Name: DeShaun Watson
Age: 22 years old (turns 23 in September)
Team: Houston Texans
2017 Stats: 7 games, 1699 yards passing, 19 TD, 8 INT. 36 rushes for 269 yds, 2 TD.
2018 Projections: 16 games, 3,692 yards passing, 26 TD, 16 INT. 77 rushes for 456 yds, 3 TD.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Rank (FantasyPros): QB2
Injury: DeShaun Watson was setting the NFL on fire starting on October 1 against the Titans, where he threw for 283 yards and was responsible for 5 TDs (4 pass, 1 rush), and mind-you he was replaced by Tom Savage in the 4Q in a blowout win. The following week he accounted for another 5 TDs against the Chiefs. He was becoming a star right in front of our eyes. Then, on November 2nd, Watson was added to the injury report with a ‘sore knee,’ hours later reports surfaced that Watson tore his ACL in practice. And just like that, Watson’s season was over. Done. What a tease. Everyone was in disbelief, but that’s the nature of the vicious NFL game we all love.
At Clemson, Watson tore his left ACL. This time he tore his right ACL. I mentioned when discussing Allen Robinson that there is a 94% success rate after ACL reconstruction surgery, meaning there is a 6% re-tear rate. That a study from 2014 shows there is a 6x increased risk of a 2nd ACL injury when compared to healthy subjects. 30% of athletes suffered a 2ndACL injury within 24 months of return to sport, within those 21% had a contralateral ACL tear, and 9% had a graft re-tear. Watson did just that; he tore his contralateral ACL. Watson had his ACL reconstruction surgery on November 7, 2017, so fast forward 9 months, that is early August. Realistically I think Watson can return for the entire 2018 NFL season without rushing his rehab. He’s young, so at least has that going for him. Young people heal faster than not-so-young people.
So what does the data say about QBs who suffered ACL tears? There’s a good article from the USA Today in 2016 that discusses the injuries to Donovan Mcnabb, Tom Brady, RGIII, and Sam Bradford (who suffered 2 ACL tears) among others. The data is pretty consistent; there is an expected drop in performance after an ACL tear, especially in players who are mobile – like Watson is. Watson’s most impressive attribute is his ability to extend the pocket due to his mobility.
Is Watson at increased risk to tear his ACL again (a 3rd time)? Yes, especially since he’s a mobile QB unlike Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford, both of which tore their ACLs twice.
2018 Health Outlook: After tearing his ACL in November, Watson should be good to go for the start of the 2018 season. My primary concern is that he has stated he won’t change his style of play, and while you like to hear this from a player of his caliber, he needs to play smarter. Another ACL tear could be career-ending. If Watson uses his legs to get separation from would-be sackers and then uses his arm to make the plays, then Watson has a very good chance of completing the season healthy. However, if he continues to run a great deal, like Russell Wilson does, Watson may end up cutting his career short.
Risk of Re-Injury: ~ 50% risk of having another ACL tear within 2 years.
Recommendations: Reports out of Texans camp have been all positive when it comes to Watson returning and that is great news. I love Watson’s potential. He could have easily finished as the #1 QB last season if he continued his torrid pace and didn’t get injured. He didn’t lose any weapons, as he still has DeAndreHopkins, Will Fuller, Lamar Miller and a couple healthy tight ends. I love Watson’s upside, as I think he has the highest ceiling of any QB this upcoming season. Draft him with confidence, as I think he will likely finish as a top 5 QB, but make sure you draft a backup QB just in case.
2018 NFL Injury Guide: Marqise Lee
Name: Marqise Lee
Age: 26 Years Old
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
2015 Stats: 10 Games, 15 Rec, 191 Yards, 1 TD
2016 Stats: 16 Games, 63 Rec, 851 Yards, 3 TD
2017 Stats: 14 Games, 56 Rec, 702 Yards, 3 TD
2018 Projections: 60 Rec, 784 Yards, 5 TD
Projected 2018 Fantasy Value: WR 48
Injury: Lee suffered a sprained ankle in Week 15 of the 2017 season. He missed significant practice time as well as the final two regular season games. He would return for Jacksonville’s Playoff run, as he caught seven passes on 15 targets for 69 yards and no touchdowns. While the numbers seem minimal, it is important to note Jacksonville’s run-heavy offense.
2018 Health Outlook: Lee showed decent mobility to evade tackles in the AFC Championship game against New England, hinting at a good recovery going as far back as January.
