Preseason Injury Roundup

For the upcoming season, I’m fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how you look at it), to write about the injuries that may have an impact on your fantasy football teams. I’ll be writing weekly round-ups as on all the injuries as well as instant analysis on certain players. For my first installment, I’ll be recapping injuries (fantasy relevant) that occurred in the pre-season, and how that should affect your Week 1 strategies. This first edition will be very comprehensive, but in the future, I’ll make it more concise.  I will have assumed that you’ve already drafted your team already, so again, I’ll be mainly focused on availabilities for Week 1.

Let’s get this started.

Arizona Cardinals

Jonathan Cooper (Guard)                                               IR (Knee)          

 -          Analysis: This injury hurts the Cardinal’s already weak offensive line.

Rob Housler (TE)                                                                Q (ankle)            

 -          Analysis: Housler was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, and those usually take a few weeks to heal. If you drafted him, feel free to drop him for now and look elsewhere for a tight end to start the season.

Rashard Mendenhall (RB)                                              P (knees)            

 -          Analysis: Rashard Mendenhall has had minor knee problems and took some time off to give himself some rest. He’s a good bet to start against the Rams Week 1.

Atlanta Falcons

Roddy White (WR)                                                               P (ankle)                                      

-          White is probable to play Week 1. ATL GM Thomas Dimitroff didn’t give the most forceful endorsement, saying that he is “hoping” that Roddy would be available, but White has never missed a game in his career. If he’s going to miss his first game, it won’t be Week 1 in 2013.

Baltimore Ravens

               Dennis Pitta                                                        IR/designated to return (Hip)

-          Analysis: Pitta has been recovering quite nicely thus far after injuring his hip. The Ravens are hoping to have him back at some point this year, but he will definitely be unavailable to start the season.

Buffalo Bills

                Kevin Kolb (QB)                                                  IR (Concussion)
-          Analysis: Kolb will miss the rest of 2013 due to the concussion he suffered. It’s even been reported that it could potentially be career ending.

               EJ Manuel (QB)                                                    Q (Knee)                                          

-          Analysis: It looks like Manuel returned to practice on the 1st and is looking to start Week 1. Bills management wouldn’t force the rookie to return if they didn’t feel confident in his mobility so this is great news for the Bills offense as a whole.

Carolina Panthers

              Mike Tolbert (FB)                                                 P (hamstring)                               

-          Analysis: Tolbert hurt his hamstring and took some time off but HC Ron Rivera says he’s hopeful that Tolbert will be available for Week 1. Tolbert practiced in full pads Monday, and is expected to see at least a 7-9 touches in that offense.

              Jonathan Stewart (RB)                                      PUP (ankle)                                 

-          Analysis: Stewart will likely miss the first half of the season, and is targeting a Week 7 return. Whether his ankle will heal by them is still a concern, as there have been some reports saying that he may miss a significant part of the season. Keep him on the waiver wire or on your bench Week 1.

Chicago Bears

               Brandon Marshall (WR)                                  P (hip)                                              

-          Analysis: The doctors said that Marshall’s hip and conditioning is fine. At this point it is more of a psychological thing where Marshall didn’t believe that the Bears front office was taking him seriously (they didn’t give him the day off that he wanted to rest his hip). He’s still the apple of Jay Cutler’s eye, and will be leaned on heavily throughout the season.

Cincinnati Bengals

               Tyler Eifert (TE)                                               P (wrist)                                               

-          Analysis: Missing the last game of the preseason was a precaution more than anything else. He’ll be good to go Week 1.

               Andre Smith (OT)                                          P (knee)                                               

-          Analysis: The Bengals already said that he’ll be ready for Week 1.  Smith was a top 10 tackle last year, and is key to protecting Andy Dalton and making holes for Gio Bernard/BJGE.

Cleveland Browns

               Montario Hardesty (RB)                              IR (knee)                                             

-          Analysis: Hardesty was supposed to be Trent Richardon’s backup, but following knee surgery, he will miss the rest of 2013.

                Dion Lewis (RB)                                             IR (leg)                                           

-          Analysis: Lewis was another candidate to be Richardon’s backup, but he fractured his left fibula, ending his season early.

Dallas Cowboys

                  No significant injuries to report.

Denver Broncos

                   Joel Dreessen (TE)                               D (knee)                                              

-          Analysis: Dreessen will most likely be unavailable to start the year. While he didn’t’ have much fantasy value to begin with, the fact that he was on the field with Peyton Manning and their Number 1 TE made him an interesting play. It looks like he will not be available Week 1, and instead Julius Thomas will start.

