Mon Nov 30 8:26pm ET
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford looks downfield during the second half of an NFL football game, against the Houston Texans Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Darrell Bevell is pumped about the opportunity to coach the Detroit Lions, and quarterback Matthew Stafford sounds relaxed and ready for these last few games of the season - no matter what the future holds after that.
The Lions finally cleaned house, firing their coach and general manager, and now the rest of the franchise can begin moving on.
''I hate the circumstances with which it happened, but it's an opportunity,'' said Bevell, who is now Detroit's interim coach. ''You've got to take full advantage of opportunities that you're given, however they come your way. Like I told the players, I'm jacked, I'm excited. I get a five-game audition.''
Bevell has over a decade of experience as an offensive coordinator, including with the Lions. He was promoted to interim coach when Detroit fired coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn over the weekend. Ownership now has a lot of decisions to make about the team's long-term future, and it's not clear what the next few months could hold for the remaining coaching staff and many of the players.
Yet the decision to fire Patricia and Quinn may also bring about a sense of relief - at least there's no more uncertainty and speculation about that. Bevell clearly wants his team to have fun during these last few weeks of the regular season, and Stafford is focused on the short term as well.
''Obviously, winning is a lot of fun. Losing makes it less fun, that's for sure,'' Stafford said. ''Do everything we can to win. I think Bev's probably speaking more to his personality and how he wants things to go. This is an opportunity for him, to put his stamp on it.''
Detroit is 4-7 this season and went 13-29-1 during Patricia's tenure. The last game for the old regime was a 41-25 loss to Houston on Thanksgiving.
Any analysis of the Lions at this point should have less to do with the next game and more to do with what the next few years could look like.
There aren't a lot of bright spots when a team plays poorly enough for multiple firings in the middle of the season. Still, when healthy, the Lions have the makings of a solid passing game. Receiver Kenny Golladay has been out lately with a hip injury, but he put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons before 2020. Tight end T.J. Hockenson leads the team in receptions in his second season.
The problem is that Stafford is now in his 12th season, and Detroit will need to decide whether to keep trying to build around him - or really start over with someone younger.
''As far as my future goes past this season, I'll figure that out and talk about that later on,'' Stafford said. ''To me, I've got a lot of work to be done, as a team and as a leader. There's a lot to be done here for the rest of the season.''
WHAT NEEDS WORK
The defense was particularly disappointing under Patricia, since he was a defensive coordinator for the Patriots before coming to Detroit. Last week was the third time this season the Lions allowed 40 points in a game.
Defensive end Romeo Okwara has six sacks this season and is closing in on his career high of 7 1/2, set two seasons ago.
Detroit's draft results under Quinn have been underwhelming, and his final first-round selection - defensive back Jeff Okudah - has not had a great rookie season.
In addition to Golladay, the Lions were also missing Okudah (shoulder) and running back D'Andre Swift (concussion) in last week's game. Defensive back Desmond Trufant aggravated a hamstring injury against the Texans.
11 - That's the number of coaches, including Bevell, the Lions have had since they last won a playoff game during the 1991 season.
