Guest of the League
Hump Day
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
Adam Vinatieri Nov 15 12:20am ET

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri has been one of the NFL's worst kickers this year, but head coach Frank Reich remains confident in him. However, in Week 11 with the fantasy playoffs looming, you can't trust him in your lineups. He's missed five field goals and six extra points this season. He's below 80 percent accuracy in both categories, and this figures to be a low-scoring game. You just can't trot him out this week, as there are likely several options available that are better than him.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Nov 15 12:10am ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack has only cleared 100 scrimmage yards in a game twice this season. One of those was all the way back in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers. In Week 11, he has a good matchup that could see that number grow to three. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Indy's Week 11 opponent, have been decent against the pass, but they're allowing over 120 yards per game on the ground. Mack is still in the RB2 conversation every week because he gets good volume, and this week he has a fair bit of upside.

From RotoBaller

Jacoby Brissett Nov 15 12:10am ET

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (knee) is expected to start after missing last week's loss to the Miami Dolphins. After being a consistent QB2 for much of the season, he can't be trusted this week. He'll be without three of his top four wide receivers due to injuries, and he's playing against a defense that still has a fair bit of talent to make life difficult for him. With only four teams on a bye, there should be better streaming options available for this week than Brissett. Expect the Colts to lean heavily on the running game even with Brissett back in the fold.

From RotoBaller

Zach Pascal Nov 15 12:10am ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal was quiet last week, and he'll see an uptick in his stock this week with quarterback Jacoby Brissett (knee) expected to start. However, he still can't be relied on for anything consistent. He's been boom-or-bust wideout nearly every week since he showed up on the scene in Week 3. He'll also have to deal with cornerback A.J. Bouye a fair bit in this game, which further downgrades him. Unless you have no other options, look elsewhere at wide receiver in shallow leagues. The Colts should lean more on the run this week once again.

From RotoBaller

Eric Ebron Nov 15 12:10am ET

Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron wanted more opportunities, and he got them last week. He saw 12 targets, but he only came down with five of them. Regardless, he remains a TE2 in Week 11. The Colts are without three of their top four wide receivers due to injury, which puts Ebron in a position to make plays every week. He has three touchdowns on the year, and with three good tight ends on byes this week, there's a short list of players that can be in front of him. If you have a better option, you can start him, but the Jacksonville Jaguars have been average against tight ends this year. Especially if T.Y. Hilton (calf) misses another game, you could do much worse than Ebron.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Nov 15 12:10am ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught 4-of-7 targets for 43 yards and a touchdown in a 21-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11. Landry got wide open on the left side of the end zone for a one-yard score in the second quarter, giving him a touchdown in three straight games. The veteran wide receiver has been trending up in recent weeks and draws a cake matchup against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. He will be a no-brainer fantasy option for that contest.

From RotoBaller

Cleveland Browns Nov 15 12:10am ET

The Cleveland Browns Defense put on a dominant showing in a 21-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11. Cleveland intercepted Mason Rudolph four times and sacked him another four times in the win. It isn't all good news, however, as star pass rusher Myles Garrett is probably looking at a lengthy suspension for his role in a brawl at the end of the game. Garrett ripped off Rudolph's helmet and hit him with it after a sack late in the contest. Cleveland's defense will be a top option in Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins regardless of whether Garrett is available or not.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Nov 15 12:00am ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield got the job done in a 21-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11. Mayfield completed 17-of-32 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a one-yard rushing touchdown on the evening. The rushing score was a gift as Odell Beckham Jr. appeared to have a touchdown reception which was overturned after the scoring play was reviewed, putting the ball at the Pittsburgh one-yard line. After a rough start to the season, Mayfield is starting to trend upwards. He draws a beautiful Week 12 matchup against the tanking Miami Dolphins.

From RotoBaller

Nick Chubb Nov 15 12:00am ET

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb carried the ball 27 times for 92 yards in a 21-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11. Chubb was mostly bottled up by a tough Pittsburgh run defense but the 27 carries go down as a season-high as he became the first NFL player to rush for 1,000 yards in the 2019 season. He did check out near the end of the game with what appeared to be a groin issue. On the negative side, Chubb only drew one target as newly reinstated Kareem Hunt continues to cut into his passing game work. Either way, Chubb will be a lock-button play in Week 12 against a weak Miami Dolphins Defense.

