We knew that in this weirdest of years that the COVID-19 pandemic that has changed so much about our lives (and killed over 200,000 Americans) could impact fantasy football. Would impact fantasy football.
In Week 4, it happened.
After well over a dozen players and team personnel for Tennessee tested positive for COVID-19 last week, the Week 4 contest between Tennessee and Pittsburgh was moved to Week 7 — a move that left fantasy managers of players like Tennessee running back Derrick Henry and Pittsburgh wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster holding the proverbial bag.
As of this writing, it appears Tennessee will be cleared to host Buffalo in Week 5. But it demonstrated just how thin the thread is holding things together in the NFL.
It almost got worse. After New England quarterback Cam Newton and a practice squad player for Kansas City tested positive last Saturday, the game in Kansas City between those teams was postponed to Monday, leaving fantasy managers to wonder if it would be played at all.
It was — but without Newton on the field. And that most assuredly showed for New England.
It was a harsh reminder of the circumstances we’re all playing under in 2020. A reminder to league commissioners that they are best served having contingency plans in place for the postponements that are all but certainly coming as the season progresses. A reminder to fantasy managers that they need to have Plan B options on their roster ready to go on short notice.
And a reminder to everyone that 2020 has just flat-out sucked.
I know. I’m a fountain of good news.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs. Las Vegas)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (vs. Cincinnati)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (vs. New York Giants)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (vs. Minnesota)
Kyler Murray, Arizona (at New York Jets)
Josh Allen, Buffalo (at Tennessee)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (BYE)
SPOT-START OF THE WEEK
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (at Dallas)
To say that Jones and the Giants offense is in a funk is an understatement —the Giants haven’t scored a touchdown in the past two games (the first time since 1998 that has happened), and Jones hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since Week 1. However, as Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post reported, Giants head coach Joe Judge said the team still has confidence in their second-year signal-caller.
“If you are asking if Daniel is our quarterback, Daniel is our quarterback,” Judge said. “That’s who we are playing with, and we support him. We have a lot of confidence in him. We have faith in him. “He is a young guy who is developing, and we see a lot of progress from him day-to-day. Are there things he has to correct and clean up? And do we have to do a better job as coaches to put him in the right situations? Absolutely.”
Given how putrid the Giants have looked offensively in 2020, rolling out Jones in fantasy isn’t for the feint of heart. But if Jones can’t get it done against a Dallas defense that has been torn to shreds in recent weeks, then there’s no point in rostering him at all.
ROLL THEM OUT
Drew Brees, New Orleans (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)
Brees hasn’t been very Brees-like so far this season — he’s 20th among quarterbacks in fantasy points at the four-game mark. But a matchup with a Chargers defense surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and the return of Michael Thomas could be just what the doctor ordered.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina (at Atlanta)
Bridgewater is coming off his best game of the season — 276 passing yards and two scores with a third touchdown on the ground against Arizona. He’s an excellent Week 5 streaming option against a banged-up (and bad) Atlanta defense.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (at Seattle)
Cousins hasn’t played especially well in 2020 — he ranks outside the Top 20 in fantasy points in Sharks League Scoring so far this year. But Sunday he and Minnesota travel to face a Seattle team that ranks second in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks in 2020.
SIT THEM DOWN
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay (at Chicago)
Brady is a hard quarterback to sit after he topped 350 passing yards with five touchdowns (to five different receivers, no less) last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. But it’s worth noting that no team in the NFC has allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks this season than Chicago.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (vs. Indianapolis)
The Cleveland offense has been firing on all cylinders. But it’s been the ground game that has powered that surge, and this week Mayfield and the Browns get a stout Indianapolis defense that’s leading the NFL in a number of categories — including fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta (vs. Carolina)
Just about everything that could go wrong has for the Atlanta offense in 2020. Both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are hurt. Ryan didn’t throw a scoring pass Monday against Green Bay. And now Atlanta draws a Bottom 5 matchup for quarterbacks with Carolina.