Fantasy Files: Avoid the Injured

Here’s one fantasy thought I have for 2012. If I’m in a redraft, I’m staying away from players who were injured as of the final game of 2011. As we know, one of the smartest maxims of fantasy drafting is to have no absolute maxims. I can draft injured players. I need to know when the value’s right.

The three major injured players in drafts are Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Kenny Britt. All tore ACLs during 2011. Britt and Charles did so earlier in the year, but all of the press has leaned toward Adrian Peterson because let’s be honest, he’s Hall of Fame level talent whereas Charles and Britt have things to prove. Charles has had one insanely good season and Britt has flashed in between his multitudes of injuries.

If I’m in a keeper league, I have to give the injured players more leeway. If Adrian Peterson gets back to 90% of his previous skill level, I would be depressed if I passed on him in the second round this year. Ditto Britt and Charles. At the same time, my keeper league only lets us keep three guys and roster spots are in short supply.

Don’t forget the following injured guys. You have the 2011 rookie trio of Mikel LeShoure, Alex Green and Ryan Williams. LeShoure and Williams didn’t even make it to the regular season, and Green injured his knee four games in. All three were expected to be major players in the backfield and all three have that same shot this year.

Any player who hasn’t played in a year or suffered an injury that usually takes a year of recovery can’t be depended on. Charles and Peterson were first-round picks last year. Kenny Britt went in the fifth or sixth round. Now Charles and Peterson are going in the second or third round. That’s a tough spot to take a key member of your fantasy team without knowing how he’s going to play. Britt’s going a little higher in drafts than last year, and with such a deep WR class I find it hard to believe that he will be worth that price.

Ditto Peyton. I’ve already tweeted that I think he’s being drafted at the level of performance that you’ll get in a best-case scenario. You shouldn’t draft a player at that price. Be like the Pawn Stars guys and never pay retail.

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