Fantasy football owners have been put in a brutal spot.
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19, and with that, the team’s contest against the Kansas City Chiefs now is up in the air.
The NFL has postponed the game, which originally was scheduled for Sunday, to Monday or Tuesday. It’s safe to assume that is a fluid situation, though. Obviously, if more tests come back positive from either the Patriots or Chiefs, who also had a practice squad QB test positive Saturday, the game could be postponed even further.
How does this impact fantasy football this week, you may ask?
Well, despite the league hoping to play the game as part of its Week 4 slate, it’s not definite. And that means Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, receivers Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire might not even take the field at Arrowhead Stadium.
The same goes for Patriots receivers Julian Edelman or N’Keal Harry, as well as running backs Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead or James White. Newton, we know, will not play as he was placed on the Patriots’ reserve/COVID-19 list.
What makes this situation so interesting, however, is the uncertainty. It’s not like a bye week where owners know they have to look else where. Heck, it’s not even like the NFL’s other Week 4 game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. That game officially was postponed to later in the season.
Another aspect that makes this particular situation so difficult to navigate is the fantasy potential of these players. It’s not like we’re replacing Titans receiver A.J. Brown or even Steelers running back James Conner, here.
So, how should you try and navigate? Well, that’s a lot easier said than done.
First, the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons currently are scheduled for “Monday Night Football.” That means if the league does announce Sunday or Monday morning that Patriots-Chiefs will not be played Week 4, those are the players you’d try and grab to replace them.
Unfortunately, while there are many viable options on both teams, we’re going to go ahead and assume most aren’t available on the waiver wire. After all, do you know anyone who’s let Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers or Falcons receiver Julio Jones just sit around for the past three weeks? No, obviously not.
Our advice? Plan to go without any Chiefs or Patriots this week.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak, it’s that others testing negative immediately doesn’t mean it will remain that way. Unfortunately, the Patriots or Chiefs or both could have three or four positive tests come Monday when their buildings reopen. By that time it would almost definitely be too late to reset your lineups.
And while it will be crushing to have Mahomes on the bench if he was to have a three-touchdown performance, chances are he won’t outscore your backup by more than your backup will outscore an empty starting spot.