                   Dan Koppen (C)                                   IR (knee)                          

-          Analysis: Koppen tore his ACL during OTA’s and will miss the rest of the season. The Broncos didn’t have that great of an offensive line last year (made a lot better though with Peyton) and so his absence will hurt. When the Broncos play the Ravens Week 1, expect Haloti Ngata to destroy the interior of the Broncos offensive line.

Detroit Lions

                  No significant injuries to report

Green Bay Packers

                Jordy Nelson (WR)                               P (knee)                                               

-          Analysis: After Nelson had a knees cope before the start of the pre-season, he looked completely normal during practice, and is on track to start Week 1. He will be one of Aaron Rodger’s primary targets, and will be difficult to sit, even against a tough defense like the 49ers.

*Update 9/3/2013: Jordy has been officially cleared to play Week 1.

               DuJuan Harris (RB)                               IR (knee)                                            

-          Analysis: Harris will miss all of 2013, taking him out of the Packer running back equation. Eddie Lacy looks to handle the majority of snaps.

                Bryan Bulaga (T)                                   IR (knee)                                             

-          Analysis: The Packers best offensive lineman got hurt during training camp and that is really going to hurt the Packers offense. Look for the 49ers defense to be swarming Aaron Rodgers Week 1 if the Packers can’t protect the left side.

Houston Texans

                DeAndre Hopkins (WR)                       Q (concussion)                                 

-          Analysis: Hopkins just cleared all concussion tests and will start MNF against the Chargers.

Indianpolis Colts

                Coby Fleener (TE)                                      P (knee)                                          

-          Fleener resumed practice on Monday, and looks good to go for the Week 1 start against the Oakland Raiders. Points will flow aplenty for the Colts offense, so Fleener should be seen as a TE2.

               Ahmad Bradshaw (RB)                             P (foot)          

-          Analysis: Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said that Bradshaw is extremely close to coming back. He hasn’t played a single snap in the preseason, but Bradshaw himself has repeatedly said that he will be ready for Week 1. We really hope so as he has a juicy matchup against the Raiders. It’s been 10 years since the Raiders have finished outside the top 10 in points allowed to RBs.

               Dwayne Allen (TE)                                       P (foot)                                                

-          Analysis: Allen should be ready for the game against the Raiders. Him and Fleener will often see time on the field together in Pep Hamilton’s offense, but who will receive the majority of targets behind Wayne, DHB and Hilton remains to be seen.

Jacksonville Jaguars

             Justin Forsett (RB)                                        P (toe)                                                  

-          Analysis: Forsett returned to practice on Monday, and is going to be Maurice Jones-Drew’s primary backup. Either way, avoid him Week 1.

              Blaine Gabbert (QB)                                    Q (thumb)                                           

-          Analysis: Gabbert did some light throwing Monday, and is pushing for a return Week 1. There isn’t much difference between him and Chad Henne at this point, and they’ll have a tough time going up against a solid Chiefs defense.

Kansas City Chiefs

                Tony Moeaki (TE)                                        IR (shoulder)                                     

-          Analysis: Moeaki’s injury opens up the door for Anthony Fasano and rookie Travis Kelce. Fasano is a name to keep an eye on, as he may be the safety valve for Smith when he checks down. That will happen quite often.

Miami Dolphins

                Dustin Keller (TE)                                       IR (knee)                                             

-          Analysis: Keller is done for the season, which is unfortunate for the Dolphins. The Dolphins are still a candidate to have a breakout offense this year with Lamar Miller and Ryan Tannehill at the helm.

Minnesota Vikings

                Jerome Felton (FB)                                  Out (abdomen)                                

-          Analysis: Felton was likely to miss a week due to an emergency appendectomy (removal of the appendix) but then his absence was extended due to him violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He was a key part in paving the way for Adrian Peterson last year.

New England Patriots

                Rob Gronkowski (TE)                             Q (back)                                               

-          Analysis: Over the last few days, Gronk has returned to practice and participated in light 11-on-11 drills. Both events are important steps for Gronk to return, but I think a realistic return date is Week 3 or 4. Anything before that is likely a smokescreen from the Patriots coaching staff (surprise).

