Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Fantasy Football Injury Exam Room: Leonard Fournette, Cooper Kupp, O.J. Howard


In our new weekly feature in collaboration with Inside Injuries, we take a comprehensive preseason look into major injuries and their Fantasy Football implications.

The medical team at Inside Injuries breaks down each player’s outlook from physical perspectives. RotoBaller then provides in-depth fantasy recommendations based on the impact of every injury breakdown. It’s an unrivaled combination of medical and fantasy expertise, designed to help you gain a true advantage as you prepare for your 2019 drafts.

Inside Injuries predicts the impact of injuries on player performance by using data analytics, medical expertise, and statistical modeling. Click here for more Fantasy Injury Exams: Gurley, Sanders, D. Freeman

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!

 

Leonard Fournette (RB, JAX)

Leonard Fournette had injury concerns coming out of college, and he hasn’t done much to quiet the negativity in his first two NFL seasons. Fournette suffered three separate ankle injuries in his final season at LSU. They involved a high ankle sprain and a bone bruise. While he felt healthy entering his first season in the league, high ankle sprains leave the ligaments stretched out. This means the player becomes more susceptible to future ankle sprains or other compensatory lower-body injuries. That’s exactly what happened early on. 

The first problem arose late in the summer of 2017 when Fournette injured his foot. He missed nearly all of the preseason recovering. Then he injured his right ankle during the season and played 13 games. The 2018 season didn’t go any better as Fournette suffered two serious hamstring strains, the second because he returned too early from the first. He ended up playing just eight games due to injury (and a one-game suspension) and didn’t look great when he was on the field. Fournette’s yards per carry went from 3.9 in his rookie year to 3.3 last year. His yards per game also dropped from 80 to 54.9. 

This seems like a make-or-break season for Fournette. He has the talent to be one of the league’s best backs, but his body may not be able to handle the grind of an NFL season. His ankle and foot injuries, which are related, will continue to be a red flag. These are tough injuries for a running back. On top of that, he now has a history of hamstring strains, another highly-recurrent injury. We don’t know what exactly he will injure this season, but it will surely be something. He falls into the High Injury Risk category heading into training camp.

Fournette is too risky to draft in the first three rounds, but if he somehow drops to the fourth or fifth round and is having a healthy preseason he could be worth the risk. Just don’t expect him to contribute each and every week.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Fournette has quickly gone from possible promising star to a source of frustration. He has an ADP of 15 at RB in the FFPC, and is not going any higher than 12th at the position on any site. He certainly has appeal for when he is available, as an improved QB situation in Jacksonville should mean he will operate in a steadier offense and he may have consistent opportunities to score. He’s played well before even when he received a lot of defensive attention and is capable of performing at an RB1 level when healthy.

However, this report from Inside Injuries makes you simply want to steer clear of him and take the next guy on your cheat sheet or in your queue. Even spending a third or fourth-rounder on Fournette could turn out to be a wasted venture. He may not be available when you need him the most. Fournette is simply more of an injury risk than most other RB2s, and I personally don’t want to gamble on him. It’s not worth dealing with the high probability of missed time to get higher level, but inconsistent availability and production. 

 

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

Kupp somehow avoided a season-ending knee injury when he suffered an MCL sprain in Week 6, but he returned less than a month later and suffered a torn ACL in his second game back. Because he returned too soon from the MCL sprain (this injury came with a four-week Optimal Recovery Time), his knee was weaker and more susceptible to a serious injury. Kupp underwent surgery in mid-November to repair the ACL, and there may have also been additional damage to the MCL as the ligament was already injured. 

Kupp spent the offseason focusing on his rehab with an eye on being ready to go in Week 1. When healthy, Kupp was one of the best and most consistent fantasy receivers in 2018. His injury comes with a nine-month Optimal Recovery Time, so our algorithm is indicating he won’t quite be 100% when the season starts. He is going to need a few weeks to slowly work his way back physically and to mentally trust his knee again. Even though the ACL should be fully healed by Week 1, he will be at a higher risk of suffering an injury such as a hamstring strain. Right now, his Overall Risk of injury sits at 16%, which is Elevated. Expect a slower than normal start from Kupp but a strong second half. 

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Kupp’s FFPC ADP is 23rd at WR, and his highest Average Draft Position on any site in PPR is 19th. That puts him in low-end WR2 territory, so there is some accounting for his recovery baked into his ADP. Because of the above scouting report though, Kupp may be viewed as a disappointment during the first half of the season as he possibly starts slowly. If he does not fare well during the first half it may be a good idea to try to buy low on him around midseason. But on draft day, you are better off taking alternatives he is being taken ahead of, such as Tyler Lockett or Calvin Ridley.

If Kupp slips to you as a WR3 should be more inclined to take the shot, but that will be unlikely in many cases. It seems smart to pass on him on draft day unless you can somehow get him at a great value and then see if you can acquire him later in the year if you still need WR help. Having Kupp back in any capacity will help Jared Goff, who was as high as QB2 overall before his injury. But the undervalued Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks should certainly and easily outperform Kupp for the first few weeks of the season. 

 

O.J. Howard (TE, TB)

After suffering foot and ankle injuries in Week 11, the Bucs surprisingly placed Howard on injured reserve. This injury sounded like a high ankle sprain, which can take 5-8 weeks to heal if it’s serious. Howard has now ended the season on IR in each of the last two seasons due to his ankle. He played 13 games in 2017, his rookie season, before getting hurt. 

Howard went for a second opinion on his ankle in November, and doctors determined that he did not need to undergo surgery. While that may sound like good news as it indicates there wasn’t anything too serious going on, it’s clear that the ligaments in his ankle are stretched out. With rest and rehab, this can improve, but it won’t go back to normal. That’s why Howard is a High Injury Risk entering the season. He has the potential to have a breakout season if he can stay healthy, but it won’t take much to roll his ankle again, leading to a lengthy absence and possibly surgery. 

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Howard is the fifth TE off the board in the FFPC and on several other sites. I really want to endorse Howard at that ADP, especially after he delivered seven double-figure PPR performances last season before getting injured. He’s a tremendous and highly-promising talent who could effectively operate as Tampa Bay’s third or maybe even second receiver this season. Of course, the TE position is thin on better top-level producers, so you may think it’s more acceptable to take the risk on Howard at his position. But that is only applicable to a certain point.

Howard is going ahead of Hunter Henry, Evan Engram and Jared Cook on many sites, and I especially see the latter two as prime TEs with no real health concerns. After that point, though, every TE becomes a big risk to not deliver reliable production on a regular basis.

So, while the above report does make me drop Howard a few spots, I would still be willing to take him as the seventh TE off the board. At that point, I will take what I can get from him when he may be available. If you miss out on one of the Top 6 or so TEs this year, you’re not getting anyone dependable.

For less than one dollar a day, get the edge you need to bet with confidence at Inside Injuries!

More Fantasy Football Analysis




More Recent Articles

 

Nine AL Rookies Ready to Leap Into Starting Lineups

Every year, there are those rookies who we expect to make a splash right away. Think Kris Bryant, Ronald Acuna, Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge--those guys. Once we make it through all the service time manipulation shenanigans, there are always youngsters ready to snatch roster spots immediately, and 2020 is no exception. Below are nine of... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Spin Rate

Spin rate has become one of the most recognizable Statcast metrics, with supporters of a given pitcher highlighting his spin rates to make their case. Unfortunately, the baseball world has done a lousy job conveying what spin rate really means. The result has been a ton of owners who know that spin rate exists, but... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Khris Davis

The Oakland Athletics finished 2019 with a record of 97-65, which was good for a second-place finish in the AL West and a second-consecutive wildcard birth. They did this despite a statistically down season from their superstar, Khris Davis. Davis struggled mightily in 2019 by slashing .220/.293/.387 with 23 HR, 73 RBI, 61 R, and... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis: Trey Mancini vs. Christian Walker

One of the most important skills in a fantasy draft is the ability to identify a player with similar value at a lower ADP. When you're able to find similar production at a lower cost, this allows you to use an earlier pick to fill out other areas of your roster, resulting in a stronger... Read More


MLB Closers and Saves: Fantasy Baseball Depth Charts

Saves are an important component for many fantasy baseball leagues. Closers are one of the most volatile positions in fantasy baseball, and one of the highest turnover positions in MLB. Each year, closers drop like flies and many MLB teams make in-season changes due to injuries or poor performance. Stay on top of all closer depth... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast - Relief Pitchers Preview

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez, Zach Braff and Mike Simione as they jump into their relief pitcher preview! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jose Urquidy

It's been a tumultuous winter for the Houston Astros. Not only were they embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal (which has, naturally, progressed apace to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about ever more sophisticated methods of cheating), but they watched staff ace Gerrit Cole sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Yankees. Plenty of virtual ink has been... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Mark Canha

