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Cowboys going virtual with COVID-19 infections on rise again

Sun Nov 28 12:34pm ET
AP Pro Football Writer

Related photo caption below

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, right, question officials after a pass interference call in overtime of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Dallas Cowboys are going virtual with meetings leading into Thursday's game at New Orleans with COVID-19 infections on the rise again within the team.

Right tackle Terence Steele was among the positive COVID-19 tests and won't play against the Saints, coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday.

Offensive line coach Joe Philbin and assistant strength and conditioning coach Kendall Smith, who missed the Thanksgiving Day loss to Las Vegas after testing positive, won't make the trip to New Orleans.

Three more members of the staff will be out against the Saints in strength and conditioning coordinator Harold Nash Jr., assistant offensive line coach Jeff Blasko and offensive assistant Scott Tolzien.

The Cowboys will be missing members of their staff because of the coronavirus for the third time in four games. Running backs coach Skip Peete was out against Atlanta on Nov. 14.

McCarthy said players were showing up at the facility Sunday for testing and to-go meals and to make sure their equipment was set for an in-person workout in the afternoon. He said there was a similar plan for Monday, the heaviest practice day before the trip to New Orleans.

The NFL implemented more stringent testing and other protocols for the days after Thanksgiving. McCarthy said the club had been testing daily since Saturday.

''We're part of the new protocol and I'm not sure if this is exactly what the league had intended starting on Thanksgiving Day,'' McCarthy said. ''We're in a cycle right now that we're paying close attention to it.''

McCarthy said receiver Amari Cooper was expected to rejoin the team Monday after missing the past two games following a positive COVID-19 test. Cooper isn't vaccinated and was required to be out at least 10 days.

This outbreak for the Cowboys is similar to one that hit in the preseason and early in the regular season. Right guard Zack Martin and defensive end Randy Gregory each missed a game after positive tests. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was out for a preseason game.

Coronavirus issues first resurfaced earlier this month when kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a game after entering the protocols.

Steele's absence should mean La'el Collins returns to his starting job at right tackle. Collins didn't get his job back after serving a five-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Collins did start once after his reinstatement because of left tackle Tyron Smith's ankle injury, but Smith returned against the Raiders. Steele, who took Smith's spot, returned to the right side.

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Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 12

Player Notes
Jordan Akins Nov 28 12:30pm ET
Jordan Akins

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins is a healthy scratch in Week 12 against the New York Jets for the second straight week. It appears the 29-year-old has been passed on the depth chart by rookie Brevin Jordan with Pharaoh Brown back to full health. The Texans also have Antony Auclair at the position. Akins was already an afterthought in fantasy, as are the rest of Houston's tight ends for that matter, and has caught just 21 passes for 184 yards and no touchdowns on 28 targets in his nine games played (three starts) this season. The Texans offense could actually make some noise against the Jets this weekend, but it's hard to recommend any Houston tight end in fantasy given their lack of explosive plays on offense in 2021.

From RotoBaller

Corey Davis Nov 28 12:20pm ET
Corey Davis

New York Jets wide receiver Corey Davis (groin), who was downgraded to doubtful on Saturday, is officially inactive for Week 12 against the Houston Texans. It's a blow to the Jets offense with rookie quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) finally returning from his PCL sprain. Davis and Wilson had developed some nice chemistry earlier in the season. Rookie Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole should operate in three-wide sets for Gang Green in Week 12 against a Texans defense that has surrendered 269.7 receiving yards per game this year. With Davis beat up of late, Moore has really stepped up and taken advantage, catching 18 of 25 targets for 269 yards and four touchdowns in the last three games. The rookie will have WR2 upside with Davis out.

