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Football Daily Dose

COVID Outbreak Hits Titans

by Ryan McDowell
Updated On: September 30, 2020, 1:31 pm ET

If we’re being honest, it was only a matter of time. Early on Tuesday, it was announced that multiple members of the Tennessee Titans had tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in all Titans’ facilities being shut down until Saturday. Since the Minnesota Vikings faced the Titans in Week Three, they are also done for the next few days as tests are being administered.

Three players and five personnel were among the positive cases for Tennessee and it obviously puts multiple Week Four games in jeopardy. Currently, the Titans are scheduled to face the Steelers while Minnesota visits the Texans.

The league quickly notified all four teams that it may be forced to reschedule the two games. That could mean the games are pushed from Sunday to either Monday or Tuesday night or they could be changed to a completely different week, which would ultimately impact the teams’ currently scheduled bye weeks.

The Titans’ coaching staff remains optimistic given the circumstances, reportedly telling players that they could face the Vikings on Sunday, even with no full practices and only a Saturday walk-through. Late Tuesday afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that while the NFL “wants and intends” to play the Titans/Steelers game on Sunday, it could ultimately be moved to Monday.

This will be an ever-evolving situation for fantasy players to track in the coming days, but all should be prepared to possibly go without players like RB Derrick Henry and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, among many others, when submitting Week Four lineups.

 

Broncos Make QB Change

As if the Broncos weren’t already struggling, they are clearly missing QB Drew Lock. Denver didn’t even look competitive for much of the game against the Buccaneers last week as starting QB Jeff Driskel took five sacks and tossed a pick. Late in the game, the Broncos went with QB Brett Rypien, a 2019 undrafted free agent. While he wasn’t much better, he evidently showed enough as the team announced that Driskel had been benched and Rypien would get his first career start against the Jets on Thursday night. To make things even messier, the Broncos also have QB Blake Bortles, who was added for depth late last week. Perhaps he'll get a shot before Lock is able to return to the field.

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Injury Fallout

While Week Three wasn’t quite the bloodbath that we witnessed the prior week, several key players suffered significant injuries. Teams updated the status of several of those players on Tuesday.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson struggled early in the game and then left the contest with a head injury and is now in concussion protocol. While Johnson is iffy to play in Week Four, the potential COVID impact on the Steelers game could give the team’s breakout star an extra day or even potentially the full week off to recover.

The Jets can’t afford to take the field without any of their key players, yet they may have to do just that again in Week Four. WR Jamison Crowder was once again limited at practice with a hamstring injury. Crowder did not practice at all last week and missed the matchup with the Colts. Unable to get in a full practice, it will be difficult to see Crowder suiting up Thursday night to face the Broncos.

The short week could also impact Denver, who was hoping to regain RB Phillip Lindsay in the backfield. Lindsay was listed as limited for the second straight day, making him very questionable to give it a go on Thursday. If Lindsay sits again, it will be up to veteran RB Melvin Gordon to run all over the Jets, who are allowing over 30 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, fifth-worst in the league.

Eagles TE Dallas Goedert suffered an ankle injury last Sunday, causing him to miss much of the game against the Bengals. Yesterday, Philadelphia got bad news as it was reported that Goedert’s ankle is actually fractured, not just sprained. Goedert was placed on the injured reserve list, though the team is still hopeful that he could be back as soon as Week Seven against the Giants, which would be his earliest possible return date under this year’s IR rules. In an interesting move, the Eagles signed former Arizona WR Hakeem Butler and announced he would be listed as a tight end.

The Bears lost RB Tarik Cohen for the season when he suffered a torn ACL in the team’s Week Three comeback win against Atlanta. To take Cohen’s spot, the Bears re-signed rookie RB Artavis Pierce, who was undrafted out of Oregon State and failed to make the Week One roster.

The Buccaneers already played without WR Chris Godwin in Week Two and they will be forced to suit up again without arguably their top receiver. Godwin suffered a hamstring injury in Week Three, forcing him to leave the game. Tampa beat writers are suggesting that Godwin will miss the team’s Week Four matchup and could miss multiple games. The Bucs and QB Tom Brady will look to some combination of WR Justin Watson and rookie Tyler Johnson to pick up the slack for Godwin.