Key fantasy football injury outlooks for Week 1

Can fantasy managers rely on Will Fuller V for Week 1? Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire

The 2018 NFL season and, just as importantly, the 2018 fantasy football season are underway! With 15 games yet to take place in Week 1, there are a number of questions fantasy GMs have as they set their lineups. Naturally, injuries are a part of the equation.

For reference, players might be classified on the team's final injury report of any given week as "questionable (Q)," "doubtful (D)" or "out." Besides the obvious designation of a player being ruled out, "questionable" indicates a player is uncertain to play, while "doubtful" means a player is unlikely to play.

Since the NFL did away with the "probable" designation two years ago, players who are expected to play on Sunday (or Monday) are simply removed from the injury report by the reporting deadline (Friday evening for Sunday games, Saturday afternoon for Monday night games).

For the purposes of this injury-related game preview, players will be grouped by position. Below each player's name, team, injured body part (as listed on the official NFL injury report), official game-status designation and game time, the following elements are included: any known relevant details about the injury, the player's involvement in practice that week and any additional notes to provide context around the player's status.

For anyone seeking more specific detail about certain types of injuries, there is an illustrated injury glossary here, which you can also find on the right side of the ESPN Fantasy Football home page.

Also, please check out my "Answering the Bell" podcast, where we take a deeper dive into various medical topics with special guests, including experts in their respective fields, as well as athletes who have firsthand experience with various injuries or medical conditions. All episodes are archived here.

And now, on to the Sunday game preview:


None! Enjoy the week, as this is rarely the case. Naturally, we'd love it if this group were to remain injury-free this season, but history tells us this is unlikely.

Running Backs

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts, hamstring, (Q), 1:00 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: hamstring strain, August 2018

Practice report: DNP Wednesday, Limited Thursday-Friday

Notes: Mack suffered what was considered a mild hamstring injury during the team's first preseason game. Until his return to practice Thursday, Mack had been doing rehab and individual work. While his participation Thursday and Friday is encouraging, his uncertain status is not. Early in the season, teams are inclined to err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to hamstring injuries for speed guys. Don't be surprised if the Colts give Mack an additional week of practice before returning him to action.

Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders, groin, off game-status injury report, Monday night

Additional injury details: There isn't much to offer, as there was no report of injury to Lynch prior to his appearance on Thursday's injury report.

Practice report: Limited Thursday-Saturday

Notes: The Raiders have limited his exposure during the preseason, which is understandable for a 32-year-old back entering his 12th season in the league. Lynch was listed as limited daily in practice, but the Raiders apparently are not concerned. Given that this is a Monday night game, it's helpful to have Lynch off the injury report in advance.

Sony Michel, New England Patriots, knee, (Q), 1:00 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: cleanup procedure (L) knee, August 2018

Practice report: Limited Wednesday-Friday

Notes: Michel underwent the procedure in the first week of August. Given that Michel tore his left ACL while in high school (2011) and injured that same knee in last year's SEC championship (although he returned to action for the College Football Playoff), it's not surprising that his knee would warrant such a procedure, particularly in the presence of joint irritation (usually manifested by discomfort and/or swelling). Michel returned to practice last week, and while the rookie has made good progress, he has remained limited as the team gradually increases his workload and he continues to learn the offense. It would not surprise if Michel had another week of rest or very limited action, as teammates Rex Burkhead (not listed on the team's injury report this week despite a knee issue earlier in the preseason), James White and Jeremy Hill are all healthy going into Sunday's game.

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks, hand, off game-status injury report, 4:25 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: fractured left index finger, August 2018

Practice report: Full Wednesday-Friday

Notes: After Penny broke his finger on Aug. 13, he traveled to Philadelphia to have it surgically repaired. From the outset, coach Pete Carroll expressed optimism that Penny would be able to return in Week 1; now that appears to indeed be the case. Penny returned to practice in late August and has clearly demonstrated he can perform all the necessary skills his position demands that might otherwise be threatened by a hand injury (ball control, pass-catching and blocking), since he was removed from the pregame injury report. While Penny is expected to get some game reps, according to a report by ESPN.com's Brady Henderson, it is unclear just how much he'll be utilized in this first outing, in which Chris Carson is expected to start.

Wide Receivers

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks, knee, off game-status injury report, 4:25 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: knee soreness, July 2018

Practice Report: Full Wednesday-Friday

Notes: Baldwin was absent for several days of training camp in late July when coach Pete Carroll announced the receiver would remain out for "a couple weeks" due to soreness in the knee. When a player leaves camp virtually as soon as it starts with something labeled simply as "soreness," it gives cause for concern that the problem could linger. Upon returning to practice in late August, Baldwin confirmed that, indeed, this will be something he has to manage across the season. He then declared himself approximately 80 to 85 percent healthy. He's clearly healthy enough to be removed from this week's pregame injury report; the worry might be more just how his knee will hold up to the grind of the season.

Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns, hamstring, off game-status injury report, 1:00 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: hamstring soreness, August 2018

Practice Report: Limited Wednesday-Thursday; Full Friday

Notes: Gordon was a late arrival to training camp and, perhaps unsurprisingly, developed some hamstring soreness shortly after he began practicing. The team never seemed overly concerned that this was something serious but controlled his activity in practice nonetheless. An upgrade to full practice and his removal from the pregame injury report provide reassurance that Gordon is expected to play, but how much action he will see in his first outing is unclear.

Will Fuller V, Houston Texans, hamstring, (Q), 1:00 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: hamstring strain, August 2018

Practice Report: Limited Wednesday-Friday

Notes: Fuller injured his hamstring in practice in advance of the team's third preseason game and was deemed day-to-day by coach Bill O'Brien shortly afterward. Fuller did return to practice on a limited basis this week, but his listing as questionable on the injury report suggests he might not quite be ready for prime time. Expect the announcement to come down to game time, but, given that it is only Week 1 and there is a tendency for teams to be conservative with these injuries, don't count on Fuller suiting up this week.

DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins, finger, (D), 1:00 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: fractured finger, August 2018

Practice Report: DNP Wednesday-Thursday; Limited Friday

Notes: Parker suffered a broken finger in an Aug. 12 practice and only just returned to a limited session on Friday of this week. Given that he has not played in any preseason games and has only one session under his belt this week -- not to mention a still-healing fracture -- the doubtful tag comes as no surprise.

Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets, abdomen, (D), Monday night, 7:10 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: abdomen, August 2018

Practice Report: DNP Thursday, limited Friday and Saturday

Notes: Kearse was first noted to have an abdominal injury in late August, and his status for Week 1 has been in question ever since. Kearse returned to a limited practice Friday and repeated the effort Saturday, but it doesn't appear as if he will be ready in time given the team's doubtful tag. His teammate, Quincy Enunwa, stands to benefit.

Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets, thumb, off game-status injury report, 7:10 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: right thumb injury, August 2018

Practice Report: Full Thursday-Saturday

Notes: After an offseason spent rehabbing his neck, Enunwa suffered a different injury in the preseason, although this appears relatively minor in comparison. Enunwa's injured thumb kept him out of practice for nearly two weeks, but he has been bouncing back since. This week, he turned in full practices and is off the pregame injury report. ESPN.com's Rich Cimini indicated he expects Enunwa to lead the team in number of receptions in Week 1 (giving Robby Anderson the edge on yardage).

Tight Ends

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers, back, (Q), 4:25 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: Not much is known, as Olsen was a late addition to the injury report on Saturday.

Practice Report: Olsen was not listed on the practice injury report because the injury did not occur until Saturday.

Notes: Since Olsen was just added Saturday, there is little detail to offer, but there is always some concern when any player is added to the injury report the day before a game. That said, it is also possible a player requires some treatment the day before a game yet it will not jeopardize his game status. ESPN.com's David Newton indicates he expects Olsen will play. Insurance for those who have Olsen on their roster is a wise idea, just in case.

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals, back, off game-status injury report, 1:00 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: back surgery (2nd), December 2017

Practice Report: Full Wednesday-Friday

Notes: Eifert's lengthy injury history is well-chronicled and now he is coming off his second back surgery in two years. The hope clearly is that he can put together a full slate of games this year; if he does, it would be the first time in his NFL career (as he enters his sixth season). Coach Marvin Lewis has hinted at monitoring Eifert's workload, but at least the TE enters the season off the injury report following full practice sessions each day.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars, core muscle, off game-status injury report, 1:00 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: first appeared on injury report with core muscle injury this week

Practice Report: DNP Wednesday; Limited Thursday; Full Friday

Notes: The good news is that Seferian-Jenkins went from no practice to a limited session to a full session to close out the week. His removal from the game-status report indicates he is expected to play.

Hayden Hurst, Baltimore Ravens, foot, (Out), 1:00 p.m. ET

Additional injury details: Stress fracture (foot); surgery to stabilize with screw, August 2018

Practice Report: DNP Wednesday-Friday

Notes: Hurst is not yet practicing and is likely to be out beyond this week (especially given the Ravens next play on Thursday night).