From RotoBaller

Nico Collins Nov 28 12:20pm ET
Nico Collins

Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Nico Collins (hip) is active for Week 12 against the New York Jets after being questionable on the team's final injury report. Collins popped up on the injury report late in the week, but his hip injury wasn't serious enough to keep him from playing on Sunday. The Jets defense allows the second-most receiving yards per game (296.7) in 2021, so the Texans offense could actually find some explosive plays down the field this week. The 22-year-old has been a fixture in three-receiver sets, but he has only 16 receptions for 200 yards and no touchdowns on 24 targets in his seven games played this season. In a Houston offense that just isn't very explosive, it's hard to recommend any receiver not named Brandin Cooks in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

J.J. Taylor Nov 28 12:10pm ET
J.J. Taylor

New England Patriots running back J.J. Taylor is a healthy scratch for the Week 12 contest against the Tennessee Titans. Running backs Damien Harris (neck) and Rhamondre Stevenson (knee), who were questionable for Sunday, are both active and should share most of New England's backfield touches against the Titans. It will be Taylor's second straight week being a healthy scratch with New England's backfield fully healthy. The 23-year-old will only be worth a pickup in deeper PPR leagues again if one of Harris or Stevenson miss time with an injury. Brandon Bolden will be the No. 3 change-of-pace, pass-catching back on Sunday, but he'll be a desperation play in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Jonnu Smith Nov 28 12:10pm ET
Jonnu Smith

New England Patriots tight ends Hunter Henry (neck) and Jonnu Smith (shoulder) are both active for the Week 12 battle against the Tennessee Titans, as expected. Both players were listed as questionable on the final injury report but were expected to play after practicing all week. Henry and Smith will continue to split playing time at the position on Sunday. Henry has been much more productive than Smith this year, catching 33 passes for 378 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith has just 22 receptions for 210 yards and one score in 10 games. There hasn't been much volume for New England's tight ends, but Henry is the preferred red-zone target and will remain a low-end, touchdown-dependent TE1.

From RotoBaller

Ke'Shawn Vaughn Nov 28 12:00pm ET
Ke'Shawn Vaughn

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea (knee) will play against the Colts on Sunday, a lift for this Tampa Bay defense as it tries to slow down Colts running back Jonathan Taylor. With how Taylor has played lately, starting the Buccaneers defense in fantasy isn't the slam-dunk it usually is, but fantasy managers can feel better about it. Meanwhile, running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn is a healthy scratch after playing the past two weeks. He took a season-high nine offensive snaps in Week 11 and had three carries for four yards. He has no impact on fantasy football.

From RotoBaller

Geoff Swaim Nov 28 12:00pm ET
Geoff Swaim

Tennessee Titans tight end Geoff Swaim (concussion) is active for the Week 12 game against the New England Patriots. Swaim only has 19 receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 26 targets in 10 games for the Titans this year, but Tennessee is desperate for playmakers with receivers A.J. Brown (chest), Julio Jones (hamstring) and Marcus Johnson (hamstring) all on Injured Reserve. Swaim could be more involved in the passing game after sitting out last week, but the Titans have also involved tight ends MyCole Pruitt and Anthony Firkser plenty this year. Swaim will have a little bit more appeal in fantasy with the Titans lacking offensive weapons, but he'll still be a touchdown-dependent TE2.

From RotoBaller

Rhamondre Stevenson Nov 28 12:00pm ET
Rhamondre Stevenson

New England Patriots running backs Damien Harris (neck) and Rhamondre Stevenson (knee) are both active for the Week 12 meeting with the Tennessee Titans. Both players had questionable tags on the final injury report but were expected to suit up. With New England having its full stable of running backs available, J.J. Taylor was made a healthy scratch. Harris has been sharing more reps with the impressive Stevenson since he returned from a concussion, which has made him more of a low-end RB2 in fantasy as long as Stevenson continues to have a bigger role. The Titans have also allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game (97.2) in 2021, so the Patriots may find running lanes harder to come by on Sunday. Stevenson will be on the RB2/3 borderline and has looked more explosive than Harris in recent weeks.

From RotoBaller

Jonnu Smith Nov 28 11:53am ET
Jonnu Smith

New England Patriots TE Jonnu Smith (shoulder) is active for Week 12's game against the Tennessee Titans.

Fantasy Spin: Smith had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week. He only has four catches for 34 yards over his last three games and is not a recommended option in any fantasy format.

