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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 14

Steelers defense leads way in 17-12 win over Rams

Sun Nov 10 8:21pm ET
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

Players: Ben Roethlisberger, Robert Woods, Trey Edmunds, Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, Ryan Switzer, Josh Reynolds, Mason Rudolph, James Washington

Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, left, celebrates with Mark Barron (26) after Fitzpatricks touchdown following the recovery of a fumble by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington (13) celebrates his touchdown catch with Diontae Johnson (18) during the first half of an NFL football game against the LoLos Angeles Rams in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)


Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington, right, celebrates his touchdown catch with Diontae Johnson (18) during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) is hit by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) after getting off a pass during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Los Angeles Rams defensive end Dante Fowler (56) celebrates his touchdown on a fumble recovery during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


PITTSBURGH (AP) The Steelers defense spoiled Aaron Donald's homecoming and derailed the Los Angeles Rams' momentum in the process.

The Steelers forced four turnovers - including a 43-yard fumble return for a touchdown by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick - in an ugly 17-12 victory on Sunday that pushed their winning streak to four games and dealt the Rams' chances of chasing down Seattle and San Francisco in the NFC West a serious blow.

Donald, a Pittsburgh native, sacked the Steelers' Mason Rudolph for a safety in his first appearance in his hometown since the Rams took him in the first round of the 2014 draft.

Linebacker Dante Fowler scored Los Angeles' lone touchdown on a 25-yard fumble return on the second snap of the game. But the Rams' offense did little against a Steelers defense that has become the team's identity after losing Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending right elbow injury in Week 2.

Jared Goff completed 22 of 40 passes for 243 yards, none of them to leading receiver Cooper Kupp. The Rams (5-4) converted just 1 of 14 third downs and came up empty on a pair of last-gasp drives in the final two minutes. Goff's fourth-down heave to the end zone intended for Josh Reynolds fell incomplete with 1:25 to go. Los Angeles got the ball back with 59 seconds to play but Goff's pass to Robert Woods was tipped.

Fitzpatrick ran underneath it for the game-sealing interception and seventh takeaway since the Steelers acquired him from Miami in September for a 2020 first-round pick.

At the moment, it looks like draft capital well spent.

Rudolph completed 22 of 38 passes for 242 yards with a touchdown, stats that would have been considerably better if not for a handful of drops that prevented the Steelers (5-4) from gaining any sort of traction for long stretches.

Rudolph became the ninth quarterback since the 1970 merger to throw a touchdown in each of his first seven games when he found James Washington for a 3-yard score in the first quarter, but the Steelers once again relied on their defense to move over .500 for the first time this season.

The Steelers managed just 15 turnovers in 2018. They have produced 26 through nine games in 2019, helping them stay afloat following a 1-4 start while Rudolph and the offense searches for solid footing.

WHAT THE HEKKER?

Los Angeles coach Sean McVay is known for his innovative thinking, but his aggressiveness nearly cost the Rams in the third quarter. Los Angeles was facing fourth-and-1 at Rams 29 trailing 14-7.

The Rams lined up to punt before fanning out, with Hekker moving up into the shotgun formation. Hekker, who had a 23-yard completion earlier in the season and came in 12 of 20 for 179 yards with a touchdown in his career, was hit as he threw and the pass was picked off by Pittsburgh's Trey Edmunds, a running back by trade.

The Steelers, however, were unable to take advantage of the great field position. A penalty, a sack and a dropped pass pushed Pittsburgh out of field-goal range.

INJURIES

Rams: Center Brian Allen left in the first quarter with a knee issue and did not return. DB Darious Williams left with an ankle problem.

Steelers: Wide receiver Ryan Switzer left in the fourth quarter with a back injury.

UP NEXT

Rams: Host the Chicago Bears (4-5) next Sunday night.

Steelers: Travel to Cleveland to play the Browns (3-6) on Thursday. Pittsburgh is 7-0-1 in its past eight meetings with Cleveland.

Player Notes
New York Jets Dec 8 6:00pm ET

The New York Jets Defense allowed plenty of yards to the Dolphins Sunday, but never let Miami in the end zone. The Dolphins scored all 21 of their points via the field goal and the Jets defense added an interception and two sacks for a mediocre fantasy day. Anyone using the Jets defense as a streamer may want to stop now ahead of a matchup vs MVP candidate Lamar Jackson and the high-flying Ravens in Baltimore on a short week.

