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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 14

Browns hold off Bills 19-16 to end 4-game slide

Sun Nov 10 4:41pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

Players: Steven Hauschka, Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Kareem Hunt, Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Austin Seibert, Josh Allen, Antonio Callaway

Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward (21) and teammates celebrate after they defeated the Buffalo Bills in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrates after the Browns defeated the Buffalo Bills 19-16 in an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris (88) congratulates wide receiver Rashard Higgins (81) after Higgins scored a 7-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, top, is tackled by Buffalo Bills cornerback Taron Johnson during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens, left, talks with quarterback Baker Mayfield during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) rushes against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) scores a 10-yard touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens watches the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) cannot hold onto pass under pressure from Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


CLEVELAND (AP) Baker Mayfield threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins with 1:44 left as the Cleveland Browns snapped a four-game losing streak - and took some pressure off first-year coach Freddie Kitchens - with a 19-16 win on Sunday over the Buffalo Bills.

The Browns (3-6) rallied for a win that kept their season from completely collapsing.

Cleveland survived more problems in the red zone, but sealed the much-needed win when Buffalo kicker Stephen Hauschka's 53-yard field-goal attempt was short with 22 seconds left. Earlier, Hauschka missed a 34-yarder.

Quarterback Josh Allen had two touchdown runs for the Bills (6-3), who were off to their best start since 1993.

Mayfield finally delivered a clutch drive after Allen's 1-yard sneak put the Bills ahead 16-12.

On second-and-goal, he threaded his TD pass to an open Higgins, who had been suspiciously missing from Cleveland's game plan this season after being one of Mayfield's favorite targets last season. It was Higgins' only catch.

Mayfield had his second straight solid game, completing 26 of 38 passes for 238 yards and two TDs. He didn't throw an interception for the second week in a row.

However, Cleveland struggled again to complete drives as the Bills stopped them on 12 plays inside the 3-yard line, holding Cleveland to three points.

Browns running back Kareem Hunt made his debut for Cleveland and picked up 74 combined yards. The 24-year-old was eligible after completing an eight-game NFL suspension for two violent acts, including shoving and kicking a woman while he played for Kansas City.

Nick Chubb rushed for 116 yards on 20 carries for the Browns, and Jarvis Landry had nine catches for 97 yards and made a crucial catch on Cleveland's game-winning drive.

The Bills' defense tied it 9-9 early in the third as linebacker Tremaine Edmunds sacked Mayfield in the end zone for a safety. The Browns were in an empty backfield and didn't account for blocking Edmunds, who came in untouched off the left side and quickly wrapped up Mayfield.

Buffalo's defense stopped the Browns on eight straight plays at the 1 - the equivalent of two goal-line stands - in the first quarter. The Bills stuffed Chubb on five carries, and Buffalo overcame a pair of pass interference calls in the end zone while keeping the Browns out of the end zone and off the scoreboard.

Allen's 10-yard quarterback draw - his fifth rushing TD this season - gave the Bills a 7-6 lead in the second quarter.

The Browns again got deep in Buffalo territory but were denied on three plays from the 3-yard-line. Kitchens decide to go for it on fourth down, but then changed his mind when right tackle Chris Hubbard was called for a false start.

The penalty pushed Cleveland back and the Browns settled for Austin Seibert's 27-yard field goal to go up 9-7.

Mayfield delivered a back-shoulder strike to Landry for his first TD, completing an effortless, efficient game-opening 75-yard drive for the Browns, who finally had all their offensive pieces with Hunt back.

Landry, though, was called for taunting cornerback Levi Wallace after the score and Austin Seibert missed a 48-yard PAT.

CALLAWAY BENCHED

The Browns sat No. 3 wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who had played in all four games since returning from a four-game drug suspension to start the season. Callaway had a big drop in his first game back and hasn't been as consistent as the Browns had hoped.

Callaway's absence cleared the way for Higgins, who made his one catch count.

UP NEXT

Bills: At Miami on Sunday.

Browns: Host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday.

Player Notes
Greg Olsen Dec 5 1:10pm ET

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (concussion) is out of practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday. All signs are pointing towards Olsen sitting Week 14 out against the Falcons after suffering a serious head injury in Week 13. If you've been relying on Olsen in your tight end spot, it's time to make other plans for the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Ian Thomas should become the primary pass-catching tight end in Carolina if Olsen sits, and he'd have streaming TE2 appeal if that's the case.

