No Lucky Pierre
Photo Credit: Keith Allison
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 at email@example.com and I’ll help a brother (or sister) out.
More after the jump:
Garcon, much like Robert Griffin III, was a breakout WR last year in his limited time on the field. Garcon ended up injuring his foot in the first quarter of the first game and missed large chunks of the season dealing with it. The injury was revealed to be a torn plantar plate, and while he was able to return to field and play through the injury, there were a number of games where he was noticeably hobbled and his production and playing time were inconsistent. There was a lot of chatter throughout the offseason about whether Garcon would require surgery to correct the injury or if rest and rehab would do the trick. Ultimately it was decided that he would forgo surgery in favor of rehab. To make matters worse, Garcon injured his shoulder in the playoffs and required “minor” labrum surgery by Dr. James Andrews this offseason. As of this writing, Garcon’s shoulder is reportedly 100% and he’s been practicing and cutting without any problems with his foot. The Skins and Garcon are hopeful that the WR can manage this issue for the duration of the season, but can he?
Short answer: no. Long answer: Hell no. The plantar plate is a ligament on the bottom of the foot that helps connect your toes to the rest of the foot and keeps everything lined up appropriately. Anything that puts pressure on the balls of your feet will stress the plantar plate. Much like with any toe or foot injury, this area is notoriously difficult to heal (half the guys in this injury series have foot injuries – not good). Garcon will be fit with bracing and special footwear to relieve some of the stress and better support the area. That’s all well and good for the average Joe, but we’re talking about an NFL football player here, in particular a WR who requires speed and explosiveness to get off the line and run by someone. The stresses he will exert on his foot far exceed that of the average person. Garcon’s foot is essentially a ticking time bomb. There’s no telling if or when the symptoms could return, but there’s a good chance they will. The surgical option isn’t much better than the rehab option either. Most people who injure the plantar plate have structural abnormalities in the foot/toe such as hammertoes or high arches, conditions that the athlete is born with and not something that’s fully correctable. You might be able to fix the plantar plate in the short term, but there’s a decent chance that continued stress could injure it again or the surgery might not help at all. There’s also a compensatory injury risk here as Garcon learns to run and play football with different footwear and techniques to reduce stress on his foot. If you take away stress from one body part, another body part(s) has to pick up the slack. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see Garcon injure a different part of his leg at some point this season.
Garcon is currently being drafted as the 23rd WR off the board at pick 62, around the same time as Antonio Brown, DeSean Jackson, Steve Smith, and Reggie Wayne. His ADP is getting pricier as the good reports out of camp for both he and RG3 continue to surface. If Garcon is healthy and fully functional, I think this is a good price as he’s shown he can be an elite WR when running on all cylinders. Problem is there are no guarantee he’ll make it through Week One let alone the season, which makes him risky at his current escalating price. If he falls outside this range of receivers in your draft I think he’s worth the gamble on upside alone, but the health concerns are legitimate and I have no choice but to put Garcon on the DDNTL.