Thu Oct 17 7:01pm ET
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson works out prior to an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, Baltimore Ravens free safety Earl Thomas (29) intercepts a pass, as Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11), attempts to tackle, during the first half at an NFL football game, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Over the course of nine NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Earl Thomas picked off 28 passes, earned a Super Bowl ring and was selected to the Pro Bowl six times. Those are some of the memories the standout safety will take across the country before he faces former team on Sunday as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, left, and quarterback Lamar Jackson celebrate Jackson's touchdown run against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of a NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
SEATTLE (AP) There is an understandable mutual admiration between Baltimore's Lamar Jackson and Seattle's Russell Wilson.
In Jackson, Wilson sees a combination of speed and shiftiness working in concert with an underrated passing ability that has the young QB causing headaches for anyone tasked with slowing him down.
In Wilson, Jackson sees a veteran who has reached the pinnacle of the NFL, who has figured out a way to balance his athleticism and running ability with a dynamic right arm that makes him one of the premier passers in the league.
''I love everything about his game,'' Jackson said. ''He's a great quarterback. He makes guys miss. He breaks the pocket, and there will be guys chasing him everywhere. He knows what to do with the ball - dish it out, go to a checkdown. He makes plays. He's a playmaker, and that's what you need in a guy and at the quarterback position. That's what he is.''
Jackson and Wilson will meet on the field or the first time on Sunday when the Seahawks host the Ravens in a showdown between two of the better teams in each conference and two of the early MVP candidates.
Jackson has wowed with his combination of running and passing. He's on pace to rush for 1,200 yards and throw for 4,000. Last week, he became the first player in league history to throw for more than 200 yards and rush for more than 150 in the same regular season game.
Jackson is completing 65% of his passes, has 13 touchdowns passing and rushing and causing nightmares for opposing defenses.
''People always mention his speed. That's obvious. But I think the mixture of all the different things he can do - he can throw it down the field, he's tough, he hangs in there, he's a smart player too,'' Wilson said. ''You put all those things together with his elusiveness, which is as good as it gets, probably best you've ever seen kind of speed, he's really special.''
Where Wilson has impressed is his overall command of Seattle's offense. He's just the fourth QB in league history to start the season with six straight games with a passer rating of 100 or higher. He hasn't thrown an interception since Week 17 of last season. Wilson is playing with a confidence and savvy that's flashed at times throughout his career, but perhaps never for such a prolonged period.
''I know he's deep in the conversation for the MVP already,'' Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. ''We hope, and we're going to do everything we can, to make sure that we don't make that argument any stronger, or help make that argument any stronger.''
Here's what else to watch as the Seahawks and Ravens meet for the first time since 2015:
MY NAME IS EARL
Aside from the quarterbacks, the biggest story line is the return of safety Earl Thomas, who spent his first nine seasons with Seattle before signing with Baltimore in free agency. Thomas was a star with the Seahawks, a founding member of the ''Legion of Boom'' secondary and a three-time first-team All-Pro selection. The final image of Thomas with Seattle was being carted off the field last season after breaking his leg in Arizona and flashing the middle finger at Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, angry about not getting a contract extension with the Seahawks.
''I don't know what this game is going to bring, but I definitely respect and love the organization. They gave me my first shot,'' Thomas said.
BACKFIELD IN MOTION
The Ravens have been forced to shuffle their defensive backfield this season to cope with injuries to Tavon Young, Tony Jefferson, DeShon Elliott and Jimmy Smith. First-year general manager Eric DeCosta refurbished the secondary this week by trading for two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters and signing safety Bennett Jackson from the Jets practice squad.
Both newcomers are expected to play Sunday, so it's imperative that they work in unison with cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr, as well as Thomas.
''Communication is going to be really critical, especially there,'' Harbaugh said. ''It won't be quite as loud, because their offense will be on the field, maybe as it would be here. But it's a loud place, and you're on the road. It's terminology.''
Seattle should get a boost on its defensive line with the return of Jarran Reed after he was suspended for the first six games. Reed had 10+ sacks last season, but more important will be his ability to draw attention and potentially open up more on the outside for Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah. Seattle has just 10 sacks through six games and didn't have a quarterback hit recorded last week against Cleveland.
The task this week isn't so much getting pressure on Jackson as it is keeping the elusive QB contained.
''That's why we come out here to practice, to get a feel of each other,'' Reed said. ''We talked a long time. We're going to get out here. We're going to work together. We're going to build that chemistry together.''
The Ravens cranked up the music at practice this week to simulate the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field. Jackson played in packed stadiums while at Louisville, and he's twice started in Kansas City against the Chiefs. But playing in Seattle is taking it to another (sound) level.
''The coaches have been telling us it's very loud,'' Jackson said. ''I just have to do a good job of executing, calling out the plays and letting everyone hear me.''
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.