Thu Nov 8 9:58 pm
The New York Giants take on the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara in a battle of cellar dwellers on Monday night.
One thing that you can mark down in stone is that long-time Giants quarterback Eli Manning will be under center, according to head coach Pat Shurmur, who put any speculation to rest about who the team's quarterback would be earlier in the week.
"We just want to play good football," Shurmur said when asked what his expectation was for Manning this week. "What's important is, stick with the progressions, get the ball out on time, understand all the situational football. He's done this at a high level for a very long time, and my conversation with him over the weekend is what coaches and quarterbacks do as you plot the course moving forward.
"He's like everybody on the team; there's areas where he can improve, we talked about that, and we'll get ready to go and put all our efforts toward beating San Francisco."
Although Shurmur didn't commit to whether Manning would be the starter beyond this week, the quarterback, who has stayed cool in the face of pressure throughout his career, did so again when peppered with questions regarding the sense of urgency he must be feeling.
"I think there's urgency to get things going, for sure," Manning said. "We got to get some wins. We got to get going, and everybody wants it. The team needs it, for the morale and for just the hard work and everything we put in. Just need to reap the benefits of the work and feel good about what we're doing."
But is he worried about losing his job if the Giants offense lays another stink bomb?
Manning shook his head no.
"You worry about this week," he said. "We got the 49ers. I got a job to do, and I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."
The 49ers are also having quarterback issues.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan formally announced Thursday that Nick Mullens has moved ahead of C.J. Beathard at quarterback on the depth chart and will get the start Monday night.
The game, coincidentally, will come exactly one year to the day after Beathard achieved the high point of his rookie season, directing the 49ers to their first victory of 2017, 31-21 over these same Giants.
That was a factor in this week's decision.
To ride the hot hand of Mullens, who came right off the practice squad to throw three touchdown passes against the Oakland Raiders in a Thursday night masterpiece?
Or return to Beathard, who already has a win under his belt against the Giants, to his starting spot after he'd had time to recover from thumb and wrist injuries?
Shanahan even got a few extra days to think about it because of his team's three-day head start on the rest of the league in Week 9.
Thursday, he assured he didn't need the extra time to decide.
"I don't think it was too tough of a decision," Shanahan admitted. "Our team played really well (against the Raiders) and he (Mullens) played well. It was going to be hard to not give him the opportunity."
As for the future, Shanahan was noncommittal, calling it a "week-to-week" decision. The club's star quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, won't be a part of that decision -- this year, anyway -- as he recovers from knee surgery.
But is it possible Mullens could play so well that even Garoppolo's return to his former status would be in question?
Shanahan remains focused on the Giants, not next year's training camp.
That said, he has insisted from Day 1 that competition makes everyone better.
"Those guys are very self-motivated. There's not a time that you've got to give them a kick in the butt to do something. Those guys, they put more pressure on themselves than someone else," Shanahan said of Mullens and Beathard.
"I think C.J. started off well and I think he went through a tough stretch. I think it is good for him to sit back and get fully healthy and heal up and watch someone else do it. He's only a play away from getting in. So he'll be ready."
The Giants defense is about to find out Monday night if Mullens is for real. All Mullens did in his first extensive playing time last week on a national stage was complete 16 of 22 passes for 262 yards, and three touchdowns for a 151.9 passer rating in a 34-3 spanking of the Raiders.
Mullens doesn't offer ideal size nor arm strength for the position, but his quick feet in the pocket helps him avoid the pass rush, and he has a rapid set-up and release that gets the ball out of his hand in a snap. Because he doesn't have ideal arm strength, he figures to push the ball underneath on slants and crossing patterns and let his receivers and tight end do the heavy lifting. If so, the Giants defense better make sure they are getting off their blocks and that they're not getting caught flat-footed in coverage while trying to watch Mullens' eyes.
Offensively, the Giants need to get their running game going against a 49ers defense that is somewhat banged up and that is allowing opponents 102.8 rushing yards per game. It would also probably help the Giants offense if it made more of an effort to get running back Saquon Barkley into space to help bring down one of the defenders that usually teams up on double coverage against Odell Beckham Jr.
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.