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Fantasy Football Update
The "Fantasy Doctor" Is In!

Let the "Fantasy Doctor" keep your team in shape throughout the fantasy football season. In this newsletter, you'll find important injury news and notes on the NFC South. Also, get more information on a couple of injured key players heading into Week 1.

NFC South Injury Notes

 

Atlanta Falcons: Steven Jackson, Running Back

 

What happened: Jackson missed plenty of time in training camp with a right hamstring injury. It's just the latest setback for him as he's been forced to sit with numerous ailments in recent years.

 

Player/team outlook: He'll be able to go in the opener, but how much longer? It seems pretty clear that the chances of Jackson making it through the whole season are limited. Once you injure the hamstring and it becomes an ongoing issue, it is difficult to get over this entirely. At some point during the season, it is sure to become an issue again.

 

Fantasy recommendation: Jackson can help if he's your RB3, but it's probably trouble if you're counting on him for more. He's way too injury prone now and, since he's past the age of 30, we don't really know how much he's got left in the tank.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Charles Sims, Running Back

 

What happened: As detailed in last week's Fantasy Football Update, Sims had ankle surgery during training camp and is expected to miss at least three months. The Bucs placed him on IR with the ability to return later in the year.

 

Player/team outlook: It's bad news for Sims and hurts the squad. The rookie was impressive during the summer and the plan was for him to spell Doug Martin. Now Martin will go back to carrying the full load until Sims can come back, which won't be until the latter part of the season, at best. An ankle break usually results in loss of motion, achiness, and swelling. All of these can impact his play.

 

Fantasy recommendation: Sims looked like a great handcuff for Martin, but he completely fell off fantasy boards for leagues that drafted post-injury. Perhaps keeper leagues might want to take a flier on him late in deep drafts. Otherwise, there's no reason to go after him until the halfway point of the season.

 

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees, Quarterback

 

What happened: Brees was dealing with a strained oblique and didn't take part in the Saints' first two preseason games.

 

Player/team outlook: If the injury lingered it would be a disaster for New Orleans, but Brees returned in time for the third preseason game. At the time he indicated he wasn't 100% just yet, but there's little doubt he'll be ready to go in the opener and that's great news for him and his teammates.

 

Fantasy recommendation: Brees is a top-three fantasy QB and some make a case that he's the top one to grab heading into the season. All Brees owners should expect nothing less than a great season.

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, Quarterback

 

What happened: Newton fractured his ribs during a preseason game against the Patriots and is coming off ankle surgery done earlier in the year.

 

Player/team outlook: The team's offense was going to have enough problems even with a healthy Newton on the field. Newton has vowed to play Week 1, but he's got to be monitored. The injury could remove his mobility and there's only so many hits he can take to the injured area.

 

Fantasy recommendation: Prior to the injury, Newton was a low-level QB1 with good upside as a QB2. He's a tough start in Week 1 and other options should be considered before going with him on Sunday.

Week 1 Watch List

Fantasy lineup decisions are never easy when key players may or may not be able to contribute. Below is some advice on a couple of players that fall into that category in the season's opening week. 

 

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots tight end

 

What happened: The latest was having a torn ACL fixed in early January. Before that was forearm and back issues.

 

Where he's at now: Gronk has declared himself good to go, but are the docs ready to let him play? Most players with an ACL tear take 10-11 months to return to play in the NFL. Without having seen him in preseason, it is difficult to know how he really is.

 

Fantasy decision: He's a must start anytime he's healthy enough to play and that appears to be the case for Week 1 against the Dolphins. However, he's become so injury prone that odds are against him playing all 16 regular season games..

 

Mike Pouncey, Miami Dolphins center

 

What happened: Pouncey underwent hip surgery in late June after tearing the labrum.

 

Where he's at now: The timetable for initial return was put at three months, making it unlikely that he'll be ready before Week 4. He hasn't been put on the PUP list, which would knock him out for the first six weeks.

 

Fantasy decision: It's extremely unlikely your league uses centers, but Pouncey plays a key role for the whole offense. Snap to QB exchange, run blocking and pass protection all take a hit without the Pro Bowler in the lineup. Week 1 doesn't look like a good play for any offensive Dolphins as they host the Patriots.

Overtime note: Don't overreact to Week 1 if you feel you have a good team and it doesn't perform up to expectations. Make necessary adjustments going into Week 2, but don't destroy your roster (if it's healthy) because of a not-so-hot start.