Thu Nov 21 10:14pm ET
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) prepares to intercept a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Although Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks are both grateful to be back at work with the Los Angeles Rams, their team is even more grateful to see its top two veteran receivers back on the practice field.
Woods and Cooks practiced with their teammates Thursday, and they both intend to play Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens. Both wideouts had extended recent absences from the team.
Cooks was getting medical help with his second concussion of the season. He has missed Los Angeles' past two games after getting hurt in London.
''To be able to come back out here with the guys and prep for another game, I don't take that for granted, that's for sure,'' Cooks said.
Woods was dealing with an undisclosed personal matter that unexpectedly forced him to miss the Rams' win over Chicago last Sunday. He had been away from the team since last weekend.
''Just appreciate the Rams organization allowing me to deal with my family matters, allowing me to keep this personal,'' said Woods, who didn't go into detail on his situation.
Woods said he is ''planning on'' playing Monday, but is ''just taking it day by day.''
Jared Goff and coach Sean McVay are hopeful they will have their full complement of receivers available to face the powerful Ravens (8-2) in a key game for the Rams' (6-4) NFC playoff hopes.
Cooper Kupp is the Rams' top receiver this season with 61 catches for 845 yards, while No. 4 receiver Josh Reynolds has filled in capably for both absent veterans. But the Rams aren't the same team without Woods, the precise possession receiver with 45 catches for 566 yards this season, and Cooks, Los Angeles' top deep threat.
When the Rams beat the Bears last weekend, they did it with just 18 pass attempts by Goff while Woods and Cooks were both sidelined.
Los Angeles' running game carried the offensive weight, but McVay can't implement his full offense without several reliable receivers along with tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee. Instead, McVay frequently used his tight ends to help out an offensive line with three inexperienced starters thanks to recent injuries, and the strategy worked well enough to win.
Cooks has a history of concussions, with at least five recorded instances during his six-year NFL career. He made two trips to Pittsburgh during his absence from the Rams to meet with specialists who advised him on his brain health, and what he can do to preserve it.
Cooks also incurred a concussion at Seattle three weeks before his injury in London, yet he says that having two concussions without a month is ''not really concerning at all.'' He is getting a different helmet, however.
''I understand that it's one of the things that's part of the game,'' Cooks said. ''At the end of the day, what's going through my mind is like, `OK, let's get some answers,' and then figuring out what's going on. It's a blessing that I don't have ever have symptoms after.''
McVay said Cooks has been eager to return to action for two weeks since his return from the Rams' bye week. Cooks' speed allows McVay to open up his vertical passing game, which also spreads out defenses for the other skill players in his offense.
Cooks said he hasn't considered retirement, and the prospect of quitting football wasn't brought up by his doctors. Cooks is in the first season of a five-year, $81 million contract with $20.5 million guaranteed, a deal that the Rams gave to him last year before he had even played for his new team.
Despite a history that includes a concussion during the Super Bowl when he played for New England two seasons ago, Cooks doesn't feel more vulnerable as he returns for the final six games of the Rams' regular season.
''It's just like any muscle,'' Cooks said of his brain health. ''The more that you train it, the stronger that it can become. Other than that, I just think it's an anomaly.''
NOTES: RB Malcolm Brown missed practice while awaiting the birth of his child. ... With an extra day between games thanks to their Monday night date, the Rams are taking Friday off. ... Reynolds and P Johnny Hekker missed practice due to illness.
The San Francisco 49ers placed wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (foot, knee) on injured reserve on Tuesday. The seven-year pro has been dealing with chronic leg issues and will be shut down to undergo treatment. Goodwin managed just 12 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown in 2019 and its probable his three-year tenure with the Niners is over. The speedster will likely find his way onto another roster next year but at 29 years old, Goodwin holds minimal dynasty value. With Goodwin shelved, wideout Kendrick Bourne will continue operating as the primary third receiver. With five scores over his past six games, Bourne has emerged as a red zone threat and will be a low-volume WR5 in Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons.
San Francisco 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a knee injury on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
New York Jets S Jamal Adams (ankle), OT Chuma Edoga (knee), TE Ryan Griffin (ankle), CB Arthur Maulet (calf), CB Brian Poole (concussion), RB Bilal Powell (ankle, illness), WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) and DL Quinnen Williams (neck) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 10. OT Kelvin Beachum (ankles), S Matthias Farley (ankle), DL Steve McLendon (knee, hip), RB Ty Montgomery (foot, hip) and DL Nathan Shepherd (ankle) were limited. RB Le'Veon Bell (illness), CB Maurice Canady (shoulder), OL Tom Compton (ankle), QB Sam Darnold (knee, thumb), QB David Fales (elbow) and LB Paul Worrilow (quad) participated in full.
Baltimore Ravens LB Chris Board (concussion), DB Anthony Levine (ankle), OT Ronnie Stanley (concussion), RB Mark Ingram (non-injury), S Earl Thomas (non-injury) and DT Brandon Williams (non-injury) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 10. TE Mark Andrews (knee), QB Lamar Jackson (quad) and DE Jihad Ward (elbow) were limited.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (abdominal) and CB Desmond Trufant (forearm) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Tuesday, Dec. 10. LB Ahmad Thomas was signed to the active roster, while TE Carson Meier and LB Quentin Poling were added to the practice squad.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) is out for the rest of the season with a foot injury he suffered in Week 14 against the New York Giants, according to a source. The team is still reportedly gathering opinions about the exact injury, however.
