The 2017 NFL season is underway after we saw the Chiefs completely decimate the Patriots defense on Thursday night.  The world is talking about Kareem Hunt and Mike Gillislee, but we need to also be talking about the critical decisions you will have to make when setting your Week 1 lineups.  As always, injuries play a significant factor in your decision-making and heading into Opening Sunday is no different.  So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy football emergency room.

Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR-NYG) – One of the biggest unknowns for Week 1 is the status of elite wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.  He has been dealing with an ankle injury for several weeks and has not practiced at all this week leading up to Sunday night’s showdown against Dallas.  Beckham is 50-50 whether he will play.  He clearly wants to be on the field as he begins his quest to be the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL.  Beckham is considered questionable so fantasy GMs should wait as long as possible through Sunday morning before lineups lock to have a better idea whether he will play or not.  If he does not suit up then Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard become much better options for Week 1.

Jamison Crowder (WR-WAS) – The Redskins added Crowder to their injury report during the week as he is dealing with a hip injury which plagued him at the end of last year.  He practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday but is still expected to play on Sunday against Philadelphia.  Crowder is coming off a season where he caught 67 passes for 847 yards and seven touchdowns.  The Redskins are expected to have a pass-heavy offense and Crowder remains the team’s second wide receiver behind Terrelle Pryor.  He is a solid WR3 in standard 12-team leagues.

Danny Amendola (WR-NE) – Amendola is the Troy Tulowitzki of the NFL as he seems to always be injured.  The Patriots wide receiving core took a big hit in the offseason when Julian Edelman went down with a knee injury, so Amendola was expected to see an expanded role in the offense.  Things looked good for most of Thursday’s game against Kansas City when he caught six passes for 100 yards, but then was removed from the game with a concussion.  He will go through the NFL’s concussion protocol and has a few extra days to get ready for Week 2 against the Saints.  Amendola does have a history of concussions so it is quite possible he does not get cleared to play next week.  Chris Hogan moves up the depth chart into a more prominent role if he cannot play, and Phillip Dorsett also becomes a possible fantasy option as well.

Eric Berry (DB-KC) – The Chiefs were one of the preeminent defenses in fantasy football last year and were highly regarded coming into 2017.  A big reason for that was All Pro Eric Berry who had four interceptions in 2016.  Unfortunately, he appears to have suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon during Kansas City’s win over New England on Thursday night.  He held Rob Gronkowski in check all night but now it appears likely that his season is over.  This is a huge loss for the Chiefs’ defense and certainly diminishes their overall value in fantasy leagues.

Dont’a Hightower (LB-NE) – The Patriots vaunted defense looked more than human on Thursday night when they got torched by Kareem Hunt, Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense.  One major reason was the loss of Dont’a Hightower who was removed from the game with a knee injury.  He was seen riding the bike on the sidelines but was not able to return to the field.  This would be a major loss for the Patriots who rely so heavily on on-field generals like Hightower to run their defense.  If he misses an extended period of time then fantasy GMs may look to target players going up against the Patriots defense if Week 1’s performance was an indication of things to come.

Thomas Rawls (RB-SEA) – The Seahawks have a four-headed monster at running back which drives fantasy GMs crazy.  Rawls has been banged up during the preseason with an ankle injury but he practiced in full on Thursday and appears ready to go for Sunday’s showdown against Green Bay.  The problem is that he will be competing for touches with Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise and Chris Carson.  There is no way to know now who will get more opportunities than others so all four running backs are risky options for Week 1.  

Jordan Matthews (WR-BUF) – Matthews was questionable whether he would make his Bills’ debut this Sunday but now appears to be on the path towards taking the field on Sunday against the Jets.  He has been dealing with a chest injury for several weeks but he practiced in full this week and should emerge as Buffalo’s primary wide receiver.  He is coming off a down year in Philadelphia and will have to earn fantasy GMs’ trust again, so don’t rush to start him just yet because we have been let down by him before.

John Ross (WR-CIN) – Rookie wide receiver John Ross suffered a knee injury during Cincinnati’s final preseason game and will likely miss the opener this Sunday.  He returned ti practice in a limited capacity on Thursday so he is targeting a return for Week 2.  However, the Bengals are playing in the Thursday night game next week so that may not be enough time for him to get ready.  Fantasy GMs should assume that he won’t make his NFL debut until Week 3.

Demaryius Thomas (WR-DEN) – The Broncos have expected Thomas to suit up for Week 1 all along, but he has been dealing with a groin injury for quite a while at this point.  He did return to practice in the middle of the week and he has an extra day to rest with Denver playing on Monday night.  Expect him to be on the field and serve as your WR2 simply because the Broncos’ quarterback play is expected to be pedestrian at best.

Malcolm Mitchell (WR-NE) – The Patriots situation at wide receiver continues to be a concern after Malcolm Mitchell was placed on injured reserve to begin the season.  He is dealing with a knee injury and has a long history of such issues, so his status is questionable when or if he will return.  New England clearly needs him with the new injury to Danny Amendola but the addition of Phillip Dorsett could help ease that burden.  Mitchell has a lot of upside so he is still a candidate to hold onto in keeper leagues, but his value for 2017 is all but shot.


Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and co-host of the Fantasy Alarm Podcast.  You can contact him at or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).