Wed Dec 2 4:41pm ET
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) eludes Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) and inside linebacker Devin White (45) after a catch during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kept rolling single coverage onto Tyreek Hill, and Patrick Mahomes kept zinging passes deep downfield to the fleet-footed Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver, who proceeded to waltz into the end zone three times while piling up 269 yards in a record-setting afternoon.
It was just the latest example of the conundrum faced by Kansas City's opposing defenses.
When the Buffalo Bills steadfastly refused to let Mahomes beat them through the air, Clyde Edwards-Helaire led a ground game that ran 46 times for 245 yards. When the Las Vegas Raiders attempted to slow down Hill, tight end Travis Kelce beat them for back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. When the New York Jets managed to hold all those guys in check, third-string wide receiver Mecole Hardman pulled in seven passes for 96 yards and a score.
Indeed, the Chiefs are an old cliche taken to an extreme: pick your poison.
''They can line up the '85 Bears,'' said Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who only recently returned from a hamstring injury, ''and as long as we're doing our thing, we're going to be OK.''
Or exceptional. The Chiefs lead the league in scoring, passing offense and total offense. Mahomes leads the NFL in yards passing, ranks second in quarterback rating and third with 30 touchdown throws. Hill has 1,021 yards receiving, trailing D.K. Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks for the league lead by a mere 17 yards, and Kelce is third with 978 yards receiving.
That's just through the air, too. Edwards-Helaire is among the top 10 in yards rushing with 692 during his rookie year, even though he's split time with Darrel Williams and LeVeon Bell much of the season.
''Getting everybody comfortable within the offense helps us to execute at a high level,'' Mahomes explained, ''so that's why you're seeing guys like Kelce and Tyreek get off more and more as the season goes on. When you have other playmakers out there, you can't put all your guys on top of those guys. When you do, we have guys like Sammy and Mecole and (Demarcus Robinson) and LeVeon and Clyde that can go out there and make plays as well.''
Nobody has been able to make plays quite like Hill and Kelce, though.
With all that single coverage in Tampa Bay, Hill merely set the Chiefs record with six receptions of at least 20 yards. He also made it five straight games with a touchdown catch and three straight games with 100 yards receiving, and has proved over the course of the season that he's a complete wide receiver rather than just a downfield speedster.
''He's the fastest wide receiver I've seen in all my time,'' acknowledged Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio, who will try to slow him down Sunday night. ''And he's not just a speed guy. He runs great routes. He gets in and out of things. He's a great runner after the catch. He's a special player and they use him well.''
They also put Kelce in all the right places - or rather, Kelce finds all the right places himself. He has an uncanny ability to find the soft spot in a defense, and the result has been a streak of 106 games with at least one reception, and he needs just 22 yards receiving to reach 1,000 yards for the fifth consecutive year.
''The greatest thing about him is he identifies coverage very well and can sit in zones and find those creases and turn them into big plays,'' Broncos tight end Noah Fant said. ''He's one of the greatest to do it.''
The good thing for Fant? He doesn't have to figure out a way to stop his counterpart. That will fall on the Denver defense, which actually fared reasonably well against Kansas City when they met last month.
The Broncos still lost 43-16.
''That's just a problem the defensives have when they go against us. We have so many weapons,'' Mahomes said. ''Last week it was Tyreek's week, but I'm sure other guys will make big plays the rest of the season.''
NOTES: CB Bashaud Breeland (stomach virus) and LB Dorian O'Daniel (sprained ankle) did not practice Wednesday. ... Reid said he's confident the Chiefs won't have the same problem with their entire quarterback room being forced into quarantine that the Broncos had last week, when Denver was forced to use a practice squad quarterback under center for a game against New Orleans. ''Those guys are flawless about wearing their masks. They keep those things on relentlessly,'' Reid said. ---
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Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 13
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will start again in Week 13 against the Lions. Trubisky got the start in the Week 12 loss to the Packers, his first since being benched in Week 3, and he went 26-for-46 for 242 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked three times, fumbled three times and lost one of those fumbles. Trubisky is by no means the answer to Chicago's offensive woes in the long term, but he presents fantasy managers with more upside than Nick Foles because of his ability to use his legs. Against a Detroit defense that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers, Trubisky will have some streaming appeal as a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues on Sunday.
Tennessee Titans TE Jonnu Smith (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to check on Smith's status later in the week to see if he will be able to play in the Week 13 game. He has not been a big factor in the passing game over the last several games and can be benched if better options are available.
Tennessee Titans WR Adam Humphries (concussion) fully participated in practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Fantasy Spin: Humphries appears to have a good chance to play in the Week 13 game, but more will be known later in the week. He probably would see a few targets if he plays his week but can be avoided in most fantasy leagues.
Tennessee Titans TE Anthony Firkser (non-injury), RB D'Onta Foreman (knee), CB Adoree' Jackson (knee), OG Rodger Saffold (ankle) and DT Jeffery Simmons (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 2. OT Dennis Kelly (knee) was limited during practice, while TE MyCole Pruitt (knee) fully participated in practice.
