• Kyle Chap DPT

ACL Tears & Hit Rates: A Story of Statistics

Twitter: @DoctorChapFF



The dreaded ACL tears. This debate has been going around Twitter on who will bounce back and who won’t - thousands of back-and-forth arguments over Sutton, Saquon, Kelvin Harmon, Albert O, etc. For this reason, I decided to compile ALL of the ACL tears from 2012-2019 (8 years worth) and find the statistical analysis of “hit rates” and seasonal improvements in play. This is what I’ve found:



77 TOTAL ACL TEARS SINCE 2013 (Excluding 2020)


- 11 Rookies (Excluded from Pre/Post ACL comparison only)

- Only 1 Rookie ACL tear has come out to produce a WR2/RB2 season or greater – Dalvin Cook 1/11 (9%)


- 33 Players never played another snap again: 33/77 (43%)


- 7 of these players “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season post ACL injury 7/77 (9%)


- 8 total players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post-ACL season: 8/66 (12%)


On the surface, this already doesn’t look fantastic for these players, but it’s better to break it down a few ways to get the best idea of who has the best chances to bounce back. Below I break it down Round by Round, Player Age, and then WR vs RB.


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ACL TEAR SUCCESS BY ROUND



UDFA


- 27 ACL Tears

- 5 Rookies

- 3 never played again

- Preston Williams (re-injured)

- 16 Never played a snap again 16/27 (59%)

- 7/16 had played in games prior to an ACL tear (44%)

- 0 WR/RB have EVER “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season post ACL injury (0%)

- 2 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL season (all non-rookies included): 2/22= (9%)


NON INJURY REFERENCE:

UDFA RB Hit Rate (3.17%)

UDFA WR Hit Rate (1.81%)


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7th Round


- 4 ACL Tears

- 1 Rookie

- Highest WR88, played 3 seasons

- 2 Never played a snap again 2/4 (50%)

- 3/4 had played in games prior to an ACL tear (75%)

- 1 WR/RB have EVER “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season post ACL injury (25%)

- 0 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL season (all non-rookies included): 0%


NON INJURY REFERENCE:

RD 7 RB Hit Rate (9.26%)

RD 7 WR Hit Rate (4.92%)


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6th Round


- 5 ACL Tears

- 1 Rookie

- WR145 season after, 0pts season after

- 4 Never played a snap again 4/5 (80%)

- 3 of the 4 had played the season prior to injury (75%)

- 0 of these “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after ACL injury (0%)

- 0 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL season (all non-rookies included): 0%


NON INJURY REFERENCE:

RD 6 RB Hit Rate (10.42%)

RD 6 WR Hit Rate (4%)


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5th Round


- 4 ACL Tears

- 1 Rookie

- Never close to relevant

- 2/4 Never played a snap again 2/4 (50%)

- both had played in the season prior to injury (100%)

- 0 of these “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after ACL injury (0%)

- 0 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL season (all non-rookies included): 0/3 = 0%

- Player of Note:

- Jay Ajayi (25) – RB36 season prior to tear

- Played 3 more games in the NFL ever (10 rush 30 yards)


NON INJURY REFERENCE:

RD 5 RB Hit Rate (10.42%)

RD 5 WR Hit Rate (6%)


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4th Round


- 8 ACL Tears

- 0 Rookies

- 3 Never played another snap again (37.5%)

- All 3 had played in the season prior to injury (100%)

- 0 of these “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after ACL injury (0%)

- 1 showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL season (all non-rookies included): 1/8 = 12.5%

- Players of Note

- Darren Sproles – 2017 tears (6 games in 2018, 6 2019): Never close to fantasy relevant again, retired after 2019

- Lamar Miller – appeared in one game since ACL tear (2 fantasy points)

- Cecil Shorts – Never played another snap post ACL tear

- WR22 in 2012

- Travis Benjamin – One WR3 season (2 years post ACL)


NON INJURY REFERENCE:

RD 4 RB Hit Rate (20%)

RD 4 WR Hit Rate (9.52%)


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3rd Round


- 7 ACL Tears

- 0 Rookies

- 1 Never played another snap 1/7 (14%)

- 2 players “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after ACL injury 2/7 (29%)

- 2 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL season (all non-rookies included): 2/7 = 40% (Cooper Kupp, Keenan Allen)

- Players of note

- Jamaal Charles 5/7 seasons over 1K – 3 seasons after never reached 1K

- Jerick McKinnon: avg 500+ yards prior to ACL, missed 2 seasons, and had

219 yards in return

- Keenan Allen/Cooper Kupp (studs)


