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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Week 15

Lots of familiarity between coaches when Packers visit 49ers

Thu Nov 21 6:38pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan reacts during the second half of an NFL football game between the 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)


In this Nov. 10, 2019, file photo, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur watches warm ups before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, in Green Bay, Wis. When Green Bay coach LaFleur started preparing to face San Francisco's stellar defense, he sent out a text message trying to get some inside information. LaFleur said he messaged 49ers coordinator Robert Saleh, his former roommate when the two were graduate assistants at Central Michigan. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer, File)


In this May 30, 2018, file photo, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh speaks to reporters after a practice at the team's NFL football training facility, in Santa Clara, Calif. Green Bay Packers coach Matt Lafleur considers Saleh one of his best friends. When Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur started preparing to face San Francisco's stellar defense, he sent out a text message trying to get some inside information. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)


SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) When Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur started preparing to face San Francisco's stellar defense, he sent out a text message trying to get some inside information.

''Hey, would you give me a call? I have a couple of questions about your defense,'' LaFleur said he messaged 49ers coordinator Robert Saleh, his former roommate when the two were graduate assistants at Central Michigan.

Saleh predictably didn't give up any secrets, although there should be few heading into Sunday night's game between the Packers (8-2) and 49ers (9-1) considering all the ties between the two coaching staffs.

LaFleur considers Saleh one of his best friends, worked under San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan in Houston, Washington and Cleveland, and has a brother, Mike, on the Niners staff.

Shanahan spent a year as offensive coordinator when Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was head coach in Cleveland, but said none of that will matter on Sunday.

''You don't really think about that much,'' he said. ''It's more fun that when you're going to hang out in the offseason or see each other down in Indy; it's a little more fun that night when you won the game so you can mess with the other a little bit more.''

LaFleur got his first NFL job as a quality control assistant in Houston when Shanahan was offensive coordinator after a recommendation from Saleh. He then worked as quarterbacks coach under Shanahan in Washington and Atlanta and has taken many of the lessons he learned during those stints into his first year as a head coach.

''There's so many things that I learned from him,'' he said. ''But I think just his detailed approach that he takes every day. He's a guy that has a great vision for what he wants to get done, how to use players, how to adapt and put people in the right position. A lot of my football philosophy has been shaped by him, so it's hard to sit here and just say one thing that I've learned from him because there's been so much.''

GOOD JIMMY, BAD JIMMY

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo showed off both sides of his game last week against Arizona. He threw two interceptions, giving him 10 on the season. But he also threw for a career-high 424 yards and four touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the final minute. The ups and downs have been part of Garoppolo's game all season, but he hasn't let the bad plays affect him. Garoppolo is 32 for 35 for 378 yards, two TDs, no interceptions and a 130.7 passer rating on the drives following his picks.

''That's just part of being a quarterback,'' he said. ''In football, bad things are going to happen at some point. No one's ever going to play a perfect game, so it's just how you react to those things.''

BEWARE OF BOSA

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has already seen enough of the Bosa family after the Chargers' Joey Bosa had 1 1/2 sacks against Green Bay earlier this month. Now he has to deal with the younger Bosa brother when he faces San Francisco's stellar rookie Nick, who has seven sacks already.

''That's a really good football family right there,'' Rodgers said. ''They're both super talented guys. Obviously, Nick is just getting going. But he's a force off the edge.''

RUN TO DAYLIGHT

The Niners relied heavily on the running game early this season, averaging 181.1 yards per game through the first seven contests for the second best mark in the league. That aspect of the offense has gone missing the past three weeks as San Francisco has been held to 74 yards per game and ranks third worst in that span, averaging 2.88 yards per carry. That has coincided with an injury to tight end George Kittle, who is one of the better blockers in the NFL.

''We're going to have to get better,'' right tackle Mike McGlinchey said. ''We will be better and it's going to start this week against Green Bay.''

ROUGH STRETCH

The game against the Packers begins a grueling three-game stretch for the Niners. San Francisco follows this with two more against teams currently in first place with trips to Baltimore (8-2) and New Orleans (8-2). If the Ravens and Saints don't lose before facing San Francisco, the 49ers will be the first team in the Super Bowl era to play three consecutive games this late in the season against teams with a winning percentage of at least .800, according to ESPN.

STAR VS. STAR

Some quarterbacks like to challenge 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman in a show of confidence. Rodgers has taken a wiser approach during his career. In the last six meetings between the two stars, Rodgers has thrown only 14 passes Sherman's direction, according to SportRadar, completing seven for 85 yards and one interception.

