Thu Oct 17 7:01pm ET
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
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.''
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.''
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.''
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Foster came down with his first catch of the season in Week 10 against the Browns. He has just six targets on the year and has become a complete afterthought in the Bills offense after a promising rookie year. Foster would need an injury to John Brown or Cole Beasley, or both, in order to warrant roster consideration in fantasy at this point. He can be left on waivers in all leagues.
The Bills Defense is in an excellent position going into Week 11 with an extremely favorable matchup against the Dolphins. The Dolphins average just 13.2 points per game and under 260 yards from scrimmage per game. Somehow, the Dolphins are one of just two teams who have scored over 20 points against the Bills this year. The Bills allow just 16.7 points per game and they should be able to keep the Dolphins around or under that average in Week 11. Start the Bills defense with confidence this week.
Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice (knee) will return in Week 11 against the Jets after missing eight weeks with a torn meniscus in his knee. Previous head coach Jay Gruden sat Adrian Peterson in Week 1 with Guice as the lead back, but interim head coach Bill Callahan has built the offense around Peterson since he took over. Callahan said he plans to use both running backs, and their usage will depend on game situations. Weve got a pretty good rotational system for that, Callahan said. We feel pretty confident [Guice will] see quite a bit of action this weekend. Chris Thompson (toe) remains week-to-week and is doubtful for this weekend, so it should be easier to split the load between Peterson and Guice. Still, both Peterson and Guice will cannibalize each other unless the 'Skins go with the hot hand. Guice has more long-term upside, but Peterson might be the more attractive RB3/flex given Callahan's loyalty to him in previous weeks. It's a situation to avoid if you can given Washington's poor offense overall.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Duke Williams was a surprise inactive for Week 10 against the Browns. Even if he suits up for Week 11 against the Dolphins, he likely won't be heavily utilized in the game. Williams has just six catches on seven targets over the season. Robert Foster filled in for Williams as the team's de facto WR3 in Week 10, but he managed only one catch for 20 yards in the game. Williams should be left on waivers in all leagues.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (ribs) will be limited in practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday. The Jets were just giving Bell a breather in practice on Wednesday, so you should expect him to be fine for Week 11 against the Redskins. The team's starting running back probably isn't 100 percent at this point in the season, but he should be treated as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 for a glorious matchup with Washington's porous defense this Sunday. Bell is still searching for a statement game in his first season with Gang Green, and he's averaging a disappointing 3.1 yards per carry through 10 weeks. His fantasy owners are hoping this will be his breakout game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans could face a Saints Defensein Week 11 without top cornerback Marshon Lattimore (hamstring). Lattimore held Evans to zero catches for zero yards on three targets during their first meeting back in Week 5, and the Bucs top wideout could find more vacated spaces in the secondary this time around if Lattimore is inactive. This matchup is improving by the minute for Evans, and he should be locked in as a WR1 in all formats.
Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox had a promising performance in Week 10 against the Browns, catching four of six targets for 55 yards. It was his best game since Week 4 after being held under 25 receiving yards in five straight games. Meanwhile, fellow tight end Tyler Kroft went without a target in the game. Kroft still played 43% of the offensive snaps, compared with 58% for Knox, but it appears relatively clear at this point that Knox is the preferred target in the passing game. Knox has a favorable matchup against the Dolphins this week and if he can get between four and six targets, he could find himself ending up with around 50 yards on the day, making him a potential low-end starting option in deep PPR leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber took over in Week 10 after Ronald Jones II fumbled late in the fourth quarter, which puts the Bucs backfield right back where it started, a frustrating timeshare. Jones and Barber had the same amount of touches in Week 10, but Jones was clearly the go-to on passing downs. The Saints present an extremely tough matchup for the entire Bucs backfield in Week 11, especially being at home in a potential get-right spot. Barber is not a recommended start this week in a game where fantasy owners can expect a shutdown effort by the Saints Defense.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has had strong fantasy outputs in four straight games, but he's gotten a bit lucky over that span. He scored touchdowns in three straight games from Week 7 to Week 9, but had under 20 receiving yards in two of those games. Last week, he had 74 receiving yards, his first game with over 50 receiving yards since Week 4. Beasley has a great matchup this week against the Dolphins and figures to receive between five and seven targets in the game. He's a worthy WR3 or flex play in PPR leagues as he should catch around four passes, but his yardage totals might be low on the day, making him a riskier play in non-PPR.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown has a favorable matchup against the Dolphins this week and is a strong WR2 play. In his last game against the Dolphins, he caught five passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Brown has been extremely consistent all year, with at least four receptions and over 50 receiving yards in every game of the season. He should end up with at least four or five catches in Week 11 with between 80 and 100 yards on the day.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston will travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints this weekend. The Saints held Winston to 204 yards through the air the first time they met this season and will not be looking passed this matchup after getting embarrassed by the Falcons in Week 10. Winston has thrown nine interceptions over the last four games, and while he has also accounted for at least one score and 301 yards in each of those games, it has not been enough for fantasy owners. Winston will slot in as a mid-tier QB2 for this matchup. Fantasy owners should look elsewhere.
