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NFL FANTASY FOOTBALL: Viking funeral for Minnesota offensive

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Even with all the changes the NFL has made to their COVID protocols, we’re still going to see key players missing games because of the virus.

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The biggest this week appears to be Kirk Cousins, who was ruled out for Sunday’s prime-time game with the Packers after being placed on the COVID reserve on Friday. Unlike other players who can test negative and be activated before the game, Cousins ​​is not vaccinated and must self-isolate for at least five days.

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While Cousins ​​himself isn’t the best fantastic option, placing ninth among the QBs in points, he’s been pretty reliable this season. The big damage comes from his offensive weapons, mainly Justin Jefferson.

The second has been the WR4 this season and sits second in the league in receiving yards behind only Cooper Kupp. Jefferson’s workload had grown even heavier since Week 13, when Adam Thielen was sidelined, averaging 12.7 targets per game. Thielen had returned last week but left the game with an ankle injury and has since been put on the IR.

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With Sean Mannion likely to start – the save is also in protocol, but should be cleared before the game – Minnesota’s offensive outlook at Lambeau Field drops considerably.

At the very least, the Vikings have Dalvin Cook back from the COVID reserve after missing last week’s loss to the Rams. He is a fixture and relegates Alexander Mattison to the bench.

LUCKY CHICK

These new isolation rules came just in time for the Indianapolis Colts. With Carson Wentz – also unvaccinated – put on the roster after testing positive earlier this week, the Colts have been sent in search of a QB. Indy reportedly even called Phillip Rivers, their 2020 starting QB who retired after the season.

But, with the NFL adjusting protocols this week, Wentz will be able to play on Sunday if he was negative that morning, after spending five days on the roster. This should relieve managers with Michael Pittman.

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RUN TO THE END

While many will focus on absences due to COVID, you can’t forget that usual injuries always happen too. Several teams saw their running back situation take a hit last week.

-In Jacksonville, the team’s only bright spot, James Robinson, is out for the season after suffering a partial Achilles tear. It’s a particularly tough break for the former undrafted rookie, who put in a great game in Week 15 after Urban Meyer’s sacking. Now the Jags will likely look to Dare Ogunbowale, who had just six races this season before getting 17 in relief from Robinson last week. This is a wire complaint that could tip your championship.

-Kansas City will likely be once again without Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who injured his shoulder last week. The second had been solid in his five games since returning from the IR earlier this season after injuring his knee. Darrel Williams would take the lead again, although he wasn’t very consistent in that role earlier this season.

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-Miles Sanders just can’t stay healthy. The RB Eagles suffered a broken hand, which will prevent him from entering at least this week. Philly doesn’t put him on the IR, which means he could come back at week 18 if he’s healthy. For this week against Washington, however, it looks like Jordan Howard and Boston Scott will split the races as they had been before Sanders’ previous injury. The only problem is Howard suffered a sting last week and it’s questionable. It could put a huge workload on Scott as rookie Kenneth Gainwell is still a threat to get some touches in the passing game.

A NEW YEAR’S MIRACLE?

While seeing Darrell Henderson Jr. on the sidelines again comes as no surprise, the man replacing him on the Rams roster is: Cam Akers.

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Considered one of the season’s hottest fantasy picks, Akers suffered an Achilles tear in training camp and was reportedly lost for the season. Recovering from such an injury in less than six months is a small miracle, but Akers could actually see the pitch in Week 18.

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SITTING / DEPARTURE

Start Taysom Hill, QB, NO vs CAR

Returns from the COVID roster to face a Panthers team that has allowed at least 27 points in their last five games.

Sit Ryan Tannehill, QB, TEN vs. MIA

Has scored over 17 points in just one of his last seven starts, which is the same that the QB can say against Miami in that span.

Debut Rashaad Penny, RB, SEA vs. DET

Two games away with over 135 yards in his last three starts and looks better than ever since the start of December.

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Sit Myles Gaskin, RB, MIA in TEN

There had only been three races last week as the Dolphins used a committee approach also quite liberally involving Duke Johnson and Phillip Lindsay.

Start Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, DET to SEA

The Lions rookie was a league winner on the home stretch, placing fourth among the WRs in fantastic points over the past four weeks.

Sit Isaiah McKenzie, WR, BUF vs. ATL

One of the top performers in Week 16, McKenzie will likely see a diminished role with the Bills activating Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis.

Start Noah Fant, TE, DEN at LAC

Although he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 6, the Chargers have allowed seven TE touchdowns in their last seven games.

COIN STAT

In last week’s resounding victory over Washington, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott became just the second player in NFL history to complete touchdown passes to an RB, WR, TE and OL in the same match.

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ADD OF THE WEEK

Rex Burkhead, RB, HOU

The veteran has been a big part of the Texans’ offense over the past three weeks, racking up 49 runs in that span and scoring a fantastic 27.9 points last week.

DROP OF THE WEEK

Justin Jackson, RB, BAC

With Austin Ekeler off the COVID roster, Jackson is returning to a backup role and shouldn’t see enough touches to be worth playing the rest of the season.

WAIVER WIRE DEFENSE

Chicago Bears DEF

The Bears have only recorded one turnover in their last four games, but there’s a good remedy for that: face the Giants. New York have returned the ball nine times in their last four games and have been horrible on offense.

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