Indianapolis Colts' Adam Vinatieri (4) kicks a field goal from the hold of Rigoberto Sanchez during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich throws the challenge flag during the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Brian Hoyer (2) takes a snap against the Pittsburgh Steelers after Jacoby Brissett was injured in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) tackles Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) during the second half of an NFL football game at Wembley Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone walks the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans at Wembley Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)
Jaguars QB Nick Foles holds a ball during a NFL training session of the Jacksonville Jaguars at the at Allianz Park in London, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. The Jacksonville Jaguars are preparing for an NFL regular season game against the Houston Texans in London on Sunday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Nick Foles’ long-awaited return will come with all the typical emotions Sunday.
The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback is excited to play, eager to prove he’s healthy and optimistic about keeping his team in the playoff hunt. And, the most anticipated part for Foles might be his brief reunion with Colts coach Frank Reich, the man who helped revive his career.
“He’s a guy that I admire more than anything,” Foles said. “He’s a guy that has impacted my life so much, and he’s going to be on the opposing sideline, so that’s going to be fun.”
Foles entered the league as a third-round pick, full of promise. But after four seasons and 35 starts in Philadelphia and St. Louis, Foles found himself in the backup role in Kansas City and then Philadelphia, where Reich was in his second season as offensive coordinator.
Then, when MVP front-runner Carson Wentz went down with a late-season injury and the Eagles’ offense started to sputter, Reich made an adjustment for the playoffs and everything changed.
Foles led the Eagles to the Super Bowl title, was named Super Bowl MVP and Reich took the job in Indianapolis.
On Sunday, they’ll be on opposite sidelines in Indianapolis.
“I think it will be emotional seeing him because of what he means to me,” Foles said. “He’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever met, so when he went there, I was so excited for him. But I’m going to go out there and play.”
The Colts (5-4) don’t have much film on Foles.
He took only 11 snaps before breaking his left collarbone then turned the job over to rookie Gardner Minshew who became an instant sensation because of his moustache and his ability to win.
Now with the Jags (4-5) needing a division win, Foles returns - just in time for Reich to help give his defensive coaches a scouting report.
“I sat down and spoke with (defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus) about Nick’s abilities, mindset and that kind of thing - not a whole lot to be honest with you,” Reich said. “I told him what I thought about a few things, in detail about a few things.”
Indy is dealing with its own issues.
For the first time in 13 months, they’ve lost back-to-back games. They’ve fallen out of the AFC South lead and are dealing with their own quarterback situation as Jacoby Brissett tries to play with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Brian Hoyer replaced Brissett each of the past two weeks but Brissett was a full participant in practice and is expected to reclaim his starting job Sunday.
But for Foles, this game comes with a personal touch.
“He’d get up in front of the team after a loss or tough time and he just kept it real and he kept it light, he was joyful,” Foles said of Reich. “There was something different in his heart. But seeing him handle his everyday life like he did, with the joy he had, and how he spoke to people and loved everyone, was the most impactful thing and it was really special to be around. And obviously, he’s an amazing coach, he knows football.”
Adam Vinatieri has missed six extra points and five field goals this season, and it was a hot topic all week in Indy.
The Colts brought in free agents for tryouts Tuesday before opting to stick with the 24-year veteran who is the league’s career scoring leader. Reich continues to insist he has full confidence in his kicker.
“I believe whatever we’re going through is just a phase and he is going to help us win games and get to where we want to go,” Reich said.
Indy won 11 of the first 14 games in this series, but lately Jacksonville has had the upper hand.
The Jags have won three of four under coach Doug Marrone and have not allowed a point in the past three halves against the Colts. Indy has only been shut out twice since 2003 - and both came against Jacksonville during Marrone’s tenure.
“We still have to keep developing, we still have to get these guys better,” Marrone said. “We need to get better and better each week.”
While Indy’s offense has languished the past few weeks, the defense has played well.
In the past five games, Indy is allowing an average of 18.2 points - a number that is even lower when an interception return for a touchdown is subtracted. But the difference isn’t just showing up on the scoreboard.
Reich and Eberflus say they see it on tape, play after play.
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.