New York Giants quarterback Mike Glennon throws a pass in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Dallas Cowboys' Keanu Neal (42), Micah Parsons (11) and Jayron Kearse (27) help defend as New York Giants running back Devontae Booker (28) reaches the end zone over the top of the pile for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throws a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
New York Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter (59) celebrates intercepting a Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott pass in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Los Angeles Rams safety Nick Scott (33) intercepts a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Seattle. The Rams won 26-17. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants are heading in opposite directions as they meet for the third time in five seasons.
The Rams (4-1) are off to another good start and in line to make the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons under now 35-year-old coach Sean McVay.
Heading into Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium, the Giants (1-4) are off to another horrible start and face a fifth straight losing season. It would be their second straight under Joe Judge, their fourth coach in the short span, which includes interim coach Steve Spagnuolo.
New York also is dealing with injuries. Quarterback Daniel Jones (concussion), running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and receiver Kenny Golladay (knee) all were hurt last week in a loss to Dallas.
Still, McVay - whose Rams have won the last two meetings - isn't taking the Giants lightly. He said they have playmakers, good coaches and play hard. But he likes the progress his team has made this season.
''That doesn't mean that it's a perfect trajectory where you're just always on that upward tick, but you do want to see the things that we've emphasized continue to come to life,'' McVay said. ''The things that really matter. The things that end up making the difference between winning and losing, and I like where our team is at.
''There's a lot of improvement and looking forward to seeing some of these things we've emphasized come to life on Sunday.''
Judge and the Giants keep saying they are making progress, but the standings tell a different story. They opened last season 1-7, and are on the same path this year.
''It's tough, but you have to keep plugging,'' Giants receiver Sterling Shepard said. ''Whatever we've done in the past to figure (it) out midway through the season, we have to hurry up and do it now.''
Shepard went to the playoffs with the Giants as a rookie in 2016. Only losing seasons have followed.
''We've got to fix the things that we're not doing well,'' he said. ''And that's the bottom line.''
Jones seemed to be in Stage 4 of the NFL concussion protocol on Thursday. That's taking part in a non-contact practice. The next step would be taking part in a full practice and then being cleared by a specialist to play.
Concussions can be tricky. Jones may be cleared to practice, but could feel dizzy after a tough workout. He also could take a hit in a game and be back to square one. Whatever happens, backup Mike Glennon is ready to go.
The Rams had the NFL's top defense last season, but they've regressed after the departure of coordinator Brandon Staley - now the Charges coach - and four starters.
Los Angeles is ranked 23rd in yards allowed and 13th in points allowed. Although their pass rush is still formidable and Jalen Ramsey is having an outstanding season in his do-everything role, the Rams have enough vulnerability to give the Giants some hope. The injury absence of starting cornerback Darious Williams means extensive playing time for either rookie fourth-round pick Robert Rochell or inexperienced David Long Jr.
After watching him catch 10 passes for 189 yards - a team rookie record - expect the Giants to get the ball to elusive wide receiver Kadarius Toney. In a relatively short time, he has shown he can take a short pass and turn it into a big play with a quick feet.
While Golladay's status is iffy for the game, Shepard and fellow starting receiver Darius Slayton appear ready to return after missing two games with hamstring injuries.
SHARING THE BALL
Stafford is already off to a strong start with the Rams, and the passing game is only getting better now that he's distributing the ball more evenly among his top targets.
Cooper Kupp got the bulk of the important throws in the first four weeks, while Robert Woods was curiously underused. After a heart-to-heart talk between Woods and McVay, Stafford targeted Woods 15 times in Seattle to tremendous effect.
Second-year pro Van Jefferson is emerging as a solid No. 3 wideout, while DeSean Jackson has been an effective deep threat. McKay is using more aggressive downfield throws than he did with Jared Goff throwing.
Another reason the Giants have to be concerned: Their fans are fed up with the losing.
In their last home game, the organization retired the jersey of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and added his name to its Ring of Honor. With New York trailing Atlanta at halftime, co-owner John Mara was booed during the ceremony.
