Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur has no explanation for why Aaron Rodgers described himself as "immunised", with Patrick Mahomes disappointed to miss out on a meeting with the reigning NFL MVP.

Reports on Wednesday revealed Rodgers has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss a minimum of 10 days as he is not vaccinated.

Before the season, the quarterback said he was "immunised", causing some confusion as the Packers now face being without him for two key games.

Rodgers will certainly miss this week's matchup with Mahomes' Kansas City Chiefs and is only set to be cleared for practice the day before Green Bay play the Seattle Seahawks next week.

Asked about Rodgers' contentious wording, coach LaFleur said: "That's a great question for Aaron – I'm not going to comment on it."

The shock development means Rodgers' wait for a first game against Mahomes will go on, with Jordan Love instead in line for his first career start under center.

Mahomes, whose Chiefs are a hugely underwhelming 4-4, said: "It's definitely disappointing [not to play Rodgers].

"I've watched his game for a long time. I feel I play a similar style. You always want to compete against the best.

"Hopefully he's healthy and it's not too bad. I'm sure he'll come back from it stronger than he was before."

Rodgers has been at the forefront of NFL discussion throughout this season, having pushed for a trade away from his only professional team before the campaign begun.

He was then awful in the stunning 38-3 Week 1 defeat to the New Orleans Saints, throwing two interceptions with a passer rating of 36.8 – the fourth-worst of his career.

However, Rodgers has since led the Packers to seven straight wins, a run they will attempt to continue in his absence.

The Arizona Cardinals are set to make a late decision on whether Kyler Murray plays in a Week 9 showdown with the San Francisco 49ers.

Quarterback Murray missed the opening part of practice on Wednesday due to an ankle injury as the Cardinals stepped up their preparation to face the Niners at Levi's Stadium this weekend.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury had stated that MVP contender Murray was day-to-day as he nurses a sprain of his left ankle, having limped off the field following the defeat to the Green Bay Packers last Thursday.

Kingsbury said after practice that the signal-caller is "progressing" ahead of Sunday's showdown with a 3-4 San Francisco team and a game-time decision is likely to be made.

Wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green were also absent from practice along with running back Jonathan Ward.

There was more positive news on center Rodney Hudson, offensive lineman Max Garcia and defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence, who all returned to practice.

Linebacker Zaven Collins also recovered from a shoulder injury to take part in practice.

NFC West leaders the Cardinals are 7-1 after suffering their first loss of the season, going down 24-21 to the Packers.

Murray threw multiple picks and no touchdowns in a game for the first time in his career as Arizona lost the only perfect record in the NFL.

 

In fantasy football, as in life, things do not always work out the way you planned.

Every year, fantasy managers will leave their draft in a great mood, believing they have nailed it, only to see their star players fail to live up to expectations.

This week's look at some of the top selections for Week 9 features such players heavily, with some who have struggled with consistency or injuries appearing in line for a strong outing this weekend.

Stats Perform looks at four offensive players and a defense who should be fantasy starters in Week 9.

Quarterback: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings @ Baltimore Ravens

Cousins can be a confounding quarterback for Vikings fans and fantasy players alike, as his 184-yard performance in the Week 8 loss to the Dallas Cowboys demonstrated.

Yet he has an intriguing bounce-back matchup on the road as the Vikings aim to stay in touch in the NFC playoff race.

The Ravens are conceding 7.35 yards per play, the fifth-most in the NFL, and saw their defense shredded for 415 yards passing by Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in their last game before the bye.

Cousins already has three 300-yard games to his name this season and unquestionably has the weapons to take advantage of the Baltimore defense and record another on Sunday.

Running Back: Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears

Harris has not been efficient in his rookie season, averaging 3.74 yards per carry, but this is a selection predominantly about volume.

Indeed, the former Alabama star has carried the ball 128 times so far this season. Only three players have recorded more rushing attempts.

That is a recipe for success against a Bears defense allowing 4.55 yards per carry, the eighth highest in the NFL. Fantasy managers with Harris on their roster should be optimistic about a player with three touchdowns in his last four games.

Wide Receiver: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Diggs has endured a mediocre year, continually frustrating his fantasy owners, though he did find the endzone for the second successive week as Buffalo defeated the Miami Dolphins last week.

