Your quarterback is going to be the highest-scoring player on your roster. If he is not, he just isn't good and neither is your fantasy team.
Losing him can have a cataclysmic effect on your season; therefore, you should be out to minimize risk. Consider this fair warning on these potential high-upside passers.
Age-Related Injury Risks
Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Carson Palmer
I don't care who you are: Father Time is undefeated. It takes longer for some, but eventually he always wins. These quarterbacks have all reached age 33 or higher, which means they are at the age where breaking down is a greater possibility. One funny twist or big hit can leave them missing games for an extended period.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Newton's offseason ankle surgery is behind him, but Jake Davidow of SportsInjuryPredictor.com is still skeptical. Davidow runs an advanced injury analytics company that assesses risk, using historical injury data, complex regression algorithms and mathematical forecasting tools. Newton is one of his top three quarterbacks most likely to sustain injury.
Davidow cites a repaired ankle, a quarterback who relies on his mobility—putting himself in danger—a revamped offensive line and a entirely new receiving corps as reasons Newton won't hold up. Less flexibility, less time to throw and fewer targets capable of getting open are bad, bad things—especially for a quarterback who is still a bit wet behind the ears at age 25.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Unlike Newton, who has played 16 games in each of the past three seasons, RG3's potential for injury is far easier to see. He has had a major knee reconstruction and hasn't played a 16-game season in either of his first two years, although missing the last three games of 2013 was a product of former head coach Mike Sham-ahan. RG3 has huge upside, but you need to wait until Round 6 to accept the risk.
Davidow tells us:
Players who have two ACL surgeries on the same knee have a substantially higher incidence of corresponding ligament damage along with re-injuring the ACL again; think Danario Alexander. While Griffin is a year removed from the second surgery, a player as mobile and edge-aware as Griffin will always carry an elevated level of risk due to his compromised right knee.
Makes complete sense to us, and we didn't even need history and math.
Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
Locker is Davidow's No. 1 injury-risk quarterback for the second consecutive year. In case you are in a two-quarterback league and want a player who might gain a job due to injury, you might consider Zach Mettenberger as a real dark-horse pick.
Check out Locker's injury history Davidow has compiled for us:
- 2008 (college)—Fractured thumb on throwing hand
- 2010 (college)—Fractured ribs
- 2012 (NFL)—Separated (non-throwing) shoulder required surgery in the offseason
- 2013 (NFL)—Sprained hip
- 2013 (NFL)—Lisfranc fracture
What's next? Don't wait to find out. Avoid this modern-day Glass Joe.
- Cutler, Chicago Bears (various)
- Hoyer, Cleveland Browns (knee)
- Bradford, St. Louis Rams (shoulder)
- Manuel, Buffalo Bills (knee)
- Manziel, Cleveland Browns (stature and aggressive playing style)
- Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars (various)
- Schaub, Oakland Raiders (various)