If you’ve been playing fantasy football for any amount of time chances are injuries have cost you a title or two, either in your mind or in reality. Injuries can also be the key to winning though, finding the guys coming off injury that could help or hinder your chance to compete and ultimately win titles can be key to a successful offseason. Here are five guys I’m targeting and four guys I’m looking to avoid or sell.
Players to target:
Jimmy Garoppolo QB San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy G’s season was tragically cut short last season for all those owners that took the gamble on him last year, though in his short period he showed some tremendous potential and ridiculous chemistry with Marquise Goodwin. Now a year later, Dante Pettis and George Kittle have emerged as real threats. The 49ers also added Tevin Coleman in free agency and selected Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd (who I am a big fan of) in this year’s draft. All of this has the makings of a much more dangerous offense than it was last year with Nick Mullens at the helm.
Albert Wilson WR Miami Dolphins
Albert Wilson quietly had a great season last year before going down with a hip injury after just 7 games. Managing 391 yards, and 4 TD’s while being thrown to by Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler. With Miami making upgrades at QB this offseason, at least on paper, by acquiring Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen you can expect Wilson to improve last year’s numbers and become a potential league winner.
Todd Gurley RB LA Rams
The concern about Todd Gurley is getting out of hand as owners are overcome with panic. You don’t believe me? Well, I’ve seen him traded for Damien Williams and a 2020 2nd which is absurd. If you can snag him for that price tag, then he’s a definite no brainer. While he will in all likelihood see a decrease in touches, he’ll still be a dominant back in a high-powered offense. Any savvy owner should at least consider buying at his currently depreciated value.
Hunter Henry TE LA Chargers
After sitting out all of last year Hunter Henry looks to be on track to be back on the field in 2019 for the Chargers. With the tight end position as thin as it is right now, and Henry’s flashes of brilliance during the 2017 season, he’s definitely worth taking a shot on. Especially when you look at the offense of the Chargers as they are a team boasting some top skill position guys in Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Melvin Gordon. This offense is going to be able to move the ball down the field and will get plenty of red zone opportunities. Henry should be the beneficiary of many of those coveted red area targets.
Melvin Gordon RB LA Chargers
Like Todd Gurley on this list Melvin Gordon is the subject of a lot of concern right now based on his knee injury last season. Personally, I think he’s a definite buy on any team that’s looking to make a run at a title this year. The Chargers are poised to be a high-powered offense that will lead to Gordon getting a lot of late game and red zone touches to help boost his already solid production. Last year, in just 12 games he managed 885 rushing yards with 10 TDS and 490 receiving yards with 4 TD’s. Gordon could easily improve on those numbers if he can manage to stay healthy, and I believe he will in 2019.
Players to avoid:
Le’Veon Bell RB New York Jets
While technically not injured last year, he did sit out the entire season due to a contract dispute, so I’ve chosen to include him on this list. Bell was a game changing back in Pittsburgh, there’s no denying that. What he was able to do on the field was incredible as he could bust a run on any given play. He then spent 17 months off and gave the world a glimpse into where he was heading with a less than flattering photo of him on a jet ski. I still think that Bell will be a serviceable back, but I doubt he comes anywhere near to what he was in Pittsburgh. Last season, the Steelers showed just how talented that offensive line is by helping James Conner have the season that he did, and even showing off Jaylen Samuels when Conner went down. Add to that, the full season off, the fact that Bell is starting to get up there in age, and the fact it’s a new system. These factors do not bode well for Bells production and I think he’ll struggle to find the success he once had.
Marquise Goodwin WR San Francisco 49ers
I want to like Marquise Goodwin, I really do (I own him on most of my rosters). He showed so much speed and potential, and that chemistry with Jimmy G had me salivating. However, at 28-years-old, Goodwin is a guy that has become the definition of “boom or bust”. He has shown to be so touchdown dependent that he is either getting you 12-30 points in a game, or he’s getting you less than 5. There’s simply just no middle ground or consistency with Goodwin. Add to that his inability to stay healthy and he quickly becomes a player that you should avoid, or in my case sell off.
Sammy Watkins WR Kansas City Chiefs
Sammy Watkins seems to be the beneficiary of unearned hype every season for some reason and I just can’t figure out why. I’ll admit there were a couple of weeks this summer when I was starting to buy into it as a lot of people were speculating on the future of Tyreek Hill in the league. Now, with Tyreek looking like he’ll miss around four games this season the hype has died down and Sammy is back to looking like the mid level receiver he has always been. Watkins has just one season where he surpassed 1000 receiving yards, and with none of the last three seasons over 600 yards, it’s hard to put a finger on what people see in him.
Alex Smith QB Washington Redskins
Okay, this one’s a bit of cop out, but I’ve been reading the rumblings about Alex Smith wanting to get the external fixture removed from his leg and play football again. In my leagues, I’ve seen a couple of guys trying to stash him on the IR, or deep on their bench. Personally, I wouldn’t want to waste the roster spot. Even if Smith does come back, he’ll be a 35-year-old game manager whose best days are behind him. Add the fact that he’s coming off what many believed would be a career ending injury, and there’s really no way I can see him playing any kind of meaningful football outside of a pickup game or Madden.