Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians claps during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't trust the numbers when it comes to the struggling Chicago offense.
Coach Bruce Arians likes what he's seen of rookie Justin Fields, noting the young quarterback not only has a strong arm but also the ability to give opposing defenses fits when he decides to tuck the ball and run.
Chicago might rank last in the NFL in total offense and be the only team in the league that averages more yards per game rushing than passing, but Arians says there are talented players around Fields who give the Bears (3-3) the potential to be more productive.
''I don't put any stock in stats,'' Arians said, looking ahead to Sunday when the defending Super Bowl champions (5-1) aim for a fourth consecutive victory and the best seven-game start in franchise history.
''You never know with a young quarterback what's going to happen. ... He's big, he's athletic, he's got a tremendous arm,'' the Tampa Bay coach added. ''And he's faster than Jalen Hurts. We had a little trouble containing him, so we've got to do a better job of keeping him in the pocket.''
The Bucs held off Hurts and the Eagles 28-22 last week in a game that wasn't as close as the final score. They have added incentive to keep tabs on Fields and the Bears after playing poorly last season during a 20-19 loss at Chicago.
Arians said there's plenty the Bucs can take from that game and apply to this meeting.
''Yeah, don't get 13 penalties. And everything else that went on up there - finishing plays, turning the ball over. ... There are a lot of things to learn from that tape,'' the coach said.
It won't be easy for the Bears, who lead the NFL with 21 sacks, to replicate their success.
Tom Brady, who was still getting acclimated to new surroundings when the teams met a year ago, leads the NFL in passing yards (2,064) and is second in touchdown passes (17) through six games.
The Bears average 129 yards rushing compared to a league-low 117.2 passing. Throw in the fact the Bucs have the league's stingiest run defense (54.8 yards per game) and Chicago faces a tall task Sunday.
''That will be a true test for us. You saw what they did last year when we faced them. They're a stout run defense. They've got a lot of great players on that front line, the second level with their linebackers,'' Bears coach Matt Nagy said.
''The amount of respect that I have for Todd Bowles as a defensive coordinator and what he does, is real,'' Nagy added. ''So, that combination of how he schemes and then the players they have, I think there is a reason why they are that good.''
Tampa Bay leads the league in passing but is 28th in rushing. The defending champs don't have a 100-yard rusher this season, however, Leonard Fournette has provided balance by assuming a greater workload and also getting involved in the passing attack the past three games. His 376 total yards from scrimmage over that stretch are the third most in the NFL behind Derrick Henry (463) and Jonathan Taylor (441).
The Bears rank last in the NFL in total offense even though they are seventh in rushing. Clearly, they have work to do in the passing game.
Fields continues to show promise as well as having room to grow. The No. 11 overall draft pick led 80-yard touchdown drives in the first and fourth quarters against Green Bay, but the offense also stalled for a large part of that game.
Fields has thrown for 632 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in six games, including four starts. The former Ohio State star has been sacked 18 times for a league-leading 163 yards.
The Bears are 2-2 with Fields as their starter.
The Bears could be without one of their top pass rushers when they face another all-time great quarterback.
Chicago placed Robert Quinn on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, putting the resurgent linebacker's status in question. The two-time Pro Bowl pick is second on the team to Khalil Mack with 5 1/2 sacks after finishing with two last season, his first with the Bears.
Mack (foot) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (groin) are banged up, too.
Even at full strength, the Bears would be in for another tough task. Brady may not own the Bears the way Aaron Rodgers has over the years. But the three-time MVP is 5-1 in six games against Chicago.
''One is just a little more mobile than the other one,'' Bears linebacker Alec Ogletree said. ''But they both do things where they make their offense go. When they are both hitting and clicking with their receivers and backs or whoever, they are tough to defend. Obviously, you can see that with the numbers they put up and stuff like that.''
