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FFL: Week 12 | NFL: Week 12

Bird is the Word: Jackson and Ravens face Wilson's Seahawks

Thu Oct 17 7:01pm ET
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer

Players: Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson works out prior to an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, Baltimore Ravens free safety Earl Thomas (29) intercepts a pass, as Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11), attempts to tackle, during the first half at an NFL football game, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Over the course of nine NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Earl Thomas picked off 28 passes, earned a Super Bowl ring and was selected to the Pro Bowl six times. Those are some of the memories the standout safety will take across the country before he faces former team on Sunday as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, left, and quarterback Lamar Jackson celebrate Jackson's touchdown run against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of a NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)


SEATTLE (AP) There is an understandable mutual admiration between Baltimore's Lamar Jackson and Seattle's Russell Wilson.

In Jackson, Wilson sees a combination of speed and shiftiness working in concert with an underrated passing ability that has the young QB causing headaches for anyone tasked with slowing him down.

In Wilson, Jackson sees a veteran who has reached the pinnacle of the NFL, who has figured out a way to balance his athleticism and running ability with a dynamic right arm that makes him one of the premier passers in the league.

''I love everything about his game,'' Jackson said. ''He's a great quarterback. He makes guys miss. He breaks the pocket, and there will be guys chasing him everywhere. He knows what to do with the ball - dish it out, go to a checkdown. He makes plays. He's a playmaker, and that's what you need in a guy and at the quarterback position. That's what he is.''

Jackson and Wilson will meet on the field or the first time on Sunday when the Seahawks host the Ravens in a showdown between two of the better teams in each conference and two of the early MVP candidates.

Jackson has wowed with his combination of running and passing. He's on pace to rush for 1,200 yards and throw for 4,000. Last week, he became the first player in league history to throw for more than 200 yards and rush for more than 150 in the same regular season game.

Jackson is completing 65% of his passes, has 13 touchdowns passing and rushing and causing nightmares for opposing defenses.

''People always mention his speed. That's obvious. But I think the mixture of all the different things he can do - he can throw it down the field, he's tough, he hangs in there, he's a smart player too,'' Wilson said. ''You put all those things together with his elusiveness, which is as good as it gets, probably best you've ever seen kind of speed, he's really special.''

Where Wilson has impressed is his overall command of Seattle's offense. He's just the fourth QB in league history to start the season with six straight games with a passer rating of 100 or higher. He hasn't thrown an interception since Week 17 of last season. Wilson is playing with a confidence and savvy that's flashed at times throughout his career, but perhaps never for such a prolonged period.

''I know he's deep in the conversation for the MVP already,'' Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. ''We hope, and we're going to do everything we can, to make sure that we don't make that argument any stronger, or help make that argument any stronger.''

Here's what else to watch as the Seahawks and Ravens meet for the first time since 2015:

MY NAME IS EARL

Aside from the quarterbacks, the biggest story line is the return of safety Earl Thomas, who spent his first nine seasons with Seattle before signing with Baltimore in free agency. Thomas was a star with the Seahawks, a founding member of the ''Legion of Boom'' secondary and a three-time first-team All-Pro selection. The final image of Thomas with Seattle was being carted off the field last season after breaking his leg in Arizona and flashing the middle finger at Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, angry about not getting a contract extension with the Seahawks.

''I don't know what this game is going to bring, but I definitely respect and love the organization. They gave me my first shot,'' Thomas said.

BACKFIELD IN MOTION

The Ravens have been forced to shuffle their defensive backfield this season to cope with injuries to Tavon Young, Tony Jefferson, DeShon Elliott and Jimmy Smith. First-year general manager Eric DeCosta refurbished the secondary this week by trading for two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters and signing safety Bennett Jackson from the Jets practice squad.

Both newcomers are expected to play Sunday, so it's imperative that they work in unison with cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr, as well as Thomas.

''Communication is going to be really critical, especially there,'' Harbaugh said. ''It won't be quite as loud, because their offense will be on the field, maybe as it would be here. But it's a loud place, and you're on the road. It's terminology.''

