Fantasy News & Analysis

AFC East Injury Analysis: Updates on Stefon Diggs, Cam Newton, Sam Darnold and more

Injuries can have a profound effect on fantasy football. So, as the injury analyst for PFF, my goal is to offer information that helps maximize your potential in fantasy football — injuries can help you differentiate between similarly ranked players in fantasy drafts, make tough sit vs. start decisions and find season-winning waiver claims. During the season, we will offer thoughts on injuries, recovery times and outlooks for key players each week.

After touching on the AFC and NFC South last week, the next installment of the fantasy draft injury preview focuses on the AFC East. We will be taking a closer look at key injuries for each team and analyze their impacts on the upcoming 2020 fantasy football season.

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Buffalo Bills

Devin Singletary, PFF Consensus Rank: RB24 — Hamstring injury

Singletary suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain in Week 2 of the 2019 season and missed the following three games, though he didn't have an issue for the rest of the year. Singletary's 2019 injury is not a concern going into 2020; he will team up with Zack Moss to create a committee in a rush-heavy offense.

Stefon Diggs, PFF Consensus Rank: WR25 — Injury history

Diggs was not injured in 2019, though he does have a slightly concerning injury history. In 2016, he suffered a Week 2 groin injury, a Week 11 knee strain and a Week 16 inguinal hip sprain, missing a total of three games over the year. He followed that year up with a Week 5 Grade 2 groin strain that cost him two games of his 2017 season and then injured his ribs in Week 8 of the 2018 season, forcing him out of the following game.

Injuries were an issue for Diggs in college, as well. He broke his leg and missed six games in his sophomore season , and he missed two games because of a lacerated kidney in his junior season.

Diggs has been known to have an “injury issue,” but the past two years have been encouraging and actually cast some doubt over that “injury-prone” tag. He is one of the best route-runners in the game and will provide Josh Allen with a playmaker he has never had up to this point in his career.

New England Patriots

Cam Newton, PFF Consensus Rank: QB13 — Foot and shoulder injuries

A season ago, Newton suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot in a preseason game against his new team, the New England Patriots. He then aggravated the injury in Week 2 and missed the remainder of the season. The former MVP had surgery on his Lisfranc injury in December, but questions also hover around his injured throwing shoulder, as he had has rotator cuff repaired in the offseason of both 2018 and 2017.

Newton should be able to start Week 1, as it will be over a calendar year since his initial injury. The foot injury plus shoulder injuries in three consecutive years is concerning, but he is incredibly physically gifted — he has the potential to overcome these obstacles.

Lamar Miller, PFF Consensus Rank: RB93 — Knee injury

Miller suffered an ACL tear in his left knee during a preseason game; he missed the entire season and lost his job with the Houston Texans. Miller was recently signed by the New England Patriots, though he is yet to practice and is currently on the PUP list.

Typical recovery time for an ACL injury in the NFL is six to nine months, so Miller has a shot at being ready for the start of the 2020 season. And while there is an opportunity in the Patriots' backfield, it is unclear if Miller will be able to take advantage.

Sony Michel, PFF Consensus Rank: RB37 — Foot injury

Michel underwent surgery to mitigate discomfort in his foot in May of 2020. It is unclear what he had done, but he was recently placed on the PUP list.

Michel has been dealing with injury issues his whole career, and the concern comes from his left ACL tear in high school. He has had problems with the same left knee dating back to the SEC Championship game in 2017. As Michel went into the draft, the concern was that his left knee was ‘bone-on-bone.” In 2018, he missed three total games because of it and also had to have his knee drained.

Michel's status for the start of the 2020 season is unclear. He is a risky player with a left knee that could flare up at any time.

New York Jets

Chris Herndon, PFF Consensus Rank: TE15 — Hamstring and rib injuries

Chris Herndon sustained a Grade 1 hamstring strain in Week 5 and missed the following three games. He then fractured his ribs in Week 10 and missed the remainder of the 2019 season.

Herndon's injuries will not affect his 2020 season. He will be looking to forget about his lost year and build off of his promising rookie season.

Denzel Mims, PFF Consensus Rank: WR66 — Hamstring injury

Mims strained his hamstring early in training camp. While the extent of his injury is unclear, the New York Jets are hoping he will be ready for Week 1. Soft tissue injuries in camp are tricky and tend to linger. Mims is an exciting young talent, but be cautious when drafting him.

Sam Darnold, PFF Consensus Rank: QB28 — Mononucleosis

Darnold was diagnosed with Mononucleosis in Week 2 of the 2019 season and missed three games, though he returned and played the rest of the season without limitations. Darnold will be healthy heading into the 2020 season.

Miami Dolphins

Jordan Howard, Consensus Rank: RB36 — Neck/shoulder injury

Jordan Howard suffered a stinger in Week 9 that caused him to miss the next six games. He should be healthy and ready to start for his new team in 2020.

Preston Williams, PFF Consensus Rank: WR42 — Knee injury

Preston Williams tore his ACL in his right knee during a Week 9 contest, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, he might not be ready for the start of the 2020 season. He was off to a promising rookie season, and at this point, it is questionable if he will return to form in 2020.

Tua Tagovailoa, PFF Consensus Rank: QB31 — Hip and ankle injuries

Tagovailoa dislocated his right hip and fractured his posterior wall during his last game for Alabama. People feared that he suffered the “Bo Jackson” injury, but fortunately, Tagovailoa underwent successful surgery and suffered no blood-flow or cartilage issues.

The Alabama standout also injured his right ankle in both 2018 and 2019. He underwent a new surgery using a button and suture to help stabilize the injury, which helped him recover quickly and miss only one game.

Remarkably, Tagovailoa will be ready for the start of the 2020 NFL season. There should be no setbacks to his previous injuries in 2020, but there is no telling if the hip joint becomes arthritic or not down the line. His injury history is concerning, but he is one of the more exciting rookies of the 2020 NFL season.

Mario Pilato has a master's degree in Kinesiology and a bachelor's degree in Exercise Sports Science, along with eight years of experience in the strength and conditioning industry, including at the collegiate and NFL level. His injury analysis articles will appear weekly.


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