Week 1 NFL Injury Updates: Sunday Morning Med Check

Will CarrollSports Injuries Lead WriterSeptember 8, 2013

Thanks for joining us for this week's Sunday Morning Med Check. I'll be here with Tyler Brooke throughout the morning leading up to kickoff to make sure that you have all the up-to-date info on who's playing, who's not and who should be in your fantasy lineups. 

You'll find this morning's injury upgrades and downgrades below. These are not directly from the Official Injury Report, so don't mistake them. This is to let you know if certain players should be upgraded or downgrade based on injury situations in a fantasy context. I'll be updating these regularly as we lead up to kickoff. An easy way to keep it straight is to remember the OIR is about availability while the Med Check is about functionality.

All the way up to game time, we'll give you the breaking info, the insight and even take your questions. Please follow us on Twitter at @injuryexpert and @tbrookesports to drop in a question. We'll get to the best of them, but please keep them general so we can help as many people. "This or that" questions might help you, but not anyone else.

Also, be sure to join B/R's #FantasyLive from 12 to 1 Eastern, where Josh Zerkle and Anita Marks will take you right up to kickoff. I'll pop in a couple times with the latest injury updates on the biggest fantasy situations.



UPGRADE: Kenbrell Thompkins


With Rob Gronkowski not making the trip with the Pats, that ends all the questions about him, right? No? OK, Gronkowski is still on track for a Week 3 or 4 return, though I'm sure we'll hear move-by-move reports all week.

The real questions are around the Pats passing game. Will Danny Amendola be healthy enough to take advantage of the weakened Buffalo defense? Probably, but a lot of people are very high on Kenbrell Thompkins as a hedge. EJ Manuel appears to be fully healthy; the matchup will be a much bigger issue for him, but his presence does help Stevie Johnson and CJ Spiller.



UPGRADE: Sidney Rice


Seattle has defensive issues, but the team has had pretty much the whole of camp to adjust. With Percy Harvin out, making sure that Sidney Rice is as close to 100 percent as possible is key for the offense. He's close, though we'll have to watch for signs his repaired knee is holding up over time.

Carolina is shredded with injuries on the offense, with Jonathan Stewart and Kenjon Barner out long term. Mike Tolbert will get carries, but that's not a good thing for the Panthers.





There's an eternal debate as to whether enough small injuries can add up to a big one. With depth issues on both sides, but relative health in the key fantasy positions, this one comes down to talent on most positions.

However, with Ahtyba Rubin out with a calf strain, the middle might be a bit more open for the Dolphins running game. It's not enough to give one player the upgrade, but it's the kind of thing that might tip an otherwise equal choice between Lamar Miller and another flex option. It's nice to be lucky, but it's better to be smart. 





Chicago came with a blank OIR this week, which is pretty much the goal of the preseason. Cincinnati's important injuries pushed people out for the season or at least to IR-R, so they won't show up much on the OIR this week. Andrew Whitworth's continued absence won't help the passing game, but there's not enough to downgrade Andy Dalton or his targets.




DOWNGRADE: Cordarelle Patterson

The Vikings are used to GTDs on their WRs. Of course, they thought Cordarelle Patterson would be a big upgrade over Percy Harvin in at least that department. Patterson's absence would put more pressure on Greg Jennings but might get him a couple extra targets as well. Ziggy Ansah is a GTD leaning to out, but Detroit has enough to cover for him. 



UPGRADE: Ahmad Bradshaw, Dwayne Allen


The huge question is: "How many touches does Ahmad Bradshaw get?" While no one—not even Chuck Pagano—knows for sure, the best guess is that it will be somewhere north of 12. If it gets closer to 20, he becomes a high second-tier back.

The Colts should have both Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen available after both had camp injuries. Allen is a bit more questionable due to his lingering foot injury, but he practiced well and seems to be able to get open more than Fleener.

The Raiders have some line problems, but not enough to downgrade it against a Colts pass rush that's still in transition. 



UPGRADE: Travis Kelce


Tony Moeaki isn't going to show up on the OIR, but his absence is showing up here. Kansas City needs to have a healthy Travis Kelce; otherwise they lack depth at an already weak TE position that is important in Andy Reid's version of the WCO. I think he'll be able to play and while he's not a fantasy option, he frees up all the other KC offense to fit in their normal roles.

