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August 15, 2021

Fantasy football injuries: Updates on recovering superstars, preseason sit-outs and new setbacks

We are now less than a month away from the start of the 2021 NFL season and the injuries continue to pile up. Luckily, there were no super serious or season-ending injuries since we last checked in, but with fantasy drafts set to start soon, team owners need to be on top of things.

Below is a look at some of the latest news on every relevant fantasy football injury we could find.

Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings

After suffering an AC joint strain in practice last week, fantasy enthusiasts no doubt started to worry about the emerging elite wideout who was sure to go in the top three rounds in their fantasy draft. Reports from Minnesota are reassuring, saying that Jefferson would be able to play through it if the season started today and it sounds as though he'll be fine in four weeks, when the regular season begins.

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

The entire output of Dallas' fantasy production (from CeeDee Lamb to Ezekiel Elliott) could hinge on whether Prescott is 100% when the season begins. An MRI last week on a shoulder strain (not his torn ACL from last season), shows the injury is healing properly and he could be on track to start the season as QB1. It is unknown if Mike McCarthy will suit him up for any preseason games. For those thinking of drafting Prescott, he's a huge favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year according to Pickswise with +220 odds. The next closest is a three-way tie between Saquon Barkley, Joe Burrow and Christian McCaffrey.

Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys

A healthy Prescott would love to have a healthy Cooper. Whether that's possible is up in the air, as the wideout said that he expects to begin practicing "in the next couple weeks." The season begins in four weeks.

Carson Wentz, QB, Colts

After getting an operation to fix his injured foot, Wentz is reportedly "trending to play in Week 1," according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. This comes after his recovery time was initially said to be between 5-and-12 weeks, and before Colts owner Jim Irsay said he would not rush Wentz back before he is 100%. All of this basically means, draft Colts skill players — and Wentz himself — with caution. But it does sound like Wentz will be under center sooner rather than later.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Browns

OBJ is working his way back from an ACL tear last season and is on the field at practice, finally. While not participating in team drills, Beckham has been seen doing one-on-one receiver drills which is a good sign for his recovery.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Eagles

Smith's week-to-week MCL strain has been downgraded to day-to-day, with Smith appearing at practice for the first time since the injury. Head coach Nick Sirianni expects him to return soon and he could get time in the third preseason game in two weeks.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants

A hamstring injury last week continues to bother Golladay, who is nearing a return before the end of the preseason. It's worth noting that fellow New York wideouts John Ross (an upper leg injury) and rookie Kadarius Toney (a yet unrevealed injury) are also missing out on reps in Giants camp.

Elijah Moore, WR, Jets

Potentially a fantasy darling rookie wideout, Moore has been labeled as day-to-day with a quad injury he sustained in New York's preseason opener.

Darren Waller, TE, Raiders

Waller is going second among tight ends in most fantasy drafts, and Raiders officials say his ankle injury is not a serious one. However, he's definitely someone worth paying close attention to as the season approaches.

D'Andre Swift, RB, Lions

Swift's groin injury forced the Lions to take what they called a "cautious" approach with him sitting out the team's first preseason game. The injury shouldn't be too concerning for fantasy purposes.

David Montgomery, RB, Bears

Montgomery, the probable starter in Chicago if healthy, limped off the field after taking one carry and did not return. The reports after the game Saturday confirmed it's a groin injury, and will keep him sidelined between two and four weeks. He could be ready Week 1 but it's not a guarantee.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the fantasy landscape a year ago, stud wideout Diggs has a knee injury and did not see the field in the Buffalo preseason opener. It's likely just a precaution but one worth monitoring.

Zack Moss, WR, Bills

Diggs' teammate Moss — the likely RB1 for the Bills — missed the preseason game too with a hamstring injury.

Mike Williams, WR Chargers

The oft-injured but immensely talented Williams has a hip flexor that is bothering him. He should be fine to start Week 1.

Curtis Samuel, WR, Washington

Samuel has been activated off the PUP list (a groin injury). This puts the fantasy-relevant receiver on a path to being 100% for the start of the season.

Rashad Penny, RB, Seahawks

Penny is the No. 2 to Chris Carson in Seattle, and according to head coach Pete Carroll, next week will be "really big for him" as he mends an injured thigh. 

James Conner, RB, Cardinals

Conner was added to the COVID list back on Thursday.

Justin Jackson, RB, Chargers

Likely to be Austin Ekeler's main backup, Jackson reportedly is nursing a groin injury sustained in his team's preseason game. He should fully recover.

Rashod Bateman, WR, Ravens

Many researching for their upcoming fantasy draft were high on Bateman, a rookie WR who could wind up becoming a favorite target of QB Lamar Jackson. However, a core injury that will cost him the next six to eight weeks could demote him to a waiver wire target a few weeks into the season. He won't be worth a selection in most leagues until he hits the field and recovers from minor surgery.

Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens

Hollywood Brown had a hamstring injury that cost him Baltimore's preseason opener. Keep an eye on his status.

Anthony Miller, WR, Texans

With DeShaun Watson's future in doubt, not too many Texans skill players are on fantasy radars. But Anthony Miller might be, and a dislocated elbow he suffered in the Houston preseason opener is one worth knowing about.

Darrynton Evans, RB, Titans

Tennessee's backup running back has what is being called a day-to-day knee injury sustained in the team's preseason opener.

Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts

Hines hurt his leg in the Colts first preseason game but it does not appear to be a serious setback.

The following superstars sat out their first preseason games for precautionary reasons. They do not necessarily have fantasy football related injury concerns:

Julio Jones, WR, Titans

A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Cardinals

Aaron Jones, RB, Packers

Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles

Melvin Gordon III, RB, Broncos

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions

Nelson Agholor, WR, Patriots

Tre'Quan Smith, WR, Saints

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