The All-Injured Fantasy Football Team for 2018
Every season, we see players go down with big-time injuries, which can really ruin your fantasy football season. If you avoid these players in the following year, you could be burned by missing out on some big-time value and production. In my latest with The Fantasy Footballers, I highlight my favorite players returning from an injury from last year. The players listed in each round are in accordance with Fantasy Football Calculator’s 12-team half PPR average draft position.
Round 1 – David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
You absolutely cannot go wrong with David Johnson as your first pick in your fantasy football draft this season. I highlighted Johnson in my article from earlier this month, looking at three players returning from injury and whether or not you can trust them in your lineup. Have no fear, David Johnson can definitely be trusted coming back from his wrist surgery from last year. He is 100% and looking like his old self in preseason action. Draft him with confidence.
Round 2 – Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook exploded onto the scene in 2017 during his rookie year but saw his season come to an end in Week 4 when he tore the ACL in his left knee. As a physical therapist, I see a lot of people coming off an ACL surgery. I won’t say this lightly. He looks as good as I’ve seen for a player coming off this injury. He looks explosive, confident, quick, and powerful when moving on his left leg. I have no reservations about Cook from an injury perspective, and he gets to play in one of the best offenses in football. If you go wide receiver in round one of your draft, Cook is a phenomenal running back to get in round number two to balance out your roster.
Round 3 – Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
A small caveat here – I personally don’t like to draft quarterbacks early, but if you’re going to take a quarterback early, you can’t go wrong with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers missed most of 2017 with a fractured collarbone in his right shoulder, as he played in just five games. If you’re worried about Rodgers coming back from this injury, don’t be. He fractured his collarbone back in 2013, and all he did was come back in 2014 to win the NFL MVP award.
Round 4 – Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots
With Edelman out for the first four weeks and subpar level talent behind him on the depth chart, I love Chris Hogan as Tom Brady‘s top receiver in 2018. He only played in 8 games in 2017 prior to going down with a shoulder injury. Fortunately for Hogan, he avoided any surgery on his shoulder, which was likely an AC joint sprain. He is back in full force for the start of the season and will likely pick right back up where he left off in 2017. During Weeks 1-8 of the season, Hogan was the WR8 overall in half PPR formats. The upside is there, and getting one of Tom Brady’s top targets in the 4th round of your draft is a great value.
Round 5 – Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
Robinson was hoping for a bounce-back campaign in 2017 after a down year in 2016, but his season ended as soon as it began during Week 1 when he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars. “A-Rob” tore the ACL in his left knee, ending his season. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Robinson be a force for fantasy owners, but I like him in the fourth round of drafts this season. His rehab has gone well all offseason, and he avoided the PUP to start training camp, which is always a good sign. Additionally, given that his injury will have occurred almost 12 months to the day that he returns to the field, his risk of re-injury upon returning to the field is lower compared to a guy like Carson Wentz, who is attempting to come back just before 9 months from the date of his injury. The longer out from surgery, the more that the ligament heals into the bone with a stronger tensile force (without sounding too nerdy and getting too deep into it, this is a good thing!). I like Robinson to bounce back in 2018, with an exciting up and coming offense in Chicago.
Round 6 – Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers
Ironman Greg Olsen has been one of the most durable players in the NFL over the course of his career. In fact, he’s been so durable throughout his career that he’s only missed two games in total, not including last season. Those two games came during his rookie season. Truly remarkable. He went down during Week 4 with a Jones fracture in his left foot. As we saw during his return to the field later in the season, he was hampered by this injury and clearly limited, which is not uncommon. The bone is continuing to remodel and get stronger well after the athlete returns to the field and the rotational forces on the outside of the foot can cause setbacks. However, Olsen has now had nearly a full year for recovery, reducing his chance for the setback. One thing to look out for is the fact that this injury requires a second surgery about 20% of the time. Olsen carries a small degree of risk, but for what you’re getting in Cam Newton‘s top receiving option, I feel he’s worth it given the barfiness (I made up a word!) across the tight end landscape.
Round 7 – Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
Sanders is a guy who I love as a bounce-back candidate for 2018, and no one is talking about him! He spent most of last year banged with a variety of ankle sprains, largely due to the fact that he tried to play through his injury and return to the field as quickly as possible. High-grade ankle sprains are very likely to linger if an athlete continues to play on a sore ankle, as we saw last season with Sanders last year. This year, he’s back and looking good so far in training camp, and he’s got a new quarterback at the helm in Case Keenum. Expect a bounce-back year for Sanders, with WR2 upside in a bounce-back year for the Broncos
The Fantasy Football All-Injured Team for 2018:
QB: Aaron Rodgers
RB: David Johnson
RB: Dalvin Cook
WR: Chris Hogan
WR: Allen Robinson
TE: Greg Olsen
Flex: Emmanuel Sanders