In-Season Management, Part 2 – Player Injuries

In “In-Season Management, Part 1 – Bye weeks and Thursday Games,” you learned to manage your team roster in light of the NFL’s bye week schedule and games being played on Thursdays. In this article, we will discuss how to manage player injuries throughout the season.

Starting a player who has been ruled out of a game due to injury is comparable to starting a player who is on a bye. Therefore, it is imperative for team owners to stay informed on the injury status of their players if they want to be successful.

Injuries and Player Availability Designations

The NFL uses the following designations regarding player injuries to quantify the probability of a player participating in an upcoming game:

  • OUT: The player is not scheduled to play
  • DOUBTFUL: The player has a 25% chance of playing
  • QUESTIONABLE: The player has a 50% chance of playing
  • PROBABLE: The player is likely to play.

Obviously, players with the injury designation of “OUT” or “DOUBTFUL” should be removed from a fantasy football team’s starting line-up. Players designated as “PROBABLE” can usually be started with confidence. But what should team owners do with players designated as “QUESTIONABLE?”

Team owners considering whether to start a player designated as “QUESTIONABLE” must evaluate the risks and rewards of such a decision. Because the designation indicates uncertainty, it is possible that the player could participate without restrictions, participate in a limited capacity or not play at all. Another reason to be wary is because it is not uncommon for such players to start a game only aggravate the injury or possibly incur a new one. Conversely, however, some players with nagging injuries are designated “QUESTIONABLE” week after week, yet continue to perform at a high level. Therefore, team owners must seek out as much information as possible on a player’s injury. This can be difficult as some coaches, in an attempt to keep their opposition guessing, release as little information as possible on the injury status of their team’s players. This is a common practice of Patriot’s head coach, Bill Belichick.

On game day and at least 15 minutes prior to game time, player injury designations are changed to “ACTIVE” or “INACTIVE.” Team owners with a player designated as “QUESTIONABLE” should check to see whether that player is “ACTIVE” and also have a viable option in a place should the player be deemed “INACTIVE.”

The decision to start a “QUESTIONABLE” player becomes riskier for those involved in the late Sunday afternoon and evening games and the Monday night game because the number of viable replacements is drastically reduced. This is because the majority of games are played at 1 pm Eastern time on Sundays. Once a game has begun, the players on those teams involved are then ineligible to be added to a fantasy team’s starting line-up. In situations like this, playing a suitable alternative would be strongly advised so as not to be left without a player to use should the “QUESTIONABLE” player become “INACTIVE” for that week’s game.

The last topic this series will address is how free agents can affect your fantasy team during the season.  Learn more by reading “In-Season Management, Part 3 – Free Agents.”

Related Articles at Fantasy Football Impact:

Return to In-Season Management Strategies overview page

In-Season Management, Part 2 - Player Injuries

Disclaimer: Fantasy football is a game of speculation; therefore, Fantasy Football Impact disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, regarding player performance or results associated with its opinions or advice.