NFL Week 1 Injury Report: Who Will Play, Who Will Sit

Matt Bowen@@IsItGameTimeYetAnalyst IISeptember 8, 2012

NFL Week 1 Injury Report: Who Will Play, Who Will Sit

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    The 2012 NFL season is finally in motion, as diehard fans and fantasy fanatics alike now begin to inspect the Internet for the Week 1 injury report to find out who will play and who will sit.

    Look no further, as this Week 1 injury update has everything you're looking for with a practical opinion. 

    While some players will indeed start, how many snaps will they play?

    Which teams are dangling their stars like an opossum feigning death only to come to life?

    Who's definitely out? 

    Let's find out who will start and who will sit in Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season. 

Bound to Start: Brian Urlacher, Linebacker, Chicago Bears

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    Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is a gamer. 

    After multiple operations on his left knee this offseason, Urlacher will start against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 (via Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune). 

    This is good news for the Bears and very bad news for Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Even if Urlacher is not 100 percent, his intimidation factor is still on an unforeseen level. 

    He says he wants to play the entire game, but the Bears will throttle the Colts, sending Urlacher to the bench for the entire fourth quarter. 

    A true Bears legend, Urlacher is determined to lead the Bears to glory this season. 

Bound to Sit: Detroit Lions Defensive Backs Louis Delmas and Chris Houston

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    The Detroit Lions have a weakness in their secondary. Heading into Week 1, both Louis Delmas and Chris Houston will be out with injuries (h/t Chris McCosky of the Detroit News). 

    Good thing for the Lions, the St. Louis Rams don't have a dangerous passing attack. 

    Still, the Rams' passing game has to be excited for the chance of breaking out against the Lions, but they shouldn't get too excited. Unfortunately for the Rams, the Lions have a strong front seven that will give Rams quarterback Sam Bradford fits. 

    In the end—even without their key members in the secondary—thanks to their passing game, it will be the Lions who prevail with a win.  

    Fantasy Individual Defensive Player Alternatives: Don't waste your time.

Bound to Start: Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    After a rough start to his NFL career, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon looked impressive in a couple of preseason games before an ankle injury in practice on September 5 gave Jags fans a scare. 

    Being that he was drafted No. 5 overall by the organization in the 2012 NFL draft, he's the key to the Jaguars expanding their nearly nonexistent passing game from a year ago. 

    Blackmon will answer the bell in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Look for the rookie to tally around 80 receiving yards and quickly become the go-to guy for second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert. 

    A big Week 1 for Blackmon will give the Jaguars' faithful hope for the future. 

Bound to Sit: Jonathan Stewart, Running Back, Carolina Panthers

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    Big things are expected from the Carolina Panthers in 2012, too bad their big-time running back Jonathan Stewart will be put on the shelf for Week 1. 

    Although he's listed as questionable at this time, the last thing the Panthers want is to re-aggravate his dinged-up ankle.

    An early season ankle injury could linger for weeks if Stewart doesn't fully heal right now, so it would be wise to rest this week. 

    With the Panthers facing the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC South showdown, it will be a hard to pill swallow for Stewart—but reality bites. 

    Thinking long term, don't plan on Stewart playing in Week 1.

    Fantasy Alternative: Mike Tolbert

Bound to Start: Jermaine Gresham, Tight End, Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Cincinnati Bengals were battered by injuries this preseason, and tight end Jermaine Gresham was one of the wounded

    Thankfully, his knee injury won't cost him Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. The Bengals need Gresham to be the safety valve across the middle for second-year quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. 

    Without Gresham in the lineup, Green would undoubtedly be double-teamed all day. The tight end is a viable threat to all defenses and he looks to expand on his 56 catches for 596 receiving yards from a season ago. 

    Albeit against the highly touted Ravens defense, Gresham will make his presence known in Week 1. 

Bound to Sit: Beanie Wells, Running Back, Arizona Cardinals

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    The Arizona Cardinals' 2012 season is off to an ugly start. Now, they'll be without running back Beanie Wells for Week 1. 

    Wells is listed currently hampered with a hamstring injury (h/t and was a late addition to the injury report this week. 

