Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew speaks with the media following an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor works the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
CINCINNATI (AP) A so-so showing against the Saints threw a little cold water on Minshew-mania. The rookie with the distinctive `stache has a chance to re-ignite it against one of the NFL's two winless teams.
Quarterbacks tend to have big games against these winless Bengals.
Gardner Minshew looked very ordinary during the Jaguars' 13-6 loss to New Orleans. Jacksonville (2-4) was held to a season-low 226 yards and a pair of field goals. Minshew threw for only 163 yards with an interception.
The sixth-round pick became an overnight sensation after Nick Foles got hurt in the opener. He leads all rookies with nine touchdown passes in six games and a passer rating of 97.5. A little of the luster came off in that ragged showing against the Saints.
Asked if it'll be easier to play at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday without the mania, Minshew smiled and said, ''I don't listen to it much anyway. It's about the same.''
The past three quarterbacks who faced the Bengals had career days.
Cincinnati fell to 0-6 for the first time in 11 years when Lamar Jackson ran for a career-high 152 yards last Sunday in Baltimore's 23-17 win . A week earlier, Kyler Murray ran for a career-high 93 in the Cardinals' first win. Pittsburgh's Mason Rudolph had a good time during a 27-3 win the previous Monday night.
And things are only getting worse in Cincinnati. The Bengals are last in the league at stopping the run, and they're expected to be without their top two cornerbacks on Sunday.
The previous time the Bengals opened 0-7 was 2008, when they dropped their first eight under coach Marvin Lewis. As October starts to wind down, first-year coach Zac Taylor is still looking for that inaugural win.
''It's one of those things where we didn't expect it to look like this coming into the year, but it's where we are,'' quarterback Andy Dalton said. ''You still go to work, and you still love this game. It has been tough, though.''
Some things to watch Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium:
The Jaguars dealt top cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Rams for three draft picks Tuesday, parting ways with a two-time Pro Bowl player who wanted out. Ramsey had requested a trade and missed the past three games with a back injury. Coach Doug Marrone addressed it with players as he got them focused for Cincinnati.
''We did a good job not letting that distract us,'' cornerback A.J. Bouye said. ''Now we just have to move forward.''
RUN TO DAYLIGHT
Nobody stands a better chance for a big game than Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, who is second in the AFC with 584 yards rushing and is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He'll be facing a defense that has allowed 5.3 yards per rush - worst in the league - and has already allowed three opponents to rush for more than 250 yards. Cincinnati has by far the worst run defense in the NFL, allowing 184.5 yards per game. Jackson had his big day in Baltimore's win last Sunday even though the Bengals focused on stopping his runs.
''When you've got a minimum of two guys on the guy and they don't make the plays, it is disconcerting,'' defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo said.
Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson III are expected to miss the game with injuries, leaving the Bengals in a tough spot at cornerback. Slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard returned to practice this week after being sidelined since knee surgery in March. Even though he hadn't played a snap in practice since last year, he's likely to see a lot of playing time.
''I'm kind of an even-keel guy,'' Dennard said. ''A lot of these games have been like roller coasters - high emotions and lows and all that type stuff. So I'm going to keep everybody calm.''
RUN THE BALL
Not only have the Bengals been unable to stop the run, they haven't had much of a running game themselves. They're also last in the league in that category, averaging only 56.5 yards per game. The lack of a running game has forced Dalton to throw the ball 243 times, third-most in the league. Joe Mixon will be going against a Jaguars run defense that ranks only 25th in the league.
HOW MANY WILL WATCH
After three straight losing seasons, the Bengals have struggled to sell tickets. Only 50,666 were distributed for their home opening loss the 49ers, and 46,012 were distributed for the second home game against the Cardinals. Paul Brown Stadium hasn't been much of a home-field advantage.
Atlanta Falcons RB Brian Hill played 51 percent of the offensive snaps Sunday, Nov. 10, in the win over the New Orleans Saints. The bulk of Hill's work came with RB Devonta Freeman (foot) out of the game.
Fantasy Spin: With Freeman expected to miss multiple games and backup Ito Smith (neck) already out for the year, Hill will have a big role in a nice matchup against the soft Carolina Panthers run defense. He should be a top waiver priority this week.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams played 72 percent of the offensive snaps in the Week 10 loss against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Nov. 10. RB Darrel Williams played just 21 percent with RB Darwin Thompson getting a total of five offensive snaps. RB LeSean McCoy was a healthy scratch.
Fantasy Spin: Williams' 109 yards from scrimmage were the second-most he's racked up in a game and came on the heels of a season-high 125 rushing yards last week. He didn't find the end zone for the first time in three weeks, but it was a heavy workload and he lived up to the task. Fantasy managers who took a chance on him this year seem like they'll be rewarded down the stretch run.
Miami Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage played 82 percent of the offensive snaps Sunday, Nov. 10, against the Indianapolis Colts. RB Patrick Laird played just eight offensive snaps with RB Myles Gaskin playing five total snaps (all on offense).
Fantasy Spin: Ballage ran the ball 20 times but for a very disappointing 43 yards. He caught all four of his targets but for just two yards. It was the Dolphins' second straight win but it remains highly doubtful there'll be many more of these. If he wasn't successful in Week 10, it's unlikely he will be.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt played 54 percent of the offensive snaps against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Nov. 10, but starter Nick Chubb played a three-week high of 81 percent in the 19-16 victory. RB Dontrell Hilliard played just eight offensive snaps for his lowest total since Week 5.
