Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor reacts during the second half of NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley (5) calls a play during the first half of NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after the Raiders defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 26-24 in an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Oakland Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Derek Carr knows full well what the Cincinnati Bengals are enduring this season: nine straight losses to open the year.
Carr began his rookie season as starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders with 10 consecutive defeats before finally breaking through with a win.
''You feel like everything is against you because for the fans, sometimes for older players, they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel,'' he said. ''They just see what's in front of them at the moment and it's hard man. It's tough and one thing I'll say though is, if you can grind through those moments, work really hard, stick to your process, when the good moments come around it makes you thankful for those other moments.''
Carr bounced back from the rough debut campaign to win 12 games and lead the Raiders to the playoffs in 2016. Two more down seasons followed, but Carr has Oakland (5-4) back in contention again this year heading into Sunday's home game against Cincinnati (0-9).
After two straight wins to open a homestand, Carr wants to make sure his team doesn't let up in the third game and squander a chance.
''I don't care about records, man,'' he said. ''I prepare every game as if this is the game and so there is no, 'They haven't won a game.' I don't care how many games they have or haven't won, they got Pro Bowlers all over their football team and they are going to bring it, that's for sure.''
The Bengals are trying to avoid falling to 0-10 for the second time after also doing it in 1993. First-year coach Zac Taylor believes things will get better soon even if it doesn't seem that way right now.
''There'll be a time - I can't wait to look back on it - and say, 'Remember when all that stuff happened?''' Taylor said. ''We'll get there. This is one of the things we have to go through right now, unfortunately. We're going to fight through it, and there are going to be some positive things as this season comes to an end.''
Rookie Ryan Finley made his debut and had two huge turnovers against the Ravens. His sideline pass was picked off and returned 89 yards for a touchdown, and he had a fumble also returned for a score. Finley finished 16 of 30 for 167 yards with a touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 66.9. The Bengals expect him to be better now that he's experienced a game.
''He's getting used to playing NFL-caliber football and not preseason football, real starting football against a good defense,'' offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. ''And so, his timing was a little bit off. I think you'll see a pretty dramatic leap for him in game two, understanding what it's like to play at that speed.''
The Raiders must replace a safety again after Karl Joseph went down with a season-ending foot injury last week while making the game-sealing interception against the Chargers. Oakland already lost rookie Johnathan Abram to a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener and now may need to turn to Curtis Riley, who got benched earlier this year, special teams player Dallin Leavitt and newly acquired D.J. Swearinger, who was cut earlier this year by Arizona.
''These last weeks have been great for me,'' Swearinger said. ''I needed this time off, to get myself together. I couldn't be more ready for this opportunity to get here and work hard.''
OH THAT DEFENSE
The Bengals began looking to next year when they benched Andy Dalton and went with Finley at quarterback. They started overhauling the defense this week by waiving linebacker Preston Brown, who had lost his starting job. The linebackers have been the biggest sore spot in the league's lowest-ranked defense.
The Raiders' much-maligned pass rush delivered in a big way last week with five sacks in a win over the Chargers. No. 4 overall draft pick Clelin Ferrell had by far his best game as a pro with 2 1/2 sacks after recording none since the season opener. Fellow rookie Maxx Crosby provided consistent pressure and a half-sack of his own and Benson Mayowa had 1 1/2 sacks, giving him a career-high seven this season.
Taylor signed with Oakland coach Jon Gruden's Tampa Bay team as an undrafted quarterback out of Nebraska in 2007. He was waived before the start of training camp, a move that surprised him then but makes sense now. Taylor was familiar with Tampa Bay's system because his college coach, Bill Callahan, was a close friend of Gruden's.
''I think they probably just brought me in because I could call the plays in the rookie minicamp,'' Taylor said. ''In hindsight, those are the things you start to figure out as you start coaching. That made a little bit of sense. They could evaluate the other players while I got out there and called the plays correctly. It's all good.''
Houston Texans CB Gareon Conley (hip) is expected to play in Week 14's game against the Denver Broncos, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.
Houston Texans CB Bradley Roby (hamstring, toe) is expected to play in Week 14's game against the Denver Broncos, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.
The Tennessee Titans are reportedly discussing a contract extension for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Since taking over for Marcus Mariota as the team's starting passer in Week 7, Tannehill has been putting up solid numbers, with 12 touchdown passes and three interceptions while completing 71.9 percent of his passes. He's also rushed for three scores. Tannehill appears to be a solid starting quarterback going forward, and with the Titans not bad enough to draft a top quarterback in the upcoming draft, it makes sense to extend him. He's a solid fantasy QB2 with QB1 upside depending on the matchup.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (groin) has been playing through a painful sports hernia injury this year which will require surgery during the offseason, according to multiple sources.
