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FFL: Week 11 | NFL: Week 11

Steelers-Chargers Preview

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Players: Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Melvin Gordon, James Conner, Mason Rudolph, Jaylen Samuels, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Devlin Hodges, Benny Snell Jr.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Devlin Hodges (6) scrambles for a first down in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Pittsburgh. The Ravens won 26-23 in overtime. (AP Photo/Don Wright)


CARSON, Calif. (AP) Philip Rivers will be making his 214th straight start when the Los Angeles Chargers host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

On the opposite sideline, Devlin Hodges will make his first.

By all appearances that matchup has all the appearances of a mismatch, but Chargers coach Anthony Lynn knows that looks can be deceiving, especially after his squad played one of the worst games of his three-year tenure last week in a 20-13 loss to previously winless Denver.

''I know you are what your record says you are, but I don't see the Steelers as a 1-4 team,'' he said. ''I thought Hodges was outstanding. The first thing he did was take them straight down the field and scored. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was well-prepared. This is not too big for him.''

Hodges completed 7 of 9 passes for 68 yards during last Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss to Baltimore after Mason Rudolph was knocked out by a concussion. Rudolph returned to practice on Wednesday but was limited.

Rudolph made his first NFL start in Week 3 after Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury in a loss to Seattle on Sept. 15. It will be only the third time since the merger and first since Dallas in 1989 that a pair of quarterbacks have made their first NFL start for a team by Week 6 or earlier.

Hodges - who is the all-time leader in passing yards in Football Championship Subdivision history (14,584) - said he felt confident going into the game last week after not getting any reps with the first team, but that things are different this week.

''Having the chance to prepare with the ones and just be in the huddle, it is kind of just confidence,'' he said. ''To me, I am getting comfortable being in the huddle with a group of guys that potentially could be there Sunday.''

While Hodges is looking to get acclimated to becoming the starter, Rivers is seeking to bounce back from one of the worst games of his career. He was 32 of 48 for 211 yards and a pair of interceptions against the Broncos. Last week marked the first time in 56 games that Rivers did not direct a touchdown drive and only the eight time it has happened. The 4.4 yards per completion were the fourth fewest of his career.

The Chargers had two turnovers inside the Denver 5 last week and have five drives this season where they have come away with no points in the red zone.

''We've moved the ball and been efficient in a lot of ways. Last week, we weren't,'' Rivers said. ''We've done some really good things offensively, but the most important, which is to score points.''

Here are some other things to watch as the 1-4 Steelers go west for the second time this season to face the 2-3 Chargers:

READY TO RUN?

The Steelers began the season talking about the need to find offensive balance. They have yet to find it, even with the carousel at quarterback. Pittsburgh ranks 29th in yards rushing so far, continuing a trend that began during the team's second-half collapse in 2018. The Steelers have gone over 100 yards on the ground just once in their past 12 games. Pittsburgh is 4-8 during that span.

Getting back on track in Los Angeles might be difficult. Defenses loaded the line of scrimmage against Mason Rudolph, daring the second-year quarterback to beat them with his arm. That doesn't figure to change no matter who is at quarterback on Sunday, be it Rudolph or Hodges. Making matters worse for Pittsburgh? Jaylen Samuels is out at least a month after recovering from a sprained left knee, leaving rookie Benny Snell Jr. as the top option behind starter James Conner.

GETTING GORDON IN GEAR

Melvin Gordon played less than half the snaps last week in his first action of the season. The Chargers running back had only 38 scrimmage yards and averaged only 2.6 yards per carry, but he's hoping that the more practice snaps he got this week will have him better prepared for Sunday.

''We have to be physical, come out and be hungry. There are still a lot more reps I need to get. I just have to find that rhythm,'' he said.

Fellow running back Austin Ekeler leads the AFC in receptions with 39.

