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 East and NFC East last week, our next installment for the fantasy draft injury preview focuses on the AFC West. We will be taking a closer look at key injuries for each team and analyze their impacts on the upcoming 2020 fantasy football season.
Drew Lock, PFF Consensus Rank: QB21 – Thumb injury
Lock injured his right thumb during Week 3 of the 2019 preseason and missed the following 11 games before he was able to start practicing again. Denver's second-year signal-caller will be healthy heading into the 2020 season and is an intriguing young player.
Patrick Mahomes, PFF Consensus Rank: QB1 — Knee injury
Mahomes dislocated the knee cap in his right knee in Week 7, and it caused him to miss the following two games. This injury has a typical timeline of three to six weeks, but Mahomes' speedy recovery was due to his knee being naturally loose. He returned to form in his first week back and led his team to a Super Bowl victory.
Mahomes is healthy going into the 2020 season. He is the best QB in the NFL and will be a hot commodity in fantasy leagues.
Sammy Watkins, PFF Consensus Rank: WR63 — Hamstring injury
Watkins suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain in Week 5 and was sidelined for the following two games.
Watkins has a lengthy injury history. Between a torn labrum in his hip (2014), a strained left calf (2015), a sprained left ankle (2015), a strained glute (2015), a fractured left foot (2016) and an injured right foot (2018), Watkins has been forced out of more than 15 contests during his young career.
Unfortunately, the seventh-year receiver has already suffered his first injury of 2020, as he reportedly strained his groin at the beginning of Chiefs training camp. However, he is back practicing in full and should be ready for Week 1.
Tyreek Hill, PFF Consensus Rank: WR2 — Shoulder injury
Hill was hospitalized after taking a hit from Jalen Ramsey in Week 1 and injuring the sternoclavicular joint in his shoulder. When that injury goes posteriorly (back) like his did, it becomes a medical concern. He was cleared of any serious injuries at the hospital and ended up only missing the next two games.
Hill strained his hamstring early in training camp this year, though he is now back and practicing in full. Hill is one of the most explosive wideouts in the NFL and will be ready for the 2020 season. He should be drafted in all formats.
Josh Jacobs, PFF Consensus Rank: RB14 — Shoulder injury
Jacobs injured his shoulder in Week 7 but battled through the injury all year and only ended up missing Weeks 14, 16 and 17. Jacobs said on social media that he had fractured his shoulder.
Jacobs' shoulder injury is fully healed, and he will be ready for the 2020 season. He is one of the most talented second-year running backs and will be flirting with RB1 status.
Tyrell Williams, PFF Consensus Rank: WR81 — Shoulder injury
Williams tore the labrum in his shoulder during the summer. He will rehab the injury for a few weeks and then try to play through it during the season. Instability is the biggest concern here, and he will potentially need surgery at the end of the season. The return-to-play timetable after surgery is between four to eight months.
Hunter Henry, PFF Consensus Rank: TE8 — Knee injury
Henry sustained a lateral tibial plateau fracture in his left knee during Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season — the same knee that suffered the ACL tear in 2018. Henry ended up missing four weeks due to his fracture. He will be healthy heading into the 2020 season and has the looks of being a top-10 tight end.
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.