Player injuries are an annual cause of torment for fantasy owners, but in the offseason, those same injuries can be one of the best ways to find value in drafts.
Some are hesitant to invest a high pick in a player they last saw being carted off the field, creating an opportunity for owners who can accurately assess the recovery times for potential fantasy stars.
Let’s take a look at seven quarterbacks who are on the mend and how they should be approached heading into the season.
After undergoing surgery in January, Luck is spending his offseason rehabbing in hopes of improving a throwing shoulder that’s given him problems over the last two years. Colts owner Jim Irsay suggested Luck may not be a full-go when training camp begins, but the expectation is he’ll be ready for Week 1.
Fantasy Prognosis: Luck is universally considered a top-three quarterback in fantasy rankings, and mine are no exception. However, the uncertainty surrounding his injury would make me very hesitant to spend a fifth- or even sixth-round pick on the Colts star. Tom Brady and Drew Brees may be older, but they are also consistently elite in their fantasy production and are worth considering over Luck, with Aaron Rodgers as the consensus No. 1 option at the position.
Newton had surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder in March and will reportedly be unable to throw for four months. The timeline is slightly worrisome since it brings into question his availability for training camp. Newton is still likely to be on the field when the regular season kicks off, but his odds seem a little longer than Luck’s.
Fantasy Prognosis: Despite both going under the knife on their throwing shoulders, Newton’s fantasy stock has taken a bigger hit than Luck’s after a disappointing 2016 campaign. For a quarterback who can sometimes struggle with accuracy issues, not being able to throw in the offseason could be a problem for Newton, who has fallen to the eighth round on average in early MFL10s. It’s important to remember that Newton is only one year removed from an MVP campaign, making him an excellent value with the upside to finish as the overall QB1.
It was tough watching the Raiders season essentially come to an end when Carr suffered a broken leg in December. The good news, however, is that unlike Luck and Newton, Carr will be completely recovered from his injury when OTAs start up.
Fantasy Prognosis: Carr finished as a top-10 fantasy QB in 2016, despite missing the final game of the year, which would have vaulted him up a few spots. With an outstanding offensive line in front of him and a great complement of weapons, which may soon include Marshawn Lynch, Carr is well worth investing in as one of the first eight quarterbacks selected in fantasy drafts.
Mariota also suffered a broken leg near the end of the regular season and was faced with a four- to five-month recovery, which included being forced to use a scooter to get around. The Titans passer has since ditched the scooter and his walking boot, but he’s not going to be ready until training camp, at the earliest.
Fantasy Prognosis: Fantasy owners who ended up starting Mariota last season were rewarded with a low-end QB1, which included multiple touchdowns in 10 of his first 12 games of the season. His health will need to be monitored throughout the offseason, especially since his rushing ability factors significantly into his fantasy value. Mariota should come at a discount once again, but will best be approached as a part of QBBC.
There were a lot of hurdles facing Taylor over the last few months, but his rehab from sports hernia surgery has gone well and the Bills were able to keep their starting signal caller after restructuring his contract. Taylor was a full participant when Buffalo’s offseason workouts began and will be under center when the season starts.
Fantasy Prognosis: Taylor continues to be undervalued by fantasy owners, so make sure to take advantage. The only thing that may cause his ADP to rise is the Bills taking one of this year’s top receiver prospects with the 10th overall pick in the draft. Either way, Taylor is a QB1 available at a QB2 price in fantasy drafts.
A partially torn ACL cost Tannehill the final month of the season, but he didn’t need surgery and is expected to take part in the entire offseason program. Another full offseason in Adam Gase’s system would be a major boost for Tannehill’s development.
Fantasy Prognosis: The fact that he’ll be 100 percent healthy is encouraging, but unless Gase is able to rewire Tannehill, it seems he’s destined to remain a QB2 despite a solid array of weapons in Miami. With so many quality quarterbacks in fantasy, you should aim higher than Tannehill.
While every other quarterback on this list should be ready for the season, the timetable for Bridgewater’s recovery remains indefinite. The Vikings quarterback suffered an extremely serious leg injury last August, which most notably involved a torn ACL and a dislocated knee. He’s still limited to non-weight bearing activities and no one in the organization seems willing to set a date for when he may return.
Fantasy Prognosis: At this point, there’s a chance we may never see Bridgewater suit up on a Sunday again. His replacement, Sam Bradford, is a QB2 at best in fantasy, but should benefit from a complete offseason with the team.
Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.