2022 Fanatasy Football Injuries: Wide Receivers Part 2

Continuing from Monday’s post, we will look at some additional wide receiver options below. Several receivers are returning from ACL injuries this year, and it will be interesting to see how each of them performs throughout the season. Continue reading below to learn more about wide receivers Robert Woods, Deandre Hopkins, Drake London, Kadarius Toney, Michael Gallup, and Jameson Williams.

Robert Woods: Wide receiver 40

As mentioned with Chris Godwin from part 1 of this series, wide receivers seem to take about 49 weeks after injury to return to play. Woods tore his ACL on November 13, 2021. If he can return at 49 weeks, he will be ready for October 22, 2022. If he can meet the 43-week timeline like Cooper Kupp, that would place him ready to go on September 10th, or a day before week 1. Reports out of camp have been promising for Woods’ availability in the season opener. This being said, similar to Godwin, I would be cautious starting him in his first game back, as it is highly likely he will be placed on a snap count for his first few games. Woods played in his first preseason game just a few days ago, so it appears he will be ready for week 1.

Injury Insight

At his ADP of WR40, I don’t hate this pick. After AJ Brown’s trade, the titans will need a reliable downfield receiving option. With a questionable start to his year, Treylon Burks cannot be trusted as the number 1 option until proven otherwise. Unfortunately for Woods, he is 30 years old, and we know that around this timeframe is typically when receivers tend to break down. His first few games back in action should tell how the rest of the season may look.

Deandre Hopkins: Wide receiver 41

At WR40, Hopkins is likely not worth the pick this year.

Throughout his career, Hopkins has consistently been one of the top 15 wide receivers in 6 out of his last 8 seasons. Until this past season, Hopkins had only missed 1 game (the last game of the 2017 season) throughout his career due to a calf strain. Unfortunately, he missed 7 games last season due to a hamstring injury and a torn MCL. I recall that the Cardinals were optimistic that Hopkins would be able to return for the playoffs last season. Ultimately, he could not play as he required surgery for his torn MCL. This year Hopkins is being drafted as the WR40, although his injury likely has little to do with this decline in ADP.

Earlier in the off-season, Hopkins was suspended for 6 games due to a PED violation. He was found to have a substance called “ostarine” in his system. Hopkins denies taking any supplements or PEDs, but ostarine is known to help improve the growth of muscles. This, combined with the fact that Hopkins withdrew his suspension appeal, makes me suspicious. Based on the injury, amount of time for recovery, and questionable use of PEDs, I have no doubt that Hopkins will be ready to play this year. He recently tweeted a video of him making a one-handed grab at a joint practice with the Titans, showcasing his athleticism.

Injury Insight

At WR 41, I would not be taking into account injury history when deciding whether or not to draft Hopkins. He should be ready to rip when he returns. The aspect I would strongly consider is whether you want to keep him on your bench for the first 6 weeks. In a typical re-draft format with playoffs week 15 and the Cardinals bye during week 13, Hopkins will sit on your bench for half the season. To me, this isn’t worth the stash. You may be able to trade for Hopkins closer to his return and save yourself the extra bench spot for the first 6 weeks.

Drake London: Wide receiver 43

Photo courtesy of Instagram @drakelondon_

As the number 1 wide receiver and the 8th overall player taken off the board in the NFL draft, Drake London certainly has high expectations to live up to. During his last year at USC, London suffered a season-ending ankle fracture. His recovery appeared to be going well, and he was able to make his debut for the Falcons during their first preseason game on August 12, 2022.

During his first NFL game, London suffered a knee injury and has not resumed practicing. The team has been quoted as saying London’s knee was “not a serious injury.”. This leads me to believe he likely sustained an MCL sprain. These injuries typically take about 2-6 weeks to recover. With the Falcons’ first game on September 11th, this would put London slightly past the 4-week mark. My best guess is that London will resume practicing sometime next week and will suit up for the first game of the season. Worst case scenario, he may end up missing the first 2 games if the team wants their 1st round pick to be fully healthy when he returns.

Injury insight

  • Ankle Fracture (2021) – Ended college season
  • Knee injury (2022) – TBD: may miss 1-2 games.

