Editor’s Note: Injuries are a huge part of winning and losing each year in fantasy leagues. Staying abreast of the injury situations is key as knowing what to expect from your players health-wise in the short term can help you make educated decisions in managing your team. Lucky for us, we have a Doctor in the house. Dr. Scott Peak is an ABPN board certified neurologist and neuro-oncologist. He is also a dynasty football addict and a Senior Writer for Dynasty League Football. He’s excited to lend his expertise in medicine with hopes he may help the DLF Team and its followers better understand medical conditions and injuries that may impact NFL players and dynasty football owners.
If you have a question for The Dynasty Doctor, just click here. Please remember The Dynasty Doctor is geared towards questions regarding medical science, injuries to players and their collective impact in fantasy football. Stay tuned each week as we’ll post his thoughts each and every Tuesday.
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Le’Veon Bell, RB PIT
It’s been a tough year for running backs, and another elite RB has gone down with a significant injury. Bell was tackled with a lateral blow to his right knee, in a mechanism that is typical for an MCL injury, if not an ACL. The good news is he did not suffer an ACL tear, but he does have a complete MCL tear that will end his season. This is tough news for fantasy players, but it shouldn’t adversely impact his overall value in dynasty formats. I am optimistic Bell should be ready for the 2016 season, and if you can acquire him from nervous owners in dynasty formats, I would make that move. DeAngelo Williams is ready to step up for Bell, and had nine rushes for 71 yards (7.9 YPC) and four receptions for 39 yards in the remainder of Sunday’s game.
Matt Forte, RB CHI
Forte was unable to return with a sprained MCL. He may miss a few games, and that could be two weeks or four-six depending on the extent of the injury and effectiveness of rehabilitation. Jeremy Langford got all the touches after Forte left at RB, rushing 12 times for 46 yards (3.8 YPC). If there is a replacement for the veteran, it looks like Langford. Forte is turning 30 years old next month, and although a sprained MCL should not adversely impact his performance long-term, it makes it harder for rebuilding dynasty teams to sell him. Now may be a great time for contenders to swoop in and acquire him for the fantasy playoffs. Notably, he gets Tampa Bay in week 16, and could feast in that game.
Keenan Allen, WR SD
Allen was unable to return to play with what was initially described as a shoulder injury, later called back spasms, and finally a kidney injury. I wonder if Allen sustained a kidney contusion or laceration. Believe it or not, there is a study on kidney injuries in professional American football. 52 cases were reviewed, all returned to play, kidney lacerations took longer (mean 59.8 days) than contusions (15 days). Best guess based on available literature is at least two weeks, and given San Diego’s bye is week ten, we aren’t seeing him back until week 11 at the earliest. If he has a contusion or laceration, I don’t think this will adversely impact his future performance, but when he will return to play is the question. Hopefully he can play week 11 but we will have to follow this situation closely. Grab Malcom Floyd if he’s available on waivers.
(Update: Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that Allen underwent a kidney procedure and will be placed on the IR.)
Dez Bryant, WR DAL
Bryant returned from his foot fracture and could only manage 2 receptions for 12 yards receiving on 6 targets. It was positive news to see him on the field, but returning from a foot fracture and playing against a tough Seattle Seahawks defense should have tempered expectations. Hopefully he won’t have a setback, which is always a concern when returning too quickly from a foot fracture. It seems likely Dallas wouldn’t let him back on the field unless the fracture looked fully healed on a variety of tests (x-rays, CT and bone scans). Dez gets to play against the Eagles defense next week, and while it’s tough to bench him, it may take some time for him to regain his form until Tony Romo returns and he has more time to heal.
Steve Smith, WR BAL
Smith is out for the year with a torn Achilles tendon. This is an especially tough injury for him, given his age (36), and the long recovery time (six-nine months minimum). There are examples of wide receivers who have returned following an Achilles tendon injury (Demaryius Thomas, Michael Crabtree), but it took them years to return to form after their Achilles tendon ruptures. Smith will be 37 years old before the 2016 kick-off. It’s hard to count him out, and if anyone can return to form with this injury, it’s him. Nevertheless, I’m not counting on it, and I would only keep him on deep dynasty rosters with an IR spot.
