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NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Week 1 | NFL: Week 14

Titans hope bye helped heal up key players for stretch run

Mon Nov 18 6:52pm ET
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Delanie Walker, Ryan Tannehill, Marcus Mariota, Corey Davis

Tennessee Titans tight end Anthony Firkser (86) and wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (19) celebrate with wide receiver Adam Humphries, on the ground, after Humphries scored the winning touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 35-32. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)


Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel runs off the field after an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 35-32. (AP Photo/James Kenney)


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans believe their bye with the much-needed time off helped then heal for the final six games on the schedule.

How much remains to be seen. Coach Mike Vrabel didn't tip his hand Monday except to say he expected two of four Titans to test themselves when they practiced. But Tennessee doesn't have to share an injury report until Wednesday.

Tight end Delanie Walker and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey both think they're feeling good enough that there's a chance each might play Sunday when the Titans (5-5) host Jacksonville. Casey has missed the past two games with an injured shoulder, while Walker hasn't played since five snaps Oct. 20 against the Chargers.

''Been gone way too long,'' Casey said. ''Never in my life would I have I have thought I'd miss this many games in my career. But Lord got things up His sleeve. Just ready to get back out there.''

Walker talked to reporters while wearing a brace on his left knee to help him avoid aggravating the right ankle that has kept him out of the past two games. That's the same ankle he broke in the 2018 season opener. Walker said he wouldn't be wearing the brace in a game, and he likes how he's feeling right now. The test will be how he feels after practicing.

''Just by the things I've been doing, it feels good, so I think it's going in the right direction,'' Walker said. ''Again, I'm a tough guy, and I feel like at this point it's where I'm able to play. But again we just have to see.''

The Titans also played without linebacker Jayon Brown (groin) and wide receiver Corey Davis (hip) in their 35-32 win over Kansas City before their bye.

Tennessee is back at work with the AFC South bunched up, just a game out of first behind Indianapolis (6-4) and Houston (6-4) but just ahead of Jacksonville (4-6). Four of the final six outings are inside the division, including a trip to Indianapolis on Dec. 1. The Titans are playing the Texans twice in the final three weeks.

Vrabel calls it a great opportunity that's no different than the Kentucky Derby when a hole opens up for a horse to take advantage.

''Or in this case, the team will take advantage of the opportunity,'' Vrabel said. ''So, all we can focus on right now is Jacksonville. We didn't play the game how we wanted to play it last time down there, so we'll have to do a much better job this week of preparing to continue to give ourselves opportunities.''

The Titans lost 20-7 in Jacksonville on Sept. 19 as part of a 2-4 start that led to the benching of Marcus Mariota. They went into the bye having won three of four with Ryan Tannehill, and Vrabel said the coaches spent a lot of time with the players last week looking at where they can improve in areas ranging from fundamentals and penalties to third downs.

Now it's back to work after a bye week that came late in the season.

''Everybody's a little bit refreshed, and that's what we needed,'' Walker said.

Player Notes
Washington Redskins Dec 6 2:20pm ET

The Washington Redskins Defense has performed well both in real life and in fantasy football the last two weeks, greatly contributing to the fact that their team has won its last two games. With fantasy championships at stake in Week 14, now is not the time to buy into this trend so much that you believe they are up to the task of handling Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers may not be launching MVP-level numbers around, but he also doesn't turn the ball over or otherwise make mistakes that make things easy on opposing defenses. If Washington is able to post its third straight impressive defensive effort in a row this week, so be it. Let it happen on the waiver wire.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Dec 6 2:10pm ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack is expected to be back on the field for a Week 14 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mack hasn't played since Week 11 due to a broken hand, but according to Colts coach Frank Reich, Mack won't be limited or on any kind of a pitch count. While fantasy owners are likely thrilled that Mack is back, he has a rough matchup to welcome him. Tampa Bay features the league's best run defense and one of the league's worst pass defenses, so the Colts are more likely to take to the air than to rely on their running game. Mack is a low-floor RB2 for this one.

