Raiders unable to utilize all their new digs in Las Vegas

Thu Aug 6 6:26pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer

In this July 22, 2020, file photo, the sun sets behind Allegiant Stadium, new home of the Las Vegas Raiders football team, as it nears completion in Las Vegas. Officials in Nevada have declared "substantial completion" after nearly 1,000 days of construction of the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas designed to be the home of the NFL's relocated Raiders. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)


In this Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden walks on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Oakland, Calif. Dealing with an offseason move to Las Vegas, an overhaul of his defense and contending in a division with Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs is a tough enough task for Gruden. It all pales in comparison to trying to keep his players safe from COVID-19 in a city where the coronavirus is spreading. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)


After years of playing in a dilapidated stadium in Oakland with a rundown team facility, the Raiders were looking forward to showing off their fancy new digs in Las Vegas this season.

Those plans have been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Raiders will play their first season at $2 billion Allegiant Stadium near the Las Vegas Strip without any fans and have been unable to fully utilize the new practice facility they built in nearby Henderson.

''I mean disappointing for all of sports honestly,'' coach Jon Gruden said Thursday. ''Certainly, you see that stadium and you want to go in there and you want to cut it loose with your new fan base and it is disappointing. But we aren't the only team that feels that. We are doing what we feel is right for the safety and health of everybody and hopefully we beat this virus soon and we can get back to normal.''

Owner Mark Davis told season-ticket holders earlier this week about the decision not to allow fans this season after consulting with local health officials.

Davis had previously said he either wanted to allow all fans to attend or none and that he wouldn't go to games if the fans weren't allowed.

''Everyone is trying to do their best and obviously we're human and we're going to see mistakes along the way,'' quarterback Derek Carr said. ''But I think Mr. Davis is trying to do his very best to protect our fans, protect the workers at the stadium, protect the players. He's trying to do the best for everybody, so I commend him.''

The pandemic has also limited what the Raiders can do at their new facility to replace the outdated one the team had been using in the Bay Area.

With players required to socially distance, the team has been unable to gather as a group yet.

''We haven't had a team meeting, we haven't had a group quarterback meeting or an offensive meeting or defensive meeting. Everything is on quarantine,'' Gruden said. ''A lot of this facility is off limits. We have done an unbelievable job, from a safety standpoint, to protect our players and coaches and employees here. But, players that have been with the Raiders for many years are just star-struck with this facility. I think the new players all respect it and really appreciate it.''

The coronavirus has impacted the Raiders roster as well. They had three players opt out this season with linebacker Ukeme Eligwe, cornerback D.J. Killings and defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga all deciding not to play in 2020.

The team then placed edge rusher Maxx Crosby and running back Rod Smith on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday. The list was created for players who either test positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with an infected person.

Running back Devontae Booker previously spent time on that list. He and Smith are among the players competing for a spot as a backup running back on the roster.

Crosby is being counted on to contribute much more after recording 10 sacks as a rookie. He is slated to be a starting defensive end and is the top pass rusher on a team that has struggled to generate consistent pressure in recent years.

Player Notes
San Francisco 49ers Sep 29 7:40pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers Defense may have sustained significant blows by losing Nick Bosa (knee) and Solomon Thomas (knee) for the remainder of the season in Week 2, but that didnt stop them from looking strong against the Giants in Week 3. Looking ahead, theyll face a rocky Eagles offense that has had to answer questions about Carson Wentzs starting quarterback status since Sunday, with a Dolphins squad two weeks away that is quarterbacked by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has tossed three interceptions this season. While their status as the preeminent defensive unit may have taken a step back, San Francisco still unquestionably has a defense worth rostering and deploying on a weekly basis until the group proves otherwise.

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Allen Lazard Sep 29 7:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard benefited greatly from Davante Adams (hamstring) absence during Week 3, amassing six receptions for a career-high 146 receiving yards and a touchdown. Should Adams continue to be sidelined this Sunday against Atlanta, Lazard would track up the board as a premier WR option due to the Falcons propensity for being burned by opposing wideouts through the first three weeks. Even if Adams is cleared to return, Lazard has clearly developed a rapport with Rodgers, hauling in 13 of the 17 targets that he has seen thus far in 2020. With other potential favorable matchups against Tampa Bay and Houston on the horizon, Lazard can be added in most season-long formats as an upside play for October, and potentially beyond.

