Ahh, the start of training camp! The smell of freshly cut grass and painted lines. As fans, we love this time of the season because there is so much hope. Hope that our favorite team will have a magical season and hope that our fantasy teams will dominate.
The unfortunate reality is that the start of camp also marks the time of the season when injury prevalence is high. In years past, we have lost players like JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Julian Edleman, and Jordy Nelson to ACL injuries. David Montgomery and Rashad Bateman gave us a scare with groin injuries. Numerous players suffer the ever annoying hamstring strain, and of course, many other injuries will happen during camp this season.
Today is August 3rd, 2022, and I am going to provide and injury update to the fantasy football fanatics through two weeks of camp. Additionally we will discuss the status of existing injuries to players returning from major offseason surgery.
Tim Patrick Injury Update
With the offseason trade for elite quarterback Russell Wilson, the ever-reliable Tim Patrick was an attractive late-round sleeper for many fantasy players. Unfortunately, MRI reveals that yesterday Patrick tore his ACL while making a play on a ball in practice. A quick end to the season for the 4-year veteran who enjoyed two consecutive 50+ receptions/700+ yards/5+ touchdown seasons.
In Patrick’s absence, receivers Cortland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy will be the primary targets for Wilson, and former second-round draft pick KJ Hamler looks to return from his season-consuming ACL injury.
Baltimore Backfield Injury Update
Talented running backs JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards notoriously suffered ACL injuries in the preseason last year. This left Baltimore’s backfield scarce, forcing them to rely on veterans to join superstar Lamar Jackson in the backfield.
Despite nearly a year of rehab, both Dobbins and Edwards started camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, where they both remain today. Dobbins has voiced his perceived readiness to play; however, reports on Edwards are less favorable. It was recently reported that Edwards could miss “a chunk of time” before returning to the lineup this season. As it stands, it appears Dobbins should be ready for week 1, with Edwards less likely.
For Dobbins owners, this is encouraging on the surface. Fantasy football players should be reminded that running backs historically show a decline in performance when returning from an ACL tear. Full detail and statistics are available on our ACL tear and reconstruction page.
If either or both of Dobbins and Edwards are unavailable, Baltimore signed veterans Mike Davis and Corey Clement over the summer and drafted rookie Tyler Baddie in the 6th round.
Jacksonville Backfield Injury update
Travis Etienne: Etienne missed his rookie campaign after suffering a Lisfranc injury during a preseason game. An injury that many believed could impact his career. However, a close look at the data when returning from a Lisfranc injury suggests that young players can return and have prolific careers. Le’Veon Bell and Julio Jones are two examples. Etienne was 22 years old at the time of his injury, and early reports from camp state that he is the star of the show.
James Robinson: Etienne’s counterpart James Robinson who is coming off a December 26th Achilles tendon rupture, somehow avoided starting camp on the PUP list. Despite not being on the PUP list Jacksonville has been taking it slow with the former undrafted running back. Camp reports suggest he has been performing agility drills and sprints, but no full contact yet. This is understandable as Robinson is only 31 weeks out from his injury.
For Robinson, a steep hill remains before he can return to the workhorse three down back he was in his first two seasons. I discussed at length the rigorous rehab from an Achilles tear in our Achilles tear and repair page and why so many players never return to their prior form. While Robinson continues to rehab, this appears to be Etienne’s backfield.
Jimmy Garoppolo Injury update
Former San Fransisco starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo was cleared for full activity today after rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery. Garoppolo has been throwing for several weeks, which will always occur before clearance for full activity. San Fran has made it clear that they have moved on to second-year signal caller Trey Lance as their starting quarterback. Therefore, fantasy activity regarding Garoppolo is essentially on hold until his pending trade occurs.
Joe Burrow injury update
Burrow underwent an appendectomy last week, a procedure that typically is emergent in the case of appendicitis. Burrow will likely miss 2-4 weeks of practice to allow the surgical site to heal. The good news is outside of skin and fascia, likely no tissue repair needs to happen. Bengals reporters say Burrow has rejoined the team at practice, though he won’t be throwing for a few more weeks. At this time, there is no need to fear his readiness for week 1. With essentially the same offensive weapons as last year’s Super Bowl run, Burrow should have no problem starting the season hot.
James Washington injury update
The Dallas receiver suffered a Jones fracture, the same injury Derrick Henry suffered last season. While Washinton was never fantasy-relevant, this further depletes Dallas’s already thin receiver corps. With Michael Gallop not ready to return and Amari Cooper shipped off to Cleveland, CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Shultz, and rookie Jalen Tolbert appear in line for a massive workload. This also may influence Dallas to use running back Tony Pollard even more in the passing game.
Other players returning from major surgery
Robert Woods: Woods suffered an ACL tear in November. He has been a full participant in camp thus far and appears on track to start week 1. Woods steps into the WR1 role in his new home in Tennessee. WR fantasy production typically declines in the first few games returned from an ACL injury, compounded by a change of scenery, which provides a challenge for the 30-year-old.
Chris Godwin: Godwin, returning from his own week 15 ACL injury, also avoided starting camp on the PUP list. Reports suggest that Godwin is limited to walk-throughs and individual work for now. This essentially means he is continuing to rehab and is not ready for full contact yet, which matches up with the typical ACL rehab timeline. Godwin will only be 38 weeks post-injury by week 1. NFL WR’s average being 49 weeks post-injury by the time they return to playing. Godwin still has a long way to go before becoming fantasy relevant again. The addition of Julio Jones may signal Tampa’s unsure of the impact Godwin will be able to make and will cut into his target share.
Jameson Williams, Michael Gallop, Odell Beckham Jr.: Williams and Gallop remain on the PUP list and, due to their January ACL tears, are unlikely to play until midseason. They are both worth considerations in leagues that allow IR designation for a late-round selection. However, leagues that do not allow IR designation fantasy players will not want to clog their roster for now. Beckham remains unsigned, and his injury was the latest of all (Super Bowl). He will be unlikely to play until the latter half of the season and likely will continue to wait to sign with a team.
Tee Higgins: The Bengals star receiver quietly underwent a shoulder labrum repair in March. While a bit later in the offseason, thanks to a Super Bowl run, this time frame should narrowly allow him to be ready for week 1. Higgins started camp not participating in team drills; however, he has recently resumed 11-on-11 practice. At this time, there is no concern for Higgins’s availability and production in week 1.
Recent undisclosed surgeries
Irv Smith Jr.: Smith Jr. underwent thumb surgery on August 2nd. It is unclear what the surgery was to address, but the team is hopeful he will be ready for week 1. Smith has shown flashes at times but missed all of last season due to a meniscus repair.
Van Jefferson: Jefferson underwent knee surgery on Tuesday, though it is unclear what the procedure was. The Rams state it was a “minor surgery,” which typically indicates some clean-out procedure. This can be either a debridement of the meniscus, cartilage, any frayed tissue, or draining fluid. Either way, after these procedures, is a period of time with pain and swelling. Management of the pain and swelling determines how quickly the player can return to the field. We will have to continue to monitor his progress to know when he will return to the game.
Christain Waston: Watson also underwent an undisclosed knee surgery that was reported to be minor. He should be getting ready to join his team at camp in the next week or two. The rookie will need all the reps he can get as he has an opportunity to step into a starting role with four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers
Tom Christ, PT, DPT, OCS