Thu Nov 8 11:56 am
The Kansas City Chiefs feature the NFL's highest-scoring offense, are tied for the best record in football and sport a perfect record at home.
Up next for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs is a home date with the struggling Arizona Cardinals, the lowest-scoring team in the NFC whose only two victories have come at the expense of the two-win San Francisco 49ers.
On paper, it shapes up as one of the biggest mismatches in recent years, with oddsmakers in Las Vegas installing Kansas City as a prohibitive favorite as high as 16 points.
Amid such chatter, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is wary of a letdown by his team, which has rebounded from its only loss -- a 43-40 setback at New England -- by ripping off three straight victories and averaging a robust 37.3 points during that run.
"Guys are going to be asked that question a lot," Reid told reporters this week. "That's just part of this game. You always hear that. You can let spreads, you can let all these things, trap game, all these terms that pop up and things that happen come into it."
The temptation to overlook the punchless Cardinals is one obstacle for Reid and his staff. Just as worrisome is to keep his players from looking ahead to one of the most anticipated games of the season -- a prime-time Monday night matchup in Mexico City against the one-loss Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 19.
"If you can honestly focus on the process and discipline yourself enough to do that, that normally takes care of things," Reid said. "It at least makes it an even game in that area where you're not going to let distractions get in the way."
Mahomes leads the league in touchdowns (29) and passing yards (2,901) and will be bidding to tie Drew Brees' NFL record of nine consecutive 300-yard games. Mahomes also can join Hall of Famer Steve Young as the only players in history with five straight games of at least 300 yards and three scoring passes.
With a bevy of offensive game-breakers that include running back Kareem Hunt, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, even first-year Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks understands there is only so much a defense can do to contain Mahomes and Co.
"I don't think you can stop those guys completely," Wilks said. "You've just got to hope you can slow them down."
The Cardinals average a league-worst 233.3 yards and rank 31st in scoring at 13.8 points per game, so attempting to match a Kansas City offense that is churning out an average of 433.4 yards and 36.3 points appears futile. However, Mahomes noted that Arizona is a stingy seventh in pass defense (224.6 yards).
"They have Patrick Peterson at corner," Mahomes said. "They got dudes everywhere on that defense. For me it's going to be a great test to get to go up against these guys. We're going to try to be ourselves and keep what we have going, going."
The Cardinals' best chance of hanging with the Chiefs is to play keep-away from Mahomes. Kansas City's defense certainly is vulnerable, ranking 31st (427.4 yards) overall and 25th against the run (124.8).
"I think their defense is pretty good. I know the numbers don't show it," Wilks said. "The great thing about what they have, they have a very explosive offense to be able to compensate and score points. So, we feel like there's an opportunity in the run game. Hopefully, we can run the football against these guys, and hopefully, there's going to be an opportunity in the pass game as well."
Arizona needs to lean on running back David Johnson, who has scored five touchdowns but has rushed for more than 59 yards just once in eight games. Production from the ground game would lessen the burden on rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, who echoed his coach's sentiment that Kansas City's inflated defensive stats are misleading.
"I think a lot of those numbers are a little bit deceiving because they're up by 30 in half their games," Rosen said. "So, a lot of times they're just playing back. They let the offense do what they want to do, try to bend not break, hold them to field goals.
"I think they're like 32nd in pass defense, but I don't think you should read into that at all. They're a very good football team with a very good defense. A lot of that is just because their offense is scoring so many points."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seattle Seahawks RB J.D. McKissic (foot) will return to practice next week, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
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.
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.
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.
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.