The scarlet letter in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel was an “A.” The scarlet letter we all fear in the realm of fantasy football is a “Q.” A red “Q” next to your player’s name means that he is questionable to play that week.
There are two other letters you should know about. “D” means doubtful, and “O” means the player is definitely out and not playing. There is also a “P” for probable, but I haven’t seen this used much – at least not by ESPN.
Why do I fear the Q? For me, the Q always means uncertainty. When I see the “O,” I can plan accordingly. I can go to my bench, or the waiver wire, and pick up another player to start in the place of my injured player.
When a player is listed as questionable, you don’t know if he will play. In reality, you may not know until the final hour before his game starts. That’s why it’s important to check your starting lineup repeatedly before kickoff.
There have been a lot of players with the scarlet Q after their names recently. And it’s only week 5. Both Alex Collins and DeAndre Hopkins are listed as questionable in my starting lineup this week. Hopkins was questionable last week, too.
Typically, a player gets the Q if he misses practice. Sometimes, the head coach decides to rest a player from practice one, or more days. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to be in the starting lineup. It’s just means the coach is showing discretion.
My exhortation to you is to mind your Ds and Qs. The last thing you want is for a player in your starting lineup to wind up not playing. If that happens you get a big fat zero. We all know that zeroes add up quickly to a guaranteed loss.