New Orleans Saints

                No significant injuries to report

New York Giants

                Victor Cruz (WR)                                    P (heel)

-           Analysis: Cruz shed his walking boot and crutches and returned to practice Monday. He will likely play Sunday night against the Cowboys, and looks to be 100%.

                 Andre Brown (RB)                                Out (leg)                                   

-          Analysis: Andre Brown fractured his left leg in the last game of preseason, although it was a tiny fracture. He is expected to be out for at least 4-6 weeks. If you play in a deep league, I wouldn’t recommend dropping him just yet, as David Wilson needs to prove that he can handle a large workload.

New York Jets

                Mark Sanchez (QB)                              Q (shoulder)                                    

-          Analysis: Sanchez continues to feel pain in that throwing shoulder, and it’s looking like he is going to miss Week 1 vs. Tampa Bay. Geno Smith is likely to be thrown into the fire.

Oakland Raiders

                Darren McFadden (RB)                        Q (shoulder)                                      

-          Analysis: DMC is officially listed as day-to-day, but with his history of injuries, we wouldn’t be surprised if he missed Week 1.

                Latavius Murray (RB)                            IR (ankle)                                          

-          Analysis: Tough news for Murray, the exciting rookie expected to help backup DMC. Rashard Jennings looks to be the primary handcuff to DMC, but that doesn’t get us excited at all…

Philadelphia Eagles

                Jeremy Maclin/Arrelious Benn (WR)      IR                                                           

-          Analysis: Loosing these two WRs has opened the door for Riley Cooper and Jason Avant to get some playing time as the WR2s. We like Cooper as a sneaky play against a suspect Giants secondary.

Pittsburgh Steelers

                Le’Veon Bell (RB)                               Out (foot)                                           

-          Analysis: Luckily, Bell avoided the dreaded LIsfranc injury, which would have shelved him for the majority of the year. He is definitely not going to play in Week 1, but he said that he is targeting a Week 2 return. This seems a little bit optimistic. Look for Isaac Redman, Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling to split carries until Bell returns.

                Heath Miller (TE)                                Out (knee)                                         

-          Analysis: Miller didn’t get placed on the PUP list, which means he can return earlier than Week 7. With a Week 5 bye, I’d expect Miller to be a full go the Week 6. For now, 2nd backup David Johnson is expected to start. Keep Miller on the Waiver Wire until his injury status clears up.

San Diego Chargers

                Denario Alexander (WR)                  IR (knee)                                             

-          Analysis: Alexander tore his ACL, and will miss the rest of 2013.

Seattle Seahawks

                Percy Harvin (WR)                               PUP (hip)                          

-          Analysis: The ex-Viking will miss the majority of this season, and at the very best, will return around Thanksgiving. If your league has an IR spot, then Harvin should be kept there. Otherwise, he won’t be helping your fantasy team get to the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers

                LaMichael James (RB)                         Out (knee)                                          

-          Analysis: There have been reports from San Francisco that even when James returns, he will be scratched. There is little to no fantasy value for James at this point unless Frank Gore goes down.

                  Marcus Lattimore (RB)                     PUP (knee)                                   

-          Analysis: Lattimore is most likely going to be redshirted his freshman year, and thus should only be kept in dynasty or keeper leagues. He will have much more value in 2014.

                   Michael Crabtree (WR)                     PUP (Achilles)                               

-          Analysis: Crabtree is looking at a Week 12 return at the moment, and his recovery has been right on schedule. For now, look for Quinton Patton and Marlon Moore to fill the WR2 spot next to Anquan Boldin.

                   Mario Manningham (WR)               PUP (knee)                                

-          Analysis: Manningham was placed on the PUP and will not return until at least Week 7. Keep him on the Waiver Wire for now.

St. Louis Rams

                No significant injuries to report

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Lawrence Tynes/Connor Barth (K)     IR                                                           

-          Analysis: The Bucs are still without a kicker, but reports have it that Dan Carpenter is looking like the lead candidate to take over the Buc’s kicking duties

                Carl Nicks (G)                                         D (toe)                                                 

-          Analysis: The Buc’s best guard had an infection of the toe a few weeks ago, and is looking like he won’t suit up to play Week 1. Toe infections can be nasty things, and impossible to play through. The Jets have an underrated defense and that may disrupt the Buc’s offense without Nicks in there.

Tennessee Titans

                Kendall Wright (WR)                            P (knee)                                               

-          Analysis: Wright hurt his knee in preseason, but looks good to go for Week 1

Washington Redskins

                No significant injuries to report.

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