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Fantasy Injury Exam Room - Week 1 Outlooks: Amari Cooper, Stefon Diggs, More

In our weekly feature in collaboration with Inside Injuries, we take a comprehensive weekly 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 scouting report. It’s an unrivaled combination of medical and fantasy expertise, designed to help you gain a true advantage as you prepare to set your weekly lineups. Inside Injuries predicts the impact of injuries on player performance by using data analytics, medical expertise, and statistical modeling.

Read More Injury Exam Rooms: Many more seasonal injury outlooks are covered here,

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!


Amari Cooper (WR, DAL)

Cooper was at Cowboys practice on Monday for the first time in a month. He missed most of training camp recovering from plantar fasciitis, an injury he has battled multiple times throughout his career. When asked about his readiness for Week 1 he said “I think I’m good.” While it sounds like he is going to try to play, we’re not exactly optimistic that he will be very successful, at least early in the season. He’s at a High Risk of injury as this is easily aggravated. He clearly isn’t 100% yet, and that could also lead to a related injury such as an ankle sprain as he overcompensates.

His HPF (Health Performance Factor - our metric to predict performance) is also Below Average, indicating this foot injury will hurt him on the field. It affects nearly every movement, from pushing off and accelerating to cutting and changing direction when running a route. Expect a slow start to the season.

Engel’s Analysis

Cooper told reporters that he is feeling no pain and he is ready to go for the opener against the Giants. The question for fantasy players now is how effective he will be, and no one will know that until we actually see him work during a game. Cooper was drafted in most leagues as a high-end WR2 but cannot be treated as one fantasy-wise for Week 1. If you are faced with a close decision between Cooper and another WR or flex choice, use the healthier alternative. Don’t go overboard, though, and bring a deep WR off your bench to replace Cooper. If you don’t have another quality replacement, start him and keep a lid on expectations. You should certainly fade him in DFS.


Stefon Diggs (WR, MIN)

Diggs missed practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury. He didn't appear to be suffering any sort of an injury throughout the preseason, so this is likely a new issue. It's unclear how serious it is. The hope is that it was just a little sore so the Vikings decided to play it safe and keep him out of practice, but he returned on Thursday. He missed one game last season with a rib injury and played through a knee injury for a few weeks, but he doesn't have a history of hamstring injuries. For now, he is a High Injury Risk.

Engel’s Analysis

It does appear that Diggs is on track to play against the Falcons, but hamstring issues can linger and it will make his owners worry that he could be affected again at any time. This sort of issue makes us concerned that Diggs will not have much of a statistical ceiling against Atlanta. But you cannot bench a player like Diggs, who is a high-caliber fantasy WR.


D.K. Metcalf (WR, SEA)

It’s been just over two weeks since Metcalf underwent a minor procedure to his knee, and he is already back at practice. The Seahawks expect their rookie receiver to be active Week 1. While the team never said what exactly was addressed during surgery, this was likely something like a little cleanup or trimming of the meniscus due to a small tear. It’s possible for players to return to the field within a few weeks after this, but they aren’t fully recovered yet. That takes anywhere from 5-8 weeks depending on what exactly was done. Because of this, Metcalf remains a High Injury Risk. Give him a few weeks to prove he is healthy before plugging him into any lineups. It’s far too risky right now.

Engel’s Analysis

The Seahawks’ confidence in Metcalf seems to be very high. They have denoted him as a starter on their official depth chart and waived Jaron Brown, who was previously projected to be a starter, before bringing him back and putting him behind the rookie in terms of official status.

The Seahawks have an obvious plus matchup against Cincinnati in the opener, and Metcalf was drafted into an ideal spot for success. He is a unique size/speed combination of talents playing with arguably the best deep passer in the game. Those are all positives for his future and eventual Fantasy outlook. But it’s too risky to use a rookie in his pro opener coming off a recent surgical procedure, if you were somehow considering him in a larger league.


Keke Coutee (WR, HOU)

Following a rough rookie season where injuries allowed him to play in just six games, Coutee is already dealing with another concerning injury. Last year, it was a series of hamstring strains that started in the preseason and continued throughout the year. Now it’s an ankle injury that has his Week 1 availability in danger. He sprained his ankle in the third preseason game and missed over a week of practice. There have been conflicting reports and quotes coming out of the Texans camp, but our algorithm is suggesting that he shouldn’t play until Week 3.

This is considered a moderate (grade 2) ankle sprain, which comes with a four-week Optimal Recovery Time. Because he already had serious injury issues, the Texans need to be extra cautious. Wide receivers that suffer multiple lower-body issues can be severely hampered on the field. It’s best to rest and get healthy now so he can be okay the rest of the season. Hopefully, he has learned his lesson after his hamstring strains were clearly mismanaged last year.

