It’s Super Bowl week! The culmination of a fantastic NFL season. This year’s matchup has no shortage of storylines. From Andy Reid facing his former team, a Nick Sirianni revenge game, the Kelce brothers, and of course, the injuries! The Super Bowl injury report is relatively short, as the Eagles don’t have a single fantasy-relevant player on the report. For that reason, we will only cover the Chiefs!
Mahomes bravely took the field against Cincinnati despite his right high ankle sprain and threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns. Mahomes was not nearly at 100%, however, as he only ran for 8 yards, and the longest pass play of the day went for only 29 yards.
With two more weeks to rehab, Mahomes should be much closer to 100% for the Super Bowl. Coach Andy Reid has stated that Mahomes can do almost everything the playbook asks for and is very pleased with his mobility.
With a high ankle sprain, the tibia and fibula bones are pulled away from one another, and the ligaments that hold them together are torn to some degree. This creates instability in the ankle, making it challenging to generate force for the throw. For a right-handed quarterback, the power during a throw comes from pushing violently off the right leg. Mahomes’ longest completion in the conference championship was only 29 yards, which is likely because he could not push it down the field. With two more weeks to recover, his throwing power and mobility should be much better. I do not expect much decline in Mahomes performance. However, the re-injury risk is still high.
Edwards-Helaire, like his quarterback above, has been dealing with a high ankle sprain. CEH’s injury occurred in week 11, and he has been on the injured reserve (IR) since. CEH was activated off the IR and may be active for the Super Bowl.
As mentioned above, a high ankle sprain makes pushing off the injured leg difficult. For a running back, this would create a challenge for cutting and changing direction. Edwards-Helaire, however, has had 11 weeks to rehab now. He should be more than 100% healthy, and I expect no residual deficits from the injury. The concern for Edwards-Helaire would be rust, the development of Isaiah Pacheco, and the emergence of Jerrick McKinnon. No longer is CEH the lead back in Kansas City.
Toney picked up yet another hamstring injury in the conference championship, as well as an ankle injury. Toney has dealt with his share of hamstring injuries this season. I have written and preached at length about how someone from the Kansas City medical staff MUST assess his sciatic nerve mobility, but I will save that for another day.
Hamstring injuries impact players top end speed, which is what makes Toney great. In fact, the strain on the hamstring increases by 1.3 times when an athlete’s speed increases from 80-100% of a sprint! It takes about 40-50 yards of running to get up to max speed, which is why we see receivers suffer hamstring injuries more than any other position. Receivers see an average decline of 2.7 fantasy points from their pre-injury baseline in the first game after a hamstring injury.
Toney’s ankle injury is a bit vague but does not appear serious. An ankle injury can impede an athlete’s lateral agility, which is also a strength of Toney. Practice reports this week will be vital to understand how impacted Toney is by his ankle injury and what to expect in the Super Bowl. On average, receivers see a decline of 1.4 fantasy points from the pre-injury baseline in the first game after an ankle injury.
Smith-Schuster is dealing with a vague knee injury ahead of the Super Bowl. Often times when teams do not release a true diagnosis, its because there isn’t one. The knee is prone to minor sorenesses and tendinopathies simply because of the stress it takes on with athletics. Knee injuries are usually not the knee’s fault; they are generally secondary to issues at the ankle or the hip.
Either way, practice reports have been positive about Smith-Schuster, and there is little concern that this will impact his performance.
Hardman aggravated his pelvis injury (sports hernia) in the conference championship and is likely out for the Super Bowl. As I discussed last week, this injury is so hard for players to rehabilitate conservatively. While unfortunate, it was not shocking that Hardman aggravated his injury. I expect he will undergo surgery and be 100% ready to go next season.