Updated: Nov 1
Andrew Leduc, & Brian Scott, MEd, PA-C, ATC-Ret.
September 9, 2022
Welcome to the first edition of “Inside The Medical Tent” for week 1. In this weekly series, I will ask Brian Scott of “The Injured List Podcast” injury status questions for some key fantasy contributors. The goal of this is to bring some insight into whether you should feel confident playing certain players or if you will need to find a replacement for that week or weeks going forward.
Injuries can swing a fantasy season quite drastically. The key is being able to read a situation with enough time to pivot. With a medical expert such as Brian Scott here to help us, we should be able to stay ahead of the curve and all of our league mates. Let’s dive into week 1 situations and find out who we should be staying away from.
Question: Does JK Dobbins have a realistic chance to play week one coming off the ACL injury?
Brian Scott: I am NOT very optimistic about him being ready for week one based on what I have heard and read online and some of the videos I have seen of him in drills. He seems to be favoring that surgically repaired knee. Is it because of pain, weakness, or some functional instability? That remains the question. He has been limited in practice and so far has not had any contact. I can’t see him being active for week 1. He is one year out from his surgery, and all along, he had said he was ahead of schedule. It’s likely that he had some more structural damage in that knee that may be slowing him since he started doing more sports-specific movements and skills.
This would definitely not be the news managers want to hear after drafting him as RB23 and 50th overall. First off, I was never in at his ADP. I think the Raven’s backfield has proven to be a revolving door of next man up and will continue to be that way. If Dobbins misses week 1, then the Ravens are already down to their 3rd back on the depth chart, Mike Davis. Gus Edwards is on the PUP list and will miss at least the first four games. We can expect Mike Davis and newly added Kenyan Drake to carry this backfield. Honestly, though, I expect the offense to rely more on Lamar Jackson making plays both on the ground and in the air. Look elsewhere for running backs this week.
Question: Thoughts on Allen Lazard and his chances of playing after popping up on the injury report?
Brian Scott: Apparently, Lazard had his ankle stepped on in practice late last week and has not practiced all week, including Thursday. This is concerning, but not as concerning as one might think. They could just be taking it cautiously because of some swelling, but if he got his ankle stepped on and rolled it, then it could be more like a sprain and not just a bruise, which is what one might think when they hear the initial report. Still kind of vague about what is going on. I think that is a strategic move on part of the organization because it might be worse than they want to admit. The salvation here is that he had a whole preseason under his belt, so there is not much more needed in preparation this week for him, so they could just be letting him rest in preparation for week 1…or maybe not. Gonna come down to the wire. Injury reports come out Friday.
Lazard has been a draft value darling this summer as his hype train has been rolling through every station. As Aaron Rodgers only trusted target outside of Robert Tonyan, he has been poised for a breakout season. A late injury in the preseason, though, seems like it could put a damper on things. Brian seems to think Lazard can play, and I tend to agree with him. There is the chance he is not going to be playing at 100%, though, and that is what worries me. From a DFS stance, I think you can find great value in Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, who would be the one and two options if Lazard sits. Even more so, we could see an early-season comfort connection between Rodgers and Randall Cobb. Given the divisional matchup in the dome, I believe there will be points scored here. In your season long, I would be looking to start Tonyan and both running backs for Green Bay comfortably.
Question: James Robinson is set to play coming off the Achilles injury. Do you expect him to return to his same explosiveness?
Brian Scott: I do think he will look good coming off that Achilles. That being said, almost all skill position players will lose at least half a step, and in the NFL, that could prove to be significant. What might actually work to his advantage is that he will probably not be getting starting running back type carries. So used in a limited basis eight months after Achilles’ repair could be an excellent way for him to make a huge impact. I think he will be solid, but he will show some rust.
I have loved James Robinson’s value all off-season. He was consistently being drafted two to three rounds after Travis Etienne. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of Etienne in dynasty formats, and I do believe he will serve as a great FLEX option this year. It would not shock me, though, if Robinson comes out as the starter and 1A back with Etienne as the 1B option. It would also not shock me if Robinson was on a different team by year’s end. Either way, this week, they are on the road against a stout Commanders’ defense. I would temper expectations on his ceiling in week 1. I see Robinson and Etienne as FLEX plays this week.
Question: Ertz has a lingering calf injury. Is there an expectation this is an injury that will be nagging him all season and that we will have to watch week in and out?
Brian Scott: Ertz did not practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Not good news and calf injuries are very tough to treat and take a long time to get better. I would not be surprised if this one keeps him out, not only for week 1 but perhaps even longer.
This is exactly why Trey McBride in DFS this week is a fantastic value play and the main reason I will play a double tight end lineup in the millionaire maker contest. Zach Ertz was poised, in my opinion, for a great year in an explosive offense. We had seen him have success in a two-tight end scheme with the Eagles, so the drafting of McBride did not phase me. However, this injury makes me skeptical about his value this season. I think McBride is going to have a big week 1 with Marquise Brown being the real only other high-end target for Kyler Murray. The other beneficiary who could sneak into winning DFS lineups is AJ Green. Until DeAndre Hopkins returns, I think Green will play a role in this offense. I am not playing him unless I am weak at flex, but he could bring you some great trade value in the season’s early weeks.
Question: Chris Godwin removed his knee brace this week. Is this a positive in his timeline to return?
Brian Scott: Godwin’s knee brace coming off means nothing to me. It was more concerning that he was wearing it at all. Most surgeons these days do not have their patients wear knee braces once they are cleared to start doing agility training and sport-specific activities. To hear he took it off made me question why he had it on in the first place. He has been doing only limited practices, and he had surgery in week 17 last year, so it is going to be a few more weeks. Godwin is only eight months out, so I think he will need more time.
This comes as no surprise. A lot of managers have been drafting Godwin early with hopes that he was ahead of schedule and would return in the first four weeks. It could still be a possibility, but it seems like it could be close. I have had Mike Evans higher than a lot in my rankings because of this and because of the departure of Rob Gronkowski. Evans will be the main beneficiary of the vacant red zone targets and should see a good start to the year. I am starting Evans confidently against the porous Cowboy’s secondary.
The key is to not overreact to what we see in week 1. If anything, we should be seeing opportunities. If a player is off to a hot start, but it is because of the opportunity created by an injury, then we may be able to get good trade value for that player once the injury situation changes. Always be on the lookout for ways to gain an edge and use scenarios to your advantage. I will see you next week Inside The Medical Tent.
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