News & Analysis

NFC South Injury Analysis: Updates on Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, Drew Brees 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.

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After checking in on the NFC North and AFC South, we head to the NFC South, where a number of high-profile players are coming off injuries that limited them in 2019.

Atlanta Falcons

Calvin Ridley, PFF Consensus Rank: WR19 – Abdomen injury

Ridley missed the final three games of the 2019 season due to an abdominal injury. He is a candidate for a breakout season and will be ready to go for 2020.

Todd Gurley, PFF Consensus Rank: RB18 – Quad and knee injury

Gurley only missed one game in 2019, and it was due to a left quad injury in Week 6. The bigger concern is that Coach Sean McVay limited his touches to help him stay healthy because of the arthritis in his left knee. In 2018, Gurley was severely hampered by the arthritic knee and wasn’t as effective the entire season. Gurley ended up missing the last two games and was less than impressive during the Rams' run to the Super Bowl. The arthritis in his left knee stems from when he tore his ACL in 2014 playing for the University of Georgia.

Gurley is an extremely risky play in 2020 due to the arthritis. The problem with his injury is that flare ups can happen at any time. This type of injury will need to be managed the rest of his career.

Carolina Panthers

Teddy Bridgewater, PFF Consensus Rank: QB27 – N/A injury

Bridgewater didn’t sustain an injury last year, but it was the first time he played extended snaps since his horrific injury in 2016 when he dislocated his left knee and tore multiple ligaments, including his ACL, during a training camp practice.

Bridgewater's surgeon, Dr. Dan Cooper, said: “It's certainly the worst knee dislocation in sports I've ever seen without having a nerve or vessel injury. It's an injury that about 20 to 25 percent of NFL players are able to come back from. … It's a horrific injury. You've torn every single thing in your knee and it's hanging on by one ligament on one side like a hinge.”

It is astonishing that Bridgewater is playing effectively since this injury. He will be a risky play for the rest of his career, but it's encouraging that he's four years removed from surgery.

New Orleans Saints

Alvin Kamara, PFF Consensus Rank: RB2 – Knee and ankle injury

Kamara suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 6 during practice. Then he sustained a Grade 2 PCL sprain in his knee during that week's game. The two injuries combined to cost Kamara the following two games and seemed to hamper his play the rest of the season.

Kamara will not have any lingering effects from his injuries going into the 2020 season. He should return to his 2018 form this year.

Drew Brees, PFF Consensus Rank: QB9 – Thumb injury

Brees tore the UCL in his right thumb in Week 2. He underwent surgery and returned after five games. He will have no residual effects from the thumb injury and will lead one of the league's most prolific offenses in 2020.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin, PFF Consensus Rank: WR4 – Hamstring injury

Godwin strained his hamstring in Week 15, which caused him to miss the final two games of the season. He will be healthy and one of the most exciting players to watch in 2020.

Mike Evans, PFF Consensus Rank: WR5 – Hamstring injury

Evans injured his right hamstring in Week 14 and missed the remainder of the season. He'll be ready to go for 2020 with newly acquired Tom Brady at the helm of a top offense.

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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