Risk of Re-Injury: Though ankle sprains can be a nagging injury, Lee’s production in the Playoffs showed it wasn’t too much of a bother. He was a full participant in OTA’s and mini-camp, so it appears that any further injury would be new rather than an aggravation.
Recommendations: Jacksonville wasn’t expected to resign Lee this offseason, but was forced to after Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson both departed in Free Agency. Entering 2018, he is expected to start alongside Dede Westbrook. Even though he’s slated to start, his drop rate (12.5 %) and lack of touchdowns (three is his career high), should be concerning to fantasy owners. There should be a good selection of better receivers in round ten or later.
2018 NFL Injury Guide: Jordan Reed
Name: Jordan Reed
Team: Washington Redskins
2016 Stats: 89 targets, 66 receptions, 686 yards, 6 TD
2017 Stats: 35 targets, 27 receptions, 211 yards, 2 TD
2018 Projection: 81 targets, 58 receptions, 580 yards, 6 TD
2018 Fantasy Value: TE9
Injury: Jordan Reed frequently found himself on the Washington Redskins’ injury report once again in 2017. He was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on July 26th with a left big toe injury.
It was later reported on September 10th that the toe was fractured and it would affect him all season. Reed was able to suit up for Week 1 without getting injured but was forced to leave Week 2’s matchup with the Rams with a chest injury. He missed Week 3 due to this injury before returning Week 4 although he only played 14 of 50 (26%) offensive snaps.
Reed was able to play in Week 6 & 7 but left Week 8’s matchup with a hamstring injury. He then missed Weeks 9-14 and he was placed on Injured Reserve on December 12th. He has had hamstring strains in the past so the tendons may not be as strong as they once were, predisposing him to injury.
Health Outlook: Jordan Reed’s week to week availability is certainly not guaranteed. He has not played a full season since he was drafted in 2013. He has had injuries to just about every part of his body and has had multiple concussions.
His hamstring strain is healed at this point but it was reported on April 3rd Reed had a “procedure done on his toes” according to HC Jay Gruden. Because of this surgery he did not participate in team activities during OTAs.
Risk of Re-Injury: Considering he has had hamstring strains in the past and generally has trouble staying healthy, Jordan Reed definitely has a risk of reinjuring his hamstring or aggravating a previous injury to the toe, knee, ankle, or shoulder.
As stated earlier, he has never played a full season since coming into the league so this is obviously a concern.
Recommendations: If he can stay healthy, Reed can flourish with Alex Smith at the helm in Washington. Travis Kelce was a Top-10 PPR TE since establishing his role in 2014 with Alex Smith looking his way constantly.
Redskins HC Jay Gruden has said in the past that the passing game runs through Reed but this may have changed considering his injury history. If you are willing to accept he may miss some games, Reed is a fantastic talent and could benefit from Smith being under center.
2018 NFL Injury Guide: Cameron Meredith
Name: Cameron Meredith
Team: New Orleans Saints
2016 Stats: 85 targets, 57 receptions, 758 yards, 3 TD
2017 Stats: Did not play
2018 Projection: 72 targets, 50 receptions, 654 yards, 4 TD
2018 Fantasy Value: WR50
Injury: Torn LEFT anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) on 8/27/2017 during a preseason game. Meredith was fortunate not to sustain a medial meniscus tear as these can often accompany ACL/MCL tears.
Health Outlook: Regaining confidence in the injured knee following an ACL or MCL tear can be difficult for athletes. Meredith will most likely be eased back into team activities as his functional strength and confidence increases. The Saints open up their season on September 9th and that will be just over one year since the injury and following surgery. If Meredith is able to regain his quadriceps strength and confidence in his knee, he should be on the field Week 1.
Risk of Re-Injury: ACL and MCL surgeries and the subsequent rehabilitation programs have taken major strides as medicine has advanced. The Illinois State product was able to participate in individual drills at Saints minicamp and hopes to be ready for Day 1 of training camp. It has been about 10.5 months since the injury occurred though, so the Saints may play it safe during training camp so the 6’3” receiver can be 100% for Week 1.
Recommendations: It is being reported that the Saints are planning on using Meredith as their slot receiver now that Willie Snead is with the Ravens. He could enjoy a career year with Drew Brees slinging him the ball or he could fall in the pecking order behind Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Ted Ginn Jr. Meredith is a nice post-hype target that could enjoy a productive year and some red zone looks given his height and jump ball abilities.
Update: Meredith is currently sitting out practice with an “undisclosed” injury.