Preseason injuries are inevitable in the NFL. When pass-catchers are injured, it’s sometimes easy to figure out who will take on more targets in their absence, but it’s not always clear. Michael Thomas, Kenny Golladay, DeVonta Smith, Rashado Bateman, and Hollywood Brown are among the most notable pass-catchers dealing with injury concerns heading into 2021 fantasy football drafts, which of course causes a domino effect on rankings, sleeper lists, and cheat sheets as a whole.
We have latest news on these receivers below. For updates on injured QBs Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz and banged-up RB Saquon Barkley, click here. For all the latest fantasy news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2021 Cheat Sheet
Michael Thomas injury update
After an offseason of Thomas bounce-back chatter, it was revealed earlier this preseason that he had undergone surgery on his right ankle. That same ankle injury led to a disappointing, injury-riddled 2020 campaign, so fantasy owners were understandably worried. Thomas saw a career-low in games played (7), receptions (40), receiving yards (438), and touchdowns (0) last year. Even on a per-game basis, those are laughable statistics. After surgery, his prospects look especially bleak.
His timetable is currently up in the air, and it’s tough to put your confidence in him heading into drafts. With a WR28 ADP in PPR, he’s still too expensive. He finished WR41 in fantasy points per game (FPPG) last year, and the quarterback position is even more of a question mark in New Orleans this year.
Until we find out more about Thomas’s potential return (could be as early as Week 3 or as late as Week 8), teammates Marquez Callaway (WR67) and Tre’Quan Smith (WR69) present more value in drafts..
Kenny Golladay injury update
The latest Golladay news on Aug. 5 indicated he’d be out two-to-three weeks while dealing with a leg (possibly hamstring) injury. Using that timeline, he’ll surely be ready for Week 1. However, with his history of lower-body injuries, it’s tough to trust him — even more than it already was with the quarterback concerns in New York. Draft Shark’s injury predictor gives him a 95-percent chance to suffer an injury in 2021.
Golladay’s FantasyPros ADP has him as the WR25 in standard. Brandon Aiyuk and Tee Higgins might present safer options in that neighborhood if you’re deciding to fade Golladay.
Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton are contenders for the Giants No. 1 receiver spot if Golladay suffers a significant injury again in 2021, but for now, tentatively expect him to suit up in Week 1.
DeVonta Smith injury update
It was reported prior to Eagles practice on Tuesday that Smith would participate in team drills for the first time since injuring his knee early in camp. Smith’s 6-0, 170-pound frame was one of the headlines leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, but with little injury history at Alabama, it’s too early to say Smith is/will be “injury prone” in the NFL.
Yes, he already suffered a knee strain on Aug. 2 in practice, but he’s fully expected to be ready for Week 1 and has obviously made good progress in his rehab. At his WR31 ADP in PPR, the upside seems worth the “risk.” He’s relatively cheap for a team’s WR1. We have him ranked a little cautiously in our PPR rankings (WR36), but he could certainly outperform that spot on the list.
If he does miss time, Jalen Reagor (WR69 ADP) is the de facto WR1 in Philadelphia, and for what it’s worth, he has been impressive in camp.
Rashod Bateman injury update
Bateman is likely to miss Monday Night Football in Week 1 because of a groin injury suffered earlier this preseason. The injury will require surgery, but it won’t jeopardize the majority of his season. In a press conference after Aug. 12 practice, head coach John Harbaugh hinted Bateman would be back sometime in September.
While he was already low in ADP, he now sits as the WR61 in standard, according to FantasyPros. The Ravens’ passing attack has left much to be desired last season, and Bateman stepping into the year with injuries doesn’t bode well for fantasy success. While you should keep him valued in dynasty leagues, his rookie season isn’t stacking up to be spectacular. If you do believe in him, he is a cheap flier late in drafts.
Marquise Brown injury update
Brown has been dealing with hamstring injuries after a strong start to camp. Initially, these issues looked to be minor, but apparently, they are worse than the Ravens originally thought. As a player whose game is built on speed and explosiveness, this could set up to be a significant hindrance in 2021. Like Bateman, Brown is slipping to the middle/late parts of the draft (WR41).
If both guys are scratches early on in the year, Tylan Wallace, Miles Boykin, and Sammy Watkins look to be the Ravens’ primary wideouts. You’re best bet at that point would be securing Mark Andrews if you’re dying to get a piece of the Ravens’ passing game.