You CAN’T TRUST JULIO JONES on your FANTASY TEAM!

Last season I wrote a piece called Trade Julio Jones. I wrote it a day before the Atlanta Falcons took on the Washington Redskins in their 5th game of the season. From the time of that post through the end of the season (12 more games), Julio Jones on scored four touchdowns and only eclipsed the 100-yard mark in receiving six times. 

Considering that most people drafted Julio Jones in the first round last year, this is far from what you expect from your star fantasy wide receiver. Many of you who did not listen to my advice, likely loss your league solely because week after week Julio Jones gave you pedestrian statistics.

Now that I have taken two short paragraphs to say “I told you so”, I will double down by saying that you can’t trust Julio Jones on your fantasy team! If the world were to right itself and somehow he became a second or third round pick, then I would consider Jones as my receiver. Even with Jones limping into the season, most ranking still put him in the top three for wide receivers and nearly everyone who drafts him will draft him as their number one pick. I think this is insane for a player who I think is a lock to be hampered by injuries all season long. Some may be encouraged that Jones started every game last year, but I would contend that his health was at less than average for his position for about 75 percent of the season.

Injury Science continues to lead me to the belief that Julio Jones simply has too much Freaky Talent and has yet to find a way to harness his abilities so that they do not tear up his body. Julio Jones has a history of missing games with multiple hamstring injuries, bone fractures, hip pointers, and a number of minor lower extremity conditions that he has played through. The things that I have mentioned are only the main stream injuries that the public has access to, but who knows what other injuries he has that we don’t hear about. I am betting on an abbreviated season for Jones during which the Atlanta Falcons learn to diversify their targets to other wide receivers now that Roddy White has moved on and Mohamed Sanu has and Aldrick Robinson have moved in.

I am even more sure than I was last season when I said to trade Julio Jones despite him coming into the season with 478 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first four games. I don’t know if it will be the ankle, if it will be a hamstring or groin, or if he steps his injury game up to a more serious level this year; but I think it’s coming early this season and many Julio Jones owners will see their seasons flushed down the toilet.

Let me know what you think @DrPettyIRD

HOW THE NFL JUST MADE FANTASY FOOTBALL HARDER FOR YOU!

What would you do with your star wide receiver if going into Sunday you did not know whether he had a 50-percent chance of playing or a 90-percent chance of playing? Would you play him and risk him not taking the field or possibly taking the field strictly as a decoy? Would you sit him and start a back-up who at best is half the player?

This upcoming NFL season may present this dilemma more often than any other season now that the NFL has eliminated the probable designation from the injury report. They have their reasons, but you can read about that elsewhere. What really matters is how this will affect your fantasy team.

If you have played fantasy football for any length of time, chances are you have been burned by an injury or two. The worst feeling is to have that perfect line up in place, only to have one of your players lay a goose egg because of an injury. Many of us understand that there is an increased risk to playing a player who has any injury designation coming into the week, but many of us are not qualified to truly calculate that risk. With the probable tag being eliminated and the NFL planning to only give use a “questionable” or “doubtful” designation, you will have even worst odds in figuring out the status of your player.

It appears that the “doubtful” tag will signify that a player has less than a 50-percent chance of playing, while a questionable tag signifies a 50-percent or greater chance of playing. When you set your lineups on Sunday morning, I think knowing which player has a 50-percent chance of playing vs. the player who has a 99-percent chance of playing would be a big deal. With the probable designation gone, both players will have the same tag of “questionable”.

I don’t think this is and end of the world type problem for fantasy football, but I think we can agree that this will heighten the difficulty in a sport where injuries are inevitable. Season long leagues will feel the blow least, as you will likely get a heads up before kick-off on your players availability. Although the chance of getting completely burned is less in season long, think about the time wasted on a plan B that you may never need.

Daily fantasy players will have it even tougher as switching one player late may disrupt your entire salary cap and change the entire make-up of your team. I am more of a Draft Kings guy, but I feel for the FanDuel players who don’t have the late swap option. Without late swap, daily fantasy owners will almost always being taking a calculated risk on a player with a “questionable” designation.

