Will fantasy owners be cheesing as much as RG3?
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll help a brother (or sister) out.
More after the jump:
Robert Griffin III
Any football fan with a pulse is familiar with RG3 and his situation. The electric young QB required reconstructive surgery to repair both his ACL and LCL in early January of this year, and the reports out of Washington are glowing. While he’s not expected to play in preseason games, RG3 is on pace to start Week One of the season after just eight months of recovery time.
Typical recovery time for ACL surgery is 10-12 months for a return to competitive sports, with athletes often requiring 12-16 months for maximal recovery. RG3 will be at the eight month mark in Week One, which is well ahead of normal timelines. We saw Adrian Peterson have a historically great season last year after a mere eight months post-op, and unfortunately for RG3, AP has raised expectations for recovery time from this procedure to other-worldly levels. As some of you may remember from last season, I put AP on my Do-Not-Trust List, citing his short recovery time and likelihood of a drop-off until fully recovered, factors that made his ADP too rich for my tastes. AP made me look like an idiot, but does RG3 possess the same superhuman healing qualities of Peterson?
With much of RG3’s scoring coming from his rushing stats, it’s concerning that he’s coming off major knee surgery. The ACL and LCL are stability structures essential to making the sharp cuts and turns we’ve seen RG3 make countless times. Will he be able to make those same moves this soon after surgery while wearing a brace? RG3 not only has to be fully recovered physically, but he will have to get over the mental hurdle of learning to trust that he can make a cut or barrel into a pile of defenders and not have the knee give out on him. If we are comparing AP and RG3, we must also look at body types. RG3 is much smaller and willowy than AP and lacks the physical attributes to take big hits the way AP can, making him more susceptible to injury. The Redskins have also gone on record to say that they plan on running RG3 less this year. Even Griffin III himself has admitted that he’s learning to slide more and take less chances. RG3 was excellent when throwing the football last year, but much of this success was predicated on a strong running game and the threat of RG3 tucking it and running. If defenses get a sense that RG3 is reluctant to scramble, will his passing game be as effective?
Anyone who drafted RG3 last year did so late and ended up with an elite QB for peanuts. Even with the injury question marks, RG3 is going to cost you substantially more to this year, so the question becomes just how much are you willing to gamble? He’s currently the ninth QB off the board, going pick 107 in drafts, and that figure is likely to improve in the next couple weeks as more and more positive reports come out. While that’s not a ridiculous price, it seems a bit high when you consider Colin Kaepernick, Tony Romo, Russell Wilson and Eli Manning can all be drafted later than that. There’s even a reasonable chance that by the time your draft rolls around, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck or Matt Ryan could be there after RG3 is gone. I would have no issue ranking Robert Griffin III ahead of all these players if he were entering the year with no injury questions, but there are simply too many concerns here for me to feel comfortable with that. Between a short recovery time, the excellent depth at QB in fantasy, and the quickly escalating draft day price, I can’t sign off on RG3 this year. He lands on the DDNTL. If he pulls an AP and makes me look foolish, then more power to him. At the right price I think you can take the plunge, particularly in keeper formats. But you better have a decent insurance policy waiting in the wings.