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One and Done - FFL: Week 1 | NFL: Week 13

Pats' Newton knows rookie struggles of Chargers' Herbert

Thu Dec 3 8:06pm ET
AP Sports Writer

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton leaves the field after an NFL football game against the against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

LOS ANGELES (AP) Cam Newton can empathize with what Justin Herbert is going through in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Chargers.

The New England signal-caller set several rookie milestones when he was the top overall pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2011. While it led to Newton being the Offensive Rookie of the Year, it didn't translate into immediate success for the Panthers, who were 3-8 through their first 11 games. That is the same mark the Chargers have going into Sunday's game against the Patriots at SoFi Stadium.

''I just remember as a young player I really didn't know the nuances of how to win,'' said Newton, who threw for a rookie-record 4,051 yards.

''I knew I was talented, but there's still certain things that go into playing hand-to-hand football. Offense playing alongside with the defense, defense playing alongside with the special teams and vice versa. This game transitions so much from the collegiate level to the professional level and it's all in a manner of plays. In college you get so many times to win or to lose so to speak. But in the NFL it kind of comes down to three to five plays that you know, that you can point back to and say this is when the game was won.''

Herbert experienced plenty of losing during his first season at Oregon, which he has said has helped him in trying to get through the valleys of this year.

''I've been through it before, and I've kind of seen it. And, you know, going forward is never easy. It's never fun for anyone, but you have to stick through and you have to stay with your guys and take control of that locker room and steer into the right direction,'' he said.

Herbert is averaging 301.5 yards per game, which is third in the NFL and joined Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes last week as the only players to reach 3,000 yards in their first 10 starts. Herbert has tied Andrew Luck's rookie mark with six 300-yard games and needs five touchdowns to pass Baker Mayfield's first-year mark of 27 with Cleveland in 2018.

Herbert has struggled with AFC East teams, but is facing a New England defense that is allowing 7.6 yards per pass attempt, which is second most in the league.

''He really has no weaknesses. He's young and has a long way to go, but you can see the talent and improvement,'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

Newton's 1,984 passing yards are 23rd in the league, but he has five games with 10 more rushing attempts as well as three multi-TD rushing games.

''He's a weapon with his legs and his arm. So whatever it takes to move the ball down the field, they are one of the top teams in the league in the least amount of three-and-outs. So they figured out how to move the ball, stay on the field and eat up that clock,'' Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.


Though they aren't quite back to .500, the Patriots (5-6) kept their playoff hopes alive thanks to their last-second win over the Cardinals last week.

New England has qualified for the postseason in each of the past 11 seasons and only failed to make it to the playoffs only three times since Belichick's first season in 2000.

Recent history says the Patriots still have at least a chance of extending their current streak. In 14 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team with a losing record through 11 games has qualified for the playoffs.


The Patriots will play consecutive games at SoFi Stadium when they take on the Rams on Dec. 10.


Los Angeles' offense got a boost last week with the return of running back Austin Ekeler, who was leading the AFC in scrimmage yards before he suffered a hamstring injury in early October that kept him sidelined for six games.

Ekeler had 129 scrimmage yards in last Sunday's loss against Buffalo. The Chargers though have had an inconsistent running game the past three weeks and have been held under 100 yards.


New England has the league's fifth-ranked rushing attack, averaging 149.6 yards per game. Damien Harris has emerged as the lead back, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. James White scored his first two rushing touchdowns of the season last week and Sony Michel has returned from a knee injury.


When asked this week about the challenge presented by the Chargers defense, Joey Bosa was at the top of Belichick's list.

New England has only faced the Chargers star defensive end twice since he entered the league in 2016. But what Belichick saw in those games and on film since then has been more than enough for him to dub the 25-year-old ''a one-man wrecking crew.''

The Patriots have done a decent job protecting Newton this season, only allowing him to be sacked 18 times. But Bosa's been one of the most disruptive defenders in the league. He's tied for ninth in the NFL with 7+ sacks and is tied for third with 15 tackles for a loss.


Belichick will coach in his 455th NFL game on Sunday, passing Tom Landry for the third-most games coached in league history. Don Shula leads the way with 526 followed by George Halas' 506.

