Wed Nov 20 4:03pm ET
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Houston Texans tight end Darren Fells (87) taps quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) after Watson lost a fumble on a sack against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) pushes forward after a catch as Baltimore Ravens free safety Earl Thomas (29), cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) and middle linebacker Josh Bynes (57) try to stop him during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) prepares to throw during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
HOUSTON (AP) Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson learned from a high school coach that no matter how good or bad a game was, he had to move on to the next one quickly, or ''snap and clear,'' as his old coach used to say.
That mantra will be perhaps more important than usual this week as Watson and the Texans look to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Baltimore when they host Indianapolis on Thursday night with the AFC South lead on the line.
''That was our theme all through my high school career where good or bad, you're always going on to the next play,'' Watson said. ''And OB (coach Bill O'Brien) always says you're only as good as your next game, you're only as good as your next play. So you've got to continue to have that mindset because you can never get too comfortable in this league.''
The Texans and Watson were anything but comfortable on Sunday when he was sacked six times and had two turnovers in a 41-7 dismantling by the Ravens.
The Colts are on the opposite end of the spectrum, entering this matchup of 6-4 teams after beating the Jaguars 33-13 last week. Like Watson, Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett is looking forward instead of dwelling on the last game - especially with the short week.
''Everybody on the team understands the quick turnaround we have,'' he said. ''Everybody understands that they're going through the same thing we're going through. I think as one of the leaders you don't have to make a huge production about it. You just go out there ... and understand the focus we need because we're not going to get the same practice reps we would during a regular week.''
Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins said he started looking ahead to Indianapolis in the fourth quarter against the Ravens when it was clear the game was out of reach. The Texans don't want to build up this game too much but know that losing to the Colts twice in one season would make it difficult to reach their goal of winning the division.
''It's a big game,'' Hopkins said. ''Some of the young guys have never been in this situation, but with me being here and being on this team for a while, I understand everything we want is still in front of us. So every game is big and important, but to me this is the biggest game of the year so far.''
Four-time Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton has missed three consecutive games with an injured calf.
Hilton anticipates his availability for Thursday will be a game-time decision but remains hopeful of being cleared to return to action. His return would give Indy a potentially gigantic boost. In 15 games against the Texans, he has 82 receptions, 1,519 yards and 10 TD catches.
''It's just if I can get back out there and help my team,'' he said. ''It has just been tough for me watching these last three games and I'm not accustomed to missing games.''
Houston defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is convinced that Hilton won't miss this one.
''He's going to play,'' Crennel said. ''He's probably counting on it, and I'm - well not necessarily counting on it or looking forward to it, but you've got to prepare for him to play because he'll show up.''
FIRST DOWN HOP
Hopkins is tied for second in the NFL with 47 receptions for first downs, and 62.7% of his catches this season have gone for first downs.
''That's such a valuable part of what he does is that he can, whether it's a third-down catch or a second-down catch that goes for a first down where you don't have to deal with third down, he does a great job of that,'' O'Brien said.
Hopkins takes great pride in his ability to move the chains, and Watson appreciates that quality in his star receiver.
''It makes my job a lot easier for sure,'' he said. ''A guy that can go out there and catch every ball, knows what we need, especially on third down, and a guy that finds ways to get open even if he's doubled ... put the ball in his area he's going to make sure he catches it.''
HOUSTON POSES PROBLEM
Defensive end Justin Houston has found a perfect fit in Indy.
The league's 2014 sack champion leads the Colts with eight sacks and has recorded sacks in six consecutive games for the third time in his career. His current streak is the longest in the NFL, and as the Colts' defense continues to improve, teammates and coaches believe Houston has made a huge impact beyond his pass-rushing presence.
''He's been good in the run game,'' coach Frank Reich said. ''We've said this multiple times, but it is really true - his leadership. As the year has progressed, he has become a more vocal leader. When he talks, people listen. When he talks, people listen for sure.''
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.
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 ...
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.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton is off the fantasy radar with Eli Manning back under center and Evan Engram (foot) and Golden Tate (concussion) back on the field. Slayton will now be the 4th option in the passing game (perhaps 5th behind Saquon Barkley) with a quarterback who hasn't played many games with him and isn't as prone to taking deep shots down the field. It all makes Slayton way too risky for fantasy lineups.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has quietly been producing consistent QB1 numbers since his insertion in the starting lineup six weeks ago. Tannehill has the Titans 5-1 since that time and firmly in the playoff picture, but Week 14 represents a crucial matchup. Tannehill and the Titans will face an exploitable Oakland Raiders Defense this week, where he can safely be counted on for the first round of the fantasy playoffs. Tannehill is the QB6 overall since becoming the starter, and it would not be surprising to see him flirt with that status this week as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB/KR T.J. Logan suffered a broken thumb in practice Friday, Dec. 6, and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Logan has been the Buccaneers' primary kickoff and punt returner, and RB Dare Ogunbowale (kickoffs) and WR Justin Watson (punts) are now expected to handle those duties.
Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) is practicing Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: It's unknown if it was a full practice, but he's trending toward returning after a month-long absence against the Carolina Panthers. It's an uninspiring matchup, but he'll be a low-end TE1 option.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (hand) threw without a wrap on his hand at Friday's practice and "looked good" according to beat reporters covering the session. It was also reported that there is no visible bruise on the back of the quarterback's hand after he dinged it on a defender's facemask during Week 13's loss. Mayfield has ramped up his activity as the week has gone on, a good sign for his availability for Sunday's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. If Mayfield does suit up, which looks likely, he can be treated as a high-upside QB2 for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (shoulder) is practicing Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: It's unknown if it was a full practice, but Jones looks to be good to go this week against the Carolina Panthers. He caught six balls for 97 yards against them a few weeks ago. It's a midrange matchup, and he's a great WR2 this week.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley figures to see a boost playing alongside former, and new, starter Eli Manning. It's not because Manning will make the Giants offense more effective, but because he's essentially a statue in the pocket. The Eagles run defense is 9th in PPR-points allowed to running backs, so Barkley isn't likely to carve them up on the ground, but Manning's lack of mobility has historically lead to more dump-off passes to running backs. While Daniel Jones would use his legs to create yardage, Manning will likely use Saquon Barkley more. Barkley's lack of receiving game usage has lowered his fantasy ceiling, but its return may now bump up his fantasy floor. You're starting him in season-long leagues, and he might be a sneaky captain for DFS tournaments in a showdown slate with the Giants figuring to be trailing often in this game.
The Cleveland Browns Defense draws an excellent Week 14 matchup at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cleveland comes into the game installed as seven-point favorites in a game with a low 41.5-point over/under. The Bengals have not been very effective on offense, while their leaky offensive line has allowed 40 sacks this season, seventh-most in the league. Cleveland is without the suspended Myles Garrett but Olivier Vernon is plenty capable of taking advantage of Cincy's QB protection issues. Treat Cleveland as a top-five fantasy defense in Week 14.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) figures to be back in the lineup just in time for a juicy matchup against an Eagles secondary that has been susceptible to big plays to slot wide receivers. However, Tate has never played a game with Eli Manning under center since Manning was benched before Tate was activated from suspension. Eli likes to throw the ball underneath and over the middle, so Tate figures to be a good security blanket, but their lack of comfort with one another, and the return of Evan Engram (foot), may cap Tate's upside. He's more of a low-end WR3 in PPR and half-PPR leagues.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. draws an excellent Week 14 matchup against a weak Cincinnati Bengals secondary. Cincinnati's pass defense ranks 31st in DVOA while allowing the 18th-most fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position. Beckham draws an excellent matchup as he will see primary coverage from Cincy cornerback B.W. Webb. Webb has struggled in coverage this season, giving Beckham a decided advantage on Sunday. Treat Beckham as a high-upside WR2 for Week 14.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was seen at practice on Friday no longer wearing a boot on his injured ankle. However, he is still not participating but is on the bike and doing strength work. This provides even further confirmation that Eli Manning will likely be under center for the Giants this week. However, with the game on Monday night, Jones could still play if he is able to return to full practice tomorrow. It just seems unlikely.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has been on quite the hot streak over his past six games, having hauled in 40 catches and five touchdowns over that span. Landry has overtaken Odell Beckham Jr. as the team's No. 1 wide receiver and should see a healthy target share against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. Cincinnati doesn't allow many points to opposing wideouts but their pass defense ranks just 31st in the league in DVOA. This is most likely a result of teams building big leads and running the ball heavily in the second half of games. Landry can be trusted as a rock-solid WR2 in all formats for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will likely be under center when the Giants take on the Eagles on Monday night. Manning was not particularly good when he played early in the season and lacks Daniel Jones' mobility. He's also playing against an Eagles team looking to make up for an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins and still fighting for the playoffs after the Cowboys loss on Thursday. All logic suggests that Manning will not be fantasy relevant. However, a fading star given one last chance against a rival on primetime TV has all the makings of fantasy and Hollywood drama, so Eli could simply torch the Eagles' suspect secondary. He's not a recommended play in one QB leagues or DFS cash games, but if you wanted to throw him in a GPP lineup or slide him into the starting spot in a two-quarterback league, it might be a fun night.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt draws a mouth-watering Week 14 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have struggled to stop the run this season, ranking 27th in run-defense DVOA while allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the running back position. Hunt has basically established himself as the No. 3 wide receiver in Cleveland, in addition to the handful of carries he has been seeing on a weekly basis. Fantasy GMs can tab Hunt as a low-end RB2 for the first round of the fantasy playoffs this Sunday.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb draws a fantastic matchup against a struggling Cincinnati Bengals Defense in Week 14. Chubb should see at least 20 touches against a Cincy run defense that ranks 27th in DVOA and is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the running back position. The Browns are likely to jump out to a big lead in this one, which means there should be plenty of second-half, clock-killing carries on tap for Chubb. Fire him up as a locked-in RB1 for the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
Free-agent PK Nick Folk (appendix) is expected to re-sign with the New England Patriots Friday, Dec. 6. He is expected to be healthy.
Fantasy Spin: Folk has a tough matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, and there isn't a lot of upside considering he just came back from an appendectomy.
New York Jets S Jamal Adams (ankle) will miss practice Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: You'll need to look elsewhere for your DB1 in IDP leagues. If you have space, stash him and see if he can go next week.