DEFENDING SMITH-SCHUSTER

Pittsburgh receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had six catches against the Chargers in last year's game, but only went for 49 yards. The 8.2 average yards per reception were the fifth-fewest he has had in a game in his three-year career.

''We have a lot of respect for him as a route-runner. They have a wide combination of what he is doing,'' Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said.

TURNOVER CHAIN

Pittsburgh spent the entire offseason talking about the need to become more aggressive on defense after managing just 15 takeaways in 2018. So far, so very good. The Steelers have already produced a dozen turnovers through five weeks, one of the main reasons they've been competitive despite the numerous issues on offense.

''It's just guys being in the right position, guys knowing what they're supposed to do and being more ball aware,'' cornerback Mike Hilton said. ''Last year, we were in position a lot of the time, but we just weren't making the plays. And now it seems like we're making them when we need them.''

The next step: turning those turnovers into touchdowns. Pittsburgh has reached the end zone just three times after generating a takeaway.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Chargers center Dan Feeney, who takes over after Mike Pouncey was placed on injured reserve because of a neck injury. Four of the five starters on the offensive line have three years or less of experience.

Player Notes
Tyler Lockett Nov 12 3:50am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett didn't get to spend any time celebrating with his teammates after the huge win on Monday night because he was already on his way to the hospital. Lockett suffered a severe leg contusion on the final play of regulation, and while his fellows Seahawks were able to pull off the win in overtime, Lockett is actually being left behind in the Bay Area for treatment. Head coach Pete Carroll told the media after the game that everyone was extremely concerned about Lockett because the contusion caused immense swelling right after it happened, so the possibility of compartment syndrome is being considered. Lockett will get the bye to rest up, but until more is known, he is considered questionable moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Jason Myers Nov 12 3:50am ET

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers caught plenty of bad press for missing a game-winning kick last week, but the offense bailed him out by scoring a touchdown in overtime. This week, it was Myers who did the saving. Myers blasted through three extra points and a pair of field goals, including a game-winning 42-yarder as time expired in overtime. Myers hasn't really lived up to his billing as a Pro Bowl kicker, especially lately, but he came through when it mattered most on Monday night. Hopefully, this will be a sign of things to come, and that missed game-winner against the Bucs will be seen as the turning point of his season.

From RotoBaller

Malik Turner Nov 12 3:40am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Malik Turner had only been targeted twice since September coming into Monday night's game, but then Tyler Lockett suffered a severe leg contusion in the fourth quarter of the team's game against the 49ers. Of course, in football, when one man goes down, an opportunity opens for another. However, when Seattle received the ball to start overtime in their biggest game of the year, the first play didn't go to D.K. Metcalf, their star rookie, or Josh Gordon, their newly-acquired former stud. The first throw went to Turner, an undrafted free agent. When it was 3rd-and-16 and the game was on the line while Russell Wilson was running for his life, Turner's the jersey he saw and delivered a strike to. Turner then put on some fancy footwork to turn that pass that was a yard short into a 28-yard gain that put Seattle just outside SF's red zone. Turner's unlikely to play a big role after everyone gets a bye week to rest and recover, but if his number gets pulled, it looks like he's able to respond.

From RotoBaller

Jadeveon Clowney Nov 12 3:40am ET

It's real easy for a general manager to look like a genius when the guys he trades for play like stars against his team's biggest rivals. Jadeveon Clowney returned a fumble for a touchdown and knocked another ball loose. Quandre Diggs, playing in his first game as a member of the Seahawks, snatched a key interception. Overall, the Seahawks Defense went from looking overmatched to settling in, generated three turnovers, and bailed the offense out on numerous occasions en route to a huge win. Seattle still has a host of issues defensively, but if they can play like that on a regular basis, they can be back in the mix in the fantasy world.

