5 NFL officials take a leave of absence for 2020 season

Fri Aug 14 2:06pm ET

Line judge Jeff Bergman talks to Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)


NEW YORK (AP) The NFL's longest-serving on-field official was among five who have opted to take a leave of absence for the 2020 season.

Line judge Jeff Bergman, who was entering his 29th year of service, headlined the list released Friday by the NFL.

Also in the group was back judge Steve Freeman, who was entering his 20th year. He is part of the league's only father-son duo in the officials ranks. Freeman is a former NFL player who spent 12 of his 13 seasons with the Bills. His son, Brad, is a back judge is entering his seventh season.

Also opting out are field judges Greg Gautreaux and Joe Larrew and back judge Tony Steratore.

The league said additional officials will be hired and announced.

Officials are allowed to opt out under the protocols negotiated by the NFL and NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Player Notes
Christian McCaffrey Sep 21 11:50am ET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle) is expected to miss multiple weeks after injuring himself during the matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The 24-year-old, who has never missed a game throughout his tenure in the league, has compiled four touchdowns so far this season, leaving a void that will be undoubtedly hard to fill for both the team and fantasy managers. Until he returns, Mike Davis will likely handle a bulk of the carries out of the backfield, with Trenton Cannon coming in for relief.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Sep 21 8:50am ET

Free-agent running back Devonta Freeman will work out for the New York Giants on Tuesday of this week, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The Giants fear they lost starting running back Saquon Barkley to a season-ending ACL tear during Week 2's loss to the Chicago Bears. Freeman's name has been linked to a few teams since the offseason, most recently the Philadelphia Eagles. The former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro could help to replace Barkley in New York if his workout this week goes well. Currently, the Giants have Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman as the next two men up in their running back room. Freeman is worth a waiver add this week, especially if he does come to terms with New York before waivers run in your league. Just don't go crazy with your FAB money as he could only have an early-down role running behind a poor offensive line in New York.

From RotoBaller

Logan Thomas Sep 21 8:20am ET

Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas had a quiet afternoon with just 26 yards on four receptions in a loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. Despite the unflattering stat-line, Thomas was targeted nine times, second-most on the team. The Washington offense lacks true playmakers so Thomas has been heavily-involved in back-to-back weeks. His high target-floor make him a solid tight end to roster in fantasy and he can be considered a startable streamer in a solid Week 3 matchup with Cleveland.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Sep 21 8:13am ET

Free-agent RB Devonta Freeman (Falcons) will visit the New York Giants this week.

From TheHuddle

Terry McLaurin Sep 21 8:10am ET

Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin had a big game in a loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. McLaurin caught seven passes for 125 yards and his first touchdown of the season. McLaurin led the team with 10 targets as the Washington offense lacks playmakers behind the second-year Ohio State Buckeye. As a result, McLaurin is an attractive option in fantasy as his target floor is very high. He has another good matchup lined up in Week 3 at Cleveland.

From RotoBaller

J.D. McKissic Sep 21 8:00am ET

Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic ran for 53 yards on eight carries in a loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. McKissic was the number two back on the afternoon behind Antonio Gibson who had 13 carries. Peyton Barber, who led the backfield in Week 1, had just one carry. McKissic is known as a passing-downs back so it's no surprise he played a lot of snaps with Washington trailing big most of the afternoon. McKissic doesn't have fantasy appeal except in the deepest PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Courtland Sutton Sep 21 4:33am ET

Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton caught three of his six targets for 66 yards in Week 2 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fantasy Spin: Sutton missed the opener with a shoulder injury and showed a lot of intestinal fortitude playing in this one only to get derailed by cramping in the third quarter. It's been a rough start for the third-year pro, but he should be good to go next week assuming he doesn't experience some kind of setback with his shoulder between now and then. He should be considered a WR3 with WR2 upside in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

From TheHuddle

De'Vondre Campbell Sep 21 4:03am ET

Arizona Cardinals LB De'Vondre Campbell recorded 10 tackles against the Washington Football Team in Week 2. Eight of those tackles were solo, and he added two passes defensed.

From TheHuddle

Melvin Gordon Sep 21 3:53am ET

Denver Broncos RB Melvin Gordon ran for 70 yards on 19 carries and added two catches on three targets for 14 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fantasy Spin: Gordon was featured with Philip Lindsay (toe) sidelined and found much more success early on than Saquon Barkley did against this same defense in Week 1. The Broncos figure to continue riding Gordon hard for however long Lindsay needs to recover, but his path to fantasy success is unlikely to get much easier in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Consider Gordon a low-end RB2 at best in that matchup.

