Thu Oct 17 5:45pm ET
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Solomon Thomas during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 file photo, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) runs around Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the second half of an NFL football game in Houston. alen Ramsey was thrilled to land with the Los Angeles Rams, and the team is already optimistic about keeping the star cornerback around for a long time. Ramsey headed to the Rams training complex Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 a day after Los Angeles traded two first-round picks to Jacksonville for the mercurial two-time Pro Bowl selection.(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)
In this Oct. 13, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Falcons NFL football head coach Dan Quinn speaks to the media after a 34-33 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, in Glendale, Ariz. The Falcons returned from their two-game road trip to find their losing streak at four games and the pressure mounting on coach Dan Quinn to quickly show signs he can stop the skid. The Falcons, who play the Rams on Sunday, rank last in the league in scoring defense and that only adds to Quinn's woes since he took over the defense this season. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs as Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
ATLANTA (AP) There is no guarantee that a Super Bowl appearance will generate long-term momentum.
Just ask the Los Angeles Rams, who return to Atlanta as a .500 team with three straight losses only eight months after their Super Bowl appearance.
Or check in with the Atlanta Falcons, whose 2016 Super Bowl season seems a distant memory. The Falcons have lost four straight, leaving them on target for a second straight losing record.
The Rams (3-3), who play the Falcons (1-5) on Sunday, had a busy week while retooling their secondary. The big addition was cornerback Jalen Ramsey, one of the league's top players at his position, who was acquired from Jacksonville.
Also this week, the Rams placed cornerback Aqib Talib and safety John Johnson on injured reserve and traded cornerback Marcus Peters.
The Rams gave up three draft picks, including two first-rounders, for Ramsey in a dramatic attempt to generate renewed momentum for another playoff run following their Super Bowl loss to New England.
Coach Sean McVay said Ramsey provides ''all the traits that you look for in a corner.''
While Ramsey prepares to play, the Rams may have to rely on a bunch of relatively untested defensive backs against Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, including cornerbacks Troy Hill and Darious Williams and safety Marqui Christian.
The Falcons' frustrations may have peaked when usually reliable Matt Bryant missed a potential game-tying extra point in last week's 34-33 loss at Arizona. Only a dramatic turnaround would save the Falcons from their second straight losing season. The losing streak has increased the pressure on fifth-year coach Dan Quinn.
Quinn said his players ''want to get it right.''
''They're hurting, the fans are hurting, everybody is,'' he said. ''If you're around the team, you know how much they care and how much it means to them. More than anything, they want to get it right. When we haven't done that, it stings.''
Here are some more things to know about the Rams-Falcons matchup:
THEN THERE WAS ONE
Safety Eric Weddle is the only starter from last week's loss to San Francisco who will return in the Rams secondary. He has to lead the new mix of starters.
''That's why you have me, quite honestly,'' Weddle said. ''I've been through this many a time. Revolving door, whether it's safeties, corners, it's my job to get everyone on the same page and play at a high level.''
Quinn fired all his coordinators after last season and named himself defensive coordinator. That hasn't produced the results he wanted. The Falcons rank last in the league in scoring defense and sacks. ''There's nothing where we can say we're hitting the mark in any way,'' Quinn said.
JUST VISITING, Y'ALL
The Rams will remain in Atlanta and will practice at Georgia Tech next week before flying to London for their Oct. 27 game against Cincinnati. Quarterback Jared Goff said he thinks the time away from home will be ''somewhat galvanizing.''
''When you're off on the road, and all you do have is each other, you have that us against the world type of deal,'' Goff said. ''It does tend to bring a team together and you hope you go out and get this win this weekend and build from there.''
RYAN ON A ROLL
Ryan, who leads the NFL with 15 touchdown passes, can become the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards in each of the first seven games of a season. Ryan also has cut down on mistakes. After throwing six interceptions in the first three games, he has only one in the last three.
David Edwards, a rookie fifth-round pick from Wisconsin, is expected to be the Rams' starting left guard after Joe Noteboom was lost for the season with a knee injury. Edwards has yet to take an offensive snap. He has played sparingly on special teams.
