During the offseason, it was expected that fantasy football managers would have to wait for Chris Godwin if they drafted him. However, from the beginning of training camp, it has been becoming increasingly likely that he may be available for Week 1. Is Godwin expected to suit up today, and how should fantasy managers approach him when setting their lineups?
Is Chris Godwin playing today, and can fantasy managers trust him in Week 1?
It has been touch-and-go for the last few weeks as to whether Godwin will be active in Week 1 as he returns from his knee injury. This week has seen that uncertainty continue. Godwin was a full participant on Wednesday, but there were mixed signals as he was also wearing an orange non-contact jersey. He was then absent from practice Thursday before being a full participant again Friday. He entered the weekend listed as questionable on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers injury report.
As early as Wednesday, sources told PFN’s Aaron Wilson that Godwin had a chance to play. However, there were conflicting reports across different members of the media. Early on Sunday morning, both NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed Wilson’s report that Godwin should be active for Sunday Night Football.
What is Godwin’s fantasy value for Week 1?
There are a lot of positives to take from Godwin being active for Week 1. First, it is good to have an indication early on Sunday that he is set to suit up. Now fantasy managers can make a fully informed decision. If Godwin were a game-time decision, fantasy managers would be taking a risk waiting to know his status. With Godwin set to play on Sunday Night Football, if he were then ruled out, the options to turn to would be limited.
However, just because Godwin is active does not mean he should start for fantasy managers. All of the reports this week have stated that if Godwin is active, he may play a limited role. Exactly what that role will look like makes it tough to judge. If the role were set to be exclusively in the red zone, then Godwin would be an intriguing option because the chances of him scoring a touchdown would increase. Other roles would carry less value on a per snap basis.
The safest option here is to sit Godwin in 10 and 12-team leagues for Week 1. Sure, he could break a big play or find the end zone, and you leave a huge chunk of points on your bench. However, he could equally see just one or two targets, and you could have a sub-five-fantasy point scorer in your lineup. The odds of the second option happening are higher than the odds of the first option.
In 14-team leagues or deeper, the question of what to do becomes trickier. Those rosters will lack the high-end depth of the shallower league formats. Therefore, fantasy managers may not have another option with the upside. Starting Godwin in those formats is still a risk, but it is a feasible idea. Personally, I am only starting Godwin if I simply have no other choice I feel confident in.
This is good news long-term for fantasy managers
The fact Godwin can suit up in Week 1 is fantastic for managers who took a shot on him. Early in the offseason, we thought he could start the year on the PUP or IR and miss four to six weeks at least. Even after that, he might have had to be eased in. Now he is being eased in as early as Week 1, he could be back to full speed by Weeks 2 or 3.
If you drafted Godwin, the instinct will be to play him. However, the best long-term scenario for fantasy managers is that the Buccaneers do not have him play many snaps this week. If your roster has depth early in the season, you can ride that out. Then you have the potential to get a WR2 level contributor returning to full health and full explosiveness two, three, or four weeks into the season. If that means he can remain healthy through the fantasy playoffs, it is well worth the wait.