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AP Source: kick returner Diontae Spencer has COVID-19

Fri Nov 27 3:54pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Kick returner Diontae Spencer is the Broncos player who tested positive for the coronavirus Friday, a person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press.

The person spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity because the team hadn't revealed the name of the player who was infected prior to placing him on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Broncos canceled practice Friday, saying another player and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 one day after No. 3 quarterback Jeff Driskel was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after being infected with the virus.

It's the third time this season the Broncos have canceled practice and shut down their facilities because of the novel coronavirus.

The Broncos (4-6), who host the Saints (8-2) Sunday, also shut down on Oct. 30 after guard Graham Glasgow got sick, and again on Nov. 4 when practice squad O-lineman Darren Paulo tested positive and defensive end Shelby Harris reported close contact with infected family members.

Harris later tested positive for the virus and hasn't returned to practice. He's expected to miss his fourth game this weekend.

The Broncos informed players early Friday that the building was closed and meetings would be held via videoconference. They plan to return to practice Saturday morning.

They also canceled Zoom media calls with coach Vic Fangio and players on Friday.

While the Broncos haven't had outbreaks like the Baltimore Ravens are experiencing this week and the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots endured earlier this season, they've been affected by coronavirus concerns over the last two months.

Their game last month at New England was pushed back, first by a day and then by a week, resulting in a domino effect to their schedule and essentially costing them their bye week.

Two executives -- general manager John Elway and team president Joe Ellis -- contracted the virus, as have three assistants: running backs coach Curtis Modkins, offensive line coach Mike Munchak and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who's been out all of November.

The players who have contracted COVID-19 include Von Miller and Kareem Jackson in the offseason, Andrew Beck in training camp, then Glasgow, Harris, Paulo, Spencer and Jurrell Casey, who was on IR when he was infected.

The Broncos were cleared by the NFL's medical staff to practice on Thanksgiving after moving Driskel to the reserve/COVID-19 list. Other times, they've been advised to shut down for the day.

Broncos kicker and union rep Brandon McManus tweeted Friday that the NFL needs a ''league-wide decision tree. Can't have some facilities shut down and other stay open and risk exposing more players when they just practiced with a positive player.''

Teams are being tested daily, the league is dealing with coronavirus infections on a case-by-case basis and doing contact tracing and interviews whenever a player or staffer tests positive.

Spencer missed three games this season with a shoulder injury and was replaced by cornerback Bryce Callahan on punts and rookie receiver Tyree Cleveland on kickoffs. Callahan, however, has been dealing with a foot injury that kept him out of practice Wednesday and limited him on Thursday.

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Five Hot Plays: Week 12

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Player Notes
Sterling Shepard Nov 27 4:00pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard has been a favorite target of QB Daniel Jones since Shepard returned from a toe injury in Week 7. In that span, Shepard leads the team in targets and has at least six receptions in every game. He should be able to take advantage of a Bengals secondary that allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers in the last four weeks. Shepard has a good target share and a good matchup, his main risk is the Giants leading early and throwing less than 30 passes. Shepard's high-floor makes him a solid-yet-unspectacular start in 12-team fantasy leagues and larger.

From RotoBaller

Lamar Jackson Nov 27 3:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's positive COVID-19 test came in on Thursday's round of testing, so he still won't be available to play against the Steelers in Week 12 with the game being moved back to Tuesday. However, based on the timeline, it's possible that he will be cleared in time to face the Cowboys on Dec. 7 on Monday night in Week 13. Jackson's disappointing 2020 season continues after he won the MVP in 2019. His absence this week will lead to Robert Griffin III making the start under center on Tuesday. RG3 could be a desperation option in superflex leagues as a low-end QB2, but he'll be facing a Steelers Defense that has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to the position this year. Pittsburgh's defense is arguably the best in the NFL.

From RotoBaller

Nelson Agholor Nov 27 3:50pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Nelson Agholor had his most catches of the season last week against the Chiefs with 6. He had 88 receiving yards and a touchdown. However, Agholor's consistency is a major issue from week to week. Prior to last week, Agholor had just three total catches in the three previous games. He has a great matchup this week against the Falcons to put together good back-to-back performances. Agholor is typically a big-play receiver, and the Falcons Defense is one of the worst in the league at allowing the big play. He has flex value in this matchup, but his inconsistency makes him a risky play.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Nov 27 3:40pm ET

