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Fantasy Football News & Notes: COVID-19 Opt Out List and More

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Fantasy Football News & Notes 7/30

The 2020 NFL season is upon us… we think, right? I’m sure that is how many of you feel, but if you read in between the lines, the stars are aligning for an NFL season to not only happen, but there is a good chance that it begins on time.

And why not? For what seems like the better part of the past two weeks, the league has announced multiple guidelines to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure its dedicated fans a season. And although it appears more and more likely that fans will not be permitted to attend games anywhere because if one team can’t have them in attendance — Eagles, Giants, Jets for starters — no one should be allowed to have them. After all, what’s fair is fair.

COVID-19 Need To Know:

  • No fans will be permitted to attend training camp
  • There will be no preseason games
  • Players will not be authorized to enter the team facility before passing three COVID tests in four days
  • Following the aforementioned administered tests, players will be tested daily
  • Testing protocols are sanctioned to change through the season as doctors learn more about the virus
  • Minimized training camp practice schedule
  • No joint scrimmages
  • Players can opt-out of the 2020 season — we will get to this soon
  • Teams can have 80 players on the roster until August 16. At which time, teams must cut down their rosters to 80, the number of players allowed in the team facility at one time
  • Practice squads may have 16 players while four of those players are protected weekly from another team acquiring them
  • Specialized NFL face shields will not be mandated by the league
  • The league will create COVID-19-specific IR spots for players who t4st positive for the virus
  • Per ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, the NFLPA has approved all 32 team’s Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER) plans

The Reserve/ COVID List

If a player is placed on a team’s reserve/ COVID list, it does not mean he has tested positive for the virus. It could just mean that the player was exposed to COVID-19 in some capacity. Teams are not allowed to disclose why they placed a player on the list and must remove them when they return to full health.

Current notable players on the reserve/ COVID-19 list:

  • Lions WR Kenny Golladay
  • Lions TE T.J. Hockenson
  • Packers K Mason Crosby
  • Packers TE Jace Sternberger
  • Vikings LB Anthony Barr
  • Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
  • Bears DL John Jenkins
  • Jets QB Joe Flacco
  • Eagles T Lane Johnson
  • Jaguars OL Jawaan Taylor
  • 49ers WR Richie James
  • Buccaneers RB Ke’ Shawn Vaughn

Notable Players Who Opted-Out:

  • Chiefs OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
  • Chiefs RB Damien Williams
  • Eagles WR Marquise Goodwin
  • Packers WR Devin Funchess
  • Giants OL Nate Solder
  • PatriotsS Patrick Chung
  • Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower
  • Patriots OT Marcus Cannon
  • Patriots RB Brandon Bolden
  • Patriots FB Danny Vitale
  • Patriots OL Najee Toran

Chiefs Running Backs…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Damien Williams has opted-out of playing the 2020 season and fantasy football Twitter caught on fire. With Williams out of the picture, highly-touted rookie first-rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire is now in line to enter the 2020 season as the Chiefs’ top rusher. While his situation in Kansas City already inflated the Edwards-Helaire’s ADP — it was in the second round before the Williams news — prepare for lift-off. It’s about to get out of control. How much so? Well, there are many experts already promoting him as a top-five five back in Williams’ absence. And why not? the rookie rusher has a straight shot to a three-down role as a runner as well as a receiver in one of the league’s most high-octane offenses. PFF’s most valuable running back in college football last season, Edwards-Helaire is now an unquestioned first-round pick in 2020 fantasy football drafts.

Who are the other backs on Kansas City?

  • Darrel Williams
  • Darwin Thompson (remember him?)

Oh, there is also DeAndre Washington. If you bought into Damien Williams, you should also buy into Washington. Not only did he finish as an RB2 or better in four games in last season backing up and even starting a few games in place of the injured Josh Jacobs for the then Oakland Raiders, but Washington also finished as an RB1 in three of the final four games of the year with an 18.6-point floor in those contests with the starter on the mend while averaging 111.3 yards from scrimmage in those starts.

Is Williams better than Washington? Outside of speed and burst, Washington edges out Williams in BMI, strength, and agility. He also passes the eye test and was a teammate of Patrick Mahomes in college. As long as his ADP doesn’t get out of control, I will buy DeAndre Washington where I could.

Is there anything else I need to know right now?

Let’s touch on Devin Funchess. The Funch was the first “significant” fantasy domino to fall with COVID opt-outs, leaving a “void” in Green Bay’s receiving corps as well as on the back end of your best ball rosters. While Funchess could have carved out a role opposite Davante Adams, we are back to square one, which is exactly where we were at this point last offseason with Green Bay pass-catchers. It is Adams or bust.

Although Allen Lazard is Fantasy Twitter’s favorite to emerge as the Packers WR2 — Lazard posted a 35/477/3 line on 52 targets last season — many felt this way about Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown in the past too. You’re pretty much-buying scratch-offs with these guys. And if that is the case, don’t sleep on Reggie Begelton, a defect from the CFL. Begelton, who was regarded as one of the best wideouts in the CFL last season, posted a 102/1444/10 stat line North of the Border in 2019. He’s free people.

There is also Jace Sternberger. While Sternberger was placed on the reserve/ COVID list, he remains in play for fantasy. Although he only played on 60 snaps in his 2019 rookie campaign behind the incompetent Jimmy Graham, the impending second-year tight end is in line to open 2020 as the Green Bay TE1 and could inherit Graham’s target-share. Graham drew at least 60 targets in back-to-back seasons in Green Bay including an 89-target campaign in 2018. Sternberger is undraftable in your traditional season-long formats — grab him on waivers if he gets hot in-season — but I’m taking fliers on him in Dynasty as well as in the late rounds of best-ball drafts.

Breaking News!

LESEAN MCCOY shadyAs I was putting this article together, I received a notification stating that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had signed free-agent RB LeSean McCoy. While I am not surprised that Tampa Bay made a move to bring in a veteran back — I had said that Tampa would add a veteran back all offseason long on The FF Faceoff Podcast — I am pretty shocked that McCoy (32), formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs who was deactivated for the Super Bowl, was the back they chose to sign.

While McCoy managed his highest yards per carry total (4.6) since 2016 — he was also a Top-25 back in True Yards per Carry (4.3), Yards per Touch (5.0), Breakaway Runs (seven) and Yards Created per Touch (1.50) — McCoy appeared more effective than he was. McCoy handled a career-low 129 touches (101 carries) in 2019.

I won’t be wasting significant draft capital on McCoy, but if he could be had at the right price in redraft — last few rounds — then why not take a shot. Those are more or less you expendable roster spots anyway, especially if you play in deeper leagues.

There is a good chance McCoy is the best pass blocking back in Tampa Bay at the moment and with Tom Brady under center, pass-pro holds even more weight than normal. With the way 2020 is going so far, McCoy having a role and producing as a low-end PPR back wouldn’t be the most far-fetched outcome. McCoy was one of four backs to receive a 100.0 pass-blocking efficiency grade by PFF of backs who played a minimum of 20% of 672 snaps.

NFL Covid 19

Suggested Read: Fantasy League Suggestions Throughout Covid-19

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