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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 14

Rolling 49ers meet inconsistent Cardinals on Thursday night

Wed Oct 30 3:51pm ET
By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer

Players: Larry Fitzgerald, Alfred Morris, Zach Zenner, Kenyan Drake, Chase Edmonds, Kyler Murray

Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson, right, celebrates forcing a fumble with Chandler Jones (55) during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)


San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan speaks at a news conference after an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo embraces tight end George Kittle at the end of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. San Francisco won the game 51-13. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)


Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches for the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa runs with the ball after making an interception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson remembers this version of the San Francisco 49ers.

The nine-year veteran broke into the NFL back in 2011 with Arizona and during his early years, the games against division rival San Francisco were always a difficult task. The Niners won 36 regular-season games from 2011-13 and made the Super Bowl in the 2012 season.

''To me, it resembles that same style of football,'' Peterson said. ''Building that team up front on both sides of the ball, taking their shots when they can and playing great defense. They have their personnel and they're playing some real good football.''

San Francisco (7-0) travels to face Arizona (3-4-1) on Thursday night and enters the game on quite a roll. The 49ers crushed the Carolina Panthers 51-13 on Sunday and have been plowing through their schedule with one of the league's best defenses.

Arizona is coming off a 31-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. That dud ended a three-game winning streak for the Cardinals, who knocked off the Bengals, Falcons and Giants in consecutive weeks before the setback in New Orleans.

Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray said that after Sunday's poor performance, the team is eager to get back on the field, especially at home.

''That should be fun. Wearing all black, Thursday night, real first prime-time game for us,'' Murray said. ''Just really trying to go out there and put on a show and protect home.''

CONDENSED SCHEDULE

The Niners took a different approach this week with a Thursday game. The coaches slept at the facility to get as much work on the game plan done as possible. For the players, sleep was the priority. San Francisco didn't practice Monday and then had a walkthrough on Tuesday under the stadium lights rather than the usual afternoon practice.

''I feel like sleep is so important on these quick turnarounds, so we wanted the guys to sleep in a little bit more than usual,'' coach Kyle Shanahan said.

Then the team planned a quick practice Wednesday before flying to Arizona.

RAGGED RUNNING GAME

Arizona's three-game winning streak was built on a balanced offense, with the team leaning on the running back duo of David Johnson and Chase Edmonds.

Now both players are injured and the Cardinals have had to adjust in a hurry.

With Johnson (ankle) and Edmonds (hamstring) unlikely to contribute, the Cardinals traded for Kenyan Drake on Monday, giving up a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020.

The 25-year-old Drake joins Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner, who were signed last week because of injuries, in the running back rotation. He'll have to learn the offense in less than 72 hours to have an impact.

''It's actually funny - the longest-tenured running back here who is healthy has been here in six days,'' Drake said. ''We've all got a learning curve, but we're helping each other out.''

BOSA VS. MURRAY

This marks the first of what should be several meetings between the top two picks in the 2019 draft. Both teams are pleased with their choices with Murray off to a solid start in Arizona after being picked first and defensive end Nick Bosa dominating in San Francisco as the second pick. Bosa became the third rookie to get three sacks and an interception in a game last week against Carolina and now gets a tougher test chasing down the mobile Murray.

''I try to keep my eyes on my work, which is the offensive lineman, which helps me beat offensive linemen,'' Bosa said. ''But with a quarterback like this, you have to have eyes on the backfield and you have to know what his tendencies are when it comes to escaping so you can counter it.''

CAREFUL CARDINALS

Arizona has had no turnovers over the past four games, which is tied for the longest streak in franchise history.

The ball security is remarkable considering the Cardinals are playing with a rookie quarterback and several young players at other skill positions. Murray has thrown four interceptions this year and the Cardinals haven't lost a fumble.

The four turnovers through eight games are the fewest in the NFL.

SHERMAN VS. FITZ

San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman and Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald have had plenty of meetings over the years as NFC West rivals. The two have faced off 14 times since Sherman entered the league with Seattle in 2011 and are often matched up against each other. Fitzgerald has 77 catches for 882 yards and three TDs in those games and the two have formed a close relationship over that time.

''I appreciate going against him the most,'' Sherman said. ''He always gives great challenges.''

Player Notes
Allen Robinson Dec 6 3:20am ET

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.

From RotoBaller

Tarik Cohen Dec 6 3:10am ET

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.