From RotoBaller

Kareem Hunt Nov 15 12:00am ET

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt carried the ball six times for 12 yards and added six receptions for 46 yards in a 21-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11. Hunt continues to be deployed as Cleveland's passing-down back, out-targeting Nick Chubb eight to one in the contest. Chubb also appeared to tweak his groin toward the end of the game, which could lead to more work for Hunt against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12 if Chubb is unable to play or is limited. Hunt's work in the passing game has him on the radar as a flex option in PPR leagues going forward.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Nov 15 12:00am ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught 4-of-10 targets for 60 yards in a 21-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Beckham had a touchdown wiped off the board at the end of the first drive when official review revealed that his knee was down inside the one-yard line, right before the ball crossed the goal line. Beckham wound up settling for a 42-yard reception. He was mostly quiet for the rest of the game as he and Baker Mayfield continue to struggle to get on the same page. Despite the slow season, Beckham could very well erupt in Week 12 as the Browns take on the tanking Miami Dolphins.

From RotoBaller

Jay Ajayi Nov 14 11:03pm ET

Free-agent RB Jay Ajayi (Eagles) will visit the Philadelphia Eagles Friday, Nov. 15, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Ajayi played well for the Eagles in 2017, but knee injuries took a toll on his production. If he does return to the Eagles, he won't have any fantasy appeal in a crowded backfield.

From TheHuddle

Morgan Burnett Nov 14 10:33pm ET

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns FS Morgan Burnett (Achilles) has been ruled out for the remainder of the Week 11 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with an Achilles injury.

From TheHuddle

James Conner Nov 14 10:03pm ET

Updating a previous report, Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) has been ruled out for the remainder of the Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns after suffering a shoulder injury.

Fantasy Spin: After his shoulder injury flared up, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Conner miss additional time going forward. Jaylen Samuels would be the back to own in Conner's absence.

From TheHuddle

JuJu Smith-Schuster Nov 14 10:03pm ET

Updating a previous report, Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) won't return to the Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns after being diagnosed with a concussion.

Fantasy Spin: Diontae Johnson is currently second on the team in receptions and could be worth a flier as a desperation flex play if Smith-Schuster misses additional games.

From TheHuddle

Morgan Burnett Nov 14 10:03pm ET

Cleveland Browns FS Morgan Burnett (ankle) was taken to the locker room after suffering an ankle injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11.

From TheHuddle

Artie Burns Nov 14 10:03pm ET

Updating a previous report, Pittsburgh Steelers CB Artie Burns (knee) has been ruled out for the remainder of the Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns after suffering a knee injury.

From TheHuddle

James Conner Nov 14 10:00pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (shoulder) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) were forced to leave Thursday Night's game against the Cleveland Browns. Conner who missed the last two games with the shoulder injury, reaggravated it early in the game, while Smith-Schuster got sandwiched on a tackle in between multiple Browns defenders in the second quarter and immediately fell to the ground. If both players are forced to miss extended time, this Steelers offense becomes completely devoid of playmaking talent. Look for Vance McDonald, James Washington, Jaylen Samuels, and Trey Edmunds to receive immediate opportunities in their absence.

From RotoBaller

JuJu Smith-Schuster Nov 14 9:43pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (head) exited the Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns after taking a blow to the head.

Fantasy Spin: Smith-Schuster will likely be evaluated for a concussion. If he ends up missing any time, Diontae Johnson and James Washington would become the primary targets in the passing game. However, neither player would be a must-start fantasy option with Mason Rudolph under center for Pittsburgh.

From TheHuddle

James Conner Nov 14 9:33pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) exited against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11 after injuring his shoulder and is questionable to return.

Fantasy Spin: It is the same injury that already forced Conner to miss time this season. Jaylen Samuels should step in as the lead back, and if Conner misses any additional time, Samuels can be a volume-based flex option with RB2 upside in PPR formats.

From TheHuddle