Injuries to Consider Before Placing Your Week 1 NFL Picks

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 7:11 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2015 7:11 PM GMT

No projected starting quarterbacks suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason but two  No. 1 receivers did: Green Bay's Jordy Nelson and Carolina's Kelvin Benjamin. Here are other key injuries that could affect the NFL odds on Week 1 games.

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
If any team is good enough to withstand the injury of someone as valuable as Nelson, it's probably Green Bay simply because Aaron Rodgers could probably make me look good on an NFL field. But obviously also not having Cobb could be an issue Sunday at the Bears. Cobb hurt his shoulder in the third preseason game and it was originally feared he broke a collarbone. But Cobb says he will be ready for Week 1 against a very suspect Bears defense. In two blowouts of Chicago last season, Cobb caught 11 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers are the biggest road favorites on the NFL Odds board in Week 1 at +6.5 on BetOnline.

 

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears
New Bears coach John Fox has been all Bill Belichick when it has come to his players' injuries this preseason -- i.e. he doesn't reveal anything. But I'd be stunned if Jeffery plays vs. the Packers. He didn't play at all this preseason due to a calf injury and hasn't been practicing in full since early August, at least in the practice sessions that have been open to the media. Of course the Bears traded No. 1 WR Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets this offseason and also have lost rookie first-round pick Kevin White perhaps for the season. So Chicago's starting receivers on Sunday might be Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson. That's not good.

 

Roddy White, WR, & Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
Atlanta is +3 in the opener of the Monday night double-header against visiting Philadelphia in new Falcons coach Dan Quinn's debut. It looks like Matt Ryan will have his No. 2 receiver in White for the game. He returned to practice on Tuesday after being sidelined since undergoing elbow surgery on Aug.23. The guy charged with protecting Ryan's blind side, left tackle Jake Matthews (back) also returned to practice Tuesday. However, Freeman, the projected starting tailback, is still hampered by a hamstring injury and might sit. That means rookie Tevin Coleman is currently No. 1 on the depth chart and obviously has a chance to claim the starting job as his own with a big night against  Philly.

 

Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
I don't think you have to worry about Evans, although he hasn't practiced this week as of this writing. Evans also sat out the final two preseason games with his hamstring injury. Evans had a fine rookie season with 68 catches for 1,051 yards and 12 scores last year. And that was with terrible quarterback play from Josh McCown and Mike Glennon. Now Evans has 2013 Heisman Trophy winner and 2015 No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston to throw him the ball. The Bucs are -3 at home against Tennessee and 2015 No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota in a game that's thus much more interesting than the teams' 2014 records would indicate.

 

Victor Cruz, WR, & Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
Cruz's season ended early last year when he blew out his knee -- that led to the stunning emergence of NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham Jr. Still, Beckham is going to see plenty of double-teams on Sunday night in Dallas if Cruz can't go. And he's very questionable with a calf injury. Cruz didn't play at all in the preseason. As for Pierre-Paul, he blew off a finger in a fireworks accident on July 4 and also broke a thumb. He's doubtful to be ready for Week 1 but even if he does play would need to wear a cast. Believe it or not, the broken thumb is expected to hamper him as a pass rusher more than the missing digit. The Giants are +6 in Big D.

 

Tre Mason, RB, & Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
St. Louis might have to use third-string running back Bennie Cunningham on Sunday against Seattle. Mason is a game-time decision with a hamstring injury. He strained it in the team's third preseason game. Gurley, the team's No. 10 overall pick this year, is not going to play in the opener as he works his way back from a serious knee injury that ended his 2014 season at Georgia. I doubt we see Gurley in Week 2, either. The Rams still won't put a definitive date or game on when Gurley could return. The Rams are +4 against the visiting Seahawks.

 

Arian Foster, RB, & Jadeveon Clowney, LB, Texans
Just a reminder about Foster as he tore groin early in training camp. But the good news is that Foster is ahead of schedule in his recovery and could miss as  few as four games. Foster was not placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list as initially expected. Clowney did nothing last year as the No. 1 overall pick but was severely hampered by injuries. He will play in the season opener but be on a "pitch count" as he works his way back from microfracture surgery. Houston is -1 against visiting Kansas City

comment here