From game-time decisions to injuries so significant they affect the value of every single position, let’s break down the fantasy and DFS impact of injuries for every Week 1 matchup. Know when to pivot and how your fantasy roster will be affected.
Below, you’ll find a game-by-game look at the injuries you need to know that will have the biggest impact for Fantasy leagues, as well as the implications for DFS players. This week’s list of notable names includes quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Zach Wilson; running backs Christian McCaffrey, JK Dobbins and James Robinson; receivers Chris Godwin, Michael Thomas, Jaylen Waddle and Allen Lazard; tight ends Zach Ertz and George Kittle; and many others, including key offensive line and defensive injuries to know.
- WR Michael Thomas (hamstring) – Questionable
- WR Tre’Quan Smith (shoulder) – Out
Thomas is trending towards playing but limited at Friday’s practice. We still need gameday confirmation on his availability and workload. I advise pivoting if your fantasy team has other WR3 options.
London was a limited participant in practice this week and but his game-time status is still unclear. The Falcons are in rebuilding mode and it’s very possible they don’t push the rookie and rather limit his snap count. I would avoid starting London.
The absence of Thomas would make Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave very appealing, low-priced options against a weak Atlanta defense. Landry would be the safer option, better for cash play. Olave has high ceiling potential but a riskier floor more suited for GPP. Thomas’ absence could also increase Jameis Winston’s reliance on Alvin Kamara, who is only the sixth highest-priced RB on the main slate and a potential good pivot from higher-priced, higher-owned RBs like Jonathan Taylor and Derrick Henry.
- OT Jack Conklin (knee) – Questionable
- DE Jadeveon Clowney (illness, elbow) – Cleared
- RB Christian McCaffrey (shin) – Cleared
- K Eddy Pineiro (hip) – Cleared
McCaffrey landed on the injury report earlier this week with a minor shin issue that will not affect his availability on Sunday. McCaffrey will be active and is a major player in all fantasy formats.
Samuel has been dealing with a knee injury but his week 1 availability should not be impacted. Mitchell has battled a hamstring injury through preseason but was removed from the team injury report and will be available. However, Kittle’s groin injury is very concerning. The injury occurred this week and has kept him out of practice all week long. Prepare to pivot to another tight end on waivers. Gerald Everett and Albert Okwuegbunam are solid options.
While there’s no direct team pivot to replace Kittle’s fantasy production at tight end, this would increase the value of both Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Samuel is one of the highest priced receivers on the main slate but Aiyuk is cheap with a very low ownership percentage.
While the availability for Harris was never in question, it’s important to note that it’s possible the Steelers limit his workload if the game gets out of hand. Johnson’s shoulder injury kept him limited at practice this week and he left Thursday’s practice early due to cramps. But he returned to full practice on Friday and says he will play on Sunday.
Higgins returned to practice and will be available for Sunday’s game.
Johnson’s absence would increase target opportunities for Chase Claypool and George Pickens. Both would be volatile options with Johnson playing. Pat Freiermuth is an intriguing option in this scenario as the Bengals gave up the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends last year. Freiermuth could be a usable option even with Johnson playing in the event he suffers any in-game set backs.
Miles Sanders was a full participant in practice this week and will be available on Sunday.
- RB JK Dobbins (knee) – Questionable
- OT Ronnie Stanley (ankle) – Doubtful
While Dobbins managed to avoid the PUP, his availability for week 1 is still in question. Fantasy managers need to prepare for Dobbins to be out on Sunday. If Dobbins does play, he’s more of an RB3 option as his workload would likely be limited.
Zach Wilson is officially out to start the season and while that may not impact the quarterback position of your fantasy roster, it does impact the Jets receiving corps. Fantasy managers should feel confident in Elijah Moore with Joe Flacco leading the Jets.
If Dobbins is out, Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake will lead the backfield. Both are low-priced options but neither will have a high ceiling. Lean towards rostering Lamar Jackson. Jackson will be heavily used on the ground and have good pass volume as well.
Availability for Meyers and Montgomery is unclear. Even if available, Meyers is a low-end flex play at best in deeper leagues. Montgomery is not a viable fantasy option but his availability does impact Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. Managers who roster Harris and Stevenson should monitor the situation.
Waddle and Edmonds are expected to play on Sunday.
While Montgomery’s absence would make Harrison and Stevenson appealing, neither is priced low enough to justify usage in your lineups.