From RotoBaller

Jacob Hollister Nov 12 3:30am ET

Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister was on the receiving end of another Russell Wilson touchdown throw, but it's still unclear how the two of them made it happen or whether the pass was even directed to Hollister in the first place. With two tacklers bearing down on Wilson from three yards out, he lobbed a gentle floater into the center of the end zone while Tyler Lockett and Hollister were both being openly mugged by 49ers defenders. While Lockett ended up being tackled at the goal line, Hollister dove and snagged the ball with one hand as he fell to the ground. He also went on to catch seven other passes during the game and appears to be one of Wilson's favorite new receivers.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Nov 12 3:30am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon got to play in his first game with the team on Monday night and made a small but critical impact when he caught a pair of passes late in the game. Both catches came on third downs and got the respective first downs. Gordon looked like he was in ridiculous shape, but it will take a couple more games for his role to really be fleshed out. An injury to Tyler Lockett (leg contusion) possibly opens up some more opportunities, and a handy bye week next Sunday will allow Gordon some extra time to learn the playbook. He could still be useful yet.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Nov 12 3:20am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf had quite the game on Monday night. In a game that was likened to a heavyweight bout where both fighters were just slugging at each other over and over, Metcalf had stuff happening all over the chart. He suffered the loneliest feeling in the world when a big gainer turned into a fumble at the two-yard line, recovered by San Francisco. He then got the news that he was the team's new No. 1 receiver in overtime of the biggest game of his career when Tyler Lockett was sidelined with a serious leg contusion. Metcalf finished with six catches for 70 yards and no touchdowns, but the box score doesn't do his night justice. He'll get to mull it all over for the next two weeks due to the bye week. Welcome to the NFL.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Nov 12 3:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson got off to a slow start on Monday night, but when push came to shove, he continued to be the bane of 49ers fans everywhere. Wilson ended the evening with 232 yards passing, a touchdown, and an interception, but his clutch moments in the second half were truly the important part of the performance. Wilson, like many of the offensive players on the field, fumbled and made some poor decisions on third down, but a couple unbelievable throws and a critical 18-yard run in overtime helped seal San Francisco's first loss of the season. Wilson remains magnificent.

From RotoBaller

Chris Carson Nov 12 3:10am ET

In one of the toughest games of his career, Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson bashed and bounced his way to 89 yards and a touchdown in Seattle's win over the 49ers on Monday night. Tallying just 3.6 YPC, it seemed like Carson was constantly being hit. His long rush for the night was just nine yards, and he truly fought for every inch he gained. Carson contributed one of five Seahawks fumbles on the evening, but his was actually recovered, so it likely won't be the focus of this week's conversations about fumbling. Carson continues to be one of Seattle's focal points on offense, though he's probably going to be taking a lot of painkillers this week. Good thing they have a bye next week.

From RotoBaller

Matt Breida Nov 12 1:20am ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (ankle) aggravated his lingering ankle injury in Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks. Breida was stuffed for just 18 yards on 10 carries while netting two catches for seven yards. Its unclear if he was limited all game, but backup runner Raheem Mostert was the primary change-of-pace back for Tevin Coleman in the second half. Breida is no stranger to playing hurt but hell have a short week to heal before facing the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11. Hell be a flex candidate if he suits up.

