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Fantasy Injury Exam Room - Derrius Guice, A.J. Green, Hunter Henry


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. Also check out our previous Injury Exams on Fournette, Kupp and O.J. Howard or Gurley, Sanders, and D. Freeman. Also,Newton, Cook and Robinson.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Derrius Guice (RB, WAS)

Guice has had a long 12 months recovering from various injuries. It started with a torn ACL during the 2018 preseason. He then suffered several setbacks along the way that included infections to the surgery site. Not only does this delay recovery, but it can also compromise the strength of the repaired ligament. Therefore it’s especially important to take things very slowly throughout the rehab process and really focus on strengthening all of the muscles around the knee.

Late in the spring, there were finally some positive reports that Guice had been running and cutting and could be ready to go for the preseason. Another setback occurred, this time a hamstring strain around late June. This is an injury that is very common when returning from a torn ACL. Even if the knee is recovered the rest of the body needs time to catch up and get back to full strength. That leaves the player more susceptible to a muscular strain. Guice was able to recover in time to report to training camp and was a full-go last week, as Coach Gruden expected him to be.

Barring a setback, it’s looking like Guice will be ready to go in Week 1. Unfortunately, he still comes with quite a bit of risk (32% - High Risk). Not only has he recently suffered a hamstring injury, but the stability of his knee may have been compromised slightly by the infection. It’s crucial to continue to focus on rehab even now that he has returned to practice. Guice has a lot of upside leading the Redskins backfield (his Health Performance Factor is Above Average - 78%), but it won’t take much to sideline him for an extended period of time.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Guice is looking like a shaky Fantasy pick. Reports have indicated that he looks good in camp, and that has stirred some Fantasy optimism. But owners are being somewhat conservative in their approach to him in drafts so far, as he is the 32nd running back off the board in the FFPC, and is not being taken higher than 26th in PPR formats on any other notable site. Guice may not be dependable in terms of overall touches this season, as he could either miss more time, or share some work with Adrian Peterson. Plus, Chris Thompson will be the guy operating as the main pass-catching back.

The Redskins may take the approach of not overworking Guice, and with Peterson in the fold, it appears they can do so. At best, Guice may be a flex play this season when he is available. But he is still in danger of missing more time with injuries. If it comes down to a decision between Guice and another closely-ranked player on Draft Day, opt for the more healthy alternative.

 

A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

It’s been a rough few years for A.J. Green when it comes to injuries, and 2019 isn’t getting off to a strong start. Before we dive into his latest ankle injury, let’s take a quick look back at his most serious injuries over the years:

2014: Played through turf toe - missed 3 games
2016: torn hamstring - missed 6 games
2018: turf toe then torn ligaments in toe - missed 7 games
2019: ankle surgery - will miss preseason and start of regular season

Green was surprisingly a full-go at the start of training camp last week. His 2018 season ended with a toe injury that required surgery to repair ligament damage. The injury occurred in his first game back from a big toe sprain. He shouldn't have been playing, and it resulted in a season-ending injury and surgery.

Now Green is sidelined because he came back too quickly from the toe surgery and suffered a compensatory injury to his opposite ankle. Green appeared to suffer a high ankle sprain at practice and was initially given a 4-6 week recovery time. Then he was sent for a second opinion, resulting in “minor” surgery. Now, his expected recovery time is a bit longer at 6-8 weeks.

Unfortunately, Inside Injuries is showing that even 8 weeks won’t be enough time for his ankle to fully heal. There is really no such thing as a “minor surgery” when there’s damage to the ligaments in the ankle. Green could need up to three months to fully recover from surgery, and even then his Injury Risk will remain High. A 31-year old receiver returning from two serious surgeries to the foot/ankle is trouble.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

I was pretty happy to get Green as my third WR in my recent Scott Fish Bowl draft, as I went all wideout in the first three rounds. Now I wish that draft was closer to the season. I never want to see any player get hurt. But when you see a guy go down in late July, it reminds you that the closer you draft to the season, the safer it is to adjust for July and August injuries.

Green stayed healthy in 2017, which left some room for hope, but now there is no way he can regain his previous draft status as an earlier round pick. This injury will drop his fantasy appeal to WR3 territory. He could be out up to three months this time as indicated above and even then he will remain a significant risk. Green will not likely end up on my rosters at all going forward unless I can get three other starters ahead of him. I see that as unlikely.

Other owners in your league may expect an eight-week timeline for a return. You’re reading this article, and you know it could be up to 12 weeks before he comes back and even then he could still be in danger of going down again. So let someone else draft him with a shorter recovery time in their mind.

 

Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)

After missing just three total games in his first two seasons in the NFL, Hunter Henry played just 14 snaps in 2018 after returning from injury. Henry suffered a torn ACL last May and returned in time to take the field in the Chargers playoff loss to the Patriots. It was a pretty quick return just eight months following surgery. Now that he has had the offseason to continue to recover and work on his strength, his body should be prepared for a strong season.

So far Henry has reportedly looked great at training camp. Our algorithm is in line with reports coming out of Broncos camp. He is back at a Low Injury Risk (9%), and his HPF is Peak (95%). That means Henry is healthy enough to play at his best when he takes the field. When players are recovering from a torn ACL it takes a full 12 months to recover, although many players return to the field much sooner than that.

When discussing his health, Henry said “I feel just as explosive, maybe even more. I feel great running right now.” This is exactly what you want to hear and expect to hear once a player is a year removed from surgery. Sure, guys can try to play and may feel strong enough to make an impact, but it’s the little things that continue to take more time. Being sharp on cuts, feeling explosive, getting off of the line quickly, becoming more comfortable taking hits. It takes time, and Henry has had adequate time to feel back to normal for 2019. Medically there’s no reason to believe that Henry won’t have a strong season.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

It appears there is no reason to have any lingering concerns about Henry, and he should be one of the top TEs off the board this season. He is the sixth TE being taken in the FFPC and on every other significant fantasy platform in PPR formats. But we could make the case he should be as high as the fourth player taken at the position. O.J. Howard and Evan Engram are being taken ahead of him. But as we detailed recently about Howard in this column, he remains an injury risk for the 2019 season.

Henry also has a better QB situation than Engram. Philip Rivers has historically favored the TE and this is the year that Henry can officially become the true successor to Antonio Gates. He is now gone, along with Tyrell Williams, and Henry is certainly going to be one of the top-three options in the Chargers passing game. With no worries about his health, you can make a case that Henry should lead the second tier of fantasy TEs in 2019.

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

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