Thu Oct 17 6:01pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
In this July 29, 2019, file photo, Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict attends NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif. Oakland defensive coordinator Paul Guenther lashed out at the NFL for the severe suspension the league handed Burfict for his latest infraction for a helmet-to-helmet hit. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland defensive coordinator Paul Guenther lashed out at the NFL for the lengthy suspension the league handed to Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict for a helmet-to-helmet hit, one of a series of violations for which he has been punished.
Burfict was suspended for the final 12 games of the regular season and the playoffs for the hit to the head of Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle on Sept. 29. It was longest suspension ever handed down by the league for an on-field infraction.
Burfict appealed the penalty hoping to get it reduced but that was denied last week by appeals officer Derrick Brooks. The previous longest suspension was five games handed to Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth in 2006 for kicking and stomping on Cowboys center Andre Gurode's face, leading to 30 stitches.
''I think it was a witch hunt from the beginning quite honestly,'' Guenther said Thursday. ''Somebody at the league didn't want him playing football and they got what they wanted.''
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan handed down the penalty to punish Burfict severely for ''repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules'' after the hit on Doyle. It was the third time Burfict has been suspended for a dangerous hit on the field to go along with several others that led to fines.
The suspension is without pay, costing Burfict more than $1.1 million in salary and per game active roster bonuses.
Guenther said he's most upset about the lack of a clear standard and that he and the team will keep a close eye on other infractions to see if they are dealt with the same way.
''Now they've opened up a whole can or worms as far as the next guy who is going to do this,'' he said. ''We have to make sure if we do this to this one guy, this one guy driving 38 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone, a cop looking for one guy doing it, then all the players should be held to the same one standard. To me that's where I have the issue.''
During his time in Cincinnati, Burfict was repeatedly suspended by the NFL for egregious hits and violating its policy on performance-enhancers. He was fined regularly for hits that crossed the line, most notably the one to Antonio Brown's head that helped the Steelers rally for an 18-16 playoff win in the 2015 season. That led to a three-game suspension to start the 2016 season.
Burfict then was penalized with a five-game suspension for a blind-side block against Kansas City fullback Anthony Sherman in the 2017 preseason. The suspension was later reduced to three games.
Burfict was also fined $112,000 last season for hits on Brown and James Conner in a game against Pittsburgh.
Despite that history, Burfict said after signing with the Raiders that he disputes accusations that he is a ''dirty'' player.
But it was that history that led to this punishment, with Runyan telling Burfict in a letter that he ''continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.''
''Does it make any sense to sign a guy if after one infraction he's going to get thrown out of the league for a year? No, it doesn't,'' Guenther said. ''I think it's very unfair. It's unfair to our team and unfair to Vontaze.''
After winning his second-straight game, head coach Brian Flores declared that Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick would remain the starter for "the foreseeable future". Fitzpatrick didn't exactly shine in the Dolphins 16-12 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10, throwing for 169 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception, salvaging 12 fantasy points on the day with an 11-yard touchdown run late in the second half. Save for the one touchdown drive, Miami's offense was mostly inept in victory, totaling just 229 yards on the day. Fitzpatrick needs to stay on the waiver wire in Week 11, as the Dolphins will face a Buffalo Bills team that's allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2019.
A popular streaming option headed into a Week 10 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki scored zero fantasy points in Miami's 16-12 victory on the road. The second-year tight end had three receptions for 28 yards, with a lost fumble on Miami's first drive negating what few points Gesicki would earn on the day. While his six targets were second on the team to the ten of Devante Parker, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick targeted Gesicki mostly on shorter routes, throwing him only one ball down the field. With teammate Preston Williams out for the remainder of the season, Gesicki could occasionally be worth a look as a streaming candidate given his likely volume of targets. Just probably not when the Dolphins host the Bills in Week 11, as Buffalo is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2019.
New York Jets LB Brandon Copeland (hip) is dealing with a hip strain and is scheduled to meet with a specialist.
