NFL FantasyPass Preview: Top 5 Fantasy Football Injuries to Watch

  • Nothing makes a fantasy football manager pull their hair out more than injuries in August. Whether it’s a ding or dent in a preseason game or a tweak in practice, injuries fill drafters with anxiety as they get closer and closer to being on the clock.

    Information isn’t always great either, as coaches and teams vary in their level of transparency about crucial injuries. We tried our best for you; below is the important information about the five most important injuries for fantasy football heading into draft season:

    Joe Burrow

    What Happened: On July 27, Bengals QB Joe Burrow suffered a non-contact injury in practice. While serious injury was feared, Burrow was diagnosed with a calf strain.

    What’s the Latest: Burrow, initially given a timeline of “several weeks”, hasn’t practiced since the injury and has been working to be ready for Week 1. Bengals WR Ja’marr Chase gave fantasy managers a scare earlier this month when he said publicly that he told Burrow to not rush back before Week 5. However, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero told Rich Eisen last week that there’s no reason to believe Burrow will miss Week 1.

    What it means for Fantasy: Burrow’s injury is the most important fantasy injury of the offseason, not only because he himself ranks among the Top 5 at the QB position, but also since Chase is a consensus top-5 pick, and his teammates WR Tee Higgins and RB Joe Mixon are both going in the 3rd round in most drafts. If Burrow is in fact ready for Week 1, he could be a value in drafts if he starts coming off the board 7th or even 8th among QBs. If he misses Week 1, Higgins and Mixon will likely struggle to live up to expectations with either Trevor Siemian or Jake Browning under center, and Burrow drafters will have to take a backup QB late with an eye on starting them early on.


    Cooper Kupp

    What Happened: Rams WR Cooper Kupp, who missed the second half of the 2022 season with a serious ankle injury, suffered a hamstring strain in practice in early August.

    What’s the Latest: There hadn’t been much news about the Kupp injury, and he was starting to fall from the top of the first round to the middle of the first round in recent weeks. However, Rams Coach Sean McVay said Sunday that Kupp will likely return to practice this week.

    What it means for Fantasy: It’s a huge sigh of relief for fantasy managers, as Kupp comes in top-4 at the WR position going in the top 7 in most drafts with Chase, Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill, and likely doesn’t need to fall out of that group if he demonstrates he’s good to go in practice this week. If Kupp doesn’t play in the preseason but shows up to Week 1 fully healthy, he still carries the upside to be the No. 1 overall player in fantasy football this season, and that uncertainty could make him a league-winning value in the middle of Round 1.

    Jonathan Taylor

    What Happened: Colts RB Jonathan Taylor was snakebitten by injuries in 2022, and an ankle injury he suffered in Week 15 and had surgery on in January has kept him on the PUP list throughout the preseason. There are also reports of Taylor having a back injury that he disputes.

    What’s the Latest: This situation remains a mess. The back-and-forth between Taylor and Colts Owner Jim Irsay produced some truly wild quotes, but the temperature appeared to have lowered, as Colts Insider Joel Erickson tweeted that Taylor will travel with the Colts to Philadelphia for their third preseason game against the Eagles. Then Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Colts have given Taylor and his representation permission to seek a trade. This appears to be a true “wait-and-see” situation with as much going on with Taylor’s contract situation and general animosity with the team as his ongoing injuries.

    What it means for Fantasy: Taylor went 1st or 2nd overall in most drafts in 2022 and his injury issues left fantasy managers disappointed. He understandably fell closer to the 2nd round heading into 2023. His average draft position has cratered in August, with trends pushing him into the 3rd round in some drafts, which would’ve been unthinkable this time a year ago. At the same time, how can you draft him in the first two rounds with so much uncertainty surrounding him? With nothing about Taylor’s situation definitively improving, fantasy managers drafting him in the second round are truly rolling the dice, and a third round pick with an RB and WR already in place seems like a much more reasonable gamble once the dust settles on his trade talks.

    George Kittle

    What Happened: 49ers TE George Kittle has missed much of the past two weeks of practice due to a groin strain suffered in practice during the week of August 7.

    What’s the Latest: There’s good news for fantasy managers here, as Kittle returned to practice Monday. It remains to be seen if he’ll play in the 49ers final preseason game, but either way, it appears he’s well on track to play in Week 1.

    What it means for Fantasy: Kittle should be good to go when you set your lineup in Week 1, so he absolutely needs to be drafted as a mid-tier starter for fantasy. However, this groin strain is the latest in a long line of medium-severity injuries to disrupt Kittle, and the threat of reinjury looms. Kittle is currently going 4th off the board at the TE position, well after Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews and close behind TJ Hockenson. With Kittle’s injury history, it’s possible that Darren Waller or Kyle Pitts have more upside, while Dallas Goedert offers a safer floor.

    Miles Sanders

    What Happened: Panthers RB Miles Sanders suffered a groin injury in practice on August 9.

    What’s the Latest: Sanders, who joined the Panthers after four seasons with the Eagles this offseason, missed the Panthers first two preseason games, which happened to be the first two professional starts for No. 1 overall pick QB Bryce Young. However, some good news broke Monday, as Sanders returned to practice for the first time since the injury.

    What it means for Fantasy: Sanders is going off the board as roughly the RB20 following his breakout 2022 where he finished as the RB13 in Half PPR. Could he be a value in the early part of the so-called RB dead zone? If he’s fully healthy, as the return to practice suggests he will be by Week 1, Sanders could be among the best options being drafted as an RB2, especially since he’s far and away the most talented player in the Panthers’ offense.

    Read Next: Preseason Hype

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