Wed Nov 13 2:56pm ET
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
Kansas City Chiefs football team owner Clark Hunt leaves the NFL Fall league meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The chairman of the Kansas City Chiefs believes the NFL must “seriously consider” reducing the preseason and expanding the regular season to 17 games, giving the league additional inventory that would allow for more games internationally.
Clark Hunt, the most visible face of the Chiefs ownership family, also said such ideas have been batted around since the last round of collective bargaining in 2011. But with another round of CBA talks heating up, Hunt believes the schedule will become a crucial issue.
“I think reducing the preseason is something everybody would be in favor of,” Hunt said during a wide-ranging availability Wednesday. “If you replaced a game, perhaps two, with one regular-season game it would give you an odd number of games with 17. One thought is you could play at least some of those games at a neutral site and obviously internationally would be one way to do that.”
Hunt has long been a proponent of expanding the NFL to new markets. The Chiefs beat the Lions at Wembley Stadium in London during the 2015 season, and they face the Chargers in Mexico City on Monday night - a do-over of sorts after their game there last year was moved because of field conditions.
Hunt said the new playing surface at Azteca Stadium has allayed any lingering concerns.
“I think all the international games are important to the league, and they are important to the Chiefs from a branding standpoint,” Hunt said. “Frankly, I did not think we’d be going to Mexico City so fast. It was not something I lobbied the league for. When I looked at our schedule, I didn’t think it would work out from a scheduling standpoint.
“I guess at the end of the day,” Hunt said, “the Chargers were willing to give up a home game to play down there, even though we’re a divisional team.”
In other news, Hunt said the Chiefs hope to sign MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes to an extension that keeps him in Kansas City his entire career. But he declined to say whether that will happen after this season, when Mahomes becomes eligible to sign a deal, or after the following year.
“That’s a decision we will have to make with his representatives, if this is the right time,” said Hunt, who also declined to say whether Mahomes could become the NFL’s highest-paid player.
Hunt did acknowledge feeling a sense of disbelief when Mahomes dislocated his kneecap on a sneak against Denver earlier this season. The freak injury caused him to miss two games, though Mahomes came back to throw for 446 yards in last week’s last-second loss in Tennessee.
“I was concerned he was lost for the season,” Hunt said, “and perhaps beyond that.”
Among other topics Hunt discussed Wednesday:
Like most NFL fans, Hunt has mixed feelings about the rule changes this year allowing for pass interference penalties to be challenged. He also thinks it’s an issue that will be revisited by the competition committee and that changes are likely for next season.
“I definitely think it’s a learning experience for everyone involved,” Hunt said. “I’ve seen the statistics that show the very few times coaches are being successful in their challenges, particularly after we got past the first two games of the season.”
FEELING A DRAFT
The NFL awarded the 2023 draft to Kansas City, and Hunt predicted it could be “the biggest event ever” to take place in the city. He said most of the work on the draft will begin after this season, though the franchise is in constant communication with civic leaders.
PAYING BIG FOR HILL
Tyreek Hill spent the offseason banished from the team amid allegations of domestic abuse - he was ultimately cleared by the league and prosecutors. And when that happened, the Chiefs wasted little time in giving their star wide receiver a $54 million, three-year extension.
The deal, though, includes plenty of safeguards for the organization.
“We obviously had some level of comfort with the information we received,” Hunt said. “We looked at the season and thought it was important to get Tyreek done early in the year. We were able to reach an agreement with his representatives that rewards Tyreek for the level of play we’ve seen out of him the past three-plus years but also protects the organization.”
ALSO JONESING FOR A DEAL
The Chiefs also have been discussing a contract extension for Chris Jones, who has emerged as one of the NFL’s premier defensive tackles. Jones held out all offseason, hoping to pressure Kansas City into getting a deal done, but was left to play out the fourth year of his rookie contract.
“We’re very hopeful we can extend Chris’ contract and bring him back to Kansas City for many years to come,” Hunt said. “He’s obviously a fantastic player, great guy in the locker room, and we like what he brings to the Kansas City Chiefs.”
