Thu Nov 14 6:49pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers waits to take part in a drill during an NFL football practice Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at Air Force Academy, Colo. The Chargers are training at Air Force, which is at an elevation of 7,200 feet, to prepare for Monday night's game against Kansas City in Mexico City. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passes against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Everyone hopes the playing surface at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca will not be the main story of Monday night’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Both coaches said they have received favorable updates about the turf going into the game. Last year’s game between the Chiefs and Rams was moved back to Los Angeles less than a week before the game when the field was deemed unplayable because of rain and the stadium hosting concerts less than a month before the game.
"Everything that I've been told has been positive," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
The teams have taken different approaches to preparing. The Chargers have spent the week at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to get acclimated to the altitude. The Chiefs have kept their same routine with the only adjustment being to hydrate more according to quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
It is an important AFC West matchup for both teams. Kansas City (6-4) won its first four games but has dropped four of its past six, allowing Oakland to get within a half-game of the division lead. Los Angeles (4-6) has struggled for most of the season but remains only two games out.
This is the first of two straight crucial division games for the Chiefs. After their bye week they will host the Raiders on Dec. 1.
“To say you are in control of your own destiny at 4-6 is pretty rare,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said.
Here are other things to watch as the Chargers play an international home game for the second straight season:
Rivers leads the league in passing yards (2,816) but is also third in interceptions (10). He had three last week against Oakland, including a pick-6 that loomed large in what turned out to be a 26-24 loss to the Raiders.
The Chargers were among the league’s better teams in not committing turnovers the past two seasons, but their 16 giveaways this season are tied for seventh in the league. Five have occurred in goal-to-go situations.
“We’ve made some critical mistakes and not being able to overcome them,” Rivers said.
Mahomes returned to the lineup last week after missing two games because of a knee injury. He threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s loss to Tennessee but said on Thursday that this is the best he has felt since early September.
“I would say going into the Jacksonville game,” he said. “Just not having to worry about the ankle or not have to worry about the knee and just being able to go out there and play football the way that I have been able to play it my whole career so far.”
Los Angeles defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa have been a handful for opposing offensive lines lately. They have combined for nine sacks over the past four games.
Bosa is third in the AFC with 8½ sacks on the season while Ingram has added 4½. Ingram had 1½ sacks against Mahomes in Week 15 last season.
ON THE MEND
Kansas City is beginning to get some of the pieces back on its offensive and defensive lines. Offensive tackles Eric Fisher (groin), Cam Erving (ankle) and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle) have been full participants this week while Mitchell Schartz (knee) is limited. Defensive end Frank Clark (neck) has also been a full participant.
The Chiefs though are likely to be without defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah (pectoral) and Alex Okafor (ankle).
KEEP AN EYE ON
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon. He rushed for a season-high 108 yards last week and seems to be regaining his stride after missing the first four games because of a contract dispute. He had 166 scrimmage yards (102 receiving, 64 rushing) the previous time he faced Chiefs, who are ranked 31st in the league in run defense.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.