This is not a regurgitation of media reports. It’s my analysis using insider knowledge from almost two decades in the NFL as a head team physician. Further details on all games can be found at www.profootballdoc.com.
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First, let’s go over some cluster injuries that could impact your thinking.
The Eagles, Cowboys and Chargers have injury-weakened offensive lines. At least 3 out of the 5 starters are out, or playing at less than 100%. (See the interactive field view of Eagles offense on www.profootballdoc.com) The color-coded field view with hover feature details gives you a quick look. The injury index will breakdown one teams run or pass offense against the opponents run or pass defense.
Defensively, both key pass rushers on the Broncos (Von Miller and Bradley Chubb) and Bears (Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack) will be out or playing injured. Both Browns starting corners are out as they face the Ravens. The Cowboys secondary is banged up as well.
Here are the “dirty dozen” top injury question marks in alphabetical order. This is an evaluation of their health and not talent or scheme. We do not rely solely on public injury information. We interpret and read between the lines. For example, for the Thursday kickoff game, new Texans WR Brandin Cooks was listed as questionable and reported to play and start, yet we panned him as mostly a decoy. He had two early catches for 20 yards and nothing else.
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers — The 49ers’ WR corps has been decimated with injury. As predicted, Deebo Samuel is not ready for the season and Aiyuk may not be very productive either. Coming off an offseason core muscle surgery, the rookie is dealing with hamstring issues. He was DNP, LP, LP this week in practice and is questionable. The team can’t risk making it worse so Kendrick Bourne is the top healthy receiver. Of course, don’t forget about TE George Kittle as a target.
Danny Amendola, Lions — Another WR hamstring issue who is questionable and LP all week. Given the lack of offseason program, shortened training camp and no preseason games, these acclimation soft tissue injures are to be expected. Be careful relying on Amendola even if he is active.
Amari Cooper, Cowboys — This hamstring issue can be trusted. It occurred earlier in camp and he has been full practice all week. Anticipate the usual workload for this No. 1 WR. The only caution is the shortened ramp up of this COVID season.
Philip Dorsett, Seahawks — The Seattle slot receiver has an undisclosed foot issue but is trending the wrong way. He start limited practice the first two days this week and then did not practice Friday. Use at your own risk.
Mike Evans, Bucs — This hamstring injury seems to have improved after going LP, DNP, LP he was listed as doubtful Friday but then upgraded to questionable on Saturday. Early this AM, national reporters have him playing today. Good chance he is limited or a decoy to occupy star corner Marshon Lattimore to allow teammate Chris Godwin to shine with Tom Brady passes.
N’Keal Harry, Patriots — In the Patriot way, there is little injury info. Harry popped up on the Friday injury report with a shoulder issue but was full practice, yet still listed as questionable. Reading the tea leaves, Harry is good to go from an injury standpoint.
Kenny Golladay, Lions — Stay away from the star Lions WR in fantasy and DFS. He is listed as doubtful with his hamstring and was LP, DNP, DNP. Statistically doubtful players have a less than 4% chance of playing based on our previous tracking of the league. This injury might even leak into affecting week 2.
Alvin Kamara, Saints — The Saints RB got his new contract and should be good to go. The herniated disc concerns were unfounded as he never did receive any epidural injections. Instead the reported SI joint injection is a relatively minor deal and expect a 100% Kamara today.
David Montgomery, Bears — The panic was immediate as the Bears’ No. 1 RB was carted off 2.5 weeks ago from a non-contact injury. Despite the doom and gloom, we held out hope at Outkick that Montgomery’s groin injury might even allow him to return for the opener. That seems to be the case now after two straight full practices and he might even see his full normal workload.
Jalen Reagor, Eagles — The rookie WR is slated to play today. He dislocated his shoulder making a training camp tackle two weeks ago and is choosing to wear a shoulder harness/strap and put off labral repair surgery until the offseason. The team has downplayed this injury and said the tear is “minor” but the fact is the shoulder dislocated so that is significant. His catch radius will be limited all season by the right shoulder strap and he needs to get use to that. Also he is a rookie who missed a lot of time. I don’t have the same optimism for Reagor today as the team is leaking to the media. Remember, the Eagles take every legal advantage and commonly employ misdirection on injuries. All week there was optimism on starting RB Miles Sanders from the team where we were pessimistic and he didn’t even travel with the team to Washington and the RB is ruled out.
Courtland Sutton, Broncos — Our suspicions of an AC (acromioclavicular) joint sprain were confirmed. There was thought that he would be limited on Saturday’s practice but was instead on the sidelines. This led many to conclude he is out. I think he can still play. His old school head coach said if he can do 10 jumping jacks, he will play. That sounds funny but there is some truth to that. Dynamically raising his arms overhead to touch to demonstrate full range of motion is one simple way to show he is ready. If he is willing to take a pregame pain-killing injection to the area, I expect full production from the Broncos No. 1. This is a high ceiling selection if he plays. The problem for fantasy owners is he is a Monday game.
Mike Williams, Chargers — The Chargers WR injured his AC joint several weeks ago. I was optimistic from the start that he would play. There are mixed reports this morning: Rapsheet says he will, Adam Schefter says he won’t. I think he plays.