Fantasy Football 2020: Cheat Sheet for Injured Players and Holdout Candidates

Jake RillSenior Writer IAugust 18, 2020

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

It's always important to monitor injuries and the status of top players in order to have fantasy football success, but that could be even more crucial during the 2020 season.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the sports world all year, and it will likely affect the upcoming NFL season, even if it begins on time. It's possible positive COVID-19 tests will sideline players during the season, and Major League Baseball has introduced an injured list this year specifically for that reason.

There are also still the typical injury and holdout situations to monitor during training camp, which can greatly affect your league's draft. You don't want to use too high of a pick on a player who's in a contract dispute or may have an injury that could derail his entire season.

Here's some advice regarding several players who have been involved in either injury or holdout buzz leading up to the new season.


Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

In June, Dalvin Cook opted not to participate in the Vikings' offseason activities, while ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the running back was not planning to show up for training camp without signing an extension.

Despite not getting a new deal, the 25-year-old reported to camp on time and is now preparing for the 2020 season.

"I love football, I love being around the guys," Cook said, according to The Athletic's Chad Graff. "It's like a stress reliever for me, just being on the field, being around the guys, being in the locker room. That never was a thought that came toward me."

That's a good thing to hear for fantasy owners, as Cook will likely be one of the first players selected in many drafts this year. In 2019, he had a breakout season, rushing for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns in 14 games en route to making his first Pro Bowl in his third season.

Fantasy advice: Despite the noise earlier this offseason, don't worry about using your top pick on Cook. He's made it seem he'll be suiting up for Minnesota's Week 1 game against Green Bay, and he's likely to have another big year.

Of course, it would be nice if he and the Vikings worked out an extension before the regular season to completely move past the earlier rumors.


T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Last season, T.Y. Hilton missed six games because of various injuries, and 2020 didn't start much better for the wide receiver.

Before training camp, the 30-year-old was placed on the non-football injury list with a mild hamstring issue. He was cleared to practice prior to the start of camp, though, and has been on the field for the Colts of late despite that earlier ailment.

Still, Hilton has dealt with hamstring injuries in the past, missing games in 2018 and 2014 because of them. Although he's proved he can still put up solid numbers when on the field (45 receptions for 501 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games last season), the veteran wideout is getting older, and it's been a troubling trend to see him miss so much time because of injuries.

Fantasy advice: Proceed with caution, for now. It will be important to keep an eye on Hilton throughout training camp to make sure he stays healthy and nothing else flares up.

Regardless, it may not be wise to select him too early in your draft, especially if there are some safer or better options on the board, so wait until at least the mid-to-late fourth round.


Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

Ron Schwane/Associated Press

This is a more recent development, as ESPN's Field Yates tweeted on Monday that Nick Chubb left practice early with a trainer to be evaluated for a "possible concussion."

If it turns out the running back was concussed, he'll have to pass the protocol to return and could miss some time.

Chubb is poised to have another big season for Cleveland after rushing for 1,494 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games last year. He's proved to be a top-tier fantasy running back, and he's likely to be selected in the first round of drafts this season.

It will be important to continue to monitor the 24-year-old's status moving forward to understand the severity of the injury and find out what it could mean for both the near- and long-term future.

Fantasy advice: Take Chubb with a top pick when he's the best available player on the board. He's worth the selection even if he misses a game or two to start the season. Of course, that might not even be a worry, which is why it's important to keep an eye on his situation.