Fantasy Football 2019: Latest Injury News and Expert Reaction

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 21, 2019

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws during practice at the NFL team's football training camp in Westfield, Ind., Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Fantasy owners are approaching peak draft season.

Gathering and understanding the latest injury information is paramount to acing this portion of the fantasy football season.

So, we've assembled both the latest medical news on three fantasy-relevant players and experts' reaction to it. You're welcome.


Andrew Luck Will Not Practice This Week

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - AUGUST 17:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts watches action during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Call it a calf, call it an ankle, call it a small little bone—something isn't right with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, and it will cost him another week of practice.

"It's always that combination of how much full speed? At what level?" Colts head coach Frank Reich said. "It's on a continuum right? A continuum of speed and movements, right? There's a continuum of speed and movements, and a continuum of pain. So it's those combinations."

That's coach speak for...frankly, we're not really sure. Regardless, another week without practice could prove ominous for Luck, since Indy planned to announce its Week 1 starter after this weekend's preseason tilt.

So, is it time for potential fantasy owners to look elsewhere? Not exactly, according to CBS Sports' Heath Cummings, who has downgraded the 29-year-old a bit but cautioned against getting carried away:

"I am on board with dropping Luck out of the top four [quarterbacks]. I can't take him ahead of guys like Carson Wentz, Cam Newton or Baker Mayfield anymore. I struggle with Jameis Winston, who may be close to being able to match Luck's upside. But if Luck's going to fall much past that range of quarterbacks, I'll happily be drafting him."

If you're comfortable with some degree of risk, Luck has major bargain potential. The last two times he's made it through all 16 games (2014 and 2018), he has averaged 4,677 passing yards and 39.5 passing touchdowns.


Early Return Creates Early Optimism for Emmanuel Sanders

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 19:  Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos in action against the San Francisco 49ers during a preseason game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on August 19, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Imag
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Less than nine months removed from a torn Achilles, Denver Broncos wideout Emmanuel Sanders was back in action Monday night.

If it wasn't such a major storyline, you would've never known he was hurt.

While he only played three series of Denver's 24-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, he looked electric when his number was called. He took an end-around 19 yards and should have added a 45-yard reception, if not for a holding penalty on Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles. Sanders also took his first official target for a five-yard gain on a screen pass.

The 32-year-old looked spry and, more importantly, like someone who can reward anyone who makes a fantasy investment.

"Joe Flacco isn't flashy, but if he forms a connection with Sanders as his No. 1 option, there should be numbers to be had," Sporting News' Billy Helen wrote. "Sanders is going outside the top-40 WRs in current ADP. Expect that to rise (and justifiably so) after Sanders made it through this first game looking healthy."

Despite missing the last four games of 2018, Sanders paced the Broncos in receptions (71) and receiving yards (868) while tying for the team lead in touchdown receptions (four). If he's back, he could return huge value at his draft price.


Rust Evident, Worrisome in Jimmy Garoppolo's Return

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

While Sanders shined in his injury return, Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did the opposite in his first game back from last season's torn ACL.

Throw out as many caveats as you'd like—it's preseason, he was rusty, his line didn't play great—the results were still grotesque. He completed one pass on six attempts for zero yards. He was picked off on his second throw of the game and should've been picked again on his fourth.

For fantasy owners in dire need of silver linings, Garoppolo said he "wasn't thinking about" his surgically repaired knee. Otherwise, the entire night was a dud, and given the struggles he's already encountered at practice, it's fair to wonder if this trendy sleeper will ever wake up.

"He just hasn't looked comfortable and doesn't seem like the same guy," CBS Sports' Dave Richard said. "We've talked about his receivers and which one is going to step up and break out. I'm concerned none of them are going to break out, because Garoppolo isn't going to be able to support them."

Maybe Garoppolo proves this is nothing more than a preseason overreaction. But it's tough not to worry when, despite being 27 years old, he remains unproven at this level.

A former backup to Tom Brady, Garoppolo only has 17 touchdown passes and 10 starts in his NFL career. Buyer beware.