Detroit Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson will likely be without his starting quarterback in Week 11, but against a Cowboys squad that is one of the worst at defending tight ends, that might not matter. Hockenson has gone five games without a touchdown, and if there was ever a time to get back on track, now would be it. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel will likely be the Lions starter in this matchup, but that didn't seem to have much of an effect on Hockenson in Week 10. Hockenson will be on the TE1/2 borderline for this matchup.
Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore has been dreadful over the past two weeks, carrying the ball 16 times for just 27 yards. In that same stretch, his teammate Devin Singletary has carried the ball 28 times for 137 yards. Gore has two things working heavily against him. First off, his workload isn't there anymore as he isn't a safe bet for double-digit carries. Second off, he's clearly not the most talented ball carrier in the Bills' backfield right now. The only hope for Gore this week is if he stumbles into the end zone. Otherwise, you're looking at probably around 30 to 40 yards at best. Keep him on your bench or feel free to drop him if needed.
Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon has been inactive for four straight games and this week against the Dolphins figures to be the same story. He has no business on fantasy rosters at this point. Devin Singletary is the team's primary rusher with Frank Gore as the firm No. 2 back.
Detroit Lions running back J.D. McKissic could be in for a very large workload in Week 11 with Ty Johnson (concussion) likely sitting out. McKissic has proven to be a useful PPR option over the last two weeks and will be going up against a Dallas Cowboys squad that isn't shy about giving up fantasy points to running backs. McKissic could have a very solid day if he ends up turning into backup quarterback Jeff Driskel's safety net, which is very possible. Paul Perkins will be there to vulture some touches, but McKissic should be the focal point of the Lions backfield in this matchup. McKissic will slot in as a high-end flex option in this one.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones did not seem to be affected much in Week 10 without his starting quarterback. The veteran wide receiver actually looked to have very good chemistry at times with backup quarterback Jeff Driskel. Jones has a tougher task on hand in Week 11 with the Dallas Cowboys coming to town, but he could prove to be a useful PPR option in this matchup if Driskel decides to lean on him. The Lions backfield is in shambles, making it likely that they focus on the passing game even with a backup under center. Jones will slot in as a WR3 in this one.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was a bit of a disappointment in Week 10 against the Browns. He gained just 50 total yards on 11 touches in the game after totalling 140 yards on 23 touches in Week 9. Expect this week's outing to be more like Week 9 than Week 10. The Bills face the Dolphins in Week 11 and the game plan for the Bills figures to feature a good amount of running. Singletary has heavily outperformed Frank Gore in recent weeks and should see around 20 touches in this game, giving him a solid opportunity to gain over 100 yards with a score. Start him as a high-end RB2 this week.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay has a tough task ahead of him in Week 11. The Lions will take on the Dallas Cowboys this weekend, and it's very likely that starting quarterback Matthew Stafford (back, hip) will be on the sidelines. Without Stafford at the helm, Golladay will likely be in for a rough day. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel did do his best in Week 10 to try and get the ball into Golladay's hands, but his inaccuracy coupled with the fact that the Cowboys have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers so far this season will make it a very tough go for Golladay on Sunday. Golladay will slot in as a boom-or-bust WR2 for this matchup.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has a favorable matchup against the Dolphins in Week 11. He is a high-end QB2 and is a viable option as a low-end QB1, especially in leagues of 12 teams or more. In his first game against the Dolphins about a month ago, Allen was turnover-free and threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns while adding 32 rushing yards. Expect a similar result this time around. Allen has multiple touchdowns in five straight games and threw for a season-high 266 passing yards last week against the Browns.