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor is not a starting fantasy option in any format in a Week 12 game against the New York Giants. Reagor has put up a top-50 fantasy wide receiver performance only twice this season, and has scored under five fantasy points eight times. It's been a disaster of a season for the former first-round pick, and he cannot be relied on in any format at this point. There are few, if any, fantasy leagues where he should even be on a roster.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert will look for another TE1 week in a Week 12 game against the New York Giants. Goedert has seen an enormous 30% target share over the past four games, but with the Eagles only throwing on one of every three offensive plays, that's translated to just 7.8 fantasy points per game. Still, while the range of outcomes for Goedert is larger than others ranked around him, his upside is also much higher. He's a fairly safe mid-range TE1 with top-tier upside every week.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott will look for another strong performance in a Week 12 contest against the New York Giants. Elliott has been extremely consistent this season, making 18 of his 20 field goal attempts and all 29 of his extra point tries. Despite the consistency, Elliott has finished outside of the top-20 fantasy kickers six times due to low volume and the lack of long-yardage opportunities. He's a decent option against the Giants, since the Eagles should be able to move the ball fairly well.
The Philadelphia Eagles defense has had an up-and-down fantasy season, but they've been a top-six fantasy option in three of the past four weeks. A Week 12 matchup against Daniel Jones and the New York Giants shouldn't be too tough of a test for the unit that came up with a fumble recovery, two interceptions, and a defensive touchdown in Week 11. While there's always risk with the Eagles defense, there's some nice upside to go with it in Week 12.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell is unlikely to have a big role in a Week 12 game against the New York Giants. Gainwell was a healthy scratch in Week 11, and even with Jordan Howard (knee) already ruled out, the rookie likely won't be much more than a change of pace option behind Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. Gainwell is nothing more than a desperation play in the deepest fantasy formats this week.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith is a risky but potentially strong option in a Week 12 matchup against the New York Giants. Smith has put up a 14-258-3 line over the past four weeks, good for the overall WR16 performance in that time. All that despite seeing just 21 targets, as the Eagles have only attempted a pass play on one-third of their offensive plays. Smith has a low floor because of his limited opportunities, but he's the lead receiver on a team that has shown the ability to score points. He'll come in as a WR2 but with a wider range of outcomes than others ranked around him.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins is almost guaranteed to have a better game in Week 12 than he did in Week 11. Week 11 was the first time Watkins was held without a catch this season, putting up zero fantasy points and only being targeted once. He hasn't shown much upside this season, but had been a solid floor play in PPR formats in previous weeks. He'll continue to operate in a much more real-life-relevant role as the WR2 on the Eagles offense.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders could be a solid fantasy option in a Week 12 matchup against the New York Giants. Sanders will remain the starter and should be the lead back in the backfield, but quarterback Jalen Hurts will likely continue to operate as the team's first rushing option. Still, Eagles running backs have averaged over 30 carries a game since Week 8, and Sanders picked up 5.9 yards per run on 16 touches in Week 11. With Jordan Howard (knee) not expected to play, it'll be a lot of Sanders with some Boston Scott mixed in, making Sanders a solid RB2 with upside this week.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott could find his way into some fantasy value in a Week 12 matchup against the New York Giants. With Jordan Howard (knee) not expected to play, the Eagles backfield will be made up of Miles Sanders and Scott. Sanders will be the starter, and quarterback Jalen Hurts could end up with more rushing attempts than either running back, but with Eagles running backs averaging almost 31 carries per game since Week 8, there should be some touches for Scott against a Giants defense that hasn't been great against running backs. Scott is looking like a decent floor RB3/FLEX play, with some possible upside.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Chester Rogers will see an increased opportunity with star A.J. Brown (chest) ruled out for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. The 27-year-old recorded four receptions on six targets for 41 yards in the Week 11 loss to the Houston Texans. Rogers will have an increased role in Week 12; unfortunately, it's against a tough Patriots defense which ranks number one against the pass. New England ranks 22nd in DVOA against WR2s; Rogers cold see some open looks but is not on the fantasy radar in Week 12.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine becomes the team's de facto number one wide receiver after star WR A.J. Brown (chest) was ruled out for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. He led the Titans with seven receptions on eight targets for 107 yards in the Week 11 loss to the Texans. The Patriots rank number one in DVOA against the pass and second against the opposing team's top targets. Westbrook-Ikhine could see an uptick in targets, but the Titans' offense could have trouble moving the ball on Sunday against a surging Patriots defense. Fantasy managers in deep-league formats can use the 24-year-old as a streaming option, but even with the increased role, Westbrook-Ikhine is a boom-or-bust flex option in Week 12.
