Detroit Lions cornerback Justin Coleman (27) celebrates an interception against the Green Bay Packers with teammates Darius Slay (23) and Will Harris (25) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) makes a leaping catch while covered by Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King, right, during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, left, throws a pass as he is pressured by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook scores on a 1-yard touchdown run ahead of Philadelphia Eagles inside linebacker Zach Brown, left, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs from Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas (32) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Lions are thankful they have a short week to prepare to play Minnesota in a possibly pivotal NFC North matchup.
A quick turnaround gave the Lions less time to lament critical calls that didn't go their way on Monday night in a loss at Green Bay.
''It's kind of a blessing in disguise because we don't have time to think about anything but Minnesota,'' Lions center Frank Ragnow said. ''And, the Vikings are really good - especially on defense.''
The Vikings (4-2) have won two in a row, leaning on one of the NFL's best defenses and an offense that is starting to perform up to its potential.
Minnesota has averaged 33 points the past two weeks with a grinding running game led by Dalvin Cook that helps Kirk Cousins make big plays through the air. After a slow start, Cousins had six touchdown passes and one interception in wins over Philadelphia and the New York Giants.
''That team is on fire right now,'' Lions coach Matt Patricia said.
Detroit (2-2-1) has dropped two straight after an unbeaten, three-game start because it failed to keep double-digit leads against the Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.
''You can't let it stick around in your head because there's a long season left,'' Flowers said.
If the Lions don't win Sunday at home, though, their chances to contend in the competitive division will take a hit.
Minnesota, meanwhile, wants to avoid starting 0-3 in the NFC North after playing its first three division games as visitors.
''We get them all at home at the end, so it all evens out,'' Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
Here are some things to watch when the Lions face the Vikings:
STACKS OF SACKS
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter leads the league with eight tackles for losses. He set an NFL record with a sack against the Eagles that gave him 46 for his career, the most in history by a player younger than 25. Hunter has two more games before his birthday, and the Lions have provided him plenty of pass-rushing opportunities in the past. Hunter has seven sacks in six games against them, plus three fumble recoveries and one he returned for a 32-yard touchdown.
The Lions lost to the Packers at least in part because they scored only one touchdown and had to settle for Matt Prater's five field goals. That followed a trend.
In goal-to-go situations, Detroit ranks 30th in the NFL with four touchdowns in nine chances.
''That's not good enough,'' quarterback Matthew Stafford acknowledged.
Inside the 20, Detroit has gotten into the end zone on half of its 16 opportunities to rank among the bottom third of the league.
The problem may be ominous for the Lions because they were relegated to scoring only on field goals in two losses to Minnesota last year.
Stafford is 87 yards passing from setting a record for the fewest games to reach the 40,000-yard mark. Matt Ryan reached that number in 151 games, five more than Stafford has played.
''When you step back and look at stuff like that, I think it's just pretty amazing,'' Patricia said.
Stafford has bounced back from a lackluster year with a solid season so far as the league's ninth-ranked passer. He has thrown nine touchdown passes and two interceptions, both coming in a Week 2 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
''Stafford is playing outstanding, maybe the best I've ever seen him,'' Zimmer said. ''He's throwing the ball into a lot of tight windows. He's pulling the trigger. He's still scrambling.''
Though Minnesota hasn't been stung by questionable late-game calls quite like Detroit was at Green Bay, penalties have been an uncharacteristic problem for the team.
The Vikings had four penalties for 30 yards against them in their win over the Eagles last week, both season lows for a team that has been charged with the third-most penalty yardage in the league (456) and irritated its discipline-driven coach in the process.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (shoulder) is back at practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday. Doyle should be able to play this weekend in Week 11 against the Jaguars. He has scored in back-to-back weeks but has only 66 yards receiving in that timeframe and has his upside limited while sharing snaps with teammate Eric Ebron. However, Doyle will have more TE2 streaming appeal if T.Y. Hilton (calf) misses another game this weekend with quarterback Jacoby Brissett (knee) expected to return.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) wasn't spotted at practice on Thursday for the second straight day this week. Hilton has a chance to return in Week 11 against the Jaguars, but he'll likely need to get in at least a limited practice on Friday since he hasn't played since getting injured in Week 8. As of right now, you should be planning to be without him for another week. Zach Pascal has been the best bet at wideout for the Colts with Hilton out, with Chester Rogers and Marcus Johnson filling out three-receiver sets. Indy should continue to lean on their ground game with running back Marlon Mack if Hilton remains sidelined. The good news for Pascal owners is that quarterback Jacoby Brissett (knee) is expected back after missing Week 10.
