Keeping up with injuries during the fantasy football draft season is tremendously important. The most notable names from the traditional pool of skill players are in focus below.
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals: The 2020 No. 1 overall pick is on track to be just fine for Week 1, and he has been throwing for several well over a month now.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars: A labral repair to the non-throwing shoulder of this spring’s top draft choice didn’t hamper his ability to get onto the field for organized team activities (OTAs). He performed well, according to media reports.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: Less than a year after a gruesome ankle fracture, Prescott will be a full participant in July’s training camp, according to head coach Mike McCarthy. Prescott may be given rest days, if needed.
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The ageless wonder was operated on in the offseason for a minor knee clean-up. As expected, Brady is already back on the field and throwing. An update in July revealed the injury was a torn MCL.
NEW — Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams: It is expected the second-year back will miss all of the 2021 season after tearing an Achilles tendon while training.
NEW — Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams: With Akers set to sit out the entire year, Henderson should see a much larger role in the offense. He ended the 2020 season on Injured Reserve after battling thigh, ankle and hamstring issues throughout the campaign.
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants: The star fantasy back is returning from knee reconstruction after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. Barkley doesn’t know if he’ll be ready for the start training camp, Ralph Vacchiano, of SportsNet New York, reported Monday, July 19. There’s still a reasonable chance his early-season workload will be deliberately restricted.
Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears: Cohen also tore an ACL last year and is in the strengthening phase of his recovery. It remains unclear if the third-down back will be fully ready for the start of training camp. WSCR Radio’s Mark Grote said Cohen looked stiff while walking with a wrap on his leg earlier in July. Cohen did not participate in June OTAs.
James Conner, Arizona Cardinals: An off-road vehicle accident resulted in surgery to repair what was described as an injury similar to turf toe. Conner is expected to be available for training camp, barring any setbacks, after participating in OTAs.
Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers: A torn meniscus resulted in knee surgery in late May, and Wilson will be on the shelf up to six months. Long-time 49ers scribe Matt Maiocco recently said Wilson may not appear until midseason.
Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills: Ankle surgery in the offseason has the second-year rusher on a timeline that should have him available in training camp. He told ABC4: “I’m pretty sure that they’ll ease me back into it,” Moss said. “No limitations, everything has been really good, and no setbacks or anything like that.”
Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts: The fifth-year back is returning from a torn Achilles tendon. He has been participating in “athletic activities” but did not actually practiced in OTAs. According to the Herald-Tribune in mid-July, Mack is feeling normal again, per his agent. “Coming back and easing my way into training camp, and I should be ready for the season. It’s definitely not on my mind,” Mack said.
Rex Burkhead, Houston Texans: The versatile veteran suffered a torn ACL in late November and opted to sign with the Texans this offseason. He may have to begin the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list, although it probably doesn’t matter with such a crowded backfield.
Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers: A minor knee issue has him sitting out of OTAs, but the local-area media reports put the speedy rusher on track for training camp.
Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team: As a rookie in 2020, Gibson suffered a late-season toe injury that is not quite fully healed. It didn’t require surgery, and Gibson is being mindful of not suffering a setback. He was going at full speed and cutting in OTAs, so this doesn’t sound like it should be of much concern for fantasy purposes.
NEW — Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks: The former first-round choice underwent cleanup surgery on his knee and missed mandatory minicamp in June. Penny is expected back for training camp.
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns: The maligned star suffered an ACL tear last October and is “right on track,” according to Akron Beacon Journal writer Nate Ulrich last month. OBJ has posted videos on social media showing his trademark athleticism is still intact, so there’s scant reason to be overly concerned about his health … a sheer lack of chemistry with his quarterback is the larger worry. As of early July, The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot said Beckham “could be” ready for training camp later this month, but there hasn’t been a definitive update since.
Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos: ACL recovery usually takes about nine to 12 months, and it’s not quite as problematic for a receiver of Sutton’s profile. It would be more damning for a juking running back or a joystick receiver, like Tyreek Hill. Sutton suffered the injury in Week 1 and should be just fine, physically speaking, heading into training camp. The team could take it easy on him, though, according to Ryan O’Halloran, of The Denver Post.
Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins: The once-promising career start has been totally derailed by serious injuries. Moreover, the Dolphins restocked the WR cupboard this offseason in a way that could put Williams on the roster bubble. It’s unclear what specifically was wrong with Williams’ foot after missing eight games last year; while he participated in voluntary offseason workouts, Williams sat out minicamp practices. His status for training camp is uncertain.
Jalen Hurd, San Francisco 49ers: Hurd is coming back from an ACL tear and rehabbed on the side during OTAs. The more serious hurdle is cracking the top three at his position in an offense that really doesn’t utilize the spot in a meaningful way. Expect the team to ease him into action during camp.
KJ Hamler, Denver Broncos: Despite putting on 11 pounds in effort to become more durable after playing last year at 170 pounds, Hamler tweaked his hamstring in practice June 1 and sat out the rest of the month as a precaution. He should make a return to the field in training camp.
Dazz Newsome, Chicago Bears: The undersized but agile rookie broke his collarbone in June’s OTAs and appears to be on track for hitting the field during training camp after undergoing surgery.
A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans: The standout pass-catcher underwent clean-up surgery on both knees in January, causing him to miss all of June’s minicamp. Jim Wyatt, of the Titans’ official site, says Brown is close to returning to the field.
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: AB went under the knife in mid-March to clean up debris in his knee and missed all of minicamp. He appears to be on track for training camp, however.
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons: The new WR1 in Atlanta underwent minor foot surgery June 9 and still expects to fine in time for training camp.
Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys: Cooper (ankle) encountered an irritation while running in late May and needed several weeks of rest. He still isn’t expected to practice over the first few days of training camp when Dallas hits the field Thursday, July 22. However, the team’s brain trust doesn’t expect Cooper to miss much time beyond the first week, and his situation is not being viewed as serious.
Curtis Samuel, Washington Football Team: A strained groin suffered in OTAs has Samuel on the sidelines for the time being. The injury doesn’t sound serious, per reports, and Samuel should be fine for camp.
NEW — John Ross, New York Giants: The former Cincinnati first-rounder was a participant in minicamp but was dealing with an apparent, undisclosed injury, according to Zack Rosenblatt, of NJ.com.
NEW — D’Wayne Eskridge, Seattle Seahawks: The rookie was limited in June’s minicamp with a toe injury. The second-rounder appears to be on track for training camp.
Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys: Yet another player recovering from an ACL tear, Jarwin took part in some drills during organized team activities. The team will take it easy on him as a precautionary measure, but Jarwin is expected to participate in training camp.
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Howard suffered a torn Achilles tendon last year late in his fourth appearance, and he’s on track to be ready for camp. Bruce Arians said Howard is “really close” as of June 8, and he was on video working out in Mexico with former Alabama teammate Derrick Henry three weeks ago.
Hunter Henry, New England Patriots: The former LA Charger exited practice early Thursday, June 10, after getting his ankle/foot looked at and re-taped by trainers. The injury was described as minor, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, and Henry finished minicamp on a strong note after returning to the field.
Kyle Rudolph, New York Giants: The former Minnesota Viking suffered a foot injury in 2020. It was believed the issue would not require surgery, but the physical he took prior to signing with the Giants determined a procedure was necessary. Rudolph caught passes on the side in minicamp and should be fine for the start of camp.
NEW — Chris Herndon, New York Jets: A hamstring injury has hampered the maligned tight end, and a report from Connor Hughes, of The Athletic, says Herndon has struggled to learn the new playbook.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos: The 2020 fourth-rounder blew out his ACL last season and is coming along, but it remains unclear if he will be ready for the start of training camp.
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