    Being that this injury came out of nowhere, there's reasonable doubt that Wells will start against the Seattle Seahawks.

    Hamstring injuries can be something that only worsens when athletes try to come back too soon, so the Cardinals would be smart to sit Wells for the week. 

    Fantasy Alternative: Ryan Williams

Bound to Start: Trent Richardson, Running Back, Cleveland Browns

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    Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns will indeed start his NFL career in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

    He's currently listed as questionable after minor surgery on his knee this preseason, but he'll be good to go for the Browns (h/t Will Brinson of 

    What a relief for Browns fans, who hope that rookies Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden can reverse their fate.

    While it's good news that Richardson will play, the Eagles defense will refuse to be embarrassed by a pair of rookies.

    Expect a long day for Richardson as fantasy owners should bench him until he gets back into game shape.  

Bound to Sit: Marshawn Lynch, Running Back, Seattle Seahawks

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    Seattle Seahawks fans have to be excited for the 2012 season, but they'll have wait on tasting the rainbow until at least Week 2.

    Star running back Marshawn Lynch is currently listed as questionable (via John Boyle of the Everett Herald) with back spasms (h/t 

    Lynch wants to unleash Beast Mode in Week 1, but back spasms are finicky and unpredictable. 

    Fans may not know until the 11th hour about Lynch's true status, so he should be considered out for Week 1.

    Even if he does play, don't expect much from him. A couple of shots to his back may be all it takes to subdue Beast Mode. 

    Fantasy Alternative: Robert Turbin—this guy is as wide as he is tall. 

Bound to Start: Stevie Johnson, Wide Receiver

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    Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson wouldn't miss Week 1 against the New York Jets for the world.

    Currently listed as questionable for Week 1 with a groin injury (h/t the Buffalo News), Johnson will start on Sunday.

    Having signed a contract extension in the offseason, Johnson wants to prove that he's worth the money.

    The Bills have playoff aspirations in 2012 and will need their No. 1 receiver to shine this season. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will rely on Johnson to find the open areas and ultimately, the end zone. 

    He'll do his part on Sunday as the Bills look to get off to a strong start. 

Bound to Sit: James Harrison, Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    While there are conflicting reports (the situation is summed up here on on the status of James Harrison for Week 1, things aren't looking too encouraging for the veteran linebacker. 

    Hobbled by a knee injury that landed him on the operating table this offseason, the Steelers should be in no hurry to rush Harrison back onto the field.

    One person who's happy to see Harrison on the sidelines for Sunday's game will be Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, as he makes his return to the NFL.

    Harrison is known as a vicious hitter and coming off of multiple neck surgeries—Manning has to be relieved right now. 

    Even without their linebacker, the Steelers look for revenge against the team who ended their 2011 season with a playoff upset. 

    Fantasy IDP Alternative: Jason Worilds

Bound to Start: Adrian Peterson, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings

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    Star NFL running back Adrian Peterson has made a remarkable recovery from a knee injury he sustained just nine months ago. 

    Once unfathomable, the Minnesota Vikings could start the questionable Peterson on Sunday, although fans shouldn't expect too much for him. 

    Why risk Peterson's future by overworking their horse in Week 1?

    It's promising that he's back on the field, but 12 carries will be his ceiling in his first game back. Even with a limited workload, Peterson will draw the attention and energize NFL fans everywhere. 

    Update: Pro Football Talk reports Peterson is in!

    Fantasy Alternative: Toby Gerhart

Bound to Sit: Arian Foster, Running Back, Houston Texans

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    Both Houston Texans fans and fantasy owners of Arian Foster have to be scratching their heads right now.

    Foster is currently a game-time decision with a battered knee for Week 1 (h/t Yahoo! Sports). Foster says he'll play according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, but let's not jump the gun and believe that quite yet.

    Why would the Texans risk his health for the season in Week 1? Good thing for the organization, they get to beat up on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. 

    Being that the Dolphins are far from a serious threat, the Texans will choose to rest Foster. 

    Much to the disgust of Foster and fantasy fans everywhere, he'll be on the bench in Week 1.

    Fantasy Alternative: Ben Tate

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