Fantasy Spin: Chubb ran 20 times for 116 yards while catching two of four targets for just five yards. Hunt totaled 74 yards from scrimmage on 11 touches with seven receptions and four carries. It's quite possible both could be effective fantasy options in the same games, but Chubb remains the definitive No. 1 option.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson has put together a solid rookie campaign with 30 receptions, over 360 yards, and three touchdowns. In Thursday night's game against the Cleveland Browns, Johnson will work to stay in the sights of quarterback Mason Rudolph. However, Rudolph has been favoring shorter routes recently, which puts Johnson at a bit of a disadvantage. Although Johnson's big-play ability gives him value as a touchdown-dependent WR4 in Week 11.
Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry drew criticism from head coach Freddie Kitchens Tuesday, Nov. 12, for the 15-yard taunting penalty he took Sunday, Nov. 10 against the Buffalo Bills. 'I don't like penalties,' said Kitchens. 'I don't like penalties. I want him playing with passion, though, not emotion, but passion.'
Fantasy Spin: Landry had one of his best games of the season by catching nine of 10 targets for 97 yards and finding the end zone for the second straight week, but the penalty set up the missed 48-yard extra point by PK Austin Seibert.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has just 12 receptions for 170 yards and one touchdown in his last four games. With a Thursday Night football matchup against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11, Smith-Schuster shouldn't be considered the reliable option many drafted him as. Quarterback Mason Rudolph has been favoring shorter to intermediate routes, which should favor the USC product, but the numbers haven't followed. Look at Smith-Schuster as a touchdown-dependent WR2 against Cleveland.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington is coming off the best consecutive performances of his young career. He's hauled in 10 of 11 targets for 159 yards and a touchdown in the last two games, and he seems to be redeveloping a connection with his college quarterback Mason Rudolph. He'll face off against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night and has a chance to build himself more opportunities in the offense. View Washington as nothing but a WR4 in deeper leagues, as he still has some room to prove his fantasy worth.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (shoulder) was a full participant in Tuesday's practice, all but confirming he's good to go for Thursday night's road game against the Cleveland Browns. After missing the last two contests, Conner has been missed on offense, as the Steelers have combined for just 132 rushing yards in that span. Against the Browns, Conner should help open up the offensive gameplan by reassuming the lead-back role. Look at the 24-year-old as an RB2 against a defense that allows 19 fantasy points per game to running backs.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels steps away from the lead-back role with the expected return of James Conner (shoulder) in Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns. Over the last two games, Samuels turned 38 touches into just 123 yards and no touchdowns, so it's clear he's not suited for four-down work in this offense. Against the Browns on Thursday, the NC State product isn't very fantasy appealing as Cleveland has allowed just 40 receptions to running backs this season, the ninth-fewest in the NFL. Since Conner is likely returning, Samuels is best left on fantasy benches in Week 11.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph gets a favorable matchup for Thursday Night Football when the Steelers travel to take on the Cleveland Browns. Rudolph has been gaining more confidence with each start, and his 242 yards passing last week were the second highest of his short career. Against the Browns, the second-year signal caller faces a defense that allows an average of 23 fantasy points per game. Rudolph can be considered a low-end QB2, especially in the early game of the week. You could do worse, but you could certainly do better for a streaming option.
Free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick (49ers) shared a message on Twitter Tuesday, Nov. 12, addressing the previous reports of the league-arranged free-agent workout Saturday, Nov. 16. 'I'm just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I've been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can't wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday,' Kaepernick wrote.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (ankle) will seek a second opinion on his reaggravated sprained ankle. Breida only accrued 25 yards on 12 touches in Week 10 before exiting in the second half. Breida is no stranger to playing injured but NFL Networks Tom Pelissero believes he could miss some time to let it heal. Breidas absence would benefit third-string back Raheem Mostert who flashed promise earlier this season when Tevin Coleman was hurt. Mostert would be a risky but upside flex play in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals if Breida is inactive.
San Francisco 49ers WR Dante Pettis is running out of time to prove his worth in head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. 'The more he doesn't take advantage of his opportunities, the less opportunities he gets,' Shanahan said Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Fantasy Spin: Pettis, a second-year pro, has caught just 11 of 24 targets this season for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He shouldn't be on rosters in anything shallower than 14- or 16-team leagues.
Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (hamstring) has a 'legit' hamstring injury, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Seattle Seahawks TE Ed Dickson (knee) was close to being activated off of injured reserve this past week and will return for Week 12 following the team's bye, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Nov. 12.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (knee, ankle) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) are considered day-to-day and shaping up as game-time decisions in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. Kittle and Sanders figure to practice minimally this week, if any. Kittle missed Week 10 and his injury appears serious but head coach Kyle Shanahan refrained from ruling out the warrior. Sanders suffered a rib cartilage injury on Monday night and the severity is unknown. Without their top aerial playmakers, the biggest gainer could be wideout Deebo Samuel. The rookie amassed 112 yards on eight catches in Week 10 and was clearly the most electric player amongst Kendrick Bourne, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis. Samuel will be a hot waiver commodity and slots as a WR3 if both Kittle and Sanders cant go.
Updating a previous story, San Francisco 49ers DL Ronald Blair (knee) will undergo season-ending surgery for his torn ACL, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock (thumb) returned to practice Tuesday, Nov. 12. A decision will need to be made by Dec. 3 to activate him from injured reserve. CB Bryce Callahan (foot) also returned to practice Tuesday. He has remained on the 53-man roster.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (knee) is day-to-day, although head coach Kyle Shanahan is 'hopeful' Kittle will be able to play in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Fantasy Spin: Expect the third-year tight end to be held out of practice early in the week, although it sounds like Kittle's fantasy owners need to be prepared for the possibility of another missed game. If he can make it through a limited practice by Friday, he'll have a chance to suit up and be worth a start in fantasy. If he can't go, Ross Dwelley and Garrett Celek figure to see the bulk of work on passing downs in his absence.