Belichick is 39 victories away from tying Shula's all-time mark of 347 wins. Halas is in second with 324. This is the first time Belichick has coached a game in Los Angeles since 1993, when Cleveland took on the Los Angeles Raiders.

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Player Notes
Alvin Kamara Dec 3 8:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara is a low-end RB1 this week against the Falcons. Kamara is currently dealing with a foot injury and has a total of 99 rushing yards and -2 receiving yards in the past two games. It's clear the injury may be affecting the RB's play and adding onto that is the fact that the Falcons allow the third-fewest points to fantasy backs. As a result, Kamara brings more risk this week but his volume should keep him in the starting tier.

From RotoBaller

Latavius Murray Dec 3 8:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray is an RB3 this week against Atlanta. With Alvin Kamara affected by a foot injury, Murray had double-digit carries in the past two games and rushed for a season-high 124 yards last week. Kamara is still hampered with the injury, meaning Murray could see a good share of carries this week. Though the Falcons are stingy against fantasy backs, the Saints' RB2 is seeing good opportunities and has produced at least 49 rushing yards the past three games. Thus, he is worth considering for a start.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Akins Dec 3 8:20pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins faces a tough matchup in Week 13 against the Colts. Akins seems to be the current leader in the tight end room and could have more looks in the passing game with Will Fuller V (suspension) out for the remainder of the year with a PED suspension. Still, trusting Akins fully will be hard to do, thanks to the rotation Houston deploys at the position. Also, the Colts have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends, making Akins a low-end TE2 at best. Wait for a better matchup to utilize Akins.

From RotoBaller

Taysom Hill Dec 3 8:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill is a low-end QB1 against Atlanta on Sunday. In his first game taking over for Drew Brees a couple of weeks ago, Hill also faced the Falcons and had 233 yards passing and two rushing touchdowns. Being a dual-threat and adding the fact that the Falcons allow the second-most fantasy points to QBs, this sets up Hill for another solid showing.

From RotoBaller

Keke Coutee Dec 3 8:10pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee gets a difficult matchup against the Colts in Week 13. Coutee is in line for more work this week and beyond due to Will Fuller V (suspension) being out for a PED suspension. The 23-year-old has generally thrived in the past when given volume in the passing game, though the matchup with the Colts doesn't inspire much confidence. Considering the Colts allow the second-fewest targets to wideouts, Coutee should probably be left on benches, despite the great opportunity ahead of him this week.

From RotoBaller

Brandin Cooks Dec 3 8:00pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks should see increased volume down the stretch in the absence of teammate Will Fuller V (suspension), who was suspended for PEDs. Cooks has averaged 7.1 targets per game this year, though one would expect that number to settle around 10 per game without the presence of Fuller. This is a tough matchup against Indianapolis, who has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing receivers. Cooks should see plenty of targets though the efficiency might not be there. Start him as a solid WR2 this week, though he'll have WR1 upside in the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Duke Johnson Dec 3 7:40pm ET

Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson could lead the backfield another time in Week 13 if David Johnson (concussion) isn't activated. David Johnson reportedly looked good in practice, though there's no guarantee that he'll be out there Sunday. Despite being gashed by Derrick Henry last week, the Colts are not a matchup to target for running backs, as they've allowed just two 100-yard rushers all year- both Henry. If David Johnson is indeed out, Duke Johnson is seeing RB2-level volume, which makes it hard to bench him. Still, he'll likely need to find the end zone to warrant starting him against this defense.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Dec 3 7:20pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will be facing off with the tough Colts' defense for the first time this season in Week 13. Watson will be doing so without the services of his favorite target, Will Fuller V (suspension), who will miss the rest of the season after being suspended for PEDs. While the loss of Fuller certainly hurts, it's not enough to completely downgrade Watson, who has averaged 291 passing yards and 2.5 passing touchdowns per game over his last six contests. Houston has also struggled to run the ball this year and could struggle to do so against Indianapolis, meaning they'll need Watson's arm. Start him as a solid QB1 in Week 13.

