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Fantasy Football: Injuries and Expectations Part 2

Fantasy Football: Injuries and Expectations Part 2

PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 13: New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Michael Thomas (13) looks on from the bench in the second half during the game between the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles on December 13, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

As a Fantasy Football manager, there are a few words that you never want to hear about your team. “Injury” might just be the top word on that list. As much as we hate to admit it, injuries are a big part of the Fantasy Football season and player expectations become a mystery. Knowing how to navigate those injuries, and what to expect from those players can be a BIG advantage throughout the year. Here’s where I can help. This article outlines some of the most common fantasy football injuries in the NFL and what you can expect if one of your players suffers them.

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Fantasy Football Injuries Part 2

Achilles Tear

What is it?

A complete rupture of the tendon that connects your calf muscle to your foot

Function

The Achilles Tendon connects your calf muscle to the heel of your foot to allow you to lift your heel

Transmits the power for your foot to push off the ground when running and jumping

Mechanism of Injury

A sudden movement of the ankle that puts excessive stress on the Achilles Tendon

Achilles Tendon tears typically happen with a quick stop and go or pivot movements in sports

A forceful contraction of the calf is needed during these acceleration-deceleration movements and this can cause an injury with no warning signs

Recovery Timeline

10-12 months

Around 30% of players will not return to play after suffering an Achilles Tear

Aspect of Game Most Affected

Jumping Ability

Acceleration and Deceleration

Cutting Ability

Re-Injury likelihood

Moderate

The Achilles Tendon needs to be protected early on in rehab to allow for full healing

Level of Concern

High

This will not only end their season this year but some decline in performance should be expected the following year as well

The good news is that research shows that functional deficits and decreased performance should not be expected after the first season post injury


Cervical Disc Fusion

What is it?

A surgery that removes an injured spinal disc in the neck and fuses the vertebrae

Can be done to one spinal disc or multiple

Function

A cervical disc is located in between each vertebra of your neck

Serves to absorb shock

Allows movement in the cervical spine

Mechanism of Injury

Can be gradual degeneration or an acute traumatic injury

Gradual degeneration: aging, wear and tear, repetitive compression to the neck from football

Acute injury: Typically caused by a hit to the neck when it is in a flexed position (facing the ground)

Recovery Timeline

9-12 months

Closer to 9 months if only one disc is involved

Around 80% of pro athletes return to sport after a cervical disc fusion of one level (disc)

Aspect of Game Most Affected

Ball Carrier Vision – Due to motion limitation created by surgery

The psychological component of being tackled again

Re-Injury likelihood

Low

Level of Concern

Moderate

This level of concern increases to HIGH if multiple discs are involved

There is also an increase in concern if the player is older, as it causes players to think about retirement


Meniscus Tear

What is it? 

Damage located to protective cartilage located on the inside of your knee

Function

Two menisci are located in each knee, one on the inside (medial) and one on the outside (lateral) part of the knee

Your meniscus acts as a shock absorber in your knees and also helps to stabilize the knee

Mechanism of Injury

Twisting of the knee (especially a bent knee) while that foot is planted on the ground

Recovery Timeline

A very minor meniscus tear can be rehabbed conservatively, however, if you are hearing about it, it is likely past that stage

There are two options when it comes to surgery for a meniscus tear: Resection (Removal) and Repair

Repair = attempt to preserve meniscus, where the surgeon repairs the damaged cartilage, which is better for the long-term health of the knee but longer rehab is required

In a repair, you have to allow time for the structures to heal from the repairing, and with removal, there is no meniscus to heal as it has been removed

Resection (Removal) = surgeon takes the damaged meniscus out of the knee, which means a shorter rehab but is worse off for long-term knee health

Meniscus Removal: 4-6 weeks

Meniscus Repair: 7-9 months

Aspect of Game Most Affected

Route Running Ability

Balance in the Field of Play

Re-Injury likelihood

Low

However, further damage can be done to the meniscus if no surgery is performed

Level of Concern

Moderate

This injury can cause a headache for your Fantasy Football team as expectations range from 4 weeks to 9 months depending on the type of procedure chosen


Calf Strain

What is it?

Damage to muscles in the back of the lower leg

Function

Key in EXPLOSIVE power

Allow for a quick burst, change of direction, and jumping

Mechanism of Injury

Quick, powerful muscle contraction (Ex. Push off into block)

Sudden muscle stretching

Recovery Timeline

Grade 1 (mild damage) strain: 1-3 weeks

Grade 2 (moderate damage) strain: 4-6 weeks

Average of at least 2 weeks missed playing time for NFL calf strains

Aspect of Game Most Affected

Acceleration

Jump Ball Ability

Re-Injury likelihood

Moderate

Soft tissue injuries are difficult as rehab can be tough to gauge

A player may be feeling good at low intensity but full speed too soon typically results in a re-injury

Level of Concern

Moderate

Although the recovery time isn’t too daunting, the reinjury risk increases the level of concern

Until a player has tested their leg at full speed with no injury setbacks, you should not be expecting a productive Fantasy Football week


Turf Toe

What is it? 

