Week 5 COVID Rescheduling

The Situation

At the time of writing this article on Thursday night, the NFL has rescheduled two Week 5 games. First, the NFL has moved the Patriots-Broncos game from 4:25 PM ET on Sunday to 5:00 PM ET on Monday. Then, the Titans-Bills contest will now occur on Tuesday at 7:00 PM ET, instead of Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.

I discussed the Titans’ COVID situation in a previous article, which I won’t rehash too much here. Since then, the NFL and NFLPA have continued investigating the Titans’ violations of the COVID-19 protocols. I expect the Titans to receive a significant penalty based on some of the accusations, including multiple unauthorized workouts among various position groups. The Titans will likely forfeit multiple draft picks, receive hefty fines, and have suspensions in their coaching staff and front office.

As for the Patriots, their issues stemmed from Cam Newton’s positive COVID-19 test last week. Eventually, defensive tackle Bill Murray and star cornerback Stephon Gilmore also tested positive. However, the Patriots have had no further spread. Their game was only pushed back one day out of an abundance of caution.

Patriots-Broncos Fantasy Impact

At this point, I don’t believe this game is in any danger of cancellation or postponement. There have been some COVID-19 cases previously in the season, and those cases haven’t threatened any games. Only the Titans’ massive outbreak forced a postponement, and it seems like the Titans represent a uniquely bad situation. 

I would assume that all fantasy players from this contest will be available for Week 5 games. Luckily, this game now takes place before the regular Monday night game between the Saints and Chargers. If we hear no further news from the Patriots by Sunday morning lineup lock, I would advise you to proceed to play these players in your lineups as usual, although having a backup from the Monday night game wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Also, there aren’t many vital fantasy players in this game, with Broncos’ running back Melvin Gordon likely the best option from either team.

Titans-Bills Fantasy Impact

Unfortunately, we’re not as lucky with the Titans and Bills. This game has some “must-start” players, including Josh Allen and Derrick Henry. With the game on Tuesday, there is no opportunity to pivot to any other players if the NFL decides to cancel the game on Monday night. I also don’t believe that we’re going to be 100% sure that this game will happen by the time lineups lock on Sunday morning.

If your commissioner doesn’t offer some backup or substitution option, I would have to recommend sitting all players from this game unless you must risk it. I would likely risk playing Henry over most replacements, and you might have to try to play Allen or Tannehill in a superflex league. Outside of those players, I would assume this game will not happen and plan your lineup accordingly. I’ll believe this game will occur when I see it.

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.


Columbia SPS Sports Management graduate.

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