And the wideout who led the league in receiving yardage last year gets another chance to exploit a vastly inferior opponent this week as the Bills travel to Jacksonville.

The 1-6 Jaguars are giving up 8.18 yards per pass play. Only the Detroit Lions (8.28) have been more charitable to opposing passing attacks this season, making the Jaguars the ideal opponent for Diggs as he looks to record only his second 100-yard performance of the season.

Tight End: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals

Like Diggs, it's been an underwhelming season for Kittle, though for different reasons as he missed the last three games with a calf injury.

Prior to being put on injured reserve, however, Kittle had seen 19 targets across his last two games. With Kittle anticipated to return this week, expect him to be a favoured target of Jimmy Garoppolo, which could lead to a big day with the 49ers offense seeming to find its rhythm in the Week 8 win over the Bears.

Defense: Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos

Third in the league in takeaways with 14, backing an opportunistic defense like that of the Cowboys is never a bad play.

This week they face a Broncos offense that has committed a turnover in all but one game and is averaging 5.51 yards per play, putting them 21st in the NFL.

The Cowboys are eyeing a playoff run while the Broncos, despite being 4-4, appear focused on building for the future, events on Sunday should reflect that.

Aaron Rodgers has been ruled out of the Green Bay Packers' clash with the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19.

NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported Rodgers had returned a positive test, meaning he will not go head to head with Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes in a blockbuster quarterback matchup.

Instead, Rodgers' backup and heir apparent Jordan Love, controversially drafted in the first round in 2020, will get the start for the 7-1 Packers.

Rodgers, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, is not vaccinated against coronavirus, meaning he is out for a minimum of 10 days. Asked about his vaccination status back in August, Rodgers said he was "immunised".

The news comes after the Packers prevailed in their Week 8 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals despite COVID issues that meant they did not have the services of wide receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard as well as defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

Now the onus is on Love to prevail against the odds in his first start on the road at Arrowhead Stadium.

In Love's favour is the form of the Chiefs' defense, which is giving up a league-high 6.43 yards per play.

Mahomes and the Chiefs have also struggled mightily on offense by their usual high standards. He has thrown a league-leading 10 interceptions and was unconvincing in Monday's 20-17 win over the New York Giants that saw the Chiefs improve to 4-4.

Rodgers is still yet to face Mahomes, the 2018 MVP and MVP of Super Bowl LIV, in his storied NFL career.

Three-time MVP Rodgers and the Packers last faced the Chiefs in 2019, but Mahomes was sidelined with a knee injury. Green Bay prevailed 31-24.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas will miss the rest of the 2021 season having suffered a setback in his recovery from ankle surgery.

Thomas underwent the operation in July following a 2020 season that saw him battle ankle issues.

He had hoped to return for the 5-2 Saints at some point this season, but will not feature in 2021 after it was reported Thomas was dealing with a new ankle injury separate to his previous problems.

Confirming the news on Twitter, Thomas wrote: "As many of you know, early last season I injured my ankle and worked extremely hard over the next few months to get back in time to finish the season.

"Unfortunately, the rehab didn't go as planned and earlier this offseason it was apparent I would need to have a procedure to repair the injury.

"Since then, the team and I have worked diligently, day and night to rehab and get me back on the field.

"Unfortunately, there has been another small setback which we will have to address.

"To my displeasure, I will not be able to make it back in time for this season but will do everything in my power to get back to the player I have always been."

A two-time first-team All-Pro, Thomas led the league in receiving yards with 1,725 in 2019 as he set the NFL record for most catches in a single season with 149.

Injuries restricted him to 40 catches for 438 yards in 2020. The Saints, who lost starting quarterback Jameis Winston to a torn ACL last Sunday, face the Atlanta Falcons in Week 9.

The Las Vegas Raiders released wide receiver Henry Ruggs III after being involved in a fatal car crash on Tuesday, the NFL franchise announced.

Ruggs will be charged with driving under the influence resulting in the death of another person after the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department stated officers responded to an incident at approximately 03:39 (local time) involving a Toyota and a Chevrolet.

A deceased victim was found inside the Toyota by fire department personnel, with Ruggs identified as the driver of the Chevrolet.