An injury to the main joint of the big toe

Function

Your big toe allows you to push off properly while running

Mechanism of Injury

The toe is forced into hyperextension as the player is trying to move but their toe is stuck on the flat ground

Due to turf being a harder surface with less give than a normal field, this injury became more popular once turfs were introduced

Recovery Timeline

Grade 1: 1-3 weeks. (Minor Damage)

Grade 2: 4-6 weeks. (Moderate Damage)

Grade 3: 3-6 months. (Full Tear)

Aspect of Game Most Affected

Sprinting

Acceleration

Re-Injury likelihood

Moderate

This is an injury that is frustrating and can linger throughout the season if not managed well

Players will often try to play through the pain and in turn delay their recovery time

Level of Concern

Moderate

Expectations of headaches and stress should be in your future if your Fantasy Football player comes down with such a seemingly minor injury to their big toe


Hip Subluxation

What is it? 

Hip bone becomes forced out of its socket for a partial dislocation

Function

Your hip connects your waist to your legs

As a very mobile joint, it lacks high stability which makes it susceptible to a dislocation injury

Your hip is required for essentially all football activities

Mechanism of Injury

Direct force to the hip joint causing the hip bone (femur) to be forced out of its socket

Fall from a moderate to high height

Typically caused by an awkward tackle in the NFL

Recovery Timeline

10-14 months

Surgery is required

Aspect of Game Most Affected

Cutting Ability

Jump Ball Ability

Change of Direction

Re-Injury likelihood

Low

Level of Concern

HIGH

This is not only a season-ending injury, but it is also a career-ending injury for some players

The involved surgery combined with a long rehab gives plenty of time for players to think about their future in the NFL


Concussion

What is it? 

A mild traumatic brain injury that leads to disruption in the function of the brain

Function

Well your brain is what’s helping you read this right now, so I’m figuring you have a good idea of what it does

In a football sense, the brain is vital to processing information quickly and helping players to react

Mechanism of Injury

Direct head trauma (Ex. helmet to helmet contact or hitting head off the turf), either repeatedly or a single time with enough force

Rapid acceleration-deceleration of the head such as a whiplash injury

Recovery Timeline

Research has shown that most NFL players return to playing in less than seven days from injury

However, this Fantasy Football injury does provide the most uncertain expectations

Concussions are still largely a mystery and everyone’s recovery can be different depending on the symptoms

The league has a standardized protocol, requiring players to complete five steps before being able to play

Aspect of Game Most Affected

Reaction Time

Catch Radius

Re-Injury likelihood

High

Following a concussion, players are 2.35 times more likely to suffer a subsequent MSK injury

Level of Concern

Moderate

In most cases, this shouldn’t be longer than a 1-2 week issue but you just never truly know with concussions


Shoulder Dislocation/Subluxation

What is it? 

An injury that causes a shoulder to pop out of its socket fully or partially

Function

Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body and connects your torso to your arms

Allow you to manipulate your environment with your upper extremities

Although your shoulder joint is very mobile, it still is designed to have enough stability to hold the shoulder in its place

Mechanism of Injury

Direct force to the shoulder bone (humerus) which causes it to tear ligaments and/or labrum and be out of the socket

The labrum on your shoulder acts to provide stability to your shoulder and keep it in place

Fall onto an outstretched hand (Ex. Diving for a ball)

Typically occurs when a player tackles the QB during their throwing motion

Recovery Timeline

Depending on the level of damage done to the shoulder joint, players can elect for conservative treatment or surgery

Typically players will try to rehab and strengthen their shoulder without surgery first

Nonsurgical: 4-6 weeks

Surgical: 12-16 weeks

Aspect of Game Most Affected

Catch Radius

Blocking Ability

Re-Injury likelihood

Moderate for nonsurgical treatment

This is more of a temporary fix as rehab is not going to help fix the labrum or any torn ligaments

Surgery will be required for full healing but players often try to fight through the pain until the season is over

Level of Concern

Moderate

Your expectations will change drastically depending on the severity of the Fantasy Football injury

4 to 16 weeks is an enormous range for a single injury but that’s the reality of a shoulder dislocation


A Quick Note on Fantasy Football Injuries

The NUMBER 1 risk factor for an injury, is a previous injury to that area. So by default, every player who suffers an injury is now at an increased risk for re-injury. For this reason, a player’s injury history should be taken into account when drafting them. I hope you enjoyed this timeless fantasy football injuries and expectations piece and use it to Let It Ride. As always, for the most up to date NFL/CFB injury news and analysis follow me on Twitter @SGPNFootballDoc!

My goal is to break down various injuries in a simple format for your benefit. Learn something, find fantasy value, or beat the sportsbook, I’m here for it all!

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