Right after I hit "send" on Monday's edition of the Fantasy Football Today Newsletter -- literally minutes later -- I got the notification on my phone that J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be out for at least Week 12 against the Steelers. Not a great way to kick off Week 12, but that's the reality of the 2020 NFL season.
It's particularly bad timing for Dobbins, who finally looked like he was breaking out of the committee for the Ravens. Most players who have tested positive have been back within a week or two, but that obviously isn't a guarantee for everyone -- and it isn't the primary concern for Dobbins and Ingram at this point, obviously. However, we're kind of in wait-and-see mode as far as when they might return. Dobbins should obviously still be on your roster -- and added anywhere he is available -- but Ingram's diminished role already meant he didn't really have a place on most Fantasy rosters.
Gus Edwards figures to see a ton of work with Ingram and Dobbins out, while Justice Hill should also see an increased role. Edwards has played 16 games with at least 10 carries and has rushed for 1,212 yards with 4.9 yards per carry, so there's no question he can be an effective runner for the Ravens. His Fantasy impact is a bit muted by the fact that he has just five receptions across those 16 games, but he's going to be a pretty good bet for 80-plus yards and a touchdown, even in a tough matchup against the Steelers -- don't forget, the Ravens racked up 265 rushing yards against the Steelers back in Week 8.
Of course, that's all if the game gets played at all. It is presently scheduled for Thursday evening, but Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that the game is at risk of being postponed if there are further positive tests among the Ravens, who have already had five players and four members of team staff test positive this week. This will be an ongoing situation we'll have to monitor, in addition to all of the other NFL news you have to keep up with. The FFT Newsletter is a great way to keep up with everything, as we collect everything you need to know from around the NFL and our Fantasy staff, delivered right to your inbox each morning -- subscribe here, and keep reading for the rest of Tuesday's edition here.
So, that was the big breaking news from Monday, and Dave Richard and I talked about the fallout in an emergency episode of Fantasy Football Today if you want to check that out here, along with Heath Cummings' breakdown of the news. Of course, it wasn't the only news Monday, and we've got our usual Tuesday content here for you as well. Head over to Jamey Eisenberg's breakdown of the top waiver-wire priorities for Week 12 at each position to see who you should be adding this week. But first, I've got answers to some of your biggest questions for Week 12 and a breakdown of the rest of the news from Monday as well as winners and losers from the Rams win over the alarmingly off-kilter Buccaneers.
And, if you're looking to make a last-second trade for the playoff run, check out Dave's Trade Values Chart here and send me your questions at Chris.Towers@CBSinteractive.com with the subject line #AskFFT for Wednesday's mailbag.
Week 12's Biggest Questions
You've got questions, I've got answers. Here are my thoughts on some of our readers' biggest questions heading into Week 12:
- Josh: Who is the QB I should add to replace Matt Ryan with in Week 12?
Well, if Hill is out there, he's the obvious choice. Otherwise, I'll be looking for Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins, Daniel Jones, or Carson Wentz, in that order. There's certainly upside with Jones and Wentz given their skill sets and matchups, but both have also made it abundantly clear that there's a ton of downside thanks to their turnover problems.
- Jordan: What are you doing with Alvin Kamara besides panicking?
I'm not even panicking. Was it discouraging to see him split carries essentially three ways with Hill and Latavaius Murray? Sure. Was it especially discouraging to see him go without a catch for the first time in his NFL career? Absolutely! But this is Alvin Kamara we're talking about here. Maybe the switch from Drew Brees to Hill will ultimately prove to be a devastating one for his Fantasy value, but I'm going to need to see a lot more than one game before I start worrying about him. Maybe Hill's scrambling ability means he won't look for Kamara as much as Brees did. However, the Saints also like to get Kamara involved in the passing game outside of just dump-offs, and you have to think they'll get that mixed in for Week 12 and beyond. He's still a top-five RB in my eyes.
- Michael: Is Gus Edwards vs PIT worth a start over Chris Carson just in case he can't go on Monday?