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Alfred Morris Sep 29 7:20pm ET

The New York Giants have inked veteran running back Alfred Morris to the teams practice squad in a continued attempt to bolster their backfield situation in light of Saquon Barkleys (knee) season-ending absence. Morris last appeared in 2019 in one game for the Cardinals, receiving just one carry for four yards. His best days came as a member of Washington, where he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 13 and 14, before joining Dallas, where current Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was his head coach. Newly-signed Devonta Freeman carried the ball just five times Sunday versus San Francisco, although the score of the game likely dictated his workload more than the teams level of confidence in their new running back. Morris is a name to keep an eye on should he eventually be elevated to the active roster.

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Earl Thomas Sep 29 7:10pm ET

Free-agent safety Earl Thomas III was set to have a workout with the Houston Texans on Tuesday, but COVID-19 related protocol scuttled that meeting. Things had advanced so far between the two sides that Thomas had already taken a physical with the organization. Released by Baltimore during pre-season activities following an altercation with a teammate, the seven-time Pro Bowler would be a sound addition to the Houston secondary. With the workout cancelled Tuesday, it does throw into flux the possibility that Thomas could be available this weekend when the Texans take on Minnesota. Having allowed at least 28 points in each of their first three contests, the Texans defense is currently not a fantasy option in any-sized format.

From RotoBaller

Chris Harris Sep 29 4:34pm ET

The Los Angeles Chargers placed cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (foot) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday and promoted defensive back Jahleel Addae to the active roster in a corresponding move. Harris suffered a foot injury in the Week 3 loss to the Panthers that is expected to keep him out for at least a month and potentially up to six weeks. With All-Pro safety Derwin James (knee) already out for the year, it's another blow to a strong Chargers secondary. The good news is that Harris will be back this season. Against a strong Buccaneers passing attack this Sunday, the Chargers Defense could be a bit more vulnerable, especially against wide receiver Chris Godwin in the middle of the field.

Kareem Jackson Sep 29 4:23pm ET

Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock (shoulder) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Sept. 29. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (quad), CB Davontae Harris (hamstring) and RB Phillip Lindsay (foot) were limited. CB Bryce Callahan (wrist), DE Shelby Harris (neck, quad), S Kareem Jackson (back) and S Trey Marshall (wrist) practiced in full. The Broncos did not hold a practice Tuesday, so the report was an estimation.

From TheHuddle

Dallas Goedert Sep 29 4:20pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles placed tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday, meaning he'll be out at least three weeks. In a corresponding move, the team signed tight end Hakeem Butler to the active roster off the Panthers practice squad. Goedert has a small fracture in his left ankle and also an ankle sprain. He'll be back this year, though, and was a big part of the team's passing game before going down, so he's worth stashing if you have the extra roster space. A banged-up Philly receiving corps will now rely more heavily on Zach Ertz and DeSean Jackson, if he's healthy to go in Week 4. Greg Ward Jr. might be worth a flier off the waiver wire in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jahleel Addae Sep 29 4:13pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers CB Chris Harris Jr. (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a foot injury Tuesday, Sept. 29. S Jahleel Addae was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.

From TheHuddle

Natrell Jamerson Sep 29 4:13pm ET

Carolina Panthers S Natrell Jamerson was activated from the practice squad Reserve/COVID-19 list and returned to the practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Earl Thomas Sep 29 4:03pm ET

Free-agent S Earl Thomas (Ravens) has already taken in offsite physical - likely in preparation to sign with the Houston Texans - but the Texans sent him home before his scheduled workout after the NFL asked all 32 teams to review their COVID-19 procedures for bringing in new players, according to sources.

