The NFL season has officially begun with the Thursday night Super Bowl rematch. Decisions will need to be made over the next couple days in terms of rosters and lineups, so you will need to follow some of these players very closely before kickoff on Sunday. Any player can get injured on any play, so all fantasy GMs are on equal footing when it comes to risks. That is why it is so important to have depth on your roster; because the teams fighting for a league championship are usually the ones who can weather the injury storms. So without further ado, here is the first edition of the fantasy football walking wounded for 2016.
Rob Gronkowski (TE-NE)
The talented yet oft-injured Rob Gronkowski finds himself in a familiar spot on the injury report as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. He has indicated that he will be on the field Sunday night against Arizona barring any setbacks. Gronkowski is unquestionably the best tight end in fantasy football no matter who is playing quarterback for the Patriots. However, many fantasy GMs spent a first round pick on Gronk which is very risky considering his injury history. Monitor his status closely over the next couple days but expect him to play and be in your lineup.
Julio Jones (WR-ATL)
Jones practiced in full on Thursday and will be ready to go for Week 1 against Tampa Bay. He has been dealing with an ankle injury but that will not stop him from playing and torching a Bucs defense that he lit up in 2015. He is a consensus top three wide receiver and will put up elite statistics this season assuming he is able to stay healthy.
Andrew Luck (QB-IND)
Andrew Luck is coming back from a shortened 2015 season but has been dealing with a shoulder injury during the preseason. However, the Colts have indicated that he is just fine and will be on the field for Week 1 against Detroit. This is a great matchup for Luck who should be able to light up the Lions defense like a Christmas Tree (or a menorah for all my fellow members of the Tribe). He is an absolute must start and should finish at or near the top of the league in all passing statistics by the end of the season.
Jamaal Charles (RB-KC)
The former elite running back is working his way back from season-ending ACL surgery and it appears that it will be at least another week before he returns to the field. Charles has been limited in practice this week and all indications out of Kansas City are that he will not play in Week 1. This means that Spencer Ware would get the start and most of the playing time making him a viable RB2 option. Charles will be 30-years old this December and has had multiple major surgeries, so there is not much left to be squeezed out of him from a fantasy perspective.
Thomas Rawls (RB-SEA)
Rawls is coming back from ankle surgery and has fallen behind Christine Michael on the Seahawks’ depth chart. He also missed some practice this week with an illness which is not necessarily a big deal except that it further cements his status as the backup. He is nothing more than a deep Flex option for Week 1 as he has a long way to go before possibly reclaiming the top spot in Seattle’s backfield.
Tony Romo (QB-DAL)
Romo suffered a serious back injury during the preseason and will miss up to two months. The Cowboys did not place him on Injured Reserve which means they have some hope he could come back before Week 8. Either way, Romo is not worth owning in most fantasy leagues unless he makes some miraculous progress over the next several weeks. Dak Prescott has become a fantasy favorite, especially in DFS lineups because of how inexpensive he is right now. Prescott has a lot of weapons around him and a great offensive line, so the potential is there for him to lessen the loss of Romo.
DeVante Parker (WR-MIA)
Parker has missed several practices with injuries to his hamstrings and is listed as questionable for this Sunday against Seattle. The Dolphins have listed him as a DNP the past few days which is a strong indication that he will not be on the field. Parker was going to be a part of Miami’s three-WR set but his absence now opens the door even more for Kenny Stills to emerge as a viable WR3 fantasy option.
Chris Ivory (RB-JAX)
The Jaguars new running back Chris Ivory has been limited in practice this week with a calf injury. This does not appear to be serious so he is expected to play on Sunday and share time with T.J. Yeldon. Ivory is a RB2 option at best in deeper leagues thanks to the likelihood that he gets most of the goal line and scoring opportunities.
Kevin White (WR-CHI)
White missed his entire rookie season with a shin injury so the hope was that he would break into the league this year as the Bears number two wide receiver. However, he is dealing with a hamstring injury this week and has landed on the injury report. The severity of the injury does not appear to be significant enough to keep him off the field, but there are many questions surrounding his durability. He is not worth starting in most leagues for Week 1 and will need to establish some confidence before fantasy GMs feel comfortable putting him in the starting lineup.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and is also the co-host of the Fantasy Alarm podcast. You can contact him at email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment),