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FFL: Week 11 | NFL: Week 11

Saints look to keep rolling with Bridgewater against Bears

Thu Oct 17 7:27pm ET
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer

Players: Drew Brees, Jared Cook, Chase Daniel, Dak Prescott, Teddy Bridgewater, Mitch Trubisky, Alvin Kamara

Chicago Bears quarterback Chase Daniel (4) prepares to throw during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)


Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew, lower left, is sacked by New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, center, as Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, right, tries to slow Jordan down during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)


New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, left, looks for a receiver as he is pressured by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)


Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) tackles Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the second half of an NFL football game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) The New Orleans Saints kept their sights set on a Super Bowl even after Drew Brees went down with an injury.

While their superstar quarterback continues to recover following thumb surgery, the NFC South leaders will try to remain unbeaten without him.

The Saints look to improve to 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater as their starter in Brees' place when they visit Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

''It just shows this is a team that's determined to win and do whatever it takes,'' Bridgewater said.

The Saints (5-1) are getting big contributions from their defense and special teams and enough from their offense even if they're not moving the ball the way they did a year ago. They're averaging 344.7 yards - down 34.5 yards per game from last season, when Brees made 15 starts. He's been sidelined since he tore a ligament in his right thumb during a loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2.

Bridgewater has completed about 69 percent of his passes for 1,089 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. He wasn't as effective last week at Jacksonville, after throwing for 314 yards and four touchdowns against Tampa Bay, but he hit Jared Cook for a tiebreaking 4-yard TD early in the fourth quarter against the Jaguars.

He will try to keep the Saints rolling against a team looking to bounce back. The Bears (3-2) are coming off a loss to Oakland in London two weeks ago in which their defense got pushed around a bit after dominating the first four games and their offense continued to struggle.

Here are some things to know:

TRUBISKY'S RETURN

The Bears hope to get quarterback Mitchell Trubisky back after missing a game because of a left shoulder injury.

If he returns, he'll try to build on a promising showing against Washington in Week 3.

Trubisky threw three touchdowns in an easy win over the struggling Redskins after mediocre outings in a season-opening loss to Green Bay and a narrow victory at Denver. He was then injured on the opening drive against Minnesota on Sept. 29.

''I felt that each game leading up to that Vikings game, until he got hurt, that there was (improvement),'' Bears coach Matt Nagy said. ''Progression-wise where he's going, playing faster, seeing at the line of scrimmage that he's getting into checks or seeing progressions, adjustments at the line of scrimmage - way quicker than what he was.''

Veteran Chase Daniel figures to make his second straight start if Trubisky is unavailable.

GETTING PRESSURE

With 18 sacks, New Orleans is tied with Green Bay and Tennessee for sixth in the NFL.

Coach Sean Payton has been pleased by how depth along the front has helped keep linemen fresh and pressure high. While Cameron Jordan leads the club with five sacks, he's one of eight defensive linemen who've had at least half a sack. Payton said the Saints put an emphasis on improving depth on the defensive line after defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, who was second on the club in sacks last season with eight, tore his Achilles tendon last January. That helped the Saints remain stout up front until Rankins returned in Week 4.

The Saints have not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season - or in 32 games, for that matter. They've also held their previous three opponents - Dallas, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville - to season lows in total yards.

INJURED PLAYERS

While the Saints could be thin at running back if Alvin Kamara is unavailable or limited because of knee and ankle injuries, the Bears placed right guard Kyle Long and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks on injured reserve this week.

Long will miss the remainder of the season with a hip injury. Hicks could return after eight weeks from an elbow injury he suffered against Oakland. Both players have made the Pro Bowl - Long from 2013-15 and Hicks last year.

RISING ROOKIE

Saints rookie defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson has had a promising start to his career. And he is expected to be tested more this week because primary nickel back P.J. Williams was suspended two games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Johnson's biggest moment was a hit on Cowboys QB Dak Prescott on a delayed blitz that forced an interception on the final play of the Saints' 12-10 triumph over Dallas in Week 4.

DEFERENCE TO DANIEL

While the Saints weren't sure which quarterback they'd be facing, several spoke highly of former teammate Daniel.

Rankins said Daniel - who played for New Orleans from 2009-12 and in 2017 - was always respected by the Saints' offensive brain trust: Payton and Brees.

''Coaches respected his opinion if he had an opinion on certain plays, or Drew would go to him about certain things, or they would converse back and forth about things they were seeing on the field,'' recalled Rankins, who was Daniel's teammate in 2017.