The 22-year-old remained on the scene and police say he was showing signs of "impairment". He was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Later in the day, the Raiders said they had released the 2020 NFL Draft 12th pick.

The Raiders initially said in a statement: "The Raiders are aware of an accident involving Henry Ruggs III that occurred this morning in Las Vegas.

"We are devastated by the loss of life and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim's family. We are in the process of gathering information and will have no further comment at this time."

An NFL statement also read: "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim of this horrific tragedy.

"We will continue to gather facts and monitor the matter under our policies, but our thoughts at this time are with those impacted by this devastating incident."

This season, Ruggs had 24 catches for 469 yards and two touchdowns in seven appearances.

The Raiders, who saw head coach Jon Gruden stand down after an investigation into another NFL team revealed numerous offensive emails he sent while working as a television analyst, are top of the AFC West with a 5-2 record.

Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead rejected suggestions they are all-in on this season with the acquisition of All-Pro outside linebacker Von Miller, insisting he has been added with an immediate and long-term view.

The 7-1 Rams bolstered their defence by striking a blockbuster trade for Miller from the Denver Broncos on Monday, although the 32-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season under the deal.

The Rams gave up second and third-round picks in 2022 to the Broncos for the Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl 50 MVP, and will pay $9million of the $9.7m Miller is owed on his contract for the remainder of the season.

Miller's arrival is anticipated to substantially propel the Rams towards winning their first Super Bowl since 1999 but Snead insisted it was not an all-in approach to win an elusive title.

"We're actually looking at this from a standpoint of how soon can he help us, can he help us if we're fortunate enough to continue going and make the 2021 tournament, how can he help us there," Snead told reporters on Tuesday. "And then there's a long-term vision for Von as well."

On the draft picks exchanged, Snead added: "I even got a mug that my kids have given me about what I think about draft picks. I get the shallow narrative, it's fun and narrative but we like to think we use our picks innovatively and creatively… We're going to get four more compensatory picks based on players that signed elsewhere last year so we should have around eight total picks."

Miller joins a top-heavy defence that but boasts fearsome stars in the form of defensive tackle Aaron Donald, regarded by many as the best player in the NFL, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Rams defence leads the NFL with 25 sacks this season.

Since being drafted by the Broncos with the second overall pick in 2011, Miller has recorded 110.5 sacks – the most in the NFL, winning the Super Bowl 50 MVP award as he played a key role in delivering the Lombardi Trophy to Denver at the end of the 2015 season.

"Outside linebacker, very important in our defence especially someone who is or has a pedigree of affecting the passer like he has," Snead said. "We did feel like that adding Von to that front seven mix would be a player that would stress the protection, stress the opponent, the one-on-one matchup."

Miller is set to make his Rams debut on Sunday in a primetime clash with the Tennessee Titans, who will be without running back Derrick Henry, who may miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.

The Los Angeles Rams waived wide receiver DeSean Jackson after exploring trade opportunities prior to NFL's deadline.

Jackson was allowed to seek trade options for himself, but the deadline passed without a deal being made, though the Rams waiving the three-time Pro Bowler still allows him to explore opportunities elsewhere.

The 34-year-old, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason, caught eight of 15 passes for 221 yards and one touchdown in seven games for the 7-1 Rams.

"I'm not going to give it a grade. One came to mind, but that would probably be the headlines, right? Obviously it was an experiment that we attempted," said Rams general manager Les Snead on Tuesday.

"It didn't work out as well as we wanted it to, as DeSean wanted it to, as even [head coach] Sean [McVay] wanted it to, especially those two because they have a relationship that probably goes ... deeper than football.

"Didn't work out for us and that is why we somewhat wanted to move in this direction and come up with a win-win in this situation."

Jackson added: "I am very grateful for the time that I spent playing for the LA Rams. Although this isn't the outcome that we wanted, I am extremely appreciative for the opportunity and support given to me by the Rams coaches and all of the fans.

"I understand that everything happens for a reason and I look forward to beginning the next chapter of my NFL career."

Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers cut linebacker Jaylon Smith just weeks after signing him.

Smith – acquired by the Packers after leaving the Dallas Cowboys – only made two appearances for high-flying Green Bay, playing a total of 27 snaps.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will remain on the team's roster until the end of the season after the disgruntled star was not traded before Tuesday's NFL deadline.

Watson was on the tracking block after requesting a move from the Texans in January as the three-time Pro Bowler faces 22 civil lawsuits that remain unresolved as the NFL conducts its own investigation into sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him.

The Miami Dolphins were reportedly favourites to land Watson, who was believed to have waived his no-trade clause, while the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles had also been interested.

But Watson – who has been inactive during the 2021 season – is staying put after an agreement was not reached prior to the deadline.

Topping 4,000 yards for the second time in his career as he racked up 4,823 to lead the league, Watson threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season.

Fifth in the NFL in air yards per attempt (9.27), according to Stats Perform data, Watson did an excellent job of balancing his aggression with smart decision-making.

Indeed, the 26-year-old threw a pickable pass on just 2.28 per cent of his attempts, the fourth-lowest rate in the NFL last term.

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III is to be charged with driving under the influence resulting in the death of another person after being involved in a fatal traffic collision in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has stated that officers responded to an incident at approximately 3.39am involving a Toyota and a Chevrolet.

A deceased victim was found inside the Toyota by fire department personnel, with Ruggs identified as the driver of the Chevrolet.

The 22-year-old remained on the scene and police say he was showing signs of "impairment". He was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A statement released by the NFL franchise said: "The Raiders are aware of an accident involving Henry Ruggs III that occurred this morning in Las Vegas.

"We are devastated by the loss of life and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim's family. We are in the process of gathering information and will have no further comment at this time."

Ruggs' attorneys, David Z. Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, stated: "On behalf of our client Henry Ruggs III we are conducting our own investigation as of this writing and ask everyone to reserve judgment until all the facts are gathered."

The Raiders signed Ruggs as the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Mike Tomlin said it is better for the Pittsburgh Steelers to have volunteers than hostages after they traded Melvin Ingram to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Steelers sent Ingram to the Chiefs in exchange for a sixth-round pick in next year's draft.

Ingram was in his first season with the Steelers, having spent nine years with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers.

He tallied 25 pressures for the Steelers this year, third on the team behind Cameron Heyward (42) and T.J. Watt (27).

However, Ingram had reportedly stated a desire for more playing time, which he will now hope to get for a Chiefs defense that has struggled for much of 2021.

Asked about the deal, Steelers head coach Tomlin said: "I enjoyed working with Melvin. it just didn't work out the way we envisioned, the way he envisioned.

"What the team needs is first and foremost. But from a team perspective, it's better to have volunteers than it is to have hostages."

Odell Beckham Jr's father is not happy with the Cleveland Browns wide receiver's numbers this season, and a famous fan shares that sentiment.

Ohio native LeBron James took to Twitter to voice his frustration at Beckham's production, though, like the wideout's father, he appears to not blame the man himself.

The four-time NBA MVP posted on Tuesday: "OBJ will show again why he's special. WR1 #FreeOBJ."

That tweet followed an Instagram post from Odell Beckham Sr featuring an 11-minute video showing clips of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield eschewing chances to throw to an open Beckham.

The social media posts came on the day of the NFL's trade deadline, but Beckham is not among the players expected to be moved despite his struggles.

Beckham has 17 catches for 232 yards and zero touchdowns for the Browns since returning from a torn ACL in Week 3.

Those numbers have been somewhat impacted by a shoulder injury to Mayfield, who missed the Browns' Week 7 win over a Denver Broncos because of a torn labrum but returned on Sunday for Cleveland's 15-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Derrick Henry faces foot surgery on Tuesday after suffering what could prove a season-ending injury in the Tennessee Titans' win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The star running back is reported to have suffered a broken bone, with Titans coach Mike Vrabel saying Henry will "work extremely hard to get back".

The Titans have leaned on Henry as the focal point of their offense for the last three seasons and his absence will come as a major setback.

Tennessee improved to 6-2 with their 34-31 overtime victory in Indianapolis on Sunday, but Henry was placed on injured reserve a day later.

"Derrick is going to have surgery in the morning [on Tuesday]," Vrabel said, quoted on the Titans' official website. "We are not going to put a timeline on when he may return.

