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Fantasy Football Injury Analysis: Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry (2022)

Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey’s injuries over the last two seasons shouldn’t bring any concerns to drafters this fall.

1st round picks make or break seasons. So, can you trust any of these top RBs? Let’s break it down.

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Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)

CMC has of course missed significant time the last 2 years, but to answer the question of if he’s injury prone we have to look at the injury history and the playing style. The history shows no consistent pattern or anatomic imbalance, and the injuries are not the type that is associated with lingering performance or durability impacts.

With regard to playing style, receptions pose a lower risk of injury per play than carries. So, if Carolina uses McCaffrey for his exceptional receiving talents, that actually puts him in the low-medium risk group for RBs (which is of course the highest risk position).

Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN)

We don’t always hear about every procedure that an athlete undergoes, but there’s a non-zero chance that Dalvin Cook had surgery to repair his shoulder this past year. If that’s the case, re-injury rates aren’t that much higher than the typical RB.

He should be starting the season back at 100%, and even though he’s missed 2-3 games each of the last 3 years, he’s still totaling over 250 carries and around 40 receptions a year.

We wouldn’t call him injury prone, but even the higher durability RBs do average 2 missed games per season. If Cook keeps up this volume, we’re looking at a similar trend here.

Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)

This far removed from last year’s Jones fracture, Derrick Henry should be at 100% and re-injury rates are <10% so pretty low risk there.

The key question with Henry is career volume – he’s up at 1,400 carries now and there is an inevitable decline that happens with age for an RB. But, data doesn’t point strongly to 1,400 carries being that number; it actually suggests that it’s closer to 1,800.

Furthermore, there is some data that indicates there is a group of high volume, high durability RBs that can sustain 300 carry workloads year after year. Until just last year, Derrick Henry certainly fit that mold. So in conclusion, the data doesn’t tell us to be out on Henry this year. Most likely 1 year from now we’ll be revisiting that topic with a different conclusion.

Other players you’re worried about? Hit us up on Twitter @FantasyPros and @SportMDAnalysis so we can break them down too.

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If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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