Well, my precious goblins and ghouls, the football season is finally upon us. And naturally, with that, I have the grave responsibility to inform you fine specimens of the injuries that can and will impact your Week 1 fantasy rosters.
Such is life.
Let’s jump in and see who might be available on your waiver or can receive a bump in production from the gaps left by these poor, hurt souls.
The first injury to look at is… *checks notes* Oh the entire Ravens backfield. That’s not good! In just a few days the Ravens have lost their breakout star J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill, and the most recently Gus Edwards to terrible season-ending injuries. In response, the team has signed Latavius Murray along with Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman to their practice squad presumably to try to keep Lamar from having to rush approximately 10,000,000 yards per game. As of now, it looks like the Ravens are going to start the last running back left standing before the leg injury bloodbath, Ty’Son Williams, who might just have an opportunity against an uncertain Raiders pass rush under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and a reshaped defense. Look for Latavius Murray and Ty’Son Williams as a possible pick-up in leagues you might have had one of the injured fellows in and if you are feeling very adventurous maybe take a look at Le’Veon Bell or Devonta Freeman for a possible bounce-back campaign. I’m still not betting on that though, sorry Blair.
Curtis Samuel has been placed on the IR with a groin injury that’s been hovering around since early June, with the possibility of return around Week 4 but I wouldn’t hold my breath for the Washington Football Team to rush him back since this has clearly been a problem for a while now. In his place, Terry McLaurin has the chance to seriously boost his target count along with one of rookie Dyami Brown or 4th-year receiver Cam Sims having the opportunity to fill Samuel’s spot. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been on record praising Cam Sims so he might have the edge over Dyami for Week 1 against the Chargers but look for Dyami to possibly carve a role out long-term. Logan Thomas and J.D. McKissic can fill in some of Samuel’s targets boosting their playability while Curtis is out.
Saquon Barkley is supposedly clear to go for Week 1 against the Broncos but coming off a serious ACL tear his snaps could be limited with an opportunity for former Raiders legend Devontae Booker to fill in if Saquon has his load managed (hehe hehe) or reaggravates his injury.
The Chargers have signaled that Austin Ekeler will likely be ready to play Week 1 against the Washington Football Team after suffering a hamstring injury. However, if you don’t have a replacement with Ekeler on your bench in the event of a worst-case scenario look for Justin Jackson to take a bulk of Ekeler’s snaps.
Odell Beckham Jr. coming off of his own major knee injury and is listed as questionable on the injury report for the Browns matchup against the Chiefs, he looks probable to suit up but if he doesn’t Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Austin Hooper can look to see increased attention from Baker Mayfield.
Josh Jacobs undisclosed injury is apparently fine and he is back practicing but with this level of hush-hush it’s worth look to Kenyan Drake as a possible backup play against a strong Ravens rush defense should Joshie not suit up Monday.
Emmanuel Sanders has been plagued by a lingering foot injury since early August and is listed as questionable for Week 1, there’s still time for him to get on the field but in his absence, Gabriel Davis is in line to fill in against the Steelers.
D’Andre Swift, coming off a groin injury, has been cleared to play for Week 1 against the 49ers and seems to have narrowly avoided prison for life after his murder charge in Philadelphia didn’t stick. Freedom! Swift could be somewhat limited however so if you’re really struggling out there Jamaal Williams could be in line for a few snaps.
DeShaun Watson. Oh boy. Well, he’s not playing Week 1 against the Jaguars and might be… missing the rest of the season too at this point. With a QB room of Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills, there’s not a ton of fantasy relevance anywhere on the Texans with Brandin Cooks and Mark Ingram taking a major hit. Not great stuff.
Keelan Cole and La’Michel Perine are both questionable for the Jets Week 1 matchup against the Panthers with Denzel Mims in line to receive increased workload at WR with Jamison Crowder out on COVID protocols. In the backfield, should Perine sit, the road for Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman opens up further giving us our first glimpse into what this committee might look like.
A.J. Brown coming off a knee injury is good to go and off the injury report for Week 1. If you have him, play him!
Preston Williams has been taken off the PUP list for his off injury but his Week 1 status against the Patriots is up in the air. With Will Fuller suspended for this first week and Preston out, Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker, and Mike Gesicki should see the bulk of Tua Tagovailoa’s targets.
Evan Engram is completely out with a calf injury, former Vikings legend Kyle Rudolph should see snaps at TE in his place in the
exciting uhh very interesting Giants offense with future insurance salesman Daniel Jones behind center.
Tre’Quan Smith has officially been placed on IR, leaving Marquez Callaway as pretty much the last healthy wide receiver on the Saints rostering going into Week 1 against the Packers. Callaway is must roster with future hall-of-famer Jameis Winston slinging the rock into oblivion. Other than Marquez, Deonte Harris and Chris Hogan should see snaps at receiver but I wouldn’t be picking either up looking for any real production.
Nelson Agholor is listed as questionable with an ankle injury going into Week 1 against the Dolphins but look for Belichick to wait until the last minute to clarify his status. If you’re rostering Agholor, look for Kendrick Bourne, Jonnu Smith, and Jakobi Meyers to have an increased workload if any are available on your waivers.
Other notable injuries around the league
Center Austin Blythe for the Kansas City Chiefs is out for Week 1 with an abdomen injury leaving Mahomes behind three rookie offensive linemen Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, and Lucas Niang. Patrick Mahomes can likely overcome an inexperienced line but he’ll be in for a challenge against one of the top defenses in the Browns even with a questionable Jadeveon Clowney. You’re still starting him of course but keep this in mind going into Sunday.
Tackle Taylor Decker is out for the Lions with a finger issue that’s likely to require surgery, missing several weeks leaving rookie Penei Sewell a strong choice to shift back to left tackle. Jared Goff with a beat up offensive line against the 49ers stingy defense and a healthy Nick Bosa look for some bloodshed this Sunday.
Stud Cornerback Marcus Peters was apart of the bloodbath at the Ravens practice facility (On Ice!) this week, suffering a torn ACL ending his 2021 season. The Ravens have a pretty strong secondary but Peters was a major leader on defense, opening up the Raiders offense for further opportunities to toss the ball this Monday.
On that note, Left Guard Richie Incognito is still not participating in practice after suffering a calf injury in a joint practice against the Rams in August. In his absence, look for John Simpsons to fill in his spot for the Raiders weakening an already uncertain line for Derek Carr.
Even with Carson Wentz being named the starter for Week 1 for the Colts against the Seahawks, his star Left Guard Quenton Nelson has still not been fully cleared for action after suffering a back injury. If anything, at least Wentz is used to his offensive line completely collapsing on him all the time should Nelson be ruled out.