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There is a lot of talent in the NFL that can translate into fantasy football rewards. Injury and lost time are the most pervasive threats to fantasy opportunity and can only be mitigated by fantasy managers. It's worth taking a closer look at where key fantasy players who suffered injuries last season are on their road to recovery as the 2020 season approaches.

Club ACL

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A knee injury is the greatest injury burden in the NFL. When an athlete tears his knee, it ends his season and could affect the next one.

Over the past six seasons, there has been a double-digit increase in the number ofACL injuries, and the data shows that last season was no different. While surgical and rehabilitation techniques continue to improve,ACL tears in the NFL are not going away.

It made sense to give fantasy players their own section. A lot of stars are members of theACL rehab club and their outlooks are as varied as the injuries themselves. The average time to return to play after an injury is nine months. It can take an athlete a year or more to return to his previous level of function after an injury.

The recovery timetable can be influenced by a variety of variables. A player's recovery can be slowed by hurdles such as lack of motion, persistent swelling, delayed strength return of the quadriceps, or an overly accelerated return to high-level activity.

Mental recovery cannot be ignored. It can take an athlete a long time to be confident in their repaired leg. Even if the base physical metrics are restored, an inability to trust the leg when maneuvering on the field or fear of contact to the previously injured knee can affect performance.

There is no guarantee when it comes to any individual athlete, as each player's experience is unique, which is why the success rate of returning NFL athletes to sport after anACL tear is high. With that in mind, here are some of the athletes who are coming back from an injury.

J.K. Dobbins is a running back for the Ravens.

When Dobbins tore his leftACL the week before the regular season started, he became the face of the debate about how much preseason playing time should be seen by the starter. It seemed logical to expect Dobbins to return by Week 1 of 2022, but coach John Harbaugh's suggestion in March that Dobbins might start the season on the physically unable to perform list indicates he may not. The team still moved forward with the signing of Mike Davis even though Harbaugh sounded a little more positive about Dobbins being available by Week 1. In his first year in the league, Dobbins was fourth in the league in average yards after contact, but there is no guarantee that he'll be back. The progression of Dobbins will be important.

The Ravens have a running back named "Muds"

You can see J.K. Dobbins. The Ravens' running back who was expected to step up his role after Dobbins' injury succumbed to his own knee injury in practice. Both of the backs were operated on by the same doctor and have been on different rehabilitation timelines. As with Dobbins, his progression during training camp will be important as he begins the season on the PUP list.

Maxx Williams is a tight end for the ArizonaCardinals.

Williams' season ended in a gruesome way when he took a hit to the inside of his right knee that bowed it out beyond its normal range. Recovering from these types of injuries is very individual. While his one-year re-signing with the Cardinals is encouraging, it is worth noting they also signed a three-year deal with Ertz. In the second round of the NFL draft, they picked up a player. Williams doesn't hold fantasy value at the moment, but he should be.

Robert Woods is a football player for the TennesseeTitans.

When a player like Woods goes down in practice with an injury, it's a big deal. Woods was able to stay with the Rams' top-tier rehab staff where he could remain involved with his teammates during the Super Bowl. He was signed by theTitans in the off-season. Woods did route running and pass-catching in the off-season and is expected to increase his football activity in training camp. It looks like he will be on time for the start of the season.

The Green Bay Packers have Robert Tonyan as a tight end.

If Tonyan can return to his pre-injury form, he could get more targets from Rodgers. There has been a lot of optimism about Tonyan's recovery since he tore his left knee in Week 8. The Packers must be encouraged with his progress since they signed him to a one-year contract in March. The benefits of a strong Tonyan season could be seen by both parties.

The quarterback for the New Orleans Saints is JameisWinston.

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When a quarterback is outside the pocket, they are vulnerable. As he was pulled down from behind, a twisting hyperflexion mechanism resulted in a torn left knee. The Saints gave him a two-year extension in March and he is on track to start the season on time. When he has to face real opponents, the only question left is how he handles traffic around his knee. During training camp, Joe was able to overcome the mental hurdle and go on to have a banner season. If he can get some preseason exposure, he should be in good shape when the season starts.

The Washington Commanders have a tight end named LOGAN THOMAS.

Thomas tore his left knee in his second game back after missing seven weeks with a right hamstring injury. The star tight end is at increased risk of injury due to the two injuries he suffered in the same season. According to Thomas in a radio appearance in April, surgery addressed not only his knee, but his other limbs as well. It's not out of the question that Thomas will return in Week 1 but it depends on how he progresses through August. The reason for Washington to be cautious in ramping up Thomas' football activity this summer is due to the fact that hamstring injuries the year after anACL surgery are not unusual.

Chris Godwin is a wide receiver for the Buccaneers.

After he tore his right knee in Week 15 against the Saints, he had surgery in the first week of the new century. He signed a three-year extension with the team in March, which signaled the team's faith in his progress and ability to return to pre-injury performance levels. There is no reason to rush his return since the team is invested in him for three years. It remains to be seen if he will be placed on the PUP list for the start of the 2020 season.

