Injury review for top draft picks

Time to look at the injury history of the top 25 draft picks, using the ECR for PPR leagues:

  1. Christian McCaffrey: 2019 was the first year CMC had 400 touches, and he only lasted 2 games in 2020 before getting injured. He tried to come back in week 9, and immediately got hurt again. Even if he returns to form, don’t expect him to get 400 touches again, or he won’t last. Don’t expect 2019 CMC again.

  2. Dalvin Cook: Cook has never played a full 16 game season with out missing at least 2 games. So he gets dinged a little, but when he performs, WOW! Losing a few games is more than worth the upside he brings. Personally, he is my 1.01.

  3. Alvin Kamara: His injury history is similar to Cook. Not a real concern. His concern is more around what his new QB will do with him, since he is reliant on receiving production for a lot of his value (he has never broken 1000 yards rushing in a season).

  4. Saquon Barkley: BIG injury worries! He is still recovering from his injury last year, and he hasn’t played in 16 games since 2018. Downgrade, downgrade, downgrade!

  5. Derrick Henry: No worries here. Plug and play. Easily my 1.02.

  6. Tyreek Hill: Misses a few games every now and then, but he is similar to Cook and Kamara. His production far outweighs what little time he misses.

  7. Davante Adams: Another one with minor injury bugs, but his production is monster good. his worry is who’s throwing him the ball this year? We’ll see.

  8. Ezekiel Elliott: Occasional missed games, but monster production WHEN Dak Prescott is healthy. If Dak stays healthy all year, Zeke could be undervalued here. Top 5 potential.

  9. Jonathan Taylor: Missed one game last season. No big worries.

  10. Stefon Diggs: Played a full 16 games for the first time last year. No worries.

  11. Austin Ekeler: Missed 6 games last season, so his injury history is a bit of a concern. He lives and dies by his PPR production (his best rushing season was 557 yards back in 2019, although he came close to that in fewer games in 2020). Probably ok to risk it here, but make sure you have a good backup option.

  12. DeAndre Hopkins: He’s missed 2 games in 8 seasons. A safer injury bet than Derrick Henry!

  13. Aaron Jones: Missed 2 games last year. No big worries.

  14. A.J. Brown: Also missed 2 games last year. No big worries.

  15. Travis Kelce: Since 2014, his first year as a starter, he’s missed 2 games. Moving right along…

  16. Nick Chubb: He missed 4 games last year, but still managed over a 1000 rushing yards and 12 td’s. Worth the risk.

  17. Calvin Ridley: He’s missed 4 games since his rookie season (2018). He’s well worth that minor risk.

  18. Justin Jefferson: Played all 16 games in his rookie season. Sign me up!

  19. Darren Waller: Played every single game the last 2 seasons. Notice he is now the number 2 TE in PPR ECR, and his injury history, or lack thereof, is a clear advantage over George Kittle.

  20. D.K. Metcalf: Played every single game since he entered the NFL. Opposing defenses can only wish he’d get hurt!

  21. Michael Thomas: Played 7 games last season, although in fairness part of that was a suspension by the team. Still, that’s a lot of time to miss. There are better, and much safer injury-wise, receivers after him.

  22. Patrick Mahomes: He’ll miss an occasional game (3 times in the last 3 years), but mostly he’s money in the bank.

  23. Keenan Allen: Missed 2 games last year, but had 147 targets. That’s what you want in a #1 WR, little injury risk with high upside potential.

  24. George Kittle: He missed 8 games last season. I’d let somebody else draft Kittle, and wait for a high upside TE later (did somebody say Kyle Pitts?).

  25. Joe Mixon: Missed 10 games last season. The next 5 RB’s are better injury risks. Pass on this one.

Notice how several of the guys near the top are all based on past performance (going back 2-3 years). As stock brokers are fond of saying, “past performance is no guaranty of future returns”. In the top 25 picks, you aren’t “buying low”. But with a significant injury history, you ARE overpaying. If you’re in a dynasty league, this is where you can “sell high” by trading, and let somebody else assume the risk while you get somebody with more potential. If you’re in a redraft league, just downgrade these guys, or even avoid them. There are better options, with as good or better potential.