I think Edwards is going to be a high-end No. 2 RB in non-PPR leagues, but his value is a lot more difficult to ascertain in PPR. In eight games where he has at least 15 carries -- which I would expect to be the floor for him -- he has just one catch. He'll get plenty of carries, and is a pretty good bet for 80 rushing yards and a touchdown, but if he doesn't find the end zone, the ceiling is pretty low without a passing-game role. That makes him more like a fringe No. 2 back in PPR. The problem is, since the Seahawks don't play until Monday, their first practice won't come until Thursday afternoon, likely just hours before Edwards locks in and when you'll probably be preoccupied. It seems like Carson should return, but if he doesn't get a full practice in before Edwards kicks off, I would probably just go with Edwards. Unless you want to be scouring Twitter during Thanksgiving dinner/your turkey/pie-induced nap.
- Scott: Anxiously awaiting Austin Ekeler's return and back in my lineup. Chargers seem to be keeping his status under wraps. What have you heard about his return, and do you anticipate an immediate impact?
Ekeler has been posting videos of himself working out, most recently saying he feels like he's in "mid-season form" while doing squats Monday. That's a good sign given that it was a hamstring injury, and we've seen some videos of him running, too. However, it still seems like Week 12 will be too soon for him to be back on the field, seeing as he hasn't even practiced yet. I would bet on Week 13 at the earliest. I imagine he'll be an impact player as soon as he is healthy, but will probably split snaps with Kalen Ballage when healthy. Of course, Ekeler has been an impact player while splitting snaps before, so I expect he'll be back in Fantasy lineups as soon as he returns for the Chargers.
- @Shanahanigans1: With his playoff schedule, what is the lowest WR you would take for Dalvin Cook?
I took some questions about Cook's playoff schedule a few weeks ago, and my answer hasn't changed: I don't care about it. Find me a wide receiver who is as valuable as a running back who is pretty much guaranteed to get 20-plus carries and 3-5 targets every week with a goal-line role. I don't think there is one, even against a tough matchup. Maybe Davante Adams. Don't trade him unless someone obviously overpays. Fantasy football isn't always a simple game, but trading Dalvin Cook because you are worried about matchups is overthinking things.
- @FantasyAlt: Thoughts on Kenyan Drake ROS?
I think he's going to continue to be the guy he has been so far: The lead back for the Cardinals with a limited passing game role. A No. 2 Fantasy RB, one you're probably just riding with him in your lineup every week and just living with the ups and downs. Drake and Todd Gurley are like the Spider-Man-pointing-at-Spider-Man meme. Nick Chubb, Josh Jacobs, Ronald Jones, Damien Harris, Gurley and Drake are like the Spider-Man-pointing-at-Spider-Man meme in the multi-verse. I don't know if that analogy tracks, but I promise you, it makes sense. One thing that is worth noting is Drake has played 52% and 49% of the snaps in Weeks 10 and 11, after playing at least 65% in each game before the injury. That's certainly not ideal, but he has 32 touches in those two games while Chase Edmonds hasn't really seen more touches, so it doesn't seem like too much of a concern right now.
- @Billlllllllk: Has Diontae Johnson reached "Start-No-Matter-What" status?
I think he has to be there now. He's played at least 75% of snaps in seven games this season, averaging 11.1 targets, 6.8 catches and 77 yards, with four touchdowns in those games. The inconsistency has been frustrating, but that's mostly just been because of injuries. When healthy, Johnson is Ben Roethlisberger's clear No. 1 option, and there are stretches of each game when Ben doesn't seem to have eyes for anyone else. He isn't the second coming of Antonio Brown or anything, he might be the Steelers version of Julian Edelman. That's been a must-start WR for years.
- @mangelo3312: Is D.J. Moore a must-start now?
I've been bull-ish on Moore all season. Partially, that's because I was super high on him coming into the season, but it's mostly because I'm just not that concerned about inconsistency when it comes to my wide receivers. The only wide receivers who aren't inconsistent are the truly elite guys, and Moore isn't that. He's probably in the next tier down. This is now six games out of 11 with 90 yards, and though it hasn't been what we expected, Moore is still producing a ton. Will there be more bad games? Sure; that's part of life for receivers who rely on the deep ball for much of their production. Just ask Adam Thielen or Will Fuller. But the weekly upside makes him too valuable to sit.
- Hugh: I'm in need of help at TE in a PPR standard league. Given his injury history and the way the Eagles are struggling, is it safe to drop Zach Ertz?
This is probably exactly the wrong time to drop Ertz, who could be back from IR in Week 12. I'm not 100% sure he'll be his peak self again -- the Eagles offensive woes make me want to bet against it, even if we hadn't seen Ertz struggle early on. However, given how bad the tight end position is right now league-wide, you probably have to view him as a top-12 option down the stretch. I'm not sure there's anyone available on waivers -- including Dallas Goedert -- I'd rather have than a healthy Ertz down the stretch.
