Thu Oct 17 4:31pm ET
By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer
In this Dec. 15, 2013, file photo, then-Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan speaks to then-Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, before the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in Atlanta. Kyle Shanahan is in a better place now. After serving as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator under his dad, Mike Shanahan, from 2010-2013, he returns Sunday to face them as coach of the undefeated San Francisco 49ers. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
In this Sept. 15, 2019, file photo, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan works the sideline during the second half an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. Almost nothing has gone wrong for Shanahan and the unbeaten 49ers, who are in position to establish themselves as the favorite in the division that the Los Angeles Rams dominated since head coach Sean McVays arrival. (AP Photo/Gary Landers, )
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Kyle Shanahan is in a better place now.
After serving as the Washington Redskins' offensive coordinator under his dad, Mike Shanahan, from 2010-2013, he returns Sunday to face them as coach of the undefeated San Francisco 49ers.
Six years after the Shanahans were fired, the Dan Snyder-owned and Bruce Allen-run Redskins are about to embark on another coaching search. The position might be harder to fill if candidates go to Kyle for advice.
He said the best part of Washington was being able to work with his dad and be around some other good coaches. The worst part? ''Everything else.'' The 49ers coach paused. ''I liked a lot of the players - some good people,'' he said.
''We've accepted what we had to deal with there, and we've moved on,'' Shanahan said. ''We'll watch other people deal with it.''
Shanahan was one of three future NFL head coaches on the Redskins' staff in 2012 and 2013, along with Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur. McVay took the Rams to the Super Bowl last season, LaFleur is in his first season in charge of the Green Bay Packers, and the three coaches' teams have combined to go 13-4 this year.
Snyder and Allen fired Jay Gruden after the Redskins lost their first five games, and Washington eked out a 17-16 win at the hapless Miami Dolphins last week in interim coach Bill Callahan's debut. The 5-0 49ers look like justifiable double-digit favorites and are rolling under Shanahan, who has transformed the culture in San Francisco, in part because his time with the Redskins taught him what not to do.
''I just learned it's very important to work with people that have the same intentions and you want to go in the same direction,'' Shanahan said. ''Football is a very tough game and no matter how close you are with people, there's adversity that faces everyone and when you lose one game, two games in a row, you know what's going to be written and everything and (if) people live off that type of stuff, it's very hard to survive and get through any tough times.
''So, you've got to make sure people are made of the same stuff you are, that have the same intention, same goals and they're ready to fight and work through things and see it to the end.''
Shanahan, who coached a game with the Niners at FedEx Field two seasons ago, said his well-timed visit this time on Redskins alumni ''Homecoming Weekend'' is not personal. The only offensive players left from his time with Washington are injured running back Chris Thompson and holdout left tackle Trent Williams.
''I've moved on with my life in many other ways, and I think my family has also,'' Shanahan said. ''It's not an issue. We've got our team coming to play their team and we're looking forward to that.''
Shanahan has grown significantly from the introverted, closed-off offensive coordinator he was in Washington to now. Players then appreciated his football acumen, but more goes into being a head coach.
''As an OC in Washington, you saw kind of how smart he was, the way he saw the game,'' said Houston Texans tight end Logan Paulsen, who played for Shanahan in Washington and San Francisco.
''The thing that I thought that was really cool going from Washington to San Francisco was seeing his maturity in terms of talking and dealing with players and different personalities. He was always a very bright football guy and to see his leadership skills really come into his own was really cool to see.''
Paulsen said Shanahan exercised patience waiting for the right opportunity to take a head job and ''did it on his own time.'' With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo running his offense and one of the best defenses in the league, Shanahan is an early front-runner for coach of the year.
''He is a football junkie, and I think guys really respect that,'' Paulsen said. ''They see kind of the standard that's set by him in terms of what they need to know and how they need to respond in certain situations, and I think that's really special.''
Washington's current offensive coordinator, Kevin O'Connell, could be the coach next season, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's name has been tossed around. Whoever interviews and gets offered the job, Shanahan doesn't expect to be asked for his thoughts on the organization.
''Just look into it, see what the situation is and who you want to work for,'' Shanahan said. ''Any time you get opportunities you've got to look into it, but I'm not there and I don't know how it is right now. That would be up to that person. I'm probably not the person they want to call on that advice.''
