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Injury Q and A
Q: What are the chances that Odell Beckham Jr. plays on Monday night?
A: Things are looking up for OBJ. He returned to practice on Thursday for the
first time since suffering a high ankle sprain four weeks ago. He has improved from a High Injury Risk to an Elevated Injury Risk, and he is about to his his Optimal Recovery Time. The Giants may still be careful with their star receiver, though, and may only have him out there in certain situations. Throwing him out there on every play is aggressive and puts him at a greater risk of re-injury. High ankle sprains are very tricky, and they need to make sure he is healthy for the rest of the season, not just for one game.
Q: Is there any reason to worry about Golden Tate?
A: At this point Tate’s finger isn’t much of a concern, but he is an Elevated Injury Risk. Tate caught 10 of his 12 targets for 107 yards in week 1 and didn’t appear to be bothered by the injury to his left ring finger. He was seen wearing a splint following the game. Be on the lookout for drops, but at this point there is no reason to keep Tate out of fantasy lineups.
Q: When can we expect to see Andrew Luck back on the practice field?
A: At this point it is hard to predict what is going on with Luck because the Colts have been so secretive about his recovery and where exactly he is in the process. If he does return to practice next week then a Week 5 return is a possibility.
Q: Should David Johnson’s fantasy owners hold onto him?
A: Only if you have an IR spot. Johnson is expected to miss 8-12 weeks following surgery, which we assume is to repair ligament damage to the wrist (although the team has not provided an exact diagnosis). If all goes well, Johnson could be back in the lineup in December. Yes, he is arguably the best running back in the league, but it’s hard to justify a spot on the bench for him when he would only be active in time for fantasy football playoffs. If you find yourself needing to pick someone else up, then let Johnson go. You can’t win your league championship if you don’t make it to the playoffs, and Johnson won’t help you get there.
Plug and Play: Javorius Allen RB
Buck Allen surprisingly played 33 of 66 snaps against the Bengals in Week 1, posting 21 carries for 71 yards. Allen’s share of the snaps and touches was a surprise, but it was largely due to Danny Woodhead’s hamstring injury, which caused him to hit IR. Woodhead is expected to return Week 11, but, given his injury history, it’s hard to know how much can be expected out of him later this season. Either way, Allen should be a solid option at least while Woodhead remains out. His skill set doesn’t necessarily mirror that of Woodhead’s, but he should get his snaps moving forward. Terrance West will be the primary back in Baltimore, but look for this to be pretty close to a timeshare (Allen out snapped and out carried West Week 1), with Allen getting more chances in the passing game. Also, West had hard times holding onto his job in his previous stops in the NFL, so don’t be shocked if Allen challenges him for even more touches. As it stands right now, Allen can be a solid plug and play flex option in most formats.
Drop: Danny Woodhead RB
It’s incredibly depressing when a player like Woodhead struggles so mightily with injuries every season. He’s so likable and has carved out such a solid niche and skill set in the NFL, but he simply can’t stay on the field. He suffered a grade 3 strain of his hamstring on Sunday, an injury severe enough to send him to IR. He is expected to return Week 11 when he is eligible to be activated off of IR, but it’s hard to count on Woodhead so far down the line, especially when he’s just as likely to get hurt when he comes back. He’s a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries, and at this point he’s a bad bet to finish the season healthy. Also, given his solid but somewhat limited role in the Ravens’ offense, it doesn’t make sense to use up a roster spot on him for 9 weeks while you wait for him to come back. It’s definitely sad, but Woodhead is a drop at this point in most formats.
Start or Sit?
Thomas Rawls, RB SEA – Start
Thomas Rawls should be in line to start for the Seahawks in Week 2, and it couldn’t come at a better time. The Seahawks had a miserable rushing attack in Week 1, getting only 3.1 yards per carry if you take out Russell Wilson’s 2 runs (1.3 yards per carry if you take out Chris Carson’s 30 yard run as well). Rawls had a middling season last year splitting time with C.J. Prosise and Christine Michael but had a great postseason, so hopefully for him he can continue that success. He has just hit the Optimal Recovery Time for his high ankle sprain and moved from High Risk to Elevated. Because of his history of injuries, Rawls will likely remain an Elevated Injury Risk for most of the season, but he can still be productive when he is on the field.
Jordan Howard, RB CHI – Cautious Start
Jordan Howard was a late addition to the Bears injury report after dealing with a minor shoulder injury against the Falcons in Week 1. He played well in the game, getting 56 yards on 13 carries, and set a good tone for the season. The fact that this was such a late injury seems to hint that it is not that serious, so we would feel comfortable playing Howard if we had to choose right now whether to put him in the lineup. But keep an eye on him, and he may be a game time decision.