The Lions play at Chicago this coming Sunday. The teams met in the season opener, with the Bears rallying to win 27-23.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 12
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will have a new head coach when he takes the field Sunday against Chicago in offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. The team moved on from Matt Patricia following a Thanksgiving loss that dealt a crucial blow to their playoff chances in 2020, leading Stafford to say, "I'll figure that out and talk about that later on" when asked about his future in Detroit. While not the fantasy stalwart that he was for the majority of his career, Stafford still has weekly DFS appeal and low-end season-long QB1 appeal in larger formats. It's difficult to ascertain what Stafford's future value would look like in an organization other than Detroit's, but he is not scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent until 2023. For now, multi-season fantasy managers need not change plans surrounding Stafford.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) and running back Todd Gurley II (knee) missed Sunday's game versus Las Vegas, but head coach Raheem Morris is hopeful to have the duo back on the field for Week 13 against New Orleans. Gurley rushed for a season-low 26 yards against the Saints earlier this year and would be in a difficult spot even if he is cleared to suit up, as New Orleans is allowed the second-fewest rushing yards per game (76.6) in 2020. In the same vein, Jones would likely be dogged by Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, having accrued just two receptions on two targets versus the division rivals back in Week 11. Check back throughout the week to get updates on either as they become available.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has been unable to orchestrate his team to victory thus far in 2020, failing to put a touchdown on the board in the team's loss Sunday to Miami. But head coach Adam Gase is sticking with Darnold as his starter, saying, "I think Sam is the starter and we need Sam to play as many snaps as possible," per Rich Cimini of ESPN. In seven starts this year, Darnold has amassed three touchdowns to eight interceptions, completing just 58.7 percent of his passes. Veteran Joe Flacco hasn't fared terribly better, but shoulder injury concerns loom around Darnold as well, whom the organization has reiterated will play only if healthy. Despite Gase's assurances, Darnold has little fantasy intrigue at this stage, even in two-QB formats.
The Green Bay Packers are adding Tavon Austin to the organization for the stretch run of the 2020 year, giving Aaron Rodgers yet another potential deep ball threat. Austin last appeared in the NFL last season as a member of the Cowboys, where he hauled in 13 receptions for 177 yards and one touchdown. Having previously been brought in for a workout, the Packers are immediately elevating Austin to the active roster, which should make him available for Week 13 against Philadelphia. With so many options at Rodgers' disposal, it's hard to discern a path to fantasy relevance for Austin out of the gate, although he'll be a name to keep an eye on should injury strike to any of the Packers' trusted pass-catching targets.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (ankle) appeared to have sustained a serious ankle during Sunday's loss to Minnesota, needing to be carried off the field. But after X-rays of the injured ankle came back negative Monday, head coach Matt Rhule was not ready to rule the WR out for the Week 13 matchup against Denver. Moore and Teddy Bridgewater had some difficulty in successfully linking up versus the Vikings, including on what would have been a sure touchdown to ice a win in the closing minutes; still, Moore finished with four receptions for 61 yards, his ninth game this year with at least four catches. Check back throughout the week to get updates on his status, but look for Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel, Brandon Zylstra, and Pharoh Cooper to potentially have larger roles should Moore ultimately be ruled out.
The Denver Broncos played Sunday without a true quarterback on their roster, but they are on track to add another for the coming weeks in Kyle Shurmur, son of offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Kyle has yet to throw a pass in the NFL, having been a member of the Chiefs' practice squad in 2019. The move comes just days before Denver is set to take on Kansas City in Week 13, and days after the entire Broncos quarterback room was forced off the sidelines due to violation of COVID-19 protocols. Barring a bizarre scenario where the Broncos' QB's are once again kept out against the Chiefs, Shurmur holds little fantasy intrigue moving forward, even as he takes in his father's offense.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (ankle) temporarily left Sunday's contest against Carolina after sustaining an ankle injury before returning to action. After getting further treatment, Cook is not expected to miss time due to the ailment, paving the way for the star RB to suit up Sunday for a favorable matchup against Jacksonville. Cook's 13 rushing touchdowns this season lead the NFL, while his 1,130 rushing yards rank him second in the league. Despite amassing a season-low 3.39 yards per carry in Week 12, fantasy managers can fully expect Cook to remain an integral part of the Minnesota gameplan moving forward, particularly against a Jaguars Defense that has allowed the sixth-highest fantasy points per game average to opposing running backs this season. Alexander Mattison can remain on the waiver wire except in the deepest of season-long leagues.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (COVID-19 list) was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list Monday, which marks yet another setback for the veteran WR during an injury-riddled 2020. (Players do not have to test positive for the virus to be placed on the list.) Edelman's return to action has been clouded since being placed on injured reserve due to a knee ailment, last having appeared Week 7 against San Francisco. Having appeared in six games this year, Edelman has amassed just 21 receptions for 315 yards without a touchdown, a significant downturn from the production that fantasy managers have come to expect on a yearly basis. Check back for further updates on Edelman's health status as they become available ahead of the team's Week 13 matchup against the Chargers.