''He has that ability to lull you to sleep sometimes and still jumps on the ball, has fantastic ball skills,'' Rodgers said. ''He's a great player. I have nothing but respect for his career and what he's accomplished.''

Player Notes
Bo Scarbrough Dec 12 2:50am ET

Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough has a tough Week 15 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming to town. While the Bucs pass defense sits last in the league, their run defense sits near the top, and with rookie quarterback David Blough unable to consistently get scoring opportunities, Scarbrough's value gets seriously capped. Scarbrough has taken full control of the Lions backfield over the last three weeks, but he will be hard to trust this week, especially in PPR leagues. Fantasy owners can slot Scarbrough in as an RB3 for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

David Blough Dec 12 2:50am ET

Detroit Lions quarterback David Blough came crashing back down to earth in Week 14 after an impressive debut in Week 13 against a tough Chicago squad. Week 15 will offer up the easiest test for Blough yet in the form of the Tampa Buccaneers swiss-cheese secondary, but it's extremely hard to trust a rookie making only his third career start with fantasy owners heading into the fantasy semi-finals. Those who do need a quarterback this week can do better. Blough will slot in as a mid-range QB2 for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Danny Amendola Dec 12 2:40am ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola will have a chance to make some noise this week with Marvin Jones (ankle) placed on the injured reserve. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their swiss-cheese secondary are coming to town in Week 15. The Bucs secondary has given up the most points to wide receivers so far this season, meaning Amendola will likely get his chances in this one. Amendola has seen 16 targets over the last two weeks with Jones in the lineup and third-string quarterback David Blough under center, so volume shouldn't be the problem. Relying on a third-string quarterback in the fantasy semi-finals might give fantasy owners nightmares until game day though. Amendola will slot in as a boom-or-bust WR3 for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Golladay Dec 12 2:30am ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is in a prime spot heading into the fantasy semi-finals with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming to town in Week 15. The Bucs defense has allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers so far this season, and with Marvin Jones (ankle) no longer around to poach targets, Golladay should be in for a monster day. The third-year wide receiver will slot in as WR1 for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Chris Hogan Dec 12 12:40am ET

The Carolina Panthers designated wide receiver Chris Hogan (knee) to return from Injured Reserve. Hogan practiced on Wednesday for the first time since Sept. 27. The former Patriot injured his knee in Week 4 against the Texans on a special teams play and underwent arthroscopic surgery. Hogan has just three catches for 24 yards this year. If he is able to make it back in the final three games, his role will mostly be on special teams, so he won't have any relevance for fantasy owners playing for a championship.

From RotoBaller

Luke Willson Dec 11 11:03pm ET

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (hamstring) might return for the Week 15 game against the Carolina Panthers after missing the past three games. 'He's champing at the bit to play this week,' head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday, Dec. 11. 'He's politicking. Like those guys in Washington D.C., he's working it. Give him credit, he wants to play in the worst way. He ran well (Wednesday). He was really pumped up about it. He told me at least four times how well he looked in his workouts.'

Fantasy Spin: Willson would be a big addition to the offense, which can be tight-end friendly. Still, there is just too much risk for fantasy owners to invest a roster spot on Willson at this late and critical juncture.

From TheHuddle

Ezekiel Ansah Dec 11 10:53pm ET

Seattle Seahawks DE Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) was listed as 'questionable' in practice Wednesday, Dec. 11 by head coach Pete Carroll, who indicated the defensive end is likely a game-time decision for Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Lockett Dec 11 10:53pm ET

Seattle Seahawk WR Tyler Lockett (shin) is back to full health after dealing a shin contusion. 'Yeah, I think he's really back,' head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday, Dec. 11. 'He felt really good last week and he's going into this week raring to go. He's fine.'

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy owners have gotten just five grabs for 81 yards and no scores in three games since he suffered an injury in Week 10 against the San Francisco 49ers. He is a risky fantasy play based on his recent production, but a solid option when 100 percent.

From TheHuddle

Jadeveon Clowney Dec 11 10:43pm ET

Seattle Seahawks LB Jadeveon Clowney (flu) is battling the flu and head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday, Dec. 11 that the linebacker is 'hurting. He's going to have to work his way through the week to make it for game day.'

