Fantasy Football: 8 Injury-Plagued Stars You Don't Want Next Season
It is nearly impossible to survive a fantasy football season without one of your key players suffering a debilitating injury, and as such, it’s sometimes hard to recover and have any sustained success.
Predicting who will get injured and cripple your team is an inexact science, but you can safeguard yourself by tracking the injury-plagued pasts of some players. If they have a habit of getting injured over and over again or getting hurt at an age that will make it harder for them to recover, then you might be well-served to stay away from them.
So, in this slideshow will be eight players (ranked in order of fantasy significance from eight to one) you should steer clear of, as they can torpedo your season with devastating injuries. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
8. Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers
It’s hard to suggest even talking a late-round flier on Danario Alexander, who got injured this year before the season even started.
As a guy who has had five surgeries on his left knee, he tore his ACL in his right knee in camp this summer. After dazzling fantasy owners in 2012 with 37 receptions for 658 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in just 10 games, Alexander just may never be the same player again.
While you’ll root for him to get back and overcome the odds, his injury-marred past should prevent you from drafting him next year.
7. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers
When you start to discuss having spinal fusion surgery, which Jermichael Finley underwent in November, you have to step back and think if playing football is a wise decision. However, Finley plans to come back and is expected to be back on the field in two to three months.
When you combine that scary injury with his bouts with concussions and his knee injury of 2010, Finley is someone you should not target to be your starting tight end.
Here’s to hoping Finley gets in shape, but trusting him to stay healthy all of next year is just too risky.
6. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
The listing of Michael Vick here is based on the assumption his days in Philadelphia are over and that he'll possibly land a starting job elsewhere.
Like Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman said in a wonderful piece published in October, Vick’s career is likely over:
Vick has played an entire 16-game season just once in 11 years. No player I've covered has taken more brutal shots than Vick. There were times when Vick was hit and I wondered how he didn't die on the spot.
His injury history reads like something from a nightmare: There was the shoulder injury, then a hamstring, knee, another shoulder, a groin, quad injury, a concussion, a hand injury, a finger injury, hurt ribs, another concussion and the most recent hamstring injury. And those are the known injuries. It's no secret that almost every player and every team hides injuries.
When you take all that into consideration, Vick should be nowhere near anyone’s radar in drafts next summer. And don’t be fooled by the likely and eventual "Vick is in the best shape of his life and has found his calling in (insert team here)" line that might be muttered by some writers come summertime. Like Freeman said, he’s toast.
5. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
Normally I would suggest taking a late-round flier on a player of Darren McFadden’s talents, but we all shouldn’t be fooled again. McFadden is damaged goods and is a practically a cancer to his fantasy owners.
So many injuries have ravaged his once-promising career, and he has never played in more than 13 games in one season. What injury hasn’t he had? McFadden has suffered from hamstring, foot, ankle, toe and knee injuries.
It just doesn’t seem McFadden will ever get back to being a high-end running back, and his upside is at an all-time low. Like the saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."
Heed that advice when it comes to McFadden next draft season.
4. David Wilson, New York Giants
Doctors think that Wilson will be at risk at reinjuring his neck if he plays again. Like Finley, Wilson will try to recuperate and get back on the field. Although Wilson has great athleticism, talent and promise to be a successful running back in the league, he may go the way of Jahvid Best and be forced out of the game early with an enervating injury.
Besides, Wilson has never endeared himself to Giants coach Tom Coughlin, and he would have to battle to get his job back in the first place. So, even if cleared, you should pass on Wilson in fantasy drafts.
3. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
To label Reggie Wayne as injury prone is disingenuous, as he had played in 16 games every year for 11 seasons prior to 2013.
However, for a wide receiver who will turn 36 next year and is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in October, Wayne is just someone you should not trust to come back with vigor.
While Wayne is hopeful to return in time for the 2014 season opener, he is not likely to be the same receiver he once was. Between the injury and father time, Wayne should be avoided in the early rounds of drafts.
2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
We all know how transcendent a tight end Rob Gronkowski is when he is healthy, but far too often he is on the sidelines.
After suffering a torn ACL and MCL in a game against the Browns on December 8, the list of injuries hampering Gronkowski seems to grow each day. Prior to the ACL and MCL injury, in the last two years Gronkowski also had to deal with a high ankle sprain, broken forearm, a forearm infection and back surgery.
With those line of ailments, Gronkowski may never again be the superstar player he once was—at least not in 2014. He may need another year to fully recover, and you’re skating on thin ice if you draft Gronkowski within the first six or so rounds.
1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
It seems Foster is always nicked up, as he constantly seems to be dealing with hamstring injuries as well. Foster will likely be back for training camp, but that back injury could hinder him all year, and you should take extreme cautiousness when thinking about drafting Foster early in drafts.
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