Guest of the League
Taco Tuesday
FFL: Week 14 | NFL: Week 14

Steelers defense leads way in 17-12 win over Rams

Sun Nov 10 8:21pm ET
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

Players: Ben Roethlisberger, Robert Woods, Trey Edmunds, Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, Ryan Switzer, Josh Reynolds, Mason Rudolph, James Washington

Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, left, celebrates with Mark Barron (26) after Fitzpatricks touchdown following the recovery of a fumble by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington (13) celebrates his touchdown catch with Diontae Johnson (18) during the first half of an NFL football game against the LoLos Angeles Rams in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)


Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington, right, celebrates his touchdown catch with Diontae Johnson (18) during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) is hit by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) after getting off a pass during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Los Angeles Rams defensive end Dante Fowler (56) celebrates his touchdown on a fumble recovery during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


PITTSBURGH (AP) The Steelers defense spoiled Aaron Donald's homecoming and derailed the Los Angeles Rams' momentum in the process.

The Steelers forced four turnovers - including a 43-yard fumble return for a touchdown by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick - in an ugly 17-12 victory on Sunday that pushed their winning streak to four games and dealt the Rams' chances of chasing down Seattle and San Francisco in the NFC West a serious blow.

Donald, a Pittsburgh native, sacked the Steelers' Mason Rudolph for a safety in his first appearance in his hometown since the Rams took him in the first round of the 2014 draft.

Linebacker Dante Fowler scored Los Angeles' lone touchdown on a 25-yard fumble return on the second snap of the game. But the Rams' offense did little against a Steelers defense that has become the team's identity after losing Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending right elbow injury in Week 2.

Jared Goff completed 22 of 40 passes for 243 yards, none of them to leading receiver Cooper Kupp. The Rams (5-4) converted just 1 of 14 third downs and came up empty on a pair of last-gasp drives in the final two minutes. Goff's fourth-down heave to the end zone intended for Josh Reynolds fell incomplete with 1:25 to go. Los Angeles got the ball back with 59 seconds to play but Goff's pass to Robert Woods was tipped.

Fitzpatrick ran underneath it for the game-sealing interception and seventh takeaway since the Steelers acquired him from Miami in September for a 2020 first-round pick.

At the moment, it looks like draft capital well spent.

Rudolph completed 22 of 38 passes for 242 yards with a touchdown, stats that would have been considerably better if not for a handful of drops that prevented the Steelers (5-4) from gaining any sort of traction for long stretches.

Rudolph became the ninth quarterback since the 1970 merger to throw a touchdown in each of his first seven games when he found James Washington for a 3-yard score in the first quarter, but the Steelers once again relied on their defense to move over .500 for the first time this season.

The Steelers managed just 15 turnovers in 2018. They have produced 26 through nine games in 2019, helping them stay afloat following a 1-4 start while Rudolph and the offense searches for solid footing.

WHAT THE HEKKER?

Los Angeles coach Sean McVay is known for his innovative thinking, but his aggressiveness nearly cost the Rams in the third quarter. Los Angeles was facing fourth-and-1 at Rams 29 trailing 14-7.

The Rams lined up to punt before fanning out, with Hekker moving up into the shotgun formation. Hekker, who had a 23-yard completion earlier in the season and came in 12 of 20 for 179 yards with a touchdown in his career, was hit as he threw and the pass was picked off by Pittsburgh's Trey Edmunds, a running back by trade.

The Steelers, however, were unable to take advantage of the great field position. A penalty, a sack and a dropped pass pushed Pittsburgh out of field-goal range.

INJURIES

Rams: Center Brian Allen left in the first quarter with a knee issue and did not return. DB Darious Williams left with an ankle problem.

Steelers: Wide receiver Ryan Switzer left in the fourth quarter with a back injury.

UP NEXT

Rams: Host the Chicago Bears (4-5) next Sunday night.

Steelers: Travel to Cleveland to play the Browns (3-6) on Thursday. Pittsburgh is 7-0-1 in its past eight meetings with Cleveland.

Player Notes
Auden Tate Dec 9 1:23pm ET

Updating a previous report, Cincinnati Bengals WR Auden Tate (knee) was diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee after an MRI on Monday, Dec.9, showed no structural damage, according to ESPN's Ben Baby.

