Unless your league goes to Week 17 (and I hope it doesn’t) then your team is in the off-season, and the fantasy football addiction has subsided (for now).
However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking about football. In fact, this is probably the best time to think back on the season and think about how you could potentially change your strategy for next year. Personally, I’m not going to make as many moves early on in the season, like dropping Alvin Kamara after Week 3 (ouch).
As you reflect on the season and think about next year, it’s also important to think about all of the notable and less-notable players that got injured throughout the weeks. It’s easy to focus on the players that were talked about throughout the year and forget about the ones that got injured early on. A lot of the time, the injured players’ fantasy draft stock can plummet because they haven’t played in a long time, even though they were performing at a high level when they got injured.
Here’s a look at 24 of the biggest injuries that happened this season, so that when fantasy draft day comes again, you can be confident of the players you draft.
1. David Johnson
The first major injury happened back in Week 1. Who can forget David Johnson, one of the best running backs in the league? It’s hard to imagine him not being in the top five running backs next year, but his lost 2017 season was a big disappointment, and many fantasy owners may be hesitant to draft him.
2. Odell Beckham, Jr.
One of the most entertaining players in the NFL was sorely missed the second half of this season. OBJ’s future with the Giants seems risky, but he’ll make a huge impact wherever he plays next year. He’s a hard one to forget, but I’m confident he’ll be back better than ever.
3. Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers’ magic faded this year after he suffered a broken collarbone and came back from it, only to lose to the Panthers and be eliminated from playoff contention. Now he’s back on the injured reserve, a controversial decision that many teams have complained about and claimed he should be released, because of improper IR designation. Whatever the case, Rodgers’ injury showed how important he is to the Packers, and he’ll be back next year with whatever magic he has left.
4. Dalvin Cook
When Dalvin Cook suffered a season-ending ACL tear, many thought the Vikings season was also over. Not true. The Vikings didn’t miss a beat, thanks to Case Keenum, Latavius Murray, Jerick McKinnon, and Adam Thielen stepping up. However, next year Cook will return to a high-powered team, and he should regain lead-back duties. Don’t sleep on Dalvin.
5. Allen Robinson
Remember him? His season ended in Week 1, right when the Jaguars’ stellar season started. In 2018, he’ll be a free agent, and it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up, as the Jacksonville receiving core has stepped up since Robinson’s injury.
6. DeShaun Watson
This one still hurts to write about. After he was off to an outstanding first season, Watson tore his ACL. With Watson on the field, the Texans looked like a force to be reckoned with, but without him, they’re the normal Texans. I’m excited to see him back next year, hopefully picking up right where he left off.
7. Andrew Luck
Time will tell if Luck will actually be ready to play for the 2018 season, but he’s a name that most people will have written off by next year, and could be a nice stash on your team’s bench or IR slot.
8. Julian Edelman
With his season over before it even began, Edelman will most likely be ready for the 2018 season and reassert his role in the Patriots offense. His draft value will likely be low next year, which makes him a sneaky pickup.
9. Chris Thompson
Thompson was having his best season yet when he fractured his fibula against the Saints. The Redskins have been plagued with injuries this year, and Thompson’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for his career. However, his outlook for next year is still promising, as his pass-catching role will be there for him when he returns.
10. Ty Montgomery
Remember him? At the start of the season, Montgomery was looking like a legitimate threat in the Packers backfield. But then, it all fell apart. Montgomery suffered a rib injury and Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. Since then, the emergence of Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones and the lingering rib injury has made Montgomery disappear. He’s an intriguing player for next year, but with Rodgers back Montgomery could reappear with him.
11. Chris Carson
The confuddling Seahawks backfield was finally becoming clear. Chris Carson was the guy to own, and he was balling. But then, 2017 got him, and he broke his ankle. He was originally supposed to be back in December, but had a setback and won’t be back this year. He’s a promising candidate for 2018, as the other Seahawks running backs haven’t shown much in his absence.
12. Brandon Marshall
Even before his injury, Marshall wasn’t doing anything fantasy-wise. It’ll be interesting to see what the Giants do with him next year, or if he becomes a free agent. I can’t imagine the Giants see much value in him after his lack of performance, but maybe he could make a bigger impact on another team.
13. Pierre Garcon
Through the first eight games of the season, Garcon had 40 catches for 500 yards. Then he suffered a neck injury and was placed on IR, ending a promising season. I’m looking forward to seeing the Garcon/Garoppolo connection next year, and he could have great draft value.
14. Carson Palmer
Will he come back next year? With Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians likely not coming back, chances are Palmer might not either. He wrestled with retirement last year, and we’ll see if he wants to return, after breaking his arm earlier this season.
15. Kevin White
Injury-prone White was at it again this year. He broke his collarbone early in the season against the Falcons. Will he ever be able to stay healthy for a full season? Fingers crossed for 2018.
16. Cameron Meredith
Like Edelman, Cameron Meredith also tore his ACL in the preseason, and was the first bad omen that the Bears were in for a rough season. Meredith is one of the only bright spots on the Bears, and his 2018 return could be a big one.
17. Zach Miller
Miller wins the award for most gruesome injury of the year, and it’s still up in the air if he’ll even be able to play football again. However, even if he does, he’s not on a good team, and should only be considered a low-end tight end option.
18. Jordan Reed
Will this man ever play again, either? He is always injured, and can’t seem to get healthy enough to consistently play. He may be a great talent, but he’s not reliable in fantasy.
19. John Ross
The Bengals first round pick, wide receiver John Ross, didn’t pan out this year like everyone hoped. He hardly played at all, and was eventually placed on IR with a shoulder injury that likely needs surgery. He’s an intriguing player for next year, however, and can hopefully play to his potential.
20. Corey Davis
Speaking of wide receivers that didn’t pan out, let’s talk about Corey Davis of the Titans. He was injured early on in the season, came back, but hasn’t done much since. With Marcus Mariota not performing the best, Davis is in a rough spot. He’s a risky player for 2018.
21. Curtis Samuel
Samuel was finally getting in a groove on the Panthers when he injured his ankle and was placed on IR. As a rookie wide receiver, he was thrust into a starting role when Kelvin Benjamin was traded. He’s a promising player for next year, starring alongside Devin Funchess.
22. Quincy Enunwa
Before the season even started for the Jets, Enunwa was out for the season with a neck injury that happened in practice. Thankfully, Robby Anderson emerged and had a stellar season with Josh McCown. Next year, the Enunwa/Anderson duo will be fun to watch, and Enunwa is a legitimate sleeper for 2018.
23. Malcom Mitchell
The fantasy football season is ending, but Mitchell’s season is just beginning. The New England receiver is back at practice, and could be ready for the playoffs. He hasn’t played all year, but figures to be a part of the game plan going forward. Pay attention to how he’s used in the playoffs, and plan accordingly for next year.
24. Joe Williams
The 49ers rookie running back was placed on IR with an ankle injury back in September. However, before his injury he wasn’t making much of an impact, as he was the third string back behind Carlos Hyde and Matt Brieda. Right now, he’s not worth owning, but hopefully he takes this team to improve his game and be ready for 2018.
Injuries are always terrible to see, especially in 2017 where many star athletes suffered season-ending injuries. However, that means that next year, they’ll be back and ready for more. I’m excited to have some of them on my fantasy team, and see how they perform in 2018.
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