At the ADP of WR 43, London is likely not worth the risk. As the team’s WR1, London certainly has the potential to beat his ADP. On the flip side, he is a rookie who has now missed several practices and may be missing out on valuable time to make a connection with QB Marcus Mariota. Over the next few days, I would not be surprised if his ADP continues to drop because he has not resumed practice. If your drafts have not yet occurred, I recommend passing on London for now and considering going after him in a trade after a few weeks. This would allow him to get fully healthy, and as we already know, rookie WRs tend to do better in the second half of the season, anyway.

Kadarius Toney: Wide receiver 47

Kadairus Toney flashed his potential last season during week 5 when he scored 29.5 fantasy points on 10 receptions against the Dallas Cowboys. Since then, he has been a complete bust. Since then, he has only played in a handful of games, with a high of 8.5 fantasy points. It is easy to see below that Toney has a laundry list of injuries and is only entering his second season in the NFL.

Reports from Brian Daboll are that he is “hopeful” toney will be ready for the season opener. As per similar reports, it does not appear that Toney’s “leg” injury is the same as the knee surgery he had earlier in the offseason. There are rumors that he is dealing with a hamstring strain, but it has not been confirmed.

Injury insight

  • Shoulder Injury (College 2017 and 2019) – missed a combined 8 games
  • Hamstring strain (2021) – Missed most of training camp during his rookie season due to a hamstring injury
  • Lateral ankle sprain (2021)- Missed 1 game, re-aggravated existing injury
  • Quad injury (2021) – Missed 4 games
  • Oblique Strain (2021) – Missed 3 games
  • Knee Surgery – May of 2022, although uncertain of the actual surgical procedure, this likely was some sort of cleanup or debridement which did not require a prolonged recovery.

At his ADP of WR47, I can understand the appeal of taking Toney, but I wouldn’t do it. He has flashed his potential and could easily be the WR1 on his team. This being said, I don’t feel as though he is worth the risk. With his history of injuries, current lack of participation in training camp, and Daniel Jones throwing the ball, I am afraid Toney will not return value here.

Another factor to consider with Toney was the trade rumors circling around earlier in the offseason. Along with these trade rumors came reports that Toney’s “commitment came into question.”. Although these are just rumors, it is difficult to ignore this information. In the rehab world with many injuries, those committed to rehab often get better. Meanwhile, those who slack off simply don’t.

Michael Gallup: Wide receiver 64

Michael Gallup is entering a season where he could see the most action of his NFL career. With the trade of Amari Cooper to the Browns, Gallup should be the team’s WR2 when he returns to the field. Unfortunately for Gallup, he sustained an ACL tear late into the season, on January 2, 2022, and didn’t have surgery until February 10th (5 weeks, 4 days later). It is not uncommon for ACL reconstruction to be delayed a few weeks due to swelling in the knee. The downside is that the overall recovery will be delayed by the same time. If you read Part 1 of this series, you know our data shows that WRs coming back from an ACL injury typically return at 49 weeks after their injury. For Gallup, this would be December 11, 2022. If he were to match Cooper Kupp’s timeline of 43 weeks, he would be ready to play just before Halloween on October 30, 2022.

The interesting thing with Gallup is that he has not been placed on the PUP, meaning the team likely thinks he will be ready for full action within the first 4 weeks of the season. This puts Gallup returning to play between 36-39 weeks after his injury. This will either go really well or very poorly. Returning to sport before the 9-month post-op mark significantly increases the risk of re-tear for athletes recovering from ACL reconstruction. If Gallup returns early in the season, I would not be surprised if he sustains a second ACL tear on either knee.

Injury insight

Gallup may be the right pick for you if you’re a betting man. Despite everything mentioned above, data can really only show us so much. If Dallas decides Gallup is ready to go before week 4, he should be a steal at his ADP. I just caution you that there is a high likelihood of re-tear, which would end his season immediately.

Jameson Williams: Wide Receiver 65

Photo courtesy of Instagram @bigsgjamo

Like Michael Gallup, Jameson Williams sustained an ACL tear in early January. His injury was on Jan 11, 2022, and his surgery was on January 18th (1 week later). This means he has 3 weeks on Gallup in terms of recovery time. The most significant difference between Gallup and Williams is their experience at the NFL level. As a 1st round draft pick, the Lions have little reason to push Williams to return sooner than he is ready.

Injury insight

Long term, I have little reason to doubt Jameson Wiliams’ abilities. He demonstrated his elite skills at the college level, and if it weren’t for his injury, he likely would have been elected earlier in the NFL draft. In the short term, I wouldn’t doubt that the Lions will hold their star receiver out for multiple weeks.

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