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Week One of the NFL season is finally here!  Months and months of drafting and prepping your fantasy football teams has reached it’s end.  Invite your friends over, get some charcoal for the grill, and stock your fridge full of your tastiest beverages, ‘cuz it’s gonna be a helluva ride the rest of the way.

As always, I will bring you my “Ambulance Chasers” articles each and every Wednesday during the entirety of the football season.  So, while you’re sipping on a cold one, let’s go over some fantasy football players that may or may not be “on ice” this week, starting with New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski. [Jay’s Note: Because of course.]

Rob Gronkowski, PatriotsEveryone knows the legendary frat boy-esque tales of Rob Gronkowski — and his constant injury concerns are just as public.  The Pats’ big tight end had off-season ACL surgery, and until yesterday, had not been cleared for Week 1.  But just because he’s been deemed physically fit for the start of the season, doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to play.  Gronkowski says he’s “ready to go”, but in the end, it’s the mysterious and evil coach Bill Belichick that will have the final say.  I do expect Gronk to play,  but it’s possible his snaps could be limited.  The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder missed the Patriots’ first six games last year, and when he did return, he was on the field for only 60 percent of the plays during his first three weeks back in action.  It’s not easy to bench what was likely your second, third or fourth-round pick, but I don’t consider Gronkowski an automatic start in Week 1 if you have a suitable replacement.

Cam Newton, PanthersCarolina’s franchise QB suffered a hairline fracture in one of his ribs during the team’s third preseason game, but all signs point to him starting Week 1 vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Coach Ron Rivera says he’s “pretty confident” Newton will play, and I’ll take his word for it — the Panthers’ QB hasn’t missed a single game in his three-year NFL career.  Owners should feel free to start Newton as usual against a Bucs’ D that ranked 17th in total defense last year.  Because of the rib injury, you may not see the usual rushing stats we’ve grown accustomed to with Newton, but it also means that he should be airing it out a little bit more.

Other injured players to keep tabs on:

Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals: Last year’s third-round draft pick was off to a great rookie season when he tore his ACL and MCL in Week 14.  He’s made rapid progress and coach Bruce Arians said he’d play in Week 1 as long as he got in some full practices.  Mathieu is listed as the starting free safety on the Cards’ official depth chart, so it looks like he’ll be in the lineup Monday night vs. the Chargers.  As long as he’s playing, “Honey Badger” is a must-start in all IDP leagues.

Steven Jackson, FalconsThe seemingly ageless (or is he aging?) Jackson didn’t even play during the preseason due to a hamstring injury, but he’ll be all-systems go for Sunday’s matchup vs. the Saints. SJ39 had his worst season last year, rushing for a career-low 543 yards over 12 games, and while that could improve a little, I don’t expect much out of the 10-year vet.  The electric Devonta Freeman needs to be stashed in all formats, as the changing of the guard at running back could happen sooner rather than later in Atlanta.

Wes Welker, BroncosWelker suffered another scary head injury this preseason, his third concussion in just 10 months, but that won’t keep him from suiting up for the Broncos matchup with the Colts —  it will be his four-game suspension.  Welker tested positive for MDMA, which is essentially ecstasy, and the NFL handed down a suspension that will keep him out until Week 6 vs. the Jets (they have a bye in Week 4).  With all this negativity surrounding the Broncos’ newly-crowned party boy, even when he does come back, it may be best to sit Welker on your bench until you see him play a game all the way through.  With Matt Prater‘s suspension, and now Welker’s, one must wonder what they are putting in the water in Denver.

 

Follow SethDaSportsMan on Twitter at, you guessed it, @SethDaSportsMan, for quality fantasy sports advice and the deepest veneration of all things Nicolas Cage

  1. Filkarri says:
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    I picked up Nick Foles as an insurance policy for Cam Newton when he got injured. Considering Foles is playing Jacksonville, I think I may just give him the nod this week in my starting lineup anyway. Thoughts?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Filkarri: Yes, that works fine for me

        • SethDaSportsMan

          SethDaSportsMan says:
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          @Filkarri: you’re welcome! That’s a nice backup option to have

  2. Tom says:
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    Will you guys have weekly rankings and if so when..

