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2018 NFL Injury Guide: Deshaun Watson

Jesse Morse M.D.

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Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Name: DeShaun Watson

Age: 22 years old (turns 23 in September)

Team: Houston Texans

2017 Stats: 7 games, 1699 yards passing, 19 TD, 8 INT.  36 rushes for 269 yds, 2 TD.

2018 Projections: 16 games, 3,692 yards passing, 26 TD, 16 INT. 77 rushes for 456 yds, 3 TD.

Projected 2018 Fantasy Rank (FantasyPros):  QB2

Injury: DeShaun Watson was setting the NFL on fire starting on October 1 against the Titans, where he threw for 283 yards and was responsible for 5 TDs (4 pass, 1 rush), and mind-you he was replaced by Tom Savage in the 4Q in a blowout win. The following week he accounted for another 5 TDs against the Chiefs. He was becoming a star right in front of our eyes. Then, on November 2nd, Watson was added to the injury report with a ‘sore knee,’ hours later reports surfaced that Watson tore his ACL in practice. And just like that, Watson’s season was over. Done. What a tease. Everyone was in disbelief, but that’s the nature of the vicious NFL game we all love.

At Clemson, Watson tore his left ACL. This time he tore his right ACL. I mentioned when discussing Allen Robinson that there is a 94% success rate after ACL reconstruction surgery, meaning there is a 6% re-tear rate. That a study from 2014 shows there is a 6x increased risk of a 2nd ACL injury when compared to healthy subjects. 30% of athletes suffered a 2ndACL injury within 24 months of return to sport, within those 21% had a contralateral ACL tear, and 9% had a graft re-tear. Watson did just that; he tore his contralateral ACL. Watson had his ACL reconstruction surgery on November 7, 2017, so fast forward 9 months, that is early August. Realistically I think Watson can return for the entire 2018 NFL season without rushing his rehab. He’s young, so at least has that going for him. Young people heal faster than not-so-young people.

So what does the data say about QBs who suffered ACL tears? There’s a good article from the USA Today in 2016 that discusses the injuries to Donovan Mcnabb, Tom Brady, RGIII, and Sam Bradford (who suffered 2 ACL tears) among others. The data is pretty consistent; there is an expected drop in performance after an ACL tear, especially in players who are mobile – like Watson is. Watson’s most impressive attribute is his ability to extend the pocket due to his mobility.

Questions

Is Watson at increased risk to tear his ACL again (a 3rd time)? Yes, especially since he’s a mobile QB unlike Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford, both of which tore their ACLs twice.

2018 Health Outlook: After tearing his ACL in November, Watson should be good to go for the start of the 2018 season. My primary concern is that he has stated he won’t change his style of play, and while you like to hear this from a player of his caliber, he needs to play smarter. Another ACL tear could be career-ending. If Watson uses his legs to get separation from would-be sackers and then uses his arm to make the plays, then Watson has a very good chance of completing the season healthy. However, if he continues to run a great deal, like Russell Wilson does, Watson may end up cutting his career short.

Risk of Re-Injury: ~ 50% risk of having another ACL tear within 2 years.

Recommendations: Reports out of Texans camp have been all positive when it comes to Watson returning and that is great news. I love Watson’s potential. He could have easily finished as the #1 QB last season if he continued his torrid pace and didn’t get injured. He didn’t lose any weapons, as he still has DeAndreHopkins, Will Fuller, Lamar Miller and a couple healthy tight ends. I love Watson’s upside, as I think he has the highest ceiling of any QB this upcoming season. Draft him with confidence, as I think he will likely finish as a top 5 QB, but make sure you draft a backup QB just in case.  

Links:

https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28510477/performance-based-outcomes-after-anterior-cruciate-ligament-reconstruction-in-professional-athletes-differ-between-sportshttps://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/11/acl-injuries-sports-athletes-careers

https://247sports.com/nfl/tennessee-titans/Bolt/51-NFL-Players-tore-ACL-during-2017-season-114750922/

https://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/08/nfl-quarterbacks-acl-injuries-teddy-bridgewater-joe-flacco

Jesse A Morse, MD is a fellowship-trained sports medicine doctor practicing in Miami, Florida. He specializes in Regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal ultrasound, fractures and, non-surgical orthopedics. Dr. Morse treats professional athletes regularly and understands their mindset and how to get them back on the field. Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Dr. Morse grew up watching the Larry Bird led Boston Celtics, the Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez led Boston Red Sox, and then the Tom Brady led Patriots win multiple championships. Dr. Morse has served on the medical staff of multiple professional teams, including the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Miami Marlins. In his spare time, Dr. Morse loves exercising, sports cars, and playing fantasy sports/DFS.