Free-agent S DeShawn Shead (Seahawks) worked out for the Oakland Raiders Monday, Nov. 11, according to a source.
Free-agent WR Deon Cain was signed to the Indianapolis Colts practice squad Monday, Nov. 11.
San Francisco 49ers TE Garrett Celek (back) was activated from the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Nov. 11. The team also waived CB Dontae Johnson.
Cleveland Browns WR Antonio Callaway's benching was only for the Week 10 game, and he will return to the lineup for Week 11, according to head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Fantasy Spin: Callaway likely will serve as the No. 3 receiver for the Browns this week against a good Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Fantasy players can consider benching Callaway if they have better options available.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (groin) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. The Browns did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Beckham was targeted a season high 12 times in the last game and should continue to be a focal point in the passing game. He will be facing a good Pittsburgh Steelers defense but can still be a No. 1 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. The Browns did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Landry is coming off one of his better games of the season in Week 10 and has been targeted at least 10 times in each of the last three games. He should be at least a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues this week.
Former Chicago Bears RB Mike Davis was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Monday, Nov. 11, according to a source.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. The Steelers did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Conner is expected to play this week and should receive most of the carries in the running game. He can be considered at least a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues.
Carolina Panthers CB Corn Elder was signed off the Panthers' practice squad by the New York Giants on Monday, Nov. 11. OL Evan Brown was waived to make room for him on the roster.
New York Giants TE Rhett Ellison (concussion) was placed in the league's concussion protocol Monday, Nov. 11.
New York Giants CB Janoris Jenkins (concussion) and Nate Solder (concussion) were placed in the league's concussion protocol Monday, Nov. 11.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (ankle) is 'day-to-day' and will see if he can run on his injured ankle without experiencing swelling on Wednesday, Nov. 13, according to head coach Zac Taylor.
Fantasy Spin: It's almost pointless anymore to speculate if and/or when Green is going to return, although owners can probably remain optimistic considering the team has yet to place him on the Reserve/Injured list. If he can somehow play this week, he'll return to a very favorable matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Stay tuned for updates.
Pittsburgh Steelers LB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (hips), LB Anthony Chickillo (ribs), FB Roosevelt Nix (knee), RB Benny Snell (knee) and WR Ryan Switzer (back) did not practice Monday, Nov. 11. OG Ramon Foster (concussion) was limited. RB James Conner (shoulder) was listed as a full participant. The Steelers did not hold a practice on Monday, so the injury report is an estimation.
Cleveland Browns DB Eric Murray (knee) and DE Olivier Vernon (knee) did not practice Monday, Nov. 11. TE Ricky Seals-Jones (knee) was limited. WR Odell Beckham Jr. (groin), OG Joel Bitonio (back), CB T.J. Carrie (back), DE Myles Garrett (knee) OT Kendall Lamm (knee), WR Jarvis Landry (hip), S Damarious Randall (chest) and OT Greg Robinson (shoulder) practiced in full. The Browns did not hold a practice on Monday, so the injury report is an estimation.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt will 'continue to get opportunities,' and head coach Freddie Kitchens expects Hunt's role to continue growing after playing well in Week 10.
Fantasy Spin: If the Browns have done one thing right this season, it might be that Nick Chubb has been a near-lock for 20 touches. That didn't change in Hunt's debut, even though the former Kansas City Chief finished with four carries and seven catches. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out going forward, but 10 touches per week will be enough for someone with Hunt's talent to be a serviceable flex option in most leagues.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon (ribs) is expected to miss 'an extended amount of time' with a fractured rib, according to head coach Adam Gase.
Fantasy Spin: It's been one thing after another the season for Herndon, who celebrated ending a season-opening four-game suspension by hurting his hamstring. Owners who waited that out were rewarded with one catch for seven yards in Week 10 before this injury. It's probably safe to drop Herndon at this point in redraft leagues. Ryan Griffin has filled in capably at times for desperate fantasy owners and should be a serviceable streamer the rest of the way.