From TheHuddle

Hunter Henry Nov 28 11:53am ET
Hunter Henry

New England Patriots TE Hunter Henry (neck) is active for Week 12's game against the Tennessee Titans.

Fantasy Spin: Henry had been listed as questionable on the injury report but participated in all three of the team's practice sessions during the week on a limited basis, so it is no surprise that he is active for this afternoon's contest. He has been a popular red-zone target for New England this season and can be viewed as a low-end TE1 option in deeper fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Cordarrelle Patterson Nov 28 11:53am ET
Cordarrelle Patterson

Atlanta Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle) is officially active for the Week 12 game.

Fantasy Spin: Patterson has been one of the main options in the offense for the Falcons this season and should see plenty of touches in the running and passing game. He can be a No. 2 running back or flex option in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Saquon Barkley Nov 28 11:53am ET
Saquon Barkley

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley (ankle) is officially active for the Week 12 game.

Fantasy Spin: Barkley appeared to receive a limited workload last week but likely will be more involved in the offense this week with a new play caller. He should be a starting option in all fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Kadarius Toney Nov 28 11:50am ET
Kadarius Toney

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) is active for Sunday's game against the Eagles, while wide receiver Kadarius Toney (quad) is out, as previously reported. Barkley saw 12 touches last week for 56 yards and definitely doesn't look like Barkley was expected to look, but he should find a little more space against the Eagles, who allow the ninth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. You should go ahead and play Barkley in all your redraft leagues, though he's someone you might avoid in DFS contests based on how he looked last week.

From RotoBaller

Auden Tate Nov 28 11:50am ET
Auden Tate

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate (thigh) has officially been ruled out for the Week 12 contest against the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Tate was doubtful heading into Sunday's game, so it's no surprise that he'll miss yet another game. The 24-year-old has not seen action since Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens and hasn't been on the fantasy radar at all in 2021 while working as the fourth wideout behind rookie Ja'Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins in a loaded Cincy receiving corps. With Tate out again, Mike Thomas and Stanley Morgan will fight for snaps as the No. 4 pass-catcher against Pittsburgh.

From RotoBaller

Sterling Shepard Nov 28 11:43am ET
Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants have declared WR Kadarius Toney, TE Kaden Smith, FB Cullen Gillaspia, TE Kyle Rudolph, WR Sterling Shepard and OG Wes Martin inactive for Week 12.

From TheHuddle

Joe Haden Nov 28 11:43am ET
Joe Haden

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared CB Joe Haden, LB Buddy Johnson, QB Dwayne Haskins, DL Isaiah Buggs and TE Kevin Rader inactive for Week 12.

From TheHuddle

Cre'Von LeBlanc Nov 28 11:43am ET
Cre'Von LeBlanc

The Houston Texans have declared WR Davion Davis, TE Jeff Driskel, QB Deshaun Watson, TE Jordan Akins, CB Cre'Von LeBlanc and S Justin Reid inactive for Week 12.

From TheHuddle

Marlon Mack Nov 28 11:43am ET
Marlon Mack

The Indianapolis Colts have declared RB Marlon Mack, LB Ben Banogu, OT Julie'n Davenport, WR Mike Strachan and OG Will Fries inactive for Week 12.

From TheHuddle

Rashaan Melvin Nov 28 11:43am ET
Rashaan Melvin

The Carolina Panthers have declared TE Colin Thompson, WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LB Kamal Martin, CB Rashaan Melvin, S Kenny Robinson and QB Matt Barkley inactive for Week 12.

From TheHuddle

Matthew Stafford Nov 28 11:40am ET
Matthew Stafford

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (arm, back) doesn't have an official injury designation ahead of the Week 12 meeting against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. However, the veteran signal-caller has reportedly been dealing with "chronic pain," specifically in his back and elbow. Nonetheless, Stafford has undoubtedly demonstrated his toughness and has played through various ailments over the years, so fantasy managers should continue to start him, at least until he shows signs of slowing down. Yet, the veteran has taken a beating this season, and Sean McVay will need to figure things out if he hopes to keep him under center, which could include more work moving ahead for Darrell Henderson Jr.

From RotoBaller