WELCOME BACK

Seattle should get a boost on its defensive line with the return of Jarran Reed after he was suspended for the first six games. Reed had 10+ sacks last season, but more important will be his ability to draw attention and potentially open up more on the outside for Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah. Seattle has just 10 sacks through six games and didn't have a quarterback hit recorded last week against Cleveland.

The task this week isn't so much getting pressure on Jackson as it is keeping the elusive QB contained.

''That's why we come out here to practice, to get a feel of each other,'' Reed said. ''We talked a long time. We're going to get out here. We're going to work together. We're going to build that chemistry together.''

HIGH VOLUME

The Ravens cranked up the music at practice this week to simulate the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field. Jackson played in packed stadiums while at Louisville, and he's twice started in Kansas City against the Chiefs. But playing in Seattle is taking it to another (sound) level.

''The coaches have been telling us it's very loud,'' Jackson said. ''I just have to do a good job of executing, calling out the plays and letting everyone hear me.''

Player Notes
Aaron Rodgers Nov 21 3:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers draws a Week 12 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, who have allowed only 142.5 passing yards a game, best in the league. Rodgers has thrown for at least 250 yards and two touchdowns in just four of 10 games this year, as the Packers have gone more run-heavy at times. There's no doubt the 49ers have been good, though Rodgers will be just the fourth quarterback they've faced who ranks in the top-10 in QB fantasy points. The 35-year-old will be under duress against the league's best pass rush and could take off and run several times- the 49ers have allowed the seventh-most rushing yards to QBs. Rodgers is talented enough to do damage, but he's just a low-end QB1 this week at best.

From RotoBaller

Mason Rudolph Nov 21 3:10pm ET

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett's suspension appeal was upheld by the NFL, and he is suspended for the rest of the season and postseason. He can apply for reinstatement when the season ends. Garrett lost his cool at the end of last Thursday's game and hit Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet. Garrett claimed in his appeal that Rudolph used a racial slur before the incident, but Rudolph is denying those allegations. Losing Garrett the rest of the way is a big blow to Cleveland's defense, but they'll remain a strong streaming consideration with the Dolphins coming to town in Week 12.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Green Nov 21 2:50pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) is not at practice again on Thursday. Green was close to returning to action a few weeks ago, but a setback has now made it questionable as to whether he'll even play at all in 2019. As of right now it looks like that won't happen, so most fantasy owners have dropped Green in recent weeks. Even if he were to suit up down the stretch, he wouldn't be a recommended starting option with the playoffs quickly approaching. Auden Tate (concussion) looks doubtful for Week 12 against the Steelers, so Tyler Boyd, Alex Erickson and Stanley Morgan Jr. could comprise three-receiver sets. Look elsewhere for fantasy production.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Boyd Nov 21 2:50pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers Auden Tate (concussion) and Stanley Morgan Jr. missed their second straight practice this week on Thursday. With A.J. Green (ankle) likely to miss another game, Cincy's receiving corps is in dire straights. Expect Tyler Boyd and Alex Erickson to be the top two receivers, but they won't have much fantasy appeal with rookie Ryan Finley looking bad under center the last two games. Rookie Damion Willis would be the No. 3 wideout if both Tate and Morgan are unable to play. This is obviously a situation to avoid at all costs.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Nov 21 2:40pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf), who is questionable for Thursday night against the Texans, believes he's good to go. The Colts don't have any issues with him not practicing and playing in Week 12. The Texans have been game-planning for him to play and expect him to be on the field. You'll still want to check the inactives later just to make sure, but Hilton will immediately return to WR2 value against a team that he's typically destroyed in the past. Houston's secondary continues to be vulnerable again in 2019 as well. Hilton's return boosts quarterback Jacoby Brissett's outlook, while it will hurt Zach Pascal the most.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Nov 21 2:20pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (foot) wasn't seen at practice on Thursday for the second straight day. Freeman is expected to miss at least another game, so he should be planted firmly on benches for Week 12 against the Buccaneers. Tampa has surprisingly been one of the best against the run in 2019, so backup Brian Hill shouldn't be expected to do any better than his disappointing performance in Week 11 in place of Freeman. Hill should be considered a low-end RB3 as the leader of this backfield until Freeman is ready to return.

