Wed Nov 7 10:15 pm
The New Orleans Saints added a receiver and the Cincinnati Bengals apparently will be forced to subtract one before the teams meet Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Saints strengthened their offense for their playoff push by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant on Wednesday. Bryant was to a sign a contract and join the team Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Bengals were preparing to play without A.J. Green, who was dealing with a foot injury sustained in the 37-34 win two weeks ago over Tampa Bay.
Bryant has not played since Dallas terminated his contract in the offseason, but he impressed the Saints coaches enough in a workout Tuesday for them to add him to the roster of a team that was doing fine without him.
New Orleans is 7-1 after winning seven straight with Drew Brees at quarterback. Brees could be positioned for a huge game against the Bengals, who rank last in the NFL in pass defense.
The Saints' most productive receiver by far is Michael Thomas with 70 catches. Running back Alvin Kamara has 51 receptions and tight end Ben Watson is next with 26. Wide receivers Tre'Quan Smith and Ten Ginn Jr. have combined for only 12 catches and Ginn is on injured reserve.
"We already had one of the best offenses in the league, if not the best," Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore said. "This gives us another key component."
The acquisition of Bryant comes two weeks after the Saints made a trade with the New York Giants to acquire cornerback Eli Apple, who immediately became a starter.
"Just adding weapons helps any team and I think that's going to help our receiver corps, help our offense," Saints linebacker A.J. Klein said. "Eli has come in and helped our defense. Any time (the Saints upgrade the roster) it gets us fired up, but we're ready to get back to work and focus on this game."
It's too early to tell how much Bryant will play or even if he'll play. Apple arrived on a Wednesday and played virtually the entire game four days later, but wide receiver requires more mental preparation than cornerback does.
The signing of Bryant did raise some eyebrows because of his volatile personality. He was immersed in controversy throughout his career and took some parting shots at the Cowboys' organization after being released.
New Orleans has cultivated a tight-knit team that has been controversy free.
"I don't know Dez personally," Saints tight end Benjamin Watson said. "Obviously I've watched him over the years like you have and I've seen the tremendous athlete and receiver and the passion for the game.
"Early in my career, I was told that the job of the general manager and the head coach is to make the team as good as it can be. As a player, I trust the front office and the coaches and I'm confident he wouldn't be coming in if the powers that be weren't convinced that he can contribute and help us win games."
The New Orleans defense likely won't have to contend with Cincinnati's best wide receiver and so it will be focused on containing running back Joe Mixon (123 yards rushing, two touchdowns vs. Tampa Bay) and forcing quarterback Andy Dalton to lean on his short-handed receivers.
While the Bengals (5-3) prepared to face the Saints after a bye week, Green received an second opinion on the injured foot from highly regarded foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, who said Green doesn't need surgery.
But that does not mean Green will play Sunday. It appears that the Bengals will look at contingency plans for their top receiver for at least this week and next week's visit to Baltimore.
The Bengals are hoping that wide receiver Tyler Boyd and oft-injured John Ross step up to help fill the void left by Green's absence to provide targets for Dalton.
"Obviously, it puts a lot of pressure on us as individuals because we know what he brings to the table," Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah said. "I mean, he's A.J. Green. A.J. Dream is what we call him -- it's a dream to have him on the team."
Green is Cincinnati's top wideout with 687 yards and six touchdown catches. Boyd has 49 catches for 620 yards and five touchdowns this season.
Ross sat out the game at Tampa Bay with a groin injury but returned to practice this week. In five games this season, the 2017 No. 9 overall pick has seven catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
Cincinnati is 3-6-1 in games without Green, who has missed some time in three of the last five seasons.
"Well, you know, again, we just got to get ready to play New Orleans," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said.
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.