It was the first Thursday night we haven’t seen a football game in a long time and we have COVID-19 to blame. The Buffalo Bills were scheduled to take on the Kansas Chiefs for a Thursday night matchup to kick off Week 6. However, with the outbreak of COVID throughout the Tennessee Titans, they were forced to take a bye in Week 4 and play their Week 5 matchup against Buffalo on Tuesday instead.
Because the Bills were supposed to play the Chiefs a mere two days later, the NFL moved that matchup to next Monday, October 19 at 5:00 pm EST for our third Monday night doubleheader.
Although we don’t have a game to cover for the Friday Daily Dose, we do have some notable news that broke on Thursday.
Le’Veon Bell Agrees to Terms With Chiefs
After being released by the New York Jets, RB Le’Veon Bell had narrowed down his list of landing spots to three destinations, the Chiefs, Bills, or Dolphins.
It’s hard to blame Bell for wanting to sign with the reigning Super Bowl champs, even it comes at the expense of future production for rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He has reportedly agreed to a one-year 'incentive-laden' deal with Kansas City and the Chiefs hope Bell will be cleared to practice by next Wednesday.
However, all is not lost for Helaire managers or for Bell managers who have hung onto him this long. Last year, both Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy rushed 111 and 110 times in 11 and 13 games respectively. If there is a head coach that knows how to use Bell effectively in his offense, it’s Andy Reid.
Bell is not just known for his patient running style, but also as an excellent pass-catcher. In 2017, Bell rushed 321 times and he also saw 106 targets in an offense that featured Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and an emerging JuJu Smith-Schuster. His targets weren't due to a lack of talented receiving options.
There is a very real world where Helaire and Bell can be productive together in the Chiefs’ offensive scheme. However, Bell has signed only a one-year deal so it it’s possible we'll see the rookie take a back seat to keep him healthy while they run the wheels the off of the veteran.
Either way, Reid will make sure to use Bell appropriately where the inept HC Adam Gase either could not or chose not to do. It’s possible we'll see a Melvin Gordon/Austin Ekeler-like combination from the two running backs as the season progresses.
Helaire has seen a total 27 targets (about 5 targets a game) so far in 2020, and I expect those numbers to decrease once Bell gets going in the offense. For perspective, Bell saw a total of 106 targets in 2017, which averages to just over six targets a game.
We have at least one week to wait, though. Bell must clear COVID protocols which takes a minimum of six days. Day one starts when the paperwork is finalized. He will not play on Monday night against the Bills, so Helaire managers can rest easy for Week 6.
Editor’s Note: Unlock the brand new League Sync! Keep track of all your Yahoo! teams in one place and use our Trade Analyzer, Free Agent Finder, Lineup Adviser and custom projections to make all the right roster decisions! Get all of our Season Tools, League Sync AND DFS Tools for as low as $7.99/month!
Falcons Name Interim Head Coach and Close Facility
It’s been a rough road for the Atlanta Falcons who are last in their division at 0-5 and join only the New York Giants for that illustrious honor. While the Giants suffered a major injury to their star RB Saquon Barkley, the Falcons do not have a readily available excuse for the completely defeated start.
Of course, the main culprit for the poor record can be laid upon their defense who are second to last in passing yards allowed and touchdowns allowed in the league. They are last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to QBs, 24th against WRs, 25th against RBs, and 31st against TEs. The Falcons Defense has allowed QBs to score a whopping 15 touchdowns through the air tied with the New Orleans Saints.
However, defensive woes aren’t the only issue for the Falcons. QB Matt Ryan has been without elite WR Julio Jones who has only played two full games this season. Ryan has also failed throw a touchdown in his three past matchups.
HC Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff were fired last week because of this debacle and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris was named interim head coach. It’s an interesting move given how poorly the defense has been playing, but he does have experience on both sides of the ball in Atlanta. He also has experience as a head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009 to 2011 with a 17-31 record.
If the lack of preseason and the regime change wasn’t bad enough, the Falcons and Morris now have to deal with positive COVID-19 tests. They shut down their facility on Thursday, October 15 and chose to work remotely. The NFL did allow them to re-enter the building in the afternoon, but Atlanta chose to play it safe and work remotely. This is, of course, detrimental to Morris who takes over as the head coach and can’t even practice with his team in person.
The Falcons had four positive tests on Thursday, however those tests were not confirmed. It was confirmed that an assistant coach tested positive, which led to the facility being shut down. As far as we know, no players have been confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19.
Keep an eye on any further positive results as we head into the weekend. We have already seen a schedule upheaval and it’s only Week 6. Atlanta is scheduled to host Minnesota on Sunday, October 18 at 1:00 pm EST. The matchup has the opportunity to be a get-right game for Ryan and the Falcons. The Vikings have allowed over 1,400 passing yards and 10 touchdowns to QBs, nine of those TDs to wide receivers, as well as allowing over 561 yards on the ground to running backs and five rushing touchdowns to the position.
Quick Hits and Injury Updates
Washington’s QB Dwayne Haskins continues to be ill with a non-COVID related stomach virus. If healthy, QB Kyle Allen will assume the starting role with Alex Smith as the backup. Allen was spotted practicing in full during Thursday’s practice. … Browns’ WR Jarvis Landry was not at practice on Thursday. Odell Beckham, Jr. was sent home with a non-COVID related illness. QB Baker Mayfield is still sore after getting X-rays of his ribs, but he is trending in the right direction for Sunday’s game against the Steelers. … Lions’ RB Adrian Peterson was listed on the injury report with a non-COVID related illness. … Titans’ WR A.J. Brown sat out of practice on Thursday after playing Tuesday night against the Bills. … Jaguars’ WR D.J. Chark missed practice Thursday with an ankle injury. … Broncos' RB Melvin Gordon is back at practice after being arrested for DUI. … Chiefs’ WR Sammy Watkins may be sidelined for several weeks with a hamstring injury. … Vikings’ RB Dalvin Cook missed practice again with a hamstring/groin injury sustained in Week 5.