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The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6: Last-minute moves

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The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6: Last-minute moves

UPDATE: 8:16 a.m. Sunday
We’ve got another early start this week with the Dolphins and Jaguars playing to determine who is the worst football team in Florida, other than the Florida State Seminoles. The only news from the inactives off that game is that Miami will be missing both of its star cornerbacks, Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. That could make Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence startable for the desperate.

Most of the lineup news this morning is positive. Among the notables who have been given the go-ahead to play today are Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott, Patriots running back Damien Harris, Arizona RB Chase Edmonds, two from Washington: RB Antonio Gibson and WR Terry McLaurin, K.C. wideout Tyreek Hill, Chargers WR Mike Williams and Giants receiver Kadarius Toney.

Cleveland’s Jarvis Landry, who had been expected to return this week, will miss another game.

We’ll be back later with the early inactives lists.

UPDATE: 9:32 a.m. Saturday
When we picked the Carolina Panthers to beat the Vikings in Sunday’s editions of Minnesota’s First Newspaper, it was because of our assumption that Carolina would be getting back all-world running back Christian McCaffrey, while the Vikings were still not certain to have their injured running star, Dalvin Cook.

Well, it turns out we had it all bass ackwards … CMC has been ruled out for Sunday, but Cook is expected to return as the Minnesota starter. So things are looking a little dicier for the Panthers, and for fantasy mavens who were hoping to get another big week out of Alexander Mattison.

When you combine that with the bad-beat finish of Thursday Night Football (Buccaneers win by only six), and it’s already been a dicey week for The Loop.

More bad news out of Cleveland, where the Browns’ running back tandem of Nick Chubb (out) and Kareem Hunt (questionable) will be diminished when they take on unbeaten Arizona. Also ruled out this week are Baltimore wideout Sammy Watkins and Miami WR Devante Parker.

Seattle made it official, putting both QB Russell Wilson and RB Chris Carson on injured reserve, meaning neither will play for at least three weeks.

Players listed as questionable as of now include Denver RB Melvin Gordon and three top receivers: the Chargers’ Mike Williams, the Bears’ Allen Robinson and Washington’s Terry McLaurin.

On the positive side, Tennessee is expected to get WR Julio Jones back, while Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa is set to return to the field in London against sad-sack Jacksonville. And Gophers fans will be interested in the debut of Ravens wideout Rashod Bateman.

One other roster note: Arizona’s trade for Philly tight end Zach Ertz will not help the Cardinals this week, as he already played Thursday night against Tampa Bay. But Ertz will be an extremely popular fantasy waiver pickup next week as he joins the Cardinals’ prolific offense.

ORIGINAL POST: 9:20 a.m. Wednesday

The bane of NFL fantasy mavens’ existence, Bye Week Season, begins this week. And you better be ready.

The Week 6 quartet of bye teams, the Falcons, Saints, 49ers and Jets, isn’t too much of a loss. New Orleans RB Alvin Kamara is the only first-rounder who will be idled this week, though the absences of Cordarrelle Patterson, Calvin Ridley and Deebo Samuel are significant.

Things will be much worse next week, the Bye-mageddon, when more than a dozen top fantasy standouts are off. In addition to your hometown Vikings, the Bills, Cowboys, Chargers, Steelers and Jaguars will be watching Week 7 from home, or Cabo, or some other far-flung locale.

So now is the time to get ready for the bye week potholes in your lineup. Better a week early than a week late. For this week, here are your best free-agent options

Devontae Booker (Giants RB) — New York lost Saquon Barkley yet again last week to a sprained ankle, so Booker will be the No. 1 back in blue for at least a couple of weeks. He ran for one touchdown and added a TD catch after replacing Barkley against Dallas. His biggest liability: this week’s opponent: the powerful Rams defense.

New York Giants running back Devontae Booker (28) a touchdown as he is a tackled by Dallas Cowboys free safety Damontae Kazee (18) in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. ((Photo by Matt Strasen/AP Images for Panini))

Darrel Williams (Chiefs RB) — Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s knee sprain elevates Williams into the starting role in Kansas City. He has two TDs off the bench this year on only 26 carries, and he’s facing a very malleable defense this week in Washington. A Williams score this Sunday is one of the week’s safest bets.

1634397075 650 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams (31) carries the ball against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Maurice Canady (26) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Samaje Perine (Bengals RB) — With Joe Mixon slowed by injury, Perine stepped up last week against Green Bay, with 15 touches for 83 yards and a TD. The former Oklahoma Sooner has another good opportunity this week against the winless Lions in Detroit, assuming he makes it off the COVID list.

1634397075 983 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine (34) runs in for a touchdown in front of Green Bay Packers safety Adrian Amos (31) in the first half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Kadarius Toney (Giants WR) — The rookie from Florida had his coming-out party Sunday for the injury-ravaged Giants. Ten catches and 189 yards later, the first-round pick is firmly on top of New York’s receiving pecking order. But again, the Giants’ matchup with Aaron Donald and company this week is no picnic.