Injuries, News and Notes
Here's the biggest news you need to know from and Tuesday:
- Adam Thielen was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list -- It could be because Thielen tested positive for coronavirus or whether he was a close contact, which would obviously mean very different things for his Week 12 availability. If Thielen was a close contact to someone who tested positive, he could still be cleared to play Sunday if he has five days of negative tests; if he tested positive, it almost certainly means he's out for Week 12, so we'll wait for clarification.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster (foot) did not practice Monday -- Full disclosure: Nobody on the Steelers practiced Monday, as they released an estimated practice report that had Smith-Schuster as a non-participant. That isn't quite the same thing as him actually missing practice, but it's not a great sign. Smith-Schuster suffered his injury Sunday stepping on, of all things, a penalty flag on the field, and while it isn't considered a serious injury, the short turnaround before Thursday night's game could make it hard for him to come back.
- John Brown (ankle) did not practice Tuesday -- Tuesday is typically a light day of activity, even for teams coming off their byes, so we went get Brown's first official practice designation until Wednesday. However, it does look like there's a decent chance he could miss Week 12 against the Chargers, which would make Cole Beasley an attractive option in what could be a shootout. Gabriel Davis is also an intriguing sleeper.
- Lamical Perine suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 11 -- Just as the Jets were going to start giving Perine a larger role, he's likely headed to IR. That doesn't mean his season is over, but it does mean most Fantasy players can drop him. Even in a best-case scenario Perine wouldn't be able to play until Week 15 at the earliest, and there's no guarantee he'll be back that soon. We're at the point of the season where an injury you might not think twice about early on could mean dropping a player. Frank Gore should see a lot of work for the Jets moving forward, and as soon as you're done groaning and rolling your eyes, you might want to put a waiver claim in for him if you need running back help. You're hoping for 60 yards and a touchdown most weeks, but he should get 15-plus touches to try to get there every week Perine is out.
- Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) is unlikely to play in Week 12 -- McCaffrey is "week to week" still, per head coach Matt Rhule, which does not make it sound like he's going to play this week. Mike Davis figures to make his ninth start of the season Sunday and remains a viable No. 2 Fantasy RB, especially in PPR. On the bright side, it does sound like Teddy Bridgewater has a pretty good chance of playing in a pretty good matchup against the Vikings, after being ruled out just before game-time in Week 11.
- Julio Jones (hamstring) could be a game-time decision -- This injury has been nagging for a while, and though he was able to play through it intermittently in Week 11, it looks like his status for Week 12 is very much in the air. The Falcons play the Raiders Sunday, and they may not make a decision until then, regardless of whether he practices throughout the week, as coach Raheem Morris said Monday through the team's official site. "Obviously, we'll take Julio to a game-time decision and give him the best opportunity in order to go out there and be able to compete, as long as he's healthy."
- Joe Burrow's knee injury is more serious than initially thought -- He tore the MCL as well as the ACL in his left knee, and there is additional damage to the knee as well. He'll have to wait a few weeks for swelling to go down before he is able to undergo surgery, and is likely looking at at least a 10-month recovery timetable, if not longer. That puts his status for the start of the 2021 season in jeopardy.
- The Bears aren't sure if Nick Foles (hip) or Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) will be able to play -- There's not a ton to get excited about with either one, but for my money, I'd like to see Trubisky back under center if he's healthy enough to play. He at least brings a different element to the offense with his athleticism, but it might be Tyler Bray playing QB for the Bears this week instead of either. It can always get worse, and a 29-year-old with six career NFL pass attempts -- five of which came two weeks ago -- is what worse looks like in this instance. I'll still be starting Allen Robinson as a WR3 and David Montgomery as an RB2 (if he's able to clear the concussion protocol coming off the bye), but I wouldn't be excited about either. I would be pretty excited to start the Packers DST.
Before waivers run tonight, check out Jamey Eisenberg's Waiver Wire priorities column, with the best targets for every position. Here are Jamey's top-five targets for Week 12:
- Taysom Hill (62%) -- With Hill, it was always going to come down to whether he could be good enough as a passer to be a good Fantasy starter, and in his first start, he definitely was. Sure, it was against the Falcons defense, but you don't need him to replicate his 18-for-23 for 233 yards performance to be a Fantasy option, given his rushing abilities. If you need a QB streamer, Hill should be a good one for at least the next two weeks, possibly longer.