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      Rankings come out first thing Thursday morning.

  3. Donald Carlson says:
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    I have Fred Jackson and Shane Vereen as my options this week for my RB2. Who do you think is a better option?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Donald Carlson: I prefer Jackson this week. Bears were 2nd worst defense vs. RB last year and he has more “guaranteed” touches than Vereen. With Belichick you never know who’s gonna get the workload.

  4. Passive Aggressive says:
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    I will of course check the weekly rankings when they come out tomorrow, but getting a head start after a liquid lunch today.

    Q1: would you start Reggie Wayne this week over Reuben Randle, Kenny Stills and/or Marcus Wheaton as WR3? Randle’s @DET matchup has me second-guessing myself.

    Q2: streaming DST in a deep league, please rank for Week 1: MIN @STL, WAS or HOU @HOU, PHI @JAX, and NJY @OAK. I’m currently holding MIN but can’t decide if I should dump them for one of these others. Thanks!

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Passive Aggressive: I know I’m a little late here, but hope you enjoyed your “lunch”.

      1. I’d start Wayne this week. You are correct with the Lions being a nice matchup, but the Broncos are equally as nice. I’ll take Luck’s favorite target in Wayne over Randle and a struggling Giants offense.

      2. I prefer the Jets and Philly (in that order) over Minnesota. I’d have the Vikes third on that list though. 1st week can always be a crapshoot with selecting Ds

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @SethDaSportsMan: don’t run head first when in that situation, unless you have a good skull/brain for avoiding concussions (i do)

  5. jcg says:
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    Good info thanks!
    12 team ppr

    Which two do you like for end of the bench, best upside for later this year? TWest, BCunningham, CMichael, DArcher, ABlue, RHelu, KRobinson

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @jcg: Thanks for reading! I like Helu out of that group, especially in PPR. I think we’ll see a little bit of a two-headed rush attack in D.C. with Gruden running the show now. Cunningham would be my 2nd option.

  6. Nate says:
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    Standard PPR league pick 2
    Ryan Matthews, Chris Johnson, Jeremy Hill, Dexter McCluster, Terrence West, Andre Williams
    Do I do something crazy and start someone over Matthews and Johnson?
    I just don’t know how I feel about this mess…

    • David says:
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      @Nate:

      It’s week 1…too early to do anything cute. I’d say rolling with your studs is the safest bet

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Nate: I’d stick with your top 2 there for this week. The rest are wait and see kinda guys

  7. John Rambo Jr says:
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    I have some concerns w/ Gronk as my TE this week…my team:

    QB Kap
    Rb1 McCoy. Rb2 Gio
    Wr1 Dez. Wr2 C. Patterson
    Flex E. Sanders
    TE Gronk
    Bench R Rice. P. Thomas. A Boldin

    Ertz is available on waivers…who would you drop for him? Is Boldin even worth having w/Kap as my Qb? Overall opinion of my team as it stands?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @John Rambo Jr: I like your RB, especially if it’s PPR (big boost there for Gio and Pierre). Very well-rounded team. I do think Gronk will play, but like I wrote above, snaps could be limited. It’s worth grabbing Ertz for insurance though and Boldin would be the guy I’d drop. Small bench so there will prolly be plenty of guys on waivers you can pick up when you’re ready to drop Ertz next week.

  8. David says:
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    Who do you advise I start as my FLEX for week 1? I’ve been bouncing around these 4…

    Sproles vs Jax, Steve Smith vs Cin, Jordan Reed vs Hou, or Jonathan Stewart vs TB

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @David: Hi David, assuming he suits up, Reed is your guy there. The other 3’s roles are too undefined at this point and its not worth risking a doughnut in the points column.

  9. CL says:
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    “That rug really tied the room together, did it not?”

    Nice movie reference in the lede!

  10. T-Bone says:
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    Who is that in the vid linked to Wes Welker? Is that Tehol Beddict?

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @T-Bone: you serously never saw Jackass?

Comments are closed.