The NFL regular season is finally upon us. As always, injuries play a crucial role when it comes to constructing our fantasy lineups. Here’s the status of players with the most interest to the fantasy community heading into Week 1:
Teddy Bridgewater, QB Minnesota Vikings – Bridgewater suffered a severe knee injury that will cost him the 2016 season and could keep him out longer. The Vikings didn’t think they could contend with backup Shaun Hill, so Minnesota traded a first and a conditional fourth round draft pick to the Eagles for Sam Bradford. Hill and Bradford will split first-team reps in practice this week. The team will determine a starter later in the week.
Tony Romo, QB Dallas Cowboys – Romo underwent more tests on his back to determine whether or not the Cowboys will place him on injured reserve. The original plan was to keep Romo on the active roster. Placing him on injured reserve will cost Romo the first eight games of the season.
Carson Wentz, QB Philadelphia Eagles – Wentz is fully recovered from a hairline fracture in his ribs and has been named the Eagles starting quarterback. With Bradford now in Minnesota, it’s Wentz’s team with Chase Daniels serving as the No. 2 quarterback. Wentz will open as a low-end QB2 for fantasy purposes.
Jamaal Charles, RB Kansas City Chiefs – Chiefs coach Andy Reid said it would be a stretch for Charles to play in Week 1. Charles continues to work himself back from ACL surgery. Spencer Ware will start with Charles out and handle a majority of touches in the Chiefs backfield. Ware is an RB2 against the Chargers and will continue to be as long as Charles is out.
Matt Jones, RB Washington Redskins – Jones returned to practice Monday but was wearing a non-contact jersey. He’s recovering from an AC sprain in his shoulder suffered in the Redskins second preseason game. Jones said he “feels awesome” and expects to play Week 1 against the Steelers. If Jones can’t go, Rob Kelley will get the start and handle the bulk of the carries. If Jones does play, the two will likely split touches versus the Steelers.
Darren McFadden, RB Dallas Cowboys – McFadden was placed on the reserve/NFI list. He’ll miss the first six games of the season. McFadden fractured his elbow in June and according to reports he may never be able to straighten his right arm again. If he returns this year, McFadden will be behind Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris for touches in the Cowboys backfield.
Thomas Rawls, RB Seattle Seahawks – Rawls played in the Seahawks preseason finale. Despite suffering a serious ankle injury in December, Rawls is set to play in the opener versus Miami. It’s not clear if Rawls or Christine Michael will be Seattle’s starter but both backs are expected to see carries early in the season.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR Carolina Panthers – Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Kelvin Benjamin will play around 35 snaps in Week 1. Benjamin is still working on his conditioning after missing all of last season with a knee injury. He’ll start the year as a WR3/4 until he works his way back into playing shape.
John Brown, WR Arizona Cardinals – Brown has been dealing with lingering headaches from a concussion he suffered in early August. He did see a few snaps the Cardinals final preseason game and is on schedule to play in the season opener. It’s concerning though that Brown is still experiencing headaches a month after his concussion.
Josh Doctson, WR Washington Redskins – Doctson returned to practice Sunday after missing all of training camp with an Achilles’ injury. Doctson’s status for Week 1 is still up in the air but even if he’s active he’ll start the year as Washington’s fourth receiver after missing so much practice time. Doctson could still have fantasy value this year but it likely won’t come in the first month of the season.
Julio Jones, WR Atlanta Falcons – Jones has been sidelined with an ankle injury since the Falcons third preseason game. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Jones will practice in full on Wednesday. He’s in no danger of missing Week 1’s game against the Bucs.
Jordy Nelson, WR Green Bay Packers – Nelson was a full participant at practice Monday. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he expects Nelson to be “full bore” against Jacksonville in Week 1. Barring a setback to his knee, Nelson will be on the field for the first time in over a year Sunday.
DeVante Parker, WR Miami Dolphins – Parker is dealing with a hamstring injury that may cause him to miss Week 1. He’s been plagued by injuries since entering the league last year and has battled injuries to both hamstrings this summer. Even if Parker plays against the Seahawks, he’s behind Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills right now on the depth chart.
Kenny Stills, WR Miami Dolphins – Stills is dealing with a minor back injury but he practiced on Monday. He’s expected to play in Week 1. Stills should see plenty of targets with DeVante Parker injured, although he draws a tough matchup in the opener against the Seattle secondary.
Dwayne Allen, TE Indianapolis Colts – Allen returned to practice on Monday. He’s been dealing with a hip injury but Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said Allen is fine. Allen is a low-end TE1 against the Lions in Week 1.
Jimmy Graham, TE Seattle Seahawks – Graham’s availability for Week 1 is still uncertain and probably won’t be known until close to game time. He’s still recovering from a torn patellar tendon. Even if Graham plays against the Dolphins, he’ll likely be on a snap count. He’s not a recommended fantasy play for Week 1.
Dennis Pitta, TE Baltimore Ravens – Pitta has been cleared to play in Week 1. Pitta missed all of training camp and preseason with a broken finger. He’s played in just four games since 2012. The Ravens need help at tight end with Benjamin Watson out for the season. Maxx Williams has also been cleared to practice. Crockett Gilmore will open the season as the Ravens starting tight end. None of the three are an appealing play against the Bills in Week 1.