On the eve of one of the biggest days of the NFL season, COVID-19 threatens to interrupt the Thanksgiving Day schedule. The Baltimore Ravens’ virus outbreak worsened on Tuesday and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Thursday night game is at risk of postponement if there are additional positive tests leading up to the game.
On Monday, Ravens RBs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram both tested positive and were placed on the COVID list after having played in the team’s Week 11 game against the Titans. This will keep both backs out for this week’s game, if there is actually one played.
Yesterday, the Ravens announced that at least 10 members of the organization had tested positive and the team would conduct all activities virtually. LB Pernell McPhee and DT Brandon Williams later joined the pair of running backs on the reserve list, and a fifth unnamed player has reportedly tested positive also along with four staff members.
Now, we wait for news over the next 36 hours as the league hopes to keep the game on as currently scheduled. If you were planning on using Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Ben Roethlisberger or any of the Steelers’ talented wideouts, now is a good time to start looking for potential replacements.
In other COVID-related news, NFL Network reported Vikings WR Adam Thielen had tested negative following his initial positive test, which landed him on the reserve list. This has caused speculation that Thielen is dealing with a false positive and he’ll undergo more testing to determine if he has a chance to play this week.
Panthers starters QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee) and RB Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) are expected to practice this week, though their Week 12 status is unclear. With a Week 13 bye, it would not be a surprise if both players sat out this week’s matchup against the Vikings.
Texans WR Randall Cobb (toe) missed practice and WR Kenny Stills (quad) was limited and will likely be questionable for the game this week. If both wideouts miss Thursday’s game, WR Keke Coutee would be next in line for snaps.
The 49ers designated RBs Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert to return from injured reserve. This means the team now has three weeks to activate both players. It would be a surprise to see either player this week, but Week 13 is a reasonable return date if each can prove they are healthy.
The Chiefs placed WR Byron Pringle (ankle) on the injured reserve list while Jets rookie RB Lamical Perine (ankle) also landed on the IR. Seattle HC Pete Carroll is hopeful Greg Olsen (foot) can return in time for the playoffs.
Lions TE T.J. Hockenson (toe) RB D’Andre Swift (concussion) each got in a limited practice ahead of Thursday’s big game, but WR Kenny Golladay (hip) was held out of practice. Golladay is now expected to miss this week, which would be his fourth straight game on the sidelines.
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Week 12 Confidence Rankings
A couple of weeks ago in this space, I mentioned a new way to look at weekly rankings, meshing each individual player’s performance this season along with their weekly matchup. I’ve continued to tinker with this data to find just the right balance, specifically lowering the impact of the defensive matchup. A top-12 performance is still worth 1, while each top performance allowed is halved.
While there are few surprises at the top of the rankings this week, his matchup against the Steelers and general struggles throughout the season suggest fantasy players should leave Ravens QB Lamar Jackson on the bench this week. The Seattle pass defense has been a disaster all season, allowing a league-high seven QB1 games. Perhaps this is the matchup Eagles QB Carson Wentz needs to break out of his slump.
This week, the top-scoring fantasy back meets the team that has allowed the most top-24 fantasy games to the position. Despite last week’s quiet game, Saints RB Alvin Kamara is set for a monster game against the Broncos.
This week, Terry McLaurin has the best combination of performance and matchup as he faces the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. It’s always a good idea to target the Seattle defense, resulting in surprisingly high ranks for Eagles WRs Travis Fulgham and Jalen Reagor. Finally, Texans WR Will Fuller is in for a smash game against the Lions Defense while his team is missing two fellow wideouts in Cobb and Stills.
Another week, another game for Chiefs TE Travis Kelce to dominate. As if he is not already good enough on his own, Kelce faces the Buccaneers, which is one of four teams to allow a half-dozen TE1 games this year.