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Waiver Wire: NFL Week 14

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Fantasy football teams are starting to take shape. Hitting the waiver wire is a critical task in filling the holes or adding significant depth, especially as we enter bye-weeks and an increasing list of injuries. My goal is to find you the best player available for the lowest owned percentage. Therefore, you will see some of the more prominent names under others to consider.

Quarterbacks:

Philip RiversIND (ESPN-16.5%) (Yahoo-40%)

Rivers has averaged at least 292 passing yards and two touchdowns in his last six games, and he just feels short of theaverage against Houston with 285 yards and two scores. In the next two weeks, the Colts will face Las Vegas, who allows over 20 Fantasy Points Per Game to quarterbacks, and Houston. Getting Rivers will bring you a top streaming signal-caller for two-straight weeks.

Others to Consider: Jalen Hurts (PHI), Mitchell Trubisky(CHI), Sam Darnold (NYJ), Tua Tagovailoa (MIA), Baker Mayfield (CLE).

 

Running Backs:

Cam Akers-LAR (ESPN-35.8%) (Yahoo-53%)

Akers has seen an increase in snaps over the last few weeks, and he may have full ownership after his 21 carries for 72 yards while catching a pass for another 22 yards and a score. Both Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson will have a role, but Akers should be the bell-cow. The Rams tried him at the goal line on several attempts, but he couldn’t punch it in. Rams face the Patriots and Jets in the next few weeks, and both teams he should exploit for good fantasy performances.

Cordarrelle Patterson-CHI (ESPN-4.8%) (Yahoo-7%)

Patterson has become a running back, and he fits the role well. David Montgomery will be the bell-cow when healthy, but Patterson has gotten extensive looks. Against the Lions, Patterson carried the rock 10 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. Patterson has spent his career as a receiver; therefore, catching the ball is no issue. The Bears have Houston this week, and they are horrible against the run.

Ty Johnson-NYJ (ESPN-0.3%) (Yahoo-2%)

The ancient one Frank Gore was the Jets bell-cow until he suffered a concussion. Enter Johnson, who rushed 22 times for 104 yards and a score. Johnson showed promise and someone who deserves more of a look. He will face the Seahawks and Rams next, but he is of good value this late in the season.

Others to Consider: Peyton Barber (WAS), Phillip Lindsay(DEN), Gus Edwards (BAL), Carlos Hyde (SEA), Jeff Wilson(SF), Ito Smith (ATL), Benny Snell (PIT), Adrian Peterson(DET).

 

Wide Receivers:

T.Y. Hilton-IND (ESPN-47.0%) (Yahoo-45%)

Through 11-weeks, Hilton was sitting on the garbage pile. Then against the Titans, he caught his first touchdown on the season to go along with four receptions for 81 yards. It got even better against the Texans as Hilton brought in 8 balls on 11 targets for 110 yards and a score. He is looking more and more like the stud we drafted him to be. Now the Colts face the Raiders and Texans in back-to-back weeks.

Jalen Guyton-LAC (ESPN-0.3%) (Yahoo-0%)

Guyton was on speed-dial for Justin Herbert. He targeted his receiver seven times, and Guyton brought in two for 38 yards. Fantasy owners may wonder how Guyton can be valuable with Mike Williams, but looking at the numbers and there isn’t much difference. On the season, Guyton has 20-369-3 while Williams stat line 36-572-4 in 11 games. That is just one reception and 18-yards more on average. The Chargers have Atlanta and Las Vegas next, which are prime spots for exploitation.

Rashard Higgins-CLE (ESPN-3.4%) (Yahoo-8%)

Higgins is the one that looks to be the number two receiver, and he lit up the Titans last week for six receptions, 95 yards, and a touchdown. Higgins has deep speed and will make plays downfield. The schedule will be tough next week against Baltimore, but the Giants and Jets could be an easy route for teams in the playoffs and championship.

Others to Consider: Tim Patrick (DEN), Keke Coutee (HOU), Sterling Shepard (NYG), Nelson Agholor (LAS), DenzilMims (NYJ), Breshad Perriman (NYJ), Gabriel Davis (BUF), Allen Lazard (GB).

 

Tight Ends:

Logan Thomas-WFT (ESPN-24.9%) (Yahoo-40%)

The Washington Football Team likes to target Thomas, which was prevalent against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Afternoon Football. Thomas brought in nine balls for 98 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Even outside this performance, he is getting at least four targets each game. Thomas has another tough performance next week against San Francisco, but the Seahawks and Panthers are scheduled for Weeks 15 and 16.

