As impactful as injuries can be to an NFL team, the damage done to a fantasy football roster when one of your top players go down can be even worse. Just ask those unfortunate owners who were looking to Julio Jones, Arian Foster, Doug Martin or Rob Gronkowski to help lead them to a championship last season.
So what does the 2014 season hold for these and other key players who missed significant time last season? Here’s a breakdown of the 2013 fantasy infirmary (In alphabetical order):
Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis
Andrew Luck lost one of his favorite targets for all but one game last year when Allen suffered a hip injury in Week 1. His reckless playing style adds long-term concern, but Allen should be healthy for the start of the season.
Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis
In four professional seasons, Bradford has played 16 games twice and missed at least six games twice. Last fall, he was off to his best start before a torn ACL in Week 7 cost him the final nine games of the season.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston
After three straight seasons with more than 330 touches, Foster missed the final eight games a year ago with a back injury that required surgery in November. He’s made 16 starts only once in his career.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England
A beast when he’s on the field, Gronkowski underwent back surgery last June. He finally made his 2013 season debut in Week 7, only to tear the ACL and MCL in his right knee in Week 14. Coming back from yet another significant injury, Gronk’s timeline for this season is uncertain at best right now. He could be ready to go by Week 1 or he could start the season on the PUP list and miss the first six games at minimum.
Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle
The smallish pass-catcher is perennially an injury concern. Harvin missed seven games in 2012 with an ankle injury and all but one game a year ago due to a hip injury and subsequent surgery in August. He missed the NFC title game with a concussion but played a prominent role in the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory.
Chris Johnson, RB, New York Jets
Johnson missed one start in the last five seasons with the Titans but claimed to have played all of 2013 with a nagging knee injury. He underwent surgery in late January to repair a torn meniscus and will begin his career with the Jets this fall.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta
Jones was on pace to torch all of his personal bests last year before a fractured foot forced him to miss the last 11 games. He’s a big, physical target who takes a lot of hits but should be healthy to start his fourth season.
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee
Oft-injured in college at Washington, Locker has continued his brittle ways in the NFL. He missed five games in 2012 with a shoulder injury and was headed toward his best season a year ago before a severe foot injury (Lisfranc) ended his season after nine weeks.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia
Maclin always has been a bit brittle, but he suffered the worst injury of his career last July during preseason camp, as a torn ACL cost him the entire 2013 campaign. Maclin also missed a combined four games in 2011-12.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay
Martin missed the final 10 games of the 2013 season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He was cleared medically in late March, and new Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith says that Martin remains the team’s feature back.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota
He’s the best in the game today, but his physical running style has caused him a variety of problems. He’s missed six games in the last three seasons and had groin surgery in January.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington
The tight end went through major highs and lows in his rookie season. He was a bona fide fantasy starter before missing the final seven games with a concussion.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas
The Cowboys signal-caller has missed only one game over the last three years, but a herniated disk in his back required surgery late in the season and cost him the season finale. Reports indicate he will be 100 percent for the 2014 season, but a bad back for a 34-year-old quarterback is cause for concern.
Matt Schaub, QB, Oakland
Schaub started 16 games in 2009, ’10 and ’12. He also missed at least five games in 2007, ’08, ’11 and ’13. Last season, he made his fewest starts (eight) since becoming a starter, thanks to an injured ankle (and poor play), and he will be 33 this season.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis
He played in every game from 2002-12 but missed nine games last year due to the first major injury of his career. Now, Wayne must come back from a torn ACL at age 35.
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