Some things to watch when Shanahan's 49ers visit the Redskins:
After going winless on the road last year, the Niners have been outstanding away from home so far this year. They opened the season with back-to-back wins at Tampa Bay and Cincinnati and then won 20-7 last week at Los Angeles against McVay and the defending NFC champion Rams. San Francisco hasn't had a winning record on the road since going 6-2 in 2013 on the way to the NFC title game.
''I know we didn't win a road game last season, preseason or regular season, so those plane rides weren't very fun,'' tight end George Kittle said. ''Being able to get on those planes and come back with a victory makes it so much more fun.''
The Redskins haven't won at home since Week 7 in 2018.
RUN, RUN, RUN?
Callahan promised to commit to the ground game after taking over for Gruden, and boy, did he. Adrian Peterson rushed 23 times for 118 yards at Miami.
San Francisco's run defense might force more throws from still starting QB Case Keenum.
''We'll do whatever we need to do,'' Callahan said. ''Of course we want to establish the run and we want to keep that identity just like everybody else around the league, but they're good.''
The Niners managed to win last week despite playing two backups at tackle. Rookie Justin Skule made his third straight start at left tackle in place of Joe Staley, while Daniel Brunskill got his first career start at right tackle in place of Mike McGlinchey. San Francisco was still able to move the ball fairly consistently without altering the offense too much.
''I thought the two rookies did a great job stepping in and filling their roles,'' Garoppolo said. ''Those guys are just battling up front. What they do in the run game and pass game is so impressive.''
Washington's Terry McLaurin is the first rookie with 50-plus yards receiving in each of his first five NFL games since Terry Glenn in 1996. McLaurin leads all rookies with 23 catches, 408 yards and five touchdowns and is already the Redskins' best offensive player.
''He's done a really good job for them stepping in as a rookie, which is rare for receivers,'' Shanahan said. ''But you've got a very good football player and he's tough and the game's not too big.''
San Francisco's defense has played at a high level all season but might have been at its best last week. The Niners are allowing a league-low 150.2 yards per game passing, and rank second in points allowed (12.8 per game) and total defense (237.4 yards per game) thanks to a dominant defensive line that has put heavy pressure on opposing passers. San Francisco allowed just 48 net yards passing last week against the Rams and held Los Angeles to no conversions on third or fourth down.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) and cornerback Bradley Roby (hamstring) will be game-time decisions for Week 11 against the Ravens. However, they could both be held out until the team's Thursday night matchup next week against the Colts. Fuller would resume his role as the team's No. 2 wideout and push Kenny Stills to the slot if he returns this Sunday. Fuller makes for a boom/bust WR4/flex if he makes his return to the field, while Stills would be even more unattractive as a WR5 in deeper leagues. Stills is realistically only playable if Fuller misses another game. Roby's presence would help a troubled Houston secondary that is giving up plenty of big plays through the air. Avoid Houston's defense regardless of whether Roby returns.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard (shoulder) was limited in practice on Friday and is questionable to play in Week 11 against the Patriots. We still expect Howard to suit up on Sunday, but he could be limited in a tough matchup and cede plenty of touches to rookie Miles Sanders. As such, Howard is shaping up to be a risky low-end RB2/high-end RB3 in a rematch of the Super Bowl two years ago. If Howard sits, Sanders and recently signed running back Jay Ajayi could split the workload. Sanders would have RB2 upside, especially in PPR setups. Philly's offense could struggle to move the ball effectively, though, with receiver Alshon Jeffery (ankle) already ruled out.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (knee), running back Matt Breida (ankle) and kicker Robbie Gould (quadriceps) are all doubtful for Week 11 against the Cardinals. For Kittle and Gould, they're likely to miss their second straight game. Ross Dwelley and Chase McLaughlin would fill in for the two, respectively, but they're both poor fantasy streamers, even in deep leagues. Breida could miss up to two weeks, leaving Raheem Mostert and Jeffery Wilson to back up Tevin Coleman. Coleman has high-end RB2 upside in this great matchup, while Mostert and Wilson are merely flex considerations in deeper formats.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) is listed as questionable for Week 11 against the Cardinals. This could be a true game-time decision, which makes things tough for fantasy owners with this game starting later Sunday afternoon. It'd be a shame if Sanders couldn't play in this juicy matchup, especially after he put up seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown against the same Cardinals just two weeks ago. Sanders is a very risky WR3 this weekend. If he sits out, rookie Deebo Samuel should benefit the most, especially with tight end George Kittle (knee) expected to miss his second straight game. It's hard to trust anyone outside of Samuel and Sanders in this run-first offense. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo needs to be faded with Kittle doubtful and Sanders questionable.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 11 against the Patriots. Remove Jeffery from your starting lineups. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) out the rest of the year, the Eagles will now have to get by with some combination of Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Jordan Matthews at receiver. Agholor might be worth a deep league or DFS flex, but the matchup against New England's strong secondary isn't ideal. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert should also be more involved, although New England could look to double team Ertz now. Quarterback Carson Wentz will likely struggle in this one.
Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson (concussion) returned to a full practice on Friday but is listed as questionable for Week 11 against the Cowboys. It's still unclear if Johnson has actually cleared the concussion protocol, but it's a good sign that he practiced in full on Friday. This could come down to a game-time decision. Detroit's backfield has been one to avoid in fantasy ever since Kerryon Johnson was lost for the year, especially since the Lions have been going to the air more as a result. Even if Johnson plays, he'll be a low-end RB3/flex in deeper leagues. J.D. McKissic would have flex appeal in PPR leagues, but only if Johnson is deemed inactive on Sunday morning.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (knee, illness, ribs) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) were both limited in practice the last two days and are questionable for Week 11 against the Redskins. Barring a late setback, both players are fully expected to suit up. Bell has been a disappointment to fantasy owners in his first year with Gang Green, but he has another great chance to put up numbers this Sunday against a bad Redskins Defense. Thomas has been better than Robby Anderson of late, but he's still more of a low-upside WR4/5 in a shaky Jets offense.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (hamstring) will not play in Week 11 against the 49ers, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Edmonds was fantasy relevant weeks ago when David Johnson was hurt and before the team traded for Kenyan Drake. The Cardinals will go on their bye in Week 12, and Edmonds will return to find himself third on the running back depth chart. Unless one of Drake or Johnson get hurt, Edmonds should find himself on the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues.
New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) didn't practice all week and has been ruled out for Week 11 against the Buccaneers. Lattimore, the team's best cover corner, held Mike Evans to no catches on three targets in their first meeting this year, so this is really good news for Evans' chances of putting up numbers in the second meeting. Evans is a must-start WR1 on a weekly basis, but his ceiling just got higher. Quarterback Jameis Winston's outlook also improves significantly with this news.
The Houston Texans Defense is not a recommended option in Week 11 on the road against arguably the most electrifying offense in football. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have been on fire lately hanging 49 points on the Bengals last week and should do more of the same this week. The Texans defense has been hit hard with injuries and should not be started in this brutal matchup vs the team that allows the sixth-fewest points to opposing defenses this season.
New York Jets LB C.J. Mosley (groin), DB Matthias Farley (quad), OL Ryan Kalil (knee) and LB Paul Worrilow (quad) were unable to practice Friday, Nov. 15, and have been ruled out for Week 11 against the New York Jets. CB Darryl Roberts (calf) did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful. RB Le'Veon Bell (ribs, knee, illness), LB Brandon Copeland (hip, thumb), LB Neville Hewitt (neck, knee), OL Alex Lewis (elbow), DL Steve McLendon (neck), OL Kelvin Beachum (ankle) and WR Demaryius Thomas (knee, hamstring) were limited in practice Friday and are listed as questionable. DL Henry Anderson (shoulder) was upgraded to full practice Friday and is also listed as questionable. WR Robby Anderson was a limited participant in practice all week but no longer appears on the injury report. RB Josh Adams (illness), QB Sam Darnold (thumb), WR Jamison Crowder (knee, quad), WR Braxton Berrios (hamstring, hip), TE Ryan Griffin (ankle), OL Tom Compton (back), LB Jordan Jenkins (calf), DB Blessuan Austin (knee) and DB Nate Hairston (thumb, knee) fully participated in practice Friday and have also been removed from the injury report.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Nov. 15, and has been ruled out for Week 11.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation to see when Hilton will be able to return. Zach Pascal will continue to be the main receiver in the passing game and could be a flex option despite the matchup.
