Editor’s Note: Injuries are a huge part of winning and losing each year in fantasy leagues. Staying abreast of 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.
Dez Bryant, WR DAL
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Bryant was inactive this weekend with a knee injury. Initially, the injury was described as a fracture but was subsequently reported to be a bone bruise. Tibial fractures can present in a similar way as bone bruises, with significant pain and inability to bear weight. MRI helps to distinguish a bone bruise from a tibial fracture, and this might explain the change in diagnosis after the MRI for Bryant took longer than expected. Anterior tibial stress fractures have a longer recovery (3 months or longer), whereas posterior tibial stress fractures recover faster (1-3 months). A bone bruise is also called a microtrabecular fracture, and the bone underneath the surface is injured. I find reports that Dez could return week five a bit strange, as bone bruises can take a while to fully heal (3 months or longer). A bone bruise sounds minor but it can present a big problem for athletes if not allowed to heal properly. Cartilage on surface can degenerate if the bone underneath is not allowed to heal properly. It’s been reported that Bryant could return in 1-3 weeks, and if so, it must be a very mild bruise. Monitor his practice participation and cross your fingers the Cowboys are being truthful about it.
Sammy Watkins, WR BUF
Watkins was placed on injured reserve and is visiting Dr. Robert Anderson this week. This sounds suspicious for a second-look on his foot and given he is still having pain issues, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up having surgery. There are cases of pain from hardware used in these surgeries, such as screws. The bone may still be healed but the screw can result in pain. If the screw is removed, he may be done for this season. Recovery rates are generally good. Watkins has a good chance of returning to play in 2017, and he might end up being a buy-low candidate if his price drops significantly.
Cam Newton, QB CAR
Newton got hit in the head while scoring on a two-point conversion and left the game with a concussion. He has had a tough time with head injuries this year, after getting several hits to the head week one against Denver. Newton had only 165 yards passing but saved fantasy owners with one touchdown passing and 30 yards rushing. Derek Anderson came in for Newton and posted two touchdowns, but two interceptions, in a quarter of work. Newton will be enrolled in the NFL concussion protocol, he will need resolution of symptoms and clearance from medical personnel before returning. Hopefully he can go week five but his owners might consider Anderson if they are desperate, as the Panthers host a beatable Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense next week. It’s hard to expect Newton to change his playing style, but leading head-first on rushing attempts will increase risk of head injuries.
Carson Palmer, QB ARI
Palmer, like Newton, suffered a concussion. He will need resolution of symptoms and medical clearance before returning to play. Palmer hasn’t been as productive as fantasy players had hoped this year, and he is presently the QB13. Not bad but still lacking for those who expected offensive fireworks from the Cardinals. His past two games have been total duds, and his schedule looks rough (Jets week six, Seattle week seven, Carolina week eight, Minnesota week 11). Plus the Cardinals travel to Seattle for week 16 (fantasy title week). Yikes. Drew Stanton played as expected, with 37 yards passing and two interceptions. Dynasty value is fading fast.
Trevor Siemian, QB DEN
Siemian sprained the AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder. Siemian was described as day-to-day, and if true, that would imply a lower grade injury. Grade 1 AC joint sprains can resolve in 1-2 weeks, whereas grades 2 (2-6 weeks) or higher can take longer. Pain is the limiting factor and it being on his non-throwing shoulder should improve his odds of returning soon. The dynasty angle here is with Paxton Lynch, who managed 170 yards and one touchdown. Demaryius Thomas (six receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown) and Emmanuel Sanders (eight receptions for 88 yards and one score) had strong games. Kubiak seems capable of working his quarterback magic no matter who starts for Denver. It will be intriguing to watch how Lynch responds, if Siemian misses time.
Kevin White, WR CHI
White sustained an ankle injury in the third quarter. Video footage was hard to decipher but the defender appeared to land on the lateral side of his foot, raising some suspicion of a high-ankle sprain mechanism. Still, the nature and severity is still unknown. Possibilities include high-ankle sprain and/or a fractured fibula. White has been heating up, and he had a decent fantasy game in PPR formats (six receptions, 55 yards receiving on nine targets). MRI is on tap. Hopefully this isn’t serious.
Devin Funchess, WR CAR
Funchess left the game with a toe injury. No details yet on the severity or type of injury. Turf toe injuries can be a short-term issue if grade 1 or 2 (0 to 2 weeks), whereas grade 3 injuries can have a longer recovery (1-4 months). Funchess has not lived up to the pre-season hype, and some reports had him surpassing Kelvin Benjamin. Don’t Believe The Hype isn’t just a classic rap song. Funchess entered week four as the WR90, behind such stalwarts as Aldrick Robinson, Quinton Patton and Brandon Coleman. As recently as August, Funchess was being drafted ahead of Emmanuel Sanders, Julian Edelman, Michael Crabtree and Stefon Diggs. Ouch. Dynasty value is dropping back to reality. Further updates to follow.
Eric Decker, WR NYJ
Decker reportedly has a torn rotator cuff. The number of games missed will depend on whether it is acute or chronic and the extent of the tear. Assuming it’s an acute injury, a partial rotator cuff tear can be treated for six weeks with physical therapy and steroid injections. If no improvement, then surgery may be discussed. If it’s a full-thickness tear, then surgery may be a more likely scenario. Decker may be looking at an extended absence, possibly six weeks or longer depending on the severity of the tear and response to conservative treatment.