For years the NFL injury reports have had four designations -- Probable, Questionable, Doubtful, and Out. That will change this season, with the NFL making the decision that 'Probable' is just not necessary.
NFL is getting rid of the "probable" injury classification this season.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) August 21, 2016
Technically speaking, what 'Probable' meant was that a player had a 75% chance of playing in the game. But the NFL discovered that being listed as 'Probable' resulted in a player taking the field 95% of the time. It is for that reason the designation has been deemed unnecessary.
Now all players who would have been listed as 'Probable' will be designated as 'Questionable' which before now had meant the player had a 50/50 chance of playing, while doubtful meant the player had below a 75% chance of playing. Now doubtful will mean a player has a below 50% chance of playing.
Fantasy football players (and those of us covering the games) are sure to find these new designations more confusing when planning for game day. Questionable is anyone 50% or more and doubtful is anyone below 50%. Meaning a player who would have been likely to play is barely distinguishable form a player who is a game time decision. The Patriots have played games with the injury report, this just allows them to be more vague about it.