Off-season NFL Injury Update
It is always tough gauging the come back from injury of any player. This article features the off-season injury updates of some of the NFL's bigger names. Guys like Terrell Owens, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Frank Gore, Maurice Jones-Drew, Antonio Gates, Dez Bryant, DeAngelo Williams, Tony Romo and Jermichael Finley will come back this season following injury or surgery from the 2010 campaign. From multiple injuries reported to clavicle and hip fractures, we have seen it all. Only time will tell how these big name players will return from hard times.
QB Tom Brady, NE - Stud (low risk)
The tricky part about Tom Brady and new England is the truth about injuries. Is it Brady's finger, his foot, his ribs? New England's injury report may be the most notable deception in the league. I do buy that Brady has suffered injuries over the course of seasons. It is of no doubt that he takes a beating here and there and gets the bumps and bruises of any quarterback. However, I am skeptical of the injury reports of New England and the state of their star quarterback. I think Brady is ready for the the 2011 campaign and will be a stud on the field as usual. Draft Brady as you see fit.
QB Tony Romo, DAL - Solid/Safe Pick
Romo's season-ending clavicle fracture was not great for Dallas in 2010. Romo can be one of the league's most dynamic quarterbacks if he stays healthy. I think Romo is a solid/safe pick for the 2011 campaign. He has the weapons he needs to be a leading passer in the league and has the ability to run the ball if needed. Look for Romo to return with a renewed sense of purpose to get Dallas into the playoff hunt and into the Super Bowl. I like Romo and think he can produce, so take him if you can get him in your draft.
QB Matthew Stafford, DET - Sleeper (undervalued)
Matthew Stafford's shoulder injury was surgically repaired this off-season and he appears to be back on track to produce during the 2011 season. Reports state that he has participated in recent Detroit informal practices and looks decent at this early stage of the pre-season. Stafford has some decent weapons at his disposal and can be an interesting option in your 2011 draft. Stafford could be a top five quarterback or fall within the top fifteen in my book. This ideally puts him in the sleeper category. Take a hard look at Stafford in your draft if you need to take a gamble on a quarterback and get some upside.
RB Frank Gore, IND - Stud (low risk)
Frank Gore's non-displaced hip fracture was a scary injury for his fantasy owners. Yes, he lost his 2010 season, but I think he will be back in force in 2011. Gore's recent interview with Sports Illustrated discussed his fit with the team and his role in the offense. I believe that Gore is the heart of the San Francisco offense and will continue to be. This is also my worry. If Gore is utilized as the primary team weapon, will he be over-utilized and prone to injury? I am sure these are questions that his coaching staff is considering. As a fantasy owner I would consider this as well in my draft. Grab Gore if you can get him as I suspect he will produce.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, --- - Solid/Safe Pick
Jacksonville reports that Rashad Jennings' role will increase "to take some of the load off Jones-Drew." This should be a concern and draft red flag for fantasy owners. Jones-Drew's knee will be a major issue at the onset of training camp if it happens. Jones-Drew has been a stud running back in certain formats and could continue to be in 2011, but if his team is reporting some doubts about his ability to carry the full load, I have concerns. When it boils down to it, Jones-Drew is a solid/safe pick in my book, but this could change quickly based upon his status. Continue to check in on his workload during training camp and then see where you will rank him on your scratch pad.