With the NFL still unable to categorically state just what exactly constitutes a catch, major stars being investigated over PED allegations and the beginning of rumblings regarding the next round of labour talks (2021 will be here before you know it), it was good this weekend to see the league take steps towards fixing one of the REAL issues plaguing the game…namely, the elimination of the “Probable” tag from the Injury Report. Well, thank heavens for that…
The designation, officially supposed to be used for players that had at least a 75% chance of playing in the next match, was something of a waste of time. 95% of players who were listed as “Probable” went on to play in their games. As per Field Yates on Twitter, Patriots QB Tom Brady was listed as Probable in 139 of his 256 career games. The league obviously decided it could do without wasting the paper. But now, we have the murky waters of Questionable and Doubtful. Questionable, it seems, leans towards uncertainty, whereas Doubtful borders unlikely.
Why is this an important issue worth my time to comment on? Well, it adds a layer of uncertainty to fantasy football, especially with so many different kickoff times this season. Owners will have to stay alert to every possible injury situation and will probably make “bad” calls based on information. For example, you have John Brown playing the Seahawks and the Legion of Boom on Thursday, a rough matchup for any wideout, and you have Julio Jones playing the New Orleans Saints, a secondary that would struggle to stop me, on Monday Night Football. Julio is listed as Questionable. What do you do? Plug in Smoky, hoping he can somehow sneak a few points while simultaneously praying Julio sits out this week? Or do you risk the 0 and leave Julio in your lineup, knowing that there is just as much chance he plays as there is that he misses? The choice…is yours.
For my part, I will look to experts to help me through the muddy waters of injury diagnosis and recovery time. Experts like Jene Bramel of FootballGuys on Twitter, former NFL team doctor David Chao’s website, and the great insight at Sports Injury Predictor are all avenues you should explore as often as you can. You don’t want to have to be sat up, desperately trying to pick up Justin Hardy on the waiver wire if Julio has a night off. No one wants that.