• Injury Value Updates for Five Injured Stars

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    Stars who fell to season-ending injuries now face a perilous offseason. Here are injury updates of value for five of fantasy football's prized players.

    Injuries suck. Why not just say it? Everyone groans when their favorite player comes up grabbing his knee. It’s the worst for all involved for obvious reasons. Then comes the offseason, and those injury updates swing fantasy value one way or another.

    Evaluating players coming off major injuries is one of the toughest things fantasy owners need to do. They’re still dynasty assets, but with major asterisks — something that comes with injury updates. Here’s how to evaluate some of fantasy football’s biggest question marks with the season well in the rear-view mirror.

    Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry might be popular names you expect to read below. However, I already wrote about them a few weeks ago - check that out here!

    Chris Godwin — ACL

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    It’s not often a player of Godwin’s talent hits the open market. Then again, a torn ACL will damper some moods. No one needs to make a case for his ability on the field, but properly updating Godwin's high ceiling after his injury is difficult. Truthfully, it shouldn’t be.

    Godwin has a top-12 ceiling every time he touches the field as a large route-runner who both commands targets and red-zone looks. He fits the same mold as Cooper Kupp, just one inch apart. Both have blown up for fantasy.

    The 26-year-old WR will receive a large contract, likely the largest of the free agency wide receivers. The ACL injury could prove an issue — receivers in the past have suffered slow returns from it — but ultimately it’s not a talent-altering issue. The murkiness of his situation makes him an intriguing buy from owners who don’t like the double-risk of free agency and a torn ACL.

    Sending a middle first-round pick and an asset like Brandin Cooks would likely get a deal done. A small price to pay for a high-floor, high-ceiling asset.

    And for fun? Let’s see him fly out and thrive in Jacksonville.

    Jamal Adams — Shoulder

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    Man, the vibes on Adams have soured, haven’t they? He certainly doesn’t help himself, with viral clips of his "coverage" being as prevalent as a Derrick Henry stiff-arm. Adams’ shoulder injury limited him for more than the five games he missed, but at least he recorded a pair of interceptions — his first since 2019.

    That’s not where Adams' value has been for fantasy, however. It’s been in those sub-LB packages where he’s blitzing or stuffing the run. That role soured up in 2021 as Adams recorded several career-lows in tackles for a loss, QB hits, and solo tackles. It was his first season without a sack and his first without forcing a fumble.

    There’s a reason for hope, starting with the investment Seattle made in Adams last offseason. His four-year, $70 million extension kicks in this offseason, guaranteeing his roster spot through 2023. It encourages Seattle to figure it out rather than ship Adams out, which lends credibility to the recent reports suggesting that the team hasn’t lost faith.

    Expect more aggressive play for Seattle, whose 22nd ranked blitz rate reflected a team that ranked 22nd in sacks and 26th in pressure rate. Utilizing Adams at his best doesn’t mean leaving him out to dry in the deep-middle or quarters of the field, and new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt knows it.

    “The ability to bend and turn the corner and his relentless pursuit of the quarterback, I would think you would be foolish if you didn't take advantage of that,” Hurtt said to Sports Radio 950 KJR-AM in early February.

    A return to triple-digit tackling with sack benefits is a fair benefit for Adams, who offers rare versatility as someone with defensive back eligibility. Bet on the bounce back for the former LSU star.

    Michael Gallup — Ankle/ACL

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    Akin to the past hope for Tevin Coleman or Robert Woods — guys thought to be underutilized on their first teams — it’s finally time for Gallup to enter free agency. Fantasy owners have been waiting for this day but unfortunately, a Week 17 bout with the Arizona Cardinals ended in an ACL tear that left him in a far less exciting position than expected.

    Gallup, a third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, had two consecutive seasons with over 800 receiving yards, including a 1,100-yard season in 2019. However, Dak Prescott’s injury in 2020 left Gallup in a tough spot before injuries of his own — an ankle issue before the season-ending ACL tear — kept him off the gridiron this past season.

    The ACL is an issue, particularly because of the timing being as late as it was. Gallup didn’t have surgery until Feb. 10, which sets him up for an August return. That’s not great for a receiver destined to find a new system. Hovering around the WR3/4 territory seems close to Gallup's fair value. Those hoping for the big blowup previously promised may be left disappointed.

    Gallup’s value will be tied to his landing spot in a crowded free agency group. Of the names around him in ADP, I’d still prefer him to an aging Allen Robinson, but I’d sell for an early 2023 second.

    Khalil Mack — Foot

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    It is a darn shame to see Mack in this column, an all-too-common theme. People preach the core rule of fantasy football: "be water.” You go with the flow, and when the waves crash down the original ranking in the sand may be entirely different.

    That’s the case for Mack, who was limited to just seven games in 2021 due to season-ending foot surgery. Rushers who rack up sack numbers like Mack are few and far between for IDP leagues. However, his numbers have slowed in recent seasons even if his impact hasn’t.

    The reality is that Mack hasn’t recorded a double-digit sack season since 2018, his first season as a Bear. That was the year the Houston Texans won the AFC South, for a reference point.

    Mack hasn’t lost a step, still. Seven QB hits and six sacks in less than half of a season are strong numbers. It’s fair to question how much longer Mack can dominate at a fantasy-relevant rate. Ultimately, selling a year early is better than a year late.

    He is now 31 years old coming off a season-ending injury with a new coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Alan Williams. Mack might have some tread left on the tires for fantasy, but there's also no guaranteed money left on his contract. It makes good sense to explore trading Mack off your fantasy rosters.

    Chase Young — ACL

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    Fantasy owners were understandably disappointed for Young long before the Week 10 ACL tear that cut his season short. He registered a mere 1.5 sacks and four QB hits in the eight games prior to the shortened injury week. He did force two fumbles, but it was not the meteoric rise people projected for the former number two overall pick.

    What he did provide were tackles, at a similar rate to his strong rookie season. He nearly matched his assisted tackle totals from a year prior, coming just one short despite six fewer games played. While his solo tackles still left some to be desired it makes sense for the overall dip given the consistent attention lineman gave him.

    So the question really is: does Young have that next-level leap? Can he make that jump to Nick Bosa or Myles Garrett's tier of production?

    Yes. While it’s the tallest order Young is still the same game-breaking prospect. The former Buckeye joined a promising group when voted Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020. The list of defensive linemen with the award dating back to 1999 includes the aforementioned Bosa, Joey Bosa, Aaron Donald, Sheldon Richardson, Ndamukong Suh, Julius Peppers, and Jevon Kearse.

    That's a strong group, with barely a bad fantasy asset among them. Kearse faltered after a few years and Richardson gravitated toward being a run-stuffer as his career progressed, but both were very useful for a stretch. It’s fair to argue that Young was the best prospect of the whole bunch.

    His ceiling rests with the rest of them. Owners’ confidence should remain emboldened with their prized DL. If someone is wavering, send an offer. You’d be a fool not to.

    Thank you for checking out my article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys' author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Michael__Sicoli and @IDPGuys (we have offense too) and please check out our website at idpguys.org.

    Michael Sicoli

    A dynasty enthusiast and fantasy football addict, there's not much more I'd prefer to write about. I'm a New Yorker at a Connecticut university -- Quinnipiac -- who's a firm believer that the NFL doesn't have an offseason.
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