With training camp and preseason finally in the books, it’s time to look ahead to week 1 of the regular season. In the third and final part of the preseason injury report, I discuss which players are worth monitoring ahead of week 1 below.
Odell Beckham Jr.
During the 2nd preseason game against the Browns, the fantasy world held its breath as we saw OBJ take a low hit to the outside of his left knee. His knee bent in an awkward fashion as his foot twisted outward. Initially, there was fear of a season-ending injury (possible MCL or high ankle sprain), but OBJ managed to escape with just a low ankle sprain. All in all, this is best-case scenario given that if his cleat got stuck in the ground, OBJ would have likely suffered a high ankle sprain and a fractured fibula, likely ending his season. Reports indicate that Beckham may miss one or two games due to the injury as his status is uncertain for week 1. If you have yet to draft, this may influence you to take Antonio Brown or Julio Jones ahead of Beckham, but he remains worthy of a top 6 draft pick in redraft leagues.
Edelman caught a pass from his buddy, Tom Brady, darted up the field as he always does and then fell immediately to the ground. The dreaded non-contact cutting mechanism of injury that we all know by now was cause for immediate concern. An MRI confirmed what we already knew – Brady’s favorite target out for the year after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee. It’s unclear which pass catcher in New England gets the biggest bump in targets from this injury, but early reports indicate that Chris Hogan may have the biggest uptick in value. Edelman will spend the season rehabbing and should be ready to roll for 2018.
Like Edelman, Meredith also suffered a torn ACL in his left knee but in a much more gruesome way. Two players tackled Meredith at the same time, his leg got caught underneath another player, and it bent awkwardly as he was pulled to the ground. MRI results have indicated there is also damage to the MCL. Kevin White figures to slide into the #1 role for Chicago with Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton also getting an uptick in value. Still, however, the Bears figure to be one of the league’s worst team this year, so take that with a grain of salt. Meredith should be good to go for 2018.
Just minutes after Edelman went down, Ware was also carted off the field. An MRI confirmed a torn PCL and LCL in his right, ending his season. The rehab process for a surgery for a torn PCL is longer than that of an ACL, so there’s no guarantee he’s ready for week 1 of 2018. Kareem Hunt immediately enters the #1 role in the Chiefs’ backfield and figures to see the majority of the touches with Charcandrick West providing a change of pace role. If you have yet to draft, Hunt deserves to go in round 3 or 4 given the heavy utilization both on the ground and in the air in an Andy Reid offense as we’ve seen before with the likes of Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, and Spencer Ware in 2016.
The Ravens offense
Joe Flacco, Breshad Perriman, and Danny Woodhead all returned to practice on Sept. 2, which is great news for the Baltimore offense, which has looked horrible thus far in the preseason. Flacco returns after missing the majority of training camp with an injury to his back, which he injured while weight lifting. Woodhead returns after dealing with a hamstring injury for the past 2 weeks or so. Perriman also returned after dealing with a hamstring strain for the past month. Given that Perriman’s injury was more severe than Woodhead’s, I expect him to experience lingering effects into the first few weeks of the season. Early reports indicate that Perriman is hopeful to be ready for week 1, but stay tuned. Flacco and Woodhead appear to be on track for week 1.
Luck is now virtually a lock to miss at least week 1 of the season, but he was removed from the PUP list on Saturday, Sept. 2. The fact that he was removed from the PUP indicates that the Colts think he should be ready before week 6. This remains a week-to-week situation to monitor and figures to be a headache for those who have drafted Luck. If Luck falls in drafts to round 9 or 10, I’m grabbing him, but if you take this approach, you must grab another viable QB in the later rounds to fill in for week 1 and possibly beyond. One red flag for me, however, is the fact that the Colts made a trade with the Patriots to send Phillip Dorsett to New England in exchange for Jacoby Brissett. Are the Colts just adding depth to the QB position, or do they know something that we don’t?
The Jets’ RB returned to practice on Aug. 22 and made his preseason debut in week 3 after missing almost all of training camp due to a hamstring strain. He figures to split time with Bilal Powell in the New York backfield. While the Jets are going to be one, if not the, worst offense in the league, Forte is worth a late round pick, especially if you are going ‘Zero RB’ in your draft.
Matthews has been limited to individual drills at Bills practice after suffering a chip fracture in his sternum a couple of weeks ago. His status for Week 1 remains unclear, but his status during practice this upcoming week should provide us some clarity.
Marshall injured his shoulder in the same game that his teammate, Odell Beckham injured his ankle. However, Marshall’s injury was much less severe. X-rays were negative, and Marshall only missed a week of practice, returning on Aug. 28. He will be ready for week 1.
The 4th overall pick from this year’s draft was held out of the Jaguars’ third and fourth preseason games due to a foot injury that he suffered a few weeks ago. It is likely the Jags were just being cautious with their new franchise player as he has been increasing his practice reps. If it were a regular season game, I suspect he would have been out there. Expect Fournette to be good to go for week 1.