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FFL: Playoff Week 2 | NFL: Week 14

Seahawks-49ers rivalry on center stage after dormant stretch

Thu Nov 7 7:48pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Robbie Gould, Matt Schaub, Russell Wilson, Kyle Juszczyk, Jason Myers, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jameis Winston, Rashaad Penny, Chris Carson

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) during overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)


San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James, left, runs as Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (42) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Trash talking between Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree. Barbs traded between coaches Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh. Incredible plays from Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.

The once-fierce rivalry between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco had a bit of everything during a heated stretch early this decade capped by Seattle's epic win in the NFC title game in January 2014.

Now for the first time in years, this game between NFC West rivals means a lot again heading into Monday night's showdown between the Seahawks (7-2) and 49ers (8-0).

''We haven't held up our end of the bargain the last few years, but this is an exciting game,'' said 49ers left tackle Joe Staley, one of the only remaining players in San Francisco from the heyday of this rivalry. ''There's a lot riding on this game. It's meaningful. But, at the same token, we can't look at it as anything different. One of the reasons why we've been successful is we haven't changed. We've been doing exactly what we've been doing all year from training camp to now, just continuing to do the same things.''

This is the first time since Thanksgiving night in 2014 where both teams have a winning record. Seattle won that game 19-3, prompting a Twitter apology to 49ers fans from CEO Jed York and a turkey celebration dinner for Wilson and Sherman at midfield of San Francisco's home.

Harbaugh was forced out following the season and the 49ers won just 17 games in the next four seasons, taking most of the steam out of the rivalry.

But now with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo set to make his first start against Seattle after missing both meetings last year with a season-ending knee injury in Week 3 and a much-improved defense in San Francisco, the 49ers have more than enough to match up with Wilson and the Seahawks in coach Kyle Shanahan's third season.

''They've come a long way in a short time, and Kyle's done a really nice job to turn the corner to get to this point,'' Carroll said. ''Just judging off the last couple of years, they've always shown really good signs. This is a high-tech team, they're on their stuff; their schemes, their principles are really good. They've always been that, they just had trouble getting it all together and getting their wins but, they're together now. They really are sharp in all aspects of their team.''

AIR RAID

Seattle's pass defense used to be among the elite of the NFL. Now it ranks near the bottom of the league.

The Seahawks are giving up 278 yards per game through the air, ranking 28th in the league, and have been really bad in the past two games. Seattle gave up 460 yards passing to Matt Schaub and Atlanta two weeks ago, although the yards could be reasoned because the Seahawks built a 24-0 lead and the Falcons were forced to throw in trying to catch up.

Last week against Tampa Bay may have been more concerning. Jameis Winston was barely pressured by Seattle's meager pass rush and a quarterback with a knack for careless throws made none, throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns.

Surprisingly, Seattle is 4-0 this year when allowing more than 300 yards passing, but those four wins are by a combined 15 points.

REPLACING KWON

The 49ers suffered a big loss last week when linebacker Kwon Alexander went down with a season-ending torn left pectoral muscle. Alexander had 34 tackles, one forced fumble, one interception and four pass breakups and was considered the heart and soul of the defense. Rookie Dre Greenlaw will replace him.

''Since Day 1, the defense has been what it is because of him,'' starting middle linebacker Fred Warner said. ''He was playing at a Pro Bowl level, but the things people didn't notice is what really made him stand apart.''

ESTABLISH CARSON

Seattle proved last week it can establish the run game against the best run defense in the NFL. Seattle rushed for 145 yards against Tampa Bay, led by 105 yards from Chris Carson, the first rusher to top 100 yards this year against the Bucs. When Carson is churning out yards, it creates more opportunity for Wilson to work off play-action. San Francisco is first in the NFL at stopping the pass but just 14th against the run. Getting Carson and backup Rashaad Penny going on the ground will be crucial for the Seahawks to stay away from troubling down and distance situations.