The Minnesota Vikings activated wide receiver Josh Doctson (hamstring) off of Injured Reserve on Friday. He'll be available to play in Week 11 against the Broncos. Doctson has some history with quarterback Kirk Cousins from their time in Washington, but it's a long shot that Doctson will be very involved in the offense this weekend, even with Adam Thielen (hamstring) out another week. Olabisi Johnson and Laquon Treadwell should still see most of the work in three-receiver sets alongside Stefon Diggs.
Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills should run more routes out of the slot this week, assuming Will Fuller is back in action Sunday at Baltimore. Fuller returned to practice on a limited basis, and while he's not been cleared to play yet, he seems on the right track. Stills has no more than six targets in a game this season, and if Fuller returns, there will be even fewer targets to go around. The saving grace for Stills is that this game has a very high projected point total, and Stills is always capable of making one big play to put up fantasy production. Start Stills as a WR3 with more upside if Fuller is ruled out.
The New York Jets Defense will be a good streaming option this Sunday when they face rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the inept Redskins offense. The Jets defense has been hit hard with injuries, but led by Week 10 defensive player of the week Jamal Adams, they've found ways to create turnovers despite also giving up points. In addition to a couple of Haskins turnovers being likely, the Jets got to the quarterback for six sacks last week and could feast again against a banged-up Washington offensive line. Start the Jets as a top-10 option in Week 11.
Washington Redskins DL Tim Settle (hamstring), WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) and RB Chris Thompson (toe) were held out of practice all week and have been ruled out for Week 11 against the New York Jets. TE Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited in practice all week and has also been ruled out. S Deshazor Everett (ankle) and S Montae Nicholson (ankle) were limited in practice Friday, Nov. 15, and are listed as questionable. CB Josh Norman (hamstring) and RB Adrian Peterson (toe) fully participated in practice Friday and no longer appear on the injury report. RB Wendell Smallwood (non-injury) was not given a practice designation for a second straight day but has also been removed from the injury report.
Updating a previous report, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury isn't naming a starting running back for Week 11 against the 49ers, and he said it'll be "by committee" between running backs Kenyan Drake and David Johnson. The vagueness and uncertainty of the situation isn't doing fantasy owners any favors, and the Niners defense presents an incredibly tough matchup. Drake actually performed well against San Fran two weeks ago, but DJ also wasn't active. Based on how Johnson looked last week, we'd expect Drake to see more of the chances, but this is a situation to avoid if you can this weekend. Drake is more of an RB2/3, while Johnson will be a risky RB3/flex.
The Philadelphia Eagles intend to sign free-agent running back Jay Ajayi after working him out on Friday, according to a source. Ajayi is healthy after tearing his ACL and will be returning to the team that traded for him in 2017. The Eagles want to add some depth behind Jordan Howard, who is dealing with a stinger, and rookie Miles Sanders after Darren Sproles was announced as out for the season on Friday. Ajayi has experience with Philly, but he's unlikely to come into any fantasy value unless either Howard or Sanders miss time with injury.
Houston Texans tight end Darren Fells will be a touchdown-dependent streamer in a tough matchup at Baltimore. Fells has three touchdowns in his past two games, but in his last game, a 1-yard touchdown was his only catch. Fells has less than four targets in six of nine games played this season and is yet to top 70 yards. He's fine when he catches a touchdown, but with the Texans other receiving options getting healthy, it'll be tough to rely on Fells finding pay dirt every week.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring) and tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) have been ruled out for Week 11 against the Jets. Davis has no timetable for a return. Jeremy Sprinkle hasn't taken advantage of his starting role with both Davis and Jordan Reed (concussion) out for most of the year, and that probably won't change anytime soon with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins at the helm. Richardson should've already been on waiver wires before his injury. Rookie Terry McLaurin is the only receiver you can trust in D.C., and even then he's just a boom/bust WR4 in this sad offense. Trey Quinn and rookies Steven Sims Jr. and Kelvin Harmon should see more run in three-receiver sets with Richardson out.