Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor reacts during the second half of NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley (5) calls a play during the first half of NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after the Raiders defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 26-24 in an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Oakland Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Derek Carr knows full well what the Cincinnati Bengals are enduring this season: nine straight losses to open the year.
Carr began his rookie season as starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders with 10 consecutive defeats before finally breaking through with a win.
''You feel like everything is against you because for the fans, sometimes for older players, they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel,'' he said. ''They just see what's in front of them at the moment and it's hard man. It's tough and one thing I'll say though is, if you can grind through those moments, work really hard, stick to your process, when the good moments come around it makes you thankful for those other moments.''
Carr bounced back from the rough debut campaign to win 12 games and lead the Raiders to the playoffs in 2016. Two more down seasons followed, but Carr has Oakland (5-4) back in contention again this year heading into Sunday's home game against Cincinnati (0-9).
After two straight wins to open a homestand, Carr wants to make sure his team doesn't let up in the third game and squander a chance.
''I don't care about records, man,'' he said. ''I prepare every game as if this is the game and so there is no, 'They haven't won a game.' I don't care how many games they have or haven't won, they got Pro Bowlers all over their football team and they are going to bring it, that's for sure.''
The Bengals are trying to avoid falling to 0-10 for the second time after also doing it in 1993. First-year coach Zac Taylor believes things will get better soon even if it doesn't seem that way right now.
''There'll be a time - I can't wait to look back on it - and say, 'Remember when all that stuff happened?''' Taylor said. ''We'll get there. This is one of the things we have to go through right now, unfortunately. We're going to fight through it, and there are going to be some positive things as this season comes to an end.''
Rookie Ryan Finley made his debut and had two huge turnovers against the Ravens. His sideline pass was picked off and returned 89 yards for a touchdown, and he had a fumble also returned for a score. Finley finished 16 of 30 for 167 yards with a touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 66.9. The Bengals expect him to be better now that he's experienced a game.
''He's getting used to playing NFL-caliber football and not preseason football, real starting football against a good defense,'' offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. ''And so, his timing was a little bit off. I think you'll see a pretty dramatic leap for him in game two, understanding what it's like to play at that speed.''
The Raiders must replace a safety again after Karl Joseph went down with a season-ending foot injury last week while making the game-sealing interception against the Chargers. Oakland already lost rookie Johnathan Abram to a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener and now may need to turn to Curtis Riley, who got benched earlier this year, special teams player Dallin Leavitt and newly acquired D.J. Swearinger, who was cut earlier this year by Arizona.
''These last weeks have been great for me,'' Swearinger said. ''I needed this time off, to get myself together. I couldn't be more ready for this opportunity to get here and work hard.''
OH THAT DEFENSE
The Bengals began looking to next year when they benched Andy Dalton and went with Finley at quarterback. They started overhauling the defense this week by waiving linebacker Preston Brown, who had lost his starting job. The linebackers have been the biggest sore spot in the league's lowest-ranked defense.
The Raiders' much-maligned pass rush delivered in a big way last week with five sacks in a win over the Chargers. No. 4 overall draft pick Clelin Ferrell had by far his best game as a pro with 2 1/2 sacks after recording none since the season opener. Fellow rookie Maxx Crosby provided consistent pressure and a half-sack of his own and Benson Mayowa had 1 1/2 sacks, giving him a career-high seven this season.
Taylor signed with Oakland coach Jon Gruden's Tampa Bay team as an undrafted quarterback out of Nebraska in 2007. He was waived before the start of training camp, a move that surprised him then but makes sense now. Taylor was familiar with Tampa Bay's system because his college coach, Bill Callahan, was a close friend of Gruden's.
''I think they probably just brought me in because I could call the plays in the rookie minicamp,'' Taylor said. ''In hindsight, those are the things you start to figure out as you start coaching. That made a little bit of sense. They could evaluate the other players while I got out there and called the plays correctly. It's all good.''
The Bills Defense did a solid job holding a strong Cowboys offense to just 15 points in Week 13, but this week, they face an even tougher opponent, the Ravens. The Ravens are averaging over 33 points per game on the year and about 420 yards from scrimmage per game. The Bills defense has been exceptional all year and even though this week doesn't figure to be one of their stronger showings, they should still be able to make it out with an adequate fantasy day. They're a low-end starting option this week.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell has had a rough first year in green and white averaging just 3.2 yards per carry and scoring just four total touchdowns through 13 games. Despite the rough season, a juicy matchup with a porous Dolphins run defense should have Bell in fantasy lineups once again this week. Miami gives up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and the Jets should focus on giving Bell the ball. Last week the Jets only gave Bell 10 carries against a bad Bengals run defense and were rightfully panned in the New York media for their game plan vs Cincinnati. Expect the coaching staff to learn from their mistake and feed Bell 20-plus touches this weekend putting Bell in the low-end RB1 conversation based on volume and matchup.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold had a miserable game in Cincinnati last Sunday, but will be in the streaming quarterback mix again in Week 14 with a home date against Miami. Darnold was roughed up by the Bengals taking several big hits and was seen limping during the last drive, but he practiced in full on Wednesday and will be good to go Sunday. The Jets offense looked lost last week but before that they scored 34 points in three straight games with Darnold looking much better than he did in his first few games back from illness. Darnold isn't the sexiest option to start in the fantasy playoffs, but he's been playing much better, he only has two turnovers in his last five games, and the Dolphins give up the third-most points to opposing QBs on the season.
Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox has had a steady role in the offense over the past month, but his usage isn't high enough to inspire confidence for fantasy owners. He has five catches on six targets in his past two games, but has only managed to gain 28 yards total in those two games. The team's passing offense has relied heavily on John Brown and Cole Beasley this year. Knox has shown promising flashes and could be a decent sleeper to target next year, but he can remain on waivers for now.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown is coming off of his worst game of the season. He caught just three passes for 26 yards in Week 13, only the second time he'd been held under 50 receiving yards in a game on the season. This week, the Bills face a tough Ravens Defense and they'll likely need to rely on Brown, one of their top playmakers, in order to stay in the game. Expect Brown to see around seven targets in the game, giving him a good chance for four or five catches and a few big plays. He's a WR2 this week.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been on a roll lately. He's topped 70 receiving yards in three of his past four games and has scored touchdowns in two straight. He's earned more targets than the team's No. 1 receiver John Brown each of the past two weeks. This week, the Bills face a tough Ravens Defense and quarterback Josh Allen may need to rely on Beasley as his short-yardage safety net once again. Expect Beasley to see around seven or eight targets in the game, making him a solid WR3 or flex play in PPR leagues. In non-PPR, he's a bit risky, but could still be considered a low-end WR3 or flex.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary has 55 touches over his past three games and figures to have a heavy workload once again in Week 14 against the Ravens. Singletary is averaging a remarkable 5.6 yards per carry on the year and has topped 100 yards in each of his past two games. The Ravens allow the sixth-fewest rushing yards per game in the league and they will pose a challenge for Singletary, but his talent and workload should be enough to make his day solid. Expect around 18 touches for Singletary, giving him a solid shot to gain between 80 and 100 yards.
Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore has continued to be heavily involved in the team's offense. He has had double-digit touches in three straight games. However, he's struggled to make the most of his touches, particularly in Week 13, when he rushed for just 11 yards on nine carries. Devin Singletary is the clear No. 1 running back in the offense, with Gore behind him. The Bills face a tough Ravens run defense this week and it will be hard enough for Singletary to find running room, so it's impossible to trust Gore in the matchup. He can be left on waivers or dropped at this point.
Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon has been inactive for six straight weeks and there's little reason to believe that streak will end against the Ravens this week. The Bills are going exclusively with Devin Singletary and Frank Gore at this point, making Yeldon unworthy of ownership in any league format.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has scored multiple touchdowns in eight straight games, but this week, he has a particularly difficult test against the Ravens, who are allowing just 18.2 points per game on the year. Allen has done well against tough matchups vs. the Cowboys and Broncos the past two weeks, so there's reason to believe he could end up fine once again this week. If you have better options on the table, you might want to consider benching Allen in one-quarterback leagues. In two-quarterback leagues, he's good to go as a mid-tier QB2.
New York Giants QB Eli Manning is 'very likely' to start against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, Dec. 9, according to head coach Pat Shurmur.
Fantasy Spin: An ankle injury is the culprit for Daniel Jones, who is expected to give way to Manning on MNF. It would certainly be a nice moment if Manning stepped in and led his team to an upset win in prime time, but it seems unlikely given the team's overall struggles and Manning's before he got benched. He's not worth rolling the dice on.
Oakland Raiders LB Quentin Poling and OG Kyle Kalis were released from the practice squad on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
San Francisco 49ers WRs Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back) will not be activated from the Reserve/Injured list and will miss the remainder of the 2019 season, according to NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco.
The San Francisco 49ers re-signed free agent CB Antone Exum to a one-year contract on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
Former Philadelphia Eagles WR Mack Hollins was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, Dec. 4. The Dolphins also signed C Evan Brown off the New York Giants practice squad, waived/injured CB Ken Crawley (shoulder) and waived OG Chris Reed.
Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 4.
Fantasy Spin: Everett did not play last week because of the injury and could miss another game if he does not practice this week. Fantasy players should look for other options to use and keep Everett on the bench.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill (hamstring) fully participated in practice Wednesday, Dec. 4.
Fantasy Spin: Hill has been targeted at least eight times in four of the last five games and will continue to be one of the main options in the passing game for the Chiefs. He should be a starting option in all leagues this week.
Kansas City Chiefs CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder), CB Rashad Fenton (hamstring) and RB Darrel Williams (hamstring) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 4. DE Frank Clark (shoulder) was limited during practice. OT Eric Fisher (groin), CB Kendall Fuller (thumb), S Jordan Lucas (shoulder), DT Derrick Nnadi (elbow) and DE Alex Okafor (ankle) fully participated in practice.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (back) said his back is healing "as it should" and that the injury won't be something that's an issue in 2020 or beyond. Stafford will miss his fifth straight game in Week 14 against the Vikings, though, and it seems unlikely he'll return in 2019. The Lions are 0-4 in Stafford's absence and are now down to third-stringer David Blough after Jeff Driskel (hamstring) was put on Injured Reserve last weekend. Before his injury, Stafford had 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns in the first eight games of the season. He was on pace to set career highs in passer rating (106) and yards per attempt (8.6). Heading into next season, Stafford will be a highly coveted high-end QB2 for fantasy owners.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams (rib) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 4.
Fantasy Spin: Williams may have a chance to play in the Week 14 game but probably will have to practice at some point this week. Fantasy players will need to check on his status later in the week because he should be a starting option if he plays.