Thu Nov 8 1:46 am
Khalil Mack went through his first full practice in nearly a month this week.
The return of Mack to the lineup could provide a huge lift for the Chicago Bears, getting their elite pass-rushing linebacker healthy in time for a 12-day stretch that will feature three games against NFC North opponents.
Chicago holds a slim half-game edge over Minnesota atop the division as it prepares to host Detroit on Sunday -- the first of two matchups against the Lions in 12 days sandwiched around a showdown against the Vikings.
"We're halfway through the season now and we've got three big divisional opponents coming up, and we kind of know where we're at as a team," Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. "These next three games will tell a lot about who we are and where we're headed."
Chicago bounced back from losses to Miami and New England with back-to-back victories over the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills to maintain its hold on first place. It's the latest the team has been atop the NFC North since 2012.
"First place right now doesn't matter," Bears running back Tarik Cohen said. "It's all about where you finish at the end. So we don't even feel like we're in first place."
Even with Mack sitting out both games, Chicago's defense dominated the Jets (24-10) and Bills (41-9), holding them to a combined 19 points and not allowing a touchdown in either game until the fourth quarter.
Trubisky has not been needed to do much in the past two wins, throwing for 220 yards against the Jets and a season-low 135 in the rout of Buffalo. That has led to skepticism among the media and fans about whether Trubisky can handle the upcoming three-game stretch, but Bears head coach Matt Nagy wants his quarterback to tune out the noise.
"I think any time you are drafted as a quarterback early and high in the draft, you're always gonna be critiqued," Nagy said. "But again, the only thing that he needs to worry about is what I think about him and what people in this building think about him. Everybody's entitled to their opinion and that's OK ... but as long as he just understands that the only thing that matters is what we think, nothing will affect him."
Nagy brushed aside the fact that Trubisky struggled with his accuracy against the Jets and Bills, instead giving credit to some "pretty solid defenses." The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, Trubisky passed for more than 300 yards in three straight games prior to the last two wins.
"It really doesn't matter what anybody says on the outside," Trubisky said. "We're the ones putting the work in preparing for each game and putting it on the line every Sunday. What everybody has to say about it, they only know so much."
The Lions (3-5) have tumbled into the division basement after scoring just 19 points in consecutive losses to the Seattle Seahawks and Vikings. Detroit failed to get into the end zone in the 24-9 loss at Minnesota and quarterback Matthew Stafford absorbed a staggering 10 sacks.
"Look, no one likes a game that we had on Sunday. Certainly not a good situation for us there," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said. "There's a lot of contributing factors to something like that. But I think again, it's a full team game, so probably should have done something better all the way around to help everybody because obviously we didn't win, and that's the main thing is trying to win."
Stafford failed to throw for a touchdown pass for the first time this season in Detroit's first game since trading away wide receiver Golden Tate. The Lions may lean more on the running back tandem of rookie Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount.
Although Johnson was limited to 37 yards on 12 carries against the Vikings, he has 503 yards rushing through eight games and is on pace to be the franchise's first 1,000-yard running back since Reggie Bush in 2013.
Chicago's passing game could receive a boost with the potential return of wide receiver Allen Robinson II, who went through a full practice for the first time since suffering a groin injury in Week 7 against New England that sidelined him the past two games.
Detroit also is expecting a bigger contribution from defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who last week saw his first action since the season opener and recorded one sack while playing 12 snaps.
Seattle Seahawks LB K.J. Wright (knee) will be a game-time decision for the Week 11 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Kendell Beckwith (ankle) has a chance to play in the Week 11 game, but head coach Dirk Koetter said it is too soon to determine his status for the game.
Washington Redskins WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) is still not 100 percent at this point, but his MRI did not show any more damage to his ankle. Head coach Jay Gruden said he expects Crowder to return soon.
Fantasy Spin: Crowder may not be able to play this week but could return to the lineup in the next week or two. Owners in all leagues should avoid Crowder until he is able to participate in practice.
Philadelphia Eagles DT Timmy Jernigan (back) has a chance to play in the Week 11 game, according to head coach Doug Pederson.
Detroit Lions wide receiver TJ Jones saw his most snaps (50) of the season in Week 10 due to Marvin Jones (knee) being forced to leave the game in the third quarter. However, it didn't lead to increased production as the former caught just one pass for 12 yards. This week against Carolina, if Marvin Jones is unable to suit up then expect TJ Jones to line up opposite of Kenny Golladay, making the available Jones a dart-throw DFS play but nothing more. Although, if Marvin Jones is able to play, it takes away any fantasy value of TJ Jones.
The Indianapolis Colts defense has seen a drastic fall in their sack totals, with only four across their last five games compared to 17 in the first four weeks of the 2018 NFL season. They also failed to produce a single turnover against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week while giving up 21 fantasy points toBlake Bortles. That being said, the Tennessee Titans are completely erratic when it comes to turnovers and have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to team defenses on the year. Don't let the Titans stunning victory over the New England Patriots fool you too much, as the Colts defense could surprise many fantasy owners with a big day in Week 11.
