The Packers enter the NFL season with a ton of question marks about their receiving hierarchy, and there’s a chance we won’t learn as much about it as we would like in Week 1. Because, while coach Matt LaFleur told reporters he is hopeful Christian Watson will be able to play after missing the preseason coming off knee surgery, Allen Lazard’s status suddenly seems to be up in the air.
Lazard missed last week of practice for “undisclosed reasons,” per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Monday, and LaFleur didn’t commit to Lazard being available for Week against the Vikings. At this point, that’s all we know, but the nice thing about being out of training camp and into the regular season is, by Tuesday, the Packers have to list Lazard on their practice report, so we’ll get some more details then, at least.
I’m treating the Packers like there’s no real No. 1 receiver, which isn’t necessarily how most people have been drafting Lazard, who tends to be drafted about five rounds or more before the likes of Watson or Romeo Doubs, let alone presumed starters Sammy Watkins or Randall Cobb. Which is to say, I haven’t drafted Lazard this year, though I do have Doubs and Watson on a few teams as upside bets late. It would be frustrating if Lazard didn’t play in Week 1 simply because it would delay getting real information on the hierarchy here, so we’ll certainly have to keep an eye on this one throughout the week. But I wouldn’t plan on starting Lazard this week at this point.
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We got a lot of other wide receiver news Monday, and most of it was good news. Here’s a quick recap of some of the other WR notes before we move on to the rest of the news from around the league
- Jaylen Waddle (leg) returned to practice – Waddle has been dealing with an unspecified lower leg injury for a few weeks, but coach Mike McDaniel had been pretty consistent in his belief that Waddle would be able to play in Week 1 against the Patriots. That’s a tough matchup, but Waddle is still worth viewing as a WR2 for the opener.
- Drake London (knee) returned to practice – London suffered the injury during the Falcons‘ preseason opener and this is the first time he’s been able to practice. The Falcons are being cautious with their prized first-round pick, but missing those key practice and preseason reps makes it tough to trust London as a Fantasy starter even if he is cleared to play in Week 1 against the Saints. That’s a tough enough matchup that you probably want to steer clear either way.
- Tee Higgins (shoulder) returned to practice – Higgins underwent surgery in the offseason but there has been little concern about it in Fantasy circles, as he’s a borderline WR1. He’s been limited throughout camp at practice but looks on track to play in Week 1 against the Steelers, as expected.
Here’s the rest of the news and notes from Monday you need to know about, starting with mixed news on one high-profile WR:
Chris Godwin shed his knee brace
The good is news is Godwin was spotted at practice Monday without his knee brace for the first time as he continues to work his way back from a torn ACL. However, he still hasn’t been cleared for contact, and that’ll be the last big step before we can expect him to play. It’s possible that comes this week, but in my first Week 1 rankings, I’m expecting Godwin not to play. That would put Julio Jones and Russell Gage into play as top-40 WRs in what should be a shootout with the Cowboys.
James Robinson will be active for Week 1
Jaguars coach Doug Pederson told reporters they will have Robinson available for Week 1. Robinson suffered a ruptured Achilles in Week 16 last season, but after watching Cam Akers return from the same injury in less than six months, it’s not shocking that Robinson is ready to go. The bigger question is what kind of role he’s ready for and whether he can be effective. Robinson is a fine late-round dice roll, and his presence is a complicating factor if you’ve been drafting Travis Etienne in the third or fourth round, but it’s also entirely possible he just won’t be effective enough to matter as more than a role player.
Wilson suffered a sprained knee during the team’s preseason opener and was given a 2-4 week timetable to return – that was about four weeks ago now, so it’s not out of the question he’ll be able to return. However, he has yet to practice, and the Jets aren’t likely to throw their 2021 first-rounder out there unless he’s 100% healthy, so I’m still expecting Joe Flacco to be the starter against the Ravens Sunday. Head coach Robert Saleh said the team will make a decision Wednesday.
Logan Thomas is still in question for Week 1
Thomas told reporters Monday his knee “feels good,” but there hasn’t been a decision made about Week 1 yet. Earlier in training camp, ESPN reported that the team expected Thomas to play by Week 2 at the latest, so it shouldn’t be long either way. However, we obviously want to give Thomas a chance to get his legs under him coming off a torn ACL, so let him prove he is healthy and effective before expecting him to make an impact for Fantasy.