With training camp and preseason games in full swing, the injuries are piling up. Most of the starters have played their final downs of preseason action. Here’s the status of players with the most interest to the fantasy community:
Robert Griffin III, QB Washington Redskins – RGIII was held out of the Redskins’ third preseason game with concussion symptoms after an independent neurologist didn’t clear him. Kirk Cousins started in Griffin’s place and will also begin the season as the Redskins’ starting quarterback. RGIII’s time in Washington appears to be coming to an end.
Johnny Manziel, QB Cleveland Browns – Manziel has been shut down for the rest of the preseason with elbow soreness. It’s an unfortunate setback for Manziel, who was playing well through two preseason games. Josh McCown will begin the year as Cleveland’s starting quarterback but there’s still a good chance we see Manziel under center at some point this season.
Todd Gurley, RB St. Louis Rams – Gurley has started to participate in team drills in practice but he’s still not doing drills that involve a lot of contact like pass protection. The fact that Gurley can’t do drills that involve blitz pickups is concerning with the season less than two weeks away. It’s probably a good gauge as to how much we can expect from him in the first few games of the year.
Tre Mason, RB St. Louis Rams – Mason pulled his hamstring in the Rams’ third preseason game. It’s being called a “mild” hamstring strain but the recovery time for those injuries are hard to predict. With Gurley and Mason both iffy for the opener, Benny Cunningham could get extended playing time against the Seahawks in Week 1.
Duke Johnson, RB Cleveland – Johnson suffered a concussion in the Browns’ third preseason game. He’s currently in the NFL concussion protocol. Browns coach Mike Petitne said the team will know more later in the week. Johnson is vying for a role in Cleveland’s muddled backfield but he’s been injured much of training camp.
Randall Cobb, WR Green Bay Packers – Cobb suffered a sprained AC joint in the Packers’ third preseason game. The injury was first believed to be serious but Cobb came away with what the team is calling only a “minor” sprain. It would have been devastating news for the Packers considering the team lost Jordy Nelson for the year a week earlier. Cobb is questionable right now to face the Bears in Week 1.
T.Y. Hilton, WR Indianapolis Colts – Hilton suffered a concussion in the Colts’ third preseason game. He’s currently going through the league’s concussion protocol and his status for Week 1 is unknown. The team will have further updates later in the week.
Alshon Jeffery, WR Chicago Bears – Jeffery missed the Bears’ third preseason game as he remains sidelined with a calf injury. Jeffery is expected to play Week 1 against the Packers though barring any setbacks.
Dez Bryant, WR Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys are shutting down Bryant for the remainder of the preseason so he can rest his hamstring. The injury doesn’t appear to be anything serious and this is just a precaution by Dallas. Bryant will be ready to go when the Cowboys play the Giants in Week 1.
Devin Funchess, WR Carolina Panthers – Funchess missed the Panthers’ third preseason game with a hamstring injury. Funchess had been dealing with the injury for two weeks. It’s terrible timing for Funchess and the Panthers. He could really use game reps with Cam Newton as he tries to replace Kelvin Benjamin in Carolina’s offense. The good news is Funchess returned to practice on Sunday.
Phillip Dorsett, WR Indianapolis Colts – Dorsett missed the Colts’ third preseason game with a knee injury. Dorsett is battling with Donte Moncrief for the Colts’ No. 3 receiver job. Dorsett has been impressive throughout training camp. Regardless of which receiver wins the job, both will see plenty of time in the Colts’ high-powered passing attack.
Brian Quick, WR St. Louis Rams – Quick made his preseason debut on Saturday. He wasn’t targeted but it was Quick’s first game action since suffering a serious shoulder injury last season. Quick will open the season as one of the Rams’ starting receivers. He currently has an ADP of Round 10.
Mike Evans, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs shut down Evans for the rest of the preseason after he tweaked his hamstring. However, he said he was healthy enough to play in Tampa Bay’s third preseason game. The Buccaneers are just being cautious with Evans. He’ll be ready for the opener.
Victor Cruz, WR New York Giants – Cruz missed the Giants’ third preseason game with a calf injury. The team said it’s unrelated to the patellar tear he’ recovering from but Cruz will now miss the entire preseason with the Giants resting their starters next week. Owners will have to wait until the regular season to see a guy return from a patellar tear. Cruz has an ADP of Round 7.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR Denver Broncos – Sanders resumed practicing on Monday. Sanders had missed two weeks while dealing with a hamstring injury. He’s finished for the preseason but Sanders should be good to go when Denver takes on the Ravens in Week 1.
Brandon LaFell, WR New England Patriots – Multiple reports out of New England claim LaFell could open the year on the active/PUP list because of his foot injury. That would cost LaFell the first six games of the season. The Patriots also signed Reggie Wayne last week, adding further speculation LaFell may be out for an extended period of time.
DeVante Parker, WR Miami Dolphins – Parker resumed practicing on Monday. It’s the first time Parker has practiced since having surgery on his foot in June. The Dolphins are hoping he can play in their opener against the Redskins. Parker won’t have fantasy value in Week 1 but he could emerge as the season goes on.
Eddie Royal, WR Chicago Bears – Royal missed the Bears’ third preseason game with a hip injury. The Bears said the injury is minor but it’s something to monitor. Chicago’s receiving corps is decimated with injuries right now, so the team isn’t going to risk playing Royal in a preseason game.
Sammy Watkins, WR Buffalo Bills – Watkins missed the Bills’ third preseason game with a glute injury. Watkins has drawn rave reviews in camp but has missed the last two games. If there’s a bright spot, he might not have played with his starting quarterback anyway since E.J. Manuel started that game for some reason. Watkins should be fine for Week 1.
Zach Ertz, TE Philadelphia Eagles – Ertz is still recovering from groin surgery and his status for Week 1 is unclear. Eagles’ offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said last week it’s going to be a matter of Ertz being able to get out and practice when it comes to a decision if he’ll play. Owners shouldn’t rely on Ertz for Week 1.
Julius Thomas, TE Jacksonville Jaguars – Thomas is expected to require surgery on his broken hand and will likely miss the first three games of the season. Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said a realistic return for Thomas would be Week 4 against the Colts. For those that haven’t already drafted, Thomas goes from a low-end TE1 in Round 9 to a TE2 later in the draft.