Too Long/Didn’t Read
- Evan Engram has missed more than 30% of his games due to injury.
- Lisfranc injuries reduce NFL offensive players’ on-field production by an average of 21% in the first season following surgery.
- The average return to play for NFL players off of Lisfranc surgery is between seven and ten months. Engram had his surgery in December, so Engram isn’t out of the woods.
- “Athletic reserve” and draft capital are the best predictor of continued opportunity after injury in the NFL.
- Engram is a low-price/high-reward player for dynasty given his age and athleticism. He’s a risk in 2020 for redraft players taking him before TE8 according to consensus ranks.
Evan Engram’s NFL career started no differently than most. He had no major injuries while at Mississippi and only a few bumps and bruises as a rookie in 2017, including his first documented concussion. Then as a second-year player, the injuries began to mount. He picked up his second documented concussion, which is never good, and also sprained his MCL, which led to three missed games (for a full description of an MCL sprain click here). Fast forward to 2019 and he’s recovering from a December Lisfranc surgery. In three seasons, Engram has finished 15, 10, and 8 games, meaning he’s missed at least part of 31% of games since entering the league. If Engram had a standalone MCL sprain, the concern would be minimal; but considering he’s already had two significant injuries which led to missed time, it’s cause for concern. Overall, MCL sprains have a 10-percent recurrence rate, which is relatively low… but Engram has already had two. Add in the fact that a Lisfranc injury and MCL sprain are similar in that connective tissue (ligament) is being affected. Does Evan Engram have an underlying connective tissue dysfunction? To be frank, the answer is probably no considering he’s made it this far without issues, but it’s something to consider. Of course, the concussions cannot go ignored either. Considering pass catchers are some of the most susceptible players to concussions, it’s impossible to ignore the risk for yet another at any point during his career.
The medical research shows that despite an 83% return-to-play rate, Lisfranc injuries reduce NFL offensive players’ on-field production by an average of 21% in the first season following surgery. This production seemed to level off after the second year and returned to baseline. In this particular study, the authors tracked the players over five years and also found players started fewer games (compared to the pre-surgery season) in the second and third seasons following Lisfranc surgery. It’s important to understand with the missed starts that it’s unclear in the study whether this is due to the original Lisfranc injury or general injury. The last, and maybe most crucial point for fantasy players to know is that the average return to play off of Lisfranc surgery is between seven and ten months. Engram had his surgery in December, meaning that it’s by no means a lock that he’ll be ready to go by training camp. This is especially important for redraft players. Marquise Brown is an example of a player who played with hardware in his foot from a Lisfranc procedure last year.
In just three years as an NFL starter, Evan Engram has missed more than 30% of his games due to injury. The most concerning of which are the Lisfranc injury--which is likely to affect his production in 2020--and the concussions, which is a risk for recurrence in any player. From a redraft perspective, Engram is a gamble. The classic high-risk/high-reward player. In dynasty, Engram’s price, assuming he can bounce back, is the lowest it ever will be. I often mention that the research shows a players’ “athletic reserve” and draft capital are the best predictor of continued opportunity after injury in the NFL. Well, Engram is a former first-round draft pick and a 25-year old mega athlete who ran a 4.42 forty-yard dash at 235-lbs. Dynasty owners in it for the long haul can likely acquire Engram for pennies on the dollar heading into 2020.