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T.J. Yeldon Dec 8 6:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon was inactive for the seventh straight game in Week 14 against the Ravens. The Bills are rolling along with Devin Singletary and Frank Gore as their lone rushers. Singletary had a big game in Week 14, gaining 89 yards on the ground and another 29 yards through the air. Gore has been a decent No. 2 behind Singletary, despite struggling in Week 14. Yeldon has no business on fantasy radars at this point.

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Hayden Hurst Dec 8 6:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst had his best performance of the season after Mark Andrews exited the game with a knee injury. Hurst caught all three of his targets for a season-high 73 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown in Baltimore's Week 14 win over the Buffalo Bills. If Andrews is unable to play Thursday Night, quarterback Lamar Jackson will likely heavily target tight ends Hurst and Nick Boyle. The Ravens face a Jets Defense in Week 15 that has held opposing tight ends to two touchdowns in 2019.

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Sam Ficken Dec 8 6:00pm ET

New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken made three field goals on three attempts including a game-winning 44-yarder as time expired. Ficken also hit from 42 and 37 yards out. It wasn't all good for Ficken who only went 1-for-2 on extra points but he made the big kick when it counts. Ficken has been good for the Jets but there are better kicking options on better offenses to use in fantasy, especially with the Jets brutal remaining schedule.

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Ty Montgomery Dec 8 5:50pm ET

New York Jets running back Ty Montgomery rushed nine times for 31 yards and made three catches for 30 yards in a win over the Dolphins Sunday. As expected, Montgomery took a backseat to Bilal Powell in the absence of starter Le'Veon Bell (illness). Powell (ankle) left the game late, however, and the status of both running backs is up in the air for a Thursday night game in Baltimore. The Jets will provide an update on Bell and Powell Monday but if either is out Montgomery should have a role Thursday, albeit in a tough matchup at Baltimore.

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Mark Andrews Dec 8 5:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews exited the game in the first quarter with a knee injury. Andrews caught 1-of-3 targets for 14 yards before heading to the locker room in the Ravens Week 14 win over the Bills. According to ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley, Andrews' injury isn't considered serious and head coach John Harbaugh explained it could just be a bruise. Baltimore faces the Jets on Thursday Night in Week 15 and Andrews will likely be questionable going into the matchup.

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Tyler Boyd Dec 8 5:50pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught five of his six targets for 75 yards during the loss to Cleveland on Sunday. While he was still semi-productive from a fantasy standpoint, he was relegated to a lesser role by Joe Mixon, who had 23 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown. The 25-year-old had a touchdown in each of his last two games coming into Week 14 but failed to find the end zone in this one, and though he always has a shot to score, his outlook is less favorable than usual against a tough Patriots Defense in Week 15.

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Aaron Jones Dec 8 5:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones posted a season-high 134 rushing yards on 16 totes with a touchdown and caught six of seven targets for 58 receiving yards in a 20-15 win over the Washington Redskins. With game script on his side, Jones was fed the most touches since Week 8- and he responded by gashing the Redskins' run defense for 8.4 yards per carry. The 24-year-old was Green Bay's leading rusher and receiver. Jones also found his way back into the end zone for the first time since Week 10. Up next for the star running back is a Week 15 matchup with the stout Chicago Bears Defense.

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Buffalo Bills Dec 8 5:50pm ET

The Bills Defense did a decent job of containing a potent Ravens offense in Week 14. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for just 145 yards in the game, his third-lowest output on the season, and his 40 rushing yards in the game were the fewest he's managed since Week 1. Unfortunately for the Bills defense, the Ravens were able to put three touchdowns and a field goal on the board in their 24-17 victory. The Ravens' 24 points were the second-most any team has scored on the Bills this year. The Bills were able to come up with an interception in the game, but they had only one sack. The Bills defense should be able to bounce back strong against the Steelers in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Buffalo Bills Dec 8 5:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens quarterback recorded his second-worst fantasy performance of the season against the Buffalo Bills, but was able to squeak out just under 20 points in most formats. Jackson completed 16-of-25 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns. He added 40 yards on the ground, was sacked once and threw an interception in Baltimore's Week 14 win. After tight end Mark Andrews exited the game in the first quarter with a knee injury, Jackson found Nick Boyle for a three-yard shuffle-pass touchdown to start the second quarter. Jackson's top receiver in the game was tight end Hayden Hurst who finished with three receptions for 73 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown to start the second half. The Ravens face a Jets Defense in Week 15 that has conceded 21 total touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in 2019.

