Injuries are a part of the NFL and fantasy sports. You'll find a Injury Risk indicator next to every player in the Fantasy Nerds 2021 Fantasy Football Rankings, but an indicator alone doesn't provide context around certain players. Here are some players that you're likely to see on Draft Day.
Saquon Barkley, RB - Giants
Last year's #2-ranked RB left fantasy owners scrambling when he was lost for the season after a mediocre start. He's been rehabbing from that ACL injury and will be starting on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. In fact, we don't expect him to practice anytime soon - at least not in a meaningful way. That's a good thing as it gives him some additional time to prepare. While it looks like he'll be ready for Week 1, that's not yet a lock to happen. Even if he does start Week 1, it would seem reasonable that his workload will be light early in the season. Any expectation that Barkley resumes where he left off in his rookie year is not likely. He'll be drafted in the mid/late first round of your draft and carries risk. If he can stay healthy, he has the potential to have some nice upside.
Michael Thomas, WR - Saints
The retirement of Drew Brees was an instant downgrade for Thomas coming into the preseason, but ankle surgery in June really sinks his stock. He's expected to miss up to half the season, but even if he misses only a handful of games, this is one player that fantasy owners need to be careful about not reaching for. If you can grab his as your WR3 and stash him, he may prove to be a great target for the later rounds of your draft.
Dak Prescott, QB - Cowboys
Prior to his gruesome injury last year, Dak Prescott was a fantasy machine putting up roughly 1.5 more points per game than stud-QB Patrick Mahomes. He looks to be fully recovered, and barring any setback physically, he should remain a QB1. He comes into our rankings at #4 just ahead of Lamar Jackson. While there will be question marks surrounding him, all signs are pointing to a solid fantasy season. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb are great targets after all.
Odell Beckham, WR - Browns
Once a fantasy stud, Beckham has been plagued by injuries over the past few years including a torn ACL and a core muscle injury. The good news is that he appears to be fully healthy. The bad news is that the Cleveland offense is a run-first offense (4th-most rushing attempts), and even though he enjoyed nearly a quarter of the passing targets, it was such low volume that it's a challenge to meet fantasy expectations. Where he may have been a first round fantasy draft choice in years past, he's now a solid WR3 with upside.
A.J. Brown, WR - Titans
Although Brown has had bad luck with his knees, he is not expected to start the season on the PUP list. That's great news for fantasy owners. The Titans lost Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, and Jonnu Smith this offseason, but they gained veteran WR Julio Jones from the Falcons. Jones has been dominant when on the field and will command attention in a way that the others didn't. That should give some breathing room to Brown who surpassed the 1,000 yard receiving mark last year even though he didn't play every game. We expect his targets to be increased this year, and given his efficiency with the targets he did receive, this is a great recipe for fantasy success.
Amari Cooper, WR - Cowboys
While Cooper will likely start the year on the PUP list, he's in a good spot to find fantasy points. What will be very interesting to see is how his production will fare versus CeeDee Lamb. In our early preseason rankings, Lamb is one spot ahead of Cooper in standard scoring, but both players are ranked about half a round ahead of their ADP. Perhaps the biggest question for Cooper is determining what his target share will look like. He's statistically been a much stronger player with Dak Prescott under center and we'll get that duo back. Cooper should remain a solid WR2 for your team.
tramz18 CommentedJul 29, 2021 11:43 am
Do you still have the Q and A section for fantasy question? If so where is it?
Nerd CommentedJul 29, 2021 12:38 pm
Go ahead and ask your question here. Seems like a good spot.
tramz18 CommentedJul 29, 2021 8:58 pm
Sorry i just saw this....Here it is. I am in a keeper league and it's full PPR .We can keep 3. Im keeping Justin Jefferson and David Montgomery.
Which or would you keep either of these...RB'S James Robinson or Myles Gaskin?....I do not have to keep 3 if i keep the 2 above i mentioned(Jefferson & Montgomery) and not any of the other 2 i get another pick. What would you do?