GETTING HEALTHY

The Niners should be getting several key pieces back this week, with left tackle Joe Staley expected to return from a broken leg that sidelined him in Week 2. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk could return from a knee injury and right tackle Mike McGlinchey (knee) also might be back.

KICKING IT

Seattle has said all the right things about supporting struggling kicker Jason Myers, but the Seahawks would prefer not to see Monday night come down to a crucial kick. Myers missed a pair of field goals and an extra point last week against Tampa Bay. He was wide left from 47 yards, wide right on the last play of regulation from 40 yards and hit the upright with one of his PATs. Myers is just 3 of 8 from 40 or more yards this season. Seattle signed Myers in the offseason to solidify its field-goal kicking, but there's much more inconsistency than expected from a Pro Bowl selection last season.

The Niners also have questions in their kicking game after Robbie Gould injured his quadriceps in practice Tuesday. The team signed Chase McLaughlin in case Gould can't play.

Player Notes
Darren Waller Dec 5 10:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller broke out of a five-game drought in Week 13, recording his first 100-game since Week 7. He'll have a good opportunity to repeat his seven-catch performance from last week versus a Titans Defense that has allowed the seventh-most points to the TE position this season. They were burned by Jack Doyle (6/73/1) and Travis Kelce (7/75/1) in recent weeks, while Waller has remained the favored target of Derek Carr all season long. With Josh Jacobs questionable for Sunday's game, the offense may need to rely on the air attack to win this game, which would be excellent news for Waller owners. Treat the 26-year-old as a high-volume TE1 for Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Tyrell Williams Dec 5 9:50pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams is coming off his worst game of the season (1/9/0), and his Week 14 matchup doesn't appear that encouraging either. The Titans have allowed the sixth-most passing yards in the league (260.1 YPG), but have kept opposing WRs out of the end zone in five of their last seven contests. Quarterback Derek Carr has also struggled of late, which has limited Williams to five consecutive games without a score and no 100-yard games since Week 1. Treat the veteran as a WR4 as we enter the first week of fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Dec 5 9:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is coming off back-to-back underwhelming performances as the Tennessee Titans come to town for a pivotal matchup this weekend. With both teams in the hunt for a Wild Card spot, the Raiders will need Carr to improve on his recent play with Josh Jacobs questionable for this Sunday. The Titans give up the sixth-most passing yards in the league (260.1 YPG), but have only allowed opposing quarterbacks to reach 20+ fantasy points three times through 13 games. Carr has just two of these games to his credit this season, so the stars aren't exactly aligning for a big performance. With a 3:4 TD to INT ratio over his past four games, treat the veteran as a low-end QB2 for Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Gerald Everett Dec 5 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett (knee) missed his second straight practice this week on Thursday. Everett is on his way to missing his second straight game unless he can return to practice on Friday. If you've been using Everett at the tight end spot, you need to look elsewhere in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Tyler Higbee filled in admirably in a great matchup against Arizona last weekend and went for over 100 yards and a touchdown. He'd be on the TE1/2 borderline again in Week 14 against the Seahawks on Sunday night if Everett misses another game.

From RotoBaller

New Orleans Saints Dec 5 8:10pm ET

The New Orleans Saints Defense will face off with Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. The Saints are coming off an excellent Thanksgiving night performance where they recorded nine sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble. New Orleans may have trouble repeating this effort against the 49ers, considering they've allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing defenses. San Francisco also ranks 12th in adjusted sack rate and have given up the 10th-fewest sacks in the league. There are better options out there than New Orleans this week.

From RotoBaller

Wil Lutz Dec 5 7:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz will face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. Lutz is on fire, having made at least two field goals in four straight games and at least two extra points in three of the last four. San Francisco is a stingy defense that doesn't allow many trips to the red zone. Still, New Orleans should be able to get within Lutz's range several times this game. Stick with the hot hand and start him as a high-end kicking option this week.

