COVID-19 is going to hover over the 2020 MLB season, and we got a stark reminder of that Thursday, as Nationals star Juan Soto tested positive just five hours before the first game of the season was set to take place. Soto will be placed on the IL ahead of the Nationals opener against the Yankees, and will now have to go through a league-mandated process to return to play that requires negative tests at least 24 hours apart and approval from MLB and player's association doctors. 

The good news is Soto is asymptomatic for now and hopefully will remain so. However, this is a reminder of the risks inherent in this season for MLB teams and Fantasy players. From the Nationals perspective, they are looking a situation where a player tested positive on Tuesday, and then spent two days around the team awaiting the results - thus increasing the potential for spread within the locker room. Hopefully, this will remain an isolated situation, but players who came into contact with Soto were tested Friday morning and likely won't know their results until Saturday so there will be concerns until then.

From a Fantasy perspective, this of course reminds us that this season is going to be defined by unpredictability and circumstances. With one statement from the manager, your lineup can change without warning, so prioritizing useful depth needs to take precedence ahead of stashing upside in many cases. That's not to say the likes of Dylan Carlson or Nate Pearson won't be worth stashing, since they'll like be up within the next two weeks. But you'll have to make your own decision on players with less obvious futures.

As for the specific loss of Soto, we unfortunately simply can't even speculate how long he might be out for. This is what separates this situation from typical injuries. Soto could remain asymptomatic and record a few negative tests in two or three weeks, a timetable many of the players who tested positive during summer camp follows. Or, it could be much longer than that. Either way, in a 60-game season, this figures to be a significant loss.

For a Nationals team that lost Anthony Rendon this offseason, this is a huge deal. The top of the order is still solid with Trea Turner and Adam Eaton, but it'll be Starlin Castro batting third and Howie Kendrick hitting cleanup, with Andrew Stevenson stepping into the starting nine to replace Soto in left field. Castro has some appeal after a solid second half in 2019, but Kendrick is a personal favorite of mine. He was one of the best hitters in baseball on a per-plate appearance basis in 2019, and with the DH, he could be a fixture. He might be a top-12 second baseman for Fantasy this season. 

And for those of you who lost Soto from you Fantasy roster, the first place you should look is Scott White's waiver-wire column, where he highlights 17 players to target.  However, if you want more specifics on outfielders to target, here are five rostered in 60% or fewer of CBS Fantasy leagues to consider:

Top-Five OF To Target
HOU Houston • #30 • Age: 25
Rest of Season Projections
H2H PTS
129.5
ROTO RNK
187th
Fantasy
ROSTERS
58%
Playing time concerns abound, but he should start most games as long a she hits. There's legitimate top-30 Fantasy player upside in Tucker's power-speed combination, so if he does hit, he'll be a difference maker.
NYM N.Y. Mets • #52 • Age: 36
Rest of Season Projections
H2H PTS
148.5
ROTO RNK
113th
Fantasy
ROSTERED
46%
Honestly, I thought we might be past the point of Cespedes ever being Fantasy relevant again, but he's apparently looked great in summer camp, and we know he can be an impact player when he's right. Why not roll the dice in a scenario where you need upside anyway?
ATL Atlanta • #27 • Age: 24
Rest of Season Projections
H2H PTS
122
ROTO RNK
241st
Fantasy
ROSTERED
40%
We saw how impactful Riley could be at the start of his stint in the majors last season, so now it's about finding consistency. He shined in camp, and if he can keep the strikeouts manageable, Riley could be a must-start outfielder.
TOR Toronto • #14 • Age: 32
Rest of Season Projections
H2H PTS
150
ROTO RNK
150th
Fantasy
OWNED
36%
Alright, so Dickerson doesn't have quite the upside the first three do, but he's a better hitter than he gets credit for. He's hit .293 with a 24-homer pace over a 162-game season. Like I said, better than he gets credit for.
CIN Cincinnati • #33 • Age: 28
Rest of Season Projections
H2H PTS
159
ROTO RNK
156th
Fantasy
ROSTERED
27%
Even at our loftiest expectations, Winker would never be a replacement for Soto. But, especially in OBP or points leagues, he could be a pretty useful player if it all works out. He was never right thanks to a shoulder injury last season, but at his peak, Winker can be a high-OBP player who hits 20-plus homers in a full season. He could be a must-start outfielder if he lives up to the potential

In addition to Soto, there are still plenty of questions about who will be available to start the season, due to injuries or other reasons. Scott White compiled a list of all of the biggest question marks, categorizing them by their likelihood of returning by Opening Day. You can check that out below:

