As camp goes on and preseason games begin, it’s inevitable that some players will suffer injuries. In fact, there have already been some significant injuries that will force some players who were set to start Week 1 to be ruled out. Below I’ll go over some of the injuries thus far and how it can affect DFS players at the start of the season.
Texans RB Arian Foster – Groin Injury – out Week 1
Foster underwent groin surgery and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Alfred Blue and Chris Polk are the two backs that will be fighting for the top spot at running back on the Texans depth chart to begin the season. At this time, Blue is listed as the team’s starting back, but that can always change. He is just $3,600, while Polk is at the bare minimum of $3,000. Blue got a couple of starts last season during Foster’s absence, but only received 20+ carries once. In that game, he rushed for 156 yards on 36 carries. In Week 1, the Texans play against the Chiefs. This is a defense that allowed the fifth most rushing yards in the NFL last season and surrendered 127 rushing yards per game. They did however, keep running backs out of the end zone, but at this low price it wouldn’t take much for Blue to hit value. This is definitely a battle to monitor throughout the preseason, because barring a committee, the starting back for the Texans to kick off the season could provide some salary cushion for your DFS teams and decent value.
Cardinals WR – Michael Floyd – Dislocated Fingers – Questionable for Week 1
Floyd dislocated three fingers on his left hand and underwent successful surgery. His timetable to return isn’t certain at this moment, but he’s currently hopeful to be ready to play in Week 1. In the meantime, John Brown is the player to keep an eye on in the preseason. This second year receiver is currently listed as the team’s number two receiver. He was already on my players to watch list heading into the season as he showed some potential last year, but with Floyd’s injury he’s someone I may be seriously considering in Week 1. Brown’s price is affordable at $4,500 and he has a favorable matchup. The Cardinals face the Saints to start their season. The Saints defense struggled against receivers last season. They surrendered 4,207 receiving yards and 262 receiving yards per game. Quarterback Carson Palmer showed confidence in Brown last season and kept his eye on him. Brown scored five touchdowns last season, all were in the first 10 weeks, prior to Palmer’s season-ending injury. If Floyd ends up sitting the season opener out, Brown could be a very good tournament play as he offers a good amount of upside at a great low price. Keep a close eye on Floyd’s status heading into week one.
Jets QB Geno Smith – Broken Jaw – Out Week 1
Calling this a blessing in disguise for the Jets feels absolutely wrong, but it kind of is. With Smith on the shelf for the start of the season, the Jets will hand over the keys to the offense to journey man, Ryan Fitzpatrick. This is an offense that Fitzpatrick is familiar with and has strived in. He finished as a top 12 fantasy QB in this offense in 2011. However, we are not here to discuss these things, we are here to figure out how this affects DFS players. Fitzpatrick is $5,500 in Week 1. The matchup isn’t ideal when you look at the numbers for Cleveland’s defense against the pass. He’s cheap and could be considered a contrarian play, but he offers a relatively low floor. Last season he only topped 20 fantasy points in three of the 12 games he played and scored fewer than 15 fantasy points in eight games. If you consider that and the fact that he has a tough matchup, there’s a good chance you steer away. He does however, make everyone on this offense better for as long as he’s under center.
Redskins TE Niles Paul – Fractured Ankle – Out for the season
This is a tough blow for the Redskins as they are already thin at tight end with several other injured tight ends. Paul was a strong candidate to be the team’s starting tight end to start the season. Jordan Reed is dealing with a hamstring injury and Logan Paulsen is considering surgery on his toe. At this time there is no timetable for Reed’s return, but let’s assume he’ll be healthy for the start of the season. Now that Paul will miss the rest of the season, Reed will be the primary tight end with no threats to lose snaps. At $3,300 Reed is a great play. The tight end position is a very volatile one and since Rob Gronkowski plays on Thursday, trying to find the best bang for your buck is the way to go. Reed offers a high ceiling and a comfortable floor at a low price. The matchup isn’t ideal as the Dolphins did a decent job defending tight ends. However, the risk reward factor here makes complete sense and if Reed is healthy, he’d be a great value play.
Bears WR’s Kevin White & Alshon Jeffery – Shin splints & Calf Injury- Questionable for the start of the season
Kevin White hasn’t been able to practice as he’s dealing with shin splints. In fact, he’s been dealing with this for six weeks now. Alshon Jeffery has a calf strain and is in a walking boot, but is expected to sit out for just one week. At this time, White does not have a timetable for when he’s expected to return. This is something to monitor because Eddie Royal has been getting a lot of reps in practice and building chemistry with quarterback Jay Cutler. Not that it would be hard for Royal and Cutler to build a rapport as they played together in Denver and did fairly well. In fact, Royal had career highs in receptions and yards when he played with Cutler. Even if White is ready to go Week 1, Royal is becoming more of an intriguing play as the days pass. He’s just $3,900 and could see a ton of targets in Week 1. Not to mention, there’s a good chance that the Bears will pass a ton in Week 1 as they play the Packers who will likely score a ton of points against this suspect Bears defense. I’m digging Royal and you should be too. Keep an eye on the injured receivers before making a decision, but the price may just be too good to ignore.
Keep an eye on…..
- The Browns running back situation
- The Cowboys running back situation
That’s all for now, until next time!