9 Injured Players to Remember in 2022


One of the worst parts about football – and fantasy football – is injuries. There’s nothing worse than watching a star player go down and ultimately be ruled out for weeks or even months.


The silver lining is that injured players have a chance to come back the following season and remind everyone how good they are.

This article will take a look at the Top 8 injured players from last season you shouldn’t forget about in 2022. 

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

This one is a no-brainer. I’ve already written at length about why I think Christian McCaffrey is the 1.01 in 2022 fantasy football drafts. Here’s the main highlight from that piece:

Since Week 8 of the 2018 season, McCaffrey has been the best fantasy football player we’ve seen in 20 years. 

In games in which McCaffrey has played at least 30 snaps, here are his ridiculous fantasy stats in PPR leagues:

  • Top-12 fantasy RB 91% of the time
  • Top-5 fantasy RB 75% of the time
  • Top-3 fantasy RB 60% of the time
  • Finishes outside of the top-15: Once (!) In 32 games

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

I debated whether to include Derrick Henry because he played half the year and then even returned for the playoffs. But people may be wary of him now that he’s 28 with enormous wear and tear.

They shouldn’t be.

His injury was bad enough to sideline him for several months, but he did return last year and carried the ball 20 times in his first action back. He’s going to be the league’s biggest workhorse once again. Just ride it until it dies.

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Saquon Barkley technically played 13 games last year, but it was a wash of a season and completely lost by some combination of injury, bad play and a terrible offense. We don’t know which one of those three ingredients contributed to the bad season the most, but it’s safe to say the injuries didn’t help.

Barkley is now two years removed from serviceable fantasy play and three years removed from elite play. It’s definitely normal to be worried about Barkley in dynasty.


Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams

I’m not sure exactly how people will approach Cam Akers in 2022. Right now, you can find him going toward the end of the third round. But these are super early drafts we’re talking about.

The truth is, Akers’ return from an Achilles injury the same season is wild. The Rams eased him back in with 8 touches in Week 18 before giving him 19, 27, 14, and 17 opportunities in the playoffs. 

But exactly how LA’s backfield shapes up in 2022 is up in the air. Yes, Akers’ workload was elite, but he wasn’t efficient with it (2.6 yards per carry in the playoffs, 0 TDs), and would he have seen so much work if Darrell Henderson wasn’t injured during that stretch?

Either way, Akers was the lead back at the end of 2020, and he was the lead back when healthy in 2021. He’s probably going to be the lead back in 2022. I’d caution against reading too much into his poor performances in the playoffs, and instead focus on how willing Sean McVay was to use him in that manner right away.

Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville was so dysfunctional in 2021 that it may be a good thing – long term – for how fantasy players view Travis Etienne. He enters 2022 as a total unknown. James Robinson is a legit RB for the Jaguars, and Etienne will end up never playing a down for the coaching staff that drafted him in the first round. 

It’s not a great look.

With that said, the team did invest a first-round pick in him, so it’s hard to imagine them giving up on him entirely. Keep the expectations in check, but Jacksonville’s offense does have the potential to be good, so if Etienne can earn a featured role, the path to fantasy relevancy is not impossible to see.

Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Michael Thomas hasn’t played a full season – or scored a TD – since 2019. In that year, he ripped off 149 receptions for 1,725 yards and 9 TDs. 

But a lot has changed since then. Namely, both Drew Brees and Sean Payton are no longer in New Orleans. Thomas’ commitment to the Saints’ organization has also been questioned several times over the last 24 months.

Thomas is an elite possession receiver, and all signs point to him being healthy in 2022. He’s not coming close to reaching those 2019 heights, but if the Saints can get a semi-competent QB under center this season, Thomas will be a name to remember.


Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Robert Woods’ value may entirely depend on what the Rams decide to do with Odell Beckham (and Beckham’s own health after his torn ACL). OBJ fully stepped into the No. 2 role for the Rams after Woods’ injury and got better and better as the season went on. 

Woods was having what felt like a down year, but he was still on pace for about 1,000 yards and nearly 8-10 total TDs. 

Whoever becomes the Rams No. 2 wideout next year will be relevant in fantasy. Even if Beckham comes back, all three of Cooper Kupp, Beckham and Woods will be relevant.

Kadarius Toney, WR, New York Giants

 Kadarius Toney is the ultimate “what could have been” from 2021. The rookie averaged over 2 yards per route run (a tough-to-reach number) in a terrible offense. 

Toney ripped off a massive 13-10-189 game (with 7 rushing yards too) in Week 5. Then he saw three targets on New York’s first drive in Week 6, then he got hurt and the rest of his season was derailed as a result. 

Daniel Jones at QB could severely limit Toney’s potential, but you don’t catch 10 passes for 189 yards in a game (as a first-round rookie) without turning some heads. Keep Toney on your radar in 2022.

JK Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens

JK Dobbins was the biggest to fall in the 2021 nuclear winter that was the Baltimore backfield. Things got so bad in Baltimore that they ended up rolling with a combination that included Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Le’Veon Bell at different points.

With Dobbins – at least in theory – the Ravens should have everything they need in one player. He’ll still be just 23 for the majority of the season without much wear. In 2020 as a rookie and a part-time player, he averaged 6 yards per carry and scored 9 TDs. Dobbins will be drafted as a mid-range RB2 in fantasy drafts this year, and he’ll be one of the most popular choices to “make the leap” to fantasy RB1 status given how fruitful Baltimore’s rushing game can be.

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