There are many reasons an NFL player has a poor season, but the most rampant reasons are injuries. This is a league where players get into multiple car crashes each game. Some players are able to play through difficult injuries that still slow them down and others are sidelined for a whole season. Below, we will look at fantasy football relevant players who should be healthy to start the 2020 season and hopefully contribute more than they could in 2019.
Sometimes post-injury players can be had at a discount in fantasy drafts, but not always. The allure of 16-game upside for a player is sometimes too much, so we’ll take a look at what players are worth targeting this season.
Odell Beckham Jr., Browns
Beckham Jr. played all 16 games last season, but also played through a sports hernia. He had surgery this offseason and has recovered and is ready to go. The question is, was OBJ’s down year due to his injury and can he bounce back this season? An upgraded offensive line should help no matter his injury trouble, as Baker Mayfield should be more comfortable in the pocket. And if Beckham Jr. is healthier this season, it would make sense he’s ready to put up better numbers.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts
Hilton missed six game last season and two the previous season, but before that he was relatively healthy for six seasons. Hilton will have Philip Rivers throwing to him this season, which might not be the best for the deep threat, but still likely better than Jacoby Brissett. Injury is a concern, but Hilton has played well through injuries for much of his career and I see no need to discount him much this year.
A.J. Green, Bengals
Green missed all of last season with torn ligaments in his ankle. In 2018, he missed seven games due to a toe injury. In 2016 tore his hamstring and missed the final five games. When on the field, Green hasn’t slowed down much. Before his 2018 injury, Green was on pace for 90 receptions for 1,374 yards and 12 touchdowns. That’s the upside, but another injury is going to be in the cards for the 31-year old. Thankfully, his injury history is baked into his ADP, where he is currently the 28th receiver off the board. That still might be a little early, but the reward is still high and even getting a good 10 games out of him would likely be worth the pick.
Will Fuller, Texans
Brandin Cooks, Texans
Both Fuller and Cooks missed time last season, but for different reasons. Fuller can never seem to keep his hamstring from falling apart and Cooks suffered a concussion. Fuller is a wild card. He’s played in 42 games out of 64 in his four-year career. We’ve seen his upside, and it has been spectacular, but counting on him for a full game is fraught with obstacles. The good news is that DeAndre Hopkins won’t command such a large target share, so when he does play, his upside will stay consistently high.
Cooks on the other hand has been relatively healthy in his six seasons, but has also suffered five concussions in those six seasons. Last year he had two concussions within 25 days of each other, which was a big red flag, but in the end, he missed just two games. He and his doctors appear to feel good about his long term health, but we know this is a violent sport and another concussion early in the season would be concerning. As is, I don’t think we need to downgrade him much. And, unless Fuller can take over and play 16 games, Cooks is the likely No. 1 for Deshaun Watson in 2020.
Marvin Jones, Lions
Jones missed three games in 2019 due to an ankle injury and seven in 2018 for a knee injury. In 2014, Jones missed the whole season due to ankle and foot injuries. When Jones is on the field, he gets his stats though. Jones turned 30 in March, so isn’t a spring chicken, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a useful fantasy player. Last season he had 62 receptions for 779 yards and nine touchdowns despite the ankle injury. With Kenny Golladay getting all the hype, Jones’ ADP is worth your time.
Preston Williams, Dolphins
A year ago, Williams had a strong first half of the season before tearing his ACL in Week 9. In eight games he caught 32 of 60 targets for 428 yards and three touchdowns. He was leading the team in targets at the time of his injury, and was cleared for football activities in early August. The team is taking it slow with him and the Miami Herald reported, “there’s no assurance he will be deemed ready for Week 1, though Miami is cautiously optimistic he will be.”
He’s not someone to invest too much in, but if you’re looking for some intriguing upside, Williams in a potentially improved Dolphins offense will be worth a look.