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FFL: Week 11 | NFL: Week 11

Rookie WR Johnson paying no heed to Antonio Brown mentions

Fri May 10 4:21pm ET

Players: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Eli Rogers, Donte Moncrief, Ryan Switzer, James Washington, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Benny Snell Jr.

Toledo wide receiver Diontae Johnson runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 third round draft pick wide receiver Dontae Johnson (18) goes through drills during NFL football rookie camp, Friday, May 10, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 fourth round draft pick running back Benny Snell Jr., right, does through ball retention drills with undrafted free agent running back Ralph Webb during NFL football rookie camp, Friday, May 10, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 third round draft pick cornerback Justin Layne (31) warms up with the defense during NFL football rookie camp, Friday, May 10, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 third round draft pick wide receiver Dontae Johnson (18) goes through drills during NFL football rookie camp, Friday, May 10, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson understands parallels will be drawn between himself and former Steelers star Antonio Brown. The third-round pick, however, is focused on forging his own path.

The comparisons and serendipitous circumstances that link the two are almost too conspicuous to believe. But this ''D.J.'' isn't actively going out of his way to be the next ''AB.''

As he walked off the field after completing his first official on-field NFL practice session, Johnson was predictably asked to give his thoughts about the ubiquitous comparisons between him and the perennial All-Pro receiver now with Oakland.

''It's a good thing, because he's a great player,'' Johnson said Friday. ''Somebody I used to watch. I still look up to him. He's a great player.

''But I can only be myself only.''

What the Steelers have been saying they expect of Johnson would be more than good enough - even if it falls short of the level Brown attained as the Steelers' No. 1 receiver for most of the past decade.

Brown was shipped off to the Raiders for third- and fifth-round draft picks in March after he'd publicly clashed with everyone from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to coach Mike Tomlin to Steelers President Art Rooney II since sitting out the final game of the 2018 season. That leaves a gaping, 114-catch-per-year hole of production on the offense. Brown had 686 receptions, 9,145 yards and 67 touchdowns from 2013 to 2018.

By no means do the Steelers expect Johnson to make up for that by himself. But Johnson enters the NFL with a similar game and profile as Brown - and he was acquired as the headlining (if underwhelming) return in the trade of Brown.

Johnson embraces the on-field similarities with Brown in regards to playing style: ''route running, able to catch ball, get out of my breaks, able to run every route in the route tree.'' But Johnson politely downplays expectations he can approach the superstar status Brown reached in Pittsburgh.

''I'm just trying to come in and contribute and come in and do what I can do,'' Johnson said. ''Be myself and help out in any way that I can.''

It might forever be difficult for Johnson to simply ''be himself'' with the Steelers, if only because many might always compare him to Brown. A look at the roster shows that about the only way Johnson doesn't share a strong resemblance with Brown is uniform number. Johnson was wearing No. 18 at rookie minicamp; Brown's former No. 84 was given to undrafted tight end Milan Richard.

Brown stands 5-foot-10, 181 pounds. Johnson is listed at 5-10, 183.

Brown went to Central Michigan, a Mid-American Conference school; Johnson starred at Toldeo, the Chippewas' MAC rival.

Over his final two college seasons, Brown had 2,096 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns in being voted all-MAC twice. Johnson, over his final two college seasons: 2,039 receiving yards, 25 touchdowns, two-time all-MAC.

Each had great success as a punt and kick returner, too.

Johnson might not be Brown but he's already made an impression on his new teammates.

''He has a lot of talent,'' said cornerback Justin Layne, a player the Steelers took with another third-round pick. ''Fast, quick guy. He is going to help us a lot.''

Steelers fourth-round pick Benny Snell has gotten to know Johnson in recent months because they share the same agent and were roommates in Indianapolis at the combine in February.

''Diontae is amazing,'' said Snell, a running back from Kentucky. ''He's a cool guy, a cool dude - and he's got some hands.''

Johnson's hands weren't as much on display Friday as the Steelers likely hoped; he sat out portions of team drills, then deferred to coach Mike Tomlin, who was unavailable to media Friday, for specifics about any injury. But he allowed that he was ''fine.''

For his rookie season, Johnson joins a receivers corps led by JuJu Smith-Schuster and also featuring veteran Donte Moncrief, second-year wideout James Washington, and slot specialists Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer.

Where Johnson falls into that pecking order in 2019 is a long way from being determined.

''It's exciting, being able to play football again,'' Johnson said, ''being able to run routes and catch balls and learn the plays.''

Player Notes
Julian Edelman Nov 14 1:40am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will get a juicy matchup in Week 11 against a leaky Eagles secondary. Edelman has been as solid as a rock all season, posting 63 receptions for 663 yards and four touchdowns through his first nine games this season. Now he will face an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. They have surrendered 12 touchdowns to receivers and 11 different receivers have scored 10-plus fantasy points against them. The Patriots passing game should be able to exploit the Eagles, making Edelman a low-end WR1 for Week 11.

From RotoBaller

Mohamed Sanu Nov 14 1:40am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will look to build off his excellent performance in Week 9 when the Patriots take on the Eagles in Week 11. In his second game with his new team, Sanu caught 10 passes for 81 yards and one touchdown. The veteran now will face an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to receivers this season. Sanu actually caught four passes for 16 yards against the Eagles in Week 2 but he played for the Falcons at the time. The Eagles secondary has allowed seven 100-yard receiving games to receivers this season, a number Sanu could conceivably achieve in Week 11. Sanu will carry WR2/3 value into Sunday's matchup.

From RotoBaller

New England Patriots Nov 14 1:40am ET

The New England Patriots Defense will look to get back to its elite ways in Week 11 against the Eagles. The defense was exposed in Week 9 by the Ravens and have had an entire bye week to stew about it. They will face an Eagles offense that has been inconsistent this season and has allowed 12 sacks over their last four games. Before the Ravens game, the Patriots defense was on pace to break all sorts of fantasy records. Now they will have a chance to get back on track in Week 11 and should be considered a top-five fantasy play among defenses this coming Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Nov 14 1:30am ET

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel will try and get his season on track against the Eagles in Week 11. It won't be easy as the Eagles Defense has allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Outside of the Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards against them in Week 7, no other running back has posted more than 63 rushing yards in a single game. Michel's fantasy status has been saved by his six rushing touchdowns this season but must drastically improve upon his 3.3 yards per carry. The second-year running back could disappoint with this difficult matchup in Week 11.

From RotoBaller

James White Nov 14 1:30am ET

New England Patriots running back James White is coming off the bye week with 44 receptions for 404 yards this season heading into Week 11's action. The veteran will go up against an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. The Eagles have been tough on the run all season and have surrendered only one receiving touchdown to an opposing running back all season. The Patriots will still look to exploit the underneath passing game and White should see a solid amount of targets. But don't expect the world out of White in fantasy for Week 11.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Nov 14 1:20am ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Co. will be ready to roll of their bye week when they play the Eagles in Week 11. After a disappointing loss to the Ravens, the Patriots offense will look to get back on track against an Eagles Defense allowing the 15th most fantasy points to opposing passers. Brady is having another top-10 fantasy season at the quarterback position but has posted only modest totals the past few games. The Eagles secondary is still a mess but the defensive unit has allowed only an average of 15.1 fantasy points to quarterbacks over their last three games. But Brady is no average quarterback and should post top-10 totals once again in Week 11.

From RotoBaller

Chicago Bears Nov 14 1:10am ET

The Chicago Bears Defense will go up against a Rams offense in Week 11 that was manhandled by a feisty Steelers Defense last week. Los Angeles' offense has taken a step back this season and quarterback Jared Goff has already thrown nine interceptions this season. The Bears defense still is posting decent fantasy numbers but the takeaways have been on the decline over the past month. The Rams will be without multiple starters on their offensive line for this important game and the Bears defense will be an appealing choice with Khalil Mack and Co. can take advantage in Week 11.

From RotoBaller

David Montgomery Nov 14 1:00am ET

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery will face a Rams Defense that is allowing the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Montgomery's touches have been on the rise but, for the most part, his yardage is capping around 60-80 total yards a game. This is will be a challenging marker to hit against a Rams defense that hasn't allowed more than 66 rushing yards to a single running back since Week 5. The rookie does have three touchdowns over his last three games and will need a score to post RB2-type fantasy numbers in Week 11.

From RotoBaller

Tarik Cohen Nov 14 1:00am ET

Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen will look to make an explosive play on Sunday Night Football when the Bears take on the Rams in Week 11. Cohen is coming off one of his more active games of the season, posting 37 total yards with one touchdown against the Lions last week. Cohen is a threat in the passing game but the Rams Defense has not allowed an opposing running back to post more than 35 receiving yards against them since Week 1. The Bears offense is still a major work in progress, making Cohen a very risky FLEX play in most fantasy formats for Week 11.

From RotoBaller

Taylor Gabriel Nov 14 1:00am ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel will take on a Rams Defense that is allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Gabriel caught four passes for 39 yards and one touchdown in last week's win and could see plenty of targets with teammate Allen Robinson being shadowed by top corner Jalen Ramsey. The Rams secondary, however, has been tough on wide receivers this season. Outside of a three-touchdown meltdown against the Seahawks, the Rams have allowed only four touchdowns to receivers all season. Gabriel should see at least one deep target in the game and will be no more than a dart-throw in deeper fantasy formats for Week 11.

From RotoBaller

Mitch Trubisky Nov 14 12:50am ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will try and bring his team back to .500 against the Rams in Week 11, Trubisky bounced back after a horrific showing against the Eagles by throwing three touchdowns against the Lions last week. But he will have a more challenging test this week against a Rams Defense that is allowing the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. They have, however, allowed an average of 281 yards passing over their last six games, The season is on the brink for both teams but Trubisky can't be trusted to deliver in fantasy for Week 11.

From RotoBaller

Allen Robinson Nov 14 12:50am ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson will have a tough test against the Rams in Week 11. Robinson has been the only consistent source of production for the Bears this season, heading into the game with 53 receptions for 618 yards and three touchdowns. But he should see plenty of Jalen Ramsey shadowing him throughout the game and the Rams are allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to receivers. In addition, outside of allowing three touchdowns in Week 5 to Seahawks receivers, the Rams have surrendered only four touchdowns to receivers all season. Touchdowns have already been hard to come by for the Bears offense this season and Robinson could struggle to post WR2 numbers in Week 11.

From RotoBaller

Derrius Guice Nov 13 10:53pm ET

Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson is expected to remain atop the depth chart despite the return of RB Derrius Guice. Before Guice's injury, interim head coach Bill Callahan said Guice was coming into his own as a check-down back and in pass-protection scenarios. Guice remains behind Peterson on the depth chart.

Fantasy Spin: Peterson and the Redskins actually face a difficult matchup in Week 11, as they meet the Jets. New York ranks No. 2 in the NFL against the run, allowing just 81.9 yards per game on the ground. However, they have allowed 10 rushing scores. Peterson remains an RB2 or flex fantasy option in most leagues.

From TheHuddle

Coty Sensabaugh Nov 13 10:33pm ET

The Denver Broncos waived CB Coty Sensabaugh on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

From TheHuddle

Cyrus Jones Nov 13 10:33pm ET

The Denver Broncos claimed CB Cyrus Jones off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

From TheHuddle

Darius Leonard Nov 13 10:23pm ET

While Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard (abdomen) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 13, beat writer Kevin Bowen expects the tackle machine to be ready for Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, noting that Leonard played every defensive snap and did not have an in-game injury in Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins.

From TheHuddle

Jacoby Brissett Nov 13 10:13pm ET

Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett (knee) was able to take part in a full practice session Wednesday, Nov. 13. That was apparently a vital step for him to get back to his starting duties for Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 'I'm assuming it's going to be good and barring any setback the rest of the week, he'll be the starter,' head coach Frank Reich confirmed.

Fantasy Spin: Obviously watch the injury report Thursday, and especially Friday. If Brissett suffered a setback it would be Brian Hoyer making another start. After losing to the lowly Miami Dolphins last week, the Colts probably hope it doesn't come to that.

From TheHuddle

Pittsburgh Steelers Nov 13 10:00pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers Defense has been on an absolute tear of late and are in a perfect spot to continue that strong play against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. The unit has recorded at least three takeaways in each of their last five games, including four a week ago against the Rams. However, on the short week, the Steelers will need to do a good job of pressuring Baker Mayfield, as the Browns haven't turned the ball over in either of their past two matchups. All things considered, the Steelers are about as "must play" as it gets for a fantasy defense right now.

From RotoBaller

Devin Funchess Nov 13 9:53pm ET

Indianapolis Colts WR Devin Funchess (clavicle) was able to practice Wednesday, Nov. 13 for the first time since the regular-season opener. He is eligible to return in Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but his rehab has lingered. He wore a red non-contact jersey on Wednesday, so being exposed to contact is the remaining hurdle for him before he is cleared to play. '(Funchess) has to get certain things done and scans done to make sure he's fully cleared and ready to go,' head coach Frank Reich said.

Fantasy Spin: Funchess is worth a look in deeper fantasy leagues down the stretch, although the window for other Indy receivers not named T.Y. Hilton to shine might be closing. The latter did not practice Wednesday, but is inching closer to a return.

From TheHuddle

T Y Hilton Nov 13 9:53pm ET

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) is uncertain for Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and head coach Frank Reich wasn't ready to offer a guarantee one way or the other on the receiver's playing status. Two weeks ago he was given a three-to-four week timetable for a return.

Fantasy Spin: Hilton could very well suit up, but fantasy owners might want to see him make it through a full game without any setbacks before trusting him again. The Colts have a quick turnaround with a Thursday night game in Week 12 against the Houston Texans, so it might be in their best interests to rest him one more game rather than push him with the short turnaround.

From TheHuddle