The 49ers Defense has been pummeled over their last three games. Each of their past three opponents have scored at least 27 points on them, with two of them topping 30. This week, the 49ers are coming off a bye to face the Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers held the Rams to just 16 points in their previous matchup this year. However, the Rams are coming off a strong offensive showing where they scored 27 points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This week's game shouldn't be super high-scoring and both teams will likely run the ball a lot, which will slow the pace of the game. If you're in a bind, you can do worse than starting the 49ers as a low-end option, but you might be able to find better options on the waiver wire.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Reed Nov 27 3:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end Jordan Reed (illness) has been held out of practice the past few days while dealing with an illness that is not COVID-related. He is currently listed as questionable for this week's game against the Los Angeles Rams. If he's able to go this week, he should be in line for a decent workload, but it will be against a tough matchup. The Rams have an elite pass defense, allowing just 200.6 passing yards per game, which ranks second in the league. If he's active, he's a low-end TE1 option who is safer in PPR leagues. He should see around eight targets as he and Deebo Samuel (hamstring) figure to be the top pass-catching options for quarterback Nick Mullens.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Nov 27 3:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen isn't expected to play in Week 12 against the Panthers after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, according to a source. Thilen remains on the team's COVID-19 list, barring a change this weekend. It's a crushing blow to any fantasy managers that were relying on Thielen, the league leader with 11 touchdowns, to get them into the fantasy playoffs. Rookie Justin Jefferson, who has already proven to be a must-start fantasy asset, is likely to see double-digit targets in this one with Thielen sidelined. OlaBisi Johnson, Tajae Sharpe and Chad Beebe will fight for targets behind Jefferson, but none of that trio is a particularly intriguing deep-league flex play as a sleeper.

From RotoBaller

Richie James Nov 27 3:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James Jr. figures to see a decent amount of playing time in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. The team will be without Brandon Aiyukfor the game due to COVID-19, which means James and Kendrick Bourne will be the team's secondary receivers behind Deebo Samuel (hamstring), assuming Samuel is active for the game. Samuel is currently questionable but is expected to play. James has shown more of an ability to make plays this year than Bourne. James is averaging 17.5 yards per reception, while Bourne is averaging 13. The Rams have one of the league's best pass defenses, so 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens might be in for a rough day. Avoid starting James in fantasy this week. He can remain on waivers in the majority of leagues for now.

From RotoBaller

Kendrick Bourne Nov 27 3:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne should have a decent role in this week's game against the Los Angeles Rams. Unfortunately, he's been unable to do much when given the opportunity this year. He has just one touchdown this year and he's only topped 70 receiving yards on one occasion, despite seeing at least five targets in six different games. The Rams have one of the league's best pass defenses, which will make things difficult on the 49ers passing game as a whole. Deebo Samuel (hamstring) figures to be the team's top receiver in the game while Bourne and Richie James Jr. play secondary roles. Bourne isn't worth starting in any fantasy leagues and can be left on waivers.

From RotoBaller

Jerick McKinnon Nov 27 3:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has seen 30 carries over his last two games, but his workload is probably about to diminish significantly this week. The 49ers appear likely to have both Raheem Mostert (knee) and Tevin Coleman (knee) back in Week 12 as they face the Los Angeles Rams. Mostert figures to handle a sturdy workload while Coleman may be the secondary rusher behind him. McKinnon, meanwhile, will likely be relegated to just a few carries and around four or five targets in the passing game. He's tough to trust as a starting option in Week 12, but he's worth holding onto in deep leagues in case he continues to have a prominent role going forward.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Nov 27 3:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) appears to be trending towards making a return to action in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. His presence would be much-needed for the 49ers who will be without Brandon Aiyuk (COVID) in the game. Samuel has only played in four games this year. He earned at least five targets in each of the three games he played in which he wasn't on a pitch count. The Rams are a tough matchup, allowing just 200.6 passing yards per game this year. However, Samuel should lead the 49ers in targets in the game, giving him a good chance to make some plays. Start him as a WR3 in Week 12.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Nov 27 3:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) appears to be trending towards making his return to action in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. His timing is somewhat unfortunate as fellow running back Raheem Mostert (knee) appears on track to make his return this week as well. If both players are active for the game, Mostert will be the team's primary rusher while Coleman and Jerick McKinnon play secondary roles. Coleman is a worthwhile deep league stash as he could have value down the stretch this year, but for now, he shouldn't be trusted as a starting option.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Stills Nov 27 2:50pm ET

The Houston Texans are releasing wide receiver Kenny Stills on Friday to give him a chance to latch on with a contender. Stills will go on waivers. The Texans were open to dealing the 28-year-old at the trade deadline, but nothing ever came of it. He was inactive on Thursday for the team's Thanksgiving win over the Lions with a quadriceps injury and has just 11 receptions (19 targets) for 144 yards and a touchdown in 10 games this year for Houston. His departure could mean more work for Keke Coutee down the stretch, but it should remain Will Fuller V, Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb (when healthy) in three-receiver sets. Stills remains on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues, but he could be worth a deep-league flier if he lands in the right situation.

