Thu Oct 17 5:51pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) scores a touchdown next to Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Damien Wilson (54) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) runs past a tackle attempt by Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill (22) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates his touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) is upended by Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde (23) is held back by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward (35) and cornerback Kendall Fuller, rear, during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich heads off the field after the Colts defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 19-13 in sn NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich prefers taking the aggressive approach.
His coaching staff understands it. His players respect it. And opponents know they must be prepared to confront it.
Sometimes, the fourth-down gambles pay off - as they did earlier this season at Tennessee and Kansas City. Sometimes, they backfire. Either way, though, Reich acknowledges he's willing to take the same risky call against Houston on Sunday as he did in last year's home overtime loss to the Texans.
''Those decisions always come down to what's best for the team in the moment,'' Reich said. ''A lot of things go into those decisions, but primarily like you said, it's a belief in the players. Yes, we think situationally it calls for it, but it really stems from a belief that we'll get it done.''
Nobody has been better playing the odds this season than Reich.
Indy has converted all seven fourth-down attempts, the gutsiest call coming from its 35-yard line with less than 2+ minutes to go in a two-point game at Tennessee.
And when things don't go right, such as the incompletion on fourth-and-4 from the Indy 43 with 24 seconds left in overtime against Houston, Reich still seems to hit the jackpot. While the Colts lost that game, he won over the locker room with a season-changing moment.
Indy has won 13 of its 19 games since then including twice at Houston late last season.
''Frank made the call he felt was best for his team and that's in my opinion what Frank does well,'' coach Bill O'Brien said after the Texans converted a key fourth down at Kansas City last week. ''He's an aggressive coach. You know sometimes you have to do in your mind what's best for your team from your preparation and where you are in the game. Those are things that Frank does very well.''
It keeps everyone on their toes - and the bye week may only give Reich more time to contemplate how to play it Sunday.
''I think that mentality is what carries beyond that one play,'' he said. ''I think that's an example of what happened last year. Yeah, that was one play, but it was the belief and conviction in our players I think that carries longer than the one play.''
Four-time Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton has thrived against the Texans over the years.
In 15 games, the Colts receiver has 78 receptions, 1,506 yards and nine touchdowns. Late last season, with an ankle injury, he still managed to haul in 11 catches for 260 yards in the games at Houston.
The Texans know just tough Hilton can be.
''He's fast, great route runner, can come in and out of his breaks, understands how to attack leverage, has great experience,'' O'Brien said. ''He's seen all of the coverages there are, so he knows how to get open. He's got good chemistry with Jacoby and I think he's targeted quite a bit. It's a challenge.''
HOLDING THE LINE
The Colts went from worst in sacks allowed in 2017 to first last season. Now Houston is trying to follow a similar blueprint.
While Jacoby Brissett has gone down just six times, tied for the second fewest in the league, the Texans have made a dramatic turnaround after giving up 18 sacks during the first four weeks.
Neither Brissett nor Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson have been sacked in their past two games.
''They're doing a heck of a job of playing as a unit,'' Watson said. ''Everyone is up there with the right mindset, positive attitude and always playing the next play. So, those guys up there have been doing a heck of a job.''
The Colts, meanwhile, have only allowed one sack in their past five October games.
Running back Carlos Hyde fit exactly what the Texans wanted when they acquired him from Kansas City on Aug. 31 - after losing Lamar Miller to a season-ending knee injury.
Hyde has been the key to the league's No. 5 rushing attack (139.8 yards) and ran for a season-high 116 yards and one touchdown last weekend.
He's 10th in the NFL with 426 yards rushing and has three touchdowns this season.
HOME, SWEET, HOME
After Indy won 13 straight home games to open the series, Houston has taken three of past four at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts' lone victory during this current run came in the 2017 season finale, with Brissett closing out the season as the starter. Indy also had a seven-game home winning streak snapped by Oakland on Sept. 29.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert rushed six times for 13 yards and caught two passes for 14 yards in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. With the Niners falling behind early, the running attack managed just 34 yards Sunday as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie wideout Deebo Samuel shined. Mosterts quiet day is a bummer considering the absence of Matt Breida (ankle), but the entire ground game got nothing going. Mostert continues to show flashes but has done little to merit serious fantasy attention. Hell be a volatile flex play if Breida is held out again in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers.
The San Francisco 49ers Defense recorded two takeaways and four sacks while allowing 26 points in Week 11s victory against the Arizona Cardinals. The Niners were sluggish early, getting blitzed by rookie quarterback Kyler Murray to a 0-16 deficit before tightening the screws in the second half. Both takeaways came late in the fourth quarter via fumble recoveries, including a laughable lateral play by the Cardinals that the Niners scooped up for a touchdown to end the game. Despite yielding points, the defense again made enough plays to win and remain fantasy-relevant. Theyll have another tough test in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers but remain a must-start unit.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne netted four of six targets for 31 yards and a touchdown in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. Bourne was the clear No. 2 option behind rookie Deebo Samuel but played ahead of a hobbled Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and Marquise Goodwin. His third score of the season came from two yards out in the fourth quarter. Bourne continues to see regular snaps as hes firmly surpassed Dante Pettis (zero targets) on the depth chart. He could merit a deep-league waiver claim but will just be a low-floor WR5 in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 34 of 45 passes for 424 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in Week 11s victory against the Arizona Cardinals. The Niners fell behind early and managed just 34 rushing yards on the day, leaving it to Jimmy G to lead the comeback. He found backup tight end Ross Dwelley twice inside five yards for his first two scores before connecting with wideout Kendrick Bourne for his third touchdown. Garoppolos final score was the decisive game-winner when he found running back Jeffery Wilson darting down the middle for a 25-yard go-ahead touchdown. Despite the banner day, Garoppolos two picks give him 10 for the year, including a near fourth quarter back-breaker in the red-zone. However, he got the job done despite missing tight end George Kittle (ankle, knee). Garoppolo will be a QB2 in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) nabbed three balls for 33 yards before exiting with a rib injury. Entering the game questionable, Sanders saw five targets before aggravating his injury midway through the game. The 10-year veteran looked noticeably hobbled in limited snaps, gingerly getting up after each hit. In his absence, rookie wideout Deebo Samuel went off for 134 yards. Its probable Sanders will be limited this week in practice and be a game-time decision again in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers. Samuel will be a WR3 operating as the de facto No. 1 receiver.
The Los Angeles Rams Defense tallied three sacks and an interception while holding the Chicago Bears to just seven points in Week 11. The Rams will have a very tough test against the Baltimore Ravens next week and are probably best avoided.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald had two sacks against the Chicago Bears in Week 11. That makes five games in a row he has reached the quarterback. He added four tackles (three solo) and batted down a pass. Donald remains a solid DL1 in individual defensive formats.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff was 11-for-18 for 173 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears. That was the fewest amount of attempts he has had as a starter. The Rams surprisingly relied on the run and were able to secure the victory. Goff's play has to worry his owners in fantasy as he's inconsistent and downright scary to play in poor matchups. He'll have another tough matchup next week, and he's a low-end QB1.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed 25 times for 97 yards and a touchdown in the Week 11 win over the Chicago Bears. He did lose a fumble, however. Gurley also caught three balls for 36 yards. The three catches tied for the team lead as the team finally rode on his back. His 25 carries were a season high by a large margin, and maybe now the team is willing to utilize him normally after he was used so sparingly to this point. He'll face the Baltimore Ravens next week.
Detroit Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson was quiet once again, posting just one catch on two targets for six yards in Week 11. There are just too many mouths to feed on this Lions squad for Hockenson to consistently get targets. Hockenson has surpassed the 32-yard receiving mark just once since his outlier Week 1 performance, while also putting up three single-digit receiving yard performances in that time. His floor is quite an ugly one with or without Matthew Stafford (back) in the lineup, making him a very hard sell going forward. The Lions will face the lowly Redskins in Week 12. Hockenson will be nothing more than a boom-or-bust TE2 option in that matchup.
Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown had five carries for 15 yards and a touchdown in Week 11. It was Brown's first useful day in fantasy since Week 1 when he vultured two touchdowns. You can't bank on that week to week, but he needs to be handcuffed to starting running back Todd Gurley. Rookie Darrell Henderson didn't see any action, which means Brown has first dibs on touches after Gurley again.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp was limited to three catches for 53 yards in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears. The Rams completed just 11 passes and clearly planned around the run with wide receivers Robert Woods (personal) and Brandin Cooks (concussion) out. He caught all of his targets, and one of them went for 50 yards. Kupp has now had two dreadful weeks in a row and hopes to turn the tides next week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett caught the only ball thrown to him in Week 11 for 20 yards. The team clearly focused on running the ball, and they didn't take many shots down the field. Everett should have more opportunities next week against the Baltimore Ravens.
New York Jets tight end Daniel Brown caught his only target for a 20-yard touchdown in a win Sunday in Washington. Brown got the scoring going with a touchdown to cap a 75-yard opening drive touchdown, the fourth week in a row New York has found the end zone on their first drive. That would be all for Brown in the game, however, as starting tight end Ryan Griffin had a big afternoon. As a backup tight end on a disappointing offense, Brown has no fantasy value.
New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas made four catches for 44 yards in a win over the Redskins Sunday. Thomas was targeted five times as his target share continues to be wildly inconsistent from game-to-game. As the third wide receiver on the depth chart it's hard to trust Thomas in anything other than a very deep league as his targets have been too unpredictable and he's yet to find the end zone.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston completed 30-of-51 passes for 313 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions in the Bucs Week 11 loss to the Saints. Winston was unable to get out of his own way the entire afternoon, and all but sealed the win for the Saints after tossing a pick-six with just 5:07 remaining to put the Saints up by 17. Winston is currently on track to throw more than 28 interceptions on the season but has still been able to put up useful fantasy numbers. He will have a much easier matchup in Week 12 with the Falcons on deck. Fantasy owners can slot him in as a low-end QB1 for that one.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder made five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown against his former team Sunday. Crowder has now scored a touchdown three straight weeks as he continues to be Sam Darnold's favorite target. Crowder has had 76 or more yards in five of seven games played with Darnold healthy and has been his most trusted receiver in the red zone. Fantasy managers should continue to start Crowder with confidence with a run of good matchups still to come for the Jets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber did not have a rushing attempt the entire afternoon in Week 11 but was able to save his day with a six-yard touchdown catch. Barber caught 2-of-2 targets for 11 yards on the day but was totally uninvolved after scoring late in the fourth quarter with the Bucs in a deep hole. Barber's usage has continued to decrease weekly as Ronald Jones II has become the clear No.1 option in this backfield. Fantasy owners who are still holding on to Barber can drop him now. Needless to say, he will not be a recommended start in Week 12 against the Falcons.
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson caught one of three targets for six yards and a touchdown in a win over the Redskins Sunday. Anderson has now reached the point in fantasy where he disappoints his owners even when he scores a touchdown as this is the second straight week he's made only one catch. Quarterback Sam Darnold just seems to have a better connection with Jamison Crowder and Ryan Griffin than with Anderson as Darnold has struggled to get the ball downfield to Anderson all season. He'll remain a boom-or-bust flex option in deeper leagues with more favorable matchups on the horizon.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell carried the ball 18 times for 59 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Redskins. Bell also had two catches in the game to give him 20 total touches for the seventh time in 11 games this season. This is the second straight good-not-great performance from Bell where he saved his fantasy day with a touchdown. It's fair to wonder if the Jets start to split carries more with Bilal Powell, the latter received seven carries for the second straight week. Powell averaged six yards per carry to Bell's 3.3 so they may rely more on the fresh legs more moving forward. Despite the inefficiency from Bell, his typical volume makes him a must-start RB in fantasy.