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.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott retained a role in Week 15, but came back down to Earth in terms of production compared to his surprisingly strong outing in Week 14. This week, Scott ran the ball six times for 26 yards and caught seven passes for 39 yards. He was thoroughly outplayed by rookie Miles Sanders this time around and likely disappointed any fantasy owners who were chasing his previous performance.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 19-of-27 passes for 243 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Titans in Week 15. He also added 32 rushing yards in the game. Watson now has 11 interceptions on the year, a new career-high, but he also has a career-high 33 total touchdowns on the year (26 passing, 7 rushing). Watson's amongst the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks in the game and should be one of the first quarterbacks off the board once again next year. His next matchup is an extremely favorable one against the Buccaneers in Week 16.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert caught five passes in Week 15, gaining 55 yards. Goedert was expected to take on a much bigger role this week with most of the Eagles wide receivers out due to injury, but he ended up with just six targets and a somewhat disappointing final line.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz caught five passes in a Week 15 win, gaining 61 yards and scoring a touchdown. Ertz was expected to play a huge role in this one, and ended up with a team-leading 10 targets, but only came down with five of them. The touchdown made it a decent fantasy performance overall, but likely left his fantasy owners wanting for more.
Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde topped 100 rushing yards for the third time this year against the Titans in Week 15. Hyde had 26 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown in the game. He's now over 1,000 rushing yards on the season with five touchdowns. Hyde's been a solid RB2 most of the year in non-PPR leagues. He's less valuable in PPR as he has just nine receptions on the year. However, it's been a solid season nonetheless for Hyde and he'll look to keep it going against the Buccaneers in Week 16.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston rewarded fantasy owners who stuck with him in Week 15 after his terrible Week 14 performance. Winston threw for 458 yards and four touchdowns in the Bucs win over the Detroit Lions. The fifth-year quarterback also threw an interception, which is expected at this point. Even without his two top receivers available for most of the game, Winston was able to dominate. He will slot in as a mid-range QB1 against the Houston Texans in Week 16.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside did absolutely nothing in a Week 15 win over Washington. Arcega-Whiteside was targeted twice but did not come up with a catch despite being essentially one of two wide receivers on the field for the Eagles all game. He suffered a hamstring injury at the end of last week's game, but was reportedly fine and wasn't supposed to be limited at all. His goose egg may have knocked more than a few fantasy owners out of the playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz completed 30 of his 43 pass attempts in Week 15, tossing three touchdowns and gaining 266 yards. Wentz's first score came on a 15-yard pass to Miles Sanders. His second was on a two-yard strike to Zach Ertz, and his third was a huge fourth quarter score on a four-yard pass to Greg Ward. Wentz was solid in this one and led his team to a crucial win over Washington.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders was amazing in Week 15, piling up 122 yards on 19 carries and catching six passes for 50 more yards. Sanders scored once on the ground and once through the air. His rushing score was a one-yard plunge and his passing game score came on a great 15-yard catch in the corner of the end zone. Sanders was expected to have a huge role in this one with Jordan Howard (shoulder) still out and most of the Eagles wide receivers dealing with injuries as well.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (coach's decision) is inactive for Week 15 against the Arizona Cardinals. Coach Reddie Kitchens reportedly "was hesitant" to activate Njoku off the IR last week- and the 23-year-old struggled against the Bengals. Backups Demetrius Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones will likely share targets, which is unfortunate because the Cardinals are the most tight-end-friendly matchup in fantasy football. Neither player is the most appealing option.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin was forced to leave Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions due to a hamstring injury. Before leaving the game, Godwin had caught five passes for 121 yards. With Mike Evans also out, the Bucs receiving corps will be led by Breshad Perriman and Scott Miller.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin left Sunday's game against the Lions with an apparent leg injury. He will not return. Godwin was spotted limping after running a route, and after attempting to exit the game under his own power, he was eventually carted back to the locker room. Before his exit, the 23-year-old caught five of his seven targets for 121 yards. Not good news for a Bucs team that recently announced that Mike Evans (hamstring) could miss the remainder of the year after suffering an ailment of his own.
Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku has been declared inactive for the team's Week 15 game. Njoku did not look sharp during practice this week and struggled with drops and some routes during the week, according to the Associated Press' Tom Withers.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku recently returned from the Reserve/Injured list but appears to need more time to return to game speed. Demetrius Harris likely will serve as the starting tight end but can be avoided in fantasy leagues.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is listed as active for Week 15's matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. This was expected as Thielen completed a full week of practice. He will return to a favorable matchup as stud cornerback Desmond King will not play and the Chargers rank 20th in pass DVOA for the season. The Vikings passing game has been rolling as of late and they project to have to throw in this game as they're favored by just one point. Obviously, Thielen comes with some risk as he's returning from a lengthy injury absence, but he can be utilized in fantasy lineups as a high-end WR3 with sneaky upside in this matchup.
The Minnesota Vikings have declared RB Alexander Mattison, DE Hercules Mata'afa, OT Aviante Collins, DE Jalyn Holmes, SS Jayron Kearse, OL Olisaemeka Udoh and OG Dru Samia inactive for Week 15.
The Oakland Raiders have declared QB Mike Glennon, OT Trent Brown, DL Olsen Pierre, LB Kyle Wilber, CB Daryl Worley, WR Hunter Renfrow and OT David Sharpe inactive for Week 15.
The Los Angeles Chargers have declared DL Sylvester Williams, CB Desmond King, OT Trey Pipkins, QB Easton Stick, S Roderic Teamer, WR Jalen Guyton and OG Spencer Drango inactive for Week 15.
The Cleveland Browns have declared WR Taywan Taylor, LB Olivier Vernon, OT Drew Forbes, TE Pharaoh Brown, DL Justin Zimmer, CB Eric Murray and TE David Njoku inactive for Week 15.
Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers CB Tramon Williams (head) has been cleared to return to the Week 15 game after being checked for a concussion.
Detroit Lions DT Mike Daniels (arm) suffered an arm injury during the Week 15 game and is considered questionable to return.