From RotoBaller

Nick Mullens Nov 27 2:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens is in a tough position going into Week 12. First off, he's facing a Los Angeles Rams Defense that has been one of the league's best against the pass. They've allowed just 200.6 passing yards per game this year, which ranks second in the league. Second, Mullens is going to be working with a depleted set of receivers in the game. While Deebo Samuel (hamstring) might be able to return for the game, the team will be without Brandon Aiyuk (COVID), who has been the team's most consistent receiving threat this year. The team also may not have Jordan Reed (illness) for the game. Mullens is a low-end QB2 option in two-quarterback leagues, but you might be better off looking for other alternatives.

From RotoBaller

Nick Foles Nov 27 2:50pm ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (hip) is listed as doubtful to face the division-rival Packers in Week 12. It means that Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder), who has practiced in full this week, will return to the starting gig under center after being benched for Foles in Week 3. Neither Foles nor Trubisky have been the answer for the Bears offense in 2020, but at least Trubisky offers fantasy managers in superflex leagues a bit more upside because of his rushing ability. No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson II should also benefit, as he showed some nice chemistry with Trubisky in 2019. Trubisky's fantasy stock is back on the rise as a low-end QB2, but he'll also be facing a Packers Defense that has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to signal-callers this season.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Nov 27 2:50pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr may be in the QB1 conversation this week against a bad Falcons Defense that ranks 29th against opposing quarterbacks. The Falcons defense has allowed the second-most passing yards, tied for the second-most passing touchdowns, and a passer rating of 105.9, which is the worst in the NFL. They have also allowed the most passing plays over 20 yards. Carr has been a very good road quarterback this season, completing about 68 percent of his passes, with nine touchdowns and just one interception. Carr has not put up the volume numbers this season to regularly be a QB1 but is worthy of consideration this week due to a favorable matchup.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Nov 27 2:50pm ET

It appears likely that San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (knee) will make his return to action in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. Mostert suffered a knee injury in Week 6 and was placed on Injured Reserve shortly after. While he's been out, the team has struggled to find consistent production in their running game. If Mostert is indeed activated prior to this week's game, he should see a heavy workload right out of the gate. The Rams have a tough defense, allowing just 91.3 rushing yards per game, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan should be able to put together a game plan that will allow Mostert to have success regardless. Start Mostert as a high-end RB2 this week.

From RotoBaller

Arizona Cardinals Nov 27 2:40pm ET

The Cardinals Defense has a favorable matchup in Week 12. They face a New England Patriots team that's averaged just 20.9 points per game this year. The Cardinals have allowed at least 28 points in four straight games, but they've faced far more productive offenses over that stretch. Against weak offenses, the Cardinals Defense has shown some value. They held the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys to 10 points each in back-to-back weeks. If you're in a bind, you could do worse than starting the Cardinals Defense in Week 12, but there's certainly a risk that the Patriots find a way to score 25 or more points in a game that could be more high-scoring than they're accustomed to.

From RotoBaller

Los Angeles Chargers Nov 27 2:40pm ET

The Los Angeles Chargers have ruled out cornerback Casey Hayward (groin) and defensive end Melvin Ingram (knee) for Week 12 against the Bills. Ingram has already spent time on Injured Reserve for a knee injury, so this is more bad news for the 31-year-old pass-rusher from South Carolina. He's totaled just 10 tackles, four QB hits and one interception in his seven games played this season. The Chargers secondary will be extra vulnerable without Hayward out there on Sunday, giving more upside to both Bills QB Josh Allen and top wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The Los Angeles defense should be faded this week in DFS and season-long leagues with both Ingram and Hayward out.

From RotoBaller

Andy Isabella Nov 27 2:30pm ET

If you're in a tight spot going into Week 12, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella could be a decent dart throw option for you. Isabella has been extremely quiet ever since his two-touchdown performance in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions. However, this week the Cardinals will be without Larry Fitzgerald (COVID) for the first time this year, which should open up extra opportunities for Isabella. The Cardinals will face the New England Patriots in Week 12. The Patriots Defense is known for focusing attention on No. 1 targets, which could mean DeAndre Hopkins will struggle in the game. Isabella is an extremely risky start, but he could see around five targets, which gives him a solid chance to make a few big plays and deliver a solid flex performance for deep league owners.

From RotoBaller

Indianapolis Colts Nov 27 2:30pm ET

The Colts Defense has a tough test this week against a good Titans offense. The Titans offense is led by Derrick Henry who rushed for over 100 yards on 5.4 yards per carry against the Colts defense in Week 10. Henry has at least 100 yards in six of 10 games and is averaging 4.8 yards per carry on the season. They struggled in stopping the run in Week 10 but were good against the pass. They held Ryan Tannehill to just 147 passing yards and a passer rating of 83.4. They ended up holding the Titans offense to just 17 points in their first meeting and will look for a similar performance this week. It will be a tall task, but the Colts defense should have starting consideration based on how well they have played for most of the season.

From RotoBaller