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September 03, 2022

Fantasy football injuries: Should you worry about Deebo Samuel? J.K. Dobbins? Chris Godwin? Drake London?

What about Miles Sanders, Tee Higgins and Darren Waller?

If you are lucky enough to have your fantasy draft this weekend, you'll no doubt be equipped with more information than you had drafting last weekend. All 32 NFL teams made cuts this week, and several trades also had fantasy implications.

So what should you know before drafting a player with an injury designation on your draft board? Which injuries are worth lowering a player on your list? Which ones are not worth worrying about?

We've compiled updates on all the latest injuries and put them into two key categories, as you can see below.

Worry about:

Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers

Samuel has been out of practice lately with a bone bruise in his knee, which is a relatively minor injury but still one that is worth monitoring. While you shouldn't dock your draft stock in Samuel, there is a chance he misses Week 1, which will have a trickle-down effect on San Francisco's offense, including QB Trey Lance.

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ravens

Coming off a torn ACL last preseason, Dobbins has had about a year to recover — but it doesn't look like he is a shoo-in to start in Week 1 (or to be his usual, 2020 self when he is back). Dobbins did not play this preseason, and the team added not only Mike Davis, but Kenyon Drake to add depth at the RB position (with Gus Edwards on the PUP list). Dobbins is not on the PUP list and that implies he'll probably play somewhere in the first four games, but he's still someone to avoid unless he's an absolute steal on your draft board.

Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers

Godwin is another star coming back from an ACL tear, and Godwin's happened later into 2021 than Dobbins'. He has not practiced with contact yet, did not appear in the preseason, and the Bucs have a lot of decent weapons for Tom Brady to look toward as Godwin recovers in Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Russell Gage. Godwin is certainly still worth drafting, but having him as your WR1 or 2 could cause issues with him potentially missing some time to start the year.

Zach Ertz, TE, Cardinals 

Ertz has a calf injury and it looks like he will be touch or go as far as playing in Week 1. It's a nagging injury, not a serious one and as such he shouldn't miss significant time, but missing Week 1 might be enough to make Ertz undesirable as a third-tier tight end.

Drake London, WR, Falcons

The Falcons' top draft choice and likely WR1 got hurt in his first preseason game and has been out since then with a knee injury. The Falcons have no firm date set for his return and missing a game or two still could be possible. Still, he could break out as the presumptive top wide receiver target for Atlanta, and if you can get him late enough he has keeper value. 

James Robinson, RB, Jaguars

Coming back from a torn Achilles is no easy task, and Robinson looks to be on track to play sometime early this season, potentially even in Week 1 as a change of pace back behind Travis Etienne. Just what his workload will be and if he will be 100% out of the shoot is anyone's guess — so draft with caution.

Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seahawks

Walker's recovery from hernia surgery could keep him off the field in Week 1. With a healthy Rashaad Penny likely to start, Walker would probably be relegated to backup duties if he's healthy. He has value as a rookie who can break out later in the season but might not factor in during the first month or so.

Christian Watson, WR, Packers

Watson is no more than a late-round flier for fantasy owners, as the Packers rookie may or may not be ready for Week 1 due to a knee injury, and could be as low as fifth on the depth chart to start the season.

Don't worry about:

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys

A lacerated foot sounds kind of gross and serious, but Lamb should be fine in Week 1 as a cut on his foot heals. He will get a ton of targets as Dallas' WR1.

Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals

Higgins had shoulder surgery and is still slowly working his way back. He was able to start playing in team drills a few weeks ago (better late than never) and any limitations prior to Week 1 should be strictly precautionary.

Darren Waller, TE, Raiders

Waller has had a hamstring issue throughout camp — but he's also had a contract issue which might have been more of a factor than his leg. He's back in practice and expected to be full go for the start of the season.

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Dolphins

Waddle has a lower-body injury that has hampered him of late, but the Dolphins are adamant that this is not an injury that will affect his availability to play in Week 1.

Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers

Johnson had an awkward injury in the final preseason game and went to the blue medical tent — and did not return. The Steelers say the injury is not at all serious and if it were a regular season game he'd have returned to action. He should be fine when the season starts.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints

Thomas has gone through a slew of injuries of late, but he appears like he'll be full go in 2022. With Jameis Winston airing it out for the New Orleans offense, Thomas could be a steal in the middle of your draft. Or he could be a total bust again, as he is 29 years old and will have some serious competition for targets. Draft at your own risk.

Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers

As of right now, we're not worried about Mitchell. Yes, he missed all of the preseason and yes, he is still working through a hamstring issue, but he looks to be in line to be the RB1 and ramping up to full readiness with the season more than a week away. His injury history could dock him a few spots on your big board but he's not someone to outright avoid.

Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles

Had Sanders not returned to practice Thursday, his hamstring could have had him on the "worry about" list, but on the same day the Birds added free agent Trey Sermon it appears Sanders began the process of ramping up to start in Week 1, with Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott backing him up. 

Kadarius Toney, WR, Giants

The Giants' passing game could be a mess in 2022, but Toney could be the top target if healthy this season and according to team officials, he will be ready to play in Week 1 after a truncated training camp. 

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