News & Analysis

NFC East Injury Analysis: Updates on Saquon Barkley, Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery and more

Nov 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) during warm ups before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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 earlier this week, the next installment of the fantasy draft injury preview focuses on the NFC 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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Dallas Cowboys

Michael Gallup, PFF Consensus Rank: WR32 — Knee injury

Gallup tore the meniscus in his left knee in Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season. He underwent surgery and missed the next two games but returned to play the rest of the season with no limitations.

The recovery for a meniscectomy is typically 2-4 weeks, as it is a simple debridement of the injured tissue. Gallup should not be impacted moving forward and will be ready to produce for one of the best WR groups in the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles

Alshon Jeffery, PFF Consensus Rank: WR74 — Calf, Ankle and foot injuries

Jeffery's injury history is long and troubling. In 2012, he suffered a metacarpal fracture in his right hand and also tore his meniscus, missing six games in total. In 2015, he was forced to miss a total of seven games due to a Grade 2 left hamstring strain, an unspecified shoulder injury and a Grade 3 hamstring tear that ultimately ended his season. The veteran pass-catcher then underwent rotator cuff surgery on his right shoulder after the 2018 Super Bowl victory and missed the first three games of the following season before straining his calf, spraining his ankle and sustaining a Lisfranc injury that required surgery in 2019.

Jeffery has earned the tag of being an “injury-prone” player. The Lisfranc surgery he had typically has a nine-month recovery timetable, and that timing would lead him right up to the start of the 2020 season. Therefore, it is unclear if he will be ready. Jeffery is in the twilight of his career and would be an extremely risky play in fantasy leagues.

CARSON WENTZ, PFF Consensus Rank: QB10 — Head injury

Wentz sustained a concussion during the first quarter of the team's 2019 wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks, causing him to miss the remainder of the game. But while he had a good year health-wise a season ago, he still has a significant injury history that dates back to 2015.

The No. 2 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft broke a bone in his throwing hand during his final college season, which required surgery and caused him to miss eight weeks in total. Then, during training camp as a rookie, he fractured his ribs and missed the entire preseason.

His most notable injury up to this point was his Grade 3 ACL and LCL tear in his left knee during Week 14 of his MVP-caliber 2017 season. He followed suit in 2018, missing the final three games of the season due to stress fractures in his back.

Wentz has sustained an immense amount of injuries over his short career, and some of them have been serious. There is optimism for Wentz moving forward, however, as there is research that shows that it may take as little as two years to fully return to pre-ACL-injury performance. Wentz should be a top-10 QB in 2020.

DeSean Jackson, PFF Consensus Rank: WR59 — Abdomen injury

Like Jeffery and Wentz before him, Eagles speedster DeSean Jackson also has a lengthy injury history.

He has not only suffered two concussions (2009, 2010) but has also sustained fractured ribs (2012), an A/C joint sprain (2015), a Grade 2 hamstring strain (2016), a fibula contusion (2016), a rotator cuff injury (2016), multiple ankle injuries (2016, 2017), a left thumb sprain (2018), an Achilles strain (2018) and an abdomen strain that forced him out of most of the 2019 campaign.

Jackson has played 12 years in the NFL but has only played a full season twice. He is an explosive player but an extremely risky pick — he would only be worth a late-round flier at this stage.

Zach Ertz, PFF Consensus Rank: TE4 — Rib injury

Ertz fractured a rib and lacerated his kidney in Week 16. The injury caused him to miss the season finale, though he did play in the playoffs. Ertz will be fully healthy for the 2020 season. He will be Carson Wentz's go-to target this year and should produce a top-five TE season.

New York Giants

Daniel Jones, PFF Consensus Rank: WR16 — Ankle injury

Jones suffered a right high ankle sprain in Week 13 — he missed two games — but will have no limitations from his ankle injury heading into the 2020 season. He will look to cut down on turnovers and take the next step during his second NFL season.

Evan Engram, PFF Consensus Rank: TE6 — Knee and foot injuries

Engram sustained a concussion during the third preseason game of the 2018 season before spraining his MCL in his right knee and missing the following three games. Engram then pulled his hamstring during pregame warmups in Week 12, causing him to miss an additional two games.

The Giants' tight end then sprained his MCL in his right knee in Week 6 of the 2019 season, causing him to miss one game, before spraining his left foot, which sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Engram will be healthy heading into the 2020 season. He has had a plethora of injuries over his short career, so while he is extremely talented, he should be drafted with caution.

Saquon Barkley, PFF Consensus Rank: RB2 — Ankle injury

Barkley suffered a right high ankle sprain in Week 3 that resulted in him missing the following three games. He returned from the injury to play the rest of the season, but he recently admitted the injury limited his play.

Barkley will have no limitations from his high ankle sprain heading into the 2020 season. He will be one of the best running backs in the league and should be drafted in any draft you can get him.

Washington Football Team

BRYCE LOVE, PFF Consensus Rank: RB71 — Knee Injury

Love tore his ACL during his last college game and had a minor procedure done on the same knee in 2019. The Washington Football Team put him on the reserve/non-football injury list before the start of the season.

Love had the whole 2019 season to rehab and is now one-and-a-half years removed from his ACL injury. He will be healthy heading into the 2020 season and will be battling for playing time in a backfield that needs someone to take hold of.

Kelvin Harmon, PFF Consensus Rank: N/A — Knee injury

Kelvin Harmon tore his ACL in his right knee while training in early July. He has undergone surgery and will miss the 2020 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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