The sad reality is, injuries happen. Everyone that plays in the NFL puts themselves at risk every time they step on the field.
I'm not saying what they do is the only thing dangerous that any person does. Hell, I could get hit by a bus stepping off the curb at any moment (let's hope that doesn't happen). But the reality is, their jobs make them a higher injury risk than some other people.
This is a weekly column that will address injuries that occurred in the previous NFL week, how those players progressed for the week, their outlook for this coming week and if you should be looking elsewhere. This will go live every Friday as it will give you the most up-to-date information we have, with the exception of Sunday mornings.
Injury concerns are very real for several of these guys. It's important to note that injury reports provide clues to a NFL player's status for their fantasy impact for the week (I know it has real life implications, but we're all about the fantasy). As per NFL policy, teams must submit their injury reports throughout the week.
On Fridays they must designate players with either: probable, questionable, doubtful or out. Before addressing the injured guys for week 2 fantasy implications let's define what each of these designations mean.
Injury Designations That Impact Fantasy Football
Out: This guy isn't playing on Sunday, Monday or any day this week. Although it may suck that your stud is out, it's better than being stuck in limbo. Start making alternate plans.
Probable: By rule this guy has a greater than 50% chance to play this week. Barring an unexpected injury or aggravation, it's generally expected that they'll play. It's a situation you should monitor, but I'd expect them to go.
Questionable: This is the worst designation a fantasy owner can get. The sad part is, more and more teams are using this every week. So get used to the aggravation that comes with being a fantasy football player. This means there is a legit 50-50 chance the guy will play. He's basically sitting on the fence (which can't be physically comfortable for them and sucks for you). This is one that can come down to the wire and leaves you sometimes having to make an early decision if your guy plays in a late game.
Doubtful: Fantasy football owners can feel pretty good that their player won't go this week. Technically this tag puts them at less than a 25% chance of going, but as they say, you're telling me there's a chance? Yes, yes I am.
These designations won't be included as fact here, as these injury reports won't come out until later into the day Friday. However I will speculate on what I believe what will happen. Just don't take it as gospel. Go check news on these guys on Sunday morning. I will recommend guys to target as replacements, most of which will be free agents in a lot of leagues. Some times I will suggest you probably have better options on your team already.
The Fantasy Injuries Everyone Needs to Know About
Some of these fantasy players you will care about more than others. Regardless they all can be relevant in different sized fantasy leagues. There are other guys out there that I won't address. It's nothing personal, there's simply only so much time to evaluate each guy.
Cam Newton - Carolina Panthers - QB
Analysis: It was rumored that Cam Newton was close to playing in Week 1 but was held out because the training staff and Ron Rivera knew Cam wasn't going to change his style of play. With another week of healing under his belt expect Cam to play in week 2. Fantasy owners can feel confident in starting him in the sense that he'll play, however you should consider seeing if you have another QB option. I'm assuming many of you won't so feel free to start him. I own Matt Ryan in one the leagues that I own Cam in and I will be starting Matt Ryan there. I just want to see Cam back out there before starting him. I also like Jake Locker against the Cowboys this week better than Cam, but only as a 1 week option at this point.
Doug Martin - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - RB
Analysis: Doug Martin gave fantasy football players everywhere a scare last weekend when he went down is a knee/lower leg injury. The team considers the injury minor and Greg Auman, of the Tampa Bay Times, indicates that Martin was a full participant in Thursdays practice and considered highly likely to play against the Rams. From a health standpoint it appears that Martin will be a go on Sunday. The part that scares me is that he had 9 carries for 1 yard and 1 reception for 9 yards. I think if you drafted Martin as a starter you still have to stick with him in week two, but there are rumblings that Bobby Rainey could be making a comeback for Martins job. Let's wait and see. If you have a better option than Martin I'd use them.
Toby Gerhart - Jacksonville Jaguars - RB
Analysis: Toby Gerhart also gave fantasy football owners a scare in week 1 when he went down with an ankle injury. He finished the game with 18 carries for 42 yards with 2 receptions for 15 yards. Not exactly awesome numbers by any stretch of the imagination. He's expected to play in week 2, although it's doubtful he'll be 100%. That means I don't want to start Gerhart unless I have to. You might not have a better option, but if you can slide him out of your RB2 slot, you probably have a better flex option. If not, hang onto the fact that he looked good in the preseason. If he gets healthy and can improve that yards-per-carry average, there may still be hope for him yet.
Alshon Jeffery - Chicago Bears - WR
Analysis: Here's a guy who burst onto the scene in 2013. He started off week 1 with a touchdown and a good connection with Jay Cutler before leaving and not returning with a hamstring injury. He has not practiced all week, Friday is still up in the air as of this writing. Supposedly Brandon Marshall has a better shot to play with his ankle injury. As a Alshon fantasy owner I'm worried he won't go. It'll certainly put my roster in a bind, but if he needs this week to come back healthy for the rest of the year I'm okay with it. Start looking at your ot
Ben Tate - Cleveland Browns - RB
Analysis: Ben Tate has officially been ruled out for week 2, leaving fantasy owners with an injured Ben Tate on their benches. Hopefully they insured the oft injured Tate with Terrance West. I believe he is the guy to own in Cleveland although some are saying they believe Isaiah Crowell will be the guy. I'm much more confident in West and believe he will be a solid flex play here in week 2. With the potential for Tate to be missing several weeks at a minimum, you could have yourself some nice value from West and Crowell.
Kansas City Chiefs - Defense
Designation: Stay Away
Analysis: Before even looking at their week 2 matchup I'm advising you to move away from the Chiefs defense. They were drafted as a starting defense in 2014 but after losing two starters to torn achilles injuries in week 1, the defense looked rough. The Titans were able to run even more effectively without Derrick Johnson on the field and the secondary looked suspect against Jake Locker. Bring Peyton Manning and the Broncos into the mix and I'm worried as a Chiefs fan. As a die-hard, I'm advising you that week 2 has the makings of a mess for Kansas City.
Eddie Lacy - Green Bay Packers - RB
Fantasy Analysis: Eddie Lacy absolutely benefited from the 10-day gap between games and was showing signs of improvement quickly after the Seahawks game, according to reports. McCarthy has indicated that Eddie Lacy will be ready for their home opener against the Jets. Expect him to play and play well. I'd try to insure him with James Starks if I owned him, but I think if you're a Lacy fantasy owner you're starting him with confidence in week 2.
Maurice Jones Drew - Oakland Raiders - RB
Fantasy Analysis: MJD has a hand injury and will miss their week 2 game. This opens the door for Darren McFadden to return to form. We've rained praise on him this offseason as being undervalued, in print and on the fantasy podcast. We believe that he can be a nice value in 2014. Look for McFadden to have a decent game here. If he falters this could be all Latavius Murray. I'm terrified of the Raiders and wouldn't start any of them with confidence, but that's your call. We still love McFadden though. Well at least I do.
Staying Smart When It Comes to Fantasy Football Injuries
If one of your fantasy studs isn't injured yet, and hopefully he never becomes hurt, see if you can go get their handcuff if they exist. I don't recommend it for everyone, but I do for many people.
My advice on injuries is to watch them closely as you approach game time. If you have a questionable guy playing in a late game, see what the reports are saying. You never want to start him and then have him declared out just before game time unless you have a replacement ready to go. Just be ready for any fantasy injury news that may still be to come.These Are Your Best Fantasy Streaming Options for Week 2
For the record, I never actually played football. I have no doubt that I would get crushed running across the middle for a pass, every single time.
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