Thu Oct 17 7:27pm ET
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer
Chicago Bears quarterback Chase Daniel (4) prepares to throw during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew, lower left, is sacked by New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, center, as Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, right, tries to slow Jordan down during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, left, looks for a receiver as he is pressured by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) tackles Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the second half of an NFL football game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) The New Orleans Saints kept their sights set on a Super Bowl even after Drew Brees went down with an injury.
While their superstar quarterback continues to recover following thumb surgery, the NFC South leaders will try to remain unbeaten without him.
The Saints look to improve to 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater as their starter in Brees' place when they visit Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
''It just shows this is a team that's determined to win and do whatever it takes,'' Bridgewater said.
The Saints (5-1) are getting big contributions from their defense and special teams and enough from their offense even if they're not moving the ball the way they did a year ago. They're averaging 344.7 yards - down 34.5 yards per game from last season, when Brees made 15 starts. He's been sidelined since he tore a ligament in his right thumb during a loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2.
Bridgewater has completed about 69 percent of his passes for 1,089 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. He wasn't as effective last week at Jacksonville, after throwing for 314 yards and four touchdowns against Tampa Bay, but he hit Jared Cook for a tiebreaking 4-yard TD early in the fourth quarter against the Jaguars.
He will try to keep the Saints rolling against a team looking to bounce back. The Bears (3-2) are coming off a loss to Oakland in London two weeks ago in which their defense got pushed around a bit after dominating the first four games and their offense continued to struggle.
Here are some things to know:
The Bears hope to get quarterback Mitchell Trubisky back after missing a game because of a left shoulder injury.
If he returns, he'll try to build on a promising showing against Washington in Week 3.
Trubisky threw three touchdowns in an easy win over the struggling Redskins after mediocre outings in a season-opening loss to Green Bay and a narrow victory at Denver. He was then injured on the opening drive against Minnesota on Sept. 29.
''I felt that each game leading up to that Vikings game, until he got hurt, that there was (improvement),'' Bears coach Matt Nagy said. ''Progression-wise where he's going, playing faster, seeing at the line of scrimmage that he's getting into checks or seeing progressions, adjustments at the line of scrimmage - way quicker than what he was.''
Veteran Chase Daniel figures to make his second straight start if Trubisky is unavailable.
With 18 sacks, New Orleans is tied with Green Bay and Tennessee for sixth in the NFL.
Coach Sean Payton has been pleased by how depth along the front has helped keep linemen fresh and pressure high. While Cameron Jordan leads the club with five sacks, he's one of eight defensive linemen who've had at least half a sack. Payton said the Saints put an emphasis on improving depth on the defensive line after defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, who was second on the club in sacks last season with eight, tore his Achilles tendon last January. That helped the Saints remain stout up front until Rankins returned in Week 4.
The Saints have not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season - or in 32 games, for that matter. They've also held their previous three opponents - Dallas, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville - to season lows in total yards.
While the Saints could be thin at running back if Alvin Kamara is unavailable or limited because of knee and ankle injuries, the Bears placed right guard Kyle Long and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks on injured reserve this week.
Long will miss the remainder of the season with a hip injury. Hicks could return after eight weeks from an elbow injury he suffered against Oakland. Both players have made the Pro Bowl - Long from 2013-15 and Hicks last year.
Saints rookie defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson has had a promising start to his career. And he is expected to be tested more this week because primary nickel back P.J. Williams was suspended two games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Johnson's biggest moment was a hit on Cowboys QB Dak Prescott on a delayed blitz that forced an interception on the final play of the Saints' 12-10 triumph over Dallas in Week 4.
DEFERENCE TO DANIEL
While the Saints weren't sure which quarterback they'd be facing, several spoke highly of former teammate Daniel.
Rankins said Daniel - who played for New Orleans from 2009-12 and in 2017 - was always respected by the Saints' offensive brain trust: Payton and Brees.
