2019 Injury Comeback Kids

While the NFL has made an apparent effort to change rules and evolve equipment to help make the game of football a more safe sport, the game is simply violent. It is accepted that several players will be injured by the time the regular season concludes. It is heartbreaking to see these injuries occur and our heart soar when players overcome this adversity. Part of why I, and I hope you, play fantasy football is because of these stories of struggle and the strive for greatness. The stories that surround the players make us feel connected to them, tied to their incredible feats, and in some cases, their devastating heartbreak.

We can all agree there is little in Fantasy Football, or in sports for that matter, more exciting than the “comeback kid!” So without further adieu here are some of the most exciting injury comebacks in Fantasy Football for 2019. Enjoy!

Major Injury

The more serious the injury the better the comeback story. These dudes suffered brutal, gruesome, and in some cases downright nasty injuries.

Will Fuller

One of the most exciting players in his limited action over the last two years has been Will Fuller V. Fuller’s connection with his quarterback Deshaun Watson has been obvious. We can look to the first 7 games of Watson’s career which happened in 2017. Within that set and in the 4 games that Will Fuller played in the numbers were eye popping. Fuller scored 7 touchdowns on 13 catches. He was WR2 in PPR scoring formats in those games scoring 83.8 fantasy football points. The common story that many fantasy football analysts were telling the people was that this sample size was too small and could not be replicated for 2018. They were right, however Fuller did find success with Watson again. Fuller missed week 1 in 2018 but from weeks 2-8 was WR15 in PPR as he caught 32 of 42 targets for 503 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was forced out of the action yet again in 2018 as he tore his ACL on Thursday Night Football in Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins. His 106.3 fantasy football points scored in 2018 added to his stellar production when he and Watson share the field. In the past two years and in 11 total games with Watson, Fuller averages 17.28 in PPR. This average is nothing to turn our heads at and a wide receiver averaging that number would have been WR3 in 2017 and WR10 in 2018 in PPR scoring leagues. Needless to say if Fuller can put together a fully healthy or even a string of 10 games or more he will be a very intriguing Fantasy Football option in 2019.

Cooper Kupp

As a Fantasy Football fan, a hometown Los Angeles Rams fan, and a guy that had Cooper Kupp on 4 out of 4 fantasy football rosters last season this one hurts me almost as much as it hurt Cooper. Heading into his week 6 injury Kupp was an absolute beast! In those 5 games, Kupp scored 95.1 fantasy football points which was good for WR2 in standard scoring leagues. He managed to avoid season ending injury in that week 6 contest and missed both weeks 7 and 8. Then he returned briefly for weeks 9 and 10 before his ACL tear cost him the remainder of his season. If you take his total point average over the 5 weeks that Kupp was playing fully healthy and extrapolate them over a 16 game season you would be looking at the WR2 in Fantasy Football for 2018. But it doesn’t stop at what could have been for just Cooper Kupp, a dive into the numbers shows us that the wide receivers injury had a negative affect on his team’s offense and even more so on his quarterback Jared Goff. In the 8 games the Rams played with Kupp on the field they averaged a total score of 33.3 and only 32.5 in games he missed. Not crazy right? I know. But looking at Goff’s production gets a bit more intense. In Goff’s 8 games with Cooper Kupp he averaged 24.8 fantasy football points per game and only 18.9 in the games Kupp missed due to injury. So maybe Goff was actually more heartbroken than I, with Kupp’s departure last year and will be a tad more excited to see him return to action in 2019.

