Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn gestures during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, left, passes to running back Austin Ekeler during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill looks to throw a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel argues with down judge Kent Payne in the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers are near mirror images of each other.
Both started this season with high expectations only to find themselves having lost two straight and four of their past five.
And they're both desperate to stop their respective skids.
''Our record is what we are, and now we have to fight to get our way out of this hole,'' Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.
The biggest difference between the Chargers and Titans comes at quarterback.
The Chargers have Philip Rivers in his 16th season climbing the NFL's career passing charts, while the Titans have made a change from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill trying to jump-start an offense that has scored one touchdown over the past 10 quarters. Coach Mike Vrabel said the Titans (2-4) felt this move was the right thing for now.
''We're trying to get a little spark,'' Vrabel said.
The Chargers (2-4) also have had their offensive struggles, starting slowly too often. That includes a 14-0 deficit before losing 24-17 to Pittsburgh in their most recent loss.
The Titans were shut out 16-0 losing in Denver last week. They hope being home four of the next five games will help despite losing their first two in Nashville. Left guard Rodger Saffold said the Titans know they have time with 10 games left to turn this season around.
''I want to say that we're urgent but not frantic,'' Saffold said.
Some things to know about the Chargers and Titans:
OUT OF SYNCH
The Chargers' offense has lacked consistency since an overtime win against Indianapolis in the opener. A major reason has been turnovers. Los Angeles is tied for the league lead with Cleveland in red zone turnovers (four) while Rivers already has eight turnovers after committing 13 all of last season.
The Chargers also have failed to score in the first half in consecutive games for the first time since the first two weeks of 2007. Running back Melvin Gordon is still trying to get back up to speed after missing more than two months because of a contract dispute.
''It's really just a handful of plays in each of these games that we haven't been able to overcome,'' Rivers said. ''It's not 60 minutes of bad football. It's just enough bad football that we haven't been able to overcome it. We have to eliminate that and then continue to do the good that we're doing, and speaking offensively, as I've said, it seems simple, but score more points.''
A starter for seven seasons in Miami, Tannehill now has a chance to prove he can start for more than just this week. He played 30 snaps against Denver and was 13 of 16 for 144 yards with an interception. He's 3-1 as a starter against the Chargers, and now his challenge is helping an offense that is averaging just 16.3 points a game.
''I'm not trying to prove anything other than that I can lead this team to wins,'' Tannehill said.
The Chargers' tackling has been poor the past two weeks. They have allowed long touchdowns the past two weeks after failing to wrap up the receiver in the open field. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has discussed continuing to stress where to tackle each player while Lynn wants fewer one-on-one situations in the open field with the Chargers swarming to the ball.
The Chargers are the NFL's No. 10 scoring defense allowing 19.7 points a game, while the Titans (No. 5) are giving up just 15.3 points. Titans four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey says he loves playing Rivers, a native of Decatur, Alabama, because of how much trash the quarterback talks and wants to get Rivers fussing at his offensive line.
''Keep on hitting and talking mess back to him, he's going to respond,'' Casey said. ''Most quarterbacks they go back to the huddle. They're going to complain to the refs. He's a guy who's going to respond and hold his own ground.''
HELP IN OFFING
The Chargers have gotten Russell Okung back in practice this week after the left tackle dealt with blood clot issues. Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, the Titans' first-round pick at No. 19 overall, practiced for the first time Wednesday in his recovery from a torn ACL and could be activated from the non-football injury list in time to make his NFL debut Sunday.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) returned to practice on Wednesday and was a limited participant. There's no guarantee that Fuller will return for the first time since Week 7, but we'll track his practice status the rest of the week. If he returns against the Ravens this Sunday, Fuller will be a boom/bust WR3 for a game that could easily be high-scoring. Fuller's return would push Kenny Stills back to the slot and Keke Coutee back to fourth on the receiver depth chart. DeAndre Hopkins has performed better this year with Fuller sidelined.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (neck, shoulder) was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and is on track to return in Week 11 against the Colts for the first time since Oct. 27 against the Jets. With quarterback Nick Foles (collarbone) also returning in Week 11, Westbrook has some real potential to return to fantasy relevance as a WR3 this weekend. He has 32 receptions on 55 targets for 383 yards and one touchdown in eight games in 2019. Westbrook's return will hurt Chris Conley the most.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (ankle, knee), wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and kicker Robbie Gould (quadriceps) all missed practice on Wednesday. Kittle and Gould sat out on Monday night. All three could be game-time decisions in Week 11 against the Cardinals, making it tough on fantasy owners with the late afternoon start. Ross Dwelley and Chase McLaughlin shouldn't be in starting lineups, despite the great matchup, if Kittle and Gould miss a second straight game. Kittle is a must-start if he's active, but you'll need to have a backup plan. Sanders might have the best chance of playing and is being listed as day-to-day for now. Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne and Marquise Goodwin would have bigger roles if Sanders is ruled out, but only Samuel should be trusted for starting lineups.
Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown (ankle) was limited in practice on Wednesday. Brown was targeted just four times in the blowout win over the Bengals in Week 10 and played limited snaps, but he made them count for 80 yards and his fourth touchdown of the season. The speedy deep threat should be fine to play in Week 11 in another great matchup against Houston's banged-up and inconsistent secondary. Brown is a boom/bust receiver in a run-first offense, but he has a good chance to hit his ceiling as a WR3 again this weekend.
New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl offensive guard Andrus Peat (arm) underwent surgery on Wednesday for a broken arm that he suffered in Week 10, and he's expected to be out for six weeks, according to a source. It's bad news for a Saints offense that surprisingly struggled to protect quarterback Drew Brees against a bad Falcons offense last Sunday. It's a downgrade for Brees and running back Alvin Kamara moving forward, but they should be able to rebound nicely in Week 11 against the Buccaneers.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard (shoulder) was listed as a limited practice participant on Wednesday. Howard should be able to play coming off the team's by week, but his practice participation the rest of the week should be monitored. If he plays against the Patriots in Week 11, Howard will remain on the RB2/3 borderline as Philly's top back. If he's limited or sits out this weekend, rookie Miles Sanders would have RB2 upside as a potential three-down back.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (shoulder) and rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell (hand) both missed practice on Wednesday. Doyle has scored in back-to-back weeks while accumulating 66 yards on six catches. He's been a touchdown-dependent TE2 for fantasy owners while sharing time with Eric Ebron. His Week 11 status will be important, as Ebron would be firmly on the TE1 map against the Jaguars if Doyle isn't able to play. Campbell had surgery on his hand, missed last Sunday's game and is expected to miss at least one more game. Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers have been the team's top two receivers the last several weeks, but that could change if T.Y. Hilton (calf) is able to make his return. It's unlikely that Campbell will make much noise the rest of the way with Hilton and Devin Funchess (clavicle) coming back soon.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (knee) wasn't listed on the Week 11 injury report after reportedly suffering a sprained knee in the Week 10 loss to the Ravens. It's good news for the Bengals offense, but it probably won't matter this weekend against the Raiders. If anything, Bernard's presence is bad news for Joe Mixon. Bernard has had zero standalone fantasy value behind Mixon for the winless Bengals. He's merely a weak handcuff option for those that own Mixon.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Alex Erickson (back) did not practice on Wednesday. Erickson has benefitted from A.J. Green (ankle) not playing at all this season, securing 25 of 38 targets for 343 scoreless yards in eight games. Still, he hasn't been fantasy relevant as the No. 3 receiver in an offense that is now being led by rookie quarterback Ryan Finley. With Green looking likely to miss another game in Week 11 against the Raiders, Stanley Morgan Jr. might be needed to step up in three-receiver sets behind Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate.
Chicago Bears rookie running back David Montgomery (ankle) is on the Week 11 injury report and was limited in practice on Wednesday. It's likely nothing serious, but it's worth keeping an eye on heading into the weekend. The rookie hasn't been great in his first year, averaging 3.6 yards per carry, but his volume out of the backfield can't be argued with. He'll be on the RB2 map for Sunday night's game against the Rams if he's active. If he's surprisingly ruled out, Tarik Cohen will have RB2 upside in this backfield.
Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton (calf) did not practice on Wednesday. Burton has been a non-factor in both real life and fantasy in 2019, catching just 14 passes (24 targets) for 84 yards in eight games. He's gone catchless on just two targets the last two weeks, so he's obviously not on the fantasy radar even if he's healthy. Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker would split tight end repetitions in Week 11 on Sunday night against the Rams if Burton is unable to suit up. Neither would be attractive TE2 streamers in this dysfunctional offense.
Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (toe) is still "out with injury," according to interim head coach Bill Callahan. Tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) remains in the league's concussion protocol coming out of the bye week. Thompson has been out since Week 6 and has no timetable for a return from his turf toe injury. With Derrius Guice now back, Thompson's value has dried up in PPR leagues in this bad offense. Davis has been out since Sept. 29 and also has no timetable for return. He needs to be on the waiver wire in all leagues. Jeremy Sprinkle hasn't been able to take advantage of his opportunity in Davis' absence, and that will likely continue with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins under center the rest of the way.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said that wide receiver Devin Funchess (clavicle), who was put on Injured Reserve after the season opener, returned to practice on Wednesday ahead of Week 11 against the Jaguars. Funchess had three catches for 32 yards against the Chargers in Week 1, and he could have a significant role down the stretch for the Colts in a crowded receiver room that features T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Chester Rogers, Marcus Johnson and Parris Campbell. He could return to game action sometime within the next three weeks, but whether he can handle contact in practice will be the determining factor. For now, continue to leave Funchess to the waiver wire.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) missed practice on Wednesday. Thielen is headed for his second straight missed game with the team's bye week coming in Week 12. You should prepare to be without him in Week 11 against the Broncos. Stefon Diggs has had two slow weeks with Thielen injured, and that could continue this Sunday with Chris Harris Jr. expected to shadow him. Olabisi Johnson, Laquon Treadwell and tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. should continue to see bigger roles in the passing game if Thielen misses another contest. Check with his practice status the rest of the week.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (shoulder) practiced in full all week and was taken off the final injury report for Week 11 against the Browns on Thursday night. Conner will return after missing the last two weeks, and he should be in a workhorse role in a solid matchup against Cleveland's weak run defense. Consider James a solid RB1 in his return, while Jaylen Samuels will move to a backup role. He's only worth considering in deep PPR leagues as an RB3/flex with Conner back in the fold.
Cleveland Browns tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (knee) was able to practice in full on Wednesday, but he's questionable for Thursday night against the Steelers in Week 11. Defensive end Olivier Vernon (knee) missed practice all week and has been ruled out. RSJ sat out in Week 11 and will be a game-time decision. He has just nine catches (14 targets) for 155 yards and two touchdowns in five games this year, so you should be looking elsewhere already. Demetrius Harris would have a bigger role if Seals-Jones doesn't play, but he's merely a desperation TE2. Vernon's absence is good news for Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and running back James Conner.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be on the streaming radar in Week 11 as the lowly Cincinnati Bengals travel to the West coast for Sunday's game. The Bengals Defense has been awful this season, giving up the third-most fantasy points to the QB position, including five-straight 20 or more point performances. On the flip side, Carr seems to be improving every week in his second season under head coach Jon Gruden as he's sporting career-bests in completion rate (70.8%), and QB rating (104.4). The only worry for the veteran this week is if the offense leans more on Josh Jacobs and the ground game as the Bengals are just as bad at defending the run as they are the pass. Carr has displayed a high floor so far in 2019, but the ceiling will be much higher than usual in this salivating matchup.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (leg) flew back to Seattle on Wednesday after spending the last two days in a hospital, according to a source, and the expectation is that Lockett will be ready to face the Eagles in Week 12 after having the bye week to rest up. The 27-year-old had a dud of a game with three catches for 26 yards on Monday night in the win over the 49ers. He doesn't always see a lot of volume in this run-first offense, but he's as efficient as they come and can blow up any given week, evidenced by his 13-catch, 152-yard, two-touchdown game in Week 9 against the Buccaneers. He'll have WR1 upside against Philly's secondary in Week 12 if he's able to get cleared.
New York Jets chief executive officer Christopher Johnson said that head coach Adam Gase will return next season despite a current 2-7 record. "I want to assure you there will be no changes in coaches here," Johnson said in an opening statement to reporters. "Adam has the trust of this team. He has the trust of Sam [Darnold]. He has Joe [Douglas'] trust. He has my trust. He's a good man, he's a good coach." Gase has led a very poor offense so far in 2019, with both quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Le'Veon Bell having extremely frustrating seasons. The Jets, however, have a chance to win two in a row in Week 11 in a good matchup with the Redskins.
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said that wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. Green was close to making his season debut in Week 10 before experiencing swelling in his ankle after practicing early in the week. He looks to be on the wrong side of questionable for Week 11 against the Raiders, too, and the Bengals might even shut him down for the rest of the season. Green is still worth stashing in deeper leagues, but you shouldn't expect much from him even if he returns to this winless Bengals squad. For now, Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate and Alex Erickson will continue to operate in three-wide sets.