From RotoBaller

Kendrick Bourne Nov 12 1:10am ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne caught four of eight targets for 42 yards and a touchdown in Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks. Bourne was rewarded with a 10-yard touchdown in the first quarter and received extra playing time throughout with wideout Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) exiting early. The third-year pro now has touchdowns in consecutive games but doesnt have the volume or pedigree to be a sustainable fantasy asset. Even if Sanders misses time, Bournes not someone to chase on the waiver wire.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Nov 12 1:00am ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo struggled in Week 10s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, completing just 24 of 46 passes for 248 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Jimmy G was under duress all evening, with defensive end Jadeveon Clowney manhandling the Niners offensive line. Garoppolo absorbed five sacks and lost two fumbles, one returned by Clowney for a touchdown. Without tight end George Kittle (knee) and wideout Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) exiting midgame, Garoppolo struggled with his makeshift receiving corps outside of rookie wideout Deebo Samuels who popped with 112 yards. It was another sloppy game for Garoppolo, whos struggled with consistency all season. With several chances to win the game, Garoppolo looked extremely shaky and lacked command of the hurry-up offense. Hell be a QB2 in an attractive Week 11 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Nov 12 1:00am ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel cradled eight of 12 targets for 112 yards in Week 10s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Without tight end George Kittle (knee) and wideout Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) banged up, Samuel emerged as the premier aerial threat, hogging targets and repeatedly making clutch plays. His long went for 30 yards. Samuel has struggled to separate from the Niners crowded receiving corps this year, but he could be forced into a lead role if Sanders injury is serious. The talent is undeniable. Hell be a popular waiver wire add this week and is an upside WR4 against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Nov 12 12:50am ET

The San Francisco 49ers Defense played exceptionally well in Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks despite taking the loss. The Niners defense confirmed its dominance against MVP candidate quarterback Russell Wilson, bagging five sacks and recovering three fumbles including a touchdown return by defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw picked off Wilson in overtime and put the team in position to win, but kicker Chase McLaughlin shanked the potential game-winning kick. Even with the loss, the 49ers remain an unquestionable weekly must-start and should be a top-five fantasy defense in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.

From RotoBaller

Chase McLaughlin Nov 12 12:50am ET

San Francisco 49ers kicker Chase McLaughlin knocked in three of four field goals and an extra point in Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks. McLaughlin was poised to play hero after crushing a 47-yard field goal to tie the game in regulation, but instantly reverted to scapegoat by badly shanking the would-be 47-yard game-winner attempt in overtime. The rookie was signed this week as a short-term replacement for Robbie Gould (quad) and is a probable cut candidate once Gould is healthy. Nothing to see here fantasy-wise.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Nov 12 12:40am ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman raced for 40 yards on nine carries and added four catches for 32 yards in Week 10s loss against the Seattle Seahawks. Coleman and the Niners running attack was mostly contained, but he made a few clutch grabs to help the Niners push the contest to overtime. The fifth-year back was once again the leader of the rushing committee and with Matt Breida (ankle) banged up, Coleman could be poised for more work in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. Hell be a borderline RB1 in a great matchup this coming Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Nov 12 12:20am ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) tallied two grabs for 24 yards before exiting in the second quarter with a rib injury. Its uncertain when Sanders suffered the injury but he was ruled out at halftime. Its a tough break for the 10-year pro who had emerged as the clear No. 1 receiver since joining San Francisco. His practice regimen on a short week will determine his availability in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.

From RotoBaller

Kenyan Drake Nov 11 10:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson was benched by head coach Kliff Kingsbury in the Week 10 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in favor of RB Kenyan Drake. Johnson lost a fumble in the third quarter and Kingsbury like what he saw from Drake. 'We just felt like with Drake, needed to get something going and kept him rolling,' Kingsbury said Monday, Nov. 11. 'The last couple weeks, practices, games (he) has brought a little pop to the run game, the pass game, and we felt like he was the guy to try and close the game out with.'

Fantasy Spin: Kingsbury added that the decision was his and had nothing to do with Johnson's recent rash of injuries. He said he'll figure out the best role for both Johnson and Drake over the next few weeks. It's bad news for Johnson's fantasy owners, as he already has struggled to live up to his early-round draft status.

From TheHuddle

Chase Edmonds Nov 11 10:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds (hamstring) has missed the past two games, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he is uncertain for Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers. 'I would expect him hopefully in the near future,' Kingsbury said.

Fantasy Spin: Edmonds will return to the crowded backfield with Kenyan Drake and David Johnson both considered the top two backs. He had his chance to shine in New York when Johnson was hurt and Drake not yet on the team, but he was injured and will now return to a logjam with minimal fantasy appeal.

From TheHuddle