From RotoBaller

Kelvin Harmon Dec 6 2:10pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Kelvin Harmon can hang his hat on an increased role in an otherwise terrible pass offense over the last few weeks, but that's where the positives begin and end regarding his Week 14 outlook. The Packers are in a three-way tie for the second-fewest receptions allowed to wide receivers on the season, and the Redskins much prefer to run the ball anyway. Harmon is worth monitoring in deep PPR leagues as the fantasy playoffs progress, but he can't be confidently relied upon this Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Adam Vinatieri Dec 6 2:10pm ET

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is out for Week 14 due to a knee injury. The Colts signed Chase McLaughlin earlier in the week and he will assume kicking duties for Indianapolis against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Vinatieri says that IR has not been discussed, so he can be seen as week-to-week for now. McLaughlin makes for a solid fill-in kicker for any fantasy teams looking to tweak their kicking game.

From RotoBaller

Terry McLaurin Dec 6 2:00pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin's outlook has been and will continue to be hurt by having Dwayne Haskins as his quarterback, but there is big-play potential in his spectrum of outcomes for Week 14 if this pass offense can display some level of competence. The Packers are allowing nearly 16.5 yards per catch to opposing WRs, setting McLaurin up well if his inaccurate rookie QB can actually connect with him a few times. Adding to the risk in this matchup is that while Green Bay is susceptible to big plays from wideouts, the Pack is tied for the second-fewest receptions allowed to the position. As such, McLaurin doesn't carry a high PPR floor, and cannot be considered a safe play.

From RotoBaller

Chris Thompson Dec 6 2:00pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson was a non-factor in his return from injury last week, and there is little evidence to suggest he'll see much of an uptick in Week 14 against the Packers. Dwayne Haskins is given minimal opportunities to throw the ball for obvious reasons, and it helps that Washington has been able to establish an effective rushing attack of late. Thompson doesn't factor into that rushing attack, so his opportunities to produce fantasy numbers are almost entirely limited to whatever work he sees on passing downs. The Packers could theoretically jump out to an early lead and force the Redskins to throw, in turn boosting Thompson's outlook. That's not worth banking on this late in the season with fantasy championships at stake.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Dec 6 2:00pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) won't be suiting up for a Week 14 matchup against the Tampa Bay. Hilton had another setback in practice a few weeks ago and wasn't able to practice at all this week. He has already stated that he's not sure if he'll be able to play again this season. At this point, fantasy owners should not be expecting anything from the speedy wide receiver. Zach Pascal will benefit the most from Hilton's absence, especially against a soft Tampa Bay secondary.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Dec 6 1:53pm ET

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not practice Friday, Dec. 6, and is listed as doubtful for the team's Week 14 game against the Detroit Lions.

Fantasy Spin: Unless there's a semi-miraculous change in fortune over the next 48 hours, it appears as if Thielen will miss his fifth start in the last six games. His fantasy owners should be well-versed in the Plan B drill.

From TheHuddle

Adrian Peterson Dec 6 1:50pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson continues to split backfield work with Derrius Guice, but the two of them proved together last week that they can both enjoy success in the right matchup. They'll get their second consecutive "right matchup" this week at Lambeau Field against a Packers Defense giving up the sixth-most rushing yards per game and the second-most total rushing touchdowns to opposing backs. Guice is the better boom-play here, with more potential for big-time production on middling volume. Peterson should still be in line for enough of his own share, however, and should be regarded as a flex possibility unless you are fortunate enough to be super-deep at running back.

From RotoBaller

Austin Hooper Dec 6 1:43pm ET

Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) practiced again Friday, Dec. 6, and will play Sunday, Dec. 8, in Week 14, head coach Dan Quinn announced.

Fantasy Spin: Check back pre-game Sunday to be certain, but it appears as if it's an early Christmas for Hooper owners, who have been without fantasy's top tight end (10.8 points per game) since Week 10.

From TheHuddle

David Njoku Dec 6 1:40pm ET

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (wrist) told reporters on Friday that he expects to be activated from the injured reserve for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Njoku has been sidelined since he fractured his wrist during Week 2's win over the New York Jets. He told reporters that he felt ready to play two weeks ago, but it is apparent that the team did not want to rush him back into action. It remains to be seen whether he will see a full complement of snaps in his first game back against Cincy. That being said, Njoku's Week 15 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals makes him a priority waiver add for any forward-thinking fantasy GM hurting at the tight end position. Arizona has been one of the worst defenses in the league when it comes to defending enemy tight ends.