"I know that he'll do everything that he can to work himself back, to be able to help this football team. And whenever that is, that's when it will be."

This year, Henry has produced consistency that was putting put him in position to threaten Eric Dickerson's 1984 record of 2,105 rushing yards in a single season.

He leads the NFL with 937 yards, 288 more than his nearest challenger, the Colts' Jonathan Taylor.

Henry carried the ball a league-leading 303 times in 2019 and increased that number to 379 last season, winning the rushing title in back-to-back years.

The former Alabama star had already tallied 219 rush attempts this season, putting him way out ahead in the NFL, with backup Jeremy McNichols used predominantly as a pass-catcher.

Vrabel said: "We'll have to move on unfortunately without him in the short term, and not look back. I hate to speak for our players, but Derrick is disappointed, everybody is.

"We spent a lot of time together with the coaching staff and with the players, so you never want to see any of them injured in any capacity. So I know that Derrick is going to work extremely hard to get back to do everything he can to help this football team."

Dickerson's record no longer appears to be in any danger, and the AFC South-leading Titans are likely to put an increased burden on quarterback Ryan Tannehill in Henry's absence.

In the zero-sum world of the NFL, no one apologises for a win, but the Kansas City Chiefs know plenty of work remains after they pulled out a 20-17 victory over the New York Giants on Monday. 

Though head coach Andy Reid acknowledged the "good, hard-fought win – one that we needed", the defending AFC champions were left to puzzle over their 12 penalties and two more turnovers that elevated their NFL-worst season total to 19. 

For a team that went 38-10 over the last three regular seasons, clawing back to 4-4 against the struggling Giants was more a cause for relief than celebration. 

"Everything's not beautiful right now, but we're fighting through it," Reid told reporters. "You've got to fight. They didn't give up on each other. ... We'll build on that. Let's keep going."

Though Kansas City's defence played well down the stretch, the offence remains the primary source of concern. 

Through his first 48 regular-season games with the Chiefs, Mahomes averaged fewer than six yards per pass attempt only twice. He has failed to reach that mark in four of his last six games, finishing at 5.73 yards per attempt Monday after completing 29 of 48 passes for 275 yards.

The former league MVP was left searching for answers even in victory, though it sounds like it will not be a simple fix. 

"It's execution," Mahomes said. "I know I say it all the time, but we have guys open and if we're on the same page, me and the receivers with the routes, and I throw it and hit the right spot, we can move the ball on on pretty much any coverage. We have answers versus everything.

"But you've seen in every game pretty much that there's been times where we kind of stall out and we don't execute or I throw the ball and I don't hit the right spot or the receiver doesn't see it the same way that I do, or penalties or turnovers. ... 

"But I think we're going to snap out of it and we'll find a way to start executing when we do will be a tough offense to stop."

The path forward does not get any easier for the Chiefs, who host the 7-1 Green Bay Packers on Sunday. 

The Kansas City Chiefs still bear very little resemblance to the team that reached the Super Bowl in February, but they got back to even this season with a much-needed 20-17 victory over the New York Giants on Monday. 

Two fourth-quarter field goals from Harrison Butker were the difference as the Chiefs improved to 4-4 despite another sloppy display at Arrowhead Stadium. 

Kansas City turned the ball over twice, increasing their NFL-worst total to 19 this season, and nearly had another on their critical final drive before a Patrick Mahomes interception was negated by an offsides penalty on the Giants (2-6). 

Speaking of penalties, the Chiefs incurred 12 of them for 103 yards but still managed to prevail as they twice got close enough to the end zone in the final period for Butker's leg to get points on the board. 

They were fortunate to do so after losing a 14-7 second-quarter lead that came courtesy of a Mahomes-to-Tyreek Hill touchdown pass and running back Derrick Gore's first career TD in the opening half. 

After a Graham Gano field goal late in the half, Daniel Jones hit Evan Engram for a touchdown on the opening play of the fourth quarter to put the Giants on top 17-14 but that was the end of the scoring for New York. 

Mahomes completed just 29 of 48 passes for 275 yards with a touchdown and an interception while Jones was 22-of-32 passing for 222 yards with two TDs and one interception. 

 

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