NON INJURY REFERENCE:

RD 3 RB Hit Rate (49%)

RD 3 WR Hit Rate (21.21%)


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2nd Round


- 15 ACL Tears

- 3 Rookies

- Dalvin Cook (stud), Derrius Guice (canceled), Paul Richardson

- 4 Never played another snap 4/15 (27%)

- All 4 had played in the NFL prior to injury (100%)

- 3 players “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after injury 4/12 (33%)

- 0 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL season (all non-rookies included)

- Players of note:

- Allen Robinson - HIT

- Jordy Nelson – HIT

- Vincent Jackson – Never played another snap

- Bishop Sankey – Never played another snap

- Derrius Guice – Re-injured then Cancelled

- Jeremy Hill – Never played another snap

- Sidney Rice – Never played another snap

- Gio Bernard – Averaged 701 yards first 3 seasons prior to injury THEN

averaged 330 yards 4 seasons after

- Paul Richardson – WR39 PPR in 2017, but has since fizzled


NON INJURY REFERENCE:

RD 2 RB Hit Rate (54.29%)

RD 2 WR Hit Rate (34%)


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1st Round


- 7 ACL Tears

- 0 Rookies

- 1/7 Never played a snap again 1/7 (14%)

- 1 player “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after injury 1/7 (14%)

- 2 showed improvement in FP from pre-ACL to post ACL injury 2/7 (33%)

- Players of note

- Rashaad Penny – Re-injury (still waiting)

- Reggie Wayne – 35-year-old season injury came back and was a WR44 at 36

- Corey Coleman – Yikes

- Will Fuller – WR39 2020 (better but suspended)

- Jeremy Maclin – Hit and improved


NON INJURY REFERENCE:

RD 1 RB Hit Rate (88.24%)

RD 1 WR Hit Rate (47.46%)


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ACL TEAR SUCCESS BY AGE



20-23


- 16 ACL Tears

- 7 Rookies

- 2 never played another snap (29%)

- 8 Never played another snap 8/16 (50%)

- 1 player “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after injury 1/16 (6%)

- that one player was an RB (Dalvin)

- 0 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL 0/9 (0%)



24-27


- 47 ACL Tears

- 4 Rookies

2 of these rookies never played another snap (50%)

- 20 Never played another snap 20/47 (42.5%)

- 4 players “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after injury 4/47 (8%)

all WR

- 7 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL 7/42 (17%)



28-31


- 11 ACL Tears

- 0 Rookies

- 4 never played another snap 4/11 (36%)

- 2 players “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after injury 2/11 (18%)

- all WR

- 1 player showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL 1/11 (9%)



32-35


- 3 ACL Tear

- 0 Rookies

- 1 Never played another snap 1/3 (33%)

- 0 players “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after injury (0%)

- 0 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL (0%)

- Reggie Wayne = Built Different


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ACL TEAR SUCCESS WR vs. RB



WRs


- 51 ACL Tears

- 8 Rookies

- 22 Never played another snap (43%)

- 6 players have produced a WR3/RB3 season or great post ACL Injury (12%)

- 7 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post-ACL season (excludes rookies): 8/43 (16%)



RBs


- 26 ACL Tears

- 3 Rookies

- 11 Never played another snap (42%)

- 1 players “hit” (WR2/RB2 or >) in a season after injury (3.8%)

- 0 players showed improvement from pre-ACL season to post ACL (excludes rookies) (0%)



This data here can be used as a reference and gives you a few different ways to get a probability of your favorite bounce-back candidate actually bouncing back.



What I’m seeing here is this:


Round by Round


- At least a 50% chance of not playing again if UDFA-5th round

- Results slowly improve from 4th round and up

- Hit rates are very low unless drafted in the 3rd round or higher



Age


- Hit rate varies here

- 0 WR’s Hit when they tore their ACL before age 24 (0/10)

- 0 RB’s Hit when they tore their ACL after age 23 (0/20)



WR vs RB


- There seems to be a much higher “hit rate” probably of a WR compared to an RB following an ACL injury.



When you look at standard “hit rate” vs. post ACL injury “hit rate” there is clearly a decrease from one to the other.


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Final Analysis:

As @FBInjuryDoc always says, no injury is created equally. There are so many factors that go into each player’s specific injury and history (i.e Age, Round drafted, previous history, etc). What I’m looking for is a pattern when I am bringing this over to fantasy and dynasty football. The verdict is still out on a few of these players if they will eventually hit. This is why I wanted to start this database and will continue to update it, year to year as we get more cases and results.


Oh, and do I think Saquon will Hit again? Absolutely!