Don’t Forget These Guys: Early 2016 Injuries

2022 Ultimate Draft Kit
We do the work. You dominate your draft.
Get the Draft Kit

Injuries are one of the toughest things to deal with during the fantasy football season and assessing a player’s value coming back from injury is far from an exact science. You can get some great value taking a risk on a player coming off of an injury like Jimmy Graham, who finished fourth among TEs in 2016 after suffering a devastating ruptured patella. Pick a guy like Jamaal Charles and you can end up taking up one of your valuable roster spots week after week with the promise of a return that never comes. A player often fades from memory when they exit the season early, which means value for you in drafts.

These are guys that left the 2016 season early due to injuries, but don’t forget them on draft day.

Ameer Abdullah

Age: 23
Injury Details: Suffered torn ligament in foot during Week 2. Full recovery expected by OTAs

One of the more dramatic moments during the series ‘All or Nothing’ that chronicled the Arizona Cardinal’s 2015 season involved Abdullah. In episode 1, Arizona was on the phone with “Abdullah Express” on draft day until Detroit called and drafted him right before Arizona. David Johnson was a very nice consolation prize, but the disappointment not getting Abdullah was palpable. Yeah, he has that kind of talent.

Abdullah looked poised for a breakout year in 2016 with the increased touches expected from the release of plodder Joique Bell. Things were looking up Week 1 after Abdullah had over 100 yards from scrimmage that included 5 receptions and a TD, but a torn ligament suffered in Week 2 sidelined him for the rest of 2016. Abdullah was close to returning to the lineup towards the last few weeks of the season so there’s no reason to expect anything shy of a full recovery for 2017.

Abdullah has never had more than 16 carries or 20 touches in his injury-plagued two years in Detroit but he is by far the best all-around RB on the roster. If you can get him around his current ADP in the 8th round of fantasyfootballcalculator.com (FFC), drafts-do it. He has top-5 RB talent and opportunity.

Jamaal Charles

Age: 30
Injury Details: Torn ACL in 2015 followed by surgery to correct both menisci in November this year.  Expected to be back for OTAs.

It’s hard to forget about Jamaal Charles, but he’s only appeared in 8 games over the past two seasons. It was a worse case scenario coming off an ACL tear in 2015. Charles kept fantasy owners hanging with an expected return that kept getting pushed deeper and deeper into the season. He finished the year with only 12 carries after being placed on the IR in December.

2022 Ultimate Draft Kit
We do the work. You dominate your draft.
Get the Draft Kit

Charles is one of the most talented RBs in the league, but his knees are a serious concern. His value is impossible to assess without knowing what Kansas City plans on doing with the backfield. They can save $7 million by releasing Charles. On the other hand, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West didn’t exactly light the world on fire last year. Kansas City may give Charles a look in the early offseason and try to restructure a deal if Charles looks good.

If he stays in Kansas City and his current late-4th-round ADP on FFC holds, he could be a great value. It will be a major red flag if Kansas City moves on from him. He would then be a 30-year-old RB with questionable knees on a new team after being released under good terms from a team with a need at RB.

Eddie Lacy

Age: 26
Injury Details: Injured ankle in Week 5. Surgery to repair ankle in October. Full recovery expected by OTAs.

Lacy finished up his first two years with 24 total TDs and over 1,400 scrimmage yards each season. Issues with conditioning and nagging injuries have derailed his career the past couple of seasons. Lacy saw action in five games early in 2016 and averaged 5.1 ypc on 71 carries, but the ankle injury eventually landed him on the IR.

Lacy is set to be a free agent in March, but it might behoove Lacy and Green Bay to work out some sort of ‘prove-it’ deal with no commitments beyond the 2017 season. Lacy is a talented RB on a high-powered offense. He’s never averaged less than 4.1 ypc in his four years with the team even during his “fat” year. Stay tuned to see how the RB situation shakes out in Green Bay, but I’m taking a chance on Lacy in the fourth round if he’s back with the team for 2017.

Eric Decker

Age: 29
Injury Details: Surgery in October to correct an undisclosed hip injury. Second surgery in November on partially torn rotator cuff suffered in Week 3. Projected to be ready for the regular season.

Decker had four consecutive seasons with 74 or more catches rolling into the 2016 season. He benefited from having Peyton Manning throwing him the ball in 2012 and 2013, but still managed 962 yards and 5 TDs in 2014 with Geno Smith who threw for less than 2,500 yards and only managed 13 passing TDs. Decker had a nice 2015 season with 12 TDs and eclipsed 1,000 yards but a partially torn rotator cuff and issues to his hip meant an early exit to the 2016 season.

Brandon Marshall still has one year on his contract but there’s a good chance the Jets waive him to save $7.5 million against the cap. I hate using the “it can’t get any worse” argument, but the Jets offense was horrible. There are big risks with a player coming back from two surgeries and the New York Jets may decide to release him, but Decker could become a nice fantasy contributor if he can get on the field anywhere near 100%. I wouldn’t go crazy drafting him, but you can’t go wrong getting him as a fourth or fifth WR at his current 8th-round ADP on FFC.

2022 Ultimate Draft Kit
We do the work. You dominate your draft.
Get the Draft Kit
Josh Doctson

Age: 24
Injury Details: Suffered Achilles’ injury before OTAs in 2016. Still not cleared to run unrestricted. No timetable for return.

Doctson suffered some sort of Achilles’ injury very early in the Washington offseason program in 2016. He looked “a few weeks away” from returning through OTAs, preseason, and the regular season until Washington finally caved and put him on IR in October.

Washington could lose DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to free agency, which should pave the way for Doctson. The trouble is this Achilles’ injury that won’t go away with no certain timetable for return. Doctson’s 14th-round ADP makes him a perfect sleeper candidate in redraft leagues. If you’re in a dynasty or keeper league, this may be the time to target him.

Other Notable Early-Season Injuries:
Adrian Peterson

Age: 31
Injury Details: Surgery to repair torn meniscus conducted in September. AP was already running back in November. Full recovery expected by OTAs.

C.J. Anderson

Age: 25
Injury Details: Surgery to repair a torn meniscus conducted in October. Expected to be cleared by OTAs.

Keenan Allen

Age: 25
Injury Details: Surgery to repair a torn ACL conducted in September. On pace to be back for OTAs.

Comments are closed.