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FFL: Week 11 | NFL: Week 11

Browns' task of ending skid will be tough vs. Ryan, Falcons

Wed Nov 7 9:13 pm

Cleveland's beleaguered secondary gets a taste of another elite quarterback when the Browns host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Browns, on a four-game skid, are 2-6-1 and spiraling toward their 11th straight losing season when Matt Ryan and the Falcons come to town.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes against the Browns on Oct. 28. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes directed an offense that put up 499 yards of offense last Sunday in a 37-21 romp. He threw three touchdown passes and passed for 375 yards.

Ryan is on fire for the Falcons. He threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-14 victory over the Redskins last week.

Facing Ryan and dangerous Falcons receivers Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley plus Mohamed Sanu would be a task under normal circumstances, but the Browns are decimated with injuries.

Linebacker Christian Kirksey (hamstring) and cornerback E.J. Gaines (concussion) were placed on injured reserve Wednesday with injuries incurred against the Chiefs last week. Starting cornerback Denzel Ward (hip) was injured playing the Chiefs.

Safety Damarious Randall was inactive against Kansas City because of a groin injury, linebacker Joe Schobert missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury and starting cornerback Terrance Mitchell, on injured reserve (wrist), will miss his sixth straight game Sunday.

Schobert and Randall practiced Wednesday. Ward and linebacker Jamie Collins (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, but interim head coach Gregg Williams is confident both will practice Thursday. Getting Schobert and Randall back should at least slow the bleeding.

"We have another explosive offense coming in here this Sunday," Randall said Wednesday in the locker room after practice. "They have explosive weapons with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley and Sanu. They have a nice little running game and a former MVP at quarterback."

That, coupled with the injuries, is going to make playing man-to-man defense against the talented Falcons receivers difficult, so the Browns will be forced to play more zone defense than usual. Ryan has completions of only six passes of 40 or more yards, but he has 34 completions of 20 or more yards. The Browns' defensive backs will have to react quickly Sunday or that number for Ryan could increase by five or more.

To make matters worse for the Browns, the Falcons' beleaguered defense is about to get a boost.

The Falcons signed veteran defensive end Bruce Irvin to boost the team's waning pass rush and announced that middle linebacker Deion Jones has returned to the practice field.

Irvin signed with the team after being released by the Raiders. He reported to camp and will start on Sunday. Jones isn't ready for game action, but he's getting closer.

Quinn was an assistant coach at Seattle when he worked with Irvin and was happy to be reunited with the Georgia native.

"No. 1, it was an opportunity for us to add another pass rusher into our group," he said. "I've had experience with him and (it's great) to have that familiarity with the scheme and how we want him to play and the style and attitude that we love to rush with."

Quinn said Irvin would be featured as a pass rusher within the group. The Falcons have only 17 sacks, with Takk McKinley (six) and Jack Crawford (four) the team leaders. Vic Beasley Jr., who led the league in 2016, has one.

Irvin has three sacks this season. He had a career-high eight last year.

"We know the groups that we're facing and every single chance that we have to add to our pass rush, we certainly are going to," Quinn said. "We are at our best when we have a big number of guys that we're going to try to feature in a number of ways like we've done over a few years. We're really pumped to have him here with us."

Jones was hurt near the end of the season opener, a game that saw him have nine tackles and an interception. The foot injury required surgery and forced him to the injured reserve list.

"We're really pumped because he's worked extremely hard to get back, so this is the next step for him, beginning the practice portion of his recovery," Quinn said. "We're really fired up to have No. 45 back on the field."

After scheming for a stationary quarterback in Washington's Alex Smith, the Falcons face another young mobile guy in Cleveland's Baker Mayfield. The No. 1 draft pick has started three games and has thrown for 1,768 yards and 10 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He's been sacked 22 times but rushed for 91 yards when scrambling. In last week's loss to Kansas City, Mayfield threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns.

"He throws a really good deep ball and he has the confidence to throw it into tight windows," Quinn said. "He has a quick release. When there is pressure there, it does not take a long time for the ball to get out."

The Falcons will want to negate the running game, led by former University of Georgia star Nick Chubb, and apply heat to Mayfield.