Tennessee Titans running back Dontrell Hilliard led the team's backfield with 63% of snaps and was targeted 10 times in the Week 11 loss to the Houston Texans. He was signed to the Titans 53-man roster earlier in the week. Tennessee waived veteran running back Adrian Peterson in a corresponding move. Hilliard had a massive role last Sunday, rushing for 35 yards on seven carries and catching eight passes for 47 yards. The Titans will be without star wide receiver A.J. Brown (chest); Hilliard could lead Tennessee in targets in Week 12 against the Patriots. The Titans backfield will be tough to trust, but the 26-year-old should have a vital role in the passing game and is a solid option in deep-league formats this Sunday.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be without one of his top weapons as A.J. Brown (chest) was ruled against the New England Patriots for Sunday's game. The 33-year-old struggled mightily last Sunday against the Texans, throwing one touchdown and four interceptions in the Week 11 loss. He faces a surging Patriots defense in Week 12 that just shut out QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense. Tannehill has been mediocre in 2021 and has failed to throw multiple touchdowns in nine of 11 games this year. The veteran will be without his top pass-catchers and mainly an option in Superflex leagues in Week 12.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (pectoral/shoulder) got in a full practice on Friday and is without an injury designation heading into a Week 12 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati has been tough on opposing quarterbacks in 2021, allowing the ninth-fewest fantasy points per game. Roethlisberger has been pedestrian for much of the season but he's been trending up of late, having thrown five touchdowns over his past two games. The veteran signal-caller threw for 318 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions back when these two teams met in Week 3. Treat him as a low-end QB2 for Week 12.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (calf) is expected to be activated and on the field when his team takes on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12. Hunt has been sidelined since injuring his calf during a Week 6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The veteran running back will take on a Baltimore defense that is allowing the 17th-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. If Hunt is active, look for him to slot in for the majority of the work in the passing game plus his usual 12-14 carries on the ground. That will be enough to treat him as a low-end RB2 in fantasy for Week 12.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton should have an expanded role on Sunday as the team will be without WR Sterling Shepard (quad) and most likely Kadarius Toney (quad) for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 24-year-old has caught 16 passes for 227 yards and touchdown over seven games in 2021. Slayton is the Giants' top downfield threat and faces an Eagles that has been tough against WR2s and ranks sixth versus the opposing team's secondary targets. Even with the expanded role, the Giants offense has struggled most of the season, and Slayton is a boom-or-bust flex option in Week 12.
Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper has been trending up in recent weeks, having caught eight balls for 78 yards and a touchdown over his past two games. Hooper will take on the Baltimore Ravens on the road in a Week 12 divisional matchup. Baltimore has been generous to opposing tight ends this season as they are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game. Hooper still carries some risk as a fantasy option but he has become a bit more reliable of late. Treat him as a mid-range TE2 in Week 12.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (knee) got in a limited practice session on Friday and will head into his team's Week 12 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens without an injury designation. Landry has been playing through a knee injury for much of the season, which has limited his mobility on the field. The Ravens represent a neutral matchup for Landry as they are allowing the 14th-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers in 2021. Landry and the Cleveland passing game has been struggling over the past few contests, which makes the veteran wideout a risky option in fantasy in Week 12. Treat him as a low-end WR3 this weekend.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (groin, shoulder, foot) got in full practices on Thursday and Friday and is listed without an injury designation as he gears up to take on the Baltimore Ravens on the road in Week 12. Mayfield is playing through an assortment of injuries that have affected him on the field, but he continues to suit up and play through a variety of ailments. Baltimore sets up as a plus matchup for Mayfield in Week 12 as they are allowing the ninth-most fantasy points per game to the quarterback position in 2021. That being said, Mayfield has not played well over the past month and will be tough to trust against Baltimore. Treat him as a low-end QB2 for Week 12.
New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay has had a forgettable season in 2021. He's caught 20 passes for 322 yards and has yet to find the end zone. The 28-year-old is averaging 4.0 YAC per reception and 15% of the team's target share, ranked 61st among all wideouts this season. Golladay will try to turn things around against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that ranks 26th in DVOA against wide receivers on the year. The Giants will be without wide receivers Sterling Shepard (quad) and most likely Kadarius Toney (quad) for Sunday's game. Golladay should see an uptick in targets while both receivers are sidelined. The former Detroit Lion hasn't produced in fantasy this year and can't be trusted as anything more than a boom-or-bust flex option in Week 12.