Tue Apr 9 4:51pm ET
By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) Zac Taylor got up early Tuesday and headed to Paul Brown Stadium for his first meeting with his new team, one that was watching closely to see how the 35-year-old coach would handle himself.
At precisely 8 a.m., he stepped into the meeting room, which had been full of chatter but quickly went silent.
''It felt like game day, to be honest,'' Taylor said.
The Cincinnati Bengals gathered for the first time under Taylor on Tuesday, the start of voluntary offseason workouts. They got a feel for how the new coach will operate, received new playbooks, and officially started a different phase in franchise history.
''Like the first day of school, man,'' receiver A.J. Green said.
After 16 seasons of failing to get a playoff win under Marvin Lewis, the Bengals joined the NFL's youth movement by hiring Taylor, who has brought aboard a youthful coaching staff. They've balanced that by essentially keeping their roster intact coming off a 6-10 season that left them last in the AFC North and led to Lewis' firing.
Volatile linebacker Vontaze Burfict was released, but the Bengals have spent much of their salary cap room re-signing veterans who were unrestricted free agents.
For now, it's more about getting accustomed to this coaching staff, and yet again learning new systems on offense and defense.
''A lot of curiosity about how things are going to go,'' tight end Tyler Eifert said. ''It's the unknown.''
Although Taylor had met with players individually, Tuesday was the first time he could hand out playbooks and begin installing his systems. It'll be the third different system in three years for both the offense and defense, which presents a challenge. Players prefer to get comfortable in a system; it's been nonstop re-adapting in Cincinnati.
''I'm trying to get it as quickly as I can so I can learn it and get to the point in other systems I've been in,'' quarterback Andy Dalton said. ''That's just where we're at right now.''
Taylor is getting used to what it's like to be a head coach.
He walked onto the field at the stadium over the weekend, ruminating about what it will be like to coach there soon enough. The Bengals open their preseason with games at Kansas City and Washington before playing at home against the Giants and Colts.
''There's been a lot of work to do these last couple weeks, but now to finally get the players in the building, it's real,'' Taylor said. ''I walked out on the field yesterday really for one of the first times. You look around the stadium and get a sense that this is coming at us, and I'm excited about it.''
One of the biggest adjustments for Dalton and some others is working with a coaching staff that's roughly the same age.
''To be only a couple years younger than a lot of these guys - it's different,'' said Dalton, 31. ''Our kids are all the same age. It's different, but I think it's also fun.''
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida is expected to miss "a week or two" after aggravating a low-ankle sprain in the Week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. It's mostly good news, and there was some concern Breida would have to miss a more significant amount of time. Tevin Coleman will operate as the clear lead back in Breida's absence, but Raheem Mostert suddenly climbs into fantasy consideration while he fills Breida's place on the depth chart.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett (knee) will practice fully Wednesday, Nov. 13, and he'll start this weekend, barring any setbacks.
Fantasy Spin: It'll be a midrange matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have a good pass rush, and coming off a knee injury, Brissett is a midrange QB2.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 13, but there's a chance he could practice later in the week.
Fantasy Spin: It sounds like Hilton could return against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it's still too early to get excited. He'd be a WR2 in a so-so matchup.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense makes for a strong addition to a Week 11 fantasy lineup. The Cowboys defense has been a bit more hype than performance so far this season, but Week 11 lines up as a good one. Taking on the Detroit Lions, who could be without quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Cowboys defense shouldn't have too much of a hard time racking up fantasy points this week.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Randall Cobb has been trending up lately and could have another solid performance in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions. Facing a much stronger Vikings Defense last week, Cobb caught six passes for 106 yards and a touchdown and has now caught six passes in two straight games. He'll continue to work behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, but when the Cowboys offense clicks, there can be plenty of targets to go around. Cobb has the lowest floor and ceiling of all the Cowboys receivers, but he could still end up as a valuable bye week filler.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is not a strong starting option in Week 11. Even with quarterback Dak Prescott throwing 46 passes last week against the Vikings, Witten ended up with just two catches for 17 yards. He was targeted five times, so he could have done more, but his role is still a very low-upside one. The Detroit Lions Defense doesn't do much well, but one thing they are okay at is defending opposing tight ends. Witten is no more than TE2 floor play this week.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (wrist) told reporters that his broken wrist feels "great" on Tuesday. Njoku has been on the injured reserve since fracturing his wrist during Week 2. He also indicated that he is very optimistic about his chances of being activated from IR when he is first eligible next week. Njoku's return would provide a big boost to a Browns offense that has not gotten much production out of the Ricky Seals-Jones/Demetrius Harris duo. Njoku is worth a waiver add if you need a tight end in your league.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin does not make for a strong starting option in Week 11. Jarwin actually caught one more pass (three) than Jason Witten last week in a loss against the Vikings, but he was only able to turn that into 35 scoreless yards. The Detroit Lions don't do much in terms of defense, but one thing they are decent at is limiting opposing tight ends. Jarwin is a dart-throw in case he scores a touchdown, but most leagues will have much safer picks available on the waiver wire.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher is a strong fantasy choice like usual in a Week 11 matchup against the Detroit Lions. Maher gets a boost in value in fantasy leagues that offer bonus points for distance, as he and the Cowboys have shown that they are not afraid to send out the kicker for attempts well over 50 yards at times. Maher is right in the middle of K1 rankings this week, coming in as the overall K6.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper makes for an excellent fantasy starter in Week 11. Cooper and the Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions and their giving defense one week after Cooper caught 11 passes for 147 yards and a score against a much stronger Vikings secondary. Cooper should have an excellent game with an easier matchup and is currently ranked as the overall WR6 for Week 11.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup is set up for a strong game in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions. Gallup caught four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown last week, but he was targeted 10 times so he could have had a much bigger game. Facing a much softer defense this week, Gallup should have no problem at least matching what he did against the Vikings. He's a strong WR2 choice with some legitimate upside.