From RotoBaller

David Montgomery Dec 6 2:30am ET

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.

From RotoBaller

Mitch Trubisky Dec 6 2:10am ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky finished with 244 yards on 23-for-31 passing while adding four touchdowns and an interception during the win over the Cowboys on Thursday. Trubisky shook off an early interception by tossing three touchdowns on the night, two of which went to Allen Robinson in the second quarter, before running one in off of a 23-yard attempt early in the fourth. While turnovers have been an issue (at times) for the 25-year-old, he has now compiled seven total touchdowns over the last two games. Nonetheless, things will get tougher in Week 15 against Green Bay, with Trubisky going 26-for-45 for 228 yards and a pick against the Packers back in Week 1.

From RotoBaller

David Blough Dec 6 1:10am ET

Detroit Lions rookie quarterback David Blough will get the start in Week 14 when the Lions travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. With Matthew Stafford (back) unlikely to return this season and Jeff Driskel (hamstring) placed on the injured reserve, it looks like it will be all Blough from here on out. Those who advanced to the fantasy playoffs are likely not going to be putting their hopes into a rookie quarterback starting for just the second time of his career, but the Lions quarterback situation is terrible news for Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones going forward. Both receivers caught touchdown passes with Blough under center last week, but that cannot be expected on a weekly basis. Blough's performance was impressive, especially given the circumstances, but removing the first quarter of last week's game from the equation paints a much uglier picture, as he was only able to lead the Lions to two field goals the rest of the way. Blough is not a recommended start this week.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Dec 6 12:40am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is coming off a very disappointing performance in Week 13, but that shouldn't hold fantasy owners back from going right back to him in Week 14 against the Indianapolis Colts. Winston was only able to pass for 268 yards with no scores last week, but he should have no problem moving the ball against a bend-but-don't-break defense that gives up plenty of yards. Prior to last week's flop, the fifth-year signal-caller was averaging 324 passing yards and two scores per game since the Bucs bye and has put up QB1 numbers the entire season. Winston will comfortably slot in as a QB1 heading into the first week of the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Cowboys Dec 6 12:30am ET

The Dallas Cowboys Defense struggled mightily in a Week 14 loss to the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys defense seemed unable to stop the Bears on any third down play. Eternally struggling Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw three touchdown passes and ran for 63 yards and another touchdown. The Cowboys defense only intercepted him once and recorded just two sacks. A previously hyped fantasy unit, the Cowboys defense should probably be avoided for the remainder of the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Blake Jarwin Dec 6 12:20am ET

Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin caught six passes in Week 14, gaining 50 yards. Jarwin was targeted seven times, finishing third on the team. Jarwin's usage this season has been very unpredictable, but he has shown the ability to play a decent game when given the chance. He could have more fantasy relevance next season if Jason Witten were to retire again.

From RotoBaller

Peyton Barber Dec 6 12:20am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber rewarded fantasy owners who were brave enough to start him in Week 13, but a repeat of his two-touchdown performance, or even something close to it, is hard to envision heading into the first week of the fantasy playoffs. The Bucs backfield is a weekly guessing game with head coach Bruce Arians still refusing to commit to Barber or Ronald Jones. That makes it extremely hard to trust Barber, especially in a do-or-die situation for fantasy owners. Barber has a tough task on his hands regardless this week with the Indianapolis Colts coming to town. The Colts have given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season, with only one back going over the century mark on the ground. Barber is not a recommended start this week.

From RotoBaller

Jason Witten Dec 6 12:20am ET

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten caught five passes in Week 14, gaining 37 yards. It was a classic late-career Jason Witten game, where he caught most of the balls thrown his way right before falling to the ground. Witten saw seven targets, tied with fellow tight end Blake Jarwin for third on the team. Jarwin was able to come up with one more catch and gain 13 more yards, however. Witten has shown a consistent non-zero floor, which is at least something in the thoroughly empty fantasy position that is 2019 tight end, but he's been unable to establish any sort of ceiling in the meantime.

From RotoBaller

Brett Maher Dec 6 12:20am ET

Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher, already leading the league in missed field goals, missed another one in a Week 14 loss to the Chicago Bears. Maher made all three of his extra points and did make a 31 yarder at the end of the fourth quarter. The Cowboys tried out kickers last week and might do a bit more of that this coming week. Maher may not be long for the Cowboys roster.

