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Titans hope bye helped heal up key players for stretch run

Mon Nov 18 6:52pm ET
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
Nick Chubb Dec 8 5:00pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb rushed 15 times for 106 yards in a 27-19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. He also added an 11-yard reception in the contest. Going up against a weak Cincy run defense Chubb was mostly quiet in the game, outside of a 57-yard run in the third quarter. That long run set Kareem Hunt up for a three-yard touchdown. Chubb has seen his receiving work dip since Hunt returned from suspension but he will remain a low-end RB1 in Week 15 against the Arizona Cardinals.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Dec 8 5:00pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been on fire over the past month. In Week 14, he caught all five of his targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. This was his third touchdown in his past four games. In each of those four games, he's caught at least five passes for at least 75 yards. Julio Jones led the team with eight targets in Week 14 and finished with five catches for 66 yards without a touchdown. Ridley has now outscored Jones in each of the past three games in which they have both played. Ridley is a fantastic WR2 right now who should be locked into your lineup, even with a tough 49ers Defense ahead in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Carlos Hyde Dec 8 5:00pm ET

Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde had 14 carries for 73 yards in Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos. He also caught two passes for five yards. Hyde bounced back from his worst game of the year to put up a solid stat line, and while his upside remains limited, it was encouraging to see him do what he did in a game where Houston's offense was shut down for most of the game. Hyde's still just an RB3/4 moving forward, though.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Dec 8 5:00pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder disappointed fantasy owners again Sunday making just three catches for 30 yards. Crowder's stretch of three straight games with at least 76 yards and a touchdown feels like an eternity ago as he's made just seven catches for 56 yards total in three games since then. Still, Crowder got seven targets in this one making it now five of his last six games Crowder has at least six targets. Despite the involvement in the offense, Crowder will be hard to trust in a road date with the Ravens this Thursday.

From RotoBaller

Julio Jones Dec 8 5:00pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones returned from a one-game absence in Week 14 and delivered a decent line, catching five of his team-high eight targets for 66 yards. The Falcons didn't need to throw the ball as much as they are accustomed to this week. Calvin Ridley had the biggest day amongst Falcons pass-catchers, reeling in all five of his targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. The highlight of the game for Jones was a 38-yard reception he brought in over the shoulder in the second quarter. It was good to see Jones back out on the field this week and he should be considered a WR1 going into Week 15 against the 49ers.

From RotoBaller

Kareem Hunt Dec 8 5:00pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt carried the ball nine times for 28 yards and a touchdown in a 27-19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14 while adding two catches for 40 yards. It goes down as another quality game for Hunt, who has three all-purpose touchdowns in his five games with Cleveland. Operating as the No. 3 option in the passing attack, he will be a solid RB2 in Week 15 against the Arizona Cardinals.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins Dec 8 5:00pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught touchdown in Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos, finishing with seven catches for 120 yards while also adding a 12-yard run to the mix. He was targeted 13 times after not getting double-digit targets in the last two games. With Will Fuller (hamstring) out, Hopkins once again was the main target for quarterback Deshaun Watson, who threw 50 passes in a game where the Texans struggled.

From RotoBaller

Brian Hill Dec 8 4:50pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill had a solid game in Week 14, serving as the team's No. 2 back behind Devonta Freeman. Hill rushed the ball nine times for 62 yards and scored his third touchdown of the year. Freeman saw 17 carries in the game and also had four catches while Hill didn't earn a single target through the air. The game was a bit of an anomaly for Hill, who entered the game averaging 2.8 yards per carry on the year before averaging 6.9 yards per carry in the game. Hill can remain on waivers in just about all leagues as he's not a reliable fantasy option while Freeman is healthy.

From RotoBaller

Qadree Ollison Dec 8 4:50pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Qadree Ollison didn't receive a single carry in Week 13, despite scoring touchdowns in both Week 11 and Week 12 while Devonta Freeman was sidelined. Last week, Freeman and Brian Hill were the exclusive backs the team used, but this week, Ollison was able to get a little involved. Ollison had four carries in Week 14 against the Panthers, but he was only able to gain six total yards. Freeman saw 17 carries in the game while Hill had nine. Ollison should get more opportunities as the youngster in the backfield, but he can remain on waivers in just about all leagues until we see the Falcons actually start to commit to him more.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Dec 8 4:50pm ET

The Houston Texans were embarrassed on Sunday by the Denver Broncos, but quarterback Deshaun Watson somehow managed to salvage his fantasy day thanks to his legs. Watson finished the game 28-for-50 throwing the ball for 292 yards, a touchdown, and a pair of interceptions. He also added two rushing scores on six carries, finishing with 44 yards on the ground. This was a tough matchup for Watson, but he's still a fantasy QB1 moving forward because of his ability to do the things we saw him do in this one.