Derrius Guice

Attempting to steal some of the post Super Bowl excitement, Derrius Guice reminded us all (watch Guice’s speed here) in the Fantasy Football world why we were so excited for him last August before he tore his ACL in the Washington Redskins preseason opener. The excitement did not stop with that hype video. Because in an interview with ESPN’s Matthew Berry, Guice’s Head Coach Jay Gruden stated that the running back didn’t need to “leave the field on 3rd down,” was a “really good pass catcher” in last year’s offseason, and that he would “use him in that role.” It is a Fantasy Football GM’s and an NFL head coach’s dream to have a running back on their roster that his so versatile, he can be left on the field on third downs. It hasn’t been all roses for the former LSU running back. Free Agency has opened up and with it the Washington Redskins have signed Adrian Peterson to a 2 year contract. Some are worried about this deal, given Peterson’s production with the team last year, rushing for over 1,000 yards and scoring 7 touchdowns. The real concern for me is not with the AP signing, as he is likely to fill a mentor/insurance policy role for Washington. I am more worried about Guice’s actual recovery and the timetable of that return. If you are not following David J. Chao, MD on twitter (https://twitter.com/ProFootballDoc) you should be. In his succinct article  Chao outlines in detail the concerns he has with Guice thus far mostly around the fact that he needed to have 4 surgeries due to an infection that occurred after his initial surgery. Chao does go on to say that all signs indicate Guice should be back in time for the start of the 2019 regular season but that like most guys returning from ACL he will most likely not be fully healthy until later in the year. In an always scarce running back landscape, Guice’s rehab process is one all serious fantasy football GM’s should be monitoring closely.

Hunter Henry

Hunter Henry is an interesting case at a very frustrating position for fantasy football. He suffered a season ending ACL tear in last May’s OTAs but he Los Angeles Chargers tight end’s last legitimate football action came in 2017 when he split time with Antonio Gates and played in 14 games, scoring 81.9 fantasy football points in standard scoring. This was good enough for TE13. It was the year before, and his rookie season that excites us most. In 2016 Henry scored 8 touchdowns and was the fantasy football TE11. In 12 person fantasy football leagues that is barely a starter for your roster. So why be interested in Henry’s comeback story? Because his 95.18 fantasy football points scored in 2016 would have made him TE6 in last year’s depressing crop of fantasy football tight ends. With Tyrell Williams departing for the Oakland Raiders, there are some targets to go around especially for a guy with established chemistry with a Philip Rivers led Chargers squad that was one of the most explosive offenses in the league last year.   

Jimmy Garoppolo

One of last season’s biggest offseason storylines was the the very lucrative pay day that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo received.. Jimmy G was only able to play in the first 3 games in 2018 before making a bad call to stay inbounds and absorb a nasty hit that caused a tear to his ACL and an end to his season. Garoppolo may be a long shot to Fantasy Football elite status at his position but his impact on his offense could be worth keeping an eye on his rehab process and he could even hold some streamer value for 2019. Probably no one wants him back more than his Head Coach Kyle Shanahan who has been saying quite frequently this offseason that Jimmy G is ahead of schedule and should be ready for OTAs, so stay tuned.  

Minor Injury

A couple names to lookout for as they rehab from what looks to be minor injuries or at least that is what their teams are reporting.

Phillip Lindsay

Lindsay injured his wrist on Christmas Eve, 2018 against the Oakland Raiders. He still finished the year as the RB12 in standard scoring fantasy football leagues. Phillip Lindsay scored 10 touchdowns, gained 1,278 all purpose yards and scored 187.8 total fantasy football points. His wrist injury will likely make participating in OTA’s a tall task, but Lindsay should be fully ready by the time training camp opens in July.

Cam Newton

Cam Newton gave us the Andrew Luck-type heebie jeebies when it was announced that he required offseason shoulder surgery. It has since been clarified that this was a cleanup procedure and that Newton would throw at OTAs in May. May becomes the month to mark on our calendars and we will have much more to report then.

Andrew Luck category aka “No effing Idea”

Stem Cell treatment. Big name injury. Hush-hush organization. No thank you!

Todd Gurley

As noted above, the Los Angeles Rams have a special place in my heart and fantasy football champions worldwide likely feel the same towards Todd Gurley. He was absolutely dominate last year but it has been reported that he has arthritis in his knee and will be looking to methods such as stem-cell treatment. This will likely be the most watched rehab process in all of Fantasy Football and given the amount of uncertainty I will not go into more detail here.

Stick with us Whisper Nation, as we have only just begun to scratch the surface of the offseason content schedule. It is good to be back with you and as always we hope you will join us on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! PEACE!