Player Notes
Malik Hooker Nov 17 5:20pm ET

Indianapolis Colts starting free safety Malik Hooker (hip) is expected to miss this week's game against the Tennessee Titans. Hooker has been dealing with the injury since their Week 7 win over the Buffalo Bills. He was able to return last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars after missing a game against the Oakland Raiders and having the bye to rest up. After not practicing all week, the Colts are choosing to hold him out in hopes that he will be ready to go for next week's game. His play-making will be missed on the back end, and it's likely that Mike Mitchell will start in his place this week.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Nov 17 11:30am ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham (hand) broke his thumb in a Week 11 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Graham has been underwhelming, although useful in fantasy in 2018, producing in the bottom of the TE1 range. He has lost a step since his time in New Orleans and does not see the high red zone usage that he had in Seattle. Green Bay has never utilized their tight ends extensively, so this outcome hasnt been much of a surprise. Veteran tight end Lance Kendricks will take most of Grahams snaps. Tight end Robert Tonyan had a big touchdown grab in Week 11 but is unlikely to see any additional work even with Grahams injury. Kendricks is a reliable, although unremarkable player. He is unlikely to accomplish much in the tight end light Green Bay offense. Graham can be dropped without too much concern. His ceiling is not high enough to warrant chewing up a bench spot for weeks. Kendricks should only be picked up in more desperate situations.

From RotoBaller

Richard Rodgers Nov 17 3:30am ET

The Philadelphia Eagles activated tight end Richard Rodgers from injured reserve on Friday. He replaces Josh Perkins (knee), who was put on injured reserve, on the 53-man roster. The 26-year-old has been out all season due to a knee injury that he suffered during the preseason. Rodgers is expected to serve as the Eagles' third tight end, behind Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, against the Saints in Week 11. Fantasy owners can ignore the fifth-year vet.

From RotoBaller

Joe Flacco Nov 17 3:00am ET

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (hip) is doubtful for the Week 11 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The 33-year-old did not partake in any of the Ravens' three practices this week, and it was disclosed during the team's bye week that he suffered the injury during the loss to the Steelers in Week 9. While it does not look good for the 11th-year vet to suit up against the Bengals, coach John Harbaugh said earlier in the week that Flacco did not have to practice to play in the game. Flacco has struggled recently, but if he can give the Ravens anything, it wouldn't be a total surprise that Harbaugh started him in what essentially is a must-win game. Lamar Jackson or Robert Griffin will start under center if Flacco can't go.

From RotoBaller

Eli Manning Nov 16 11:40pm ET

On one hand, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can't defend. On the other hand, the New York Giants can't offend (except their fans). Classic movable object meeting a stoppable force situation. The Giants added guard Jamon Brown last week and shored up their line enough to only give up one sack. With weapons all around the field, it doesn't matter that Eli Manning is still throwing to them. No way should the Buccaneers D/ST be recommended this week but if you have to start them it might not be the worst idea.

From RotoBaller

Robert Woods Nov 16 11:13pm ET

Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods has had at least 70 receiving yards in nine straight games heading into a Week 11 matchup with a Kansas City Chiefs team that is allowing the third-most receiving yards per game.

Fantasy Spin: Woods has shown one of the safest floors among fantasy receivers all year, and he shouldn't slow down in what will likely be a high-scoring affair against the Chiefs.

Lamar Miller Nov 16 11:03pm ET

Houston Texans RB Lamar Miller faces the Washington Redskins in Week 11, and the Redskins have allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game this season.

Fantasy Spin: After a couple of 100-yard rushing efforts, Miller delivered a dud against the Denver Broncos last time out. He's been held under 50 rushing yards in four of his last six games and could be headed for another rough outing against Washington. He's just a volume-based flex play.

Alex Collins Nov 16 10:33pm ET

Baltimore Ravens RB Alex Collins faces the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11, and the Bengals are allowing the second-most rushing yards per game and the fourth-most yards per rush.

Fantasy Spin: Collins has struggled with efficiency this year, but he has seven touchdowns and routinely receives double-digit touches. He should be a solid RB2 against a weak Cincinnati run defense.

Roquan Smith Nov 16 10:13pm ET

Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith has 22 total tackles, including 19 solo stops and a sack, over his last two games, and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Smith is 'processing quicker' and playing faster.

Allen Hurns Nov 16 10:03pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Allen Hurns has played less than 20 snaps in back-to-back games, but he said he is staying patient. 'Just wait for the opportunity and control what I can,' Hurns said.

Fantasy Spin: Hurns has been a disappointment all year, and with Amari Cooper now in the mix, there is no reason to expect him to turn things around.

