Fantasy Injury Updates: Austin Ekeler, Saquon Barkley affecting Week 1 start ’em, sit ’em decisions

By | September 12, 2021

Fantasy football owners are catching a bit of a break in Week 1 with relatively few notable injuries. Just two running backs you might be considering in your start ’em, sit ’em decisions are even “questionable.” Of course, when those guys are potential RB1s, as Saquon Barkley and Austin Ekeler are, then their owners will be frantically checking injury updates and active/inactive reports right up until kickoff.

We’re here for you, though, providing updates below all Sunday morning and afternoon as the latest news rolls in. For the latest on banged-up WRs Odell Beckham Jr., Emmanuel Sanders, and Nelson Agholor, click here; for news on Darnell Mooney, go here; for the Week 1 weather report, click here. For all the latest fantasy news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Is Austin Ekeler playing Week 1? 

UPDATE: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late Saturday night that Ekeler is expected to play.

Ekeler (hamstring) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday before getting in a limited session on Friday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Friday that Ekeler is “expected to play,” though given Ekeler’s history with soft tissue injuries, it’s fair to wonder if the Chargers will reduce his workload in Week 1.

Either way, if Ekeler is active, he’ll be tough to bench in fantasy leagues, especially PPR formats. Washington has a strong defensive line, so Ekeler will likely do most of his damage through the air. If Ekeler is inactive, Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley figure to split carries, with Jackson having slightly more value given his position on the depth chart. Jackson and Kelley might be the short-yardage/goal-line backs anyway, so it’s not a bad idea to grab one as a free agent as early as possible if you have the roster space to play with.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Is Saquon Barkley playing Week 1?

UPDATE: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late Saturday night that Barkley is expected to play.

Barkley (knee) has been medically cleared for Sunday’s late-afternoon kickoff against Denver. It’s not a guarantee that he will be active, but barring a late setback, all signs point to him starting.

WEEK 1 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | Yahoo | FanDuel

It seems likely the Giants will reduce Barkley’s workload at least a bit, but if he’s active, his owners have to start him. Chances are, he’ll see at least 12-15 touches, and we know what he can do with that many chances. If the Giants really take it easy with him, Devontae Booker will get the bulk of the carries, but for now, consider him just a handcuff unless Barkley is inactive.