The Giants plan to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Super Bowl XLVI championship - the '11 season - at halftime Sunday. It could be ugly if New York is trailing again.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant finished the 22-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13 on Sunday night with four grabs for 33 yards on four targets. The bad news is that backup tight end Albert Okwuegbunam had the same number of targets as Fant and caught three passes for 21 yards. The Broncos just have two many receiving weapons and Fant isn't really being used as a viable receiving threat down the field. As long as the Denver offense continues to be a run-first unit and Okwuegbunam remains involved to steal targets away from Fant, he'll likely be a frustrating low-end TE1 play unless he gets into the end zone. Fant hasn't scored since Week 6 and has gone over 40 receiving yards just once since then.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton was barely heard from yet again in the 22-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night in Week 13. Sutton finished the game with two receptions on six targets for a measly 15 yards. Really the only good news in this one was the fact that his six targets were tied for second-most on the team with Jerry Jeudy. Since Jeudy returned from a high ankle sprain in Week 8, Sutton has nine catches for 110 yards and no touchdowns on 18 targets in five games. That says it all right there. The Broncos prefer not to throw the ball too much if they don't have to, and when they do, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater usually spreads it around to a bunch of different weapons. The 26-year-old has found his way to the bench is most fantasy leagues.
Facing the toughest defense against tight ends in Week 13, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce posted a rare dud. Targeted eight times on the evening, Kelce was only able to haul in three balls for 27 yards. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has struggled this season and that has trickled down to Kelce having some rare duds this season. Despite that, managers should continue to treat Kelce as one of the best tight ends in the game. The good news is that Kelce will face the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14. When the teams previously met in Week 10, Kelce went for eight receptions and 119 yards. Managers should have no reservations about sitting Kelce next Sunday or any week moving forward.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy caught four of his six targets for a team-leading 77 receiving yards in the 22-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Jeudy's four receptions were tied for second-most on the team, and his six targets were also tied for second-most. The 22-year-old second-year wideout continues to be quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's favorite receiver. However, Bridgewater has mostly been mediocre this season, and the Broncos are a run-first offense when they get into positive game script. Most of Jeudy's damage was done late in the game with the Chiefs up by multiple scores. Jeudy will be looking for his first touchdown of the season in Week 14 against the Detroit Lions, where he'll be a WR3/flex.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had a quiet outing in a Week 13 victory versus the Denver Broncos. The Cheetah was targeted five times during the contest and caught two balls for 22 yards. He also had a ball hit off his hands and into the hands of rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II that would be the only interception for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes struggled on the evening and with windy playing conditions, those could both be attributed to Hill's final game line. Regardless, Hill posted a dud, but managers shouldn't be too concerned with his ability to put up WR1 numbers in most weeks. Hill will face the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14 and previously recorded 7 receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 10 victory.
Denver Broncos running back Mike Boone stepped into the RB2 role behind rookie Javonte Williams in the Sunday night loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with Melvin Gordon (hip, shoulder) inactive. Boone only had five touches on the night (four carries, one catch) compared to Williams' 29, but he looked explosive and fresh when he was called upon. On his four carries, Boone totaled 35 yards (8.8 yards per carry), and he caught his lone target for a 19-yard gain. The 26-year-old was basically used to spell the impressive Williams in this one, and that would likely continue to be the case if Gordon misses time, which won't give Boone any standalone fantasy value. If Gordon returns in Week 14, Boone will have an even smaller role as the RB3.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire played the lead role in his second game back from a knee injury during a Week 13 victory versus the Denver Broncos. CEH recorded 54 yards on 14 rushing attempts with three receptions for 28 yards. It wasn't the best performance for the sophomore runner, but it was a solid performance nonetheless. Backup running back Darrel Williams saw his fair share of action on Sunday evening and was on the field for all third-down plays. Edwards-Helaire should see his role grow down the stretch run, but managers would be wise to insure him with Williams. Next up will be a matchup versus the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14 and CEH should be considered a RB2 with RB1 upside in that contest.
