Tue Aug 11 6:24pm ET
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
In this Nov. 10, 2019, file photo, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford watches from the sidelines during warmups before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago. Since the start of last year, Matthew Stafford has had to deal with a health scare involving his wife, his own injury problems -- and more recently, a coronavirus test that the team later described as a false positive. It's been a difficult period for the Detroit star. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
In this Nov. 3, 2019, file photo, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford warms up before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif. Since the start of last year, Matthew Stafford has had to deal with a health scare involving his wife, his own injury problems -- and more recently, a coronavirus test that the team later described as a false positive. It's been a difficult period for the Detroit star. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)
DETROIT (AP) Matthew Stafford says he didn't give much thought to opting out of this coming season.
It would have been understandable if he'd considered it.
''I think like everybody, you hear it and you talk with your spouse and your family about it. I never gave it serious, you know, thought,'' Stafford said Tuesday. ''I want to play football. I want to be out here. I have a supporting wife and family that know I love doing what I do and know it's important to me, so they were right on board.''
Stafford and his family have dealt with their share of stress over the past couple of years. His wife had surgery last year to remove a brain tumor. Then Stafford went through football-related injuries that halted his 2019 season. His status was momentarily uncertain again recently when he was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list Aug. 1. He was removed three days later, with the Lions saying it was a false positive.
Stafford's wife Kelly expressed her frustration on Instagram, suggesting that information such as that shouldn't be released until it's absolutely certain the person has COVID-19. Shortly after that, the NFL's chief medical officer said the league was establishing a new protocol for positive tests.
''It's totally unknown times for all of us. The league, the players, coaches, the organization as a whole,'' Stafford said. ''Everything is new and it's unknown. I know everybody's doing the best that they possibly can.''
It's hard to blame Stafford and his family for being a little on edge. Kelly Stafford had surgery to remove a brain tumor in April 2019. Matthew Stafford's injuries later that year seemed trivial by comparison, but it was a tough season for the Detroit quarterback, who dealt with back and hip problems and missed the final eight games.
Stafford had been enjoying a fine season before the injuries caught up with him. He ended up with a career-best passer rating of 106 in the eight games he did play. When he was finally sidelined, it was the first time he'd missed any game since the 2010 season.
''Obviously last year with Matthew didn't go the way we wanted it to go,'' coach Matt Patricia said recently. ''Certainly his drive, his competitiveness, I knew he'd be right back at it as soon as he could. Just keeping him healthy and making sure that he went into the offseason as safe as possible was important for us, and certainly through training camp as we go with him knowing the offseason was limited.''
There was already uncertainty about this NFL season - and whether it could even be played - when Stafford tested positive and went on COVID-IR.
''I had no reason to not believe the results or whatever, except for the fact that I was feeling fine. But there's plenty of people out there that are positive and asymptomatic as well,'' he said. ''There was no doubt there was some fear, as I think everybody would have if they got a test that came back positive. And just knowing how much that I'm around and have been around my family and my kids, that's a little bit of a scary thing.''
Now, those fears have subsided a bit, and Stafford can focus more on the upcoming season.
''I feel good. It's obviously exciting to get back in the building,'' Stafford said. ''Not having an offseason, OTAs, and just being able to be around the guys, throw and catch - all that kind of stuff is stuff you miss, so I'm happy to be back. I feel good, body feels good.''
So Stafford feels healthy, and this latest bit of drama with his positive test is behind him. It was an episode that underscored the potential worries that can come up as the NFL tries to play through the virus.
Stafford is trying to keep his situation in perspective.
''It's not lost on me that there's plenty of people that are having a much harder time than we did,'' Stafford said. ''Ours was a few days that lasted and got corrected, and I know the league is going to do everything they can to correct that. But at the same time, there's plenty of people walking out there - or not walking, they're in hospitals - that are really fighting for their life.''