The Dallas Cowboys have a wide receiver named Michael Gallup.

In January, Gallup proved he was a pro when he caught a touchdown and then tore his leftACL. He had surgery in February and was able to play in the season opener in 2020. There should be no incentive to rush Gallup's return since he missed seven games due to a calf strain. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters in March that he expected him to give them a question mark around the first game. It is unlikely that Gallup will start the season on time due to his injury and surgery.

A free agent.

Beckham's case is unique in that he is going to come back from a second surgery on his knee. There are a number of players who have returned from multiple knee surgeries on the same knee, but there are not many who are among the best. Beckham had surgery after the Super Bowl, but it was not until February. He tore his knee in Week 7 of the 2020 season and didn't return to competition until 3 years later. A longer return-to-play process is usually caused by more caution during recovery from a revisionACL than following a standardACL reconstruction. There is no dispute that a delayed start to the season is not a good idea.

Beyond the ACL

There are running backs.

Christian is a running back for the Carolina panthers.

He missed the first games of both his collegiate and pro career after a trio of injuries derailed his 2020 season. There were only seven games played in the 2021 season due to injury. The risk factor goes up due to recent history as evidenced by the fact that he averaged more than 100 yards from scrimmage last season. The dilemma with McCaffrey is that he is at risk for injury because he rarely leaves the field, but he is still very valuable in fantasy. His recent history increases the risk even further. He is arguably the best at what he does and the panthers have not shown any evidence that they will change his usage.

Chris Carson is a running back for the Seattle Seahawk's.

The baton was passed from one person to the other late in the year. After Week 4, Carson had neck surgery and did not play again. He is trying to get a return in 2022, but it is not certain if he will get one. A calf injury in 2020 resulted in only three games played through Week 8, but he bounced back and finished the season with 135 yards or more in four of the final five games. Neither back's injury history suggests the ability to sustain a full workload for a long time. Ken Walker III is the team's second-round draft pick and the situation is uncertain.

James Robinson is a running back for the JacksonvilleJaguars.

There are similarities between a first-round draft pick and a free agent. It turns out bad luck when you play for the Jags. It was only an August preseason game that Etienne was able to play before he had to have surgery on his foot. Robinson, who had just come off an incredible rookies campaign of his own the year before, was unable to get a consistent opportunity to see the field. Things looked as if they might change when Robinson was injured. Doug Pederson praised Etienne for her participation in the team's spring practice sessions. There will be no setbacks in camp and Etienne will start. It wouldn't be a surprise if Robinson begins camp on the physically unable to perform list. Robinson has posted a few videos of running. He hasn't returned to football activities and hasn't recovered his power. His progress through training camp will tell you what to expect.

There are wide receivers.

The Saints have a receiver named Michael Thomas.

After a delayed surgery to address a severe left ankle sprain that cost him much of 2020, Thomas suffered an injury while rehabbing that required yet another procedure to the same ankle, and he never played a down in 2011. It's not clear whether he can return to his pre-injury form. He has to come back first. Thomas has been a model teammate this off-season, praising the team's selection of Chris Olave in this year's draft and working out with his teammate from Ohio State. He has not answered the question of how his ankle will fare when he plays football. The first test will be his progression.

Samuel is a Commander.

The effects of Samuel's groin injury lingered into the season. He missed 12 of 17 games due to a groin issue and a subsequent hamstring injury, and probably needed a full off-season to get right. The team may limit Samuel's workload early in the season because of the increased risk of injury due to soft tissue injuries.

The Minnesota Vikings have a wide receiver named Adam Thielen.

Even though he missed four games due to a high ankle injury, he still managed to score 10 touchdown. He had surgery in December to fix his ankle. The fact that he participated in theOTAs shows that his ankle should not be a problem in the future.

DJ Chark is a player for Detroit.

A teammate of Chark's broke his ankle in Week 4. Since the Lions signed him to a one-year deal, including $10 million guaranteed, he already began working with the team. Chark should be ready to go as the season begins.

Kadarius Toney is a wide receiver for the New York Giants.

In Week 5 against the Cowboys, Toney had double-digit catches for just under 200 yards. He was out of seven of the remaining 12 games due to injury. The talent is obvious, but the early injury pattern raises a flag and it's important to have him healthy to start the season. During the June mini camp, the Giants limited him to non-contact activity. He is expected to be ready for training camp.

There are tight ends.

The Lions have a player named T.J. Hockenson.

After the 13th week of the season, he suffered a left thumb injury and had surgery. He declared himself close to full healing and ready to work out in the winter.

Irv Smith Jr. is a tight end for the Vikings.

Smith had a serious knee injury in the preseason finale in the year 2021, but nobody saw it and he didn't know it at the time. The forfeiture of an entire season was the result of the surgery on the knee. The team has been increasing his football activity since the extra recovery time was added. When training camp begins, he should be a full participant, which is good news for Smith in the long run.