Others to Consider: Jordan Reed (SF), Cole Kmet (CHI), Anthony Firsker (TEN), Dalton Schultz (DAL), Kyle Rudolph (MIN), Jacob Hollister (SEA), Jordan Akins(HOU).

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Waiver Wire: NFL Week 13

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Fantasy football teams are starting to take shape. Hitting the waiver wire is a critical task in filling the holes or adding significant depth, especially as we enter bye-weeks and an increasing list of injuries. My goal is to find you the best player available for the lowest owned percentage. Therefore, you will see some of the more prominent names under others to consider.

Quarterbacks:

Ryan Fitzpatrick-MIA (ESPN-13.4%) (Yahoo-20%)

It’s not clear how long Fitzpatrick will be the starting quarterback, as Tua Tagovailoa will return. Still, when Fitz is on the field, he is magical. On Sunday, Fitzy passed for 257 yards and two touchdowns and going over 19 Fantasy Points in five of the past six contests. He and the Dolphins will face the Bengals and should be an automatic start.

Others to Consider: Kirk Cousins (MIN), Taysom Hill (NO), Derek Carr (LAS), Philip Rivers (IND), Baker Mayfield(CLE).

 

Running Backs:

Devontae Booker-LAS (ESPN-5.3%) (Yahoo-9%)

Over the last four weeks, Booker has 34 attempts for 171 yards and three touchdowns. That equates to 5.02 yards per carry. Now with Jacobs in limbo with an ankle injury, he could have the entire backfield to himself. Booker is a good receiver and has 14 receptions this season in limited action. He should be snared by all Jacobs’ owners, especially with the injury history that comes with him. The Raiders play the Jets next week.

Brian Hill-ATL (ESPN-31.4%) (Yahoo-46%)

Hill has been a better running back than Todd Gurley; he just doesn’t have the name, dollar signs, or recognition to go with it. Against, the Raiders Hill rushed for 55 yards on 13 carries in the absence of Gurley, who could be out next week. The flip-side is Hill split carries with Ito Smith, and it was Smith with the better fantasy production and the touchdown. The Falcons face the Saints next week.

Cam Akers (ESPN-28.0%) (Yahoo-29%)

It is good to see Akers back in to fold of fantasy relevancy. He has looked solid, and in Week 12, he rushed for 83 yards on nine carries and plunged into the end zone. Looking over all the Rams running backs, it’s hard to trust any as all three could be dominant on any given Sunday. Akers has an impressive look, and coaches will want to know what they have moving forward with the rookie. The Rams face the Cardinals next week.

Others to Consider:  Latavius Murray (NO), DeAndre Washington (MIA), Matt Breida (MIA), Frank Gore (NYJ), Gus Edwards (BAL), Ito Smith (ATL), Benny Snell (PIT), Tony Pollard (DAL), Royce Freeman (DEN).

 

Wide Receivers:

Allen Lazard-GB (ESPN-27.8%) (Yahoo-39%)

Lazard is healthy now, and so are his stats. On Sunday, he caught four-of-six targets for 23 yards and a touchdown. He is the clear number two receiver behind Davante Adams, which should deliver plenty of fantasy points in all contests. On the schedule, the Packers face Philadelphia, Detroit, Carolina, and Tennessee. Treat Lazard as a number three wide receiver as long as he is healthy.

Breshad Perriman-NYJ (ESPN-14.4%) (Yahoo-12%)

Perriman is finally healthy and now has recorded three straight weeks of double-digit fantasy points while getting into the end zone three times during that time. Perriman is a vertical receiver, and it narrows his volume scope for PPR leagues. He is averaging 20 yards per catch, and when he hits the big one, he will make up plenty of points—a nice flex option. The Jets face the Raiders and Seahawks next.

Jakobi Meyers-NE (ESPN-46.4%) (Yahoo-52%)

Cam Newton completed only nine passes on Sunday, but five of them went to Meyers. His five receptions went for 52 yards. Meyers now has at least 10 fantasy points in five of six contests and is Newton’s primary target. He won’t get many chances to score as the Patriots offense is dismal, and Newton robs players at the goal line.

Others to Consider: TY Hilton (IND), Hunter Renfrow (LAS), Olabisi Johnson (MIN), Gabriel Davis (BUF), Demarcus Robinson (KC), Keelan Cole (JAX), Denzel Mims (NYJ), Corey Davis (TEN), Sterling Shepard (NYG).

 

Tight Ends:

Trey Burton-IND (ESPN-6.0%) (Yahoo-19%)

Burton has been the clear number one tight end for the Colts since returning from injury. The stronghold on Burton is volume. Not only do the Colts spread the ball around like soft butter, but they also have two other tight ends that are solid in Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox. On Sunday, Burton caught three balls for 42 yards and a touchdown on six targets. Indianapolis has the Texans, Raiders, and Texans again.

Others to Consider: Logan Thomas (WAS), Jordan Reed (SF), Jimmy Graham (CHI), Dalton Schultz (DAL).

 

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Waiver Wire: NFL Week 12

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Fantasy football teams are starting to take shape. Hitting the waiver wire is a critical task in filling the holes or adding significant depth, especially as we enter bye-weeks and an increasing list of injuries. My goal is to find you the best player available for the lowest owned percentage. Therefore, you will see some of the more prominent names under others to consider.

Quarterbacks:

Tua Tagovailoa-MIA (ESPN-36.8%) (Yahoo-45%)

We are looking at streaming options for quarterbacks at this point in the season, so ignore Tagovailoa being benched. This week he has the New York Jets, and high school athletes could perform well against this defense. Tagovailoa hasn’t had the most impressive start. It isn’t easy when comparing him to rookies Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert as they have been top-notch. However, Tagovailoa has thrown six touchdowns and zero interceptions since taking over the starting role.

Others to Consider: Taysom Hill (NO), Jameis Winston (NO), Alex Smith (WAS), Derek Carr (LAS), Baker Mayfield(CLE).

 

Running Backs:

Salvon Ahmed-MIA  (ESPN-42.0%) (Yahoo-45%)

Myles Gaskin isn’t too far off from returning. However, Ahmed was still reliable on Sunday with his 12 carries for 43-yards while adding five receptions against a quality defense in the Denver Broncos. He is an athlete that has a strong floor due to his catching ability and makes an excellent flex option in all leagues.

Gus Edwards-BAL (ESPN-7.3%) (Yahoo-45%)

Both JK Dobbins and Mark Ingram tested positive for Covid-19 and will be out against the Steelers this Thursday. Looks for Edwards to lead the team in carries and be an active participant in the passing game. Justice Hill will have a share, but not enough to keep the volume away from Edwards. Grab him in all leagues.

James White-NE (ESPN-36.8%) (Yahoo-45%)

White caught six passes for 64 yards and added 19 yards on the ground, making him an RB15 in PPR leagues. White is only valuable in those formats, but he hasn’t been as consistent as he was in the last few seasons. With Rex Burkhead being injured, the volume should open up for him as the Patriots passing down back. New England will play the Cardinals, Chargers, and Rams next.

Others to Consider: Justice Hill (BAL), Frank Gore (NYJ), Benny Snell (PIT), Samaje Perine (CIN), JK Dobbins (BAL), Carlos Hyde (SEA). Wayne Gallman (NYG).

Wide Receivers:

Michael Pittman-IND (ESPN-24.4%) (Yahoo-45%)

Since coming off his injury, Pittman is getting more attention each week. In Week 9, he saw seven targets, which resulted in a 4-56 stat line. In Week 10, he also added seven receptions for 101 yards. On Sunday against the Packers, Pittman caught three balls for 66 yards and scored a touchdown. Now, he will face soft defenses in Houston (twice), Las Vegas, and Tennessee.

Tim Patrick-Den (ESPN-14.0%) (Yahoo-45%)

Patrick continues to be useful as the downfield threat for Drew Lock. Patrick caught five of his eight targets for 119 yards against the Dolphins. The biggest play came when he caught a 61-yard pass at the end of the game. He has surpassed 100-yards three times this season and continues to be involved in the offense. The Broncos will face the Saints next week.

Nelson Agholor-LAS (ESPN-24.4%) (Yahoo-45%)

Agholor had a big game against the Chiefs. He caught six of nine targets for 88-yards and a touchdown. This was a nice bounce-back week as he only brought in one ball against Denver in Week 10. Agholor led the team in targets and has more snaps than any receiver on the team this season. He hasn’t been the most consistent but has six touchdowns to go along with 24 receptions and 443 yards this year. The Raiders face Atlanta next week.

Others to Consider: Cole Beasley (BUF), Allen Lazard (GB), Damiere Byrd (NE), Willie Snead (NO), Curtis Samuel(CAR), Sterling Shepard (NYG).

Tight Ends:

Jordan Reed-SF (ESPN-24.4%) (Yahoo-45%)

The 49ers were off last week, but Reed caught five of his six targets for 62 yards against the Saints in Week 10 and the top target for Nick Mullens. George Kittle may be out for the rest of the season, and San Francisco enjoys throwing to their tight end. Upcoming for Reed and the 49ers are Rams, Bills, and Washington.

Others to Consider: Logan Thomas (WAS), Jordan Aikens(HOU), Dalton Schultz (DAL).

 

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