Sunday Morning Update: Week 3
Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard posted a total of 11 stops with a tackle for loss and a pass defensed in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Indianapolis Colts CB T.J. Carrie finished with four tackles, a pass defensed and a 47-yard interception return for touchdown in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Indianapolis Colts CB Xavier Rhodes finished with a solo tackle, two passes defensed and a 44-yard interception return for touchdown in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Indianapolis Colts DE Justin Houston finished with a solo tackle, a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and a safety in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) caught five of his six targets for 64 yards and a touchdown before exiting with a hamstring injury in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: A week after being sidelined with a concussion, Godwin now has another injury to deal with. If he misses more time going forward, Scott Miller could vault into flex territory.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans caught a pair of one-yard touchdowns in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: It has been a strange season for Evans, who has sandwiched a pair of two-yard performances between a 100-yard game. He has scored in all three games, but Evans will need to see an increase in volume if he is going to finish as a WR1.
New York Jets WR Braxton Berrios registered four receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown on his six targets in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Fantasy Spin: Berrios helped pick up some of the slack with Jamison Crowder inactive due to an injury. That's two games and two scores for Berrios, who is likely to be a hot add off the waiver wire this season. He is worth grabbing as a WR5 in fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon posted three catches for 21 yards on five targets in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Fantasy Spin: Herndon opened with six grabs in Week 1, but he has managed just four catches for 26 yards on nine targets in his past two outings. That type of production isn't good for anyone in fantasy.
New York Jets S Bradley McDougald registered 10 total stops with five solo tackles in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold completed 17-of-29 passes for 168 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts. He also ran five times for 20 yards.
Fantasy Spin: Darnold was without Jamison Crowder, and he was also without Le'Veon Bell for the second straight game. It didn't help not having two of his best offensive weapons, but he simply made too many mistakes. The Jets have a quick turnaround, facing the Denver Broncos on Thursday in Week 4. Darnold cannot be trusted for fantasy purposes.
New York Jets RB Frank Gore ran 15 times for 57 yards in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts and he added one reception for five yards on his only target.
Fantasy Spin: Gore has been picking up the slack with Le'Veon Bell inactive for a second straight game due to a hamstring injury. While Gore is getting a majority of the backfield touches ahead of La'Mical Perine and Kalen Ballage, it might only be a matter of time before Adam Gase elects to try the younger players. Fantasy buyer beware.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones rushed 13 times for 53 yards and caught two of his four targets for 20 yards in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: While it wasn't an overwhelming stat line, but after Leonard Fournette had a big Week 2, Jones resumed the lead role, leading all backs in carries and touches. The chances of Jones breaking into the RB2 ranks this year seem slim, but he should have value as a flex option.
Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (ankle) is expected to miss some time after leaving the Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to an ankle injury. He will have an MRI Monday, Sept. 28.
Fantasy Spin: With Goedert likely to miss time, Zach Ertz will once again suck up all of the tight end targets, and might re-emerge as a bona fide TE1 in fantasy after having to share the wealth in the first three games this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady completed 25 of his 38 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Brady had his best performance as a Buccaneer, but until he strings together a few strong outings, the veteran should still be treated as a matchup-based streaming option.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers and he was unable to return.
Fantasy Spin: That explains his lack of usage in the home loss to the Panthers. He managed just one catch for 17 yards on one target We'll know more about his status for Week 4 once practice resumes on Wednesday.
Carolina Panthers CB Donte Jackson (toe) left the Week 3 game against the Los Angeles Chargers due to a toe injury.
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook (ankle) left the Week 3 game against the Green Bay Packers. He headed for the medical tent initially, then was taken to the locker room.
Fantasy Spin: If Cook is unable to return, it will be Josh Hill likely handling Cook's workload. We'll update his injury status as soon as possible.
The Carolina Panthers Defense capitalized in Week 3 against a team starting a rookie quarterback on the Chargers. Carolina notched two sacks, eight quarterback hits, one pick, and three fumble recoveries. While this was an encouraging performance for a team that gave up over 30 points in the first two games, this type of performance should not be expected each week. The Panthers' defense is still a very young and inexperienced unit, and they face a tough test in a rising Cardinals team next week.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen caught three of his five targets for 29 yards and a touchdown in a 31-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: The touchdown salvaged an otherwise quiet afternoon, and since a monster performance in Week 1, Thielen has just six catches for 60 yards in the last two games. He still has WR2 upside, but with Kirk Cousins struggling, boom-or-bust production could become the norm.
Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph caught two of his three targets for 11 yards and a touchdown in a 31-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: It has been a quiet season for Rudolph, and he is sitting on four catches for 39 yards and a score after three games. He is a touchdown-dependent TE2.