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Fantasy Football Week 1 Injury Analysis & Start/Sit Advice (2022)

J.K. Dobbins

It would be a surprise to see J.K. Dobbins play in any meaningful quantity until Week 3.

TONS of injury news for Week 1. I’m Dr. Deepak Chona, founder of SportsMedAnalytics, and we’re pumped to team up with FantasyPros to bring you the best injury analysis in the NFL all season long. If you’ve got more questions, hit us up on Twitter @FantasyPros and @SportMDAnalysis, and we’ll be happy to address them too. Now let’s dive in.

J.K. Dobbins (RB – BAL)

Dobbins is officially questionable but still limited in practice. It would be surprising to see him play in any meaningful quantity prior to Week 3. By midseason, the SportsMedAnalytics (SMA) database projects him re-gaining 85% of his peak form, but if we see him play in September, expect limited snap counts and explosiveness.

Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)

Yes, he hit the injury report already, but it’s reportedly just a minor cut to his shin. Expect a full workload and performance.

Allen Lazard (WR – GB)

Lazard is doubtful with an ankle injury and almost certainly a no-go after missing three practices in a row. They haven’t told us if this is of the high ankle or low ankle variety. High ankle usually means two to four weeks for a WR, and a low ankle usually is closer to one to two.

Chris Godwin (WR – TB)

He’s saying it’s a game-time decision, but despite being listed as a “full participant” in practice, he hasn’t taken contact hits yet. Hard to imagine him playing as a result.

Even if Godwin suits up, data strongly suggests that sitting him in fantasy is the move for now. SMA projects him to hit 85% of his full recovery in mid-October, with 90% coming in mid-November. That probably means limited snap counts starting in the Week 4 to 6 range and non-start-worthy production as he ramps up over that time.

Michael Thomas (WR – NO)

Officially questionable, but he has been practicing in a limited capacity all week. Pre-season hamstring strains for WRs tend to cause minor drops in production (~10%) in the short-term and also carry a ~20% recurrence risk at some point in the season.

Still, MT should be close to full strength, as we expect last year’s ankle issue to be back to normal. 90% of prior form is still a potential stud WR, so for Week 1, we’d feel reasonably good about putting him into lineups. Watch the Sunday reports carefully, though – this could have some last-second changes pre-game.

George Kittle (TE – SF)

He’s played without practicing before, but this injury just hit on Monday, and if reports of a grade-2 groin strain are accurate, we’re usually looking at three weeks out. Plan on using your backup for now. After this heals, he’ll carry a ~25% recurrence rate in the short term, but if he stays healthy, his performance should bounce right back to normal.

Drake London (WR – ATL)

Not a lot of diagnostic information released on this one, but his practice trends are headed in the right direction, and Falcons statements are optimistic that London is playing Week 1. I’d plan to start him but have a backup on hand in case of a surprise on the pre-game inactive report.

James Robinson (RB – JAX)

Looks like a full go 8 months off the Achilles injury, but historical data is strongly stacked against him. SMA projects 80% of pre-injury explosiveness at this point, so this is probably Travis Etienne‘s workload to lose. By midseason, Robinson is probably worthy of flex consideration, but at this point, it would be risky to bank on much production in Week 1.

Rondale Moore (WR – ARI)

Hit with a reportedly serious hamstring strain late this week, Moore is unfortunately probably looking at an extended absence. Typical return (if “serious” is an accurate descriptor) is four to six weeks, with recurrence rates hovering around 20% once he does come back. Not a bad idea to scoop up shares of Marquise Brown and A.J. Green.

Kenneth Walker III (RB – SEA)

Very likely to miss Week 1, but positive development that he’s out there running and looking good. A typical return takes six weeks, which would put him at Week 3. There’s a minimal performance dip or recurrence risk after that point, so look for him to become a valuable member of your team shortly. It may also be worth buying low if your league-mates aren’t as sharp as you.

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