Baltimore Ravens running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram (COVID-19) appeared destined to miss the team's Week 12 contest versus Pittsburgh after positive COVID-19 tests last week. But with the game being pushed to Wednesday afternoon due to the continual COVID-19 outbreak within the Ravens' organization, both Dobbins and Ingram will have met the league's conditions of 10-day self-isolation. Gus Edwards had been in line to see a significant workload out of the backfield, especially with Lamar Jackson (COVID-19) out of the mix; the addition of Ingram and Dobbins essentially zaps Edwards of that former intrigue, even as the group figures to spearhead the offense against a stout Steelers Defense. None of the three has emerged as a consistent season-long fantasy contributor at this stage, making any of the group a risky play this week.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V (suspension) will miss at least the remainder of the 2020 regular season after being tagged with a six-game suspension for violation of the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Fuller claimed on Instagram that the substance was a medication he now realizes was not cleared under league protocol. Assuming that Houston does not make a postseason run this year, Fuller will also miss the first game of the '21 season, which may not come as a member of the Texans due to his pending free agency. His absence in the Texans' passing game may knock Deshaun Watson down a peg in outlook over the stretch run, while Brandin Cooks, Keke Coutee, and Isaiah Coulter could all step into increased roles as soon as Week 13 against Indianapolis. Fuller can be dropped to the waiver wire in all single-season leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB T.J. Logan (knee) and WR Jaydon Mickens were activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 on Monday, Nov. 30. Logan will remain on the Reserve/Injured list, however.
Philadelphia Eagles LB Genard Avery (elbow) was activated from the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Nov. 30. The Eagles also elevated DT T.Y. McGill and TE Caleb Wilson from the practice squad.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (knee) was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 30.
Kansas City Chiefs S Tedric Thompson was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns on Monday, Nov. 30. FB Andy Janovich was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list to make room for him on the roster.
Free-agent WR Tavon Austin (49ers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Green Bay Packers on Monday, Nov. 30.
The Denver Broncos Defense was not able to slow down fill-in quarterback Taysom Hill and the New Orleans Saints in the 31-3 blowout loss in Week 12. A week after sacking Dolphins rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa six times and springing the upset on Miami, the Broncos D put up little fight on a day in which their offense and practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton could only muster one completion as the emergency starter under center. They were of little help to fantasy managers by allowing 30-plus points for the fifth time in the last six games. Denver managed only three sacks (two by DeMarcus Walker) and one interception of Hill in the contest. With another dreadful matchup upcoming -- the division-rival Chiefs -- Denver's D should be avoided once again. They allowed a season-worst 43 points to KC back in Week 7.
Updating previous reports, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) was diagnosed with a hamstring strain that will likely force him to miss some time, according to a source. The Giants will know more later this week when Jones attempts to practice, but there is optimism that he won't be out long. Tests on Monday ruled out a significant tear. It's highly unlikely that Jones will play in Week 13 against the Seahawks, meaning that backup Colt McCoy should see his first start since his lone start for Washington last year. Jones, the sixth overall pick in 2019, has completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 2,332 yards, eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. New York's pass-catchers will need to be downgraded for the next game if McCoy is starting under center.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus gave the team their only points of the day in the Week 12 blowout loss to the Saints by making a season-long 58-yard kick in the 31-3 defeat. McManus hasn't missed a kick since Week 7 against the Chiefs when he shanked an extra point, and he's missed just one of his 22 field-goal attempts on the year as well. He's 7-for-8 on 50-plus yard tries and has proven to be one of the most automatic kickers in the game with his 95.5 percent success rate in 2020. However, he remains a fringe fantasy starter, at best, because of the Broncos inconsistent offense. McManus had zero chance of racking up points for fantasy owners with practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton playing QB on Sunday. In the rematch with KC in Week 13, McManus should be considered a low-upside option. He was afforded just one field goal try in the first matchup in Week 7.