From RotoBaller

Dwayne Haskins Dec 6 1:40pm ET

Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins will go for his third straight victory in Green Bay on Sunday. Whether the Redskins pull off the upset or not, their two-game winning streak is in spite of their quarterback--not because of him. Haskins has just two touchdowns in six appearances this year, and hasn't eclipsed 215 passing yards in any of his starts. This is arguably the least interesting pass offense in the NFL, with both Haskins and his pass-catchers shouldering the blame for that distinction. The rookie's only upside for Week 14 comes in the form of potential garbage-time chances at production, as the Packers could reasonably be expected to win this one going away.

From RotoBaller

Derrius Guice Dec 6 1:40pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice couldn't have many better matchups in which to follow up on his excellent Week 13 outing. The Packers are allowing the sixth-most yards per game to running backs, and their 13 rushing touchdowns surrendered to RBs is the second-most. We know the Redskins would run the ball on every single play if they could, so look for Guice to once again be a focal point of his team's offensive game plan. Continuing to cap his upside is the presence of Adrian Peterson, but Guice proved last week that a backfield split isn't enough to totally neutralize him when the matchup is right. Guice should be viewed as a fantasy starter in all formats for Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Julio Jones Dec 6 1:33pm ET

Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (shoulder) practiced again Friday, Dec. 6, and will play in Week 14 against the Carolina Panthers, head coach Dan Quinn announced.

Fantasy Spin: Good news for Jones owners as the wideout will return to the WR1 ranks, and now all that's needed is for Jones to deliver a WR1-quality stat line and snap his frustrating eight-game streak without a TD.

From TheHuddle

Le'Veon Bell Dec 6 1:23pm ET

New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell (non-injury) on Friday, Dec. 6, sat out a second consecutive day of practice with an illness, and head coach Adam Gase said he's unsure if Bell will be able to play Sunday, Dec. 8, in Week 14.

Fantasy Spin: Bad timing for Bell owners who will need to be extra vigilant up until kickoff. If Bell can't go, it will likely be a combo of Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery filling in, but neither would be much more than a dart-throw flex option.

From TheHuddle

Raheem Mostert Dec 6 1:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert erupted for 154 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 12, rendering starter Tevin Coleman obsolete. The fifth-year back has been explosive in limited opportunities this season, averaging 5.9 yards per tote, but it may not translate into increased usage in Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints. With Matt Breida (ankle) returning and Coleman inevitably in the mix, Mostert will likely revert to his standard change-of-pace role. Against a tough Saints rush defense, the Niners may play the hot hand, giving Mostert an upside of double-digit touches. But due to the high backfield uncertainty, fantasy managers should prudently view him as a flex option.

From RotoBaller

Greg Olsen Dec 6 1:13pm ET

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen (concussion) on Friday, Dec. 6, was ruled out of Week 14 with a concussion.

Fantasy Spin: As expected, Olsen is a no-go for the first time this season. Backup Ian Thomas is a decent fantasy fill-in if the tight end options are as thin as they are in most leagues.

From TheHuddle

Evan Engram Dec 6 12:43pm ET

New York Giants TE Evan Engram (foot) is expected to play in Week 14 after missing the previous three games with a foot injury. 'All indications are he'll be ready to go,' Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said before practice Friday, Dec. 6.

Fantasy Spin: A return for Engram, who ranks sixth among tight ends with an average of 13.7 PPR points per game, would be a welcome sight for his fantasy teams who have had to make do without him for the last month. We'll, of course, check the practice and injury reports leading up to Monday night's game in Philly, but the light appears green at the moment.

From TheHuddle

Golden Tate Dec 6 12:43pm ET

New York Giants WR Golden Tate (concussion) is expected to play in Week 14, head coach Pat Shurmur said prior to practice Friday, Dec. 6.

Fantasy Spin: Tate has been the Giants' most productive pass-catcher, averaging 15.2 PPR points per game since making his season debut in Week 5, and would be a high-end flex, low-end WR2 play in a great matchup Monday if he indeed returns after sitting out Week 12. Stay tuned ...

From TheHuddle

Sterling Shepard Dec 6 12:40pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard will see a downtick in value with both Golden Tate (concussion) and Evan Engram (foot) returning on Monday night. Shepard will move to the boundary receiver role with Tate back, which is actually a boost to his value, but there just simply might not be enough targets to go around. Eli Manning is also not able to buy time in the pocket for deep passes like Daniel Jones was, so Shepard may be less likely to hit on the big play. He's still viable as a WR4 or WR3 in deeper leagues, but he's far less reliable than he had been.

From RotoBaller