It's finally here. After months of hype, rumors and news, the NFL regular season finally begins on Thursday. For fantasy football fans, this is our Christmas Eve, as we have but one sleep remaining until we can begin to unwrap our gifts.
With rosters now settled, most of the news regards injured players and their chances of playing this weekend. There was one glaring exception, however. Ezekiel Elliott finally ended his holdout to sign a six-year deal worth $90 million early Wednesday morning. He then joined his teammates for his first practice of the summer.
Jane Slater of ESPN later reported that the 24-year-old would suit up and play 20-to-25 snaps in Week 1. This makes sense since the team will want to let their franchise player acclimate to the rigors of an NFL game after missing virtually the entire preseason. Considering the former Buckeye's big-play and scoring ability though, that snap count is plenty worth rolling with your probable first-round pick as a starter in your matchups this week. Tony Pollard may see some extra work against the Giants too, but his value has been reduced to that of a handcuff to Elliott for now.
With that "exception" out of the way, let's look at the injuries:
- Stefon Diggs missed Wednesday's practice with a hamstring injury. The severity of the issue is not known at this time, but if he is absent again on Thursday, you have the green light to be concerned about his status for Sunday against the Falcons.
- Devin Funchess and D.K. Metcalf were limited in practice due to back and knee injuries, respectively. Jordan Reed also practiced but remained in the concussion protocol. Assuming Reed gets cleared, I have been drafting him in the last round or picking him up off waivers where I have space. He costs nothing, and the upside is tantalizing if the 29-year-old can remain healthy even for only a few games in the early going.
- The following fellows could not be found on Wednesday's injury report: Odell Beckham, Jr. (hip), Julio Jones (foot), Adam Thielen (general soreness), Amari Cooper (plantar fasciitis), Cooper Kupp (knee), Mike Evans (quad/groin), Cam Newton (foot), DeSean Jackson (finger). All of the above save D-Jax are auto-starts, and as the guy who covers the Eagles around here and reads all the Philadelphia media, I think Jackson is worth a bench stash for those weeks you feel you're a definite underdog and you need some big games from your players. The buzz all summer out of Eagles camp has been about the connection between him and Carson Wentz.
On a parting note, if our regular jobs required us to produce injury reports, how many of us would frequent it with "general soreness" like Mr. Thielen? We feel you, Adam. We feel you.
Enjoy the games and good luck this weekend, everyone.