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Football Daily Dose

QB1 Trey Lance, Other Tuesday Notes

by Jack Miller
Updated On: December 29, 2021, 2:45 pm ET

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We've made it: The final Tuesday news recap of the fantasy football season (there will still be more for Week 18 and the playoffs though!).

While Tuesday isn't the most eventful day for football news, that doesn't mean yesterday was completely devoid of any happenings. Fantasy managers who are still fighting for their league championship – or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, fighting to avoid last place – need to be on top of everything that went down yesterday. With that in mind, let's recap the most important news and notes from around the league.

Trey Lance On Track to Start vs. Texans
49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has a torn UCL and fractured right thumb, meaning third overall pick Trey Lance is in line to start for San Francisco in a critical week both from a real-life and fantasy standpoint. Considering Lance was one of the hottest names in fantasy football all summer long and then failed to beat out Garoppolo for the starting job all season long, it's ironic – and fitting – that he has a picture-perfect matchup in the fantasy football championship. In one start earlier this campaign, Lance ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards. In Week 4 when he played 51% of snaps in relief of Garoppolo, he rushed seven times for 41 yards. That rushing volume alone puts Lance in the top-12 conversation, even though he's been less than inspiring throwing the football throughout his rookie year.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan also heaped praise upon the rookie when asked about the North Dakota State product on Tuesday:

This last month of Trey has been his best consecutive four weeks at practice since we've had him. He's had a number of good days and he's had some bad days like most guys do, but as far as his consistency and stuff, I feel this last month has been his best.

In all likelihood, that's just coach-speak from a team who is being forced to start the highly touted rookie they have benched all year, but Lance's rushing acumen and the 49ers' weaponry lands him in must-start territory regardless. Lance could run all over a Texans defense that has struggled to slow down opposing offenses all year long. It seems like a risky proposition to insert an unproven rookie into your lineup during the fantasy championship, but Lance possesses a rare fantasy-friendly skill set.

John Madden Passes Away at 85
This isn't fantasy-relevant news, but it's definitely worth talking about in spite of that. NFL legend John Madden passed away at age 85 on Tuesday morning according to a league memo. Madden is one of the most legendary coaches the game has ever seen and inspired many through his broadcasting as well. His legacy will live on through everyone who knew him as well as the hugely popular video game series named after him. The league lost a legend yesterday. Rest in peace, John Madden.

NFL Changes COVID-19 Protocols
The NFL has changed COVID-19 protocols to allow players to return to the field in five days if they have no symptoms. This would mean pretty much every player on the COVID list could be eligible to return immediately. Notably, Carson Wentz (who went on the COVID list on Tuesday), Mike Williams, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, and many other potentially fantasy-relevant names could play on Sunday provided they have no symptoms, even though they are unvaccinated. Furthermore, players can self-report whether they have symptoms or not. This is massive news that will impact almost every team in the league in some way.

Browns "Likely" to Bring in Quarterback Competition in 2022
The Akron Beacon Journal's Maria Ridenour reported that the Browns are "likely" to bring in quarterback competition for Baker Mayfield ahead of the 2022 season. This report comes a few days after Mayfield's four-interception performance essentially lost the game for Cleveland in a pivotal Saturday afternoon game against the Packers, so the timing is convenient. However, it makes sense considering Mayfield has 11 picks this year despite operating in more of a game management role as the Browns rely on their rushing attack and defense to win games. The 2022 rookie quarterback class is relatively weak, but there should be some decent options in free agency, and the Aaron Rodgers news cycle will almost certainly pick back up during the offseason, although that seems like a long shot for Cleveland. Still, the Browns' quarterback situation is something to keep an eye on once the season ends.

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Jaguars Will Retain GM Trent Baalke
The Jaguars will retain general manager Trent Baalke for the 2022 season despite a disastrous campaign. Baalke's Jaguars boast one of the worst rosters in the league right now, but perhaps the worst administrative move the front office made was to hire and keep Urban Meyer. Despite so many questionable decisions, the Trevor Lawrence factor keeps the Jaguars as a fairly enticing position (despite the first overall pick's struggles) for prospective coaches, so we'll see who the Jaguars hire to replace Meyer. Whoever it is, it will be a massive upgrade, but Jacksonville needs Lawrence to look more like the generational Clemson product he was touted as rather than the underwhelming disappointment he has been during his rookie season. Baalke has a lot of work to do, including adding a group of respectable pass-catchers for Lawrence as well as building up one of the worst defenses in the league. 2022 is a make-or-break season for Baalke as well as numerous other Jaguars players and coaches.

In other Jaguars news, Jacksonville is reportedly hoping to interview Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, and Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich for their head coaching vacancy. With Lawrence at the helm and potentially the number one overall pick on the way, the Jaguars' opening is actually not as bad of a job as it may seem at first mention.

Other News and Notes

  • The Colts have discussed Philip Rivers as an option following the news that Carson Wentz will move to the COVID list. The new COVID protocols help Wentz' chances of playing in Week 17, but at this point it's fairly uncertain.
  • The Packers sent TE Marcedes Lewis to the COVID list. Josiah Deguara is now the clear TE1 for Green Bay in Week 17.
Jack Miller

Jack Miller is a fantasy football and prop betting analyst for NBC Sports EDGE and Establish The Run. You can find him on Twitter @JackMiller02.