NFL COVID-19 Fantasy Guide: List of key 2020 opt-outs, players placed on coronavirus reserve list

NFL COVID-19 Fantasy Guide: List of key 2020 opt-outs, players placed on coronavirus reserve list

NFL COVID-19 Fantasy Guide: List of key 2020 opt-outs, players placed on coronavirus reserve list


The 2020 fantasy football season is going to feel a little different thanks to the impact of COVID-19. The coronavirus has impacted every sports league in some way or another, and the NFL (and, by extension, fantasy football) is no different. Even though the NFL is still planning to play its season, the league has taken extra precautions heading into this year by giving players the option to opt-out, meaning they will not play at all, as well as creating the reserve/COVID-19 list, which is for players who test positive or are being quarantined due to contact with an infected person.

Still, even if a player does not have the coronavirus, being put on that list could be an issue. With no preseason, any amount of time away from the team can be detrimental, especially for rookies or players in a new system. And, of course, if a player is placed on that list during the season, it will mean opportunities for backups. Ideally for fantasy owners, they won’t have to worry about that, and having a team with as few risks as possible would help your roster management tremendously, but everything — and everyone — will be day-to-day this season.

Below, we’ll go through the noteworthy players who have been placed on the COVID-19 list, as well as players who have opted out completely.

Fantasy Football 2020: Key players already placed on Reserve/COVID-19 list

Note: We’ll continue to update this list throughout the preseason

Matthew StaffordLionsQB
Gardner MinshewJaguarsQB
Ke’Shawn VaughnBuccaneersRB
Dontrell HilliardBrownsRB
Devontae BookerRaidersRB
Jaylen SamuelsSteelersRB
Ryquell ArmsteadJaguarsRB
Jeff Wilson49ersRB
James WashingtonSteelersWR
Justin JeffersonVikingsWR
Richie James49ersWR
Kenny GolladayLionsWR
T.J. HockensonLionsTE
Jace SternbergerPackersTE
Logan ThomasWashingtonTE
Mason CrosbyPackersK

This should go without saying, but we’ll note: This is not a “COVID immunity” list . Not every player on this list actually had COVID-19. For example, Matthew Stafford and Gardner Minshew said after being placed on this list they did not get it. Minshew was placed there because he was in contact with someone who had it, and Stafford said he had a false positive. Other players have also since been removed from the list after a brief stay.

The list above does not include every player on the COVID-19 list, just the names we thought would be relevant to fantasy football. The list also does not include the names of players who were reported to have coronavirus before the NFL’s plan to start the COVID-19 list. Some of those players include Ezekiel Elliott, Von MillerBrian Allen, and Andrew Whitworth.

Fantasy Football: 2020 NFL COVID-19 opt-out list (Key offensive players)

Travis Benjamin49ersWR
Laurent Duvernay-TardifChiefsG
Damien WilliamsChiefsRB
Jamize OlawaleCowboysRB
Allen HurnsDolphinsWR
Albert WilsonDolphinsWR
Marquise GoodwinEaglesWR
Nate SolderGiantsT
Josh DoctsonJetsWR
Geronimo AllisonLionsWR
Devin FunchessPackersWR
Dan VitalePatriotsFB
Brandon BoldenPatriotsRB
Marqise LeePatriotsWR
Matt LaCossePatriotsTE
DeAnthony ThomasRavensWR/Returner

In total, nearly 70 players opted out of the NFL season, but not all of them were relevant for fantasy purposes. Above, we’ve listed some of the bigger names that decided to sit out the 2020 season due to health concerns. While not every player was going to help you in fantasy, their absence still makes a great overall impact.

For example, Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif wasn’t going to score you any fantasy points, but he’s an important piece of the Chiefs’ offensive line. Him sitting out will have an impact on Kansas City’s running backs and potentially the passing game. The same goes for Giants tackle Nate Solder (impacts Saquon Barkley), Patriots fullback Dan Vitale (impacts Patriots running game), and Cowboys fullback Jamize Olawale (impacts Ezekiel Elliott).

Similarly, the absence of other players opens the door for many more. Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse sitting out allows rookie Devin Asiasi to get more playing time, in theory. Similar situations can apply to Marquise Goodwin, Devin Funchess, Miami’s receivers (Albert Wilson/Allen Hurns), Travis Benjamin, Marqise Lee, and Josh Doctson.

Overall, there weren’t too many key fantasy football contributors to sit out this season. The biggest name was Chiefs running back Damien Williams. With him sitting out, look for rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire to really step up and various Chiefs backups, including Darwin Thompson, to have a shot at fantasy relevance.

Also, while the deadline for players to opt-out have passed, it’s still possible for players to not play this season. Players can still opt out if they meet one of the following conditions: New diagnosis of a high-risk condition, or a player’s family member dies, is hospitalized or otherwise moves to a medical facility because of COVID-19 or related condition.

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