Thu Oct 8 10:37am ET
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
AP Sports Writer
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wears two masks as he watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs , Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Kansas City. The New England Patriots have canceled practice amid reports that a third player has tested positive for the coronavirus. Sports Illustrated reported that reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, and was added to the team's reserve/COVID-19 list. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) New England coach Bill Belichick says the team is continuing to prepare to play this weekend against the Denver Broncos amid reports the Patriots returned no new positive COVID-19 tests on Thursday.
''This is really more of a medical situation than a football situation,'' Belichick said during a conference call Thursday. ''So we'll work through the decisions and input from the people in the medical field, a combination of the Patriots and league. People that know this, know the situation, know the virus and the specific circumstances that are involved here, both in the past and going forward.''
The Patriots shut their practice facility Wednesday and Thursday after quarterback Cam Newton, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and practice-squad player Bill Murray all tested positive for coronavirus over a five-day period.
Newton was held out of New England's loss to the Chiefs on Monday after testing positive on Saturday. Gilmore didn't test positive until Tuesday.
Belichick says the situation remains fluid regarding the status of Sunday's game against the Broncos.
''I don't think we can really plan too far ahead, (or) start talking Saturday, Sunday, or a bunch of other days,'' he said. ''There is a lot that can or can't happen in the meantime. And as things change and if there are positive or potentially negative developments, we'll look at those.''
Patriots players had the day off Tuesday, meaning that Friday could be their only practice this week if the game does proceed as planned.
Belichick said the Patriots have been in communication with the league regarding the time they need to prepare to play, but will keep those talks private.
''We knew that at the beginning of the season that there were going to be challenges, and there have been,'' he said. ''We're ready to work through them. And that's what we're doing.''
It is unknown whether Newton exhibited any coronavirus symptoms before or after his positive test, but Gilmore posted on Twitter that he was showing no symptoms as of Wednesday. Belichick said he hadn't spoken with Newton in a day and had no update on his status.
According to the NFL's COVID testing protocols, players showing symptoms can't return until at least 10 days have passed since symptoms were first reported and at least 24 hours have passed since their last fever. All other symptoms, such as cough and shortness of breath, also must have improved.
If a player tests positive but shows no symptoms, he must either wait 10 days from the initial positive test, or can return after having two consecutive negative tests 24 hours apart.
So that leaves at least a chance both players could be available for Sunday's game.
Belichick said there's nothing preventing either player from participating in virtual meetings Thursday.
''We do the best we can with the opportunities we have,'' he said. ''It's not ideal, but there is an opportunity to cover things and get things taught.''
Five Hot Plays: Week 13
Las Vegas Raiders RB Theo Riddick was removed from the Exempt/COVID-19 list Friday, Dec. 4, and now counts toward the active roster.
Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Chase McLaughlin is not a viable starter this week. Though he has made all three of his field-goal attempts and both of his extra-point attempts in two games played this season, the sample size is too small and it's fair to question his reliability compared to other kickers who have played most of the season. As a result, there are better options to start at the position for Week 13.
Las Vegas Raiders DB Lamarcus Joyner was removed from the Exempt/COVID-19 list Friday, Dec. 4, and now counts toward the active roster.
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tyler Eifert is not a worthy starter this week against Minnesota. In nine games played, the TE has only surpassed 40 yards once, and he has also been very inconsistent in his weekly numbers. Because the Jaguars don't have a strong passing attack, this makes Eifert too risky to start and thus irrelevant for fantasy purposes.
The Jacksonville Jaguars Defense should remain benched or on waivers this week. The Jags play Minnesota, a team that has solid receivers in Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, an elite back in Dalvin Cook, and a QB in Kirk Cousins who can get hot any given week. Meanwhile, Jacksonville ranks among the bottom of the league in most defensive categories, which keeps this unit well off the fantasy radar this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole Sr. is only a low-end flex for this week. Cole has produced at least five targets in three of the past five games but has only gotten over 40 yards in two of the past five games. The Jaguars don't have a strong passing attack due to their multiple changes at QB. Cole should not be trusted this week given his inconsistent stats.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. is a WR3 for Week 13 against the Vikings. As the WR1 on the team, Chark does see targets, but he doesn't always produce. The WR has gotten at least seven targets in four of the past five games but has only gotten at least 45 yards in three of those contests. Nevertheless, his weekly volume should keep him in the starting tier against a Minnesota team allowing the second-most points to fantasy wideouts.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. should be considered nothing more than a lower-end flex against the Vikings this week. In the past four games, the rookie has only eclipsed 40 yards and five targets once. Jacksonville has no stability at QB and its passing attack isn't high-powered. As a result, Shenault doesn't produce consistent and decent numbers each week. There are better options to start this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon will once again get the start this week but should remain benched in fantasy. Glennon posted 235 yards and two touchdowns last week in an impressive performance, but that was only one game and the journeyman has not proved he is worthy of a start each week. The Vikings are middle-tier against fantasy QBs, but there are certainly better, proven options out there.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson is an RB1 this week against the Vikings. The 22-year-old has now rushed for at least 99 yards in four of the last five games and has been stellar this season as the lead back for the Jags even though his value in the passing game has been minimal. The Vikings are middle-tier against fantasy backs, but Robinson's high weekly volume sets him up to produce once again.
Baltimore Ravens WR Chris Moore (thigh) was designated to return from the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Dec. 4.
Las Vegas Raiders DT Maliek Collins (hamstring, ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Dec. 4.
Baltimore Ravens QB Trace McSorley will be the starting quarterback for the Week 13 game if QB Lamar Jackson (illness) is not cleared to play.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation to see if McSorley or Jackson will be the starter. Jackson should be a starter in all fantasy leagues if he is cleared to play. McSorley had one big play in the Week 12 game but should be avoided in fantasy leagues if he starts.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow had a good performance last week against the Falcons, and he will look for another solid performance this week against a poor Jets secondary. He is a consistent possession receiver but lacks the explosion to be considered a viable fantasy option. Renfrow is averaging 3.5 catches and 46 yards per game this season, so those numbers make him a fringe flex option. He has not found the end zone in four consecutive games, but the Jets Defense allows a lot of points. He consistently catches passes every game, but his ceiling is low.
Seattle Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde (toe) was limited during practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is listed as questionable for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Hyde may be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to check the inactive list for his official status. He will have a role in the running game if he is active for the game but can be avoided in most leagues.
Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson (foot) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Carson likely will receive plenty of carries this week against the New York Giants this week and should be a starting option in all fantasy leagues.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller disappointed last week against a bad Falcons Defense but will likely bounce back this week against the Jets. The Jets Defense ranks 29th against opposing tight ends, and Waller is the second-most expensive DFS tight end this week. Waller has had a few bad performances this season but always seems to bounce back. He has followed up his disappointing performances this season with at least five catches in the following game. Look for Waller to rebound in a big way this week. He is definitely a must-start TE1 in Week 13.
Las Vegas Raiders WR Nelson Agholor (ankle) was limited during practice Friday, Dec. 4, but is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Agholor has been targeted 15 times over the last two weeks and has five touchdowns in the last eight games. He will have a favorable matchup this week and can be a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues if he plays.
Indianapolis Colts TE Trey Burton (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Burton has been targeted 11 times over the last two games and has two touchdowns during that span. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 tight end in deeper leagues.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Devontae Booker (back) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Booker likely will receive most of the work at running back with Josh Jacobs ruled out. He will have a favorable matchup this week and can be considered a low-end No. 2 running back or flex option.