Heading into Week 1, fantasy football owners did not expect a lot of injury concerns or question marks. However, with some big names dealing with lingering injuries, setting a starting line-up may not be as easy as once thought. Keep in mind the injury status reports have changed in 2016. The "probable" tag is no longer being used, so players are "questionable," "doubtful," or "out."
Heading into Week 1, fantasy football owners did not expect a lot of injury concerns or question marks. However, with some big names dealing with lingering injuries, setting a starting lineup may not be as easy as once thought.
Also don’t forget that the NFL has changed the injury designation for 2016. The "probable" tag is no longer being used, so players are either "questionable," "doubtful," or "out." Questionable means there’s a 50-50 chance that players plays, doubtful represents a 25 percent chance, and out means that player will be inactive.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers (1 p.m. ET)
After tearing his ACL last season, fantasy owners thought that they'd have their RB1 back for Week 1. However, the recovery from his second ACL tear has been harder than his first, and it doesn't look like he will be active in Week 1, although officially he’s listed as Doubtful. At this point, until the Chiefs are confident that he is the starter, he should stay on fantasy benches. Recovering from an ACL injury is physical, but also mental. The Chiefs aren't going to force him to play until he's ready on both accounts. I his absence, Spencer Ware figures to get the bulk of the carries, but don’t forget about Charcandrick West, who led the team in rushing in 2015.
Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks vs. Miami Dolphins (4:05 p.m. ET)
Rawls has had a slow recovery from fracturing his ankle last December. He missed the first three preseason games and didn't play much in the fourth. Christine Michael will be the starter for Week 1, and if he plays well, may have a chance to secure the role. However, fantasy owners have heard this storyline before, and Rawls owners should not panic just yet. If possible, bench him for Week 1 and keep an eye on how the touches are distributed.
Chris Ivory, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Green Bay Packers (1 p.m. ET)
Ivory has been on the injury report with a calf injury, but he is expected to play, despite the questionable tag. However, he
will be sharing carries with T.J. Yeldon. He may get the goal-line work, but because of the carry split, it's hard to trust him as more than a RB3 for Week 1. Once the backfield is straightened out a bit, Ivory may have more (or less) value, but for Week 1, he's a RB3.
Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears at Houston Texans (1 p.m. ET)
White missed all of the 2015 season because of a shin injury and finds himself on the injury report prior to Week 1. He was added late this week because of a hamstring injury, but he did get in limited practices. He is listed as questionable, but there appears to be a good chance he will finally make his long-awaited NFL debut. That being said, fantasy owners should not trust White this week, first, because of the injury, but also because it's unclear the role the 2015 first-round pick will play in the offense, especially if he’s limited at all by the injury.
Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington Redskins (Monday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
The fact that Wheaton has already been ruled out because of a shoulder injury means that Antonio Brown could be in line for an even bigger game than usual. Sammie Coates will step in to fill the starting spot opposite Brown, but he has struggled during the preseason and is a low WR4. One potential flyer to keep an eye on is Eli Rogers, who could replace Coates at some point, but the biggest beneficiary may actually be tight end Jesse James. For Gronkowski owners that are scrambling, James is a viable fill-in for Week 1 (and maybe beyond).
Tyler Eifert, TE Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets (1 p.m. ET)
When fantasy owners drafted Eifert, they knew he would be out for a few weeks. Since he didn't practice, it should be no surprise that he has officially been ruled out for Week 1. He shouldn’t be expected to return in Week 2 either, as Eifert could be sidelined for the first month of the season. Backup tight end Tyler Kroft is not a great fantasy option. Try to see if Martellus Bennett or even Jesse James is available.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Much to fantasy owners' dismay, their first-round draft pick has been ruled out for Week 1, due to a lingering hamstring injury he suffered in practice during the preseason. Jesse James and Clive Walford are two tight ends that may be on the waiver wire to fill in for Gronk owners, while new Patriot Martellus Bennett will step in to Gronk’s spot. Chances are Bennett is not as readily available in your league. At least Gronk owners found out early enough that they have time to find a replacement.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.