Player Notes
Matt Ryan Nov 14 12:40pm ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (ankle) was held out of practice on Wednesday and is currently questionable for Week 11 against the Panthers. If he's able to go, he's worthy of starting as a low-end QB1. The Falcons have had no success in the run game this year and their defense allows a ton of points. Both of those factors force the Falcons to throw the ball a lot. On the negative end, the team will be without Austin Hooper (MCL) and Devonta Freeman (foot), limiting Ryan's options. If Ryan starts, expect him to throw around 40 passes in the game, which gives him a good chance for around 300 yards and two touchdowns.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Nov 14 12:40pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) remains out of practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday. It's becoming increasingly likely that the Vikings will hold Thielen out through their Week 12 bye week. Plan to be without him again in Week 11 against the Broncos. Denver's strong secondary could pose issues for quarterback Kirk Cousins and No. 1 wideout Stefon Diggs. Diggs has had two straight bad games with Thielen on the sidelines, and he's likely to be followed by shutdown cornerback Chris Harris Jr. in this one. Olabisi Johnson and tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. should have bigger roles again, but they're hard to trust in fantasy starting lineups.

From RotoBaller

Robert Foster Nov 14 12:30pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Foster came down with his first catch of the season in Week 10 against the Browns. He has just six targets on the year and has become a complete afterthought in the Bills offense after a promising rookie year. Foster would need an injury to John Brown or Cole Beasley, or both, in order to warrant roster consideration in fantasy at this point. He can be left on waivers in all leagues.

From RotoBaller

Buffalo Bills Nov 14 12:30pm ET

The Bills Defense is in an excellent position going into Week 11 with an extremely favorable matchup against the Dolphins. The Dolphins average just 13.2 points per game and under 260 yards from scrimmage per game. Somehow, the Dolphins are one of just two teams who have scored over 20 points against the Bills this year. The Bills allow just 16.7 points per game and they should be able to keep the Dolphins around or under that average in Week 11. Start the Bills defense with confidence this week.

From RotoBaller

Derrius Guice Nov 14 12:20pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice (knee) will return in Week 11 against the Jets after missing eight weeks with a torn meniscus in his knee. Previous head coach Jay Gruden sat Adrian Peterson in Week 1 with Guice as the lead back, but interim head coach Bill Callahan has built the offense around Peterson since he took over. Callahan said he plans to use both running backs, and their usage will depend on game situations. Weve got a pretty good rotational system for that, Callahan said. We feel pretty confident [Guice will] see quite a bit of action this weekend. Chris Thompson (toe) remains week-to-week and is doubtful for this weekend, so it should be easier to split the load between Peterson and Guice. Still, both Peterson and Guice will cannibalize each other unless the 'Skins go with the hot hand. Guice has more long-term upside, but Peterson might be the more attractive RB3/flex given Callahan's loyalty to him in previous weeks. It's a situation to avoid if you can given Washington's poor offense overall.

From RotoBaller

Duke Williams Nov 14 12:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Duke Williams was a surprise inactive for Week 10 against the Browns. Even if he suits up for Week 11 against the Dolphins, he likely won't be heavily utilized in the game. Williams has just six catches on seven targets over the season. Robert Foster filled in for Williams as the team's de facto WR3 in Week 10, but he managed only one catch for 20 yards in the game. Williams should be left on waivers in all leagues.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Nov 14 12:00pm ET

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (ribs) will be limited in practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday. The Jets were just giving Bell a breather in practice on Wednesday, so you should expect him to be fine for Week 11 against the Redskins. The team's starting running back probably isn't 100 percent at this point in the season, but he should be treated as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 for a glorious matchup with Washington's porous defense this Sunday. Bell is still searching for a statement game in his first season with Gang Green, and he's averaging a disappointing 3.1 yards per carry through 10 weeks. His fantasy owners are hoping this will be his breakout game.

From RotoBaller

Mike Evans Nov 14 11:50am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans could face a Saints Defensein Week 11 without top cornerback Marshon Lattimore (hamstring). Lattimore held Evans to zero catches for zero yards on three targets during their first meeting back in Week 5, and the Bucs top wideout could find more vacated spaces in the secondary this time around if Lattimore is inactive. This matchup is improving by the minute for Evans, and he should be locked in as a WR1 in all formats.

From RotoBaller

Dawson Knox Nov 14 11:40am ET

Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox had a promising performance in Week 10 against the Browns, catching four of six targets for 55 yards. It was his best game since Week 4 after being held under 25 receiving yards in five straight games. Meanwhile, fellow tight end Tyler Kroft went without a target in the game. Kroft still played 43% of the offensive snaps, compared with 58% for Knox, but it appears relatively clear at this point that Knox is the preferred target in the passing game. Knox has a favorable matchup against the Dolphins this week and if he can get between four and six targets, he could find himself ending up with around 50 yards on the day, making him a potential low-end starting option in deep PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

Peyton Barber Nov 14 11:40am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber took over in Week 10 after Ronald Jones II fumbled late in the fourth quarter, which puts the Bucs backfield right back where it started, a frustrating timeshare. Jones and Barber had the same amount of touches in Week 10, but Jones was clearly the go-to on passing downs. The Saints present an extremely tough matchup for the entire Bucs backfield in Week 11, especially being at home in a potential get-right spot. Barber is not a recommended start this week in a game where fantasy owners can expect a shutdown effort by the Saints Defense.

From RotoBaller

Cole Beasley Nov 14 11:30am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has had strong fantasy outputs in four straight games, but he's gotten a bit lucky over that span. He scored touchdowns in three straight games from Week 7 to Week 9, but had under 20 receiving yards in two of those games. Last week, he had 74 receiving yards, his first game with over 50 receiving yards since Week 4. Beasley has a great matchup this week against the Dolphins and figures to receive between five and seven targets in the game. He's a worthy WR3 or flex play in PPR leagues as he should catch around four passes, but his yardage totals might be low on the day, making him a riskier play in non-PPR.

From RotoBaller

John Brown Nov 14 11:20am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown has a favorable matchup against the Dolphins this week and is a strong WR2 play. In his last game against the Dolphins, he caught five passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Brown has been extremely consistent all year, with at least four receptions and over 50 receiving yards in every game of the season. He should end up with at least four or five catches in Week 11 with between 80 and 100 yards on the day.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Nov 14 11:20am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston will travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints this weekend. The Saints held Winston to 204 yards through the air the first time they met this season and will not be looking passed this matchup after getting embarrassed by the Falcons in Week 10. Winston has thrown nine interceptions over the last four games, and while he has also accounted for at least one score and 301 yards in each of those games, it has not been enough for fantasy owners. Winston will slot in as a mid-tier QB2 for this matchup. Fantasy owners should look elsewhere.

From RotoBaller

T.J. Hockenson Nov 14 11:10am ET

Detroit Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson will likely be without his starting quarterback in Week 11, but against a Cowboys squad that is one of the worst at defending tight ends, that might not matter. Hockenson has gone five games without a touchdown, and if there was ever a time to get back on track, now would be it. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel will likely be the Lions starter in this matchup, but that didn't seem to have much of an effect on Hockenson in Week 10. Hockenson will be on the TE1/2 borderline for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Frank Gore Nov 14 11:10am ET

Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore has been dreadful over the past two weeks, carrying the ball 16 times for just 27 yards. In that same stretch, his teammate Devin Singletary has carried the ball 28 times for 137 yards. Gore has two things working heavily against him. First off, his workload isn't there anymore as he isn't a safe bet for double-digit carries. Second off, he's clearly not the most talented ball carrier in the Bills' backfield right now. The only hope for Gore this week is if he stumbles into the end zone. Otherwise, you're looking at probably around 30 to 40 yards at best. Keep him on your bench or feel free to drop him if needed.

From RotoBaller

T.J. Yeldon Nov 14 11:10am ET

Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon has been inactive for four straight games and this week against the Dolphins figures to be the same story. He has no business on fantasy rosters at this point. Devin Singletary is the team's primary rusher with Frank Gore as the firm No. 2 back.

From RotoBaller

J.D. McKissic Nov 14 11:10am ET

Detroit Lions running back J.D. McKissic could be in for a very large workload in Week 11 with Ty Johnson (concussion) likely sitting out. McKissic has proven to be a useful PPR option over the last two weeks and will be going up against a Dallas Cowboys squad that isn't shy about giving up fantasy points to running backs. McKissic could have a very solid day if he ends up turning into backup quarterback Jeff Driskel's safety net, which is very possible. Paul Perkins will be there to vulture some touches, but McKissic should be the focal point of the Lions backfield in this matchup. McKissic will slot in as a high-end flex option in this one.

From RotoBaller

Marvin Jones Nov 14 11:00am ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones did not seem to be affected much in Week 10 without his starting quarterback. The veteran wide receiver actually looked to have very good chemistry at times with backup quarterback Jeff Driskel. Jones has a tougher task on hand in Week 11 with the Dallas Cowboys coming to town, but he could prove to be a useful PPR option in this matchup if Driskel decides to lean on him. The Lions backfield is in shambles, making it likely that they focus on the passing game even with a backup under center. Jones will slot in as a WR3 in this one.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Nov 14 11:00am ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was a bit of a disappointment in Week 10 against the Browns. He gained just 50 total yards on 11 touches in the game after totalling 140 yards on 23 touches in Week 9. Expect this week's outing to be more like Week 9 than Week 10. The Bills face the Dolphins in Week 11 and the game plan for the Bills figures to feature a good amount of running. Singletary has heavily outperformed Frank Gore in recent weeks and should see around 20 touches in this game, giving him a solid opportunity to gain over 100 yards with a score. Start him as a high-end RB2 this week.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Golladay Nov 14 10:50am ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay has a tough task ahead of him in Week 11. The Lions will take on the Dallas Cowboys this weekend, and it's very likely that starting quarterback Matthew Stafford (back, hip) will be on the sidelines. Without Stafford at the helm, Golladay will likely be in for a rough day. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel did do his best in Week 10 to try and get the ball into Golladay's hands, but his inaccuracy coupled with the fact that the Cowboys have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers so far this season will make it a very tough go for Golladay on Sunday. Golladay will slot in as a boom-or-bust WR2 for this matchup.

From RotoBaller