1634397075 151 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
New York Giants wide receiver Kadarius Toney (89) fights for extra yards after a reception during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)

Jakobi Meyers (Patriots WR) — New England’s top receiver is still looking for his first score of the season, but he has quietly risen to seventh in the league with 31 receptions. He is clearly the favorite choice of Pats QB Mac Jones, so Meyers could see a lot of work Sunday in what will likely be an offensive shootout with the Cowboys up in Foxboro.

1634397075 20 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers drops a pass as Houston Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. (1) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

David Njoku (Browns TE) — Those waiting for the Cleveland tight end to blossom had to be encouraged with his 149-yard effort last week against the Chargers. As the Browns deal with the injury to Jarvis Landry and the ineffectiveness of Odell Beckham Jr., it’s obvious QB Baker Mayfield will be leaning more on Njoku in the next few weeks.

1634397075 213 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) runs past Los Angeles Chargers free safety Derwin James (33) after a catch during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Taylor Heinecke (Washington QB) — The only NFL QB from Old Dominion has posted decent numbers since Ryan Fitzpatrick injured his hip. More than 1,200 yards passing and eight touchdowns in four-plus games. This week, the WFT has the pleasure of facing Kansas City’s mediocre defense. Look for another shootout.

1634397075 944 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) looks to pass the ball against New Orleans Saints defensive end Carl Granderson (96) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

SITTING STARS
Tampa Bay’s defense has shut down many better running backs than Philly’s Miles Sanders, who they will smother Thursday night. … Travis Henry will continue his MVP campaign, but you probably don’t want to start any other Titans vs. Buffalo. … Green Bay will rely on the passing game vs. Chicago, we’re guessing, so Aaron Jones won’t break the bank. … Speaking of broken, Cleveland WR Odell Beckham Jr. will continue to play that way vs. unbeaten Arizona. … And two mid-level quarterbacks will struggle to reach that level this week: the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins against Carolina and Las Vegas’ Derek Carr vs. Denver.

1634397075 842 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (26) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

MATCHUP GAME
Miami RB Myles Gaskin had a bit of a revival last week, and that will continue in London against the Jaguars. … Pittsburgh RB Najee Harris will be the latest to rush through the Seattle defense. … Washington’s Antonio Gibson will do enough to keep them in the game against Kansas City. … New England quarterback Mac Jones will help the Patriots match the Cowboys score for score, at least for a while. … Indy QB Carson Wentz will rebound from their crushing loss in Baltimore with an easy afternoon against Houston. … Three receivers who should have big days this week are Tampa Bay’s Antonio Brown vs. Philadelphia, Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase vs. Detroit and Jacksonville’s Marvin Jones vs. Miami.

1634397075 417 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) stiff arms Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards (32) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

INJURY WATCH
The big hurt last week belonged to Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s middle finger. He’ll be out a minimum of six weeks, but in none of those weeks should you consider replacing him with Geno Smith. … Better news could be coming for Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey, as the Panthers may get the NFL’s No. 1 back in time to face the Vikings, who might get Dalvin Cook back from his ankle injury. … Pittsburgh WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is done for the season, making Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool more valuable. … Is this the week we see the return of Tennessee WR Julio Jones or Tampa Bay TE Rob Gronkowski? Maybe Jones, but not Gronk. … Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce were hurt last Sunday night, but you should expect both to return for the struggling Chiefs. … Notables listed as questionable include Tampa QB Tom Brady, Giants QB Daniel Jones, Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, Patriots RB Damien Harris, Giants WR Kenny Golladay and Philly TE Dallas Goedart.

1634397075 799 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is slow to get up after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

THE DEEPEST SLEEPERS
Last Sunday’s loss to the Vikings left Detroit coach Dan Campbell in tears, but not all is lost for the winless Lions. They may have discovered a new receiving star in Amon-Ra St. Brown. He has emerged as a favorite of quarterback Jared Goff. The rookie from Southern California has tallied 13 catches for 135 yards over the past two weeks. The Lions play host to Cincinnati on Sunday, and St. Brown could post good numbers again against the average-at-best Bengals defense.

1634397075 448 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) tries to break a tackle by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander (24) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

THE THURSDAY PICK
Buccaneers at Eagles (+7):
Pick: Buccaneers by 17

1634397075 137 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 6 Vikings get break
Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) and outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips (15) team up to sack Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

BREAKING NEWS
We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Geoff Diehl demands Charlie Baker veto coronavirus spending bill over inadequate unemployment funding

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Geoff Diehl demands Charlie Baker veto coronavirus spending bill over inadequate unemployment funding

The sole major Republican candidate for governor in next year’s election is calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to veto a $4 billion coronavirus relief spending bill he says saddles billions of dollars of unemployment debt on the backs of businesses.

“There is a clear and present need to protect Massachusetts businesses — and through them, the workers they employ — from the imminent threat of higher taxes,” said Geoff Diehl, a former Whitman state representative. “For our state to allocate recently received federal funding without adequately protecting our state’s economy from potential disaster is irresponsible and must be corrected.”

