Top Fantasy Football Players 2012: Biggest Injury Risks Among Top 3 Rounds
As short as the shelf life is on an NFL running back these days, it's hard to imagine them being effective for an extended period of time. The same goes for fantasy, where a two-running back system might be great for health, but it makes for a confusing fantasy situation.
This season, grabbing a quality running back seems harder and harder to accomplish. Who is taking carries away from your guy on the goal line? What kind of injury concerns are there? Can I get someone of equal value in a later round?
Running backs will always have the most injury risk because of the beating they take. However, there are several other players in early rounds that have just as much potential to end up on your IR by the time you really need them—the playoffs.
These guys are ones you should shy away from in the early rounds. Let your buddy think he pulled a fast one, until he finds himself out of options late in the season.
Andre Johnson, HOU WR
The big-time receiver was never really himself in 2011. He missed a bunch of games due to a hamstring injury during the first half of the season, then went down again following his return.
He's a huge target, and with teams keying on star running back (and star fantasy player) Arian Foster, a healthy Johnson should mean big fantasy points both in the red zone and in the big play department.
But Johnson has missed time in four of the last seven seasons, and since Kevin Walter is the only other proven threat, teams will send two secondary players at Johnson in every passing situation. Is he a talented player? No doubt. But give me Roddy White or Mike Wallace before Johnson, or take a QB or RB if you don't feel their value is as high.
DeMarco Murray, DAL RB
Murray was a beast in limited action in 2011. He almost cracked the 1000-yard mark on the ground, yet he only had two rushing touchdowns.
Looking back to his time in college and even his first year of NFL action, Murray has seen a lot of action. He had problems with injuries at Oklahoma, but still managed to set the school's touchdown record (65).
If he's healthy, he should look to give balance to an offense with injuries at wide receiver (Dez Bryant and Miles Austin) and a backup that hasn't done anything productive in three years (Felix Jones). But is Murray worth the risk in the second round?
He's got the most potential of anyone behind him, but history sides with the injuries, at least until he proves otherwise. Look at Matt Forte or even Jamaal Charles before Murray, who have at least a little bit of support to keep them healthy.
Mike Vick, PHI QB
As tempting as it is, Vick has already had problems with his ribs, and let's face it—he's not getting any younger. The weapons around him are all in place, but can he survive a full season with the offensive line he has and his penchant for running the ball?
I say no, and that you're better off looking for early QB help with Tony Romo or Philip Rivers before Vick. Remember, if Philly is in contention for the playoffs late, will they even need Vick in a week you might be in the playoffs?
Since he is injury-prone, does he even make it to Week 10? Those risks are too much to assess to draft Vick before the third round.
Adrian Peterson, MIN RB
"All Day" couldn't finish the season last year, and he's coming off his ACL injury with a very unproven offense around him. Teams will likely stack the box and make Christian Ponder beat them, and that doesn't mean good things for Peterson.
But if he's healthy, he's still a solid RB1. He's never finished outside the top seven at his position, but that doesn't mean he can be counted on for a full season.
If Minnesota is as bad as the projections are showing, then maybe the Vikings don't ride Peterson as hard down the stretch. Either way, he runs as hard as any back in the league. While that makes him valuable to a franchise, it isn't going to help your fantasy team if he goes down.
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