From RotoBaller

Darius Slayton Nov 21 2:10pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton finds himself in a tough spot on Sunday, even with injuries to Evan Engram (foot) and Sterling Shepard (concussion). The rookie wide receiver has been a revelation as Daniel Jones' deep-ball option, but the Bears are the fourth-best defense in the NFL against the pass and have only given up four touchdowns all season. More problematically, the average yards per target against the Bears is only 7.36 yards, which is fourth-fewest in the league. With a strong secondary and a fierce pass rush, quarterbacks get the ball out quickly on underneath routes, which are not the type Slayton runs. He's more of a WR4 and wouldn't be playable if Shepard returns to action.

From RotoBaller

Aldrick Rosas Nov 21 2:10pm ET

New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas hasn't been much of a fantasy option all year, but he's certainly not going to be one against the Bears. Chicago has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing kickers, and the short-handed Giants offense will likely find it hard to move the ball against the Bears Defense. Look for value in another place.

From RotoBaller

Julio Jones Nov 21 2:10pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (foot) is back at practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday. Jones was just being rested as a precaution on Wednesday. He'll be just fine to face the Buccaneers in Week 12. The veteran hasn't scored since Sept. 22, but he should be peppered with targets with tight end Austin Hooper (knee) out another game, and Tampa's secondary continues to get roasted this season. We'd be surprised if Jones didn't go over 100 yards or score a touchdown in Week 12. He's a must-start.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Nov 21 2:00pm ET

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley gets a surprisingly strong matchup on Sunday against the Bears. Despite the widely-held belief that the Bears are an elite defense, they actually rank 23rd in PPR fantasy points allowed to running backs at 25.7 points per game. They gave up 29.8 points to Todd Gurley and a struggling Rams offense last week, and the Giants figure to have spent the bye week trying to get Barkley back on track after his historically bad 13-yard game last week. Fire him up with confidence in season-long leagues, and he might a solid DFS option since he's likely to be under-owned.

From RotoBaller

Golden Tate Nov 21 2:00pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate will be a risky play on Sunday, even with Evan Engram (foot) and Sterling Shepard (concussion) possibly out. The Bears Defense has been 12th in the NFL in points allowed to slot receivers over the last four weeks, giving up only 39 yards per game and no touchdowns over that stretch. Tate might be the Giants' top option, so he figures to accrue better numbers than that, but his upside is severely limited against a good secondary that can focus on him with other guys out. He's more of a WR3 in PPR leagues and a player to avoid in DFS.

From RotoBaller

Nelson Agholor Nov 21 1:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (knee) missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Agholor is on the wrong side of questionable unless he returns to practice on Friday. The 26-year-old hasn't really been a fantasy option unless Alshon Jeffery is hurt, and even then he has mostly underwhelmed. He had four catches for 40 yards with Jeffery out in Week 11 against the Patriots. Even if Jeffery misses another game and Agholor is active, he'll be a low-upside WR4/flex this Sunday against the Seahawks. Jeffery has been practicing this week, too, so he could be on track to return. Nobody else in the receiving corps is trustworthy in Philly.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Nov 21 1:50pm ET

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is down his top receiving target and facing a top-five defense against the pass this week. That's all you need to know if you're thinking about playing Jones in fantasy. With Evan Engram (foot) out and Sterling Shepard (concussion) still not cleared to play, the rookie quarterback will be short-handed against a Bears Defense that has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. The Bears meanwhile have the 22nd-best run defense, so Saquon Barkley will be the focus for the Giants. Look elsewhere at quarterback.

From RotoBaller

Adrian Peterson Nov 21 1:40pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (toe) was not spotted at practice on Thursday. If he's officially out of practice, it'll be his second straight missed day ahead of Week 12 against the Lions. Peterson is in danger of missing the game this weekend as he fights through turf toe. Making matters worse for his fantasy value is the return of Derrius Guice last week and the impending return of Chris Thompson (toe), who has returned to practice this week. Even were Peterson to play this Sunday, he'd likely take a back seat to Guice on early downs and could lose even more valuable touches to Thompson. We hope you aren't planning on relying on the veteran back the rest of the way.

