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.''
August 5th: ADP Value
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been cleared to play football after a COVID-19 test resulted in a false positive. Stafford commented, "I want to play football. I want to be out there", in addressing a situation he referred to as "scary". The veteran quarterback was on his way to one of the best seasons of his professional career last year, passing for 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns in only eight games. But a fractured back ended his season Stafford and his fantasy value will be weighed down by the specter of that injury heading into fantasy drafts.
For the second day in a row, the Green Bay Packers have added a wide receiver. This time, it's former Seahawks wideout Malik Turner, who had 15 catches for 245 yards last season. Turner's much more likely to play a role on this team than the other addition, Travis Fulgham, but he still faces an uphill battle to be a fantasy-relevant part of this roster in 2020. Still, Green Bay is fairly shallow at receiver, so Turner could end up as the team's No. 3 wide receiver by the time the regular season rolls around.
Tennessee Titans LB Vic Beasley (undisclosed) was placed on the Non-Football Injury list Tuesday, Aug. 11. LB Reggie Gilbert was waived.
Free-agent DB Marqui Christian (Rams) reportedly signed an undisclosed contract with the Chicago Bears on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Miami Dolphins RB Matt Breida is expected to receive 35 percent of the touches in the backfield, according to beat writer Cameron Wolfe.
Fantasy Spin: That seems a bit low. Wolfe expects Howard to receive 50 percent, Breida 35 percent and the remaining 15 percent goes to the field. That may be true for rushes, but Howard doesn't catch the ball often, and Breida specializes there. Breida is still a low-end RB3 in PPR.
Miami Dolphins RB Jordan Howard is expected to carry the rushing load in 2020, in the opinion of beat writer Cameron Wolfe. Wolfe expects Howard to receive 50 percent of the backfield touches.
Fantasy Spin: That would make Howard a low-end RB2 option, but he has very minimal PPR luster. Due to this, that projection seems high. He'll slip to an RB3 in PPR.
Free-agent S Tavon Wilson (Lions) signed an undisclosed deal with the Indianapolis Colts Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Jacksonville Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue has been in contact with general manager David Caldwell, but it's unknown whether he'll report to camp.
Cincinnati Bengals CB Trae Waynes (pectoral) is seeking a second opinion on a pectoral injury that has the initial fear of a two-month absence.
The Green Bay Packers have claimed wide receiver Travis Fulgham off waivers from the Detroit Lions. A sixth-round pick out of Old Dominion last season, Fulgham appeared in three games for Detroit, playing 42 offensive snaps against Green Bay in December but not recording a target. With Devin Funchess opting out and a top-heavy receiving corps, it makes sense for Green Bay to add someone at the position, but Fulgham's a longshot to make any kind of impact on this team in 2020.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton is entering the final season of a five-year, $65 million contract. 'If this is my last year (in Indianapolis), I will give it all I've got,' Hilton said recently in an interview with an Indianapolis TV station.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton will turn 31 in November, has missed a total of eight games over the last two seasons due to injuries and is no longer a sure-fire WR/WR2 consideration. Value him as a low-end WR2 with new QB Philip Rivers at the helm.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green has dedicated much of his offseason training to injury avoidance, including working with a former acquaintance, Reza Hesam, who co-founded Adapt Physical Therapy, which focuses on injury prevention in addition to working on performance.
Fantasy Spin: Green just turned 32 and if he's able to finish the Bengals' Week 1 game, it'll be his first full contest in nearly two calendar years (October of 2018). With all of the current concerns, Green enters 2020 as a high-end WR3 with upside.
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr is poised to have the best season of his career as he'll be playing with the best supporting cast of his career, including RB Josh Jacobs, TE Darren Waller and rookie WR Henry Ruggs III, in the opinion of NFl.com analyst Adam Rank.
Fantasy Spin: Carr has ranked as a QB1 is only one (2016) of his first six seasons and while we expect to see his numbers improve after a poor 2019, he still figures to be a mid-level QB2 at best in 2020.
At one point, it looked like Washington quarterback Alex Smith would never step onto a football field again after a devastating leg injury in 2018, but head coach Ron Rivera says that if Smith is healthy, he'll have a chance to compete for the starting job. That's bad news for second-year passer Dwayne Haskins, who struggled as a rookie. Haskins not winning the starting job this year would signal bad news for his future in Washington and could suggest that the team will be looking for a new quarterback in 2021, as Smith's not the long term answer at this point in his career. This is a quarterback room to avoid in re-draft leagues this season.
The New England Patriots have signed former Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller to a one-year deal. Miller missed all of 2019 after tearing his ACL and MCL in preseason, but the veteran back has shown some explosiveness in the past and adds important insurance to this backfield, especially with Sony Michel (foot) not a lock to be healthy Week 1. Miller's been good before, but he's likely just keeping the seat warm for Michel and even if Michel does miss time, Miller's likely to be part of a committee approach in New England. There's not a ton of reason to be excited about this signing for fantasy purposes, but Miller could be worth a late-round dart throw in deeper formats.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (foot) isn't a lock to be recovered by Week 1, putting a major question mark beside the back who most expected to lead this New England backfield in rushing attempts. The team signed veteran Lamar Miller as insurance on Monday, further complicating things and suggesting that Michel's injury issues will bleed over to the regular season. You almost have to be more wary of drafting Michel than you already were with this news, and you already should have been fairly low on him. He's not undraftable, but he's become a huge risk without a lot of upside.
Jacksonville Jaguars TE James O'Shaughnessy (undisclosed) may be activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list this week, according to head coach Doug Marrone.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle has not made much progress in contract extension talks with the 49ers at this point, according to his agent.
Fantasy Spin: Kittle has been one of the top tight ends in the NFL over the last few seasons and will continue to be a focal point in the passing game for the 49ers. He should be selected early in fantasy drafts and will be a weekly starting option.
Free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) likely will be the No. 3 defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals if he signs with them.