The Coronavirus recently forced sports to adopt unique measures to produce a playing season. While there's still potential for a positive test to sideline a player for at least three weeks and there’s no way of projecting how many positive cases occur during the NFL season, there are also compelling factors beyond illness that create a demand for this feature: Late-week injuries, suspensions, and coaching decisions with personnel.
We developed this feature to give you resources that will help you weather the potential loss of players.
As the author of the most comprehensive scouting analysis of skill players since 2006, I’m one of those resources—especially for players at the bottom of depth charts, signed to practice squads and training at home with dreams of that phone call from an NFL team.
Each week, I’ll walk you through the shortlist of players who will get their shot to contribute as replacements for players falling victim to unexpected late-week events.
I won't be updating this piece over the weekend, but you'll get the goods on players worth consideration, and based on the past last two years, this column offered a lot of quality short-term and long-term options — many of them as preemptive picks:
- Khalil Herbert
- Craig Reynolds
- Boston Scott
- Josh Reynolds
- James Robinson
- Robert Tonyan Jr
- Travis Fulgham
- Tim Patrick
- Russell Gage
- Braxton Berrios
- Duke Johnson Jr
- Rashaad Penny
- Davis Mills
- A.J. Dillon
- Tyler Conklin
This is a partial list, but you get the point.
We’ll examine three types of replacements:
- Players who get immediate playing time.
- Pre-emptive additions from your league’s waiver wire.
- Options worth monitoring in case the established backup eventually misses time.
Many of these players are late-round picks and street-free agents. I'm not giving you obvious waiver candidates that will command a large percentage of your FAAB dollars. These are options you'll often find in your First-Come, First-Serve section during the latter part of the week prior to kickoff.
If you think street-free agents won’t be factors Ty'Son Williams from Week 1 last year is on Line 1 waiting for you to pick up. Craig Reynolds is on Line 2. Boston Scott is waiting patiently on Line 3. They each have a long list of players before them who would like to make an appointment to set you straight. James Robinson would like to tell you about his 2020 campaign. And, Raheem Mostert has time on his hands if you need a deeper consultation.
WEEK 1 REVIEW
In the coming weeks, I'll provide brief thoughts and recommendations for the previous week's candidates as we move forward. Since I devoted this year's All-Gut Check Team to Waiver-Wire Sleepers as my unofficial Replacements piece for Week 1, let's use that list as the starting point.
- Richie James: Kadarius Toney didn't earn playing time because of his lack of on-field preparation, according to Brian Daboll. The coach is sending a message to his team that talent alone doesn't cut it. James can play. His value may decline precipitously at any point, but he's worth a shot if you're desperate this early for a starter or you can afford a cheap addition to monitor on your roster.
- Tyler Conklin: 77 snaps, 7 targets, 4 catches, and a touchdown. The yardage sucked, but the output was decent enough to keep him in consideration as startable depth.
- Kyle Philips: He earned 9 targets on 30 snaps, converting 6 for 66 yards, and looked good doing it. Tennessee may not use him a lot due to its desire for run-heavy alignments but could get forced out of it early enough on a regular basis if the performance of the Giants' offense is any indication. I think it will be. Don't expect Phillips to become a weekly starter this year, but he could be a good match-up play when Tennesse faces high-powered offenses that force the offense to throw.
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