2017 was chock full of big-name stars and fantasy contributors who suffered season-ending injuries. The SFFS brings you a list of those players who are looking to bounce back and contribute for your squad in 2018.
Dalvin Cook, RB Minnesota Vikings:
Cook began his rookie season on a tear, gaining 127 rushing yards in his rookie debut against the New Orleans Saints in week one. He followed up that performance by totaling at least 64 yards from scrimmage in each of his next three games before being lost for the year with a torn ACL in week 4. Reports now say Cook is ahead of schedule in his rehab and that he should be present for training camp, though probably on a limited basis. Latavius Murray may retain a larger share of the workload for the Vikes during the first couple games of ’18, but by week three Cook should be slotted in for a 3-down role. With pass-catching back Jerrick McKinnon moving on to San Francisco, look for Dalvin to catch at least 40 balls and total around 1,400 scrimmage yards. He is worth at least an early second round pick in your fantasy draft.
Julian Edelman, WR New England Patriots:
You may have forgotten all about Julian Edelman, and really, who could blame you? After all, the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl without him, as Julian was lost for the entirety of 2017 with a torn ACL suffered in the third preseason game. But have no doubts, Edelman is one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets and he has established an incredible rapport with the future Hall of Fame QB. In 2016 Julian led the Patriots with 98 catches for 1,106 yards and was instrumental in their comeback win in the Super Bowl against Atlanta. With Danny Amendola now a member of the Miami Dolphins and Brandin Cooks off to the Rams, there should be plenty of targets (with or without Rob Gronkowski) for Edelman, who is well on his way to being ready for training camp. Julian even told reporters that he could have played in Super Bowl LII against the Eagles if he hadn’t been placed on IR. Julian is a bona fide sleeper candidate in PPR leagues.
Ryan Tannehill, QB Miami Dolphins:
A non-contact injury suffered early on in training camp led to Dolphins’ QB Ryan Tannehill undergoing season-ending knee surgery in August of 2017. Without him, Miami’s season was an absolute disaster, as Jay Cutler and Matt Moore couldn’t replicate Tannehill’s 2016 success and the Dolphins missed the playoffs. This year, according to Miami Head Coach Adam Gase, Ryan is expected to be fully healthy for OTAs. Though whether or not Tannehill will be the starter all year remains up in the air, with who the Dolphins target in the draft being the deciding factor. If Miami takes a quarterback early on (Lamar Jackson anyone?), Ryan’s days as the starter are numbered. If they wait to select a passer, expect a full season and decent numbers for Tannehill. If that’s the case, he is probably around the 20th-ranked fantasy QB for 2018.
Andrew Luck, QB Indianapolis Colts
After Colts’ owner Jim Irsay declared Luck would be ready for week one of the 2017 season, fantasy owners everywhere went to work, attempting to trade for Luck or hoping against hope that he was still on the waiver wire. Unfortunately, Andrew would turn out to be a wasted spot on those rosters, as he ended up missing the entire year with a sore throwing shoulder. Entering 2018, Luck is still a major question mark. As of April 9th, he still has not thrown a regulation-sized football, telling reporters he’s “trusting the process”. What does this mean? It’s anyone’s guess. Right now it’s just way too early to tell when, or if, Luck will play this season, making him just a deep-roster add/stash in dynasty or 2-quarterback leagues.
Deshaun Watson, QB Houston Texans:
Watson exploded onto the scene in 2017, throwing for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns in six starts before going down with a torn-ACL during a week nine practice. In what is becoming a common theme in today’s NFL-injury landscape, Watson is reported to be ahead of schedule in his recovery, per Texans’ Head Coach Bill O’Brien. Deshaun should be ready for OTA’s and is guaranteed the starting gig if healthy, making him a top-5 fantasy QB in 2018.
Chris Carson, RB Seattle Seahawks
Early on in 2017 it looked like the Seattle Seahawks had finally found a replacement for the retired/signed-with-the-Raiders Marshawn Lynch in rookie running back Chris Carson. In four games (three starts) Carson averaged over 4.2 yards a carry while displaying a quick burst and impressive strength. Unfortunately Carson’s season ended early when he suffered a gruesome leg-injury in week four vs. the Indianapolis Colts. Chris was placed on IR-designated to return, and rumors started popping up that he could have returned if Seattle had made the playoffs. They did not, and Carson missed the remainder of the year. According to reports, he is on track for OTA’s and is in line to at least split lead-back duties with recently re-signed Mike Davis. If Seattle doesn’t add a back early in the draft, Carson should be a lock for 10-12 touches a game, making him worthy of a late round addition to your fantasy roster.