Keeping abreast of the movement of players through the NFL draft and free agency is vital for IDP owners in evaluating their fantasy value heading into the season. There is another avenue that needs to be explored that many owners tend to overlook — the return of players who were injured the previous season missing extended time causing them to have fallen down the final fantasy scoring totals.
There can be an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality as owners put together their draft rankings. There can also be trepidation about drafting a player that has burned us in the past due to injuries.
Here’s a look at some intriguing IDP options who are returning from injury and how I feel they may (or may not) produce in 2017.
J.J. Watt, Edge, Houston Texans
Reports out of Houston have been encouraging regarding Watt and his recovery from the back injury that limited him to 157 snaps last season. After playing 16 games for five straight years Watt appeared in only three games in 2016. He is on track to be a full go for training camp and has participated in OTAs, although the Texans may want to limit his offseason usage. It appeared that Watt tried rushing back too soon from injury last season and a slow and steady return would be the prudent move.
A healthy Watt is a dominant IDP force that finished as the top-scoring defensive lineman in PFF standard scoring from 2012 to 2015. In that time Watt averaged 17.5 sacks and 78 total tackles per season while forcing 16 turnovers. The Houston Chronicle recently reported that Watt says he “feels fantastic” and that is very good news for IDP owners. A healthy J.J. Watt is easily the top IDP draft selection in all scoring formats.