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FFL: Week 11 | NFL: Week 11

Bryant practices with Saints, asserts he's 'not a bad guy.'

Fri Nov 9 3:10am ET
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer

Players: Drew Brees, Ted Ginn Jr., Dez Bryant, Mark Ingram, Cameron Meredith, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara

In this Dec. 10, 2017, file photo, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) runs for a touchdown against the New York Giants during the second quarter of an NFL football game in East Rutherford, N.J. A person familiar with the situation says free-agent Dez Bryant and the New Orleans Saints have agreed on contract terms that will add the former Cowboys star to one of the NFLs top offenses. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, because the roster move has not been announced. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)


In this Nov. 4, 2018, file photo, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) pulls in a pass against Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters (22) during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans. Peters criticized himself for playing poorly when the Rams took their first loss of the season at New Orleans last weekend. That doesnt mean Saints coach Sean Payton can say anything about it, however. Peters reacted sharply in the Rams locker room Thursday, Nov. 8, when asked about postgame comments by Payton in which the veteran coach said the Saints liked the matchup of receiver Michael Thomas going against Peters, a former Pro Bowl selection. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)


In this Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in New Orleans. Brees and the high-powered Saints face an historically bad defense at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. The Bengals have allowed more than 500 yards in each of the last two games. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)


METAIRIE, La. (AP) Dez Bryant wasn't about to declare himself a changed man just because he'd changed teams.

At age 30, the ninth-year NFL veteran receiver said he is comfortable with who he always has been and hopes he'll fit in with the New Orleans Saints, a team on a seven-game winning streak that looks like it's all-in to contend for a Super Bowl this season.

''I'm always going to be me, you know, who I am. I'm not a bad guy. I've always been a good guy,'' Bryant said after his first practice with New Orleans on Thursday afternoon. ''You can ask my teammates - my ex-teammates - how I am. I love the locker room. It's like family. Every locker room that I've been in - from middle school, high school, college, to the pros - it's always been like a family.''

Bryant was reticent when asked to go into detail about interest shown in him by other clubs. He is known to have met with Cleveland and Baltimore before his workout with New Orleans this week earned him a spot on a Saints offense that currently ranks seventh in the NFL and is led by the NFL's all-time leader in completions and yards passing.

''Who wouldn't want to play with Drew Brees,'' said Bryant, who caught passes from Brees at practice on Thursday. ''Not taking away from nobody else, but you got a guy like Drew Brees, like I said, you got a guy like Michael Thomas, (Ben) Watson, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram. You got those types of guys.''

Bryant spent his first eight NFL seasons with Dallas and in 2017 caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns, including a 50-yard scoring play, for the Cowboys.

However, his professional reputation has been marred at times by public confrontations with coaches and teammates during games and practices.

Last season was Bryant's best since he caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and 16 TDs in 2014, which at the time was his third consecutive season with at least 1,200 yards receiving. He signed his last Cowboys contract right after that, but has not approached that level of production since - a central reason Dallas released him in April with two years left on his five-year, $70 million contract.

Saints players sounded eager to see how Bryant might help.

Thomas, who is New Orleans' leading receiver, said he has been following Bryant's career.

''He's definitely one of those guys you have to watch if you're playing the receiver position,'' Thomas said. ''He's a guy who's done some great things at the position, so you just have to respect it and pick his brain. I asked him a lot of questions, and it's just cool to play with a guy like that.''

Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday that Bryant would be taking the spot on the active roster vacated by receiver Cameron Meredith, a free-agent signing last offseason who is coming back from a major knee injury, and who went on injured reserve after he and the club agreed he'd benefit from undergoing an arthroscopic cleanup on that same knee.

''He kept having the swelling week in and week out and he really was pushing through it,'' Payton said.

Receiver Ted Ginn Jr. also is on injured reserve and cannot come back until the final few weeks of the regular season, if he's ready by then.

It's not clear how soon Bryant will have a regular role in New Orleans' offense. Payton said Bryant is perhaps five pounds heavier than his ideal playing weight, which would be common among players who did not go through a training camp.

But Payton added, ''we felt like he did a number of things that we liked in the workout.''

The signing sets the stage for Bryant to play in Dallas when the Saints visit the Cowboys for a Thursday night game on Nov. 29.

''I am going to be excited. I'll get to see all the Cowboys fans. You know I still love those guys. I love my ex-teammates. They're my family,'' Bryant said. ''But I'm here on a new chapter. It's going to be fun, but I'm the opponent now.''

Bryant said he is ''not at all'' bitter about his departure from the Cowboys, adding, ''That chapter's closed. That's something I had to accept. I accepted that and moved on.''

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.