I am not a doctor nor do I play one on television. Nevertheless, I am willing to give my best guesses as to whether or not certain potential impact players play this week based on the information at hand. Here are my takes, accompanied by analysis, surrounding the status of fantasy relevant players’ status for Week 1:
Note: There are not many overly impactful players whose statuses are teetering on the brink this week
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – After practicing on a limited basis all week, Coach Andy Reid admitted yesterday that Jamaal Charles is “probably not going to play.” This confirms prior suspicions as the Chiefs kept a fourth running back (RB) on the active roster which seemed strange if Charles were expected to be active. However, the news for backup Spencer Ware has been progressively worse throughout the week as well. Reid added on Saturday that “they’ll all play” referring to the RBs. While Ware is likely to earn a majority of the touches, the others may be more involved than originally thought. Having worked on his receiving skills all offseason, the hope is Ware will play on at least a few passing downs…but he didn’t catch a pass after Week 12 last season. In all likelihood, this turns into a committee but Ware is the (only) back to own. He’s viable in cash games but fading him in tournaments should be heavily considered based on the downside of his mediocre receiving skills and competition for touches. UPDATE: Jamaal Charles is inactive.
Chris Ivory, Jaguars – With Chris Ivory listed as questionable, potential T.J. Yeldon roster-ers should be on high alert. If Ivory were to sit, Yeldon would be catapulted into the bellcow role. Instead of projecting to receive roughly half the touches, nearly all of them would be his. This makes a giant difference in daily fantasy football because an increase in volume theoretically should increase a RB’s floor (assuming they do not get hurt or just plain stink). According to Rotoworld, Ivory has practiced on a limited basis this week but the feeling that he’ll be active on Sunday. If this is the case, both backs can be safely ignored as the Packers allowed the 15th fewest fantasy points to the position last year and the duo will eat into each other’s production. UPDATE: Chris Ivory is inactive so consider T.J. Yeldon the workhose in Week 1.
Josh Doctson, Redskins – The reason to consider Josh Doctson in the first place is due to a belief in the talent. If you do not believe in him or are not sure, then he is an easy fade. On the other hand, if you believe the Redskins/Steelers game is going to be a shootout (as Vegas does), Doctson is a GPP play worth monitoring. While he is fourth on the depth chart, the team didn’t select him in the first round for him to sit. Achilles injuries are tricky, and he plays on Monday night, so the “Doctson game” is likely going to have to wait at least a week. There are simply way too many superior options without the risk and Doctson isn’t exactly an Antonio Brown with a proven sky high ceiling. The Redskins passing offense is firmly in play but Doctson isn’t worth waiting for…at least this week.
Kevin White, Bears – Another rookie with an intriguing skill set is the Bears’ Kevin White but he is scheduled to suit up “barring a setback in warmups.” The Texans possess exactly one upper-echelon cornerback on the roster (Jonathan Joseph) and it makes sense for him to shadow the proven receiver on the Bears roster: Alshon Jeffery. This leaves White matched up against a beatable Kevin A. Johnson for most of the afternoon. The line moved as high as 7.0 points in favor of the Texans and has since come down to 4.5. What does this tell us? Heavy money is coming in on the Bears so they may put up a tougher fight than many expect. Remember, White was the Bears first round pick in 2014 and he was selected just a few picks behind Amare Cooper. He is loaded with talent and rostering in Week 1 could be a sharp way to stay ahead of the curve on a guy who should see a healthy amount of targets. Jay Cutler will be looking for someone to fill the void of both Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte in the passing game so do not be surprised to see White make an impact from the get-go. UPDATE: Kevin White is active and doesn’t appear to be limited.
Eric Ebron, Lions – Calvin Johnson retired after last season leaving a gigantic void in the Lions passing game. Over the past eight seasons, Johnson was targeted at least 128 times in each (and only played in 13 games that season) and scored at least eight TDs six times during that span. Heading into preseason, I (like many) had Eric Ebron circled as a prime candidate to break out…then he suffered what ESPN’s Adam Caplan called a “pretty decent (right) ankle sprain.” Three weeks later Ebron was still 50-50 to play but he practiced in full this entire week. Technically he is listed as questionable but ankle sprains really shouldn’t linger this long…even in their worst form. So rewind back to the initial assessment of him and act accordingly assuming late reports don’t surface suggesting he may be limited. On the surface, it looks like Ebron is in the clear and should be full-go in a game projected at the highest total of the weekend. For what it’s worth, I have him listed as my sixth favorite TE on FantasyDraft at his respective price tag.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots – There is no mystery in the case of Rob Gronkowski any longer because he has been listed as “out” for Week 1. He didn’t make the flight with the team and the reports just seemed to get worse as the week went on. Now, look for Martellus Bennett to fill the void in an offense that relies heavily on the tight end (TE). I’m not as high on Bennett as some, even as the only TE in the offense, because Jimmy Garoppolo is a total wildcard and looked rather mediocre in the preseason. The Cardinals are listed as 6.0 point favorites against the Patriots at home and I actually like them by a wider margin. Other than James White, I am not too interested in a Garoppolo-led New England offense.