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Fantasy Fallout: Percy Harvin’s Bad Luck & More

Percy Harvin is just one of many worth talking about in fantasy this week.
Percy Harvin is just one of many worth talking about in fantasy this week.

For many teams, this past week marked the first week of NFL training camp. Training camp, of course, being something like the Groundhog Day of fantasy football, where we get our first glimpse of the season in store a few weeks away. For some players, however, it means everything.

Fantasy owners are mostly looking forward to hearing how certain players are performing around this time of year, but there is always other important news that arises, like injuries and depth chart movements. Unfortunately, in just the past few days, the entire landscape for the 2013 fantasy football season has been altered due to some serious injury situations.

Percy Harvin, Michael Crabtree, Robert Griffin III, Maurice Jones-Drew and plenty other big names have found their way into the fantasy fallout this week, as they’ve all got something interesting to note about them from the past few days.

Fantasy Football Fallout From This Week

Michael Crabtree – Crabtree completely tore his ACL back on May 22nd and had it surgically repaired the following day. At the time, the 49ers were awfully optimistic about a late season return being possible, and that still seems to be the case over two months later. This week it was learned that the 49ers will be placing Crabtree on the PUP list to start the season, rather than injured reserve with designation for return. This means that Crabtree will miss the first six games of the season minimum, but could return as soon as week 7 if capable. That’s obviously unlikely, though this move can be taken as a sign that Crabtree is progressing well. Still, for fantasy purposes, Crabtree’s season is all but lost, and at best he could be a FLEX fill-in during fantasy playoffs.

Robert Griffin III – On Monday, after a highly-documented rehab process from his torn ACL, Griffin was officially cleared to practice. It’s unclear if this means he’s also cleared for full-contact games, but at this point it would be shocking if he was not out there on the field for week 1. Griffin figures to be one of the more polarizing players in upcoming drafts. For some, the upside of Griffin is going to be hard to ignore, while others will be weary of the history of knee injuries and a potential cap in rushing attempts in order to help preserve his health. Personally, I’m fine with taking him anywhere in the second cluster of quarterbacks, behind the big five: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Trent Richardson – Richardson had missed most of spring work with a strained shin, which was concerning given he already had knocks on him for lack of durability. This particular injury turned out to be nothing serious though, with Richardson fully participating in Browns training camp this week and looking good. The injuries are something to keep in the back of your mind, but Richardson’s potential and workload should keep him a top 10 pick in drafts.

Santonio Holmes – Holmes had a nasty Lisfranc foot injury in week 4 of 2012, and still clearly isn’t ready for action as he was placed on training camp’s PUP list. Holmes may end up being taken off the list before the season starts, but it’s also very possible he misses time to start the season regardless. It’s been a few years since the receiver has been a fantasy asset and some were hoping he would re-emerge in 2013. Instead, he’s nothing more than a late-round flier this season.

Maurice Jones-Drew – Jones-Drew missed most of last season with an injury similar to Holmes, this time being a more positive outcome with the running back being cleared for training camp on Tuesday. Jones-Drew has been seen noticeably heavier this offseason, probably due to the injury, but if he truly is over the injury and can get back into shape, he could be a value pick as an RB2 with RB1 upside.

Brandon Marshall – After going under the knife for offseason hip surgery once again, Marshall is now fully recovered and is expected to fully participate in training camp for the Bears. The continued hip problems are a concern, as is the new coaching staff’s desire to lessen Jay Cutler’s dependency on Marshall, but the receiver should be drafted as a top 5 player at the position.

Percy Harvin – On Thursday, news surfaced that Harvin had a torn labrum in his hip and could potentially require season-ending surgery. This was later confirmed by the Seahawks. Harvin is now seeking a second opinion on the injury before a decision is made. This is obviously terrible news for fantasy, and really unfortunate for Harvin who seems to always run into some kind of injury every time it seems his star is ready to shine. Until further notice, Harvin can’t be counted on for anything, whether he’s placed on injured reserve or if he attempts to play through the injury at lowered effectiveness. Russell Wilson figures to be somewhat less attractive in fantasy as well, though he still has the same cast of receivers he was so effective with last year. For now, this is a situation to monitor closely.

Arian Foster – Thursday, it was a surprise to learn Foster opened training camp on the PUP list. Foster had strained his calf all the way back on May 28th and has been out of commission since. Given the slow healing with this injury, Foster’s numerous nagging leg injuries in the past, and signs of slowing down last year, this news is not to be taken lightly. Workload, specifically at the goal line, will keep Foster highly valuable, but there has to be at least some hesitation before submitting his name with a top 3 pick.

Jeremy Maclin – Maclin suffered a torn ACL while practicing Saturday and will miss the season. Although Maclin has not quite been the receiver he was billed to be coming out of the draft, this still stings an Eagles team lacking receiver depth. Riley Cooper is next man up, but he’s simply not very talented. The Eagles will have to rely more on DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, and it remains to be seen if either player can respond successfully to larger workloads. Not that anyone was drafting them, but either Michael Vick or Nick Foles will take the brunt of this hit.

Dennis Pitta – Like Maclin, Pitta was lost for the season during a Saturday practice. Pitta reportedly collided with a safety and both dislocated and fractured his hip, necessitating surgery. With Anquan Boldin gone, the Ravens were expected to heavily lean on Pitta, who was a fantasy breakout last year. Ed Dickson will likely take over Pitta’s role, but will probably not be as effective. Meanwhile, Joe Flacco is down two of his top targets from 2013 and will have to focus in more on Torrey Smith. Smith is not the type of receiver that typically gets targeted 100+ times, but he’s all the Ravens have left and is an interesting WR3 in his third season.

Other smaller notes:

(1) The Jets signed Braylon Edwards Wednesday, perhaps another sign Holmes is not close to a return. Edwards doesn’t have much, if any, fantasy value these days.
(2) Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins have both practiced as the Patriots’ starting outside receiver. Whoever wins the job (Dobson being the favorite), will be an intriguing sleeper to watch.
(3) Like the previous note, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton are fighting to play opposite Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis. Hilton has been a common mid-round pick as the presumed starter, but it has been Heyward-Bey taking first team reps thus far.
(4) It’s only been a few days of light practice, but Mike Wallace reportedly has not shined in the Dolphins offense, something I fear carrying over into the season.
(5) Meanwhile, Dez Bryant is said to be dominating training camp, which bodes well for his chances of building on last year’s breakout.
(6) When Denver began training camp Thursday, it was Ronnie Hillman and not Montee Ball practicing with the starters. Ball still has a good shot of taking hold of the starting job, but this is a reminder of how many open questions exist within the position for fantasy this year.
(7) Lions receiver Ryan Broyles was cleared for camp after tearing his ACL last season. He impressed in short time last year and will be a name to watch with how often the Lions throw it.

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