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Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer
This week has been absolutely insane, particularly the flurry of injury and COVID-19 inactives. The idea that the entire Broncos QB room would be inactive due to COVID-19 was not something anyone anticipated. Neither was Mark Andrews testing positive for COVID-19 and while I am not a thoughts and prayers guy, I am certainly hoping he has the swiftest of recoveries. There was a small bit of good news though! Chargers RB Austin Ekeler is finally back and expected to play today, so I will be playing him in a FLEX role and dubbing him "The Flexler."
Week 12 Sunday Preview
Key Player Updates
Week 12 Sunday Preview
Key Player Updates
QB Kendall Hinton (DEN): Hinton, not RB Royce Freeman, will be the QB for the Broncos today. He will not carry a WR designation in most leagues, nor is he necessarily even available on all platforms.
QB Jalen Hurts (PHI): sources seem to believe the Hurts era is ramping up in Philly and he could see increased usage against the Seahawks per Ian Rapoport. Avoid Eagles receivers if you can, and obviously, avoid QB Carson Wentz.
QB Philip Rivers (IND): Rivers is now ACTIVE.
QB Tua Tagovailoa (MIA): Tagovailoa is INACTIVE per Adam Schefter talking on ESPN while I type this.
RB Kalen Ballage (LAC): Ballage is officially INACTIVE and RB Austin Ekeler is officially ACTIVE. Start Ekeler if you can, but if you are hesitant, it would be understandable to wait a week.
RB Gio Bernard (CIN): Bernard is now ACTIVE. Bench RB Samaje Perine.
WR Julio Jones (ATL): Jones is now INACTIVE with a hamstring injury. RB Todd Gurley had already been ruled out as well.
TE Hayden Hurst (ATL): Hurst is now ACTIVE per Adam Schefter talking on ESPN while I type this.
TE Mark Andrews (BAL): Andrews is positive for COVID-19 and this puts the rest of his season at risk given his pre-existing condition (type-1 diabetes). Despite this, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are still likely to play on Tuesday.
Top Waiver Players Available
Unfortunately, you probably missed out on Raiders QB Derek Carr, but go get our Week 12 waiver recommendation if he is still available. If not, both Charles and mine's boom picks for the week are available. Colts QB Philip Rivers should be able to shine against a Titans team that he already beat once this season and Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater should be able to throw early and often against the Vikings DST. Finally, Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is a solid desperation play against the Jets if you need him with QB Tua Tagovailoa out for this Sunday.
If Charles' boom pick Falcons RB Brian Hill is available is a smash add. Hill should be getting most of the touches with RB Todd Gurley out and is up against the Raiders porous run defense. Otherwise, my boom pick Jets RB Frank Gore is widely available and I am not concerned about Ty Johnson vulturing touches. Patriots RB James White is also out there if you need a safe floor play, but read our takes on him here before adding him.
Add Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. How he is more widely available than someone like Christian Kirk is beyond me (no offense to Kirk, who I like). If you are still in need after adding Pittman, our waiver recommendation Raiders WR Nelson Agholor is in for a good time against the Falcons. Everyone else comes with a ton of question marks, including Eagles WR Jalen Reagor with the rumors of an ascendant QB Jalen Hurts, so I will simply shout out Charles' boom pick Dolphins WR Malcolm Perry if you want to swing for the fences.
If you are in a Yahoo league then you are out of luck on our waiver recommendation Packers TE Robert Tonyan, but that is okay because Niners TE Jordan Reed is a better play this week. In fact, both he and Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph are widely available, so go add our boom picks while you still can!
If you are in an ESPN league, the New York Giants DST is still magically available, but most likely you will need to look elsewhere. Both the Green Bay Packers and my boom pick the Carolina Panthers are DSTs that can play well against the pass going against turnover-prone QBs in Mitchell Trubisky and Kirk Cousins respectively. Finally, the Arizona Cardinals DST is Charles' boom pick and widely available against the New England Patriots and QB Cam Newton. Newton has played well lately but also had one of the worst QB performances of the year against the Niners in Week 7, so the Cards have a shot.
As Charles mentioned yesterday, there is a chance that nobody other than Broncos K Brandon McManus scores for the Broncos this week. Bills K Tyler Bass is probably the best waiver pickup widely available at this point now that Steelers K Chris Boswell is reliant on no new positive COVID-19 tests from any of his teammates or his opponents to play on Tuesday. Chargers K Michael Badgley is also widely available and someone we discussed in our waiver article this week.
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