Fantasy Football 2021: Cheatsheet for Injured Players and Holdout Candidates

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIAugust 17, 2021

Fantasy Football 2021: Cheatsheet for Injured Players and Holdout Candidates

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    In order to be at successful at fantasy football, you have to stay on top of the latest NFL news. And that's especially the case during the leadup to your league's draft.

    There's nothing worse than not doing your research and using a high pick on a player who is currently dealing with an injury. That ailment could potentially be substantial enough for the player to miss time, and then you're left scrambling trying to fill your lineup. It could have been avoided, too, if you had been reading up on injury news and staying on top of the latest happenings around the NFL.

    This preseason, like always, there are players who are dealing with injuries, some more serious than others. So it's important to keep up with the latest news regarding these players before considering whether you want to draft them or not.

    Here are some important things to keep in mind as you prepare for your fantasy football draft, which is likely happening within the next few weeks.

Prescott Seems to Be Trending in the Right Direction

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Dak Prescott was limited to five games last season after suffering a broken right ankle. But that's not the reason why the Dallas Cowboys quarterback hasn't been in action of late.

    Currently, Prescott is sidelined with a right latissimus strain. But he's undergone two MRIs now on the right shoulder, and those came back with good news, according to ESPN's Todd Archer, so it seems Prescott is trending in the right direction. However, Archer shared Monday that Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy feels "no urgency" to get Prescott into a preseason game if the quarterback isn't ready.

    That means Prescott could potentially not play in a game until the season opener on Sept. 9 against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And it would mark the first time that Prescott is in a competitive setting since Week 5 of last season.

    There's surely some risk with taking Prescott in fantasy drafts right now, but the ceiling is so high, considering he's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when healthy. And as long as feels good and plays up to potential, he's likely going to have a big 2021.

    At this point, it's not worth passing on Prescott, especially because he seems to be trending in the right direction and like he'll be ready for the regular season. It may be smart to also take another solid quarterback late, though, just in case.

Swift Continuing to Miss Practices for Lions

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    When D'Andre Swift was a rookie in 2020, he flashed his potential at times. But he rushed for only 521 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games because the Detroit Lions utilized numerous backs, so Swift made only four starts and had to share the workload with others.

    This year, Swift is the clear No. 1 running back in Detroit. However, he's missed substantial time during training camp due to a groin injury, and he still wasn't back at practice on Monday.

    That should change soon, though. Lions head coach Dan Campbell said that Swift is planning to be a limited participant at Tuesday's practice, per Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire, so perhaps things are moving in the right direction. But it could still be a bit risky to rely on Swift as one of the top two running backs on your fantasy roster at the start of the season.

    As long as Swift gets healthy and this doesn't become a lingering issue, he's likely going to have a strong year. So continue to monitor his status, and if your league's draft isn't until closer to the start of the season, there may not even be any concerns by that point.

Is Rodgers Safe to Draft After Offseason Buzz?

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    There aren't any major offensive players holding out from training camp this year. But for much of the offseason, it seemed like Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was heading in that direction.

    Rodgers made it known that he wasn't getting along with the Packers' front office. Yet, he reported to camp on time and is now preparing for the 2021 season. And considering he was the NFL MVP last year, he should again put up big numbers with plenty of talented playmakers around him in Green Bay's offense.

    It seems that Rodgers may have also put the offseason behind him and shifted his focus to playing football.

    "I really do love it," Rodgers said, per Peter King of NBC Sports. "Otherwise, I wouldn’t have come back. I’ve got so many other things that I love and I’m passionate about. I love competing. I love practice, still. I’ve had a really good camp. Last year I felt like I started a little slow and then something clicked. I’ve actually had a really good camp here. I feel good about where I’m at."

    Sounds like Rodgers may have another big season in store. And with him in camp and ready to go, there should be no hesitations about adding him to your fantasy team. In fact, it's likely a good idea to try to draft him.