Only a Pocket Jerk-ules would draft MJD
Photo Credit: Jeff Kern
Death, taxes and injured fantasy stars – these are some of life’s certainties.
Make no mistake about it, injuries WILL play a major role in fantasy football this year, and the more you know, the better your odds are of hoisting that virtual trophy. That’s where I come in. It’s time for the 2013 Don’s Do-Not-Trust List © (DDNTL): Fantasy Football Draft Edition. As a licensed and practicing physical therapist with years of experience treating a wide spectrum of sports related injuries (and a fantasy obsessed lunatic like the rest of you), I have the skills to steer you in the right direction.
I’ll be discussing a number of players with injury concerns and whether or not I “trust” them to provide draft day value. To be clear: just because a player makes my list does not necessarily mean he’s not worth drafting; in fact, in some cases you can get great discounts if you pick your spots carefully. Any ADP data is courtesy of MockDraftCentral.com. While I’ll be covering a lot of players here, if there’s anyone I missed that you want to hear about, feel free to leave a comment or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll help a brother (or sister) out.
More after the jump:
MJD injured his foot in October of last season and spent two months on rest and rehab in hopes of avoiding surgery. Eventually, it was revealed that he had suffered a dreaded Lisfranc injury. MJD went under the knife in late December 2012 to correct the issue. Now eight months removed from the surgery, MJD has been cleared for practice. While he might not get many preseason reps, the Jags are confident he’ll be ready come Week One.
By definition the Lisfranc injury is a dislocation and/or fracture of the midfoot (bones in the foot that form the “arch”) where it connects to the metatarsals (long finger-like bones that lead to your toes). It’s not a pleasant injury. In football, the most common mechanism is falling face first with your toes pointed to the ground while another guy falls on your heel. Use this for future references: anytime you hear one of your players has a “foot sprain” or “midfoot sprain”, fear the worst and trade him off before it’s too late. We’ve seen this injury before across multiple sports: Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray, Matt Schaub, Santonio Holmes, Brian Westbrook, Duce Staley, Yao Ming, Udonis Haslem… the list goes on and on. Some of these guys ended up fine, others were never the same. Surgery to fix this condition consists of fixating the bones with screws to align the foot and prevent movement so the surrounding ligaments can heal adequately. Avoiding weight-bearing activities until healed is absolutely critical. This is followed by months of arduous and carefully progressed rehab, and the general timeline for recovery is generally 8-10 months, with maximal recovery taking over a year.
MJD does fall within a reasonable timeline of recovery as he’s currently just over eight months removed from the injury and he’ll be just over nine months post-op in Week One. MJD has proven me wrong before: two years ago he entered the season with question marks following knee surgery and went on to have one of his best years. Can he do it again? Don’t bet on it.
While MJD didn’t become the full-time starter in Jacksonville until later in his career, there’s a lot of wear on the tires here. MJD is built like a cannonball and has always had great explosiveness. I could see him losing some of that with this injury. MJD is reportedly overweight coming off the injury, which isn’t necessarily unexpected given the required lack of activity while recovering. Still, he’ll need to get the extra weight off in short order to reduce the stress on the foot. There’s also the reality of Lisfranc surgery: sometimes it just doesn’t hold up. I also see the potential for compensatory injuries with MJD, particularly if there’s any residual change in the way he runs or cuts. With his history of knee problems, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him develop some symptoms in the knee or be more prone to lower extremity muscle strains, particularly to the hamstring, quad, groin or calf (all of which are weekly headaches to deal with for fantasy owners). Team context also should be noted here, as the Jags are terrible. That hasn’t hurt MJD much in the past and it guarantees him a heavy workload, but that workload could break him down faster and stacked boxes means he’ll earn every last yard and will take a beating.
MJD is currently the 13th RB selected in drafts (25th overall), just behind Matt Forte and just ahead of Steven Jackson, Stevan Ridley, Darren McFadden (more on him later), David Wilson and Lamar Miller. I could see an argument for MJD over the oft-injured McFadden, buzzy first-year starter Miller, or timeshare back David Wilson, but Forte, SJax or Ridley? Child please. Much like with RG3, I expect MJD’s draft day price to rise with every positive camp report, so you’ll likely be sinking a mid-second round pick if you want him. No thanks. MJD, welcome back to the DDNTL old friend, maybe you make me look like a jackass again, but I’m not paying to find out.