Overall this development will likely increase the time investment for what most of us consider a hobby. Many of you who really take fantasy football seriously will be reading the local reports and trying to find the answer to what a player’s status really is. Some of you will just avoid players with a confusing injury designation and repeatedly get beat by owners who gravitate toward calculated risk. Some of you will just listen to the player or the team to get the player’s status and get “Bill Belichicked” on Sunday when the player you benched has a career day or the player you played never touches the ball.

The smartest option would be none of the above. If you want to know whether a player will play, the simplest thing to do is ask me. If you want to know if an injury will allow a player to be productive, the simplest thing to do is ask me. If you want to know which players have the best production ceiling to injury floor ratio to warrant you taking a calculated risk–Ask me!

As I stated above, most are not qualified to calculate the risk of playing a “questionable” player, but I am. Fortunately I have seen most, if not all the injuries that your players will experience this upcoming season. I would urge you to listen to Injury Science from a healthcare professional such as myself, rather than subjective rhetoric from television personalities and reporters who sometimes may not understand what they are reporting. Although I may be a new name to many of you, I have done this for some time now and my percentages are very favorable in predicting player production during or after injury. Like anything else, I will not be perfect, but I expect to bat 700 or above.

I will be very easy to find this season between FantasyPros.com, TheInjuryReportDoctor.com, and Twitter. Send me those “questionable” questions and get an edge on your competition.

 

How Injury Science can give you an edge in your fantasy football draft

With fantasy drafts quickly approaching, many of us are looking at various types of data to decide who to draft and when to draft them. In my opinion, Injury Science is one of the most underrated angles that can be used pre-draft to help decide the value of a player. Being able to decipher which injuries to stay away from vs. which injuries to ignore could be the difference between winning and losing. Some people will fade players that will return to the field playing at a high level; and some will draft players who have little chance of playing to their full potential due to the lingering effects of an injury from last season. Here are some players recovering from injury that you might be interested in:

Steve Smith Sr. (ruptured Achilles)- This is in no specific order, but I will admit that Steve Smith Sr. is easily my favorite player in the league. With that said, I don’t expect him to be nearly as productive as his normal self and I think we may get a Kobe like farewell tour out of the Allen Iverson of the NFL. I fear that Smith will have very little explosion from what was termed a “double rupture” of his Achilles, and the only way I am playing Smith Sr. is in daily fantasy and on a week where his motivation has been heightened. I believe Smith Sr. has one or two good games left in him. Otherwise, fantasy owners should completely fade him as this injury is a career closer for an explosive position such as wide receiver.

Jordy Nelson (ACL tear)– Many of these ACL cases will sound like a regurgitation of my feelings. I don’t want any skilled players with ACL tears that are less than two years removed from surgery on my fantasy team. That is my rule and Jordy Nelson is no different. The latest news has him suffering from a left knee injury, which is not surprising considering he is not at his one year mark for the ACL tear he suffered last pre-season. I don’t fear the ACL repair failing with these guys, but I fear the delayed return of their normal body mechanics and the compensations that occur when the mind does not trust the body. Nelson is likely to play most of the season; but I am betting that the combination of being 31 years old and being one year removed from ACL repair means that we see the pre-2013 Jordy Nelson who you do not want on your fantasy team.

Kelvin Benjamin (ACL tear)– Kelvin Benjamin has the benefit of being younger than Jordy Nelson as he enters his 3rd season in the NFL, but my rule remains the same. I expect him to struggle to get back into game form and likely show his normal skill set late in the year. Benjamin may be a consideration for daily fantasy during the latter part of the season, but I wouldn’t draft him in season long leagues as he is another player that is hovering around that one year mark. Just in case you missed it earlier–No ACL repairs that are less than two years removed from surgery on my fantasy team!

