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Fantasy players hobbled in preseason action

Another round of preseason games is in the books and another smattering of unfortunate injuries have been suffered by some of the top fantasy players in the league. Get up to speed on the latest bumps and bruises that you need to keep in mind on draft day. And if you've already drafted make sure you're caught up on the status of your roster when Week 1 rolls around.

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers (ribs): Newton already had injury concerns heading into the 2014 campaign as he recovers from offseason ankle surgery. He saw action in Carolina's preseason matchup against the Patriots Friday night but unfortunately suffered an apparent back injury, which was originally diagnosed as a "contusion." After some testing on Sunday, it was confirmed that Newton has a hairline fracture in one of his ribs. Not good news for a quarterback who was already behind on building chemistry with a brand new receiving corps, but so far the Panthers still expect him to be a go for Week 1 of the regular season. Until he can regain some confidence that his surgically repaired ankle is well enough to run on, his fantasy production may suffer. He's a risky pick at his current Round 6 ADP, so wait on him if you can.

Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos (concussion): Welker suffered his third concussion in less than a year in Saturday's preseason game against the Texans. The veteran slot receiver took a hit to the head from D.J. Swearinger that immediately drew a penalty. He left the game for testing and while initial reports stated that the 33-year-old's career could be in jeopardy as he has suffered a number of head injuries throughout his career, he is still expected to play in Denver's season opener. Welker's current Round 5 ADP might drop a few rounds, while Emmanuel Sanders who scored two touchdowns in the game might see a bit of an uptick. If Welker does have to miss any time, Andre Caldwell and rookie Cody Latimer would be next in line in the high-powered Broncos passing attack.

Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams (knee): Just when we thought the Rams were set up to have a more effective passing game with the return of quarterback Sam Bradford, he went down with an injury that will cost him the entire 2014 season. In what could be considered a worst-case scenario for St. Louis, Bradford re-tore the same ACL that cost him nine games last season on what looked like a non-threatening play. Now, 34-year-old backup Shaun Hill will start the season at quarterback which is something coach Jeff Fisher feels confident about. The main fantasy implications of Bradford's injury are to the team's receiving corps and most importantly, running back Zac Stacy. Stacy's fantasy stock is on the rise with the loss of Bradford, seeing as the team leaned on the running back heavily with Bradford out last season. Look for more of the same in 2014.

Bernard Pierce, RB, Baltimore Ravens (head): Last week, Ray Rice left the Ravens preseason game against the Cowboys with a shoulder injury after only two carries. This past weekend, it was Bernard Pierce who came out of the game a little banged up with a head injury and underwent concussion testing. He later tweeted that he was fine after the hit, and was not officially diagnosed with a concussion which is good news for the Ravens. They need Pierce to carry the load at least for Weeks 1 and 2 with Rice suspended. If Pierce plays well as Baltimore's starter, we might see a pretty even timeshare between the two when Rice returns. Rice is currently being drafted in Round 8 -- a full five rounds before Pierce in NFL.com drafts. The team expects Pierce to be ready to start by the season opener.


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

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