- RB James Robinson (Achilles) – Cleared
- OT Cam Robinson (ankle) – Cleared
Robinson and Thomas are both coming off significant injuries. Robinson will play but should not be started in fantasy lineups. Robinson will likely be eased into action and teammate Travis Etienne will also have a prominent role in the backfield.
Thomas was limited at practice this week and his availability is still in question. Managers need to prepare for another option at tight end.
The only potential DFS impact of this grouping is how the presence of Robinson affects Etienne. Despite reasonable pricing for both players, this is a backfield to avoid in DFS.
Moore suffered a hamstring injury in practice this week and is out for Week 1. He was a potential low-end flex option. Ertz returned to practice Friday in limited action so we still need to monitor his availability. If Ertz plays, he’s a must-start in all formats.
If both Ertz and Moore are out, Marquise Brown and AJ Green are the only remaining key receiving weapons for Kyler Murray. Brown would be a significant play in DFS at a good value for Murray’s WR1 in a high-scoring matchup with the Chiefs.
- Donald Parham (hamstring) – Doubtful
- CB JC Jackson (ankle) – Doubtful
While Parham has no fantasy relevance, his absence likely increases snap count for Gerald Everett, who is my top streaming option at tight end this week.
Everett’s price and upside makes him an excellent play at tight end this week.
The pecking order in the Giants receiving corps is a true mystery heading into Week 1. Shepard has recovered from his torn Achilles and plans to play on Sunday, although he was limited in Friday’s practice. Toney – who suffered a variety of injury issues and offseason drama – will be available as well. While Shepard is typically a lock for targets from Daniel Jones, I’d still be cautious and avoid playing him in Week 1 until we have confirmation on his workload. Toney is a fine option at flex.
Toney is extremely low-priced on DraftKings. Even with the availability of Shepard, Wan’Dale Robinson and Kenny Golladay, he’s a great DFS option.
- RB Alexander Mattison (personal) – Cleared
Watson is expected to play and Tonyan was removed from the team’s Friday injury report and should play — although he may be limited. But the significant injury for the Packers is to Lazard, whose ankle was stepped on in practice. Lazard is now listed as doubtful and managers need to pivot to other options immediately.
If Lazard is unavailable, the DFS impact is very significant at both running back and wide receiver. Head coach Matt LaFleur has already indicated the offense will flow through Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Jones would be an excellent play with increased receiving workload and moderate projected ownership. At receiver, Watson and Romeo Doubs would be volatile options – although Doubs is intriguing at the minimum pricing. But the real value, high-upside option is Sammy Watkins. Watkins is best known for his Week 1 boom games and this year sets up perfectly for the continuation of the “Week 1 Legend.”
There’s a lot to break down in this matchup. For the Buccaneers, Godwin returned to practice but it was a game-time decision. Fantasy managers need to be prepared to pivot early unless they roster Julio Jones or Gage. Evans and Gage suffered preseason hamstring injuries. Evans will play Sunday and Gage is trending towards playing. Bernard is also dealing with an ankle injury and while he is not a viable fantasy option, this does increase the possibility of Rachaad White seeing Week 1 action. It’s something to keep your eye on with rumors that the Bucs want to limit Leonard Fournette’s workload.
The Cowboys are down multiple receiving weapons with Gallup out this week and James Washington out until midseason. But to make matters worse, Prescott suffered an ankle injury during practice. The injury will not threaten his availability but it’s something to make note of with a depleted receiving corps and a tough matchup.
Ceedee Lamb will be a popular pick in the Sunday night showdown but keep your eye on Tony Pollard as well as a candidate for increased pass work. If Godwin is out, both Gage and Jones would see increased opportunities.
- WR KJ Hamler (knee, hip) – Questionable
- Albert Okwuegbunam (lower body) – Cleared
- EDGE Randy Gregory (shoulder, knee) – Questionable
Okwuegbunam is likely to play and be a fine option for streaming tight end.
Kenneth Walker will not play in Week 1, leaving Penny – who will play on Monday night – as the lead back for Seattle.
With Greg Dulcich on the PUP, Okwuegbunam will be a low-priced option for a tight end who should be on the field for the majority of snaps. And, while Denver’s defense is tough, Penny is the clear lead back who will have a significant workload in a situation where Pete Carroll is unlikely to abandon the run – even in a blowout loss.