Engel’s Analysis

Coutee has been able to practice this week but the medical scouting report on him here is discouraging. You may have not been considering using him unless you play in a larger league, but if he is not dependable as a chain mover for Deshaun Watson this week, that could boost the outlooks of some other Texans starters in the receiving game against the Saints. Will Fuller is healthy, but the newly acquired Duke Johnson may get the most notable jump in production. Watson may turn to him frequently in flat and short pass situations when he cannot make the bigger play downfield and chooses to throw.


Cam Newton (QB, CAR)

Heading into the 2019 season, we thought all of the Cam Newton chatter would be surrounding his surgically-repaired shoulder after going under the knife for a second time this offseason. But now it’s a foot injury that the Panthers are more concerned about. Inside Injuries’ algorithm is still showing some red flags related to both injuries.

An MRI on Newton’s foot showed a mid-foot sprain, which we have classified as a grade 2 (moderate) injury. This comes with a 3-4 week Optimal Recovery TIme, but it’s especially concerning for a QB who relies on his feet to make plays. On top of that he had another shoulder surgery. While his recovery has been smooth so far, it’s still a second surgery to his throwing shoulder, and it wasn’t just a minor cleanup as far as we can tell.

He’s going to play on Sunday, but this decision comes with a lot of risk. Cam isn’t exactly setting himself up well for the season. We are concerned about his shoulder and his foot. Either of these could be easily aggravated by one big hit or an awkward play. He’s far from 100% and won’t be until well into the season.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Newton is not listed on the injury report for the season opener and Ron Rivera told the media he expects Newton to be able to do the things he has normally done. That should also include a lot of tosses and quick hits to Christian McCaffrey, the latter which can always help the QB’s fantasy production. Newton may not also hold back as a runner, as that is simply who he is.

If you have a close decision between Newton and another player, use the alternative that is not an injury risk. Newton should at least produce adequately for Fantasy purposes in the opener, but he is apparent risk to leave a game at any time according to the medical scouting report provided here.


Robby Anderson (WR, NYJ)

Anderson is reportedly trending in the right direction to play in Week 1 after missing around a week with a calf injury. These soft tissue injuries are very tricky, and it’s especially concerning for a guy like Anderson, who suffered multiple ankle sprains last season. This is a different injury, but it is related. Calf strains affect any pushing off motion a wide receiver makes, whether it’s accelerating off the line of jumping for a pass thrown his way. Anderson remains a week away from his Optimal Recovery Time, so he’s High Risk for now.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

If Anderson is not fully healthy as indicated here, he may be robbed of his upside in the opener against Buffalo. The matchup is tough anyway against the Bills secondary, and not being at optimum health makes Anderson seem like a bench candidate for Week 1. Sam Darnold may have to lean on Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder as his most dependable targets in what could be a lower scoring game.


Julio Jones (WR, ATL)

Julio is one of those unique players who can miss nearly every practice and still be hurt but put up great numbers. That’s what elite players do. Heading into Week 1 he isn’t 100% as he has recently dealt with a foot issue, although it seems like he never really is. Of course, we don’t want to see a player start the season still recovering from an injury, but the Falcons seem to have handled this as well as they could have. Jones took things very slow throughout the offseason and then the preseason, and he is practicing this week. This approach should set him up for success throughout the season.

His Injury Risk recently improved from High to Elevated, so he’s trending in the right direction. Expect Jones to get off to a hot start and put up excellent numbers throughout the year.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Jones scared many fantasy owners on Thursday when he alluded to possibly not playing on Sunday and indicated he was sore. But ultimately, he said he plans to play against Minnesota. As the report here indicates, as long as Jones is ready to go, you can expect the optimum type of production from him. Do keep another alternative in mind if there is somehow a report that Jones is not active on Sunday, but it appears you should expect him to play and produce well.


Jordan Reed (TE, WAS)

Jordan Reed should have retired a long time ago. Now recovering from career concussion number SEVEN, it should be more clear than ever that he shouldn’t be allowed to play football again. Reed suffered his latest head injury nearly two weeks ago yet remains in concussion protocol. It was initially believed to be minor, but with this many concussions, none are ever really minor. His many other career injuries are also a concern, but they pale in comparison to his concussions.

There isn’t much to say here other than his Injury Risk is incredibly High as always. It’s one of the highest our algorithm has ever computed for a guy who didn’t just suffer a season-ender like a torn ACL or ruptured Achilles. Reed is looking very questionable for Week 1, and who knows after that? It’s unlikely he makes it through the season without another concussion or serious injury.

Engel’s Analysis

If you drafted Reed, you obviously know his injury history well and did not pick him as a starter. If you need some TE help in a deeper league, you might consider Vernon Davis, who may have some opportunities to produce respectably with a lack of apparent playmakers in the Washington passing game.

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

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