- Gus Edwards (42%) -- With Dobbins and Ingram out, Edwards becomes the obvious top pickup if you need a running back for Week 12. If you need a running back for Week 13, he might be a pretty good pick up, too. After that, it's a lot harder to say, which is why you may not want to empty your coffers in FAB to make sure you get him. However, if you are desperate for a win this week, Edwards is the best RB you're going to find.
- James White (45%) -- The Patriots will likely activate Sony Michel for Week 12 to help make up for the loss of Rex Burkhead, but we know White is going to have to pick up most of the slack in the passing game. Burkhead and White have averaged 7.4 targets per game, and nearly all of those should go to White moving forward, which probably means around five catches per game for the rest of the season, if not a little more on average. Add in maybe five carries, and you're probably looking at a No. 2 RB for PPR leagues down the stretch. And while there is a general perception that pass-catching backs are more high-floor than high-ceiling players, White had six games with at least 18 PPR points back in 2018, plus another in the playoffs. There's upside there, too.
- Michael Pittman (43%) -- Since coming back from his injury in Week 8, Pittman has played 58%, 87%, 81% and 80% of the Colts snaps. Over the last three games, since he returned to a full-time role, he has 223 yards and a touchdown on 14 catches, while adding a 21-yard run. He's clearly the Colts No. 1 WR, and though that isn't as valuable a role on that team as it is on most other teams, given how often the Colts throw to their running backs and tight ends, he's shown enough to think he can be a No. 3 Fantasy WR moving forward, at least.
- Deebo Samuel (50%) -- It took Samuel a few games to get going once he made his season debut, but he was playing well before his hamstring injury, racking up 131 yards on 11 catches with a touchdown in Weeks 6 and 7 before the injury. Brandon Aiyuk might be the better play at this point, but with George Kittle out, Samuel should have plenty of opportunities to make an impact, and he's a talented playmaker with the ball in his hands. There is top-24 WR upside here.
Credit to the Buccaneers for managing to keep this one somewhat close, but they were badly outplayed on both sides of the ball. That's two concerning offensive performances in three games in the Antonio Brown era.
- Winner: Robert Woods -- It has been a somewhat disappointing season for Woods, who entered Monday on pace for his lowest target total since 2017, and his lowest per-game pace since 2016. A team-high 15 targets led to a team-high 12 receptions and a season-high 130 yards to go along with a touchdown. Hopefully this is the start of a big close to the season for Woods and for the Rams offense, though there isn't a must-start Fantasy option -- or even a "should-start," frankly -- on this offense outside of Woods and Cooper Kupp.
- Loser: Tom Brady -- Brady is supposed to be the one person who would benefit from the Buccaneers plethora of weapons. It might be frustrating trying to rely on Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, or Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown for your Fantasy team every week, but that collection of talent was supposed to make Brady's life easier. Instead, we've seen one brilliant performance -- 341 yards and three touchdowns in Week 10 against the Panthers -- and two real duds in three games since Brown made his debut with the team. Both came against tough matchups in the Saints and Rams, but Brady wasn't supposed to be a matchup-dependent guy with these kinds of weapons. It's still a small sample size, so I don't want to draw any sweeping conclusions, but it's increasingly looking like the addition of Brown was an answer in search of a problem, and Brady's 13 targets to him Monday amounted to just 57 yards, so it's hard to argue he's making much of a positive impact yet. Maybe things will turn around moving forward -- the Week 13 bye should help -- but right now, you can't feel confident starting anyone in Tampa's offense right now. Imagine saying that back in the summer. Imagine saying that three weeks ago.
- What you might have missed: Brady was awful Monday, especially on deeper attempts, as he went 1 for 9 with two interceptions on passes that traveled 15-plus yards past the line of scrimmage. Brown did get his hands on what could've been a 40-plus yard catch in the third quarter, which didn't help. Brady is 10 for 24 on passes 15-plus yards down the field with three interceptions over the past three weeks. That part of his game should improve at least a little, but he's completed just 41.8% of those passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions for the season; he was at 50% last season with five touchdowns and two interceptions with significantly worse weapons on the Patriots. It's been a problem all season.