The first NFL Sunday of the season is right around the corner, but it doesn’t come without a few uncertainties. Several big-name fantasy football stars like Stefon Diggs and Mike Evans are currently battling injuries and may not play in Week One. Let’s take a look at all the big-name injuries, weigh their likelihood of playing, and how you should prepare your lineup for Week One.
Fantasy Football: Stefon Diggs, Mike Evans, and All the Week One Injury Updates
Stefon Diggs, Julio Jones
This game is a double-whammy. After staying healthy throughout the preseason, Stefon Diggs suffered a hamstring injury midway through the week. He’s currently questionable to play in Week One, although he did practice in a limited fashion over the past two days. This implies that he will be ready for Sunday’s action, and you can put him in your starting lineup. If he doesn’t go, Adam Thielen should still be a fine start. Thielen’s numbers go down without Diggs, but he’s the only reliable passing option going up against a subpar defense in a high-scoring game. With or without Diggs, you can start Thielen and feel fine. If you’re the Diggs owner and looking for a last-second waiver grab, look somewhere else. The Vikings don’t have any reliable receivers beyond Diggs and Thielen, and nobody’s going to step up in Diggs’ absence.
Julio Jones is healthy, but he might miss Week One if he doesn’t receive a contract extension. As of this posting, Jones and the Falcons have not yet agreed to any new terms. Make sure to monitor this one, as Jones’ absence dramatically impacts the rest of Atlanta’s fantasy projections. Jones is the lifeblood of the offense, and everyone is going to take a hit if Jones misses action. The Vikings should have a good defense, and nobody knows if Calvin Ridley has what it takes to succeed while facing top coverage from the opposing defense. Devonta Freeman won’t have as many rushing lanes and Matt Ryan won’t have his favorite target. If Jones doesn’t go, leave Ridley on your bench. You can start Freeman and Ryan, but you should think about swapping them out if you have a deep bench.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans is battling an illness, but head coach Bruce Arians is confident that he’ll be ready for Week One. Evans’ illness/flu isn’t traveling around the locker room, so there is reason to be cautiously optimistic about a return to action. If he’s playing, expect him to see a similar workload to normal. However, his absence could improve the fantasy production of others on the team.
The San Francisco 49ers should have a subpar defense, so Tampa Bay should move the ball with or without Evans in the lineup. Chris Godwin is going to get his targets regardless, so he probably won’t see a dramatic increase in targets. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, however, should see their fantasy stock rise. Jameis Winston loves to target his tight ends, and Howard is one of the most athletically gifted tight ends in the league. Cameron Brate has a long rapport with Winston and should be a decent streaming option if you don’t like your current tight end. Bruce Arians typically doesn’t feature tight ends in his offense, but he’ll have to adjust to the strength of his team. Brate and Howard are both considerably better options than Breshad Perriman, and they’ll see the additional targets.
Robby Anderson suffered a calf injury and is officially listed as questionable for the Week One matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Even if he does play, you’re probably better off leaving him on the bench. Anderson faces off against a stout defense and a great cornerback in TreDavious White. Considering the relative uncertainty with first-year head coach Adam Gase calling the shots, you’re better off finding a different flex option.
The tight end landscape is an absolute nightmare in fantasy football, and some owners took a risk on the oft-injured Jordan Reed. That risk doesn’t appear to be paying off, as Reed suffered a concussion in the preseason and hasn’t been cleared for contact. If you’re really desperate, you could start Vernon Davis in a pinch. The Redskins have one of the most talent-poor offenses in the league, and somebody needs to catch passes. That somebody could be Davis, as nobody else has much of a successful track record in the NFL.
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