Mark Canha had a solid 2019 campaign and is one player that probably deserves more attention heading into 2020 than he is currently receiving. He finished the season hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 HR, 58 RBI, 80 R, and 67 BB in 410 at-bats. It was a very productive line for a guy that played in... Read More


Four Prospect Sleepers for 2020 Redraft Leagues

Recently, Rotoballer launched a list of the Top 50 MLB prospects for the coming year. The top of the list was populated by names such as Gavin Lux, Luis Robert, and Brendan McKay. These players, among others, feature a promising combination of talent and favorable playing time projections to suggest they’ll be the cream-of-the-crop among... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis – Robbie Ray vs Trevor Bauer

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Second Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – C.J. Cron

As another fantasy baseball season approaches, we once again have the chance to discuss C.J. Cron as a fantasy sleeper. Cron will be playing for his third team in three seasons. It is tough to wrap one's head around the idea that a player of Cron's talent continues to be undervalued by professional and fantasy... Read More


2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More


Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More


More Recent Articles

 

XFL Week 2 - Opportunity Risers and Fallers

We previously looked at target risers and fallers based on the first two weeks of XFL data. The XFL has made it past Week 2 and now we have eight games of data to analyze. No small feat, as nobody knew where this league was going just a few weeks ago. But here we are,... Read More


XFL Week 2 - Target Risers and Fallers

The XFL has made it past Week 2 and now we have eight games of data to analyze. No small feat, as nobody knew where this league was going just a few weeks ago. But here we are, just mere days from Week 3 matchups! With two dates already in the rearview mirror and plenty... Read More


NFL Draft Combine Preview: Quarterbacks

With the Super Bowl now behind us, it is officially NFL Draft season! It's time to speculate on draft picks for teams, who should land where, and which players should be valued over others. This also marks the unofficial start to the 2020 fantasy football season. Getting in the early preparation can give owners a... Read More


RB Opportunity Share and Impact (AFC South & West): 2019 Review

We roll on with coverage of each of the eight NFL divisions, discussing the teams that are part of them and the running backs that were part of those teams in 2019. To present those teams and players I use a set of easy-to-read charts: treemaps. The graphics will hold all of the players of... Read More


Dynasty Price Check - Anthony Miller

Many of you have already begun planning and building your 2020 rosters. This includes best-ball owners who have assembled teams in that popular format. A number of owners in redraft leagues are inspecting the early rankings, while those of you who are involved in dynasty leagues have continued your process of relentless roster evaluation. As the... Read More


Is Lamar Jackson Worth a First Round Pick?

RotoBaller fantasy football analysts Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano discuss the idea of taking Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in the first round of 2020 fantasy football redraft leagues. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure... Read More


Why Lamar Jackson Should Be a First-Round Pick in 2020

Sometimes I like to make noise and some headlines if I can. That is why I host shows six days a week on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio representing RotoBaller. If I can get people buzzing about a topic, calling in or responding on social media with passion and vigor, I am having fun. But whenever I... Read More


Dynasty Price Check - Darren Waller

Many of you have already launched into the planning process for your 2020 rosters. This includes best-ball owners who have embraced the opportunity to draft in that popular format. A number of owners in redraft leagues are also monitoring the early rankings, while those of you who are involved in dynasty leagues have continued a pace of... Read More


Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Tight End

There were a lot of fantasy football busts at the tight end position in 2019, but there were also a lot of breakout stars. The 2018 season saw Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz break the NFL record for most receptions in a season by a tight end, while San Francisco’s George Kittle broke the record for most... Read More


Dynasty Price Check - Courtland Sutton

With the conclusion of Super Bowl LIV, football season is over for many people. But for anyone that plays in a dynasty fantasy football league, the season is never over. For the fantasy addicts out there, now is the time to start preparing. In today's column, we will take a look at wide receiver Courtland... Read More


Dynasty Price Check - Josh Allen

The NFL offseason has arrived, which means that it's time for us to go all-in on dynasty mode. The time between the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft is the time for dynasty players to make some moves and try to make their team better -- or worse, if you're rebuilding and looking for draft... Read More


RB Opportunity Share and Impact (NFC East & North)

With the season over and real-life free agency and April's NFL draft ahead of us, it's time to look at how each team split their targets and carries (both of them combined in what is called opportunities; sometimes it's receptions instead of targets, but I wanted to look at the overall volume and total chances instead)... Read More