Lawmakers agreed to funnel $500 million to help pay back what could amount to up to $7 billion in debt after the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund paid out a historic number of claims amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Business industry leaders have said a minimum contribution of $2 billion from the state is needed to relieve the burden on businesses that fund the UI account through a payroll tax.

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Shelley Joseph’s appeal goes before First Circuit Court of Appeals

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Shelley Joseph’s appeal goes before First Circuit Court of Appeals

Suspended Newton Judge Shelley Joseph’s case finally went before the First Circuit appeals panel with justices questioning why she let an illegal immigrant escape from ICE agents in her court.

The panel questioned the intent behind Joseph’s actions, according to the National Law Journal. “Judicial immunity” was front and center at the hearing Monday.

“The way you laid out the case, you would say that there was no possible argument for corruption. But suppose that that is a jury issue, and the government says, ‘Actually we can and we’ll make a case of corruption.’ And so there are issues of fact, and that makes this fall into the usual category that you can never dismiss an indictment if there are issues of fact,” said Judge Sandra Lynch, the Journal reported.

No decision was announced. Joseph is trying to overturn a lower court’s denial of her appeal to have all her charges dismissed.

Joseph, still receiving her $184,000-a-year paycheck while facing a federal obstruction of justice charge, is accused of aiding an illegal immigrant’s escape from an ICE agent in her Newton district courtroom in 2018.

Retired court officer Wesley MacGregor is also facing the charge for allegedly leading the illegal immigrant through the courtroom’s lockup and exit.

The Journal reported the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts has argued that Joseph and MacGregor were corrupt because the purpose of their actions was to “frustrate the ICE agent.” The feds add judicial immunity typically extends only to civil cases, not criminal ones.

In a motion filed last year, Joseph criticized an alleged “extraordinary sweetheart deal” granting immunity to the illegal immigrant’s defense attorney, who Joseph pins as the “architect and ringleader” of the plan to allow his client’s escape through the courthouse lockup.

Joseph’s motion filing also alleged claims of bias by then-U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling in a Herald op-ed and television interview as well as former President Donald Trump’s public criticism of judges.

Thomas Hoopes, Joseph’s attorney, also cited in the motion 16 interviews of Todd Lyons, ICE Boston acting field director, by Herald columnist Howie Carr dating back to September 2018.

Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins has been nominated by President Biden to take over at the federal court in Boston now that Lelling is gone. A vote on her appointment is now heading to the full Senate. Rollins advanced through a preliminary vote in the U.S. Senate last week.

But Republicans, most centrally Arkansas U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, are seeking to make an example out of the progressive Rollins, making her the avatar of what Cotton characterized as “pro-criminal Soros prosecutors” hell-bent on “destroying our legal system from the inside.”

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Michelle Wu calls reinstatement of Boston Police officer fired over allegations of racial slurs ‘unacceptable’

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Michelle Wu calls reinstatement of Boston Police officer fired over allegations of racial slurs ‘unacceptable’

Mayor Michelle Wu is calling the reinstatement of a police officer who was accused of calling a group of Roxbury Prep students racial slurs “unacceptable” but said her hands are tied by union contract language that prevents her from intervening.

“It’s unacceptable that this officer was brought back on after the actions that were taken and that the city’s department took as well. An important part of how we are looking to contract negotiations for public safety will involve changes in policy here,” Wu told a Herald reporter, following an unrelated event at City Hall on Monday.

The Herald first reported on Friday that Officer Joseph Lynch is in the process of being reinstated following a decision in September, per a November memo from the city’s legal department obtained by the newspaper.

An arbitrator ruled that the Boston Police Department must reinstate Lynch, saying that the officer was just giving a “truthful accurate report” to school staff at the time of the alleged incident in the summer of 2019, per the memo from legal adviser Anthony Rizzo.

Lynch was fired following a BPD investigation for conduct unbecoming a department employee, unreasonable judgment, and the use of racial epithets, but the arbitrator ruled the department “did not have just cause to terminate.”

Boston Police union contracts expired in June 2020 and remain unfinished business. For the newly sworn-in Wu administration, negotiations represent an opportunity to inject unprecedented levels of police accountability and transparency in a department rife with scandal.

Wu said current contract language prevents her “from stepping in on situations where an arbitrator has made a decision.”

Union officials did not respond to questions.

The last year has exposed a police overtime abuse, covering up of allegations of child rape by former Boston Police Patrolman Association’s former president Patrick Rose and buried reports of domestic abuse by former Police Commissioner Dennis White, who was quickly appointed by former mayor Martin Walsh on his way out the door to serve as President Biden’s labor secretary in Washington.

Lawmakers in Boston and on Beacon Hill have taken steps in the past year to bring greater accountability and consequence to police forces long protected by powerful unions and the contracts they procure.

A state-run Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission will begin certifying police officers next year and decertifying those with serious disciplinary allegations deemed credible. In Boston, a Civilian Review Board charged with reviewing and recommending action on complaints will be up and running “soon,” according to Wu.

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