With the third and most important week of the preseason in the rearview mirror, let’s catch up on some of the most important injuries Fantasy players need to know about heading into Draft Day.
Tony Romo (Back)
|YDS: 884||TD: 5||INT: 7|
Romo’s back injury takes him off the board for most players on Draft Day — he was QB13 on average at FantasyPros.com before the injury — and puts Dak Prescott in play as a late-round flier. Prescott has been absolutely tremendous in the preseason, showing off playmaking ability with both his arm and his legs, though I do wonder if the hype surrounding him might push him too farup draft boards. If I’m targeting a breakout quarterback in the later rounds, I’m still going with Jameis Winston (QB17) around Round 10, though Prescott could be in the Marcus Mariota (140th overall) range. What could be more interesting is the impact he has on Ezekiel Elliot, already one of the top running backs off the board and the consensus top rookie for Fantasy. Running quarterbacks tend to boost the yards per carry of their running backs, with the defense forced to honor the QB’s rushing ability. Add in the expected increase in workload with Romo down, and Elliot looks even better — and don’t forget about Alfred Morris as a late-round flier, either.
Julio Jones (Ankle)
|REC: 136||YDS: 1,871||TD: 8|
Given his history of foot injuries, it was certainly concerning to see Jones hobble off the field Thursday against the Miami Dolphins , but he was ultimately diagnosed with a minor sprained ankle and was held out as a precaution. You can breathe easy and target Jones with a top-five selection on Draft Day.
Jordy Nelson (Knee)
Nelson is not expected to play in Thursday’s preseason finale, but he did tell reporters Sunday he expects to participate in 11-on-11 drills with the full team beginning this week. That would represent his first such work since he suffered a torn ACL last August. The good thing about the timing of Nelson’s injury is that it gave him a full year-plus to recover, though recent speed bumps have made him look a bit more risky than originally expected. He has acknowledged that conditioning could be a concern, so don’t be surprised if Nelson gets off to a bit of a slow start. He is certainly a risk as the eighth wide receiver off the board, but there is a ton of upside when playing with Aaron Rodgers .
A.J. Green (Knee)
|REC: 86||YDS: 1,297||TD: 10|
Green came up limping during the first quarter of Cincinnati’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars , which is just about the last thing the Cincinnati Bengals wanted to see, given the depleted state of their receiving corps. Luckily, Green appears to have avoided any kind of serious issue, as he never went to the locker room to be evaluated despite not returning to the game. Had it been a regular season game, the team said, Green likely would have remained in, so it looks like we can all breathe a sigh of relief, as Green should be in for a monster season following the departures of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency this offseason.
John Brown (Concussion)
|REC: 65||YDS: 1,003||TD: 7|
Brown missed much of training camp while recovering from a concussion, and missed practice Wednesday with headaches. He was back at it Thursday, which is a good sign, but Brown certainly looks like a risk right now — concussion issues have a tendency to pile on top of each other. Given the presence of two other high-end wide receivers — and a suddenly-mortal looking Carson Palmer , dating back to the end of last season — and this whole Arizona Cardinals ‘ passing game carries a significant amount of risk.
Arian Foster (Achilles)
|YDS (AP): 390||YPC: 2.6||TD: 3|
Foster showed some flashes, but didn’t exactly pull away from Jay Ajayi in his work in Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons . Foster rushed for just 10 yards on five carries, while hauling in two passes for 20 yards, including a long of 16. Ajayi, for his part, had just 11 yards on seven carries, with two receptions for 12 yards. The bigger concern might be that, despite what was expected to be a much-improved offensive line given the addition of Laremy Tunsil in the draft, the Miami Dolphins have averaged just 3.3 yards on 92 carries overall in the preseason. Ajayi and Foster split first-team work Thursday, and that might be the trend once the preseason starts, making both look like pretty low-end options at this point — especially considering their respective injury histories.
Jimmy Graham (Knee)
|REC: 48||YDS: 605||TD: 2|
It seems unlikely we’ll even see Graham before the start of the regular season — and his status for the season opener isn’t assured either — but he does seem to be making progress as he recovers from a ruptured patella tendon in his knee. He took part in pre-game warmups with the first-team offense prior to Thursday’s game, and earned rave reviews from coach Pete Carroll:
He looked great in pregame. He was flying. He was really fired up. He ran a ton of sprints before that workout, with the throwing and the catching and then he took all those plays, and then he took the pregame warmup. He was lit up about it afterward. He really felt good and that was a big step for him. I’m excited for him
Graham really struggled in his first season in Seattle, but was still on pace for nearly 900 yards and 70 catches before the injury. As the 12th tight end off the board on average, he could provide quite a nice return on investment if he proves healthy.
Matt Jones (Shoulder)
|YDS (AP): 794||TD: 4|
The good news for Jones is that, in his absence as he recovers from his separated shoulder, nobody has really impressed for Washington in the running game. Undrafted free agent Rob Kelley led the team in rushing in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills , but managed just 51 yards on 12 carries — a middling 4.3 per carry average — and Mack Brown wasn’t any better. Jones’ shoulder is a real concern, but the fact is, the Washington Redskins are committed to him almost by default, because they really have not invested in the running back spot. Nothing we’ve seen in the preseason should make you doubt that this is his job as soon as the shoulder heals up. With a sixth-round ADP (RB23), Jones actually provides some decent value even coming off a rough rookie season.
Kenneth Dixon (Knee)
One of the most crowded backfield situations in the league got a bit less crowded this week, though nobody would have chosen for it to go down the way it did. Dixon, a fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech Bulldogs , had a chance to earn the starting role in Baltimore, but a torn MCL will sideline him for at least four weeks. The good news is, he doesn’t need surgery, but it certainly puts him behind the competition and makes him a non-factor in typical 12-team leagues on Draft Day. Of course, with Justin Forsett , Javorius Allen and Terrance West all still competing for the job, it’s hard to argue Baltimore is where you want to look for running backs this season.