Week 1 is on the horizon, and some stud players around the league are dealing with injuries that could affect their availabilities — and statuses in fantasy drafts. D’Andre Swift is in the most danger to miss time, while A.J. Brown and Julio Jones have been on the injury report for all of the preseason. Trey Lance was banged up in the 49ers’ final preseason game, so he’s worth a mention, too. Stayed tuned and up to date with all the latest news and updates before finalizing your 2021 rankings, sleeper lists, and cheat sheets.
Before diving into those, get an updated look at Michael Thomas’ fantasy value here. For a take on whether you should draft Deshaun Watson, go here. We also have help for those wondering if they should draft Saquon Barkley in the first round (click here). For position battle news, click here. For all the latest fantasy news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2021 Cheat Sheet
Is D’Andre Swift playing Week 1?
Concern continues to fester with Swift’s Week 1 availability. Right now, the thought is Swift (groin) will be on the wrong side of “questionable” heading into Detroit’s opener. In other words, he’s probably more likely to miss Week 1 than he is to play. That’s somewhat concerning given he missed three games in his rookie season. However, there is an opportunity to take advantage here, as his ADP will see some sort of decline. In PPR leagues, he’ll be especially valuable when healthy. Detroit also quietly has one of the better offensive lines in the league on paper. We still say take him if he falls too far in your drafts. You’ll likely be able to grab him at a spot that won’t cripple you in Week 1.
Jamaal Williams and Jamar Jefferson will be the beneficiary of his absence. Williams has shown he can be fantasy-relevant in the past, and with Swift’s preseason injuries, he’s one of the top RB handcuffs in the NFL.
A.J. Brown/Julio Jones injury update
Brown and Jones were both at Titans’ practice Monday doing something that at least resembled playing football. They were both running routes and were active, and that’s about all we need to hear as fantasy owners. They have been in similar situations this offseason. Both would surely play if a game were coming up, but the Titans have been very cautious with their superstar wide receiver duo. Brown is dealing with an unspecified knee injury, but again, he’d suit up if a game were today.
Jones’ injury has not been disclosed, but the thought is his absence is more of an extreme precaution. Plus, Jones has rarely been in practice for Atlanta over the past few seasons. It’s simply a case of not waring down the 31-year-old future Hall-of-Famer they just traded for. He’ll slowly be worked back into a full practice environment, but don’t be surprised if he’s on the injury report come game week.
At this point, there’s no indication either will miss Week 1, and they’re too damn good to fade in fantasy drafts. If for some reason one or both suffer setbacks, Josh Reynolds, Marcus Johnson, and Dez Fitzpatrick are all candidates to take over some of their responsibilities.
Trey Lance injury update
Lance is expected to miss a week of practice with a chipped bone in his finger. He sustained the injury during the 49ers final preseason game against the Raiders. While it’s a minor ailment, it’s worth keeping track of his status. Missing a week of practice during a position battle is obviously not ideal, and it remains to be seen whether it will affect his play. The news shouldn’t steer you away from Lance altogether, but it certainly doesn’t help his case of playing early, which he might not have before the injury anyway.
Lance is still a valuable bench stash with league-winning upside later in the season. Pair him with a mid-tier QB and hope “Trey SZN” arrives soon.
Lance is currently our No. 23 QB. His low ranking is mostly just due to the uncertainty of his situation. If he starts games early in the season, it would be no shock to see him produce QB1 numbers with his rushing upside and the 49ers talented pass-catchers.