Fantasy Football: The most impactful preseason injuries to know about before your draft

By Alex Butler  |  Aug. 27, 2017 at 3:25 PM
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Aug. 27 (UPI) -- There are several big name players you should know about heading into your 2017 fantasy football draft from an injury standpoint.

Although preseason games are important for rookies getting prepared for NFL action and players battling for positions and roster spots, they also present a conundrum.

Star players from any team can get injured at any point. These injuries vary in severity, from day-to-day to season-ending.

This preseason we've watched the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Spencer Ware, Julian Edelman and others head to the sideline, on their own accord or on a cart.

The most impactful injury of these three from a fantasy football standpoint could be Spencer Ware.

Spencer Ware

Ware suffered a torn PCL Friday in the Kansas City Chiefs' 26-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The fourth-year tail back had 1,368 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns last season and was looking for a bigger role in 2017. Now he'll be benched for the year and should be moved off of your draft board.

"[Ware] has a torn posterior cruciate ligament [PCL], and with that ligament often times with rehab you can play," Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said in a statement. "His issue is that he also has some damage to what's called the posterolateral corner of his knee. That's the outside back portion of his knee that's made up of ligaments and tendons. He damaged those and, at this point in time, our medical staff believes that he needs season-ending surgery to correct that problem. Like with all these significant injuries, we'll exhaust all our options, look at second opinions and do what's best for his knee and his career. We're in that space now where we're still evaluating what's going on, but our medical staff believes that he needs surgery."

Who you should target: Kareem Hunt

Coach Andy Reid told ESPN that the third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft will be the "feature back" in Ware's absence. Hunt climbs from a late round sleeper to a third or fourth round value RB2.

Odell Beckham Jr.

The New York Giants superstar wide receiver was a lock for a top 5 pick before getting banged up on Monday against the Cleveland Browns. He is currently dealing with a sprained ankle. While Beckham has suggested that he can suit up for Week 1, a source told ESPN that Beckham could miss a week or two of the regular season. Manhattan Orthopedic Care founder Dr. Armin Tehrany told UPI Thursday that ankle sprains can take anywhere from 1 to 12 weeks to resolve, putting more uncertainty on the wide receiver.

Who you should target: Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson

Beckham is still a first round pick. While you should be concerned about his health entering the season, he will eventually find the field. Even if he misses one or two games, he is still worthy of a top-10 pick. Only Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green and Jordy Nelson should be drafted before Beckham from the wide receiver position.

Julian Edelman

The New England Patriots wide receiver suffered a torn ACL Friday in a 30-28 victory against the Detroit Lions. This is a huge loss for the Patriots, but the team is relatively deep at wide receiver. With Edelman out for the season due to the right knee ailment, there are several options to spot in the mid to late rounds.

Who you should target: Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola

Cooks' value likely won't change in fantasy because of the injury, but he should still be looked at as a WR1. Expect upticks in targets for Hogan and Amendola to make up for the absence of Edelman. Both players can likely be had in the later rounds. This injury could also make the Patriots' running back picture even murkier. Tom Brady should be able to find more spots for the Patriots' cast of dynamic backs in the passing game.

Other injuries of note: Cameron Meredith

Meredith twisted his left knee Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. The Chicago Bears' top wide receiver was carted off of the field and is expected to miss significant time. Fox Sports and NFL Network reported that Meredith is believed to have torn his ACL and likely has additional damage. Meredith is likely out for the season.

Who you should target: Kevin White, Victor Cruz

While Meredith was a WR2 candidate, White and Cruz are likely fringe WR3 options in this offense. Don't reach for either of them in your draft.

Other players to consider

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman and Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor are both in the NFL's concussion protocol. While Taylor isn't a starter in a 10 team league, Freeman is a first round consideration. Freeman is expected to practice on Monday, so feel free to keep him at his current ranking.

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