From TheHuddle

Christian Kirk Sep 21 3:53am ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk caught two passes (on four targets) for 57 yards against the Washington Football Team on Sunday, Sept. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Through two weeks, Kirk has been an afterthought offensively, catching just three passes combined. It's too soon to cut bait on a talented receiver in a high-upside offense, but he's better left on the bench for the time being.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Hicks Sep 21 3:53am ET

Arizona Cardinals LB Jordan Hicks had 10 tackles (eight solo) against the Washington Football Team on Sunday, Sept. 21.

From TheHuddle

Larry Fitzgerald Sep 21 3:43am ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald had seven receptions for 50 yards in a Week 2 victory over the Washington Football Team.

Fantasy Spin: The one-time fantasy stud's best days are well in the past now, but Fitzgerald can still generate flex value in point-per-reception leagues.

From TheHuddle

James Conner Sep 21 3:33am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and added two catches on as many targets for 15 more yards in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos.

Fantasy Spin: Conner did the bulk of his damage on a 59-yard carry late in the game as Denver was selling out to stop Pittsburgh from trying to chew clock. But one thing was clear before that: Conner is still the man in this backfield, logging 13 more carries than Benny Snell. Conner's durability - he left early in Week 1 with an ankle sprain - has been his biggest bugaboo for a while now, and it might be the only thing that keeps him from having a field day in Week 3 against the Houston Texans' weak run defense.

From TheHuddle

Kenyan Drake Sep 21 3:33am ET

Arizona Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake carried the ball 20 times for 86 yards against the Washington Football Team in Week 2. He added two receptions for nine yards.

Fantasy Spin: Drake hasn't been the explosive playmaker he was after being acquired from Miami last year, but the season is still young and he's getting the majority of the work in the backfield on an emerging offense. Stay the course with Drake as an RB2.

From TheHuddle

DeAndre Hopkins Sep 21 3:33am ET

Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins caught eight passes for 68 yards and a touchdown against the Washington Football Team in Week 2.

Fantasy Spin: It was a step back statistically after a huge Week 1 performance, but Hopkins' first TD in a Cardinals uniform helped offset some of that. He's a must-start WR1 that could be in for a big week against a shaky Lions secondary.

From TheHuddle

Jeff Driskel Sep 21 3:23am ET

Denver Broncos QB Jeff Driskel came on in relief of an injured Drew Lock (shoulder) and finished 18-of-34 for 256 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in Week 2 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fantasy Spin: Driskel has turned himself into a capable backup NFL quarterback and flashed at times when called upon, and it's no small feat to do what he did in this game against such a quality defense. Given that Lock was seen in a sling after his exit, it's likely Driskel will need to start multiple games for the Broncos. He should be a decent superflex option for however long he is needed, but he shouldn't be starting in most fantasy leagues in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

From TheHuddle

Ben Roethlisberger Sep 21 3:13am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger finished 29-of-41 for 311 yards and two touchdowns to go along with one interception in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos.

Fantasy Spin: Roethlisberger threw an unforgivable interception early in the third quarter but was otherwise sharp, connecting on long strikes to rookie Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson. The Steelers' defense is so good that Roethlisberger may not need to carry the offense very often, but he possesses a solid fantasy floor with huge upside should the defense has an off-day or two along the way. Consider him a strong starting option in Week 3 against the vulnerable Houston Texans' defense.

From TheHuddle

Kevin Pierre-Louis Sep 21 3:13am ET

Washington Football Team LB Kevin Pierre-Louis was credited with 15 tackles, including 10 solo, against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Brandin Cooks Sep 21 2:53am ET

Houston Texans WR Brandin Cooks hauled in five of his eight targets for 95 yards in Week 2 versus the Baltimore Ravens.

Fantasy Spin: Cooks' performance was one of the few bright spots for Houston in this one. His 38-yard catch in the second quarter helped set up the Texans' lone TD. Will Fuller dealt with an undisclosed injury throughout this contest, which explains a bit why Cooks played such a prominent role. Regardless of whether Fuller can play next week or not, Cooks figures to be a weak flex option in a brutal matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

From TheHuddle

Jamal Adams Sep 21 2:53am ET

Seattle Seahawks S Jamal Adams recorded 10 tackles (six solo), a sack and two QB hits against the New England Patriots in Week 2.

From TheHuddle