Buffalo Bills rookie tight end Dawson Knox (knee) was held out of practice on Thursday due to a sore knee, but head coach Sean McDermott expects Knox to return to practice on Friday and be fine for Week 11 against the Dolphins. Knox has shown some potential in his first year in the NFL and he has an excellent matchup in Miami this Sunday, but the youngster is still a low-end, touchdown-dependent TE2 in a Bills offense led by inconsistent quarterback Josh Allen.
Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown (ankle) was absent from practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Brown could be truly questionable for Week 11 against the Texans, so his status on Friday is one to watch. He had a good game in Week 10 against the winless Bengals despite playing limited snaps, so the downfield speedster is truly a boom-or-bust WR3 in his rookie season on limited chances this year. He does have a good matchup against Houston's secondary if he plays, but he could come down to a game-time decision. Tight end Mark Andrews would have a higher ceiling as an elite TE1 if Brown misses this weekend. Baltimore's other receivers haven't proven fantasy relevant when Brown has missed time this year.
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (toe) is not practicing on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. It's a downgrade for AD, but the Redskins could just be resting the veteran with the season entering the second half. After all, interim head coach Bill Callahan has been riding Peterson hard since he took over. Even if Peterson plays, he'll have a lower ceiling as an RB3/flex with Derrius Guice (knee) expected to have a big role for the first time since suffering a knee injury in the season opener. The two running backs could easily cannibalize each other on a low-scoring Redskins offense led by shaky rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Stay away if you can. Guice would obviously have more RB3 appeal if Peterson is out or limited.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (ankle) missed practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday, putting him on the wrong side of questionable for Week 11's showdown with the Patriots. The Eagles really can't afford to be without Jeffery now that DeSean Jackson (abdomen) is out for the year. That would mean three-wide sets that would likely consist of Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins and rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. If Jeffery sits, tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert will be targeted more often, while Agholor might be worth a look as a flex in deeper leagues and in DFS. Jeffery would have greater bust potential if he plays, as he's expected to be shadowed by shutdown corner Stephon Gilmore.
The Falcons Defense surprisingly came off their bye week and thwarted the Saints in Week 10, sacking Drew Brees six times and holding the Saints to just nine points. However, it was a rare gem in a season that's seen the team get lit up time and time again. In Week 11, the Falcons face the Panthers in Carolina. While the Falcons may be able to force one or two turnovers from Kyle Allen and company, they could very well get torched by Christian McCaffrey and see themselves allowing over 30 points in the game. Keep the Falcons defense on the waiver wire this week.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (hamstring) missed practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday and is on track to miss another game in Week 11 against the 49ers. Edmonds had some fleeting RB2 appeal when David Johnson (ankle, back) was sidelined, but that opportunity has dried up after the team traded for Kenyan Drake. Drake could be the leader in the backfield going forward as long as Johnson struggles with multiple injuries. The Cardinals have their bye coming up in Week 12, so Edmonds is droppable in almost all leagues if you're still holding onto him.
Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson (concussion) returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday. It's unclear if Johnson has passed the league's concussion protocol, but it's progress nonetheless and gives him a shot to play in Week 11 against the Cowboys. If he's active, expect the Lions to go with a three-headed monster in the backfield that will also include J.D. McKissic and Paul Perkins. Johnson has rushed 14 times for only 55 yards in the last two games, and he'd be a low-upside RB3/flex in deeper leagues if he's playing. McKissic would be on the streaming radar if Johnson is inactive, but this is a situation to avoid if you can, especially since it looks like quarterback Matthew Stafford (back) will miss another game.
Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Qadree Ollison should have an opportunity to receive his first NFL carry this week. The team will likely be without No. 1 running back Devonta Freeman (foot) for the game, making Brian Hill the next-man-up and Ollison his potential No. 2. Ollison is the biggest back amongst the Falcons' core rushers, standing 6'1" and weighing around 230 pounds. He could carve out a role as the team's short-yardage back. He should be on radars in all formats and is worthy of an add in leagues of 14 or more teams if you're thin at running back. He's too risky to consider starting this week as his workload is unknown and Hill is likely to shoulder a heavy load.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Jaeden Graham has an opportunity to carve out a short-term role in the offense this week with Austin Hooper (MCL) sidelined. The team may also be without Luke Stocker (knee), who is dealing with a knee injury. Graham has just two targets on the year and has caught both of them for a total of 32 yards. The Falcons have a prolific passing offense and Hooper established himself as one of the most consistent and reliable fantasy tight ends out there this year. Hooper could miss about a month, which opens up an opportunity for Graham to be a sneaky tight end option in the coming weeks. This week, however, he's too risky to trust as a starter.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that rookie running back David Montgomery (ankle) "lightly rolled" his ankle in practice on Wednesday. The Bears will keep an eye on him before the Week 11 matchup on Sunday night against the Rams. It's a situation to watch, and it could be troubling for fantasy owners with the game on Sunday night if Montgomery winds up being a game-time decision. The good news is that the rookie was limited in practice on Wednesday, so he should be able to play, barring a late-week setback. Montgomery hasn't been all that efficient in his first year, but his workload is building as the season goes on, making him a low-end RB2 despite the tough matchup. Tarik Cohen would be a must-start if Montgomery can't play.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (back) remained out of practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday. Stafford is headed towards his second straight missed game after not sitting out since 2010. His absence would be a downgrade for all of Detroit's skill players in a tough matchup against the Cowboys. Jeff Driskel didn't embarrass himself against a strong Bears Defense in Week 10, but he'd be a low-end QB2 if he's forced to make a second straight start. Stafford must at least get in a limited practice on Friday to have a chance at playing this weekend.
Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo had a flawless debut for the team in Week 10, converting all four of his field goal attempts, including a 48-yarder, and both of his extra-point attempts. The Falcons face the Panthers in a Week 11 game that should be high-scoring. Even though the Falcons will be without a few of their offensive weapons, they should still be able to put Koo in position for at least a few field goals in the game. He's a low-end starting option at kicker this week.
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (foot) has been held out of practice this week and figures to be sidelined for Week 11 and potentially Week 12 as well. He is dealing with a foot injury that he suffered in Week 10 against the Saints. He is currently listed as doubtful for Week 11 against the Panthers. Freeman has had a bit of a rough year overall, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. Most of the damage he's done has been in the passing game. The team also recently placed Ito Smith (neck) on IR, which leaves Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison as the Falcons' primary backs going into Week 11. Hill is a must-add in all fantasy formats while Ollison is worth watching and is even a potential add in deep leagues.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage has earned 14 targets over his last two games. While he hasn't done too much with them from a yardage standpoint, gaining only 81 total yards the past two games, his 11 catches over the past two games certainly inspire hope in PPR formats. To add to the attraction for Gage, the Falcons will be without Austin Hooper (MCL) in Week 11 and likely won't have running back Devonta Freeman (foot) as well. That opens up a lot of potential targets for Gage. Expect him to see six or seven targets in Week 11 against the Panthers, giving him a good chance to catch five passes, warranting a WR3 or flex start in PPR formats.
It's been a roller-coaster type of year for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley. He was rolling early in the season, but has gone without a touchdown in three straight games, and has failed to top 30 receiving yards in two of those three games. This week, Ridley and the Falcons face the Panthers. The team is going to be short-handed offensively with Austin Hooper (MCL) and Devonta Freeman (foot) sidelined. There's also a chance that quarterback Matt Ryan (ankle) misses the game. Ridley should have an opportunity to step up in the absence of Hooper and Freeman. Expect him to see at least six or seven targets from whoever is quarterback, giving him a good chance to come down with four or more catches and around 70 or 80 yards. He's a solid WR2 option this week.
Indianapolis Colts WR Devin Funchess (clavicle) has returned this week to put in limited work in practice, but isn't likely to play Sunday, Nov. 17. '(The) bone has gotta heal,' Funchess said Thursday, Nov. 14, of his broken collarbone suffered in the season opener.
Fantasy Spin: The Colts, with their banged-up WR corps, and some deeper-league fantasy owners could use Funchess right now, but don't expect him back for a couple of weeks by most indications.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) remained out of practice Thursday, Nov. 14, and it appears unlikely he will play Week 11 against the Denver Broncos.
Fantasy Spin: Thielen's chances of returning before the Vikings' Week 12 bye were essentially nixed when he tried to play but quickly re-aggravated things in Week 9, so don't expect to see Thielen until Week 13 at the earliest.
Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill has a golden opportunity this week with Devonta Freeman (foot) likely out and Ito Smith (neck) on Injured Reserve. Hill appears to be the team's No. 1 running back for now. Last week, Hill saw his first extended action of the year when Freeman first suffered his foot injury. Hill gained 61 rushing yards on 20 carries in the game and added a 10-yard touchdown reception. The Falcons run game has been dreadful all year, but Hill figures to get such a heavy workload as well as involvement in the passing game, which will allow him to deliver a solid fantasy day. Expect him to get around 20 touches in Week 11 against the Panthers, including four or more receptions. He has a good chance to gain around 80 yards or more in the game with an opportunity to score.