From RotoBaller

Tony Pollard Dec 5 7:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard (ankle) has been ruled out for Thursday night against the Bears. Pollard missed two days of practice this week, so he was on the wrong side of questionable to begin with. Ezekiel Elliott has been the bell-cow back all season, so Pollard, 22, has just 58 carries for 264 yards and one touchdown on the season in 11 games. He has no standalone fantasy value unless Zeke gets hurt. Elliott's fantasy outlook as an RB1 against Chicago will not change with Pollard inactive. Fullback Jamize Olawale will serve as Elliott's backup for this one.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Dec 5 7:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook gets a tough Week 14 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. The 32-year-old is on a roll, having surpassed 70 receiving yards in three of his last four games. Now he'll get to face the 49ers' league-best pass defense. It will be a very tough matchup for Cook, as the 49ers allow the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Still, his involvement in the offense lately, 6.5 targets per game in his last four, makes him start-worthy even against this defense. It's risky, but so are a lot of other streaming options at the tight end position.

From RotoBaller

JuJu Smith-Schuster Dec 5 5:40pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) missed his second straight practice this week on Thursday. Smith-Schuster is unlikely to play again this weekend against the Cardinals and could be sidelined again in Week 15 if his knee injury does not improve. In an offense now run by quarterback Devlin Hodges, Smith-Schuster won't be anything more than a low-upside WR3 if he's active during the fantasy playoffs. James Washington has become a WR3 in Smith-Schuster's absence, but a projected low target share doesn't bode well for his chances of helping fantasy owners. Diontae Johnson (illness), who returned to a full practice on Thursday, will be the No. 2 behind Washington.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Dec 5 4:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams (knee) and tight end Jimmy Graham (calf, wrist) were both limited in practice on Thursday. Williams is a new addition to the injury report for Week 14 against the Redskins, so we'll have to keep an eye on his status on Friday. Williams has maintained RB3 value for fantasy owners alongside Aaron Jones, but his status may be in doubt this weekend. Jones would have RB1 upside if he has this backfield all to himself in a great matchup. Graham should be able to play, but he's become an unattractive touchdown-dependent TE2 with a low target floor. He hasn't scored since Oct. 20 and has a combined four catches the last three games.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Dec 5 4:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (ankle) and wide receivers Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) are practicing in full on Thursday. Breida is the big one, as he hasn't played since Nov. 11 against the Seahawks. His return will make it hard to trust anyone in San Fran's backfield, which includes Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert. Jeffery Wilson could be a healthy scratch with Breida back in Week 14 to face the Bills in a tough matchup. Samuel and Sanders are good to go as well. Samuel has become the better fantasy wideout over Sanders, but the rookie is still a boom/bust WR3 for fantasy owners in this run-first offense.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Brown Dec 5 4:20pm ET

Updating a previous report, Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown (calf) was limited in practice on Thursday. Brown is a new addition to the injury report for Week 14 against the Raiders, so his status on Friday will be worth watching. The 22-year-old rookie has been solid in his first season, catching 34 passes for 626 yards and four touchdowns, but he just doesn't see consistent targets in this run-first offense. He'll be on the WR3/4 borderline as a boom-or-bust play if he's active. If he sits out, Corey Davis will be more attractive as a WR4/flex in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Tre'Quan Smith Dec 5 4:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith gets a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. Smith has posted nine catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns for the whole season and hasn't seen more than three targets in a game yet. He's not even close to fantasy relevance at this point and will now face the league's best pass defense. Leave Smith on the waiver wire.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Dec 5 4:00pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) and kicker Adam Vinatieri (knee) did not practice on Thursday. Hilton is holding out hope to play again this year, but at this point there's probably a greater chance that he's put on Injured Reserve. Zach Pascal is the team's top wideout with Hilton sidelined, and he has streaming appeal this weekend against a weak Tampa secondary. Marcus Johnson and Parris Campbell (hand) could fill out three-receiver sets. Don't count on Hilton the rest of the way. Vinatieri might find a similar fate as Hilton after the team claimed Chase McLaughlin on Wednesday. He's unlikely to play this weekend and has been a disaster in 2019 with 14 missed kicks. McLaughlin might be worth a flier the rest of the way in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Dec 5 4:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown (ankle) was added to the Week 14 injury report against the Bills. He got in a limited practice on Thursday. It's not the first time Brown has been added the injury report midweek as the Ravens try to play it safe with their speedy deep threat. The 22-year-old rookie has the skills to get behind any defense for a long touchdown play, but his snaps have been heavily limited in his first year and he doesn't draw enough targets to be a realistic weekly fantasy commodity. Brown hasn't gone over 100 yards since the season opener and had only two targets last week. He'll be a boom/bust WR4 if he plays. Willie Snead, Miles Boykin and Mark Andrews would see more targets if Brown is forced to sit out.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Dec 5 3:50pm ET

