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Seven injuries to know about for fantasy drafts

With the onset of training camp, it's an unfortunate truth that players will be injured during practice sessions. Don't look like a fool and be that fantasy owner that wastes a pick on an injured player because you were unaware of the lastest news. Keep it locked at NFL.com/fantasyfootball to stay up to date with the latest injury news that you need to know for your upcoming fantasy draft.

Kendall Hunter, RB, San Francisco 49ers: It's a good thing San Francisco began camp with a deep backfield since the team's rushing corps suffered two casualties in a matter of two days. Kendall Hunter, who was looking to serve as Frank Gore's primary backup, will miss the entire season with a torn ACL. Also, LaMichael James who was competing with big rookie Carlos Hyde out of Ohio State for the No. 3 spot, dislocated his elbow over the weekend. James should only miss about a month according to initial reports. Hyde should now get some additional opportunities while the team also has Marcus Lattimore lurking on the NFI list should they need more depth at the position. Fantasy owners should realize that Gore will still carry the load but to be wary of his age and keep an eye on Hyde as a viable handcuff as camp progresses.

Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Vick Ballard only started one game in 2013 after tearing his ACL in practice early last season. Heading into camp this summer, the 24-year-old was easing his way back to full strength following surgery last September and seemed poised to contribute in the Colts backfield behind Trent Richardson and injury prone veteran Ahmad Bradshaw. Unfortunately, Ballard suffered a torn Achilles in Friday's practice and will miss the entire 2014 season. With this news, Bradshaw's fantasy value may see a slight uptick, especially if Richardson stumbles at all early on. With the recent release of Chris Rainey, Dan Herron will slide up into the third spot in the Indy backfield for the time being. Herron has a total of nine carries over the past two seasons.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: The Panthers were looking forward to having veteran rusher Jonathan Stewart available for a full season for the first time since 2011. According to the latest out of Carolina, Stewart will be out at least two to four weeks with a hamstring issue he suffered before camp even started. The Panthers backfield has lacked major fantasy value ever since Cam Newton stole the show his rookie season, but DeAngelo Williams managed to post respectable numbers last season with Stewart out. Stewart has said that he won't miss the regular season but this will be a situation fantasy owners need to monitor as September approaches.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Cecil Shorts, who underwent sports hernia surgery last December and missed time during OTAs in June, will now be out of camp for several weeks with a hamstring pull. Last year, Shorts was the most viable fantasy option at wide receiver in Jacksonville with 66 catches for 777 yards and three scores. With the team's other wideouts Justin Blackmon and Ace Sanders inactive while they deal with off-field issues of their own, the Jags really need Shorts healthy to bolster their already weak receiving corps. Look for rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson to get in some extra work while Shorts is out. Still, it's tough to count on any member of the Jags' offense for fantasy production this season save for running back Toby Gerhart.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers: Rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin has some fantasy potential this season as a big red zone target in a weak Carolina pass catching corps. It's been reported that Benjamin sat out of Monday's practice and will undergo an MRI on his knee after a collision with a teammate in a weekend practice session. Carolina fans will surely be holding their breath on this one as quarterback Cam Newton's options are already limited in the passing game. It may be nothing more than a bruise, but coach Ron Rivera has stressed that the team just wants to proceed with caution when it comes to the health of their talented first round pick. Rookie wideouts rarely have a fantasy impact in their initial campaigns, but with the lack of other options in Carolina, the Panthers desperately need Benjamin healthy while he has deep sleeper potential for fantasy enthusiasts.

Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants: The Giants' first round draft pick missed his fourth straight practice on Sunday due to the same hamstring injury that kept him off the field during some of New York's OTAs and minicamp sessions. The G-Men's new look offense under new coordinator Ben McAdoo is reportedly a pass-happy setup where wideouts can thrive. Victor Cruz is clearly the best receiving option for fantasy on the Giants, but Beckham could have a chance to play a major role alongside Cruz if he outshines incumbent Rueben Randle during camp. But if Beckham isn't on the field, there's no way for him to show coaches, and fantasy owners for that matter, what he's got. Beckham will likely remain undrafted this summer, but stay tuned in to his development as the season progresses as he could make for a sneaky waiver wire pickup once he's healthy and integrated into the G-Men's offense.

Scott Chandler, TE, Buffalo Bills: Bills' tight end Scott Chandler left Sunday's practice with a groin injury according to initial reports. Chandler led the Bills last year with 53 catches for 655 yards but only scored twice. His high volume of catches -- he had more receptions than 49ers tight end Vernon Davis -- proved most valuable in PPR leagues, but the red zone opportunities just weren't there for Chandler. It's not yet known how significant Chandler's injury is while Buffalo's other two tight ends, Tony Moeaki and Chris Gragg, are each dealing with ailments of their own. Rookie wideout Sammy Watkins and the Bills backfield will have to come through if Buffalo wants to produce on offense this season. Avoid the team's tight ends for fantasy purposes.



Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter at @m_franciscovich

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