Friday update: The game has been moved. This should help the Browns get a few negative tests in time for Monday, but that’s still an unknown at this time.
Thursday update: The team is making roster moves around their reserve/COVID-19 list. They activated TEs Stephen Carlson and David Njoku off the COVID-19 list and moved safety Ronnie Harrison, Jr. to the COVID list.
Thursday update: The Browns have brought up quarterback Nick Mullens to the active roster. Baker Mayfield’s status for Saturday is in serious doubt.
Wednesday update: Adam Schefter reported that Baker Mayfield has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in danger of missing Week 15’s contest against the Raiders. Case Keenum is his backup, should he miss Saturday’s game. Schefter’s report notes that Mayfield could still play if he produces two negative tests at least 24 hours apart, from which we can assume that he’s vaccinated. CB Troy Hill was also added to the list on Wednesday.
Along with Hill and Mayfield, the Browns added three other players to the Reserve/COVID list, including S John Johnson III, DT Malik McDowell and DE Ifeadi Odenigbo. WR Ja’Marcus Bradley was signed to active roster practice squad.
The Cleveland Browns are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak ahead of their Week 15 matchup vs. the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday. The Browns have eight players on the Reserve/COVID list heading into the big game, including WR Jarvis Landry and TE Austin Hooper. Take a look at who is on the list, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Browns now have placed eight players on the Reserve/COVID19 list: Jarvis Landry, OT Jedrick Wills, TE Austin Hooper, G Wyatt Teller, DE Takkarist McKinley, G Drew Forbes, WR JoJo Natson and TE Ross Travis.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 14, 2021
To make matters worse, all of those eight players listed above tested positive from a breakthrough case of the virus, per Nate Ulrich. This would mean that none of these cases were close contact, which would make it easier for players to clear protocols in time for Saturday’s game.
This doesn’t mean all of them will be held out against the Raiders in Week 15. If players can test negative multiple times within 48 hours before the game and clear protocols, they can play. With that said, it’s concerning given the amount of players and who may also end up on the list. The Browns could add more players to the list throughout the week, perhaps retroactive to Tuesday to have a shot at playing against the Raiders. We also could see Cleveland pretty shorthanded in a key game against an AFC opponent with playoff implications.
Fantasy football impact
As of now, the two key players are Landry and Hooper. Both were heavily involved in the offense in Week 14 vs. the Baltimore Ravens. The two combined for 10 catches for 71 yards and 2 TDs in the win. If both were to sit in Week 15, then the Browns would have to lean on Donovan Peoples-Jones at wide receiver. He could end up seeing double-digit targets and would be a great overall play in the fantasy football playoffs.
With Hooper out, the Browns are pretty thin at tight end. David Njoku missed Week 14 after being placed on the COVID list. If he’s cleared and can return, Njoku would be in line for a decent amount of snaps if Hooper can’t play. Harrison Bryant (ankle) has also been out. If Njoku and Hooper are out and Bryant can return, he’d be the benefactor.