Denver Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams was finally unleashed on Sunday night against the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs with Melvin Gordon (hip, shoulder) inactive, and he didn't disappoint. Williams was the Broncos offense, carrying 23 times for 102 yards while adding a team-high six receptions on a team-high nine targets for 76 yards and a receiving score for Denver's lone touchdown in the 22-9 loss. He averaged 4.4 yards on the ground and looked like the real deal. Williams is one of the toughest backs in the league to bring down, and he's an extremely powerful runner with tackle-breaking ability. His fantasy managers will be crossing their fingers that Gordon won't return in Week 14 for a dream matchup against the Detroit Lions. If Gordon is out again, Williams will have RB1 upside.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams recorded 20 yards on five carries in a Week 13 victory versus the Denver Broncos. The veteran was in for all third-down plays and recorded three receptions for 60 yards. With running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire healthy and back in the picture, Williams has fallen back into a backup role over the past two contests. Moving forward, Williams should be rostered by all Edwards-Helaire managers for the stretch run, but will be hard to trust without a full time role. Next up for Williams will be a Week 14 date against a Las Vegas Raiders defense that he had his best game of the season against earlier in the year.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (ankle) stated he "absolutely" expects to play in Week 15 against the Washington Football Team. During Sunday's meeting against the Jets, the 24-year-old aggravated the same ankle the landed him on the injured reserve list back in October. However, with the team having a Week 14 bye, Sanders has a good chance at being back. However, if he doesn't, Jordan Howard (knee), Boston Scott (illness), and rookie Kenneth Gainwell, who arguably had the best game of his career against Washington, could be in store for more work. Still, fantasy managers should keep Sanders on the roster as there is a small upside there, although he has been far from a reliable option throughout the 2021-22 campaign.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes put together another underwhelming performance in a Week 13 victory versus the Denver Broncos. The former MVP has been having an off year by his standards and completed just 15 of his 29 pass attempts for 184 yards and an interception. His interception came when wide receiver Tyreek Hill failed to haul in a pass that hit off his hands and into the hands of rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II. It wasn't all bad for managers of Mahomes with him rushing four times for 12 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Mahomes has been a shell of himself this season, but his enormous upside makes him a must-start on a weekly basis. Mahomes will look to put up improved numbers versus a Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14, a defense that he torched for five touchdowns earlier this season.
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had more interceptions than touchdown passes in the 22-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night in Week 13. He finished the night 22-for-40 for 257 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a game-sealing touchdown for KC's defense. Bridgewater ran the ball four times for 17 yards. The yardage total was nice, but Bridgewater and the Broncos passing game never really got in sync all night, with a lot of his yards and his lone touchdown to rookie running back Javonte Williams coming in garbage time with the Chiefs ahead by multiple scores. The Broncos offense is usually in trouble when they have to rely on Bridgewater's arm. He'll have a nice matchup against the Detroit Lions next week, but Bridgewater lacks upside on a weekly basis as a low-end QB2.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin finished with only three catches for 22 yards during the win over Las Vegas on Sunday. The 26-year-old disappeared in Week 13, and it came after he had at least seven targets in each game since Week 1. However, Logan Thomas (knee) likely is done for the year, so McLaurin could get more looks from Taylor Heinicke moving ahead, starting in Week 14 during the NFC North battle with the Cowboys.
Baltimore Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey (shoulder) is expected to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury suffered in Week 13, according to sources. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Humphrey could be out 'a while.'
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr completed 28 of his 38 pass attempts for 249 yards and gained 24 yards on two carries in a 17-15 loss to the Washington Football Team in Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Carr has now finished with one touchdown or less in four of his last five games, and his hot start to the season seems like a distant memory. At this point, Carr is a reach as QB2.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson had another solid performance on Sunday during the win over the Raiders, compiling 88 yards off 23 attempts. He also secured five of his six targets for 23 yards while also finding the end zone off one of those catches. The 23-year-old has turned up the volume, as he now has at least 19 carries in each of his last four games. He's also been an essential contributor on the receiving end, and he could have an even more prominent role moving ahead with Logan Thomas (knee) likely done for the year. Nonetheless, Gibson has been the real deal and should be considered a priority option for fantasy managers in all formats.
Updating previous reports, Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (ankle) has a high-ankle sprain, according to a source, and will undergo further testing Monday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: Not good. Regardless of the test results, it's improbable we'll see him in Week 14, and don't be surprised if he is out multiple weeks. WR K.J. Osborn will be a hot fantasy pickup this week.
Updating a previous report, Las Vegas Raiders RB Kenyan Drake (ankle) will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a fractured ankle Sunday, Dec. 5, in Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Drake had done hardly anything in the last month but was still a serviceable insurance policy for the oft-injured Josh Jacobs. Look toward RB Peyton Barber for roster depth and as a handcuff.
Updating a previous report, Washington Football Team TE Logan Thomas (knee) is believed to have suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament Sunday, Dec. 5, in Week 13. Las Vegas Raiders DE Yannick Ngakoue went low on Thomas to avoid a block on the play.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas was starting to shake off the rust after a hamstring injury derailed his season. If Ricky Seals-Jones (hip) is healthy, he'll be a fine play most of the remaining weeks. Look his way on the wire.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake (ankle) is done for the year. The veteran, who's currently second on the team in rushing, suffered a broken ankle during Sunday's narrow loss to the Washington Football team. As a result, Josh Jacobs could see an uptick in production. However, based on his injury history, Peyton Barber, the next man up on the depth chart, should get some work moving ahead and have limited value as a flex option for those needing to fill a void in deeper fantasy formats.