At this point, I’m at a loss for words. Typically when I discuss COVID-19 and its effects on players, I try to sympathize with them as much as I can. I know that you come to me and DFF to read about fantasy football, and I’ll give you that advice. I’m here to help your fantasy teams. However, I always like to make sure we treat the NFL players and coaching staffs as people and remember that they’re human beings too.
In this article, I will have none of that sympathy. Recently, NFL reporter Paul Kuharsky dropped a bombshell report, detailing multiple violations of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. Last week, I wrote about the Titans and their COVID-19 outbreak, which forced their Week 4 game versus the Steelers to be postponed. When writing that article, I expected the Titans to contain this outbreak and for them to be ready to play their Week 5 contest versus the Bills.
However, as Kuharsky’s article said, the Titans failed to apply the NFL’s social distancing mandate. They gathered on September 30 for an unauthorized in-person workout, despite multiple positive tests on the team. Quite frankly, this behavior was reckless and unacceptable, and the Titans should face extreme discipline from the NFL.
Unfortunately, the NFL didn’t add the possibility of a forfeit to their league rules until recently. Since those new guidelines didn’t come until after this workout had already occurred, it seems unlikely that the Titans will forfeit their Week 5 game against the Bills. However, I expect the NFL to come down hard on the Titans, with unprecedented fines and losses of multiple draft picks.
Additionally, I have no idea what the NFL will do about that Week 5 game. They probably can’t force the Titans to forfeit, but they don’t have any room in the schedule to move it later into the season. Also, the Bills play their Week 6 game on Thursday night, so they can’t push this game back a day or two. Everything with the Titans is entirely up in the air right now.
As usual, there is little dynasty impact from these week-to-week situations. The main issue is if any fantasy-relevant players contract COVID-19 from these workouts. The Titans recently placed Corey Davis on the COVID-19 reserve list, which means he will miss multiple weeks. Davis had flashed in place of top receiver A.J. Brown, and he now loses any further chance to show his abilities. Davis is probably the biggest dynasty loser from all of this, although I don’t have much sympathy for Davis if he attended this workout.
We also know that Ryan Tannehill was at the workout, although he hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19 yet. Either way, I wouldn’t have significant concerns with Tannehill, Derrick Henry, Jonnu Smith, or any other Titans. Like the Marlins in MLB, the Titans will eventually return to the field and play some games in 2020. Just hold your Titans’ players for now and wait for them to come back.
In redraft leagues, the Titans now present a nightmare scenario for fantasy owners. I have no idea when the Titans will play games again and how or if their games will be made up. I don’t expect them to play in Week 5, so you need to plan to be without all Titans and Bills players this week.
If you have a losing record, you might need to try and trade players like Derrick Henry, Jonnu Smith, A.J. Brown. I have no confidence in the Titans’ organization to clean up this mess anytime soon, and you could fall out of the playoff race by the time they do. This situation is a disaster for redraft leagues. I feel bad for anyone affected by the Titans’ poor judgment, but unfortunately, I gave you the best advice I can at this time.
Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.