The injury bug has plagued every fantasy football owner’s roster at one point or another, and the only way to fight it off is by closely monitoring each starter’s status right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Failing to stay up on the latest injury reports can doom any fantasy football owner, especially on opening weekend.
So in effort to help out owners across every league format, and after scouring reports from around the league, we’ve put together a succinct list of injured players who may or may not make their 2015 debuts in Week 1 or could be banged up.
Owners should of course exercise caution when it comes to starting or sitting a hurt player, but making sure you have their backup in place can make all the difference in your weekly matchup as well.
Full injury report knowledge can also result in an unexpected competitive edge. Even if you don’t own say Green Bay Packers stud receiver Randall Cobb, knowing he might be slowed by a shoulder injury could be reason enough to start fellow Packers Jeff Janis or Davante Adams, should they be available or already on your roster.
Another thing to keep in mind is the inactive deadline. Teams are required to name seven players inactive 90 minutes before kickoff and one of your fantasy studs could be on that list due to injury or illness.
Here’s the most up to date list of injured fantasy players, including their recent status for the game, as well as some back-up options owners might consider adding to make up for any lost production.
Injuries to Monitor
Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears (calf, questionable)
Jeffery’s been out throughout training camp but practiced on a limited basis this week. However, he remains questionable and Chicago Tribune reports the Bears won’t update his status until Sunday morning even if all signs point to Jeffery “giving it a go” against Green Bay.
Jeffery’s injury, as well as the loss of rookie Kevin White, leaves Royal as Jay Cutler’s most experienced target. He was limited in practice all week but that was probably just to prevent aggravating the injury and keeping Royal ready for the Packers. No. 3 Bears receiver Marquess Wilson (hamstring) is also listed as questionable.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (hamstring, questionable)
Tampa Bay’s No. 1 receiving target participated in what NFL.com called a walkthrough practice on Friday after sitting out the first two days and head coach Lovie Smith said he “looked good.” Yet Tampa Bay still listed Evans as questionable. He’ll more than likely play, but Louis Murphy could be worth a pick up if necessary, or veteran Vincent Jackson could blow up for his owners.
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers (concussion, questionable)
The starter with Antonio Gates suspended, Green endured a concussion on Wednesday, sat out Thursday, but returned as a full participant on Friday. But he has yet to pass the NFL’s return-protocol even though Green said the injury wasn’t nearly as bad as the concussion he sustained in December last season. Keep a very close eye on Green’s status before San Diego kicks off against Detroit at 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday.
Injured But Playing
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys (hamstring, probable)
The hamstring injury has kept Bryant out for all of the preseason, but it’s highly unlikely to affect his work against the Giants and the absence was probably more precautionary. For those trying vulture some of Bryant’s stats, Terrance Williams or Cole Beasley are worth considering in very deep leagues.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills (hamstring, probable)
His status seemed in doubt, but McCoy will be relied on heavily with quarterback Tyrod Taylor making the first start of his career. Like Bryant, the hamstring has bothered McCoy for quite some time but he should be fine.
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs (ankle, probable)
The injury was very minor and occurred earlier this week, and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Kelce will be ready to lift-off.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers (shoulder, probable)
Cobb told reporters he was going to play through the pain, and that he might not have the same catch radius this week, even if he’s going against a very limited Bears secondary. Owners should still start him, but Janis or Adams might be solid plays as well.
Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets (knee, probable)
Ivory was on the injury report but fully participated in practice all week. He’s the No. 1 starter because of his solid production and the Jets few options behind him. A must start.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills (glute, probable)
McCoy’s going to dominate the ball, but with Watkins a full-go throughout practice this week there is some big-play potential on the table. But, again, Taylor’s unproven ability under center may have owners looking elsewhere for at the WR2, WR3, or flex spots to fill in for Watkins.
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons (elbow, probable)
White had elbow surgery on Aug. 24 to remove “loose particles” but came back to practice on Monday. He fully participated in Thursday and Friday’s sessions and is the certain No. 2 behind Julio Jones.
Charles Clay, TE, Buffalo Bills (knee, probable)
Another Bill? Yes unfortunately for Buffalo. However Clay downplayed the injury that bothered him towards the end of training camp and said the team was just being precautionary. Clay’s recorded 127 receptions the last two seasons, and might be Taylor’s best friend on check downs against a stacked Indy secondary.
Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions (knee, Achilles, probable)
Bell had knee and Achilles surgeries shortly after Detroit lost in the playoffs last season, but wasn’t even listed on the Lions injury report this week. He also sat out all of the preseason, and came back to practice only last week. The Lions are exercising caution, which might make back-up and rookie Ameer Abdullah a possible flex start this week and beyond.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins (foot, probable)
Foot surgery back in June seemed frightening for Miami, but Parker’s “turned heads” as a full participant in this week, according to the Miami Herald. Still Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and Greg Jennings are well ahead of him on the depth chart, and Miami won’t push the rookie too much in the first week.
Injured and Out, Do Not Start
C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans (knee, out)
Spiller had his knee scoped last month, and while New Orleans hoped he’d be back by Week 1 he’s been ruled out.
Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams (knee, out)
The Rams are moving the rookie Gurley along slowly since he’s less than a year removed from the torn ACL he suffered last season at Georgia.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens (knee, out)
The knee injury kept Perriman out for the preseason and the Ravens are rightly showing caution rather than rushing their prized rookie receiver back too soon.