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard will see a downtick in value with both Golden Tate (concussion) and Evan Engram (foot) returning on Monday night. Shepard will move to the boundary receiver role with Tate back, which is actually a boost to his value, but there just simply might not be enough targets to go around. Eli Manning is also not able to buy time in the pocket for deep passes like Daniel Jones was, so Shepard may be less likely to hit on the big play. He's still viable as a WR4 or WR3 in deeper leagues, but he's far less reliable than he had been.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton is off the fantasy radar with Eli Manning back under center and Evan Engram (foot) and Golden Tate (concussion) back on the field. Slayton will now be the 4th option in the passing game (perhaps 5th behind Saquon Barkley) with a quarterback who hasn't played many games with him and isn't as prone to taking deep shots down the field. It all makes Slayton way too risky for fantasy lineups.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has quietly been producing consistent QB1 numbers since his insertion in the starting lineup six weeks ago. Tannehill has the Titans 5-1 since that time and firmly in the playoff picture, but Week 14 represents a crucial matchup. Tannehill and the Titans will face an exploitable Oakland Raiders Defense this week, where he can safely be counted on for the first round of the fantasy playoffs. Tannehill is the QB6 overall since becoming the starter, and it would not be surprising to see him flirt with that status this week as well.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (hand) threw without a wrap on his hand at Friday's practice and "looked good" according to beat reporters covering the session. It was also reported that there is no visible bruise on the back of the quarterback's hand after he dinged it on a defender's facemask during Week 13's loss. Mayfield has ramped up his activity as the week has gone on, a good sign for his availability for Sunday's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. If Mayfield does suit up, which looks likely, he can be treated as a high-upside QB2 for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley figures to see a boost playing alongside former, and new, starter Eli Manning. It's not because Manning will make the Giants offense more effective, but because he's essentially a statue in the pocket. The Eagles run defense is 9th in PPR-points allowed to running backs, so Barkley isn't likely to carve them up on the ground, but Manning's lack of mobility has historically lead to more dump-off passes to running backs. While Daniel Jones would use his legs to create yardage, Manning will likely use Saquon Barkley more. Barkley's lack of receiving game usage has lowered his fantasy ceiling, but its return may now bump up his fantasy floor. You're starting him in season-long leagues, and he might be a sneaky captain for DFS tournaments in a showdown slate with the Giants figuring to be trailing often in this game.
The Cleveland Browns Defense draws an excellent Week 14 matchup at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cleveland comes into the game installed as seven-point favorites in a game with a low 41.5-point over/under. The Bengals have not been very effective on offense, while their leaky offensive line has allowed 40 sacks this season, seventh-most in the league. Cleveland is without the suspended Myles Garrett but Olivier Vernon is plenty capable of taking advantage of Cincy's QB protection issues. Treat Cleveland as a top-five fantasy defense in Week 14.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) figures to be back in the lineup just in time for a juicy matchup against an Eagles secondary that has been susceptible to big plays to slot wide receivers. However, Tate has never played a game with Eli Manning under center since Manning was benched before Tate was activated from suspension. Eli likes to throw the ball underneath and over the middle, so Tate figures to be a good security blanket, but their lack of comfort with one another, and the return of Evan Engram (foot), may cap Tate's upside. He's more of a low-end WR3 in PPR and half-PPR leagues.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. draws an excellent Week 14 matchup against a weak Cincinnati Bengals secondary. Cincinnati's pass defense ranks 31st in DVOA while allowing the 18th-most fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position. Beckham draws an excellent matchup as he will see primary coverage from Cincy cornerback B.W. Webb. Webb has struggled in coverage this season, giving Beckham a decided advantage on Sunday. Treat Beckham as a high-upside WR2 for Week 14.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was seen at practice on Friday no longer wearing a boot on his injured ankle. However, he is still not participating but is on the bike and doing strength work. This provides even further confirmation that Eli Manning will likely be under center for the Giants this week. However, with the game on Monday night, Jones could still play if he is able to return to full practice tomorrow. It just seems unlikely.