Thu Jan 20 1:24am ET
By MITCH STACY
AP Sports Writer
Cincinnati Bengals' Sam Hubbard (94) reacts with Larry Ogunjobi (65) after Hubbard sack Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
CINCINNATI (AP) If Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry returns for the playoffs Saturday, he'll be running into a Cincinnati Bengals defensive line that is already banged up.
The Bengals had been relatively healthy until last week in the first-round playoff win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Stalwart defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi suffered a foot injury that will sideline him for the rest of the playoffs. Edge rusher Trey Hendrickson, the team's sacks leader, was shaken up last week and has been in concussion protocol.
Defensive end Sam Hubbard has sore ribs, and defensive tackle Mike Daniels left the Raiders game with a groin injury. Defensive tackle Josh Tupou is hobbled by a sore knee.
Hendrickson and Hubbard were listed as full participants in practice on Wednesday. Tupou had limited participation. All are considered day to day.
Henry, the 6-foot-3, 247-pounder who was the AP Offensive Player of the Year in 2020, is expected to return for the playoff game Saturday against the Bengals in Nashville. He's been out since breaking his right foot on Oct. 31.
''He definitely weighs on you,'' Bengals defensive tackle D.J. Reader said. ''He's a big back, but you've got to do your job of not letting him get going out there and put hits on him. Make sure we're wearing on him just as much as he's wearing on us.''
Reader and B.J. Hill will occupy the middle of the Cincinnati line, and if Hendrickson isn't able to go, rookie Cam Sample and second-year player Khalid Kareem will need to step up. To add some depth, the Bengals this week signed defensive tackle Zach Kerr from the Arizona Cardinals practice squad.
''I think everybody's excited about it, but it always starts with us up front,'' Reader said. ''So we've got to always create that special moment up front and just create the game going from there. It's going to start and end up front, every game.''
Henry said he felt good in full-contact practices this week, even with a steel plate in his foot. He said he doesn't know how much he'll play Saturday. It's likely he'll split time with D'Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard, the backs who carried the load while he was out.
''They did a great job this whole year,'' Henry said of the Bengals defense. ''Watching them against the Raiders, I feel like they did a great job. They had a couple guys go down, but overall they are physical penetrators.''
Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing said the game plan won't change even with a compromised Cincinnati D-line.
''They have some versatile guys so maybe I think you have to look more at the structure than the personnel,'' he said. ''Obviously, we had three quarters of a game or more of the playoff game against the Raiders to take a peek at them, but overall we've got to let our rules be our rules and go in with one-on-one matchups.''
NOTES: The Bengals this week released guard Xavier Su'a-Filo. The eight-year pro had started the first two games before going down with a knee injury. He was released after coming off injured reserve. ... Cincinnati also released punter Drue Chrisman and long snapper Colin Holba from the practice squad and added defensive tackle Doug Costin.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski has caught 15 touchdown passes in 21 career playoff games with QB Tom Brady.
Fantasy Spin: Gronkowski found the end zone on one of his five receptions last weekend against Philadelphia, and he should remain one of the top options in the passing attack against the Los Angeles Rams. Travis Kelce is probably the top tight end option remaining in the postseason, but Gronkowski isn't a bad alternative.
San Francisco 49ers DE Nick Bosa (concussion), LB Marcell Harris (Achilles), CB Ambry Thomas (knee) and DE Jordan Willis (ankle) were limited during practice Wednesday, Jan. 19. LB Azeez Al-Shaair (knee), QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder, thumb), LB Dre Greenlaw (groin), S Talanoa Hufanga (knee), RB Elijah Mitchell (knee) and LB Fred Warner (ankle) fully participated in practice.
San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb, shoulder) is expected to play in the Divisional Round playoff game but will not be 100 percent healthy, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He is dealing with thumb and shoulder injuries.
Fantasy Spin: Garoppolo threw for 172 yards and one interception in the Wild Card playoff game but did not have to do much because of the team's successful running game. He probably will need a better outing this week if the 49ers have a chance to win but is a risky fantasy option because of the injuries.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder, thumb) will be under center for the team's Divisional Round matchup vs. Green Bay on Saturday, but he will be far from completely healthy. Garoppolo has battled myriad injuries down the stretch, but he has remained the team's top option under center, even as first-round selection Trey Lance looms. Garoppolo delivered just 172 passing yards without a touchdown during the team's Wild Card Round victory over Dallas, far from encouraging numbers ahead of a collision with the Packers where frigid temperatures await. While Garoppolo delivered just one game during the regular season without a passing score, he has combined for five interceptions over his last three outings, a concerning mark when facing a Packers defense that logged 18 picks, tied for fourth most in the league.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Giovani Bernard (hip, knee) would have been a limited practice participant Wednesday had the team gone through with an actual session. Bernard returned from injured reserve to log 13 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown during the team's Wild Card Round victory over Philadelphia last week. Bernard's performance was entirely surprising after he notched just eight carries across 12 regular-season outings. While Bernard is dealing with injuries in his own right, his DFS viability Sunday vs. the Rams is wholly dependent upon the statuses of Ronald Jones II (ankle) and Leonard Fournette (hamstring). Ke'Shawn Vaughn would figure to continue seeing the lion's share of carries if he and Bernard split duties again, but the 30-year-old's pass-catching skills would keep him in play as a GPP option, particularly on DraftKings.