Bruce Ellington Nov 16 9:43pm ET

Detroit Lions WR Bruce Ellington should see 'a lot more work' against the Carolina Panthers in Week 11 with WR Marvin Jones (knee) ruled out, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com.

Jimmy Graham Nov 16 9:33pm ET

Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham (thumb) could miss a few weeks while recovering from a broken thumb, according to David J. Chao, MD.

Fantasy Spin: The injury could push Davante Adams' heavy workload to another level, and it will also open the opportunity for someone to emerge as the No. 2 option in the passing attack.

Jeff Heuerman Nov 16 9:00pm ET

The last time we saw Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman in action (Week 9) he was having himself quite the day. Possibly the best game he'll ever play over the course of his NFL career. Heuerman brought in 10 of 11 targets for 83 yards and a touchdown, and while I don't believe this will be the norm sans Demaryius Thomas, I do believe it's a positive sign on things to come. Especially, considering the Chargers have allowed three of the last four TEs they've faced to eclipse 50 yards receiving while surrendering three TDs to the position over that stretch. Heuerman was used to neutralize the stout Texans pass rush in Week 9, and it would only make sense for the Broncos to employ a similar strategy given the Chargers affinity to get after the QB. He could be in for an encore in this one, and should be viewed as a viable streaming option for fantasy owners in Week 11.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Nov 16 8:40pm ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is coming off two of his lowest yardage totals of the 2018 season -- 57 in Week 8, 47 in Week 9 -- and will have his work cut out for him in Week 11 against a respectable Chargers defense. However, he's seen at least seven targets in seven of the Broncos nine games this season, remains the No. 1 option in this passing attack, and has put up 78.6 yards per game (13th among WRs). Despite the inconsistent play of quarterback Case Keenum, and the less than ideal matchup, Sanders remains a WR2 in Week 11 based on volume and pedigree.

From RotoBaller

Courtland Sutton Nov 16 8:20pm ET

We may have to wait another week to see Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton realize his post-Demaryius Thomas breakout as his squad faces a respectable Week 11 foe in the Los Angeles Chargers. Truth be told, this Chargers defense has benefited from facing some not exactly prolific passing offenses -- Buffalo, San Francisco, Oakland (twice)-- but they've allowed just three 100-yard receivers on the season and at 148.8, have given up the seventh-fewest yards per game to the position; just one receiver has found the end zone against them over their last four contests. Sutton is likely to see a minimum of five targets -- so he shouldn't go out silent -- but I wouldn't expect much more than low-end WR2 numbers in this one.

From RotoBaller

J.D. McKissic Nov 16 8:03pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB J.D. McKissic (foot) will return to practice next week, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Phillip Lindsay Nov 16 7:40pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay capitalized on the absence of teammate Royce Freeman in Weeks 8 and 9 -- rushing for 155 yards and a touchdown while catching five passes for 41 -- but Freeman was a full-participant in Thursday's practice - signaling the end of Lindsay's run as the man. Lindsay averaged 10.5 fantasy points per game (standard) in the seven games with Freeman in the lineup, so Freeman's return doesn't completely extinguish his value, but this Chargers defense -- which has held opposing backs to just three rushing TDs and 85.7 yards per game -- just might. Nonetheless, given his production to this point in the season (and the six teams on bye), Lindsay still finds himself in the RB2 range; he's just on the lower end of the conversation.

From RotoBaller

Case Keenum Nov 16 7:30pm ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum averaged 16.1 fantasy points over his last five games before the team's Week 10 bye. But, more importantly, he went into the bye on the heels of his first interception-free game of the season. Keenum told the media, "Its fire-all-the-bullets-in-the-chamber... time for this offense, but unfortunately, he'll draw a Chargers defense which has limited opposing QBs to one or fewer touchdown pass in four of their last five contests while accumulating five interceptions and 18 sacks. He's trending upward, but consider Keenum a low-end, 2-QB league option in advance of this less than favorable road matchup.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Nov 16 7:23pm ET

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (non-injury) did not participate in practice Friday, Nov. 16.

Fantasy Spin: Gurley will have a favorable matchup this week and could receive a lot of touches since the game could be high scoring. He is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.

Cooper Kupp Nov 16 7:23pm ET

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee), CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (non-injury), C John Sullivan (non-injury) and OT Andrew Whitworth (non-injury) did not participate in practice Friday, Nov. 16.