Fantasy Football 2020: Advice on Chris Carson, Top Players Returning from Injury

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson holds the football as players warm up for an NFL football scrimmage Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

When it comes to risk-reward players in fantasy, few stand out more than those returning from injury. Some players never seem to regain their previous form, while others—like Adrian Peterson back in 2012—seem to come back better than ever.

The reality is that players returning from significant injuries are complete unknowns, and it's hard to know whom to trust.

We'll try to answer the question of which notable players returning from injury are worth trusting here. We'll examine the players, the injuries and the situations that are likely to arise in 2020—then buying or selling each player at his current ADP, according to FantasyPros.


Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

We'll start things off with Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson. The former seventh-round pick has been a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his last two seasons. However, he suffered a fractured hip in Week 16 and missed the rest of the year, including the playoffs.

The good news is that Carson appears to be healthy and has been a participant in training camp. The bad news is that Seattle added veteran back Carlos Hyde in the offseason and will presumably get Rashaad Penny back at some point.

Simply put, Carson might not be in store for a starting-back workload in 2020.

"Seattle's running back depth has looked very good in camp with Carlos Hyde, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas carrying the load, but having Carson back is always good news for the offense," John Boyle of the team's official website wrote.

Given the depth that Seattle has at running back, Carson's ADP of 34 feels too high. While he might be the lead back in Seattle's committee, he's going to be part of a committee. He's currently trending about a round too high.


Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, on the other hand, is trending too low with an ADP of 101. He only played in eight games last season but was on pace for 4,998 passing yards and 38 touchdowns. As long as he's healthy in 2020, he's going to approach similar numbers.

And the early indication is that Stafford is indeed at or close to 100 percent. He has been a full-go in training camp and has wowed new backup Chase Daniel.

"Staff just continues to blow my mind on some of these throws, whether it's watching it in the film room or we're seeing it live," he said, per Justin Rogers of the Detroit News.

With weapons like Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson at his disposal, Stafford can potentially be one of fantasy's most productive quarterbacks this season. If he continues trending as an eighth- or ninth-round pick, he'll definitely be worth buying at that price.


Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Stafford isn't the only prolific passer returning from a significant injury this season. Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller Ben Roethlisberger is back after missing 14 games with an elbow injury that required surgery.

Two years ago, Roethlisberger passes for 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns. Could he provide fantasy managers with that sort of production in 2020? Maybe. However, as Mark Madden of TribLive.com recently noted, the days of Big Ben being a pure gunslinger may need to end.

"His strong arm at training camp duly noted, Roethlisberger has likely reached the stage of his career where less is more," Madden wrote. "He needs to meld being a gunslinger with being a game manager. If he leads the NFL in pass attempts like he did in 2018, that won't be good."

Managers would be wise not to expect Roethlisberger to top 5,000 yards this season. However, he should still be a serviceable fantasy starter and is worth picking up as a streaming option later in drafts.

With an ADP of 124, this is exactly where managers are likely to find him.


DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson exploded in his first game back with the Philadelphia Eagles last season. In Week 1, he caught eight passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, a sports hernia limited him to just three games and nine catches on the season.

Jackson is back once again, however, and has looked to be the same explosive weapon he was before the injury.

"The buzz has been that Jackson is as fast as ever following core muscle surgery last season," ESPN's Tim McManus wrote.

Jackson's value will be helped by the fact that Alshon Jeffery remains on the PUP list while Jalen Reagor is dealing with a shoulder injury. Jackson will likely be Philadelphia's No. 1 receiver early in the season.

With an ADP of just 168, Jackson is worth targeting several spots higher than where he is currently trending.