Fantasy Football 2022: Latest Injury News and Expert Reaction
NFL training camps are in full swing, and the kickoff of the 2022-23 season is two short weeks away. That means, of course, that fantasy football drafts are also ramping up, with managers cramming to catch up on which players are where, who's in line to win training camp battles and, unfortunately, which players have recently suffered injuries.
Injuries in the preseason are devastating—for fans but, obviously, most for the players who suffer them. Effects on fantasy seasons pale in contrast to the real-world effects on players' livelihoods injuries create. Still, fantasy managers must remain knowledgeable about the health of players as they put together their squads for the upcoming league year.
We'll take a closer look at the players who have suffered unfortunate injuries in the last week that will cause them to miss substantial time this season, if not the whole year. Then, we'll break down some expert analysis about how to approach the draft with this knowledge in hand.
All analysis is for draft leagues with points-per-reception (PPR) scoring. Projections and rankings are via Fantasy Pros.
Latest NFL Injury News
Per NBCSports Philadelphia Eagles insider Reuben Frank, running back Miles Sanders has been out nearly two weeks with what was initially reported as leg soreness but is now considered to be a hamstring injury. Per Frank, head coach Nick Sirianni said there’s no timetable for Sanders' return, which leaves him open to missing time during the regular season.
Seattle Seahawks rookie Ken Walker III was in line to have a breakout role on the team this season, but we may not see what he can do in Week 1. Walker had a recent hernia procedure, and while coach Pete Carroll initially said he expected the rookie to return by Week 1, he has since "backed off that thought," per ESPN's Brady Henderson. Prior to his procedure, Walker was putting on "an eye-catching show of moves and bursts" in camp, per the Tacoma News Tribune's Gregg Bell.
The Kansas City Chiefs placed running back Derrick Gore on IR Tuesday, as Pro Football Network's Aaron Wilson reported. Head coach Andy Reid had shared with reporters in preseason Week 2 that Gore had a fractured thumb.
In a spot of good news, Dallas Cowboys wideout CeeDee Lamb returned to practice Tuesday and participated in individual drills, per NFL.com's Around the NFL. Lamb had missed time with a lacerated toe.
The injury hits just keep coming for embattled wideout Kevin White, who is now playing for the New Orleans Saints. As Pro Football Focus' Ari Meirov reported Tuesday, the Saints placed White on IR.
One of the most exciting rookie fantasy prospects this year is Jameson Williams, who tore his ACL in Alabama's National Championship Game appearance before being drafted by the Detroit Lions. Per ESPN's Eric Woodyard, the Lions have placed Williams on the reserve/NFI list, which means he can't be activated until after the fourth regular season game.
Per DNVR's Zac Stevens, the Denver Broncos are "doing 'everything they can' to get Greg Dulcich on the field for Week 1" as he deals with a hamstring injury. The rookie tight end has been competing with Albert Okwuegbunam for the starting job.
Expert Fantasy Advice
If you've already drafted Miles Sanders or if you were looking at the Eagles' backfield as an option generally, FantasyPros' Jesse Garcia has some advice on stopgaps while Sanders recovers from his hamstring injury.
"With no timetable for a return to the field, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell become viable options should Sanders miss time in the regular season," Garcia wrote. Sanders is ranked 73rd overall (29th among running backs) in PPR rankings.
While Seahawks running back Ken Walker III is still worth drafting in rookie or dynasty leagues, as FantasyPros' Garcia pointed out, it's looking like Rashaad Penny will get the nod as the Seahawks' lead running back to open the season. Walker is now ranked RB37, but keep an eye on him for a return and potentially an in-season waiver-wire claim, or take a chance selecting him to stash on your bench.
Because the Chiefs placed Derrick Gore on IR prior to final roster cuts, he is not eligible to return this year and his season has effectively ended. However, if the team reaches an injury settlement with the running back, he can be re-signed to the practice squad.
While CeeDee Lamb's toe injury wasn't threatening to sideline him during the regular season, fantasy managers can now feel free to move full steam ahead on drafting him. FantasyPros ranks Lamb as WR6 in PPR average draft position (ADP).
Landing on IR with the Saints is the latest in a series of blows for Kevin White in his NFL career. Thanks to injuries, White has posted only 26 receptions in 20 games in four seasons. He is not ranked to draft by FantasyPros.
The Lions placing Jameson Williams on the reserve/NFI list creates an opportunity for fantasy managers in redraft leagues. FantasyPros' Kelly Kirby said: "Depending on your fantasy league format and available IR spots, Williams is a sneaky stash in redraft leagues. Be aware that the timeline for return sounds closer to November than Week 5, but the potential is enticing."
Fantasy managers will need to hedge their bets if they're planning to draft Greg Dulcich this year, and he'll likely occupy a bench spot for at least one week, as the team is unlikely to rush his return. But, per Garcia, "In an offense led by Russell Wilson, Dulcich is a solid pickup for fantasy managers."