The Denver Broncos claimed defensive back Will Parks off waivers from the Eagles on Wednesday, according to a source. Parks signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia in the offseason and was expected to replace Malcolm Jenkins at safety, but he failed to make an impact in six games (three starts), recording just 13 tackles. He'll reunite with the Broncos, who drafted him in the sixth round out of Arizona back in 2016. Parks had four interceptions, 13 passes defensed and 104 solo tackles in his four seasons with the Broncos. He'll provide depth for a young and inexperienced secondary, but the Broncos Defense remains off the fantasy radar for a Week 13 divisional matchup against the high-flying offense of the Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons RB Todd Gurley (knee) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should have a better idea of Gurley's status later in the week. He can be a No. 2 running back if he is active for the game, but players should have other options available in case he sits out again.
Atlanta Falcons TE Hayden Hurst (ankle) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Fantasy Spin: Hurst was able to play in the last game and should be on track to play again this week. He has been targeted at least seven times in four of the last five games and can be a No. 1 fantasy tight end if he plays.
Atlanta Falcons CB Kendall Sheffield (illness) and OG James Carpenter (groin) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 2. DE Dante Fowler (hamstring) and PK Younghoe Koo (groin) were limited during practice. FB Keith Smith (knee) fully participated in practice.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said that offensive tackle Trent Brown returned to practice on Wednesday after missing extended time after testing positive for COVID-19. Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and defensive end Clelin Ferrell also practiced Wednesday. Brown has played in just two games this season for the Raiders and hasn't been on the field since Week 5. Along with his COVID-19 scare, the 27-year-old also had to be hospitalized before the Week 8 game against the Browns due to complications from a pre-game IV. The Raiders offensive line and running game will receive a boost if Brown can return for Week 13 against the winless Jets.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (ankle, foot) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Fantasy Spin: Ridley likely will be available for the Week 13 game unless he suffers a setback during the week. He has been a consistent fantasy option this season and should be a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues if he is active.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Fantasy Spin: Jones was not able to play in the last game, so fantasy players will need to check on his status later in the week. He is a risky option since he has been dealing with hamstring problems for most of the season but should still be a starting option if he is active for the game.
The Las Vegas Raiders placed defensive tackle Maliek Collins (undisclosed) on Injured Reserve on Wednesday. According to Pro Football Focus, Collins is the lowest-graded defensive tackle in the NFL and he's the second-lowest graded run defender in 2020. He's failed to record a single sack in his first year with the Raiders after being one of the more underrated defensive tackles in the league when he was with the Cowboys. The free-agent bust will have to miss at least the next three games, so with only five games remaining in the regular season, Collins might have already played his last snap with Las Vegas. Although the Raiders defense hasn't been much of a factor in fantasy all year, they'll be a streaming option in 12-team leagues against the winless Jets this Sunday.
Indianapolis Colts TE Trey Burton (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Fantasy Spin: Burton has been targeted 11 times over the last two games and has a touchdown in both games. He should receive a similar workload and could be a starting option in some leagues.
Indianapolis Colts OT Anthony Castonzo (knee), OT Chaz Green (back), DE Justin Houston (non-injury), LB Bobby Okereke (ankle), P Rigoberto Sanchez (illness) and S Khari Willis (back, quadriceps) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 2. DE Kemoko Turay (ankle) was limited during practice, while C Ryan Kelly (neck), CB Isaiah Rodgers (knee) and RB Jordan Wilkins (ribs) fully participated in practice.
Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers (toe) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Fantasy Spin: Rivers may not do much during practice this week but should be fine for the Week 13 game. He should have success against the Houston Texans and could be a low-end No. 1 quarterback in deeper leagues.
Detroit Lions DE Julian Okwara (undisclosed) and CB Darryl Roberts (hip, groin) have been designated to return from the Reserve/Injured list.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (shoulder, toe) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Fantasy Spin: Shepard has caught at least six passes in each of the last five games and should continue to be the main option in the passing game. He may be working with a backup quarterback this week but can still be at least a flex option in fantasy leagues.
New York Giants LB David Mayo (knee) and S Nate Ebner (knee) were limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 2.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) has an outside chance to play in Week 13 against the Seahawks, but he didn't practice on Wednesday. Jones is becoming more of a long shot to play this weekend, but he could be questionable if he can get in some limited practice work later this week. Fantasy managers shouldn't be counting on Jones for their Week 13 lineups, though, with the expectation that backup Colt McCoy will receive the start against Seattle. The good news is that Jones has a good shot of missing just one game. McCoy would be nothing more than a low-end QB2 desperation streamer in superflex leagues, while all of New York's pass-catchers should be downgraded in your weekly rankings.
Baltimore Ravens running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram II are not active for Wednesday's game against the Steelers despite being eligible to return from the COVID-19 list. Dobbins and Ingram didn't travel with the team on Tuesday night because it was the final day of their 10-day quarantine after testing positive for the virus. They haven't been put on the active roster and neither has practiced since the overtime loss to the Titans 10 days ago. The rookie Dobbins figures to take over as the team's lead back down the stretch, while Ingram has been slowly phased out of the offense. Gus Edwards will get the start against Pittsburgh and has rushed for 217 yards and a touchdown in his last two games against the Steelers. Justice Hill will back up Edwards, who will have RB2 upside for fantasy managers that stuck with him despite Baltimore's COVID-19 outbreak this week.