Under the Knife — Fantasy Relevant Offseason Surgeries

 

Many top names have undergone offseason surgery this year. As we inch ever closer to the 2017 season, I thought it might be beneficial to cover a tier-1 player in each position who has undergone a procedure. Let’s discuss what they had done, and what impacts (if any) these surgeries might have on their 2017 seasons.

RB / Le’Veon Bell PIT

In an earlier piece, I pegged Bell as my top RB in a Uselessly Early Rankings. Then, Bell went under the knife on March 13th to remove his weed bone. No, no, he underwent groin surgery to clean up an injury he sustained during the 2016 postseason. At the time, Bell claimed he had been dealing with the injury for a couple of weeks and then aggravated it in the AFC Championship game against the Patriots. Bell was limited in the loss, and dick-limped for only 20 yards on 6 carries. The Steelers, however, never reported Bell on their injury report — scandal alert!

The NFL immediately launched an investigation, because if there is one thing that will get Roger Goodell in a tizzy, it is an un-filed groin status report. Now that the NFL and FBI have proven they can tackle the biggest issues plaguing the league (or some might argue our country) by solving the great Tom Brady Missing Super Bowl Jersey Caper, I sure as hell hope the Steelers had Goodell in the operating room with Bell to avoid future league probes.

Bell has said the surgery was success, and at this point I have no reason to doubt him. He was the first RB in league history to average 100 rushing yards and 50 reception yards per game last year, and despite the procedure, Bell remains my top back and arguably my #1 overall off the board at this uselessly early point of the season.

QB / Cam Newton CAR

Scram Newton went to the stratosphere in his 2015 MVP season. He passed for over 3800 yards, rushed for another 636 yards, accounted for 45 total touchdowns, only threw 10 interceptions, pieced together a 15–1 regular season, and notched a Super Bowl appearance — albeit a pathetic one. Last year, he crashed back down to earth ala Sandra Bullock in Gravity. He only recorded 19 passing touchdowns compared to his 14 interceptions, his team went 6–10 and failed to crack the playoffs, and maybe most importantly, he suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder in week 14. This one baffles me. I cannot wrap my head around the Panthers thinking here. They knew Cam was injured, they were eliminated from the playoffs, and they still let their star QB finish out the season hurt.

The surgery is scheduled for 3/30 and while they are in there repairing his torn rotator cuff, they might want as well tinker with his decision-making ligaments too — seriously how the hell does he think this is ok? I can’t tell if he is going for post-modern steam punk or auditioning for a Planter’s Mr. Peanut live action role with that one.

I know the Panthers have been down playing this procedure. They have come out and said they expect Sir Isaac to be ready for training camp. Still, this one worries me, if only because it is SURGERY in a QBs THROWING SHOULDER.

Irrespective of the need for surgery, I didn’t expect Cam to replicate his 2015 MVP season numbers in 2017 (or maybe ever again). If everything checks out, I do think he performs better than he did last year. I see back end QB1 numbers in his future. I peg him for 3,700 passing yards 22 TDs, 13 picks, and 7 rushing TDs. I am going to keep my eye on this one. No matter how minor the Panthers say the procedure will be, anytime a QB required surgery on his throwing shoulder, there is cause for concern.

As the only QB I am covering for this piece, I struggled to find a Segway from Cam to the next player on the list. Ahhh there it is…

WR / Julio Jones ATL

Both Julio Jones and my Grandma went under the knife on March 6th to remove a bunion. That’s right…a bunion. Julio, unlike my Grandma, was bothered all of last season by the left foot injury. The Falcons have been tight lipped about the procedure because, as we all know, loose lips sink ships and the Falcons want to keep this baby floating for as long as possible. The team has said the “minor” procedure will keep Julio off the field for four to five months.

Wait. What? Minor procedure… four to five months… the team holding their cards close to the vest… something ain’t adding up. We all know Jones has a long history of foot issues. I am beginning to think there is more at play here. I have it on good authority that more than a bunion was removed. I suspect the Falcons lopped off Jones’s baby feet and replaced them with full-on adult plodders that are a bit more durable. Rumor has it that Bruno Mars will be involved with Julio’s physical therapy regime — Julio, get the stretch!

Ain’t much to say here because not too much is known.. Anyone who can watch this and tell me Jones isn’t involved the #1 overall discussion is delusional. He is a freak athlete in a freak offense. Jones was my first WR off the board in an earlier piece. The feet issues keep rearing their ugly bunions, and I am bumping AB or even Mike Evans ahead of him until the Falcons give us a little more here.

TE / Travis Kelce KC

America’s favorite reality-TV star…. STOP, rewind. Let me repeat that. Travis Kelce had a reality TV show. This is not a joke. Cable providers should have been legally required to flag any and every household that aired an episode of Catching Kelce. These people should then have been rounded up and placed on a boat without an engine or sails and left somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I am sorry… I take that back. It was a bit too harsh, and there is already way too much garbage floating in our oceans. This is not a knock-on Kelce in any way. He brought in a bunch of girls, made them compete for his affection, and made some money in the process. Good for him.

Ok, now that I have gotten that out of my system, back to the point of this thing. Kelce underwent a shoulder surgery to clean up his labrum after the Chiefs were bounced from the playoffs. Andy Reid has said the procedure was not major and that he expects Kelce to be all systems go for training camp.

Want to know more about my outlook on Kelce compared to other top-TEs for 2017? You ain’t getting it here. I chose to include Kelce in this write-up for two reasons. First, so that I can help spread the word on the dangers of shitty reality television (education, not abstinence, is the best way to combat reality-tv induced brain rot), and to shamelessly plug My Uselessly Early TE Rankings dropping this Sunday. Hope to see you then.

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