Tennessee Titans CB Jackrabbit Jenkins (ankle) should be available for the Divisional Round playoff game even though he missed practice Wednesday, Jan. 19.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (back) was a non-participant during Wednesday's practice due to a back injury that kept him limited Tuesday. Valdes-Scantling sustained the ailment during Week 18, but like his teammates, he received a week of rest during the Wild Card Round. With the announcement that Randall Cobb (groin) will be back in the mix for Saturday's game vs. San Francisco, the Packers' wide receiving corps is getting crowded, with Davante Adams and Allen Lazard still serving as Aaron Rodgers' premier pass-catching options. Fantasy managers deploying DFS lineups will want to check back on Valdes-Scantling's status as the week progresses, as the 27-year-old logged at least 65% of the team's offensive snaps in each game that he appeared from Weeks 10-17.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II (ankle) would not have taken the field for Wednesday's practice as he continues to work his way back from an ankle injury that kept him sidelined during the Divisional Round. When healthy, Jones stands to serve as Tampa's RB1, although Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard were both able to log rushing touchdowns during the victory over Philadelphia last week. Jones notched double-digit carries in each of his final two regular-season appearances, the first time he did that in back-to-back weeks all year. Fantasy managers firing up DFS lineups will want to check back over the coming days for updates to Jones' status as they become available.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman (hip, abdomen) was listed as a non-participant for Wednesday's walk-through practice, an indication of his injury status heading into Saturday's matchup vs. the Rams. Perriman played 49% of the team's offensive snaps during the Divisional Round, logging just one catch for five yards on three targets while facing Philadelphia. With injuries zapping the Bucs' pass-catching options late in the year, Perriman stood to be in line for a larger role that never materialized. The former first-round selection has largely been kept under wraps this season, although he would have some DFS appeal in GPP formats if Cyril Grayson Jr. (hamstring) is ultimately ruled out.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) was able to log a full practice session Wednesday, a huge positive when it comes to a potential return to action for Sunday's game. Jerick McKinnon served as the team's RB1 during its first-round victory, a role that he would likely cede to Edwards-Helaire should he ultimately receive the green light to suit up. Injuries limited the second-year back to just 10 games during the regular season, but he averaged 11.9 carries per outing when healthy. While Patrick Mahomes and his explosive pass-catching weapons garner most of the DFS appeal, Edwards-Helaire finished the year with four rushing scores in his last five games, a glimpse into the upside he possesses amidst Kansas City's multi-faceted offense.
Free-agent CB Quincy Wilson (Giants) signed a Reserve/Future contract with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, Jan. 19. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Free-agent RB John Kelly signed a Reserve/Future contract with the Cleveland Browns Wednesday, Jan. 19. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield (shoulder) is expected to be sidelined for four to six months because of his shoulder surgery but should be ready for the start of training camp. He is expected to start light throwing in April and be a limited participant during offseason workouts.
Fantasy Spin: Mayfield is expected to remain the starting quarterback for the Browns next season, but it is not known if the team will bring in any competition for Mayfield. He has played well at times during his career but should probably only be a No. 2 fantasy quarterback in 2022.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Cyril Grayson (hamstring), C Ryan Jensen (ankle), RB Ronald Jones (ankle), CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (hamstring), WR Breshad Perriman (abdomen, hip), LB Jason Pierre-Paul (non-injury) and OT Tristan Wirfs (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 19. RB Giovani Bernard (hip, knee), LB Lavonte David (foot) and OT Josh Wells (quadriceps) were limited during practice. LB Shaquil Barrett (knee) and S Mike Z. Edwards (elbow) fully participated in practice. The Buccaneers did not hold a practice Wednesday, so the practice report is an estimation.
Free-agent WR Javon Wims (Raiders) and OT William Sweet (Falcons) signed Reserve/Future contracts with the Las Vegas Raiders Wednesday, Jan. 19. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (back) and TE Marcedes Lewis (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 19. CB Jaire Alexander (shoulder) and OT David Bakhtiari (knee) were limited during practice. LB De'Vondre Campbell (elbow), RB Aaron Jones (knee), QB Aaron Rodgers (toe) and OT Billy Turner (knee) fully participated in practice.
Tennessee Titans CB Jackrabbit Jenkins (ankle) and LB Derick Roberson (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 19. DT Teair Tart (ankle) was limited during practice, while DT Naquan Jones (knee) and CB Buster Skrine (hamstring) fully participated in practice.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Elijah McGuire was released from the practice squad Wednesday, Jan. 19.
New York Jets impending free-agent WR Braxton Berrios said he has had contract talks with the Jets.
Fantasy Spin: Berrios played well during the second half of the season and should receive interest from several teams if he hits the free agent market. He can be a slot receiver for a team next season and could be a No. 3 or No. 4 receiver depending on his situation.