The Cleveland Browns Defense will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night in Week 11. Cleveland shapes up as a solid fantasy option as they face off against second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph. The Steelers have run a very conservative offense under Rudolph, which limits the team's fantasy upside. The Browns are installed as 2.5-point home favorites in a game with a low 40-point over/under, which is also good sign for their defense's chances. Cleveland's defense has been among the league leaders in sacks this season and their fierce pass rush could be an issue for the inexperienced Rudolph. Treat the Browns as a top-12 fantasy defense in Week 11.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper is expected to miss about a month with a sprained MCL. Hooper was leading the NFL in catches by a tight end, catching 56 passes for 608 yards and six scores. The four week timetable brings him back in Week 15 assuming everything goes well, meaning Hooper can likely be dropped in redraft formats. The Falcons will rely on their wide receivers in Hooper's absence, as the next guy up on the tight end depth chart is block-first Luke Stocker.
Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard remains one of the league's best handcuffs, but he is not a starting option despite that excellent upside. Pollard has received just four carries in the past two games and is firmly behind three-down back Ezekiel Elliott. The Detroit Lions Defense is generous to opposing running backs, but that will benefit starter Elliott much more than Pollard. Pollard needs to be held in all formats, but shouldn't be in a starting lineup at this point.
Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) is expected to miss a month with a sprained medial collateral ligament.
Fantasy Spin: No one on the roster is a serviceable fantasy pickup. You're likely going to have to play the matchups if you have to replace Hooper. Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson has the matchup this week if he's available on waivers.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry heads into his Week 11 game with a two-game touchdown streak. The veteran slot receiver has been Cleveland's most consistent receiver, drawing double-digit targets in three straight games. He does have a tough matchup on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh just held star slot receiver Cooper Kupp without a catch in Week 10, which could be a concern for Landry this week. That being said, Landry's recent volume is tough to ignore when deciding who to start in Week 11. Treat Landry as a low-end WR2 in PPR leagues and a WR3 in standard formats.
Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris settles in as a shaky fantasy option in Week 11. Harris will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home on Thursday night. The Steelers have been solid against the pass this season, although they have been susceptible to enemy tight ends. On the season, Pittsburgh is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the position. That being said, Harris has been mostly an afterthought in the passing attack, as he will operate as the No. 5 option at best on Thursday night. Harris has yet to catch more than three balls in a game this season and should be treated as a touchdown-dependant TE2 for Week 11.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott should have a strong bounce back week in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions. Elliott was shut down by the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10, running for just 47 yards on 20 carries. The Lions Defense does not offer that kind of performance, so Elliott and the Cowboys offense should have much less trouble getting things going on the ground. Elliott is this week's overall RB3 and is as surefire an RB1 as there is in Week 11.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is a great starting option in Week 11 fantasy lineups. Prescott is coming off a strong 397-yard performance last week and gets a Detroit Lions Defense that has been very generous to opposing quarterbacks. Prescott has emerged quite a bit this season and proved it last week when he led the offense extremely well despite Ezekiel Elliott being almost completely shut down. Dak is a top-five quarterback for Week 11.
Miami Dolphins LB Andrew Van Ginkel (foot) was the second player designated to return from the Reserve/Injured list. CB Aqib Talib (ribs) and DE Jonathan Ledbetter (ankle) will not come off IR.