No matter how brilliant a fantasy owner thinks they were in their draft, fantasy leagues, like real football, are often decided by health. Just look at owners who invested a high pick in Andre Johnson last season. Sure, he was great when he was on the field, but his numbers could have been so much better had he played more than nine games.
Marvin Harrison may be a more apt example from last year. The Colts kept saying their star receiver was close to returning, but Harrison never came back. If you want to win your league, staying on top of injuries is vital. Here are a few guys to watch through the weekend that enter Week One dinged up.
RB Willis McGahee- Baltimore Ravens
Status: "He has practiced on a limited basis this week and looks to be a game time decision."
McGahee slipped in a lot of drafts for two reasons: a) his knee has been bothering him for a while, b) Ray Rice's emergence in training camp means he could be sharing carries. If Rice is available in your league, which he probably isn't, jump on him now. McGahee has been fairly durable in the past, but if Rice gets a lot of carries and performs well against a bad Bengals run defense, he should be in the picture the entire season. It's likely McGahee will play, but the Ravens won't hesitate to turn to Rice.
RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland Browns
Status: "He was once again listed as a limited participant in the Browns' practice Thursday, according to the team's official site."
Cleveland is really banged up heading into Week One, which should spell disaster against the explosive Cowboys. The Browns will probably be down the whole game anyway, so don't expect Lewis to get too many carries. As Matt advised yesterday, he's not worth playing, when you factor in the injury and the opponent.
WR Wes Welker- New England Patriots
Prognosis: Day to day
Status: "He left with a rib injury in the second quarter of Week 3's preseason game and did not return."
Bill Belichick, that sly weasel. Welker may be 100% healthy, or seriously affected by that rib injury, but fantasy owners won't know until game time. Same goes for Tom Brady, I suppose, but it would be hard to believe that Brady would be a late scratch. Since the Pats are playing the lowly Chiefs, start Welker and hope he's healthy. Brady should be throwing the ball all over the field, and Welker is a good bet to end up on the receiving end of one of those touchdown tosses.