From RotoBaller

Damien Williams Dec 5 1:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (ribs) remained out of practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Unless Williams gets in at least a limited practice on Friday, he's headed for his second straight missed game after getting injured in Week 11. With Darrel Williams (hamstring) on Injured Reserve, we could be looking at a committee approach with LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware in Week 14 against the Patriots. Even if Williams is able to play, he'd be an RB3/flex to fade in the fantasy playoffs. Thompson might have the most fantasy upside this weekend with the Chiefs limiting McCoy's touches down the stretch.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Dec 5 1:00pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is not practicing for the second straight day this week on Thursday. As of now, it's looking like Thielen can't be trusted to return in Week 14 against the Lions in a good matchup. Keep him locked to your bench unless something changes with his status on Friday. Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Olabisi Johnson should remain the top three passing targets if Thielen misses another contest. Diggs went for seven catches and 143 yards in the last matchup with Detroit, so he'll be a high-end WR2 regardless of whether Thielen plays. Rudolph has become a touchdown hog with Thielen out of the lineup.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Dec 5 1:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will face an extremely tough test in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers. Here's where the 49ers Defense ranks in several key categories: 45 sacks, second in the league, 134.2 pass yards allowed per game, first in the league and 29.4 pass attempts allowed, second in the league. Brees will potentially have to take on this fearsome pass rush without his starting offensive tackles, Andrus Peat (forearm) and Terron Armstead (ankle). Even in the offensive-friendly Superdome, Brees isn't dropping back to pass 40 times against this defense. Expect a more run-oriented gameplan from New Orleans, making Brees more of a QB2 this week.

From RotoBaller

Golden Tate Dec 5 1:00pm ET

Updating a previous report, New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) is practicing in full on Thursday. Tate looks ready to return in Week 14 against the Eagles on Monday night after sitting out last week. With tight end Evan Engram (foot) also on track to make his return, Tate will be more of a PPR WR3 for fantasy owners with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton also being involved. Quarterback Eli Manning is also expected to get the start under center with rookie Daniel Jones (ankle) not expected to play.

From RotoBaller

Gerald Everett Dec 5 12:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett (knee) did not practice on Wednesday. Everett missed the game last week and is in danger of sitting again in Week 14 against the Seahawks on Sunday night. If that is the case, Tyler Higbee, who caught seven of eight targets for 107 yards and a touchdown in Week 13, would be a low-end TE1 option again for fantasy owners struggling at the position in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Everett will need to at least get in a limited practice on Thursday or Friday to have a shot at returning to the field this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Adam Vinatieri Dec 5 12:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (knee) is on the injury report for Week 14 against the Buccaneers after his knee flared up in warmups this past Sunday. Vinatieri missed all three of his attempts from 55, 52 and 46 yards on Sunday, with two of them getting blocked. With Indy claiming kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers on Wednesday, Vinatieri's status is very much up in the air for this Sunday. Vinatieri was limited in practice on Wednesday and isn't a good fantasy option, even if he's active this weekend. McLaughlin could become a worthy streaming consideration if he fills in at all for Vinatieri in the last four games.

From RotoBaller

Austin Ekeler Dec 5 12:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack (knee) is going on season-ending Injured Reserve on Thursday, according to a source. It's a big blow to Jacksonville's already weak run defense, especially with Chargers running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler coming to town in Week 14. The 24-year-old Jack totaled 66 tackles, half a sack and one interception in his 11 games this year for Jacksonville. Fantasy owners shouldn't be using the Jaguars Defense in the first round of the fantasy playoffs despite facing a slumping Chargers offense.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Dec 5 12:40pm ET

New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones (ankle) is not practicing on Thursday and is doing leg work in a boot with a trainer on the side. Dealing with a mild high ankle sprain, Jones is a long shot to suit up on Monday night against the Eagles and could also miss Week 15. It means that veteran Eli Manning will get another start in Week 14 against an old foe in the Eagles. Philly's secondary has plenty of concerns and was just roasted by the Dolphins. The G-Men could be getting both Evan Engram and Golden Tate back as well, but Manning remains a low-upside QB2 if he gets the start, as expected, on Monday.

From RotoBaller

Evan Engram Dec 5 12:40pm ET

New York Giants tight ends Evan Engram (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion) and wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) are all practicing on Thursday. All three players have a chance of returning on Monday night against the Eagles, but they'll be tough calls in fantasy if they carry questionable designations and are game-time calls. Engram has disappointed this year because of injury, but he'll immediately return to being a TE1 if he's active. Tate's return would be good news for quarterback Eli Manning, who will likely start for Daniel Jones (ankle), but it will hurt Sterling Shepard's upside as a WR2 in a great matchup. Ellison would only be fantasy relevant if he starts and Engram sits. Philly's defense won't be as great of a streamer if New York gets all their offensive weapons back.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Howard Dec 5 12:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard (shoulder) is still not cleared for contact on Thursday. It's looking like Howard is in line to miss his fourth straight game unless he can get in a full practice on Friday or Saturday. Rookie Miles Sanders had a season-high 22 touches in the Week 13 loss to the Dolphins and continues to be the primary ball-handler in the backfield with Howard sidelined. Although the Giants defensive front has been stingy to running backs of late, Sanders would have RB2 upside yet again this week if Howard misses another game. Making things even tougher for Howard owners is the fact that the game this week is on Monday night.

