The kickoff to the regular season is fast approaching which means your Week 1 fantasy matchup is also just around the corner.  Whether you’ve already drafted or your league waits until the last possible minute, there are key injuries you need to keep in mind when setting your lineups for Week 1 and thinking about your championship strategy.  With that in mind, here are a few key players with injuries you’ll want to watch…

While it should come as no surprise that Cowboys QB Tony Romo is out with another back injury, because it happened in the third preseason game, many fantasy players probably have Romo on their roster.  The good news is that he is expected back by mid season.  So if you plan to give him a shot down the stretch, you’ll want to pick up Dak Prescott as a handcuff.  While he is a rookie, Prescott has thrown for over 450 yards and five TDs during the preseason.

Romo isn’t the only Cowboys fantasy stud worth watching on the injury front.  Receiver Dez Bryant has some issues of his own. He hasn’t been ruled able to play Week 1, but it’s definitely something to watch out for.  Concussions can be tricky, this is an injury that needs to be watched when considering whether or not to insert Bryant into your lineup.  One thing you don’t need to worry about, however, is how he will fare without Romo.  While it used to be higher, Bryant only averages losing 1/3 of a fantasy point per week without Romo these days.  Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley stand to see increased work if Bryant misses time.

Also on the potential number one receiver front, Jordy Nelson, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, just returned to full-time practice on August 29th, so how his repaired ACL will hold up is still a bit unknown.  That being the case, it’s probably a good idea to considering grabbing Randall Cobb (79 catches, 829 yards and 6 TDs in 2015) who will definitely be a go to guy for Aaron Rodgers if Nelson isn’t up to full speed.

At running back, there are two key players dealing with injuries that are worth watching.  The first is Chiefs workhorse Jamaal Charles.  His recovery from a torn ACL last year has gone slower than expected and he has not played during the preseason and isn’t likely to be ready for Week 1 action. As of Friday the September 9th, Charles was listed as doubtful for the Kansas City Chiefs Week 1.  However, the Chiefs do expect him back this season and he has proven to be a fantasy stud when healthy, averaging over 234 points in standard scoring leagues over his last five full seasons.  That kind of production makes him worthy of stashing away for later in the year.  In the meantime, Spencer Ware (403 yards, 6 TDs in 2015) is expected to start in the backfield.

Finally, with the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls (120 fantasy points in 12 games last season) would seem to be the team’s fantasy beneficiary, but he just returned to full practice in late August, still recovering from the broken ankle that cut his rookie season short.  Head Coach Pete Carroll says Rawls will be ready for the season opener, but how much he will carry the ball remains up in the air.  Regardless, handcuffing him with Christine Michael seems like a smart move to make.

While this will get you started, keeping track of injuries (and all of the suspended players who will return during the year) will be a key factor in your ability to win your league. Make sure to stay up to date on Razzball!