Thu Oct 10 6:31pm ET
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, left, and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Justin Houston (99) meet following an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Colts won 19-13. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Jabaal Sheard (93) and defensive end Kemoko Turay (57) during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) is lifted by teammate Nick Martin (66) as they celebrate a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The relationship between Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Texans counterpart Deshaun Watson goes back well beyond the 2017 draft, when along with Mitchell Trubisky they were considered among the best prospects at their position.
It goes back to their college days, when Mahomes was orchestrating the ''Air Raid'' offense at Texas Tech and Watson was trying to navigate Clemson to a national championship.
''I think we were going into our junior year,'' Mahomes recalled, ''and we went to a QB camp out in California. I talked to him, back and forth, about how he did his stuff at Clemson, how I did my stuff at Texas Tech. He's a great player. We kind of hit it off.''
They stayed in touch during the draft process, too.
''We took a lot of the same visits,'' Mahomes said, ''and we went to the same places, and we would talk to each other about what we went through. But we didn't necessarily knew where we would go.''
Trubisky wound up going second overall to Chicago. And when nobody grabbed a quarterback in the next eight picks, the Chiefs traded up to No. 10 and chose Mahomes over Watson as the heir apparent to Alex Smith. Watson wound up going two picks later to the Texans.
All three quarterbacks have flourished to some extent. On Sunday, two of them will get to square off when Mahomes leads the Chiefs (4-1) against Watson and the Texans (3-2) at Arrowhead Stadium.
''He's been doing a heck of a job putting the Chiefs in contention each and every game, and putting up a lot of great numbers,'' Watson said, ''because that's what he's been doing his whole career, and just being that leader - he's doing a heck of a job for that organization.''
Yes, it was Mahomes who rewrote the record books during his MVP season a year ago, and he is off to another blazing start this season. But it is Watson who comes into the AFC showdown with the hot hand, having thrown for 426 yards and five touchdowns while running for 47 yards last week against Atlanta.
''He's a heck of a player. We had him in here before the draft,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ''We thought the world of him. I know he was a heck of a player in college and he carried it over and he's playing really good football. I don't know exactly what they're asking and not asking him to do, but whatever they're asking him to do, he's doing it well.''
The matchup Sunday is more than just Mahomes vs. Watson, though. Here are some other story lines:
The Chiefs hope to get wide receiver Tyreek Hill on the field for the first time since breaking his collarbone Week 1 in Jacksonville. But they are poised to play without several key players, such as wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring), defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin) and left guard Andrew Wylie (ankle).
INJURY BUG, PART II
Texans wide receiver Kenny Still is still recovering from a hamstring injury, though it appears his bothersome ankle is finally better. Elsewhere, interior offensive lineman Greg Mancz has been out with a concussion and running back Taiwan Jones has been slowed by a hip injury.
The Colts slowed down the Chiefs by playing a bunch of man-to-man defense, and the Texans are likely to follow the same blueprint. But the Chiefs also have spent the week trying to fix their issues from last week, resulting in an intriguing offense-defense chess match Sunday.
''They obviously played a great game,'' Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said of the Colts. ''They went in there and stuck to their game plan and executed very well and came out with the win.''
BEWARE THE HONEY BADGER
Tyrann Mathieu picked off his first pass as a member of the Chiefs last week, and he'd like nothing more than to get his second against the Texans. Mathieu had a big year with Houston last season, and the club wanted to keep him around, only to see the Chiefs win the bidding in free agency.
12 ANGRY MEN
One of the most effective personnel groups for Houston this season has been ''12 personnel,'' which means a set with one running back and two tight ends. But why has it worked so well?
''It's a good question,'' Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. ''It has a lot to do with what you're going to see defensively. We've got a lot of different combinations of personnel groupings we can use and we try to study and we try to think about, defensively, how they're going to attack it. `What personnel are they going to use? What's going to be their scheme, and how does that fit what we want to do?' ... And sometimes it works. Hopefully it works more than it doesn't.''
After winning his second-straight game, head coach Brian Flores declared that Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick would remain the starter for "the foreseeable future". Fitzpatrick didn't exactly shine in the Dolphins 16-12 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10, throwing for 169 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception, salvaging 12 fantasy points on the day with an 11-yard touchdown run late in the second half. Save for the one touchdown drive, Miami's offense was mostly inept in victory, totaling just 229 yards on the day. Fitzpatrick needs to stay on the waiver wire in Week 11, as the Dolphins will face a Buffalo Bills team that's allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2019.