From RotoBaller

Michael Gallup Dec 6 12:10am ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup had a strong game in Week 14, catching six passes for 109 yards. He led the team in yardage and with the 10 targets thrown his way, and tied for the team lead with six catches. Gallup did a lot of work after the catch in this one, and was a touchdown away from an enormous game in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. He'll continue as a strong WR2 through Week 17.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Dec 6 12:10am ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper scored a fourth quarter touchdown in a Week 14 loss to the Chicago Bears. Cooper caught six passes for 83 yards on a total of eight targets. Cooper's six catches tied for the team lead, and his was the only receiving touchdown of the night for Dallas. His score came on a nice 19-yard pass from Dak Prescott near the end of the fourth quarter. Cooper showed some signs of still working through the injuries that have limited him of late, but he was still able to get work done against a strong Chicago defense.

From RotoBaller

Randall Cobb Dec 6 12:10am ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Randall Cobb was targeted five times in Week 14, but was only able to come down with two catches. He gained a respectable 43 yards with the two catches, but in a game that he was predicted as a sneaky fantasy option, he ended up disappointing. While Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup were able to do their work on the field, Cobb fell behind and looks to be over his recent hot streak. He'll likely fall back into fantasy irrelevance in most standard leagues.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Dec 6 12:00am ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott performed decently in fantasy terms in Week 14 despite losing to the Chicago Bears. Prescott attempted 49 passes, completing 27 of them for 334 yards and a touchdown. Prescott's only touchdown came on a 19-yard pass to Amari Cooper near the end of the fourth quarter. It wasn't a great performance in general from Prescott, but given a strong Bears Defense on the other side, things could certainly have been worse.

From RotoBaller

Ezekiel Elliott Dec 6 12:00am ET

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott scored two touchdowns on the ground in a Week 14 to the Chicago Bears. Elliott ran the ball 19 times, gaining 81 yards. He added two catches for 12 yards on five targets. Elliott stayed on the field the whole game with Tony Pollard (ankle) inactive. Elliott's first touchdown was a two-yard run in the first quarter, and his second was another two-yard run at the end of the third.

From RotoBaller

Darren Waller Dec 5 10:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller broke out of a five-game drought in Week 13, recording his first 100-game since Week 7. He'll have a good opportunity to repeat his seven-catch performance from last week versus a Titans Defense that has allowed the seventh-most points to the TE position this season. They were burned by Jack Doyle (6/73/1) and Travis Kelce (7/75/1) in recent weeks, while Waller has remained the favored target of Derek Carr all season long. With Josh Jacobs questionable for Sunday's game, the offense may need to rely on the air attack to win this game, which would be excellent news for Waller owners. Treat the 26-year-old as a high-volume TE1 for Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Tyrell Williams Dec 5 9:50pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams is coming off his worst game of the season (1/9/0), and his Week 14 matchup doesn't appear that encouraging either. The Titans have allowed the sixth-most passing yards in the league (260.1 YPG), but have kept opposing WRs out of the end zone in five of their last seven contests. Quarterback Derek Carr has also struggled of late, which has limited Williams to five consecutive games without a score and no 100-yard games since Week 1. Treat the veteran as a WR4 as we enter the first week of fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Dec 5 9:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is coming off back-to-back underwhelming performances as the Tennessee Titans come to town for a pivotal matchup this weekend. With both teams in the hunt for a Wild Card spot, the Raiders will need Carr to improve on his recent play with Josh Jacobs questionable for this Sunday. The Titans give up the sixth-most passing yards in the league (260.1 YPG), but have only allowed opposing quarterbacks to reach 20+ fantasy points three times through 13 games. Carr has just two of these games to his credit this season, so the stars aren't exactly aligning for a big performance. With a 3:4 TD to INT ratio over his past four games, treat the veteran as a low-end QB2 for Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Gerald Everett Dec 5 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett (knee) missed his second straight practice this week on Thursday. Everett is on his way to missing his second straight game unless he can return to practice on Friday. If you've been using Everett at the tight end spot, you need to look elsewhere in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Tyler Higbee filled in admirably in a great matchup against Arizona last weekend and went for over 100 yards and a touchdown. He'd be on the TE1/2 borderline again in Week 14 against the Seahawks on Sunday night if Everett misses another game.

From RotoBaller