The Rams must trust Edwards because backup guard Jamil Demby apparently has not impressed the coaches. The line was the offense's strength last year, but it has been a liability this fall with Edwards the third new starter. The line has had less-than-dominant play by tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein.
Atlanta Falcons RB Brian Hill played 51 percent of the offensive snaps Sunday, Nov. 10, in the win over the New Orleans Saints. The bulk of Hill's work came with RB Devonta Freeman (foot) out of the game.
Fantasy Spin: With Freeman expected to miss multiple games and backup Ito Smith (neck) already out for the year, Hill will have a big role in a nice matchup against the soft Carolina Panthers run defense. He should be a top waiver priority this week.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams played 72 percent of the offensive snaps in the Week 10 loss against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Nov. 10. RB Darrel Williams played just 21 percent with RB Darwin Thompson getting a total of five offensive snaps. RB LeSean McCoy was a healthy scratch.
Fantasy Spin: Williams' 109 yards from scrimmage were the second-most he's racked up in a game and came on the heels of a season-high 125 rushing yards last week. He didn't find the end zone for the first time in three weeks, but it was a heavy workload and he lived up to the task. Fantasy managers who took a chance on him this year seem like they'll be rewarded down the stretch run.
Miami Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage played 82 percent of the offensive snaps Sunday, Nov. 10, against the Indianapolis Colts. RB Patrick Laird played just eight offensive snaps with RB Myles Gaskin playing five total snaps (all on offense).
Fantasy Spin: Ballage ran the ball 20 times but for a very disappointing 43 yards. He caught all four of his targets but for just two yards. It was the Dolphins' second straight win but it remains highly doubtful there'll be many more of these. If he wasn't successful in Week 10, it's unlikely he will be.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt played 54 percent of the offensive snaps against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Nov. 10, but starter Nick Chubb played a three-week high of 81 percent in the 19-16 victory. RB Dontrell Hilliard played just eight offensive snaps for his lowest total since Week 5.
Fantasy Spin: Chubb ran 20 times for 116 yards while catching two of four targets for just five yards. Hunt totaled 74 yards from scrimmage on 11 touches with seven receptions and four carries. It's quite possible both could be effective fantasy options in the same games, but Chubb remains the definitive No. 1 option.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson has put together a solid rookie campaign with 30 receptions, over 360 yards, and three touchdowns. In Thursday night's game against the Cleveland Browns, Johnson will work to stay in the sights of quarterback Mason Rudolph. However, Rudolph has been favoring shorter routes recently, which puts Johnson at a bit of a disadvantage. Although Johnson's big-play ability gives him value as a touchdown-dependent WR4 in Week 11.
Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry drew criticism from head coach Freddie Kitchens Tuesday, Nov. 12, for the 15-yard taunting penalty he took Sunday, Nov. 10 against the Buffalo Bills. 'I don't like penalties,' said Kitchens. 'I don't like penalties. I want him playing with passion, though, not emotion, but passion.'