From RotoBaller

Robby Anderson Dec 8 4:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson made seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Dolphins Sunday. Anderson was targeted a season-high 11 times making this back-to-back weeks Anderson has seen double-digit targets. It took Anderson a while to get going this season, but he's found his groove lately going for at least 100 yards or a touchdown in four consecutive games. Anderson has a tough matchup Thursday at Baltimore but will be a startable option in fantasy given his recent production.

From RotoBaller

Austin Hooper Dec 8 4:40pm ET

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (knee) returned to the field in Week 14 after missing the team's past three games. While it was encouraging to see him get six targets in his first game back, he turned in his lowest-scoring fantasy output of the season, catching just two passes for 32 yards. The Falcons were able to run the ball better than usual in this game and they weren't chasing points on the scoreboard so quarterback Matt Ryan only had to throw 34 passes in the game, a low number for him. Hooper will look to bounce-back against the 49ers in Week 15 and he'll be a must-start tight end once again.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Dec 8 4:40pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman carried the ball 17 times for 84 yards and a touchdown in Week 14 against the Panthers. He also added four catches on four targets for 10 yards. Freeman dominated the carries as usual for the Falcons, with Brian Hill earning nine carries and Qadree Ollison earning four. Freeman's heavy workload makes him a decent RB2 on a weekly basis at this point and he's especially valuable in PPR due to his heavy involvement in the Falcons pass game.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Dec 8 4:30pm ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a solid outing in Week 14 against the Panthers. He completed 20-of-34 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He didn't give commit a turnover in the game and was only sacked once. Ryan had all of his primary pass-catchers active for the game as Julio Jones (shoulder) returned from a one-game absence and Austin Hooper (knee) suited up for the first time since Week 10. Ryan's next matchup is a tougher one against the 49ers in San Francisco.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Dec 8 4:30pm ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled in a 27-19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. Mayfield went 11-for-24 passing for 192 yards and two interceptions in the win, although he did add 13 yards and a touchdown rushing the ball. It goes down as yet another disappointing performance for Mayfield, who was going up against an extremely vulnerable Cincinnati pass defense. He will find himself in another plus matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15 but he will be tough to trust after disappointing against the Bengals on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Dec 8 4:00pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant was carted off the field in Week 14's game against the Houston Texans. The rookie suffered a foot injury and was taken to the locker room on a cart but was later seen returning to the sideline, also on the cart. With the Broncos up 38-17 in the fourth quarter, there's no reason to rush Fant back into the game. Before leaving, he'd caught four passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.

From RotoBaller

DeVante Parker Dec 8 3:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receivers Devante Parker (concussion) and Albert Wilson (concussion) have both been ruled out for Sunday's game at the Jets. Parker had two catches for 28 yards before being evaluated for a concussion and Wilson had just one catch for five yards. The Dolphins will update the status of each after the game but both are question marks for next week. Allen Hurns and Isaiah Ford are the leading receivers for Miami with tight end Mike Gesicki also expected to see more usage if Parker were to miss time.

From RotoBaller

Mohamed Sanu Dec 8 3:23pm ET

New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (ankle) is officially active for the team's Week 14 game.

Fantasy Spin: Sanu has had one good game since joining the Patriots but has been dealing with the ankle injury. He should see a solid amount of targets and can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Jameis Winston Dec 8 3:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston (hand) suffered a right hand injury during the Week 14 game and is considered questionable to return.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation to see if Winston will miss an extended period of time because of the injury. Ryan Griffin would take over the starting job if Winston is sidelined but should be avoided in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Desmond Trufant Dec 8 3:23pm ET

Atlanta Falcons CB Desmond Trufant (forearm) suffered a forearm injury during the Week 14 game and is considered questionable to return.

From TheHuddle