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Pre-season Injury Round-Up

Which injured players are safe to draft?

Yee -haw partners! Park your horse, order a drink at the saloon, and loosen your spurs for a pre-season injury round-up article. A few things before we get started:

  1. This is by no means a prediction of injuries. This is an educated injury analysis from afar based on the information the team allows for us to have.
  2. I genuinely want to be wrong about any player I deem as “risky”. You’ll never see me take victory laps when a player I consider risky gets hurt. The fact of the matter is that fantasy football is a game, and injuries are a part of it.
  3. I’m conservative by nature, but usually try to give an average estimate of what I expect from players.
  4. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for more injury analysis @FFStudentDoc and also make sure to give @timeskewpod a follow and download their podcast for expert analysis and player projections!

Kenyan Drake

The hardest things about injury analysis is getting the correct and most up to date information. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is what we have with Drake as of today.

All we know comes from Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. He reports that Drake was in a walking boot at practice on August 14th and Drake is expected to miss the rest of the pre-season. Additionally, the report says that “it’s not structural in nature” meaning there were no significant findings on x-rays such as fractures or ligament strains, which should raise eyebrows considering that, boots are used for fractures (among other things).

It’s also notable that the gruesome fracture/dislocation Drake suffered in college was on the left foot, not the one currently in a walking boot. The point is that even though it doesn’t sound structural, the Miami medical staff sure is treating it like it is. Keep your eye on this one and if you take him (which shouldn’t be until later in the draft anyway), make sure to grab Ballage as well.

Derrick Henry

Henry was sidelined on July 28th according to and did not return to practice until Monday of this week. He was reportedly injured during individual drills, hurting his calf. Again, without video or more context an analyst can only assume that it is a product of his body still adjusting to the workloads early in the season.

The only other consideration is that Henry is six feet tall and 240 lbs. That’s a lot of man for his calves to carry. The calves are responsible for the gas pedal motion of the ankle and pushing off the ground to walk or run.

In terms of Henry’s durability and draft position, I wouldn’t worry too much about taking him in the middle rounds. He had one other calf strain in 2016 that sidelined him for a game, so it’s worth monitoring, but I don’t foresee this specific injury holding him out of week 1. Long term, Dion Lewis might be worth a handcuff, especially as the season wears on. If you secure a playoff spot in the final quarter of the season, this is a strategy I would deploy.

A.J. Green

As a standalone variable, I’m not a fan of the “he’s old” takes, however, it matters for some players. An example of when age matters is when a player shows a consistent history of similar and related injuries, such as Green.

Although not every injury is related, he has a history of consistent battles with turf toe and soft tissue strains. Now he must face being a 31-year-old burner with some serious mileage and a newly reconstructed ankle that could limit his mobility. Normally, a receiver like Green could step into the slot and add a few seasons to his career. Unfortunately, that requires the footwork and lateral mobility (side to side movement) that he just may not have after this procedure.

Given all this information, I would only take Green as a bench/fill in guy and not as the perennial starter we’re accustomed to seeing. This isn’t because he doesn’t have a few big games left in him, but because I unfortunately think that he’s on the back end of his career in terms of physical capacity.

KeKe Coutee

I promise after Keke things will sound less bleak. Unfortunately, Keke suffered an injury to his ankle in a pre-season game after looking great. It’s always a shame to see a player go down after just coming back from an injury (Coutee missed the last five games of the regular season last year with a hamstring injury).

From an injury perspective, I view Coutee in a similar manner as A.J. Green. You know that when he’s on the field he produces, but the problem is determining when he will take the field and come out healthy. Coutee has shown a consistent history of similar injuries since college. Although I don’t like to use the broad term “soft tissue injuries” Coutee seems to fall under the list of players who truly do suffer from said injuries.

All in all, I don’t trust that Coutee will be able to stay healthy for much of the season (I hope he proves me wrong). Coutee is best viewed as a daily player and as a season long bench WR with occasional boom potential.

Keenan Allen

Finally, some positive news! Allen apparently rolled his ankle while in practice some time last week and got shut down for the remainder of the pre-season. Unless something unforeseeable happens, I’m happily taking Allen in the second or third round. He’s been my fantasy man-crush for quite some time now.

Well, since we have some time, I would just like to say that Keenan Allen IS NOT “injury prone” folks! In three years he suffered a fractured collar bone, a torn ACL, and a lacerated freaking kidney. That, my friends, is not injury prone, that is pure and brutal bad luck. Draft Allen with no hesitation in terms of above average injury risk.

Which injured players are safe to draft?

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