Fantasy Spin: Landry had one of his best games of the season by catching nine of 10 targets for 97 yards and finding the end zone for the second straight week, but the penalty set up the missed 48-yard extra point by PK Austin Seibert.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has just 12 receptions for 170 yards and one touchdown in his last four games. With a Thursday Night football matchup against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11, Smith-Schuster shouldn't be considered the reliable option many drafted him as. Quarterback Mason Rudolph has been favoring shorter to intermediate routes, which should favor the USC product, but the numbers haven't followed. Look at Smith-Schuster as a touchdown-dependent WR2 against Cleveland.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington is coming off the best consecutive performances of his young career. He's hauled in 10 of 11 targets for 159 yards and a touchdown in the last two games, and he seems to be redeveloping a connection with his college quarterback Mason Rudolph. He'll face off against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night and has a chance to build himself more opportunities in the offense. View Washington as nothing but a WR4 in deeper leagues, as he still has some room to prove his fantasy worth.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (shoulder) was a full participant in Tuesday's practice, all but confirming he's good to go for Thursday night's road game against the Cleveland Browns. After missing the last two contests, Conner has been missed on offense, as the Steelers have combined for just 132 rushing yards in that span. Against the Browns, Conner should help open up the offensive gameplan by reassuming the lead-back role. Look at the 24-year-old as an RB2 against a defense that allows 19 fantasy points per game to running backs.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels steps away from the lead-back role with the expected return of James Conner (shoulder) in Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns. Over the last two games, Samuels turned 38 touches into just 123 yards and no touchdowns, so it's clear he's not suited for four-down work in this offense. Against the Browns on Thursday, the NC State product isn't very fantasy appealing as Cleveland has allowed just 40 receptions to running backs this season, the ninth-fewest in the NFL. Since Conner is likely returning, Samuels is best left on fantasy benches in Week 11.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph gets a favorable matchup for Thursday Night Football when the Steelers travel to take on the Cleveland Browns. Rudolph has been gaining more confidence with each start, and his 242 yards passing last week were the second highest of his short career. Against the Browns, the second-year signal caller faces a defense that allows an average of 23 fantasy points per game. Rudolph can be considered a low-end QB2, especially in the early game of the week. You could do worse, but you could certainly do better for a streaming option.
Free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick (49ers) shared a message on Twitter Tuesday, Nov. 12, addressing the previous reports of the league-arranged free-agent workout Saturday, Nov. 16. 'I'm just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I've been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can't wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday,' Kaepernick wrote.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (ankle) will seek a second opinion on his reaggravated sprained ankle. Breida only accrued 25 yards on 12 touches in Week 10 before exiting in the second half. Breida is no stranger to playing injured but NFL Networks Tom Pelissero believes he could miss some time to let it heal. Breidas absence would benefit third-string back Raheem Mostert who flashed promise earlier this season when Tevin Coleman was hurt. Mostert would be a risky but upside flex play in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals if Breida is inactive.
San Francisco 49ers WR Dante Pettis is running out of time to prove his worth in head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. 'The more he doesn't take advantage of his opportunities, the less opportunities he gets,' Shanahan said Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Fantasy Spin: Pettis, a second-year pro, has caught just 11 of 24 targets this season for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He shouldn't be on rosters in anything shallower than 14- or 16-team leagues.
Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (hamstring) has a 'legit' hamstring injury, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Seattle Seahawks TE Ed Dickson (knee) was close to being activated off of injured reserve this past week and will return for Week 12 following the team's bye, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Nov. 12.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (knee, ankle) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) are considered day-to-day and shaping up as game-time decisions in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. Kittle and Sanders figure to practice minimally this week, if any. Kittle missed Week 10 and his injury appears serious but head coach Kyle Shanahan refrained from ruling out the warrior. Sanders suffered a rib cartilage injury on Monday night and the severity is unknown. Without their top aerial playmakers, the biggest gainer could be wideout Deebo Samuel. The rookie amassed 112 yards on eight catches in Week 10 and was clearly the most electric player amongst Kendrick Bourne, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis. Samuel will be a hot waiver commodity and slots as a WR3 if both Kittle and Sanders cant go.
Updating a previous story, San Francisco 49ers DL Ronald Blair (knee) will undergo season-ending surgery for his torn ACL, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock (thumb) returned to practice Tuesday, Nov. 12. A decision will need to be made by Dec. 3 to activate him from injured reserve. CB Bryce Callahan (foot) also returned to practice Tuesday. He has remained on the 53-man roster.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (knee) is day-to-day, although head coach Kyle Shanahan is 'hopeful' Kittle will be able to play in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Fantasy Spin: Expect the third-year tight end to be held out of practice early in the week, although it sounds like Kittle's fantasy owners need to be prepared for the possibility of another missed game. If he can make it through a limited practice by Friday, he'll have a chance to suit up and be worth a start in fantasy. If he can't go, Ross Dwelley and Garrett Celek figure to see the bulk of work on passing downs in his absence.