NFL Training Camp Injuries
This preseason injury report covers all the fantasy football news owners need before their local drafts. Whether you’re drafting this weekend or preparing to play daily fantasy in Week 1 of the NFL regular season, I’ll give tips for which players might be affected by the injuries.
I’ll update as more injuries happen. Let’s hope this page isn’t long, but history shows it likely will be.
Jason Pierre-Paul – New York Giants Defensive End
Over the Fourth of July weekend, Jason Pierre-Paul lost his right index finger in a fireworks accident. The doctors told him the finger might heal, but it might cost him the 2015 NFL season. Instead, they could amputate the finger. The amputation wound itself would heal in 3 weeks, while he might get the wrap from the burn wounds off in 6 weeks. He chose this way, hoping to get back to the Giants in time for the start of the season.
The Giants have not been pleased with Jason Pierre-Paul’s lack of communication and decision to avoid a team physical. Coach Tom Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese each have expressed their displeasure at what has happened since JPP’s injury.
The team pull a $60 million contract offer off the table days after the injury, meaning JPP is likely to be a free agent after this season. The Giants already had amde Pierre-Paul a franchise player, locking in a $15 million contract for this season. That’s what Pierre-Paul will play at, if he ever reports and plays.
Prediction: It appears that Jason Pierre-Paul will be placed on the PUP List, meaning he’s likely to miss the first 6 games of the regular season. After that, the team would have several weeks to make a decision on his status. Most experts believe he’ll be ready to take the field after the end of the PUP distinction. Whether he’ll be in game shape remains to be seen. Whether he’ll be able to play with 9 fingers is also a key question.
Many question marks surround Jason Pierre-Paul coming into 2015. I would not draft him as an IDP, unless your league allows a deep bench. In leagues with a Team Defense, downgrade the NY Giants’ Defense, because they are likely to be without their best pass rusher for the first half of the season–maybe the entire year.
Those who play daily fantasy football should keep an eye on JPP’s progress. If he returns in the midseason, let him round into shape and read the reports. He could have fresh legs and should have plenty of motivation to quiet the doubters. The November 8 game versus the Buccaneers (rookie QB/bad offensive line), the November 29 game versus the Redskins (RGIII, coming off 2-week bye), and the December 6 game versus the New York Jets (general disarray at QB) all have potential for a spot IDP start.
Dante Fowler – Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive End
Dante Fowler tore his ACL in the first hour of OTAs. That placed the 3rd-overall pick for the Jags on the IR. He’s shelved for his rookie season. In dynasty leagues which allows IR stashes, consider drafting Dante Fowler in the late stages of the draft. He would be an excellent low-risk, high-reward IDP stash, if allowed.
Jeff Heuermann – Denver Broncos Tight End
Jeff Heuermann, who was the Broncos 3rd round pick this season, was placed on IR by the team. He suffered an ACL injury during offseason workouts and is gone for the year. The team hoped Jeff Heuerman would be one of a trio of players who could fill in for the departed Julius Thomas, who went to the Jags as a free agent.
Veteran free agent Owen Daniels and 5th-year Bronco Virgil Green should be the main fill-ins for Julius Thomas, though it is uncertain which will be the eventual starter.
Tyler Gaffney – New England Patriots Running Back
For the second year in a row, Tyler Gaffney suffered a leg injury and has been placed on IR by the Patriots. Gaffney came over to the Pats when Bill Belichick claimed him on waivers, after the Carolina Panthers waived him in order to place him on the Injured Reserve list. The Panthers were not happy about the move, so it is possible the former standout RB at Stanford has the talent to be an NFL runner–if he can stay healthy.
Ironically, Tyler Gaffney was considered a durable player in his college days. Until he can make it through an NFL training camp, though, he is nowhere near being considered a fantasy football factor.
Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers WR (August 19 Update)
Kelvon Benjamin, who was a breakout star with the Panthers in his rookie season, was lost for the season due to an ACL injury. He will be placed on IR. Meanwhile, the team has a gaping hole at the wide receiver position.
At the moment, Devin Funchness is being discussed as Benjamin’s replacement. Funchess is a 6’5, 230 pounds physical stats clone of Kelvin Benjamin, so many think he could fill in nicely. That is not likely, though, because Funchness ran a 4.7 40-time at the combine. Many at the time believed he would be moved to tight end, because such a 40-time is good for a tight end. For the time being, he appears to be pencilled-in at the position.
Also, early reports have former Ravens tight end Ed Dickson mixing into the 1st team offense practices more than he had. Dickson showed pass-catching ability with the Ravens, so it is possible the team is going to go with a 2-tight end set part of the time, to compensate. The Panthers starting tight end is Greg Olsen
Likelier, Cam Newton is going to have to make more plays for the team. To read more about Kelvin Benjamin’s injury’s impact on the Panthers’ offense, read this Panthers wide receiver corps piece.
Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers WR (Aug. 24 Update)
Jordy Nelson tore his ACL in the Preseason Week 2 game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nelson is gone for the 2015 season and is set to go to the IR list. Second-year receiver Davante Adams is expected to be the Packers’ new starter, while 2nd-year Jeff Janis and rookie Ty Montegomery are expected to compete for the team’s third receiver position.
Owners can expect to see Randall Cobb receive more targets than he did in 2014. The drawback is Cobb is going to command a double-team a great deal more than he did in previous seasons. Davante Adams received praise from Mike McCarthy during the season last year, so it is possible Davante Adams becomes a breakout player in 2015.
To read more about the Jordy Nelson injury and Davante Adams’s promotion, click on this assessment of the Packers wide receiver corps.