The Indianapolis Colts have heavily featured their tight end group in the passing game as evidenced by six of their last passing touchdowns coming from the motley crew of Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, and Mo Alie-Cox. Colts tight ends have been targeted in the red zone the most of any team in the NFL this season and their top-two options should have solid fantasy outings against the Tennessee Titans in Week 11. Doyle continues to operate as the No. 1 option, leading the group in snaps and routes run on offense which should ultimately result to another big game akin to his six reception, 70 yard and a touchdown game in Week 8. Ebron might have run only 12 pass routes last week, but his three touchdowns makes it clear that he remains a great play due to his scoring upside week in and week out. With Indianapolis likely to continue featuring its tight ends, plug Doyle and Ebron into your lineups.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay caught six passes in Week 10, the same amount he caught over weeks 7-9 combined. He also found the end zone for the first time since Week 5. These are the results fantasy owners were expecting when Golden Tate was traded away. This week at home against Carolina, Golladay has a chance to have another solid showing with the Lions looking to break a three-game losing skid. His teammate Marvin Jones (knee) left Sunday's game in the third quarter, leading to a missed practice on Wednesday; he is considered day-to-day. If for some reason Jones doesn't play against Carolina, Golladay should easily see double-digit targets. Look at the second-year man as a WR2 with upside in Week 11.
Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick recorded his highest receiving yardage total of the season last Sunday against the Bears, catching six passes for 60 yards. Serving as the Lions pass-catching back, the 27-year-old returned two weeks ago from a knee injury and has since caught 13 of 15 targets. This week, the Panthers present a challenge for a player like Riddick, as they have allowed the fourth fewest receptions to running backs this season. Keep in mind that Detroit has trailed in each of the past three games, thus forcing them to throw consistently. Look for Detroit to do whatever they can to break the three-game losing streak this Sunday at home, meaning Riddick has some flex appeal but nothing more.
Free-agent QB Paxton Lynch (Broncos), WR Tre McBride (Jets) and WR Tavarres King (Vikings) worked out for the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Atlanta Falcons LB Deion Jones (foot) is making progress, according to head coach Dan Quinn, but the team is going to make sure he's 100 percent ready first before putting him back on the field.
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson scored a rushing and a receiving touchdown last week against the Bears, but outside of that was very average against a good defense. This week, Johnson has another questionable matchup against the Carolina Panthers. The rookie's yardage totals have suffered recently because the Lions have trailed in each of the past three games. Detroit will need to get ahead early or keep it close throughout to get Johnson opportunities on the ground. However, if they do get behind again, Johnson can still get it done in the passing game, having seen 20 targets since Week 8. Clearly the return of Theo Riddick hasn't affected how the Lions will use the Auburn product. Look at Johnson as a flex play with RB2 potential.
Detroit Lions running back LeGarrette Blount hasn't crossed the goal line in three weeks and has totaled only 15 yards rushing in the same period. That is all you need to hear when breaking down Blount's fantasy value. Making his case even worse is the fact that Kerryon Johnson received a goal-line carry last week that ended up as a touchdown for the rookie. It's obvious the team is losing their interest in Blount as a factor in the offense. Keep him on waivers in Week 11.
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is 'still hopeful' he'll have WR A.J. Green (foot) back on the field for the team's Week 11 game Sunday, Nov. 18, versus the Baltimore Ravens.
Fantasy Spin: It seems a lot more likely than not that Green will remain out through Week 11, as his injury has kept him sidelined for only one game thus far when his original timetable called for him to miss more time than that. Either way, he's a WR1 whenever he gets back, but his owners should begin preparing for another week without Green's services.
Cincinnati Bengals LB Nick Vigil (knee) is making progress in his recovery but is not expected to play in the Week 11 game.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has thrown three or more touchdown passes in six consecutive games, the longest streak since Tom Brady's 10 back in 2007. Despite heading into a Week 11 tilt with a Tennessee Titans defense that has allowed the fewest offensive touchdowns, points per play, and touchdown conversions in the red zone on the season, Luck's hot hand is too hard not to ride. For fantasy owners in need of reassurance, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, and Deshaun Watson all managed to put up 20-plus fantasy points against the Titans in previous weeks. Plug and play Luck as a QB1 with confidence for fantasy purposes.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has a decent matchup at home with the Carolina Panthers this Sunday. Stafford saved his Week 10 stat line with two garbage-time touchdowns against the Bears; however, he did toss two interceptions. The Panthers are in damage control after getting torched by Ben Roethlisberger for 5 touchdowns last Thursday. With the Lions back home after two straight road games, Stafford will be looking to get back to winning ways. Since Golden Tate was traded, Kenny Golladay has been up-and-down, while Marvin Jones injured his knee last Sunday and did not practice Wednesday. Pay attention to his designation for the game, but if he plays look at Stafford as a QB2 against the Panthers.
Oakland Raiders WR Martavis Bryant (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 14. CB Gareon Conley (groin), C Rodney Hudson (ankle), OG Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Kyle Wilber (knee) and CB Daryl Worley (shoulder) were limited during practice. OG Jon Feliciano (ribs), WR Dwayne Harris (foot), OG Gabe Jackson (pectoral) and OT Kolton Miller (elbow, knee) fully participated in practice.
Oakland Raiders RB Doug Martin (hip) fully participated in practice Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Fantasy Spin: Martin has received at least 10 carries in each of the last three games and has rushed for at least 60 yards in two of the games. He should have some success against the Arizona Cardinals and can be at least a flex option in standard leagues.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (non-injury) didn't participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Fantasy Spin: The veteran was simply just getting a day off in order to manage his reps. He'll be out there come Sunday, but at this point in time, it's under the status of a WR3 with inconsistent freshman Josh Rosen throwing him the football.