Hidden Value or Damaged Goods

When is it safe to draft Jordy Nelson, Jamaal Charles, Thomas Rawls, Tyler Eifert, and many other injured players

“You might not win your fantasy league with your first draft picks, but you can definitely lose it.”

I’m not going to debate the accuracy of that bit of fantasy football wisdom. It’s enough to say I’m not a big fan of absolutism. No doubt many of you have come storming back to win your league after seeing injuries and unexpectedly poor production wipe out three of your first four draft picks. But I think it’s worth trying to mitigate as much risk as possible in the early rounds. At minimum, if you take a high risk player, you want the upside to be worth it.

Injuries, whether it’s a player who suffered a muscle strain during the preseason weeks or a player whose recovery from offseason surgery remains an unknown, are a vital part of that risk equation. Although we’re often working with incomplete information, it’s still possible to make an educated guess on how to value injured players on your fantasy draft board.

Let’s examine the players being drafted in the first 8-10 rounds of most drafts who are perceived – rightly or wrongly – to have the most worrisome injury risk-reward profile.

I’ll include each player's current overall ADP (using Footballguys consensus ADP list), positional ADP and the range in which they’re most likely to be drafted. After a profile of their injuries, I’ll provide a risk assessment and a recommendation of where I feel each player can be most sensibly drafted. If you’re willing to tolerate more risk, draft the player a little earlier than my recommendation. If you prefer safer bets in the early rounds, you might consider taking a few of these players off your board altogether.

NOTE: I’ll update this feature frequently over the next two weeks. Any additions will be dated and in red typeface. The date at the top will reflect the day of the most recent update, which will include ADP data.

Footballguys will have all the injury angles covered for you during the regular season. In addition to a daily wiki of players in the news and current injuries put together by Clayton Gray and Mark Wimer each week, we'll have a review of the week’s injuries on Monday, a discussion of the first injury report of the week on Wednesday and an assessment of the fantasy expectations of all the key injured players on Sunday morning. Our twitter feeds -- @JeneBramel and @CraigZumsteg -- will also be active throughout the week with breaking injury news and analysis.