From RotoBaller

Aldon Smith Dec 3 6:53pm ET

Dallas Cowboys CB Anthony Brown (ribs), T Cameron Erving (knee), OG Zack Martin (calf), S Steven Parker (ankle) and DE Aldon Smith (illness) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. The Cowboys did not practice Thursday, so the report is an estimation.

From TheHuddle

Breshad Perriman Dec 3 6:53pm ET

New York Jets WR Breshad Perriman (shoulder) was limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Perriman has posted at least 60 yards in three of the five games since returning from injury and has three touchdowns during that span. He should be one of the main options in the passing game and can be a flex option in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Trey Burton Dec 3 6:43pm ET

Indianapolis Colts TE Trey Burton (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Burton has found the end zone in each of the last two games but has surpassed the 50-yard mark in only one game this season. Fantasy players in most leagues probably will be able to find a better option for their lineups.

From TheHuddle

Cam Newton Dec 3 6:43pm ET

New England Patriots QB Cam Newton (abdomen) was limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Newton should be available for the Week 13 game, but fantasy players will know more about his status in the next day or two. Newton has not been a great passer this season, but his running ability has helped his fantasy value. He could be a starter in two quarterback leagues but probably can be avoided in standard leagues.

From TheHuddle

Frank Gore Dec 3 6:43pm ET

New York Jets RB Frank Gore (non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Gore has been playing better recently with 135 yards and one touchdown over the last two games. He will continue to receive most of the work at running back and could be a flex option in some deeper standard leagues.

From TheHuddle

K'Waun Williams Dec 3 6:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) and CB K'Waun Williams (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. CB Emmanuel Moseley (hamstring) was limited. WR Brandon Aiyuk (non-injury), DL D.J. Jones (non-injury) and DL Jordan Willis (non-injury) practiced in full.

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Philip Rivers Dec 3 6:33pm ET

Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers (toe) was limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Rivers has thrown for five touchdowns over the last two games and has posted at least 280 yards in each of the last three games. He will have a favorable matchup this week and can be a low-end No. 1 quarterback in deeper fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Ben Roethlisberger Dec 3 6:33pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (non-injury), CB Steven Nelson (knee), OG David DeCastro (non-injury), OT Alejandro Villanueva (non-injury), TE Eric Ebron (non-injury), DE Tyson Alualu (non-injury), DT Cameron Heyward (non-injury) and LB Vince Williams (non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. RB Jaylen Samuels (quad) was limited. The Steelers did not practice Thursday, so the report is an estimation.

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Jimmy Smith Dec 3 6:33pm ET

Baltimore Ravens S Chuck Clark (knee), S DeShon Elliott (knee, ankle), LB Jaylon Ferguson (illness), QB Robert Griffin III (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (groin), DT Broderick Washington (concussion), DT Brandon Williams (ankle) and CB Tramon Williams (thigh) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. OL D.J. Fluker (ankle), CB Davontae Harris (thigh) and LB Kristian Welch (ankle) were limited. The Ravens did not practice Thursday, so the report is an estimation.

From TheHuddle

Cam Newton Dec 3 6:23pm ET

New England Patriots LB Ja'Whaun Bentley (groin), DL Adam Butler (shoulder), DL Byron Cowart (back), DB Kyle Dugger (toe), PK Nick Folk (back), TE Ryan Izzo (hamstring, hand), DB J.C. Jackson (hip), OL Shaq Mason (calf), QB Cam Newton (abdomen), WR Matthew Slater (knee), RB J.J. Taylor (quad) and FB Jakob Johnson (knee) were limited in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. LB Anfernee Jennings (illness) was not given a practice designation.

From TheHuddle

Dalvin Cook Dec 3 6:23pm ET

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Cook should be able to handle his normal workload this week despite the injury. He is one of the top running backs in the NFL and is a must-start fantasy option if he is active.

From TheHuddle

Jack Doyle Dec 3 6:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle (non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Doyle has caught a touchdown pass in three of his last five games but has only six receptions and 53 yards during that span. He may see a few targets this week but can be avoided in most leagues.

From TheHuddle