From RotoBaller

Tony Pollard Dec 5 12:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard (ankle) missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday and is questionable for Thursday night against the Bears. Pollard has just 58 carries for 264 yards and one touchdown on the season on the ground as the backup to Ezekiel Elliott, so he doesn't really have any standalone value to begin with. He has added 12 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown this year. Consider him a game-time decision against Chicago, but he should be nowhere near fantasy lineups to begin with.

From RotoBaller

Antwaun Woods Dec 5 12:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) missed practice all week and has been ruled out for Thursday night against the Bears. Also out are safety Jeff Heath (shoulder) and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (knee). Vander Esch is dealing with a pretty serious injury that could send him to Injured Reserve any day now. It's bad news for the interior of Dallas' defense, but Sean Lee is more than capable of picking up the slack if he can stay healthy himself. Vander Esch's absence is good news for the Bears ground game and running backs David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen on Thursday night.

From RotoBaller

Darrel Williams Dec 5 12:20pm ET

The Kansas City Chiefs placed running back Darrel Williams (hamstring) on season-ending Injured Reserve on Thursday. In corresponding moves, defensive back Alex Brown was added to the 53-man roster and wide receiver Gehrig Dieter was signed to the practice squad. With Williams done for the year and Damien Williams (ribs) questionable to play in Week 14 against the Patriots, the Chiefs backfield might be down to LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware this Sunday. The Chiefs have been limiting Shady's repetitions to keep him fresh for the stretch run, so Thompson could have a sizeable role this weekend if Williams doesn't play. Consider McCoy on the RB2/3 borderline, while Thompson could be a fantasy wild card in both DFS and season-long leagues.

From RotoBaller

JuJu Smith-Schuster Dec 5 12:20pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) is unlikely to return in Week 14 against the Cardinals. Fantasy owners that own Smith-Schuster shouldn't be counting on him for their lineups in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. He might not even be a lock to make it back in time for Week 15. The bottom line is that Smith-Schuster has been one of the biggest WR busts in fantasy this year due to injury and the fact that Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) was hurt early in the season. James Washington continues to be the top wideout in Smith-Schuster's absence, but he'll be a volatile WR3 with Devlin Hodges at quarterback.

From RotoBaller

New York Jets Dec 5 11:20am ET

The New York Jets Defense has a good matchup on paper in Week 14. However, fantasy owners may want to think twice before starting this unit in the playoffs. The Dolphins have been a punch line most of this season but have actually won three of their last five games, scoring 20-plus points in four of those games. The Miami offense has looked good led by former Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who said he's feeling confident after hanging 37 points on the Eagles last week. The Jets defense was picked apart by Bengals QB Andy Dalton last week and now will likely be without stud safety Jamal Adams (ankle). The Jets could be used as a low-end starter, but other streaming defenses are likely to outperform Gang Green this week.

From RotoBaller

Demaryius Thomas Dec 5 11:10am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was limited in Wednesday's practice with a hamstring injury. This is nothing new for the veteran wide receiver who has been limited in most practices this season, but hasn't missed any game action since September. Thomas will be active and play for the Jets this Sunday, but fantasy owners don't need to follow suit. Thomas has just one game in his last six with more than five targets and hasn't done much with the limited work he's getting. Starting QB Sam Darnold has been throwing more to Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder in recent weeks with Thomas fading to fantasy obscurity, even in a good matchup with Miami.

From RotoBaller

Atlanta Falcons Dec 5 11:00am ET

The Falcons Defense showed some glimpses of hope in Week 10 and Week 11, completely shutting down the Saints and Panthers. However, the past two weeks, they've struggled mightily and have allowed a total of 61 points. This week, the Falcons have their second meeting against the Panthers. While Kyle Allen could turn the ball over a few times and provide ample sack opportunities, the Panthers should still put a good amount of points on the board. The Falcons defense could be worth considering if you're in a pinch, but you're probably best off going in a different direction this week.

From RotoBaller

Younghoe Koo Dec 5 11:00am ET

Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo has earned at least three field goal attempts in each of his four games with the Falcons. He's hit 12-of-14 attempts on the year. This week, the Falcons face the Panthers in a game that should feature a good amount of scoring. Expect Koo to have the opportunity to hit two or three field goals in the game with some extra-points as well, making him a strong starting kicker option this week.

From RotoBaller

Brian Hill Dec 5 10:50am ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill saw his workload heavily diminished upon the return of Devonta Freeman in Week 13. This week should be a similar story as the team faces the Panthers. Hill should see only around six or seven touches at best in the game, giving him little hope of a solid fantasy day. He can be left on waivers in all leagues at this point.

From RotoBaller