Fantasy Spin: The 27-year-old Beckham has 57 receptions for 805 yards and just two touchdowns through the first 12 games of the season. As a result of the injury, he has missed a great deal of practice time, which could explain why he and QB Baker Mayfield often appear as though they're not on the same page. Despite the sports hernia issue, Beckham will continue to receive a decent number of targets in the Cleveland passing game and should be viewed as a low-end WR1 or high-end WR2 in fantasy leagues.
The Los Angeles Rams plan to unleash running back Todd Gurley over the last four weeks of the season, giving him a full workload as the team tries to bolster their chances of making the postseason. Gurley's played two games this year with a snap rate of 90 percent or better, though his yardage and yards per carry in those games weren't great. There's still risk with Gurley, but he should be a solid RB1 if the Rams do give him the majority of their running back touches.
Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) will probably miss Week 14's game versus the Detroit Lions but has a good chance of returning for Week 15's game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Fantasy Spin: Thielen is a must-start option when healthy, although he has not played a full game since Week 6 and hasn't played at all since Week 9. Fantasy owners should keep him on the bench this week and look for safer receiving alternatives.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (shoulder) is expected to play in Week 14's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Edelman was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week. He is the main target in New England's passing game and is worthy of consideration as at least a No. 2 fantasy receiver this afternoon.
New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (ankle) is expected to play in Week 14's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Sanu was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week. He could be a decent flex option in most fantasy formats this afternoon because this has the potential to be a high-scoring game and he's likely to be targeted more frequently than normal.
Baltimore Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey (thigh) is expected to play in Week 14's game against the Buffalo Bills, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions and one full session during the week.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is not expected to play in Week 14's game against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Thielen had been listed as doubtful on the injury report after not practicing at all during the week and it appears as though he will be sidelined for the fifth time in the last six games. Fantasy owners should keep him stashed on their benches this afternoon and look for alternative options.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring) is not expected to play in Week 14's game against the Denver Broncos, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Fuller was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week. When healthy, he makes a decent flex option but fantasy owners should keep him stashed on their benches this week and proceed with safer alternatives.
Denver Broncos LB Von Miller (knee) is expected to play in Week 14's game against the Houston Texans, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.
New York Jets S Jamal Adams (ankle) is not expected to play in Week 14's game against the Miami Dolphins, according to a source. He had been listed as doubtful on the injury report after not practicing at all during the week.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is playing through a painful sports hernia injury, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. The star receiver will need to have offseason surgery to repair the injury. While it hasn't caused Beckham to miss any games, the injury has cut into his practice time and can be one of the reasons why he and Baker Mayfield have struggled with their on-field rapport this season. For now, it appears that Beckham will finish out the season but there is a risk of him getting shut down early if the Browns fall out of playoff contention.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is expected to be out against the Lions in Week 14. Thielen suffered the injury at the end of October and will likely miss his fourth straight after failing to log a practice this week. In his absence, expect more looks for Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, and Alexander Mattison on Sunday.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (shoulder) is expected to be available for the critical matchup with Kansas City on Sunday. Edelman has been dealing with the ailment for quite some time but has been able to play. He has logged at least 11 targets in each of his last seven games and should continue to get plenty of looks from Tom Brady in Week 14 despite Mohamed Sanu (ankle) also expected to see the field. Keep him starting in all fantasy formats.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) is not expected to play against Denver on Sunday. After playing against the Pats in Week 13, Fuller will probably miss his fourth game of the year after suffering another setback. While this isn't a massive blow to fantasy owners, especially considering the matchup against a relatively tough Broncos Defense, it isn't good news for those in deeper fantasy formats. Expect Kenny Stills to serve as the primary beneficiary in Week 14.
Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) may not play against Tennessee on Sunday, with his status for Week 14 still up in the air. Jacobs has carried this designation over the last five weeks, and while he has been able to suit up during that span, this may be the first time that Oakland is without him this year. He was able to practice on Friday in a limited capacity after missing the previous two sessions, but if he is out, expect Deandre Washington to carry the load as the No. 1 option out of the backfield against an average Titans Defense. Keep an eye on his availability up until kickoff.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown (ankle) is expected to play on Sunday in Buffalo. Hollywood has been dealing with this issue for the majority of the year, so his designation throughout the week wasn't a huge surprise. The rookie fizzled in Week 13 against the 49ers after accounting for two touchdowns against the Rams in Week 12, and while the upside is there, he draws a tough matchup against a Bills Defense that is ranked in the top-six against opposing wideouts this season. Proceed with caution.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR James Washington has had a reception of 30-plus yards in four of the last five games and has recorded at least 90 receiving yards and a touchdown in three of the last four games.
Fantasy Spin: Despite Pittsburgh's quarterback carousel, Washington has emerged as a dangerous deep threat. He's a big-play dependent but high-upside WR3 against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.