Stop Drafting Victor Cruz in Fantasy Football
Sadly for Cruz, he hasn't played in an NFL game since October 2014 when he tore his patellar tendon in a game versus the Eagles. He tried to recover in time for the 2015 season but failed to play a game due to nagging calf injuries, which eventually led to season-ending surgery.
In 2015, Cruz had an average draft position (ADP) at the end of the seventh round in standard, 12-team leagues. Anyone that picked him got burned big time. League-winning players such as Larry Fitzgerald and Tyler Eifert went in the following round.
Heading into 2016, health questions regarding Cruz still loom large, but he still has an ADP. This should probably stop.
For Your Health
You don't need to be a doctor to know that drafting an injured player is an awful way to play fantasy football. Crazy, right?
But that is what's actually happening this summer. People are ignoring Cruz's injury concerns and are drafting him in the middle of the 13th round in standard, 12-team leagues. I understand that making a mistake in the 13th round or later won't cause you to lose your league, but it could prevent you from landing a possible sleeper such as Bruce Ellington or another such as Spencer Ware.
Aside from the healthier options with more upside, there's a chance Cruz will miss even more time in 2016. The reports out of training camp are hashtag not good.
The reports out of East Rutherford on Victor Cruz are very discouraging. Such a shame. https://t.co/J6Q4DyJqUF
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) August 15, 2016
Coach McAdoo says no update on WR Victor Cruz. #GiantsCamp
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 15, 2016
It's bad when the Giants official Twitter account has nothing good to say about Cruz. There is really no timetable for when he returns from his current groin injury, if at all. The NFL Network even speculated if Cruz would make the final roster for the Giants.
Victor Cruz's last dance? Pats TE leaving practice early today?
Lots to talk about NOW on @nflnetwork. Join us! pic.twitter.com/155k8LVrZC
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) August 15, 2016
Again, I am no doctor, but history has not been kind to players who have suffered torn patellar tendons. Dr. David Chao of the National Football Post wrote about Jimmy Graham suffering the same injury back in 2015, calling it worse than an ACL tear. Chao references Jerod Mayo, the linebacker for the Patriots who was never the same after suffering the injury.
Another previous example was highly-touted running back Ryan Williams, who was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft. Williams ruptured his patellar tendon during his first carry in his first pre-season game. What awful luck. Williams missed the entire 2011 season and only carried the ball 58 more times in 2012. He missed all of 2013 and was cut by the Cardinals, never to play another down in the NFL.
One of the more famous players to suffer this injury was Cadillac Williams, who was drafted in the first round of the 2005 draft. Cadillac rushed for near 1,200 yards in his rookie season but was never the same after tearing his patellar tendon in 2007. Scott Peak at Dynasty League Football showed how Cadillac regressed after his injury. He also covered Correll Buckhalter, who suffered the same injury.
Aside from this terrible injury and the nagging setbacks that soon followed it for Cruz, he isn't really the focal point of the offense anymore. The Giants seem to have moved on already.
In Case You Missed It
Since Cruz's injury in 2014, the Giants have seen a meteoric rise from Odell Beckham. In the 2016 draft, they used their second-round-pick on rookie wideout Sterling Shepard who is slated to be the number-two starter behind Beckham. These two are likely to hog the most targets along with Shane Vereen, Will Tye, and Dwayne Harris.
Even if Cruz were somehow able to overcome his current groin injury, how would he even fit into the offense? If the Giants were confident that Cruz would return to his pre-injury form, then why would they use a second-round-pick on a wide receiver?
What about the fact that his performance was already declining before his injury?
These are obviously rhetorical questions, but for those drafting Cruz, they need to be asked.
Cruz was a very enjoyable player to watch in his early years, but sadly, his career may be coming to a slow end based on the history of this injury and the amount of young talent in the receiving corps for the Giants. When reaching the late rounds of your draft, look for the upside, not the downside.