Published: May 18, 2018 at 10:31 a.m.
Updated: May 18, 2018 at 11:05 a.m.

Which injured star will have best 2018? Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers rally

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The 2017 NFL season wasn't the friendliest in terms of injury. It seemed the league's biggest superstars were being sidelined by the week.

Several big-name players' seasons were over before Week 1 even got underway, including Ryan Tannehill and Julian Edelman. Others who suffered season-ending injuries before the midseason mark were Allen Robinson, Eric Berry, Jason Verrett, J.J. Watt, David Johnson and Odell Beckham Jr. The injury bug kept at it as the postseason approached, ending the campaigns of Richard Sherman, Deshaun Watson and MVP candidate Carson Wentz.

Needless to say, we can't wait to see these headliners back on the field in 2018. This leads us to this question: Which injured superstar from a year ago will have the best 2018 season?

Texans, Cardinals will get huge production from offensive playmakers
I could pretty easily select about 10 guys for this debate, but I'll just pick two -- Deshaun Watson and David Johnson. These two guys are major parts of their respective offenses. The Houston Texans were one of the most fun teams to watch before Watson suffered his knee injury on Nov. 2. That offense was completely different when he wasn't on the field, with the team winning just one game from Week 9 on. If Watson's 100 percent in 2018, teams will remember real fast why he's so hard to game plan for.

The Cardinals running back is the centerpiece of their offense, as he's involved in the run and pass games. Arizona lost a lot of offensive players this offseason, and the fact that it signed fullback Derrick Coleman tells me Johnson will get the rock a lot. In all reality, we'd all be crazy to think the Cardinals' offense will run through an injury-prone Sam Bradford or rookie Josh Rosen.
Allen Robinson will become the best Bears pass catcher since Brandon Marshall
Looking over the list of injured superstars from last season, it looks like the greatest fantasy football team of all time, with Deshaun Watson, David Johnson and others who will probably return and crush it in the NFL. The biggest name that jumps out to me, though? It's Allen Robinson.

The last time we saw Robinson play a full season, he had just completed a breakout year for my friends down in Duval County, Florida. And then the unpleasantness happened. I would have loved to see him continue his career with the Jags, but I'm not going to be mad at him joining the Chicago Bears, a team in desperate need of some pass-catching talent. I don't mean to besmirch Kendall Wright, but he's not a No. 1. Robinson is. He is going to team with Mitch Trubisky to form the best passer-catcher combo since Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. Since Jim McMahon and Willie Gault. Since Walter Payton threw halfback options to Brian Baschnagel.

They are going to be pretty good.
Green Bay's elite QB has clear path to MVP in 2018
Using "best" as the qualifier here is a bit unfair, because there's only one person on this list with a clear path to winning the MVP award in 2018, and that's Aaron Rodgers. I have high hopes for the likes of Deshaun Watson, Odell Beckham Jr., Dalvin Cook, David Johnson J.J. Watt and countless others on this list, but they all have a much steeper hill to climb to reach the MVP mountaintop. Rodgers has two MVP awards in his trophy case already. Call it a hunch (or me being a homer), but this just feels like his season. The Packers signed Jimmy Graham, have two exciting young running backs and just drafted three size-speed combo receivers to stretch the field. Rodgers remains at the height of his powers and will likely be hellbent on returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2010 season, leading me to think he'll have the best comeback season from the all-star cast that missed much of the 2017 campaign.
Texans quarterback won't skip a beat when he returns for Year 2
I'm going with Deshaun Watson. He really took the league by storm as a rookie. The injury was unfortunate, but it provided an opportunity for Watson to watch his own tape, evaluate his play and learn from his mistakes. I have no doubt he'll be ready to lead the Texans' offense and pick up where he left off.
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