Keenan Allen (lacerated kidney)– Keenan Allen is on this list because he missed half the season, but in truth I would completely ignore the lacerated kidney that finished off his season last year. The chances of him having a recurrence of this type of injury is very slim and as a fantasy owner, my hope is that others are deterred them from picking him. Allen is someone I would keep my eye on, especially in PPR leagues as I believe he picks up exactly where he left off with a high volume of catches and the potential for some huge games. At the age of 24 years old and with very little injury history prior to last year, Keenan Allen may one of the best values on this list.

Kevin White (lower leg stress fracture)-Kevin White is a perfect example of why I use caution when investing in “Freaky Talented” athletes. When you are 6-foot-3 inches, 216 lbs, and run a 4.35 40-yard dash; there are consequences. The stress fracture to White’s tibia is a sign that his body is not likely to keep up with his level of talent for long durations. This injury basically says that White’s muscles are creating so much force and speed that his bones simply can’t withstand it. Ruling White in or out based on his injury alone would be very difficult. However, when I consider that his coach wants balance, he is a clear number two option to Alshon Jeffery, and that his quarterback is Jay Cutler, the risk/reward equation definitely tips in the risk direction. I would fade White this season unless the injury prone Alshon Jeffery goes down and White becomes the top option for the Bears at receiver. White definitely has the talent to be a fantasy superstar, but I don’t think his body will hold up for him to realize his full potential.

LeVeon Bell (MCL tear)-I have made my feeling about LeVeon Bell very clear on a few occasions. I believe he will enter the season at 100% and if he keeps his weight down, I consider him no lower than the second best fantasy players earth. As a fantasy owner, I am far more worried about Bell’s pending suspension and his weight than I am about his injury status.

Jamaal Charles (ACL tear)– I read an article earlier this summer that made the case that Charles may be the most under-valued back in fantasy this season. I would like to tell that writer that YOU ARE WRONG! By the time Charles recovers from this ACL injury he will be staring 30 years old dead in the face; and for a running back I translate these facts to mean it’s over. I believe the Jamaal Charles that was a fantasy beast for so many years is officially gone, and at best we get a player who is a solid contributor to a running back by committee duo or trio. Those who use a high pick on Charles will definitely regret it. The injury wrap sheet for Jamaal Charles is too long for me to rattle off here, but trust me, it’s over!

Tony Romo (collarbone fracture) – I’m not really sure Romo is worth talking about. He has the best offensive line in the business and somehow manages to fracture bones on a yearly basis. With the Dallas Cowboys being a running team and Tony Romo’s injury floor being pretty high, I’m not sure why anyone would take Romo as more than a situational fantasy start. Tony Romo doesn’t strike me as being a gym guy beyond what is required of him, but he might benefit from adding a bit more muscle to absorb these hits that are causing him fractures. I doubt much will change with Romo’s body and I think we can expect another abbreviated season from him.

Joe Flacco (ACL tear)– Joe Flacco comes closest to making me break my ACL rules, but not quite. Flacco plans to wear a brace to protect his plant leg and despite his big arm, I believe this will have a negative effect on his performance this year. With the Baltimore Ravens offense being inconsistent at best, I see no reason to trust Joe Flacco who will only be about 10 months out of surgery when opening day comes around. I expect Flacco’s production to decline some and his fantasy value to stay in the basement.

Andrew Luck (shoulder sprain/strain)– I have already detailed why I may be targeting Andrew Luck as my top quarterback and this has not changed. I think Andrew Luck enters the season at 100% and despite last years issues, he continues to present as one of the least risky players in fantasy football. By nature the quarterback has a low injury risk, but add in the fact that Luck is 6-foot 4 inches and over 230 lbs, and no quarterback outside of Cam Newton has a better body to body ratio when it comes to taking on defenders. As Luck continues to mature, I think we will see a quarterback who will be difficult to injure. All of the injuries from last year are of little concern with the exception of the right should subluxation, which I consider to be a low risk to recur. I am hopeful that many will sleep on Andre Luck and allow him to fall in drafts as I expect him to be the top fantasy quarterback of the 2016 season.