Fantasy Spin: This injury wraps up yet another injury-shortened season for the 29-year-old, who has played a full season once in the last five years - averaging only 12 games over that span. Jeffrey is still due $12.75 million over each of the final two years of his deal, so he's probably not going anywhere this offseason. With Nelson Agholor also ailing, the Eagles could be forced to finish the season with Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and a few practice squad players at the position.
Arizona Cardinals DL Rodney Gunter (toe) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a toe injury on Tuesday, Dec. 10. DL Caraun Reid (Cardinals) was re-signed to an undisclosed contract to replace him on the roster after getting released over the weekend.
Washington Redskins CB Simeon Thomas was handed a four-game suspension by the NFL on Tuesday, Dec. 10, for violating the league's policy and program on substances of abuse.
Detroit Lions WR Marvin Jones (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with an ankle injury on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Fantasy Spin: The hits just keep coming for Detroit, which figures to lean on Kenny Golladay even more the rest of the way. Danny Amendola should also see more targets as well.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate (knee) was placed on the injured reserve Tuesday, ending his season. Tate sustained a mild MCL sprain in his left knee in the third quarter of the teams Week 14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Damion Willis was promoted to the active roster in a corresponding roster move. Tate took advantage of all the injuries to the Bengals receiving corps this season, racking up a career-high 40 catches for 575 yards and one touchdown, and is a worthy hold in dynasty leagues heading into his third season.
Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp played only 20 of a possible 68 snaps in Week 14 versus the Seattle Seahawks.
Fantasy Spin: By comparison, Kupp logged 57 snaps in Week 13. Head coach Sean McVay defended the move by suggesting it was the cost of doing business in order to establish some offensive balance on early downs. However, the flaw in that reasoning is that Kupp's playing time should not be cut in favor of backup tight end Johnny Mundt. Meanwhile, Brandin Cooks didn't make a catch in his 61 snaps. Expect Kupp to return to his normal snap count in Week 15 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Free-agent CB Jamar Taylor (Seahawks) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell is among the players the team is expected to make available via trade this offseason, according to sources.
Fantasy Spin: Bell is averaging only 49.1 yards rushing behind one of the league's worst offensive lines in his first season with the Jets, and it is becoming increasingly clear head coach Adam Gase either can't find a way to keep him involved in the offense or doesn't want to. A trade will be hard to accomplish as well, as the Jets would take a $15.5 million cap hit if they deal him and his hypothetical new team would have to find a way to fit one of the larger contracts at his position onto the roster.
Cincinnati Bengals WR Auden Tate (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a sprained left medial collateral ligament Tuesday, Dec. 10. WR Damion Willis was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.
Fantasy Spin: Tate's emergence was probably the best thing to happen to the Bengals in an otherwise lost season. Assuming A.J. Green re-signs with the team in the offseason, Tate will probably push John Ross for the other starting outside job while Tyler Boyd remains the main slot receiver. Tate, who finishes this season with 40 catches for 575 yards and a touchdown, should be considered a solid late-round flier next summer in fantasy drafts.
Dallas Cowboys WR Cedrick Wilson (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Dec. 10. OT Mitch Hyatt was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (foot) has been placed on Injured Reserve ending his season. It's an unfortunate, yet fitting, end to the rookie's season having battled injuries to his hamstring, abdomen, and a broken hand before a fractured foot put him on season-ending IR. Campbell finishes his rookie season with 18 catches for 127 yards and one touchdown. The Colts are still unsure of T.Y. Hilton's (calf) status for their Monday night game vs New Orleans, but it's looking increasingly likely Hilton misses the game. Assuming Hilton is out, Zach Pascal has interesting WR3 value with Marcus Johnson also in the mix in deeper fantasy leagues.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are expecting to get wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and running back James Conner (shoulder) back in time for their Week 15 game against the Buffalo Bills. Neither has played since getting injured against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11. Both players are expected to practice this week in what would be a big boost to the Pittsburgh offense as the team looks to remain in the playoff picture. Conner's return would come at an especially good time as Jaylen Samuels is looking questionable for this weekend with a groin injury. That being said, fantasy GMs need to temper their expectations for both players as the Bills have been stout on defense this season.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (abdomen) will be out for the remainder of the season after suffering an abdominal injury during the first half of Week 14's win over the Carolina Panthers. Ridley had a big game before the injury, catching five balls for 76 yards and a touchdown but went down before halftime and was unable to stand on his own. He was carted off the field and looked to be in significant pain. With Ridley out look for Russell Gage to slide in as the No. 2 receiver in Atlanta opposite Julio Jones. Gage is worth a look as a flex play in fantasy leagues going forward.
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (ankle, illness) is not expected to play Thursday night at Baltimore. Powell, who was filling in for Le'Veon Bell (illness) injured his ankle at the end of the Jets Week 14 win over the Dolphins. Powell is also apparently dealing with the flu but head coach Adam Gase said the ankle is the bigger concern right now. Powell is yet to officially be ruled out, but all signs are pointing to him not suiting up this week. The good news for New York is Bell is reportedly close to 100 percent and should reclaim his starting role with Ty Montgomery working as a change of pace back. Powell can safely be dropped by those that picked him up for the Miami game.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (ankle) was spotted in a walking boot on Monday and left the locker room using a scooter. Head coach Doug Marrone told reporters that Chark is "week-to-week" with the injury, which puts the remainder of his season in jeopardy. Chark broke out in a big way for Jacksonville in 2019, catching 67 balls for 956 yards and eight touchdowns. With Chark sidelined, look for Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, and Keelan Cole to all see more chances within the Jacksonville passing attack.