From TheHuddle

Willie Snead Dec 11 9:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead led all wide receivers with 13 yards on three receptions and a touchdown in Week 14's win over the Buffalo Bills. Snead hasn't had a game in which he's caught over 20 receiving yards since Week 5. Baltimore faces a Jets Defense on Thursday Night that has been generous to opposing wideouts in 2019, but it's hard to trust Snead in the matchup with his lack of volume. Snead shouldn't see your lineups in Week 15, but could be viable as a streamer if you're desperate in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Gus Edwards Dec 11 9:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards rushed for 20 yards on four attempts in Week 14's win over the Buffalo Bills. Baltimore matches up against a Jets Defense on Thursday Night that's been stiff against opposing running backs in 2019. Edwards remains as nothing more than a quality handcuff to Mark Ingram in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Dec 11 9:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown caught all three of his targets for a loss of two yards in Week 14's win over the Buffalo Bills. Brown's performance was disappointing and it was his second ineffective game in a row, as he caught only one ball for two yards against the 49ers in Week 13. Hollywood has a good opportunity to bounce back on Thursday Night in Baltimore's matchup with the New York Jets. The Jets Defense is allowing an average of 167 receiving yards in 2019, which is more than quarterback Lamar Jackson has thrown for in the last two weeks. Even with the good matchup, Brown should be seen as nothing more than a high-end WR3 in an offense that targets its tight ends more than its receivers.

From RotoBaller

Mark Andrews Dec 11 9:20pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Nick Boyle caught 2-of-3 targets for 10 yards and a three-yard touchdown in Week 14's win over the Buffalo Bills. Boyle was able to capitalize on his opportunity to score shortly after Mark Andrews exited the game with a knee injury. If Andrews is unable to go, it's hard to tell whether Boyle or Hayden Hurst will see an expanded role at the tight end position. Boyle and Hurst have put up similar numbers up to this point in the season as they are both close to 300 yards in receiving and have two touchdowns each. Boyle could be a viable streaming option in deeper leagues if Andrews is unable to go, but it's probably best to keep him on the bench Thursday Night against a Jets Defense that has allowed only two touchdowns to opposing tight ends in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Hayden Hurst Dec 11 9:10pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst caught all three of his targets for a season-high 73 yards and his second touchdown of the season in Week 14's win over the Buffalo Bills. Hurst was able to step up for quarterback Lamar Jackson after Mark Andrews exited the game with a knee injury. If Andrews is unable to go on Thursday Night, Hurst is a viable play in an offense that relies heavily on its tight ends. Baltimore hosts a Jets Defense in Week 15 that has only allowed two touchdowns and an average of 40 receiving yards to opposing tight ends in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Terrell Suggs Dec 11 8:53pm ET

Arizona Cardinals S Budda Baker (hamstring), C Mason Cole (knee), DT Corey Peters (non-injury), OG Justin Pugh (back), LB Terrell Suggs (back, illness) and OG J.R. Sweezy (illness) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 11. WR Andy Isabella (shoulder), CB Byron Murphy (calf), CB Kevin Peterson (shoulder) and LB Joseph Walker (ribs) was limited during practice.

From TheHuddle

Mark Ingram Dec 11 8:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram rushed to 50 yards on 15 attempts and caught all three of his targets in Week 14's win over the Buffalo Bills. Baltimore matches up against a Jets Defense that has only allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing running backs twice this season. The Bills Defense has also held opposing running backs to under 100 rushing yards in all games but one in 2019. Ingram has failed to get in the end zone for the last two games and is a touchdown-dependent RB2/RB3 play in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Larry Fitzgerald Dec 11 8:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Fitzgerald has been targeted at least seven times in three of the last four games but has been held to 40 yards or less in two of the last three games. He could be a possible flex option in some deeper leagues but could be avoided in a majority of leagues.

From TheHuddle

Christian Kirk Dec 11 8:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Kirk is coming off one of his better games of the season and has been targeted at least seven times in five of the last six games. He can be considered a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues if he plays.

From TheHuddle

Frank Clark Dec 11 8:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DE Frank Clark (illness, shoulder), CB Rashad Fenton (hamstring), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder) and LB Darron Lee (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 11. OG Andrew Wylie (shoulder) was limited during practice. OT Eric Fisher (groin), CB Kendall Fuller (thumb), DT Derrick Nnadi (elbow) and DE Alex Okafor (ankle) fully participated in practice.

From TheHuddle

Damien Williams Dec 11 8:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams (rib) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Williams has missed the last few games but appears to have a chance to play in the Week 15 game. He can be a No. 2 running back or flex option in fantasy leagues if he is active for the game.

From TheHuddle