Mining For IDP Value Series – Players Returning From Injury

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When creating your fantasy football roster don’t forget about players coming off injury, because they can bring you really good value in your drafts. IDPs have a good chance of coming back from injury to their former glory and there are always guys that can be gotten that have been forgotten about.


Recency bias runs rampant through the world of fantasy football; we all too often find ourselves avoiding, forgetting and neglecting players who have burned us in the past. One common source of disappointment is injuries. Unfortunately injuries are extremely common in the NFL today, but fortunately sports science and medical advancements continue to make recoveries quicker and more certain. This creates a value as people forget or overlook a lot of these players who ended up not being relevant due to injuries. Further analysis of this gap in the fantasy community can help us mine value and identify some sleepers to give us an edge.

The injury prone tag is often floated about liberally, however injuries are just part of the physical game and are often unrelated to each other. Players like Keenan Allen seem to simply be plagued by bad luck rather than actually being more prone to injuries. Given this, my strategy is to simply ignore most injuries and injury histories with few exceptions – neck/back injuries, multiple concussions, injuries to the Achilles tendon or patellar tendon.

So while others avoid these players, I actively dig in to their situations and look for value. Some of the things to be considered are projecting out their stats over a full season and where they would’ve ranked among their positions if these imperfect projections had been the case rather than injury.  Obviously another useful point of data is the previous season or seasons when available. Other factors need to be considered when digging into the past, such as position, scheme and personnel changes.

For this specific data compilation players were identified using a 2017 IR list, the pared down to players who’ve had a significant impact in the past.  There are some big names on this list like JJ Watt and Richard Sherman, while they might be cheaper than normal they will still be valued on name recognition alone.

This analysis doesn’t even consider players who missed time or fought through nagging injuries while remaining active all season. Jatavis Brown is one that comes to mind, the IDP community was excited about him but he flopped last year. Could’ve been the coaching and scheme change or could’ve been related to his nagging ankle injury he played through, it’s really hard to say at this point. Diving deeper into this fairly simple analysis still reveals some real gems though!

Janoris Jenkins – Projecting out his 2017 stats would’ve resulted in CB1 finish and he’s shown the ability to consistently finish among the top CBs. I recently found him on waivers in a 32 team dynasty league, definitely worth a waiver wire scan for those playing in CB specific leagues.

Alex Okafor/Emmanuel Ogbah – Both finished higher than I would’ve expected. Okafor comes with some flags between a dreaded Achilles injury and the addition of Marcus Davenport, but this makes him an even better value and may even be another possible waiver wire pickup. Ogbah may see more opportunities to rush the passer on an improving team.

Clayton Geathers – Another late, possibly free, stash who produced like a stud in 2016. Definite red flags with the neck injury and Mathias Farley playing well in his absence, but someone I love picking up late in drafts or from the waiver wire.

Jaquirski Tartt/Tavon Wilson – Both were off to a solid start last season but are still managing to fly under the radar. Good late pickups in IDP drafts, Wilson had a solid 2016 as well.

Tyvon Branch – Branch was on an absolute tear last year and would actually project out to finishing as the second safety behind only Reshad Jones.  He’s still one of several talented safeties that remains unsigned, but still has enough juice to be one of the top guys in the right situation.

PLAYERPOSTEAMInjuryWeeks Missed2017 pts2017
projection
2017
proj. rank
2016
points
2016
rank
Richard ShermanCBSFKnee ACL770.5117.5CB23122.5CB23
Janoris JenkinsCBNYGAnkle591.0170.6CB1140.8CB7
Kerry HyderDEDETKnee ACL17112.5DE26
J.J. WattDEHOULeg1231.594.5DE41
Dion JordanDESEAKnee941.3154.7DE13
Henry AndersonDENYJThroat857.8102.7DE35
Alex OkaforDENOKnee ACL699.5149.3DE1148.3LB
Emmanuel OgbahDECLEFoot693.3139.9DE17106.8DE28
Eric BerrySSKCKnee ACL16159.3S9
Clayton GeathersSSINDNeck1099.3S5*
Jaquirski TarttSSSFArm891.3152.1S1693.3S52
Denzel PerrymanILBLACAnkle949.8149.3LB38137.0LB33*
Jordan HicksILBPHIKnee ACL939.398.1LB81157.3LB35
Malcolm SmithOLBSFPectoral17157.5LB34
Trent MurphyOLBBUFKnee ACL17128.3LB
Markus GoldenOLBARIKnee ACL1319.5158.8LB (DE8)
Whitney MercilusOLBHOUPectoral1225.3155.0LB38
Dont’a HightowerOLBNEPectoral833.5100.5LB76100.5LB59*
Jamie CollinsOLBCLEKnee MCL772.5155.4LB38189.5LB19
Leonard FloydOLBCHIKnee6111.0151.4LB36115.0LB54*
Malik HookerSINDKnee ACL1052.5112.5S53
Tyvon BranchSSARIKnee ACL7117.3195.4S245.8DB49*
Tavon WilsonSSDETShoulder5111.8167.6S7141.3S16

*designates player also missed time in 2016, 2016 ranks also projected out over 15 games (weeks 1-16)

Rookie and Notable Injury “Redshirts”
Cyrus JonesCsBNEKnee ACL17
Sidney JonesCBPHIKnee ACL16
Gareon ConleyCBOAKShin7
Daeshon HallDECARKnee13
Arik ArmsteadDESFHand11
Jonathan AllenDEWASFoot11
Noah SpenceDETBShoulder10
Derek RiversOLBNEKnee ACL17
Raekwon McMillanOLBMIAKnee ACL17
Alex AnzaloneOLBNOShoulder13
Obi MelifonwuSOAKAnkle/Hip11

Scoring Settings Used:

Scoring Settings Used in Analysis
Tackle1.5
Assist0.75
Sack4
Tackle for Loss3
Fumble Recovery4
Forced Fumble4
Interception6
Pass Defended1.5
FG Block6
Punt Block6
XP Block6
Safety10
TD6

Let me know what you think, do you utilize similar strategies or avoid these types of players?

What players did I miss?  Please feel free to add on in the comments!

Be sure to follow Tyler Joseph on twitter as the IDP Dynasty Authority.


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Former college football player, team leader in personal fouls for two straight seasons. Work as an engineer when I'm not engulfed in fantasy football. Follow me on twitter @ONUtyjo to talk anything fantasy football related: IDP, dynasty, contract leagues, superflex, devy, etc.