Three Players Coming Off Injury Who Will Outperform Their ADP

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Every season, players coming off injury provide an opportunity for value, or an opportunity to let fantasy gamers down. Invest in players coming off an injury, or pass and let your league-mates take the risk? It’s a difficult decision to make, but fortunately for the FootClan, I’ve got you covered. My full injury profiles are available in the Ultimate Draft Kit, and these profiles are updated all August until the season starts.

As a sports physical therapist, I hope to provide accurate injury information so that you can draft with confidence and know which players to avoid. Below are three players coming off injury that I think will outperform their ADP, making them a value in drafts.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

ADP: QB13

Matthew Stafford was on an absolutely torrid pace in 2019 prior to going down with an injury in Week 9. From Weeks 1-9, Stafford was fantasy football’s QB6 and was on pace for 5,000 passing yards. He posted five top-6 finishes at the QB position, two more than Patrick Mahomes and one less than Lamar Jackson. So, why is he going outside of the top 12 QBs in fantasy? The answer most likely is injury. Stafford fractured multiple vertebrae in the middle part of his back in Week 9, and he was shut down for the rest of the season. These injuries tend to heal reliably without surgery so long as there is no displacement of the broken bone, which by all accounts, was not the case for the Lions’ QB. Stafford’s injury is one that is unlikely to recur, making him a safe late-round QB target for us in 2020.

There’s reason to believe Stafford’s 2019 pace was not a fluke. Through the first half of the season, the Lions ranked fourth in yards per game (391.3) and Stafford was on pace for career highs in yards per attempt (9.1), TD rate (6.5%), and yards per completion (13.4). It was his first season with the new offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, who opened up the offense to allow Stafford to reach new heights. In 2019, Stafford led the league in average depth of target (11.4) in Bevell’s vertical passing scheme, perfect for Stafford’s big arm. He’s got an excellent pass-catching core of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, T.J. Hockenson, and two great pass-catching backs in D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

ADP: WR22

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Arguably the most underrated WR in the entire NFL for fantasy football, Tyler Lockett has been rock solid over the last two seasons. In 2018 and 2019, Lockett finished as the WR15 and WR14, respectively. Yet, he’s still going outside of the top 20 WRs in fantasy drafts. Lockett suffered a contusion to his lower leg (shin) in Week 10. This injury can lead to what is called compartment syndrome, where the bruise causes swelling in the lower leg, leading to increased pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the lower leg. If severe enough, this can be an immediate medical concern (more info here), and ironically enough, Lockett ended up going to the hospital to monitor this injury when it happened in November. Even so, Lockett now enters 2020 with a clean bill of health.

Prior to his Week 10 injury, Lockett was fantasy’s WR5. After the injury, he was fantasy’s WR61 thanks in part to a slow return to the field over the course of the next three weeks. Fantasy players can take advantage of a slow end of the season thanks in part to recency bias. Lockett was absolutely fantastic in 2019, and that trend should continue in 2020 given the insane chemistry between Russell Wilson and him. And yes, Lockett can still succeed alongside D.K. Metcalf given his insane efficiency.

I wrote up more details about the 2020 Seattle Seahawks pass catchers in our Target Practice series. You can find it here.

Gerald Everett,TE, Los Angeles Rams

ADP: TE27

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On the recent Ice and Fire episode of the Fantasy Footballers Podcast, Andy discussed the Tyler Higbee vs. Gerald Everett ADP discrepancy. Higbee is going in the early 8th round of drafts, while his teammate Gerald Everett is going undrafted in the vast majority of drafts. Gerald Everett was the Rams’ starting TE for the first half of the season, prior to missing time with injury. Throughout the second half of the season, Everett spent time on the injury report for wrist, knee, and ankle injuries, but he’ll enter Week 1 healthy.

Prior to Higbee’s Week 13 breakout, he had played in 58 career games, clearing 50 yards just twice. Meanwhile, through the first nine games of 2019, Everett was quietly on a 61 reception pace, which would have absolutely smashed his previous career-high of 33 receptions. In those games, Everett ran more routes, played more snaps, and received more targets than Tyler Higbee. One of the biggest debates of the offseason has been whether or not Tyler Higbee is worth of his 8th round ADP. If you’re playing in a best ball league or in a start two tight end league, Gerald Everett is a screaming value and is likely to crush his TE27 ADP, especially if the Rams continue to run more two-TE sets.

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