Wed Dec 2 5:37pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, right, works the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) Anthony Lynn and the Los Angeles Chargers have some things to play for during their last five games, but the postseason isn't one of them.
Lynn publicly acknowledged Wednesday what many already knew - it would take a miracle for his team to make the postseason even if the Chargers win their remaining games to finish 8-8.
''I will always want to show them the big picture every once in a while,'' Lynn said. ''The playoff hunt is probably not going to happen at this point, as best we can do. And I don't think that's going to be good enough. But we play for each other and we play for the love of game.''
The Chargers go into Sunday's game against New England four games behind Miami and Indianapolis for the final AFC spots.
Quarterback Justin Herbert still has some rookie records he is chasing but said his biggest motivation is trying to play for his teammates.
''We're all expecting that from each other. And so at the end of the day, it's just us in this locker room and looking toward the guy next to you and beside you, give everything you've got for him,'' he said.
Usually when teams are out of the playoff hunt, they use that opportunity to evaluate younger players while trying to assess the roster going into the offseason. However, since the Chargers were racked by injuries this season, Lynn said they have had the chance to play and evaluate more of the roster compared to normal years.
Lynn and his coaching staff may be fighting for their futures as well. Los Angeles will host Atlanta on Dec. 13 before closing the season with three straight division games - at Las Vegas (Dec. 17), hosting Denver (Dec. 27) and then at Kansas City (Jan. 3). The Chargers are in danger of losing double-digit games in two straight seasons for the first time since 2016.
The Chargers will once again be dealing with their share of injuries this week. The defensive line remains shorthanded with defensive end Melvin Ingram out for the season due to a knee injury and Uchenna Nwosu still nursing a shoulder injury suffered against the New York Jets on Nov. 22. Linebacker Kyzir White - who leads the team in tackles - remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
NOTES: Lynn said Easton Stick has been separated from the quarterback group for most of the season in case of infections among the rest of the group. Coaches have been getting questions about their quarterback contingencies this week after Denver's QBs were all ruled out for last Sunday's game against New Orleans due to contact tracing and not wearing masks.
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 13
Detroit Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell told reporters that rookie running backD'Andre Swift (concussion) is close to returning heading into the team's matchup against the Bears in Week 13. Swift still needs to be cleared by an independent doctor before he can return to the field. The rookie was just beginning to hit his stride before suffering his head injury, racking up 246 all-purpose yards with one touchdown in Weeks 9 and 10. If Swift plays, consider him an RB3 selection against a Bears run defense that has struggled with tackling issues the past few weeks. But expect Swift to be a game-time call based on the doctors evaluations of him over the coming days. If he misses another game, it'll be a tag-team effort between veteran Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson yet again.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller will go up against a Lions Defense that is allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to receivers this season. After a tough start to the season the Lions secondary has allowed only three touchdowns to receivers since Week 7. Miller came up huge in the fourth quarter of the Bears comeback win against the Lions in Week 1 but has largely disappeared from games most of the season. Despite a strong fantasy line against the Lions earlier in the season, Miller cannot be trusted to deliver in Week 13.
Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham will go up against a Lions Defense that is allowing the sixth fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Graham caught the first of his five touchdowns this season against the Lions in Week 1 but Detroit has been tough on the tight end position this season. Graham, in turn, has only been effective in the red zone but little else in the Bears offense. The veteran will be a touchdown-dependent dart throw in fantasy in Week 13.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery will go up against a Lions Defense in Week 13 that is allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Montgomery busted out against the Packers last week, ripping off a career-high 57-yard run and racking up a season-high 103 rushing yards. Now he will go up against a Lions defense that has surrendered some monster performances on the ground and have allowed 21 total touchdowns to the running back position this season. 13 different players have posted at least 10+ fantasy points against the Lions this season and Montgomery will head into Week 13 with a solid floor as a starting point in fantasy.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II should continue to see plenty of targets in Week 13 against the Lions. The return of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to the lineup last week meant plenty of looks for Robinson, who caught two touchdowns and racked up 13 targets. The veteran receiver will take on a Lions Defense that is allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. 11 different receivers have posted 12 or more fantasy points against them and Robinson caught five passes for 74 yards in Week 1 against Detroit. The Bears are in must-win mode and Robinson should factor heavily in their offensive game plan for Week 13.
The San Francisco 49ers activated wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and defensive linemen D.J. Jones and Jordan Willis from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. They'll all be eligible to play in Week 13 against the Bills. The rookie receiver has missed the last two games after testing positive for the virus, but he'll return and be one of quarterback Nick Mullens' top two targets alongside Deebo Samuel. The 22-year-old out of Arizona State has 35 receptions on 56 targets for 446 yards and three touchdowns in his first eight games. Buffalo's defense will be a tough matchup for San Fran's wideouts, though, and there's a chance that Aiyuk will draw All-Pro cornerback Tre'Davious White in coverage. In his first game back, the rookie will be on the WR3/4 borderline for fantasy managers.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will try and save the Bears season in Week 13 against the Lions. The Bears have lost five in a row but having the Lions on the schedule next may be just the panacea that they need. The Lions are allowing the seventh fewest fantasy points to opposing passers this season but were torched by the Texans Deshaun Watson last week and Trubisky has enjoyed immense success against them in his career. In six career games, Trubisky has 14 touchdowns passes, only four interceptions and is averaging 266.83 passing yards a game while completing 67% of his passes. The Lions have allowed 11 passing touchdowns over their last five games and Trubisky tossed three touchdowns against them in Week 1 to lead a furious comeback win. Of all the weeks to consider starting Trubisky in fantasy, a matchup against the Lions is one of those rare times.
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.