Fantasy 5: Don’t overreact to Ezekiel Elliott’s injury
News of the Dallas rookie's hamstring issue caused a brief panic, but Jeff Ratcliffe says to keep calm. Plus news from Jets camp.
Fantasy 5: Don’t overreact to Ezekiel Elliott’s injury
Every weekday, the Fantasy 5 will take a look at the five most important NFL news stories for fantasy football players, giving you the advice you need to improve your team.
It’s easy to overreact, especially in today’s social media era where talking heads and pundit spew hot takes left and right. But when news breaks. Take a deep breath. The sky isn’t always falling. Today’s first item is a great example:
1. Ezekiel Elliott’s fantasy stock doesn’t change following injury.
The fantasy universe briefly imploded yesterday when it was reported that Elliott is dealing with a hamstring injury and would miss “some time.” With the NFL world under a magnifying glass at this time of year, and news has the potential to blown out of proportion. But the overreaction was all for naught as Elliott will be out for about a week. In other words, the injury isn’t very serious, and the team won’t rush him back on the field.
While a rookie missing reps isn’t ideal, this is a situation like what we saw with Odell Beckham Jr. in his first season. Beckham was a supremely talented player who hit the ground running as soon as he entered the lineup. Elliott’s injury doesn’t appear anywhere near as serious, and like Beckham, he has the talent to pick things up immediately. This is certainly a situation to monitor in the coming weeks, but Elliott remains a front-end RB1 until further notice.
[Does this injury news change how you’d approach Elliott in drafts? Take a spin with PFF’s new Draft Master tool to figure out the best approach, plus get recommendations on the players you should target in every round of your draft.]
2. Training Camp Tour: NY Jets
The PFF Training Camp Tour stopped by Jets camp yesterday and got to see the offense with newly signed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Our team noted that the depth chart appears to be solidified with Fitzpatrick under center. Geno Smith was the clear No. 2 with Bryce Petty taking third-string reps and rookie Christian Hackenberg being skipped in the rotation for most of the day.
While Fitzpatrick appeared to have the best command over the offense, our guys thought Smith’s ball had more zip and didn’t make the receivers work as much for receptions. That being said, they praised Fitzpatrick’s decision-making.
Fitzpatrick’s presence on the team has had a ripple effect on the drafting public’s view of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Since Fitzpatrick re-signed, both players’ ADP has shot up nearly a full round with Marshall now going in the middle of the second round and Decker in the middle of the fifth. Likewise, Fitzpatrick is on the rise. He’s still a late-round option, but his ADP has crept up to the 21st quarterback being selected. While he doesn’t offer a massive fantasy ceiling, Fitzpatrick is still a good value at that point for those who prefer a late-round quarterback approach.
3. Sammie Coates continue to rise.
The buzz is building for the second-year receiver out of Auburn, as Coates has been a regular in the Steelers’ first-team offense so far in camp and some have gone as far as suggesting that he could start over Markus Wheaton in 2-wide sets.
In the wake of Martavis Bryant’s suspension, there’s plenty of opportunity for Coates to step up. While many assumed Wheaton would slide right into the No. 2 role in the offense, Coates actually compares more similarly to Bryant. He isn’t as tall – Coates stands three inches shorter at 6-1 – but Coates has off-the-charts athleticism and is powerfully built.
Right now Coates is coming off the board as the 60th wide receiver, nearly four rounds behind Wheaton (41st). That gap will likely close over the course of the month, but Coates is likely still going to be the better value of the two.
4. Austin Seferian-Jenkins continues to fall.
It was a rough offseason for Seferian-Jenkins, as the young tight end was removed from practice and then proceed to go on an ill-advised social media rant. Even before this odd series of events, there were rumblings out of Tampa Bay that new head coach Dirk Koetter preferred Cameron Brate over Seferian-Jenkins. Well, he wasn’t just blowing hot air. Brate is currently the Bucs’ starting tight end, and Seferian-Jenkins is fighting for a job.
Sometimes the NFL tells us things, but fantasy players refuse to listen. This may be one of those instances, because Seferian-Jenkins is still being selected as the No. 21 tight end in ADP. While that number has certainly slid over the last two months, Seferian-Jenkins is undraftable unless he earns a starting job. For now, fantasy drafters would be wise to look at other late-round tight end options like Zach Miller, Eric Ebron and Clive Walford.
5. Josh Doctson in a walking boot.
This year’s rookie wide receiver crop has some intriguing talents, and Doctson is certainly among that group. However, the former TCU star is dealing with an Achilles injury and has been spotted in a walking boot at Redskins camp. While he’s expected to miss no more than two weeks, Doctson has been instructed by the team not to discuss his injury with the media. The issue first popped up as a “foot” injury that Doctson sustained in OTAs. He sat out mandatory minicamp, but did get some rehab work in over the weekend.
Still, this is a troubling development that certainly puts a damper on the rookie’s 2016 fantasy prospects. Doctson was already expected to be the No. 4 option behind DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Jamison Crowder. Missing all of this time bodes poorly, and Doctson won’t be worth a late-round flier unless he can get on the field soon.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.