Andrew Luck, QB IND
Luck reportedly has been playing with broken ribs, and that might explain his inconsistent play on the field and for our fantasy teams. He reportedly sustained broken ribs with his shoulder injury, which was reported after the Colts’ week three game against the Tennessee Titans. If so, he should’ve had ample time for his ribs to heal, certainly well enough so that he could play. Still, it would be understandable if he was having pain with his throwing motion. Hopefully he will return to form soon as his ribs continue to heal. At least this gives fantasy owners an answer as to why Luck has been struggling this year, and it also gives some hope for him to regain form this year.
Calvin Johnson, WR DET
Johnson reportedly aggravated his ankle injury in the fourth quarter, and was unable to return. Hopefully it’s just precautionary, given the Lions were getting thoroughly destroyed by Kansas City and the game was far out of hand. He had a decent outing, with five receptions for 85 yards on ten targets, but his owners expected more against a beatable Chiefs pass defense. He gets the week nine bye to rest, and will hopefully be ready for week ten against the Packers.
John Brown, WR ARI
Brown was active for the Cardinals, but didn’t play a snap with both hamstrings an issue. It’s a bit puzzling that the team listed him as active but didn’t play him. Fantasy owners got zero points on the day in a juicy match-up against the Browns. Hopefully he will rest up with the week nine bye and be ready to go in week ten. However, the Cardinals do get a tough match-up playing at Seattle.
Reggie Bush, RB SF
Bush suffered a torn MCL and is done for the year, and his dynasty value is all but gone. Carlos Hyde is likewise out with a stress fracture in his foot, and Mike Davis could only manage ten carries for four yards before he left with an injured hand. The Forty Niners were left with Kendall Gaskins as their running back, and he had five carries for six yards. San Francisco’s offense is a mess, and a situation to avoid.
(Update: The Niners signed veteran Pierre Thomas to shore up their running back group.)
Kendall Wright, WR TEN
Wright injured a knee and was unable to return. His comments confirmed his knee injury is bothersome to him, and he is wearing a knee brace. He has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL. Recovery could be one-two weeks or four-six weeks with a low or mid-grade MCL injury. It seems unlikely that he will be able to face the New Orleans Saints in week nine, and could miss additional games. We’ll have to monitor this one closely.
Orleans Darkwa, RB NYG
The waiver wire darling of week seven didn’t last long, as he sustained a back injury after having four carries for 23 yards (5.8 YPC). Rashad Jennings had ten carries for 54 yards and ten receptions for 31 yards. Shane Vereen didn’t do much as a runner, with two carries for three yards, but catch eight passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Vereen seems like the best fantasy bet in PPR leagues. Jennings is at best a flex play right now. I would still hang onto Darkwa and see how this situation plays out.
Khiry Robinson, RB NO
Robinson suffered a broken leg and is out for the season. This could mean more touches for Mark Ingram. I wonder if a few veteran running backs get a call from the Saints this week.
Ladarius Green, TE SD
Green injured an ankle and was unable to return to play. Antonio Gates was a surprise active and managed four receptions for 56 yards. Green will be a free agent in 2016, and he makes for an interesting trade target for dynasty owners frustrated with the return of Gates. Monitor his practice participation this week and we’ll see if he can go week nine.
Larry Donnell, TE NYG
Donnell left the game with a neck injury. He was carted off the field, and seems questionable for week nine. Neck injuries can be tricky, and we’ll see how fast he can recover. Will Tye is the next player up at tight end for the Giants.
Cameron Wake, DE MIA
Wake tore his Achilles tendon and is done for the year. It’s possible he could return in 2016. Defensive ends like Terrell Suggs have returned with these injuries and played well. Wake will be 34 years old, but was playing very well the past three weeks. Whether or not he is on the Dolphins in 2016 is uncertain, but I’d still keep him on rosters in IDP leagues unless roster spots are lacking.