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said that the team isn't ruling out wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) for Week 14 against the Lions. "Hes frustrated. I think hes got a good opportunity this week (to play), so well see. Hes working really hard. He obviously wants to get out there with his guys. Hes a great competitor. ... When he's ready, he's ready," Zimmer said. Thielen has yet to practice this week, however, so fantasy owners shouldn't be banking on him playing against Detroit. If he does suit up, though, he'll have WR2 upside in the first round of the fantasy playoffs. Stefon Diggs also has high-end WR2 upside regardless of whether Thielen plays. Kyle Rudolph and Olabisi Johnson won't have as much appeal if Thielen returns.

From RotoBaller

Dalvin Cook Dec 5 3:50pm ET

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said that he expects running back Dalvin Cook (chest) to play in Week 14 against the Lions and be close to 100 percent. Cook left the Monday night game against the Seahawks and didn't return, but he said shortly after that he planned on playing this Sunday, and he's been limited in practices so far this week. Barring a late setback, Cook will be active and will be a high-end RB1 in a great matchup against Detroit. Cook ranks fifth in the NFL with 1.046 yards on the ground. Backup Alexander Mattison could see more change-of-pace work behind Cook this week, but he's still tough to trust for standalone value.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Dec 5 3:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (hand) returned to a full practice on Thursday. Mack has been sidelined since Nov. 17, but he's well on his way to returning to action in Week 14 against the Buccaneers. In a tough matchup against Tampa's defensive front and possibly at risk of sharing touches with Jonathan Williams, Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, Mack will be more of a low-end RB2 this weekend if he makes his way back. Rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell (hand) has practiced in full the last two days as well, making it likely he makes his return this weekend. He should be in three-wide sets with Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson, but Campbell is a fantasy dart throw the rest of the way in this run-first offense.

From RotoBaller

Greg Olsen Dec 5 3:30pm ET

Carolina Panthers interim head coach Perry Fewell said the tight end position will be a committee approach this week with Greg Olsen (concussion) unlikely to play. The committee will include Chris Manhertz, Ian Thomas and Alex Armah. Thomas is the best bet of the bunch after he posted 36 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games as a rookie last year with Olsen missing time due to injury. He has only five receptions (nine targets) for 28 yards in 2019, though, with Olsen staying healthy up until now. Thomas is the best bet of this group as a TE2 streamer, but he won't be a strong fantasy option if he sees limited snaps. If you own Olsen, you need to look for other options.

From RotoBaller

Ted Ginn Jr. Dec 5 3:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn will face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. Ginn has been a feast-or-famine deep-threat this year. He owns the highest yards per reception mark on the Saints but will play a 49ers Defense that allows the fewest pass plays of 20 yards or more. The 34-year-old is coming off a catch-less game and hasn't caught more than three passes since Week 1. Ginn should be benched, or left on the waiver wire, for the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller