As the 2022 NFL regular season and fantasy football leagues crown their champions, the cries of championships lost due to injury get even louder. Fantasy analysts will always tell you that injuries happen and you just have to roll with the punches, but this season has seemingly hit us harder than ever before. From the start of the season to the bitter end of Week 17, injuries piled up this year like no other before. And to add insult to injury, they just kept getting worse and worse.
When running back Javonte Williams tore his ACL in Week 4, our hearts dropped into the bottom of our stomachs. Not only was he one of the most promising young players in the game, but expectations of him and the entire Denver offense were through the roof. Granted, the Broncos proved to be the ultimate bust of a team, but who’s to say things wouldn’t have been different had Williams played all year? Fantasy owners found themselves without their second-round pick and without any replacement value sitting on their waiver wire.
It went from bad to worse in Week 10 when first-round pick and top-three wide receiver Cooper Kupp suffered a high-ankle sprain that required surgery. Heading into that game, Kupp had 813 receiving yards and seven touchdowns with five 100-yard efforts, production unlike any other player at the time. There was fleeting hope he could return for the fantasy playoffs, but the Rams opted to shut him down along with the rest of their lost season.
Of course, the worst of the injuries has to come right at the start of the fantasy playoffs. Yes, losing Derrick Henry for championship week stings, but after carrying fantasy teams and the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs, Jalen Hurts suffered a shoulder injury that could not be overcome. Hurts averaged over 30 fantasy points per week this season and we were left with Gardner Minshew, Mike White and Nick Foles as replacements. These guys would need multiple games to breach the 30-point mark, and now we expect them to deliver at the most crucial time of the year?
We say it every season — this was the worst year for injuries in fantasy football. Except this time, we really mean it. From start to finish, this was one of the most brutal gauntlets to get through. Some of us succeeded. Others did not. But if there is one thing we all have in common, it’s that we all now look like Rocky Balboa after going 15 rounds with Ivan Drago. Yo, Adrian! Some of us did it!
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy sports advice, player projections, injury updates and more.