''Coaches respected his opinion if he had an opinion on certain plays, or Drew would go to him about certain things, or they would converse back and forth about things they were seeing on the field,'' recalled Rankins, who was Daniel's teammate in 2017.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will get a juicy matchup in Week 11 against a leaky Eagles secondary. Edelman has been as solid as a rock all season, posting 63 receptions for 663 yards and four touchdowns through his first nine games this season. Now he will face an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. They have surrendered 12 touchdowns to receivers and 11 different receivers have scored 10-plus fantasy points against them. The Patriots passing game should be able to exploit the Eagles, making Edelman a low-end WR1 for Week 11.
New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will look to build off his excellent performance in Week 9 when the Patriots take on the Eagles in Week 11. In his second game with his new team, Sanu caught 10 passes for 81 yards and one touchdown. The veteran now will face an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to receivers this season. Sanu actually caught four passes for 16 yards against the Eagles in Week 2 but he played for the Falcons at the time. The Eagles secondary has allowed seven 100-yard receiving games to receivers this season, a number Sanu could conceivably achieve in Week 11. Sanu will carry WR2/3 value into Sunday's matchup.
The New England Patriots Defense will look to get back to its elite ways in Week 11 against the Eagles. The defense was exposed in Week 9 by the Ravens and have had an entire bye week to stew about it. They will face an Eagles offense that has been inconsistent this season and has allowed 12 sacks over their last four games. Before the Ravens game, the Patriots defense was on pace to break all sorts of fantasy records. Now they will have a chance to get back on track in Week 11 and should be considered a top-five fantasy play among defenses this coming Sunday.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel will try and get his season on track against the Eagles in Week 11. It won't be easy as the Eagles Defense has allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Outside of the Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards against them in Week 7, no other running back has posted more than 63 rushing yards in a single game. Michel's fantasy status has been saved by his six rushing touchdowns this season but must drastically improve upon his 3.3 yards per carry. The second-year running back could disappoint with this difficult matchup in Week 11.
New England Patriots running back James White is coming off the bye week with 44 receptions for 404 yards this season heading into Week 11's action. The veteran will go up against an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. The Eagles have been tough on the run all season and have surrendered only one receiving touchdown to an opposing running back all season. The Patriots will still look to exploit the underneath passing game and White should see a solid amount of targets. But don't expect the world out of White in fantasy for Week 11.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Co. will be ready to roll of their bye week when they play the Eagles in Week 11. After a disappointing loss to the Ravens, the Patriots offense will look to get back on track against an Eagles Defense allowing the 15th most fantasy points to opposing passers. Brady is having another top-10 fantasy season at the quarterback position but has posted only modest totals the past few games. The Eagles secondary is still a mess but the defensive unit has allowed only an average of 15.1 fantasy points to quarterbacks over their last three games. But Brady is no average quarterback and should post top-10 totals once again in Week 11.
The Chicago Bears Defense will go up against a Rams offense in Week 11 that was manhandled by a feisty Steelers Defense last week. Los Angeles' offense has taken a step back this season and quarterback Jared Goff has already thrown nine interceptions this season. The Bears defense still is posting decent fantasy numbers but the takeaways have been on the decline over the past month. The Rams will be without multiple starters on their offensive line for this important game and the Bears defense will be an appealing choice with Khalil Mack and Co. can take advantage in Week 11.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery will face a Rams Defense that is allowing the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Montgomery's touches have been on the rise but, for the most part, his yardage is capping around 60-80 total yards a game. This is will be a challenging marker to hit against a Rams defense that hasn't allowed more than 66 rushing yards to a single running back since Week 5. The rookie does have three touchdowns over his last three games and will need a score to post RB2-type fantasy numbers in Week 11.
Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen will look to make an explosive play on Sunday Night Football when the Bears take on the Rams in Week 11. Cohen is coming off one of his more active games of the season, posting 37 total yards with one touchdown against the Lions last week. Cohen is a threat in the passing game but the Rams Defense has not allowed an opposing running back to post more than 35 receiving yards against them since Week 1. The Bears offense is still a major work in progress, making Cohen a very risky FLEX play in most fantasy formats for Week 11.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel will take on a Rams Defense that is allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Gabriel caught four passes for 39 yards and one touchdown in last week's win and could see plenty of targets with teammate Allen Robinson being shadowed by top corner Jalen Ramsey. The Rams secondary, however, has been tough on wide receivers this season. Outside of a three-touchdown meltdown against the Seahawks, the Rams have allowed only four touchdowns to receivers all season. Gabriel should see at least one deep target in the game and will be no more than a dart-throw in deeper fantasy formats for Week 11.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will try and bring his team back to .500 against the Rams in Week 11, Trubisky bounced back after a horrific showing against the Eagles by throwing three touchdowns against the Lions last week. But he will have a more challenging test this week against a Rams Defense that is allowing the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. They have, however, allowed an average of 281 yards passing over their last six games, The season is on the brink for both teams but Trubisky can't be trusted to deliver in fantasy for Week 11.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson will have a tough test against the Rams in Week 11. Robinson has been the only consistent source of production for the Bears this season, heading into the game with 53 receptions for 618 yards and three touchdowns. But he should see plenty of Jalen Ramsey shadowing him throughout the game and the Rams are allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to receivers. In addition, outside of allowing three touchdowns in Week 5 to Seahawks receivers, the Rams have surrendered only four touchdowns to receivers all season. Touchdowns have already been hard to come by for the Bears offense this season and Robinson could struggle to post WR2 numbers in Week 11.
Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson is expected to remain atop the depth chart despite the return of RB Derrius Guice. Before Guice's injury, interim head coach Bill Callahan said Guice was coming into his own as a check-down back and in pass-protection scenarios. Guice remains behind Peterson on the depth chart.
Fantasy Spin: Peterson and the Redskins actually face a difficult matchup in Week 11, as they meet the Jets. New York ranks No. 2 in the NFL against the run, allowing just 81.9 yards per game on the ground. However, they have allowed 10 rushing scores. Peterson remains an RB2 or flex fantasy option in most leagues.
The Denver Broncos waived CB Coty Sensabaugh on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
The Denver Broncos claimed CB Cyrus Jones off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
While Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard (abdomen) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 13, beat writer Kevin Bowen expects the tackle machine to be ready for Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, noting that Leonard played every defensive snap and did not have an in-game injury in Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett (knee) was able to take part in a full practice session Wednesday, Nov. 13. That was apparently a vital step for him to get back to his starting duties for Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 'I'm assuming it's going to be good and barring any setback the rest of the week, he'll be the starter,' head coach Frank Reich confirmed.
Fantasy Spin: Obviously watch the injury report Thursday, and especially Friday. If Brissett suffered a setback it would be Brian Hoyer making another start. After losing to the lowly Miami Dolphins last week, the Colts probably hope it doesn't come to that.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Defense has been on an absolute tear of late and are in a perfect spot to continue that strong play against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. The unit has recorded at least three takeaways in each of their last five games, including four a week ago against the Rams. However, on the short week, the Steelers will need to do a good job of pressuring Baker Mayfield, as the Browns haven't turned the ball over in either of their past two matchups. All things considered, the Steelers are about as "must play" as it gets for a fantasy defense right now.
Indianapolis Colts WR Devin Funchess (clavicle) was able to practice Wednesday, Nov. 13 for the first time since the regular-season opener. He is eligible to return in Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but his rehab has lingered. He wore a red non-contact jersey on Wednesday, so being exposed to contact is the remaining hurdle for him before he is cleared to play. '(Funchess) has to get certain things done and scans done to make sure he's fully cleared and ready to go,' head coach Frank Reich said.
Fantasy Spin: Funchess is worth a look in deeper fantasy leagues down the stretch, although the window for other Indy receivers not named T.Y. Hilton to shine might be closing. The latter did not practice Wednesday, but is inching closer to a return.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) is uncertain for Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and head coach Frank Reich wasn't ready to offer a guarantee one way or the other on the receiver's playing status. Two weeks ago he was given a three-to-four week timetable for a return.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton could very well suit up, but fantasy owners might want to see him make it through a full game without any setbacks before trusting him again. The Colts have a quick turnaround with a Thursday night game in Week 12 against the Houston Texans, so it might be in their best interests to rest him one more game rather than push him with the short turnaround.