Preseason injuries are inevitable in the NFL, and it’s important to monitor top players dealing with injuries. Not only will injuries affect their potential values, but they will affect the rankings of players around them, too. Whether it’s wide receivers being downgraded a projected round or two because of an ailing QB (Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz) or a handcuff RB being upgraded because of any injury to the starter in front of him (Saquon Barkley), fantasy football owners need all the latest news highlighted on their cheat sheets before heading into a draft.
Below, we’ll look at three of the most notable QB and RB injuries leading up to 2021 fantasy football drafts. For all the latest fantasy news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2021 Cheat Sheet
Dak Prescott injury update
Cowboys brass is insistent Prescott will be ready to go for the Week 1 Thursday night opener against the Buccaneers, but news of a second MRI on Prescott’s right shoulder worried many among the fantasy community. While good news came from the MRI results, it still adds another layer of risk to drafting Prescott. Not only is he coming off of the brutal right ankle dislocation and fracture, but now his throwing shoulder is also an issue.
While Prescott is finally practicing with the team before the week leading up to their Aug. 13 preseason game, it’s worth monitoring his situation. At his best, he has the potential to be the No. 1 overall fantasy quarterback (we have him ranked sixth), so if we continue to get positive reports and he’s falling too far in your draft, be prepared to take advantage of the value. For now, don’t downgrade him or any of Dallas’s other offensive players either, though their outlooks would change in a hurry if Garrett Gilbert or Ben DiNucci is slated to start Week 1.
Carson Wentz injury update
On Aug. 2, reports came out with news of Wentz undergoing foot surgery, with a five-12 week recovery timeline. With his rehab going successfully, he now looks to be on track to start in Week 1.
Even before the injury concerns, Wentz didn’t look the part of a weekly fantasy star in 2021. His current FantasyPros ADP puts him as the 26th QB taken off the board. We dropped him to No. 32 in our QB rankings, but if he is on track to play in Week 1, he’ll rise back to the 20-24 range. With a dark history of injuries, you might be better off leaving Wentz undrafted in single-QB leagues. However, his presence will be a major plus for Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., T.Y. Hilton, and Indy’s other key offensive players, as even a less-than-100-percent Wentz is better than Jacob Eason or Sam Ehlinger.
Will Saquon Barkley play Week 1?
Some athletes seemingly recover from torn ACL injuries with ease, while others take a lot of time to get back in action. The latter appears to be the case with Barkley, and the Giants aren’t taking any chances. And why would they? The Giants aren’t expected to be contenders this year, so why gamble with the future of the biggest star in your franchise? Barkley almost certainly won’t participate in any live drills in the preseason, and there’s a chance he’ll even miss the first one or two weeks.
If you draft him near his ADP of 7.3, you’re likely to be a significant underdog without his services if he were to miss the first two weeks of the season. Who wants to sign up to start 0-2 in their redraft leagues? Sounds like a lot of fun.
However, it’s still unclear if he’ll miss any time, so we haven’t downgraded him from No. 4 in our standard RB rankings and No. 3 in PPR. There are still a few things to consider if he does play at the start of the season: Will he take time to look like himself and will he get injured again? Like Prescott, he has No. 1 upside at his position, but he’s an even bigger gamble in the first round of fantasy drafts. If Barkley does miss time, Devontae Booker would see the bulk of the carries for the Giants. He’s a must-have handcuff for any Barkley owner.