IDP Cornerback Injuries: Dynasty Fantasy Football Implications

Kyle Trimble

In today’s high-powered passing game, a strong secondary is crucial to combat the onslaught of points scored every week. An elite corner can shut down half of the field and neutralize even the most talented receivers.

However, injuries can leave even the most talented cornerbacks as a liability on the field despite suiting up. Some of the game’s top cornerbacks dealt with season-ending injuries last year and their return to form will be a question heading into the 2023 season.

Below are the injury concerns heading into 2023 and a surprise addition from a top player already working to return this season.

Jaycee Horn, CB CAR

Injury: Left Wrist surgery, left foot/ankle

Placed on IR: Week 18

RTP Date: Week one

DLF IDP Consensus Rankings: N/A

Horn’s season ended in week 16 last year when he suffered a left distal radius fracture colliding while trying to make a tackle.

He underwent surgery several days later and there was initial hope he could return if the Panthers were still in playoff contention. Once they were not, he was moved to injured reserve as a formality.

His recovery from wrist surgery has been uncomplicated and return to play rates are excellent, with over 90% playing again the next season. Interestingly, most forearm fractures occur in defensive backs, but performance is largely unchanged. In addition to recovering from the radius fracture, he also suffered a left foot/ankle injury during OTAs of this off-season. He required an exam by Dr. Robert Anderson, one of the preeminent foot and ankle doctors in the country. He did not require surgery, but a closer examination was warranted after Horn missed most of his rookie year with a foot fracture.

Not ranked in Dynasty League Fantasy IDP Consensus rankings, Horn could be a great late-round or waiver-wire pickup on what should be an ascending Panthers team. Horn could produce excellent stats, pending he stays healthy.

JC Jackson, CB LAC

Injury: Right patellar tendon tear

Placed on IR: Week eight

RTP Date: Week one

DLF IDP Consensus Rankings: N/A

Jackson suffered a right knee injury while trying to defend Marquise Goodwin during a touchdown catch in week seven, initially dislocating his kneecap. Regrettably, further testing revealed Jackson suffered a torn patellar tendon, requiring surgery.

Patellar tendon tears are notoriously difficult to return from in the NFL, averaging a 50% return-to-play rate and there is a significant decrease in performance. Other studies indicate upwards of 80% return, but did not indicate performance levels. Jackson has already beaten the odds by not being placed on PUP to begin the year and is set to play in week one.

Despite the optimism, I expect Jackson to be a step slower, most notably with pivoting off his right and backpedaling. This injury isn’t a career-ender by any means, but I wouldn’t expect his prior level of play until 2024.

He is not ranked in the Dynasty League Fantasy IDP consensus rankings, but unless you need a weekly substitution, there are far better options available.

Caleb Farley, CB TEN

Injury: Lumbar microdiscectomy

Placed on IR: Week ten

RTP Date: Week 5

DLF IDP Consensus rankings: N/A

Farley suffered a back injury in week ten last year while trying to cover a punt against the Denver Broncos. He was placed on injured reserve in an attempt to rehab the injury but ultimately underwent yet another back surgery, a microdiscectomy in early December.

This is now Farley’s third back surgery after requiring the same procedure in 2019 and 2021, the latter just prior to the NFL Draft. Add in the additional ACL tears, one in college and during his rookie year, he has been incredibly unlucky. The Tennessee Titans have gambled in the past trying to get discounts on injured players in the draft with DT Jeffery Simmons paying in dividends coming off an ACL tear.

However, Farley simply cannot stay healthy at the next level. In fact, as of publication, he is still on active PUP still recovering from his microdiscectomy, a procedure that typically takes 8-to-12 weeks to recover from. While it takes additional time to return to football shape, the fact he still isn’t active is highly concerning. I do have a return to play in week five, but only a guess at best.

Farley is not ranked in the Dynasty League Fantasy IDP Consensus rankings and should not be considered in your draft. At no point is he a buy-low candidate and should not be a roster-worthy player. Until he proves he can stay healthy, steer clear.

Jalen Ramsey, CB MIA

Injury: Left meniscus repair

Placed on IR: Week one

RTP Date: Week 13

DLF IDP Consensus Rankings: 167

Though these articles are about players coming off season-ending injuries from 2022, Ramsey’s injury was just too big to ignore. Just days into training camp, he went down with a left knee injury when he collided with WR Tyreek Hill during a passing drill.

While Ramsey avoided a true season-ending injury, a meniscus tear will still cost him most of the season. The veteran cornerback, fully aware of his legacy and long-term health, elected to undergo a meniscal repair. These procedures are better long-term to avoid arthritic changes and further surgeries down the line, but carry a longer rehab time frame. He could have elected to undergo a meniscectomy, which is where they shave out the piece of torn tissue and return in several weeks, but would have paid for it years later.

Meniscus repairs take between four-to-six months to recover with rates as high as 96.2% return to prior level of play. This is ideal for Ramsey as the Dolphins are expected to push for a deep playoff run, but his impact will not be like turning on a light switch. Even if he can return in December which is around week 13, he will have to acclimate to not playing in over a year. But keep in mind, this timeline is optimistic.

Ranked 167 in the Dynasty League Fantasy IDP Consensus rankings, Ramsey is only worth selecting if you can afford to burn a roster spot. Even when he does return, he will not play at what his prior level of performance was initially. He may show some normalcy in the NFL playoffs, but that may be too late for your playoff hopes.

Follow me on Twitter @Kyletrimble88 for more Dynasty League Fantasy Football injury content.

kyle trimble
IDP Cornerback Injuries: Dynasty Fantasy Football Implications