There are some defensive depth issues, but we'll see if Blaine Gabbert can exploit any of them. The Jags come in with Marcedes Lewis unlikely to play and Justin Forsett a GTD. That could open up Denard Robinson a bit more, though his usage remains a real unknown.  



UPGRADE: Doug Martin

DOWNGRADE: Darrelle Revis, Tom Crabtree

All eyes will be on Darrelle Revis. It may not be a big test for him, given the QB and WR he will be facing, but that particular shade of green might bring something out in him. He'll be monitored and could only play in packages.

The Bucs will also be without Tom Crabtree, making their TE situation tenuous. Doug Martin is ready to play, and Greg Schiano may ask his RB to take on a massive load despite a recent concussion.

The Jets have a load of injuries, but the keys will be at WR with Santonio Holmes a GTD. All signs up to game day pointed to Holmes being out altogether, so it's hard to imagine him being very effective. Mark Sanchez is expected to be inactive, leaving Geno Smith the keys to the offense and its questionable weapons.





DOWNGRADE: Roddy White

The only significant injury for Atlanta is Roddy White. I expect him to keep his consecutive game streak going, but whether the ankle will keep him from getting open and running his routes is enough of a question mark to drop him down off of Tier 1. Julio Jones is a great option, and Matt Ryan finds the open man, period.

The Saints don't have any significant injuries, though with Marques Colston a bit banged up, the depth of the WR and continued lack of a solid run game are a bit concerning. Colston is still a start in most formats, but Jimmy Graham is likely to get a lot of looks, especially in the red zone.





Heath Miller and Le'Veon Bell won't help a shaky Pittsburgh offense yet, but they could. We'll have to see how they might fit in down the line if you were one who grabbed Bell hoping he's back quick. Things sound positive, but Week 2? If there's one thing we know, you can't trust Bell. Problem is that there's no runner you can trust right now.

The Titans have no significant injuries.





This one's going to come down to talent, as it should. Neither team has any fantasy significant injuries. The Niners won't have Nnamdi Asomugha, but they have depth to cover for him. The threat of hitting Colin Kaepernick on any read-option play should be watched, but remember that the threat of hitting Aaron Rodgers is always there as well. 




DOWNGRADE: Rashard Mendenhall

The Rams come in healthy, but the Cards came out of Bruce Arians' first camp with a lot of health issues. Most are depth issues on defense and at tight end, but the major question is whether or not Rashard Mendenhall is ready to be the RB1. Mendenhall is probable and should get most of the carries, but he hasn't inspired much confidence, either this camp or in the past couple years.

There are chances for a lot of the other backs, but none of them seized even a lock on the RB2 slot. Mendenhall has been very injury-prone, but maybe a new offense and medical staff helps him. This week, I'm waiting and watching.

One bonus note—if you're looking for a fantasy twist, Patrick Peterson is going to be playing some offense this season. The vertical attack might work occasionally, and in some formats, the Cards DST will get the points. It's a loophole, but take them where you find it!



UPGRADE: Robert Griffin, David Wilson

DOWNGRADE: Arian Foster

It's harder to read games from further out, but we know that Robert Griffin III is ready to go. He is cleared for all activity, and while he may run less, that's a football decision and not a medical one. The Eagles are relatively healthy, though the loss of Jeremy Maclin makes the WR depth for Michael Vick an issue. 

On Sunday night, the Giants line will be a major question mark, missing both David Diehl and David Baas. That could make it tougher to get a read on David Wilson as he tries to take the feature load without a solid backup. Jason Pierre-Paul is a true GTD for the Giants. The Cowboys' only real issues are on the defensive line where a number of injuries have them thin. 

Monday's late game has a ton of injuries and bears watching closely. Arian Foster is said to be splitting the load with Ben Tate, but I'll believe that when I see it.

The Texans should get DeAndre Hopkins in despite just recovering from a concussion, while Ed Reed is going to be limited if he plays. Reed is definitely not starting and is likely to just play in certain packages.

The Chargers have a ton of depth issues. Manti Te'o is out, while we're waiting to see how close to 100 percent players like Ryan Matthews and Malcom Floyd are.