Add New York Giants RB David Wilson to the extensive list of players already injured during training camp this preseason. Wilson left practice on Tuesday after suffering a “burner” nerve injury to his neck only six months after undergoing surgery. He’s currently undergoing tests, but how would Wilson’s potential unavailability affect the fantasy football landscape?
First, there is much less risk associated with drafting Rashad Jennings in 2014 if Wilson is unable to play. The Giants signed him to a four-year, $14 million contract this offseason, and Wilson was the only other RB on the depth chart that was a legitimate threat to take away the starting job. Jenning’s role as the starting RB for the Giants is far more secure without Wilson nipping at his heels.
Behind Jennings are Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox, neither of whom performed very well last season. Hillis averaged 3.4 yards per carry in 2013, and Cox averaged a dismal 2.0 yards per carry. Barring injury, it’s doubtful that either back would overtake Jennings as the starter. If Wilson’s injury prevents him from playing, I would expect Jennings’ ADP to rise from his current fifth-round price tag.
Second, rookie Andre Williams could potentially have a chance to see more snaps if Wilson is absent. Williams has a similar skill set to Wilson, and he has the speed to run for game-breaking TDs. Williams is only being drafted in deeper leagues and dynasty formats, but Wilson’s unavailability might make him worth a late-round lottery pick in shallower leagues as well.
Wilson’s injury is unfortunate news, but it helps clear up the New York backfield a little bit. If Wilson isn’t good to go by the season’s start, I’d have no worries about drafting Jennings as my RB2 this year. Assuming he stays healthy, Jennings could be in store for a 1,000-yard, double-digit TD season. Keep an eye out for news about Wilson’s health status as we near the start of the season.