From TheHuddle

Kai Forbath Sep 29 4:03pm ET

Free-agent PKs Kai Forbath and Elliott Fry are expected to work out for the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Dallas Goedert Sep 29 3:23pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with an ankle injury Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Fantasy Spin: Per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the "hope" is that Goedert can return at the end of his three-week IR stint, although it sounds like it is far from a guarantee. In the meantime, his absence should lock Zach Ertz into nearly 10 targets per game for an offense that may need Greg Ward to handle a similar workload given all the injuries at receiver. Owners should hold onto Goedert, as he has incredible upside at a position that lacks a lot of it for fantasy purposes.

From TheHuddle

Deone Bucannon Sep 29 3:13pm ET

Atlanta Falcons DE Austin Edwards was elevated from the practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 29. The Falcons also released CB D.J. White and LB Deone Bucannon from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Darqueze Dennard Sep 29 3:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a hamstring injury Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Brett Rypien Sep 29 2:10pm ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien is expected to get the start on Thursday against the Jets over Jeff Driskel, according to sources. Driskel looked terrible, albeit against a strong Buccaneers Defense, in the Week 3 loss, and Drew Lock (shoulder) will miss at least another week of action while he recovers from his injury. Rypien, 24, saw his first game action last Sunday with the game out of hand, going 8-for-9 for 53 yards and one interception. Even against a Jets Defense that has looked terrible, Rypien won't have much upside in an offense missing their top receiver for the rest of the season. Downgrade rookie wideout Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant for this one. If Rypien struggles early, don't be surprised if Denver goes back to Driskel.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ioannidis Sep 29 1:43pm ET

Washington Football Team DE Matt Ioannidis (biceps) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Sept. 29. DE Nate Orchard was signed off the practice squad to replace him on the roster.

From TheHuddle

Chris Godwin Sep 29 1:33pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) may not be able to play in either of the team's next two games as he recovers from a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 3 versus the Denver Broncos.

Fantasy Spin: It appears he would have an outside chance of playing in Week 5, but the Buccaneers are scheduled to play the Chicago Bears two Thursdays from now. With Scott Miller (hip, groin) batting his own injury issues, Justin Watson could be thrust into action as Mike Evans' tag-team partner in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers. If that ends up being the case, Watson should probably be considered a low-end flex option.

From TheHuddle

Drew Lock Sep 29 1:20pm ET

There is a chance that Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) could play in Week 5 against the Patriots, but the Broncos have more hope that he'll return in Week 6 in a more favorable matchup against the Dolphins. This is why Denver didn't place the 23-year-old on short-term Injured Reserve. The offense was just unable to get into any kind of flow in Week 3 against a tough Buccaneers Defense, and it also doesn't help that wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) is lost for the season. Lock's return should make rookie Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant more attractive in season-long and DFS leagues, but the second-year signal-caller will remain a midrange QB2 until further notice with the Broncos dealing with so many injuries. Until Lock returns, Jeff Driskel is a desperation QB2 streamer in superflex setups.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Sep 29 1:20pm ET

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase said that wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring), rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder) and offensive tackle George Fant (concussion) will all be limited in Tuesday's walkthrough practice. All three players are trending toward playing on Thursday night against the Broncos. It's good news for a Jets offense that has been pitiful without Crowder and running back Le'Veon Bell the last two games. If Crowder suits up this week, he should be quarterback Sam Darnold's top aerial target, which would put him on the flex radar in PPR leagues. Crowder could see even more targets if Breshad Perriman misses another contest with his injury.

From RotoBaller

Damon Arnette Sep 29 1:10pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders rookie cornerback Damon Arnette (thumb) is visiting a thumb specialist on Tuesday after he injured it in the Week 3 loss to the Patriots, and he could be sidelined up to six weeks. In a worst-case scenario, Arnette would be placed on Injured Reserve. The first-round pick fractured the same thumb in training camp, so this is certainly something to watch moving forward. Either way, Arnette should be able to return this year for the Raiders secondary. The 24-year-old has been improving and has tallied 14 tackles (11 solo) and one pass defensed in the first three games of his NFL career.

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