Fantasy Spin: It most likely means he's out for Week 15 and perhaps the rest of the season. Owners can wait for further confirmation if they want, but he can be dropped in most leagues. Alex Erickson figures to see a few more snaps and targets in his absence, although it's unlikely he'll be worth using in fantasy the rest of the way.

From TheHuddle

J.D. McKissic Dec 9 1:20pm ET

Detroit Lions running back J.D. McKissic rushed one time for two yards and made four catches for 16 yards in a loss to the Vikings Sunday. McKissic continues to be the passing downs option in the Detroit backfield but isn't getting enough work to warrant starting in fantasy. He has a good matchup with the Buccaneers in Week 15, but is nothing more than an inexpensive DFS dart throw in the hope he scores in a game that could turn into a shootout.

From RotoBaller

Bo Scarbrough Dec 9 1:10pm ET

Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough rushed 19 times for 65 yards in a loss to the Vikings Sunday. Scarbrough added one catch for five yards through the air. Scarbrough has completely taken over this backfield as no other Lion had more than two carries. Despite the work, Scarbrough's fantasy value is capped somewhat by the Lions offense starting rookie David Blough at quarterback making scoring opportunities rare in the Motor City. Still, Scarbrough can be trusted as a borderline RB2/3 based on volume alone with more value in non-PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

Richard Sherman Dec 9 1:03pm ET

San Francisco 49ers CB Richard Sherman (hamstring) underwent an MRI on Monday, Dec. 9 on his injured hamstring, which he reported felt pretty sore after the Week 14 game against the New Orleans Saints. His status for Week 15 versus the Atlanta Falcons is 'in doubt,' but he'll do everything he can to be ready, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

From TheHuddle

Marvin Jones Dec 9 1:00pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones caught just three of seven targets for 38 scoreless yards in a loss to the Vikings Sunday. Jones hasn't had more than 46 yards in four straight games now and has been reliant on nine touchdowns this season to find fantasy production. Rookie QB David Blough starting for Detroit hasn't helped matters for Jones but a matchup with the Buccaneers in Week 15 should keep Jones in fantasy lineups as a WR3.

From RotoBaller

Danny Amendola Dec 9 1:00pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola made five catches for 34 yards in a loss to the Vikings Sunday. Amendola had eight targets, which was tied for the team lead, but couldn't do much with them vs a stout Minnesota defense. Amendola continues to have more fantasy value in PPR leagues as he gets a lot of targets but with not a lot of air yards. Amendola has a great matchup with the Buccaneers in Week 15 but will be hard to trust in fantasy as the third receiving option on a team starting a rookie, third-string quarterback.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Golladay Dec 9 12:50pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay caught six of eight targets for 58 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Vikings Sunday. Golladay was having a quiet afternoon before a 10-yard touchdown with about two minutes to play gave his fantasy owners something to smile about. Golladay has the talent but will be hard to trust with rookie David Blough under center in Detroit. A matchup with a porous Buccaneers secondary in Week 15, however, will keep Golladay as a must-start fantasy receiver.

From RotoBaller

Roquan Smith Dec 9 12:43pm ET

Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith (pectoral) suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 14 versus the Dallas Cowboys and will miss the rest of the season, according to head coach Matt Nagy.

From TheHuddle

David Blough Dec 9 12:40pm ET

Detroit Lions quarterback David Blough went 24-for-40 passing for 205 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in a loss to the Vikings Sunday. Blough connected with Kenny Golladay for a touchdown in garbage time but overall played like a rookie who was third on the depth chart most of the season. Blough shouldn't be owned in typical fantasy leagues but does have streamer appeal in 2QB leagues with a matchup against an atrocious Buccaneers pass defense in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Cameron Brate Dec 9 12:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate caught all four of his targets for 30 yards and a touchdown in a Week 14 win over Indianapolis. Brate had one target less than O.J. Howard and both should see their target share increase with wide receiver Mike Evans injuring his hamstring in the game. Fantasy managers would need to see it with Brate before buying in as his usage has been sporadic all season making it almost impossible to trust Brate in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Peyton Barber Dec 9 12:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber had 11 carries for 36 scoreless yards in a win over the Colts Sunday. Barber caught both of his targets for 19 yards in the passing game. Tampa Bay abandoned the run game early in this one falling behind by multiple scores making Barber a spectator on the sidelines for most of the second half. Barber and fellow running back Ronald Jones both played less than 40 percent of the offensive snaps and will be hard to trust moving forward as part of a timeshare backfield on a pass-first team. Barber will be a touchdown-dependent dart throw in deep leagues at best in Week 15 at Detroit.