Looking good
Jose Altuve Houston Astros 2B
leg contusion
Luis Arraez Minnesota Twins 2B
knee soreness
Charlie Blackmon Colorado Rockies RF
COVID-19 (cleared)
Xander Bogaerts Boston Red Sox SS
hamstring tightness
Kris Bryant Chicago Cubs 3B
stiff back
Nick Castellanos Cincinnati Reds RF
tingling in fingers
Yonny Chirinos Tampa Bay Rays SP
COVID-19 (cleared)
headshot-image
David Dahl Colorado Rockies CF
oblique soreness
Jacob deGrom New York Mets SP
back tightness
Dexter Fowler St. Louis Cardinals RF
back tightness
Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves 1B
COVID-19 (cleared)
Michael Fulmer Detroit Tigers SP
Tommy John surgery
Brian Goodwin Los Angeles Angels LF
knee contusion
Andrew Heaney Los Angeles Angels SP
back stiffness
Keston Hiura Milwaukee Brewers 2B
arm fatigue
Brad Keller Kansas City Royals SP
COVID-19 (cleared) | *Note: May be limited to 3-4 innings
DJ LeMahieu New York Yankees 2B
COVID-19 (cleared)
Jesus Luzardo Oakland Athletics RP
COVID-19 (cleared) | *Note: Expected to begin in bullpen
Yoan Moncada Chicago White Sox 3B
COVID-19 (cleared)
Max Muncy Los Angeles Dodgers 2B
finger contusion
Hector Neris Philadelphia Phillies RP
reported late (unspecified)
Aaron Nola Philadelphia Phillies SP
reported late (contact tracing)
Wilson Ramos New York Mets C
personal issue
Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs 1B
back inflammation
Carlos Rodon Chicago White Sox SP
Tommy John surgery
Miguel Sano Minnesota Twins 3B
COVID-19 (cleared)
Jean Segura Philadelphia Phillies SS
bruised hand
Mallex Smith Seattle Mariners CF
reported late (unspecified)
Kolten Wong St. Louis Cardinals 2B
stiff neck
Still iffy
Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers LF
back, neck, oblique issues
Byron Buxton Minnesota Twins CF
foot sprain
Willie Calhoun Texas Rangers LF
hip flexor strain
Johan Camargo Atlanta Braves SS
hamstring tightness
Aroldis Chapman New York Yankees RP
COVID-19 (no timetable)
Robinson Chirinos Texas Rangers C
ankle soreness
Giovanny Gallegos St. Louis Cardinals RP
travel delay
Lourdes Gurriel Toronto Blue Jays LF
side tightness
Yoshihisa Hirano Seattle Mariners RP
COVID-19 (cleared)
Jake Junis Kansas City Royals SP
COVID-19 (cleared)
DJ LeMahieu New York Yankees 2B
COVID-19 (cleared)
Jose Martinez Tampa Bay Rays DH
COVID-19 (cleared)
Scott Oberg Colorado Rockies RP
back soreness
Jake Odorizzi Minnesota Twins SP
back stiffness
Roberto Osuna Houston Astros RP
still building up
Victor Robles Washington Nationals CF
reported late (unspecified)
Eduardo Rodriguez Boston Red Sox SP
COVID-19 (cleared) | *Note: could start one of first five games
Anthony Santander Baltimore Orioles RF
COVID-19 (cleared)
Juan Soto Washington Nationals LF
late to report (contact tracing)
Julio Teheran Los Angeles Angels SP
COVID-19 (cleared)
Christian Walker Arizona Diamondbacks 1B
groin strain
Zack Wheeler Philadelphia Phillies SP
baby coming | *Note: scheduled to start Saturday
Likely out
Austin Adams Seattle Mariners RP
knee surgery
Yordan Alvarez Houston Astros DH
undisclosed
Chase Anderson Toronto Blue Jays SP
oblique strain
Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants 1B
bruised heel
Hunter Dozier Kansas City Royals 3B
COVID-19 (no timetable)
Cole Hamels Atlanta Braves SP
triceps tendinitis
Mitch Haniger Seattle Mariners RF
back surgery
Hunter Harvey Baltimore Orioles RP
elbow soreness
Keone Kela Pittsburgh Pirates RP
undisclosed
Evan Longoria San Francisco Giants 3B
oblique strain
Nomar Mazara Chicago White Sox RF
undisclosed
Brendan McKay Tampa Bay Rays SP
undisclosed
Austin Meadows Tampa Bay Rays RF
COVID-19 (no timetable)
John Means Baltimore Orioles SP
arm fatigue
Tom Murphy Seattle Mariners C
ankle contusion
Ryan O'Hearn Kansas City Royals 1B
COVID-19 (cleared)
Gregory Polanco Pittsburgh Pirates RF
COVID-19 (no timetable)
A.J. Puk Oakland Athletics RP
shoulder strain
Jose Quintana Chicago Cubs SP
thumb laceration
Anthony Rendon Los Angeles Angels 3B
strained oblique | *Note: won't be in opening day lineup; IL stint TBD
Will Smith Atlanta Braves RP
COVID-19 (no timetable)
Marcus Stroman New York Mets SP
calf tear
headshot-image
Masahiro Tanaka New York Yankees SP
Masahiro Tanaka - concussion | *Note: could return July 31
Luis Urias Milwaukee Brewers 2B
COVID-19 (cleared)
Jose Urquidy Houston Astros SP
undisclosed