Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles as Atlanta Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn (99) pursues during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) and quarterback Kyler Murray (1) wear a "WVB" patch in memory of the Cardinals' late owner William V. Bidwill prior to an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
New England Patriots linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley, right, hits New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones after he released a pass in the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones passes under pressure from New England Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise, left, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy, right, in the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, center, throws a touchdown pass to Golden Tate in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) There were some who questioned the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants for taking quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones, respectively, in the first six picks of the NFL draft.
Murray too short. Jones had a losing record at Duke. A lot of critics and fans had their opinions.
Six games into the season, the Cardinals (2-3-1) and Giants (2-4) are very happy with the picks and the rookies will be on display Sunday when Arizona comes to MetLife Stadium to face New York.
Murray, the No. 1 overall, has started every game and has the Cardinals on a two-game winning streak. He is an exceptional athlete who can beat teams with feet or his arm.
Jones, the sixth pick, replaced Eli Manning after New York lost its first two games. While not as much of a runner as Murray, he energized the offense with his ability to extend plays and throw accurate strikes. The Giants won their first two games with him starting and lost the next two to Minnesota (4-2) and New England (6-0).
But the vibes are positive and both teams are looking to the future and getting back into the playoffs at some point.
The previous matchup featuring two rookie starting quarterbacks selected in the top 10 in the common era of the draft was last year when Sam Darnold of the Jets (No. 3) faced Josh Allen of the Bills (No. 7).
Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula said coaching staffs are simply trying to get quarterbacks to avoid mistakes.
''You watch around the league, even some of the best quarterbacks are trying to do things maybe they shouldn't be trying to do,'' he said. ''That's the beauty of the position. It's one of the most unique positions in all of sports because you have to make split-second decisions with guys trying to take your head off.''
That's what Jones and Murray will have to deal with on Sunday.
Five things to watch in the game:
The biggest question mark in the game. Last season's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year has missed the past three games with a high sprain to his right ankle. The running back is expected to play after practicing all week. He adds an ability to score on any play to an offense hit by injuries recently. Tight end Evan Engram (33 catches with two TDs) also is expected back.
The Cardinals have developed a versatile and productive two-man backfield with David Johnson and Chase Edmonds.
Johnson's success was expected. The 2016 All-Pro has had at least 100 total yards in each of his past three games and has developed into an excellent run/pass threat. His 30 catches for 315 yards both rank second on the team. His three receiving touchdowns rank first.
Edmonds, a second-year player, is a surprise. He's run for 161 yards this season - a 6.7-yard average - and caught eight passes, including one for a touchdown against the Falcons last week. Coach Kliff Kingsbury is playing them at the same time more often to pressure defenses.
Former Cardinal Markus Golden is having a comeback season with the Giants. The linebacker has a team-high five sacks, with a least a half in five consecutive games. He scored his first career touchdown on a 42-yard fumble return against the Patriots. Golden is looking forward to facing Arizona left tackle D.J. Humphries. The two were drafted by the Cards in 2015: Humphries in the first round, Golden in the second. Golden had 2 1/2 sacks last season after missing the 2017 season with a knee injury.
The Cardinals welcome back star cornerback Patrick Peterson, who missed the first six games after violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancers.
He should help a secondary that's leaned on several rookies, including cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. and safeties Deionte Thompson and Jalen Thompson. The Cardinals are giving up more than 281 yards passing, No. 30 in the league.
The Cardinals hope Peterson's presence allows them to move around other players to better cover opposing tight ends. Falcons TE Austin Hooper was the latest to dominate Arizona's defense, catching eight passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.
The Cardinals are excellent on special teams. Kicker Zane Gonzalez leads the league in scoring with 58 points while Andy Lee is third overall in punting with a 44.8-yard net average. The Giants gave up a touchdown on a blocked punt against the Patriots. Kicker Aldrick Rosas has not had much work, hitting on four of five field-goal attempts.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard is dealing with a stinger and has not been cleared for contact yet. With the Eagles facing off against the Patriots on Sunday, Howard's availability is in serious jeopardy. Darren Sproles was just ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn hip flexor, leaving rookie Miles Sanders and special teamer Boston Scott as the only healthy running backs on the Eagles roster. Free agent Jay Ajayi visited the Eagles and could be signed and even see some action as early as Sunday. It's a mess for the Eagles offense. Howard's fantasy owners should be making alternate plans.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles will miss the rest of the 2019 season due to a torn hip flexor. The veteran back suffered the injury originally in Week 5 but was able to return in Week 9. Sproles missed most of last season due to injury as well, which led him to return for one more year. After two straight injury-plagued seasons, however, this could be it for the former Saint and Charger. Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, and Boston Scott remain on the Eagles running back depth chart.
Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins (knee) is expected to play in Week 11.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald caught three passes for 33 yards on Thursday during the loss to the Cleveland Browns. McDonald led the team with seven targets on the night after James Conner (shoulder), Diontae Johnson (concussion), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) all suffered injuries. McDonald, who has been targeted 21 times over the last three games, could be more involved against the Bengals in Week 12 if any one of those three mentioned aren't able to go. Keep on an eye on things heading into next Sunday's matchup with Cincy.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington finished with a team-high 49 yards during the loss to the Browns on Thursday. With JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion), James Conner (shoulder), and Diontae Johnson (concussion) all getting banged up in this one, Washington received five targets while managing to catch just three of them. The 23-year-old could see his fantasy stock rise before the Week 12 showdown with the Bengals if any of those guys aren't able to suit up, especially for those playing in deeper formats.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Trey Edmunds finished with just three carries for 11 yards during the loss to the Browns. Edmunds yielded carries to Jaylen Samuels, who finished with five attempts for 26 yards, and while both men didn't fully capitalize on the ground after the premature departure of James Conner (shoulder), they were involved on the receiving end to some degree. If Conner is unable to suit up against the Bengals in Week 12, Edmunds has some value, but only as a desperation play in deeper leagues as Samuels will likely be more involved against Cincinnati.
Cleveland Browns LB Joe Schobert had 10 tackles (seven solo), a sack, two tackles for loss, four passes defensed and a pair of interceptions during the team's Week 11 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry had four receptions, 43 yards and a touchdown during the team's Week 11 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Fantasy Spin: That's three games in a row with a touchdown for Landry, who has statistically been the team's top wideout for weeks now, being targeted 40 times over the last four contests (for 24 receptions). His weekly upside isn't as high as Odell Beckham, but Landry seems like a steadier play as a WR2.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels finished with five attempts for 26 yards in addition to five receptions for 19 yards and a touchdown against the Browns in Week 11. Samuels stepped up after James Conner was ruled out on Thursday night after re-injuring the same shoulder that kept him out over the last few weeks. Look for 23-year-old to once again be a popular waiver wire target, especially in PPR formats, heading into Week 12 against the Bengals if Conner is forced to miss another one.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (groin) had four receptions for 60 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Nov. 14.
Fantasy Spin: Beckham had a 42-yard catch but was otherwise quiet on Thursday night. This seems to be the sweet spot for OBJ right now as he has posted between 50 and 60 receiving yards in three of his last four games. That's not terrible production, but it's certainly not what fantasy owners were expecting as Beckham hasn't scored since Week 2. His upside dictates he remain in that WR2 area even if his numbers don't.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph struggled in Week 11 in the loss to the Browns, finishing with 221 yards on 23-for-44 passing to go along with four interceptions. While the 24-year-old did throw a touchdown, the four picks he threw offset any chance for an adequate fantasy performance. He hasn't played well over the last three weeks, however, compiling only 654 yards and three scores, while throwing five interceptions. There is light at the end of the tunnel for Rudolph, nonetheless, as the Steelers will look to get back on track against the Bengals in Week 12, with his stock increasing if either JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) or James Conner (shoulder) are able to play after suffering in-game injuries on Thursday night.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt ran six times for 12 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11. He also caught six passes for 46 yards.
Fantasy Spin: For one week at least, Cleveland's passing game flowed through three players: Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Hunt. That trio was targeted on 25 of the team's 32 passes. It certainly looks like Nick Chubb will be their bruiser, and Hunt will chip in on passing downs. In that role he holds some flex appeal.
Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb had 27 carries for 92 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Nov. 14.
Fantasy Spin: Chubb's 92-yard effort puts him over 1,000 yards for the season, and his 27 carries marked the seventh time this year he's had 20 or more. The return of Kareem Hunt has had no negative effects on Chubb to this point, and Chubb remains an RB1.
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield completed 17 of his 32 passes for 193 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a Week 11 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mayfield also ran for a one-yard touchdown.
Fantasy Spin: Mayfield wasn't spectacular, but he did enough and avoided the mistakes that doomed counterpart Mason Rudolph. After throwing INTs in each of his first seven games, the Oklahoma product has gone three straight without one. He's not putting QB1 fantasy numbers right now, but he's worth carrying as your backup.
Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald caught three passes for 33 yards on Thursday, Nov. 14, against the Cleveland Browns.
Fantasy Spin: McDonald entered 2019 as a top-10 tight end, but he hasn't topped 40 yards receiving in a game this season. Any optimism that was generated by him catching two TDs in Mason Rudolph's first game petered out long ago, and McDonald isn't worth owning outside of deep leagues.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR James Washington caught three passes for 49 yards during the team's Week 11 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Fantasy Spin: Washington's numbers weren't great Thursday night, but he still led the team. It's a continuation of the second-year pro's maturation and development into a nice complement to JuJu Smith-Schuster. While Pittsburgh's passing offense is anything but prolific, Washington still holds potential WR3 value down the stretch.
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.
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.
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.
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.