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Cole Beasley Dec 8 5:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley scored the team's only touchdown in Week 14 against the Ravens. It came in the fourth quarter while the team was attempting a comeback before eventually falling short. Beasley had seven targets in the game and wound up with four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown. Beasley now has touchdowns in three straight games. With six touchdowns on the year, Beasley has found a way to contribute for fantasy owners in ways other than just heavy usage. He's a viable WR3 or flex play in PPR leagues of 12 or more teams.

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Giovani Bernard Dec 8 5:40pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard had two catches (three targets) for 31 yards during the Week 14 loss to the Browns. He also had four carries for 15 yards. Performances such as this have been the norm for the 28-year-old this season, and with just 121 rushing yards and an equally unimpressive 181 receiving yards, Bernard is on the way to his most disappointing year as a professional. Joe Mixon, who had 23 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown, continues to get the bulk of the carries, leaving Bernard with virtually no fantasy value, with that trend likely to continue throughout the remainder of 2019.

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John Brown Dec 8 5:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown had three catches for 26 yards in Week 14 against the Ravens, the same stat line he provided in Week 13 against the Cowboys. This time out, though, he had eight targets compared with four, and the team ended up in the losing column. So the team was trying to feed him the ball, but the connection just wasn't there. Brown has had a fantastic debut season in Buffalo, but he's hit a bit of a wall lately as he's come upon some tough defenses. Josh Allen threw for a season-low 146 yards in Week 14, making it hard for any Bill to find production. Brown will look to bounce back as the Bills face the Steelers in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Bilal Powell Dec 8 5:40pm ET

New York Jets running back Bilal Powell rushed 19 times for 74 yards but injured his ankle late and didn't finish the game. Powell added two catches for 14 yards filling in for starter Le'Veon Bell (illness) who missed the game with the flu. The Jets should provide an update on Powell's injury Monday, but it doesn't look good with a short week ahead of a road game Thursday night. Whoever starts for the Jets will face a brutal matchup against the vaunted Ravens Defense.

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Cleveland Browns Dec 8 5:40pm ET

The Cleveland Browns Defense played well in a 27-19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. Cleveland picked up two sacks and had one interception. Cleveland's interception was a big play as Denzel Ward picked off Andy Dalton and returned it 61 yards for the Browns' first defensive touchdown of the season. The Browns will head to Arizona for a road game against the Cardinals in Week 15.

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David Njoku Dec 8 5:30pm ET

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku caught one of his three targets for four yards in a 27-19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. Njoku had a quiet outing in his first game action since fracturing his wrist back in Week 2. Despite the quiet outing, Njoku will remain on the TE1 borderline in Week 15 as he gets set to take on an Arizona Cardinals Defense that has been one of the worst in the league at covering the tight end position.

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Joe Mixon Dec 8 5:30pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon ran for 146 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries during the loss to the Browns on Sunday. He also had three receptions for 40 yards. This was Mixon's most productive game of the year, eclipsing the 114 yards that he produced against Baltimore back in Week 10, and did so while collocating a stately 6.3 yards per carry. With three touchdowns on the ground in three of his last four outings, things will tougher in Week 15 against a challenging Patriots Defense.

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Jordan Akins Dec 8 5:30pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins has been mostly an afterthought ever since his two-touchdown game in Week 3, but on Sunday against the Broncos he finally found something, catching four passes for 49 yards. His nine targets were his most of the year. Akins is a better receiving option everywhere but the red zone than fellow Texans tight end Darren Fells is, though it's unlikely Sunday's performance really turns out to be indicative of anything. Go ahead and leave Akins on waivers.

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Devin Singletary Dec 8 5:30pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was the clear offensive standout for the team in their 24-17 loss to the Ravens in Week 14. Singletary carried the ball 17 times for 89 yards and added six receptions for 29 yards. No other Bill had over 40 yards from scrimmage in the game. Singletary's 23 touches in the game matched a season-high. Meanwhile, Frank Gore only received four carries, a week after he carried the ball nine times compared with Singletary's 14. Singletary is the clear No. 1 and if there are more games like this going forward where Gore is barely used, Singletary could end up being a low-end RB1 the rest of the way.

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Frank Gore Dec 8 5:30pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore had his worst game of the year from a yardage standpoint in Week 14 against the Ravens. Gore earned just four carries in the game and wasn't able to do much with them, gaining just six total yards. This was the first time all year that Gore was held under double-digits in yards. It was also only the second time all year that Gore had under nine carries in a game. Rookie running back Devin Singletary was heavily featured in the game, earning 17 carries while catching six passes as well. Gore is the clear No. 2 in Buffalo and can be left on waivers in just about all leagues.

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