A popular streaming option headed into a Week 10 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki scored zero fantasy points in Miami's 16-12 victory on the road. The second-year tight end had three receptions for 28 yards, with a lost fumble on Miami's first drive negating what few points Gesicki would earn on the day. While his six targets were second on the team to the ten of Devante Parker, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick targeted Gesicki mostly on shorter routes, throwing him only one ball down the field. With teammate Preston Williams out for the remainder of the season, Gesicki could occasionally be worth a look as a streaming candidate given his likely volume of targets. Just probably not when the Dolphins host the Bills in Week 11, as Buffalo is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2019.
New York Jets LB Brandon Copeland (hip) is dealing with a hip strain and is scheduled to meet with a specialist.
Free-agent S DeShawn Shead (Seahawks) worked out for the Oakland Raiders Monday, Nov. 11, according to a source.
Free-agent WR Deon Cain was signed to the Indianapolis Colts practice squad Monday, Nov. 11.
San Francisco 49ers TE Garrett Celek (back) was activated from the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Nov. 11. The team also waived CB Dontae Johnson.
Cleveland Browns WR Antonio Callaway's benching was only for the Week 10 game, and he will return to the lineup for Week 11, according to head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Fantasy Spin: Callaway likely will serve as the No. 3 receiver for the Browns this week against a good Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Fantasy players can consider benching Callaway if they have better options available.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (groin) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. The Browns did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Beckham was targeted a season high 12 times in the last game and should continue to be a focal point in the passing game. He will be facing a good Pittsburgh Steelers defense but can still be a No. 1 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. The Browns did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Landry is coming off one of his better games of the season in Week 10 and has been targeted at least 10 times in each of the last three games. He should be at least a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues this week.
Former Chicago Bears RB Mike Davis was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Monday, Nov. 11, according to a source.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. The Steelers did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Conner is expected to play this week and should receive most of the carries in the running game. He can be considered at least a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues.
Carolina Panthers CB Corn Elder was signed off the Panthers' practice squad by the New York Giants on Monday, Nov. 11. OL Evan Brown was waived to make room for him on the roster.
New York Giants TE Rhett Ellison (concussion) was placed in the league's concussion protocol Monday, Nov. 11.
New York Giants CB Janoris Jenkins (concussion) and Nate Solder (concussion) were placed in the league's concussion protocol Monday, Nov. 11.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (ankle) is 'day-to-day' and will see if he can run on his injured ankle without experiencing swelling on Wednesday, Nov. 13, according to head coach Zac Taylor.
Fantasy Spin: It's almost pointless anymore to speculate if and/or when Green is going to return, although owners can probably remain optimistic considering the team has yet to place him on the Reserve/Injured list. If he can somehow play this week, he'll return to a very favorable matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Stay tuned for updates.
Pittsburgh Steelers LB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (hips), LB Anthony Chickillo (ribs), FB Roosevelt Nix (knee), RB Benny Snell (knee) and WR Ryan Switzer (back) did not practice Monday, Nov. 11. OG Ramon Foster (concussion) was limited. RB James Conner (shoulder) was listed as a full participant. The Steelers did not hold a practice on Monday, so the injury report is an estimation.
Cleveland Browns DB Eric Murray (knee) and DE Olivier Vernon (knee) did not practice Monday, Nov. 11. TE Ricky Seals-Jones (knee) was limited. WR Odell Beckham Jr. (groin), OG Joel Bitonio (back), CB T.J. Carrie (back), DE Myles Garrett (knee) OT Kendall Lamm (knee), WR Jarvis Landry (hip), S Damarious Randall (chest) and OT Greg Robinson (shoulder) practiced in full. The Browns did not hold a practice on Monday, so the injury report is an estimation.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt will 'continue to get opportunities,' and head coach Freddie Kitchens expects Hunt's role to continue growing after playing well in Week 10.
Fantasy Spin: If the Browns have done one thing right this season, it might be that Nick Chubb has been a near-lock for 20 touches. That didn't change in Hunt's debut, even though the former Kansas City Chief finished with four carries and seven catches. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out going forward, but 10 touches per week will be enough for someone with Hunt's talent to be a serviceable flex option in most leagues.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon (ribs) is expected to miss 'an extended amount of time' with a fractured rib, according to head coach Adam Gase.
Fantasy Spin: It's been one thing after another the season for Herndon, who celebrated ending a season-opening four-game suspension by hurting his hamstring. Owners who waited that out were rewarded with one catch for seven yards in Week 10 before this injury. It's probably safe to drop Herndon at this point in redraft leagues. Ryan Griffin has filled in capably at times for desperate fantasy owners and should be a serviceable streamer the rest of the way.