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has been on quite the hot streak over his past six games, having hauled in 40 catches and five touchdowns over that span. Landry has overtaken Odell Beckham Jr. as the team's No. 1 wide receiver and should see a healthy target share against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. Cincinnati doesn't allow many points to opposing wideouts but their pass defense ranks just 31st in the league in DVOA. This is most likely a result of teams building big leads and running the ball heavily in the second half of games. Landry can be trusted as a rock-solid WR2 in all formats for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will likely be under center when the Giants take on the Eagles on Monday night. Manning was not particularly good when he played early in the season and lacks Daniel Jones' mobility. He's also playing against an Eagles team looking to make up for an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins and still fighting for the playoffs after the Cowboys loss on Thursday. All logic suggests that Manning will not be fantasy relevant. However, a fading star given one last chance against a rival on primetime TV has all the makings of fantasy and Hollywood drama, so Eli could simply torch the Eagles' suspect secondary. He's not a recommended play in one QB leagues or DFS cash games, but if you wanted to throw him in a GPP lineup or slide him into the starting spot in a two-quarterback league, it might be a fun night.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt draws a mouth-watering Week 14 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have struggled to stop the run this season, ranking 27th in run-defense DVOA while allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the running back position. Hunt has basically established himself as the No. 3 wide receiver in Cleveland, in addition to the handful of carries he has been seeing on a weekly basis. Fantasy GMs can tab Hunt as a low-end RB2 for the first round of the fantasy playoffs this Sunday.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb draws a fantastic matchup against a struggling Cincinnati Bengals Defense in Week 14. Chubb should see at least 20 touches against a Cincy run defense that ranks 27th in DVOA and is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the running back position. The Browns are likely to jump out to a big lead in this one, which means there should be plenty of second-half, clock-killing carries on tap for Chubb. Fire him up as a locked-in RB1 for the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith (pectoral) is feared to have suffered a torn pectoral muscle Thursday, Dec. 5. If the MRI confirms the injury, he would be out for the season.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller recorded just three catches for 42 yards against the Cowboys but hauled in a touchdown toss from Mitch Trubisky midway through the third quarter. Though the 25-year-old had a much more efficient outing on Thanksgiving against the Lions, he continued to benefit from the absence of Taylor Gabriel (concussion), who has now missed the last two games. Keep on eye on Gabriel's status moving ahead, and if he is out against the Packers in Week 15, Miller should continue to have a place on fantasy rosters in deeper formats.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson had five catches for 48 yards and two touchdowns during the win over Dallas on Thursday. Robinson picked up both of his touchdowns in the second quarter and has now scored four times over the last three weeks while also combining for 30 targets during that span. He should continue to benefit from the absence of Taylor Gabriel (concussion), who has sat out the last two games, so keep an eye on his status leading up to the Week 15 matchup against Green Bay.
Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen pulled in all six of his targets for 24 yards in the win over the Cowboys. He also had seven yards off of three carries. Once again, Cohen did little on the ground as David Montgomery served as the workhorse on Thursday by logging 86 yards on 20 attempts. After scoring a touchdown in each game against the Lions and Rams, the 24-year-old hasn't done much over the last three weeks outside of picking up the scraps left over by Montgomery, Allen Robinson, and Anthony Miller. He is good for the occasional score, but don't expect much against the Packers in Week 15 or throughout the remainder of the year, for that matter.
Chicago Bears LB Nick Kwiatkoski had 10 tackles (eight solo) against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, Dec. 5.
Updating a previous report, Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith (pectoral) sustained a pec injury during the team's Week 14 win over the Dallas Cowboys that 'does not look good,' according to head coach Matt Nagy.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery ran for 86 yards on 20 carries during the win over the Cowboys on Thursday night. Montgomery once again outpaced Tarik Cohen, who had just three carries for seven yards, and maintained a respectable 4.3 yards per carry against a Cowboys Defense that has played decently against opposing backs this season. Next up for him is a Week 15 matchup against Green Bay, with the 22-year-old rushing for just 18 yards on six carries against the Packers back in Week 1.