From RotoBaller

Mitch Trubisky Nov 21 1:10pm ET

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that quarterback Mitch Trubisky (hip) had a good practice on Wednesday, but he's still "day-to-day." Nagy called Trubisky's practice on Wednesday "a step in the right direction." Unless Trubisky has a setback in practice, he should be in line to start under center in Week 12 against the Giants. The matchup is a good one, but Trubisky needs to be far from starting lineups as one of the worst QBs in the league in 2019. He ranks 28th in the league in total yards (1,580) and is also tied with the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton and Case Keenum with just nine touchdowns all year. Another bad game and we could see Chase Daniel starting in Week 13 or sooner.

From RotoBaller

Atlanta Falcons Nov 21 12:40pm ET

The Falcons Defense has been on a tear since the team's Week 9 bye. Over the past two weeks, they have held the Saints and Panthers to a total of 12 points while recording 11 sacks. They also forced four Kyle Allen interceptions in Week 11. This week, the team plays the Buccaneers, who lead the league in interceptions thrown (18) and have given up 36 sacks on the year. While Jameis Winston and company might put up some points on the Falcons as they average 27.7 points per game, the sacks and turnovers should make up for it. The Falcons were so bad defensively for the first half of the year that their defense should be considered a low-end starting option at best, but there's certainly reason to believe they've turned a corner and could put up good production for the third straight week in Week 12.

From RotoBaller

Jaeden Graham Nov 21 12:30pm ET

There is certainly an argument that Atlanta Falcons tight end Jaeden Graham deserves start consideration for Week 12. Austin Hooper (knee) has been ruled out for the game and Graham was the only Falcons tight end to receive a target with Hooper sidelined in Week 11. Furthermore, Julio Jones (foot) is currently questionable for the game and if he sits or plays at less than 100%, Graham would certainly get at least a minor boost. Graham reeled in both of his targets in Week 11 for 23 yards. He was unfortunately out-snapped in the game by fellow tight end Luke Stocker. Stocker played 43 snaps while Graham logged 34. Stocker has nine targets on the year compared with Graham's four. The tight end situation with Hooper out is likely more of a 50/50 split than a one-man show. Avoid starting Graham until further notice.

From RotoBaller

Younghoe Koo Nov 21 12:30pm ET

Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo has hit seven of his eight field goal attempts and all six of his extra-point attempts in his two games with the Falcons. This week, the Falcons face the Buccaneers in a game where the team should be in position to score a good amount of points. Koo should see at least two field goal opportunities along with multiple extra-point chances. He's a solid starting option for Week 12.

From RotoBaller

Dede Westbrook Nov 21 12:20pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (illness) is not expected to practice on Thursday. Westbrook returned to the field last week and caught four of his six targets for just 32 yards in the loss to the Colts. D.J. Chark got all the love from a returning quarterback Nick Foles. Westbrook was Foles' favorite target before he went down in the season opener with a broken collarbone, though, so it's unfair to say that Foles won't be going back to that well at some point moving forward. Westbrook should be fine to play in Week 12 against the Titans. He had five catches for 46 yards against them in the first meeting, and he'll be a WR3 this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Dorsett Nov 21 12:20pm ET

Although New England Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (concussion) missed practice on Wednesday, there is mid-week optimism that he could be cleared in time to play in Week 12 against the Cowboys, according to a source. Mohamed Sanu (ankle) could now miss multiple games with a high ankle sprain, so the Patriots could be in trouble this Sunday if Dorsett can't play. They'd likely revert to three-receiver sets consisting of Julian Edelman and rookies N'Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers. Harry just made his NFL debut in Week 11, but he'd have more plug-and-play appeal as a flex over Meyers. If he plays, Dorsett will be a risky WR4/flex. Quarterback Tom Brady should be downgraded either way with Sanu now out two to three weeks.

From RotoBaller