Week 1 is supposed to be the easiest week to set your lineup.
So much for all that. If the lead-up to Week 1 is any indication, 2019 is going to be the wildest season in Fantasy Football history. There are injuries, of course, but the injury report doesn't even begin to cover the question marks hanging over the NFL heading into this week.
Here's just a sampling of what we're dealing with:
- Antonio Brown is no longer a Raider. .
- Odell Beckham's hip. Beckham isn't on the injury report after practicing Thursday and Friday, but he's been dealing with a hip injury that has kept him from sprinting.
- Mike Evans' illness. Technically on the injury report, we'll monitor this one Saturday and into Sunday morning to see if it seems like Evans is at risk of missing time.
- Julio Jones' contract situation. He was limited at practice Thursday, and hinted that he may or may not play while negotiating a new contract.
- Le'Veon Bell's usage with a new team.
- Todd Gurley's usage coming off a knee injury — he reportedly will not be limited.
- Ezekiel Elliott's usage coming off his holdout.
- The Chargers running back usage with Melvin Gordon holding out.
- Oh, and just for good measure, the Bengals, Jaguars, and Washington will all be without their starting left tackles. The Cardinals will be without their starting right tackle.
- There's also defensive players to keep an eye on. Not expected to play include Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams and linebacker Jatavis Brown, Colts defensive end Jabaal Sheard, Panthers pass rusher Bruce Irvin, 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward and Steelers safety Sean Davis.
If you're going into Week 1 confident in every spot in your lineup, consider yourself lucky. We'll find out a whole lot about most of these situations when the games finally kick off this weekend — just like we found out about the Bears' backfield split Thursday night, even if we didn't like what we learned. But for now, we're in the dark.
And, of course, we'll learn about all new questions we didn't even know to ask after Week 1. That's just the nature of the beast.
Stefon Diggs WR
BUF Buffalo • #14
Age: 30 • Experience: 9 yrs.
After missing practice Wednesday, Diggs worked partial practices on Thursday and Friday, earning the questionable tag. Here's video of him from Thursday. When asked about Diggs' availability, coach Mike Zimmer said, "Yeah, we'll see. I don't know." rUntil we hear that Diggs is set to play against Atlanta, it's for the best to have a backup plan. Most Fantasy managers have a backup receiver they can pivot to, but just in case you don't, Jamison Crowder and Marquise Goodwin are available in more than half of CBS Sports' leagues and desperation plays like Nelson Agholor, Tre'Quan Smith and Cole Beasley can be found on 75% of waiver wires. Deep sleeper receiver Damion Willis (Bengals) is available everywhere.
Jordan Reed TE
SF San Francisco • #81
Age: 33 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Reports on Saturday suggested Reed did not pass concussion tests and will not play against the Eagles. Darren Waller is among the most popular tight ends to snag and start to replace him with Washington teammate Vernon Davis, T.J. Hockenson and Greg Olsen also on the list.
ARI Arizona • #2
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Brown was listed as a full participant on Thursday's practice report, but he didn't practice on Friday in preparation for the Ravens' game at the Dolphins. Despite being listed as questionable, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the rookie didn't have a setback and "he'll play in the game." Brown should remain benched in seasonal leagues and is a high-risk, high-reward receiver in DFS tournaments.
LV Las Vegas • #25
Age: 31 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Wilson was limited in practice all week with a hip issue that he's been dealing with since last October. Despite this, there's been no indication he will not play. Keep in mind that the Dolphins' new coaches are former Patriots coaches, so they might be a little more sensitive to the injury report than others. Provided he plays, Wilson should serve as the Dolphins slot receiver. This might be a good week to not use him in commonplace Fantasy leagues since the Ravens boast one of the best secondaries in football, but he's worth rostering. He's an intriguing DFS choice — at $3,900 on DraftKings, he would need six catches for 60 yards to return good value.
DET Detroit • #17
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Badgley popped up on the Bolts injury report on Friday, which is usually not a good thing. The Chargers might use punter Ty Long to kick field goals and extra points. Fantasy managers who were considering starting Badgley probably should move on to a different kicker since he's not a lock to play and wouldn't take the field until the late afternoon games on Sunday. Go get the Falcons' Matt Bryant — he's available in 60 percent of CBS Sports leagues and kicks in an equally good offense that plays indoors 13 times this year. If he's gone, Dan Bailey (Vikings) and Josh Lambo (Jaguars) have pretty good legs.