From RotoBaller

Justin Watson Dec 9 12:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Justin Watson launched himself into fantasy relevance Sunday making five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. Watson, who had just one catch coming into the game, played 43 snaps after starting receiver Mike Evans (hamstring) left with an injury. Head coach Bruce Arians said he's be shocked if Evans played in Week 15 so expect Watson to play in three-wide receiver sets which should get him on the field plenty for the pass-happy Bucs. Watson's eight targets Sunday were second on the team to Chris Godwin so Watson has some fantasy appeal in deeper leagues, but is too untested to trust in 10 or 12 team leagues.

From RotoBaller

Breshad Perriman Dec 9 11:50am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman caught three of five targets for 70 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Colts Sunday. Perriman played a season-high 83 percent of the team's offensive snaps with star receiver Mike Evans (hamstring) making an early exit in this game. Perriman has been the third receiver in this offense but should be a starter as long as Evans is sidelined. Fantasy owners scrambling to replace Evans should look to Perriman as a possible replacement. There are worse situations to be in than the starting wide receiver in a potent Tampa Bay passing attack. Expect Perriman to be a flex-worthy starter in Week 15 at Detroit.

From RotoBaller

Mike Evans Dec 9 11:40am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (hamstring) is scheduled to undergo an MRI Monday for a hamstring injury. Evans pulled up lame at the end of a 61-yard touchdown catch in the first half which was his only production in the game. Head coach Bruce Arians said he's be "shocked" if Evans can play in Week 15 vs Detroit. Breshad Perriman was working as the number two receiver after Evans' injury with Justin Watson playing in three-WR sets. Expect both to see more targets with Evans sidelined with tight end O.J. Howard also expected to see a bump in production.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Dec 9 11:33am ET

Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. has reportedly told players and coaches on other teams to 'come get me' in reference to him wanting out of Cleveland.

Fantasy Spin: It has been a trying season with just a 59-844-2 line that likely cost you a first-round pick to draft him. He can still be a game changer any given week the rest of the way, but his ceiling is as a WR2 right now.

From TheHuddle

Chris Godwin Dec 9 11:30am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin caught seven of nine targets for 91 scoreless yards in a win over the Colts Sunday. The nine targets were more than any other Buccaneer and that should continue to be the case as fellow receiver Mike Evans left with a hamstring injury leaving Godwin as the unquestioned number one for Tampa. Godwin will have an interesting matchup in Week 15 as the Evans injury means Godwin may see more of cornerback Darius Slay should the Lions decide to use Slay in the slot. Regardless of who he's facing, Godwin is a must-start WR1.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Dec 9 11:20am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had a typical day for him putting up huge fantasy numbers while also making enough boneheaded plays to keep things interesting. Winston threw for a league-high 456 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in a comeback win over the Colts. Winston also added a touchdown on a QB sneak. Winston did miss a series in the second half with a hand injury. After the game, it was discovered there is a small fracture on his throwing hand so that will be a situation to monitor. He did finish the game, however, and should make fantasy owners nervous again in Week 15 as a boom-or-bust QB1 at Detroit.

From RotoBaller

Adam Vinatieri Dec 9 10:53am ET

Indianapolis Colts PK Adam Vinatieri (knee) will undergo season-ending knee surgery and be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Fantasy Spin: He can be dropped in all leagues. Wait to see who the Colts bring in, and they could be a low-end option against the New Orleans Saints next Monday night.

From TheHuddle

Mike Evans Dec 9 10:13am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) is likely out for the season as head coach Bruce Arians said he'd be shocked if Evans returned.

Fantasy Spin: Justin Watson emerged with five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown in Week 14. He'll immediately benefit from Evans' absence and should be picked up in most leagues. If you have the space, you have to hold on to Evans at least for a week to see how he recovers.

From TheHuddle

D.J. Chark Dec 9 9:33am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark (ankle) left the stadium in a boot with the use of a scooter.

Fantasy Spin: That doesn't sound good, and his season could be in jeopardy. Stay tuned for further testing.

From TheHuddle