 for Najee.

If you liked him before the injury, this isn’t a huge cause for concern, but I was already passing given the concerns about the rest of the Steelers offense.

Thanks for making it to the end. Did we miss anyone? Hit us up on Twitter @FantasyPros and @SportMDAnalysis with your questions. We’ll be here all season.

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