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.

PLAYER POS TEAM Injury Weeks Missed 2017 pts 2017
projection
2017
proj. rank
2016
points
2016
rank
Richard Sherman CB SF Knee ACL 7 70.5 117.5 CB23 122.5 CB23
Janoris Jenkins CB NYG Ankle 5 91.0 170.6 CB1 140.8 CB7
Kerry Hyder DE DET Knee ACL 17 112.5 DE26
J.J. Watt DE HOU Leg 12 31.5 94.5 DE41
Dion Jordan DE SEA Knee 9 41.3 154.7 DE13
Henry Anderson DE NYJ Throat 8 57.8 102.7 DE35
Alex Okafor DE NO Knee ACL 6 99.5 149.3 DE11 48.3 LB
Emmanuel Ogbah DE CLE Foot 6 93.3 139.9 DE17 106.8 DE28
Eric Berry SS KC Knee ACL 16 159.3 S9
Clayton Geathers SS IND Neck 10 99.3 S5*
Jaquirski Tartt SS SF Arm 8 91.3 152.1 S16 93.3 S52
Denzel Perryman ILB LAC Ankle 9 49.8 149.3 LB38 137.0 LB33*
Jordan Hicks ILB PHI Knee ACL 9 39.3 98.1 LB81 157.3 LB35
Malcolm Smith OLB SF Pectoral 17 157.5 LB34
Trent Murphy OLB BUF Knee ACL 17 128.3 LB
Markus Golden OLB ARI Knee ACL 13 19.5 158.8 LB (DE8)
Whitney Mercilus OLB HOU Pectoral 12 25.3 155.0 LB38
Dont’a Hightower OLB NE Pectoral 8 33.5 100.5 LB76 100.5 LB59*
Jamie Collins OLB CLE Knee MCL 7 72.5 155.4 LB38 189.5 LB19
Leonard Floyd OLB CHI Knee 6 111.0 151.4 LB36 115.0 LB54*
Malik Hooker S IND Knee ACL 10 52.5 112.5 S53
Tyvon Branch SS ARI Knee ACL 7 117.3 195.4 S2 45.8 DB49*
Tavon Wilson SS DET Shoulder 5 111.8 167.6 S7 141.3 S16

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

Rookie and Notable Injury “Redshirts”
Cyrus Jones CsB NE Knee ACL 17
Sidney Jones CB PHI Knee ACL 16
Gareon Conley CB OAK Shin 7
Daeshon Hall DE CAR Knee 13
Arik Armstead DE SF Hand 11
Jonathan Allen DE WAS Foot 11
Noah Spence DE TB Shoulder 10
Derek Rivers OLB NE Knee ACL 17
Raekwon McMillan OLB MIA Knee ACL 17
Alex Anzalone OLB NO Shoulder 13
Obi Melifonwu S OAK Ankle/Hip 11

Scoring Settings Used:

Scoring Settings Used in Analysis
Tackle 1.5
Assist 0.75
Sack 4
Tackle for Loss 3
Fumble Recovery 4
Forced Fumble 4
Interception 6
Pass Defended 1.5
FG Block 6
Punt Block 6
XP Block 6
Safety 10
TD 6

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.