Need help dealing with an injury situation for Week 1? We’re going to list the most impactful scenarios here as the injury reports pile up. In each one, we’ll give you some options to consider if you’d rather play it safe and go a different direction for the first week. Keep checking back.
Running back injuries
You probably saw this coming but Andy Reid all but confirmed it Friday afternoon when he said Charles was “probably not going to play” against the San Diego Chargers . Charles is putting the finishing touches on his rehab from a torn ACL. He practiced this week get by without him against what’s expected to be a weak Chargers run defense.
Fallout: For weeks it seemed like Spencer Ware was the guy to own in case Charles wasn’t ready. He still is, but Reid cautioned against assuming him as the starter on Friday, saying Ware would “probably” start but personnel groupings would dictate which running back plays when. Expect Charcandrick West and Knile Davis to see some touches, but not a lot.
Ware is the best fit near the goal line and should get a shot at 20 touches on the strength of a very strong preseason (24 carries, 85 yards, three touchdowns; eight catches for 50 yards).
Last-ditch replacement running backs available in more than 60 percent of CBS Sports leagues: Javorius Allen , Charcandrick West, Chris Thompson , Rob Kelley , Reggie Bush , Robert Turbin
After coming through the preseason without any significant issues, Ivory suffered a calf injury in practice Wednesday. Limited in practice this week, he’s listed as questionable on the injury report but is expected to play. Coach Gus Bradley said he didn’t “foresee” the injury changing how the team would use their running backs.
Fallout: For this week, Ivory’s best shot at modest Fantasy success is to score. The Green Bay Packers ‘ run defense should be pretty good but if the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a short-yardage goal-line situation they’re sure to try their new running back in the role after failing in that spot for the past several seasons. Forty yards and a touchdown is about the most you should expect from Ivory.
If Ivory somehow misses the game then T.J. Yeldon ‘s value would skyrocket and Denard Robinson would probably pick up around six touches.
Status: TBD on Saturday
Matt Jones suffered an AC sprain in his shoulder on Aug. 19 and hasn’t played since. He practiced in full on Thursday and Friday, wearing a non-contact jersey on one of the days. While he seems trending toward being active on Monday night, the Redskins anticipate using three running backs against the Pittsburgh Steelers .
Fallout: Jones is a physical player but not an explosive back. Knowing he’ll split reps with the likes of Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson makes him an undesirable Fantasy option. The Steelers’ run defense is expected to be tough, making the whole scenario even more unattractive. Bail on Washington’s run game.
Tight end injuries
The hamstring injury suffered in mid-August is still plaguing Gronk. He worked on a limited basis all week. Typically, everyone who is limited in New England Patriots practice is listed as questionable with no confirmation from the team in regards to playing time. Earlier in the week multiple reports suggested Gronkowski would play, but the Providence Journal reported Friday evening that Gronk wasn’t on the team flight to Arizona.
Fallout: Theooretically, Gronkowski could get treatment on his ankle in New England and still take a flight out on Saturday, but usually it’s a bad sign when a team leaves a player behind.
Naturally, Fantasy owners need to play it safe and have a backup in case Gronkowski is inactive. Keep in mind, if you wait until he’s officially inactive on Sunday night to swap him out then you have to pick a tight end playing on Sunday or Monday night. That eliminates a lot of names.
Two tight ends to focus on are Jesse James of the Steelers and Vance McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers . Both should pick up a bunch of targets in their respective Monday night games and potentially be sleeper options every week this season (James especially). Both are available in more than 75 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
If Gronkowski is ruled out before Sunday night (and the Patriots have mercifully ruled players out in the past), the door is open to pick anyone from any game … though the ones on Monday are still the best options.
Last-ditch replacement tight ends available in more than 60 percent of CBS Sports leagues: Vance McDonald, Jesse James, Clive Walford , Kyle Rudolph
Remember that mysterious ankle injury that sidelined Eric Ebron in training camp and kept him from playing in any preseason games? It must not be that bad — he was listed as a full participant in Detroit Lions practice this week. The belief is that he’ll play Sunday in what should be a high-scoring game at the Indianapolis Colts .
Fallout: Ebron isn’t worth starting this week. He’s barely practiced over the last month and seemingly hasn’t convinced the coaching staff he’s out of his “developmental stage,” per coach Jim Caldwell. Stashing Ebron doesn’t seem like a bad idea, though.
Wide receiver injuries
Tate was limited in practice Wednesday with an ankle issue before going to a full workload on Thursday and Friday. He’s expected to play — he hasn’t missed a game in two seasons.
Fallout: Tate’s Fantasy value has taken a real bath this summer. Once considered a breakout candidate, the rise of Marvin Jones and Tate’s own inconsistent preseason play changed things. But he’s got a great matchup against a beat-up Colts secondary in Week 1 and should still be considered a great start in PPR leagues, if not all leagues.
If he’s somehow inactive, Anquan Boldin would figure to see a big bump in targets from Matthew Stafford .
It’s another leg injury for White, this time his hamstring. On Thursday he was added to the team’s practice report and was limited in practice.
Fallout: White should be kept out of Fantasy lineups no matter what. We’re looking at Eddie Royal and Deonte Thompson getting more snaps if White is inactive on Sunday, but realistically it means more targets for Alshon Jeffery (who you’re starting anyway) and Zach Miller (who would become a fantastic tight end sleeper).
Last-ditch replacement wide receivers available in more than 60 percent of CBS Sports leagues: Eli Rogers , Kenny Stills , Anquan Boldin , Rishard Matthews , Terrelle Pryor , Pierre Garcon , Jermaine Kearse , Josh Huff