Wed Nov 30 3:52pm ET
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes runs off the field after an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City won 26-10. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) talks with teammate quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes showed up bright-eyed and energetic for practice on Wednesday.
Perhaps the adrenaline was still flowing from the birth of his baby boy.
Or his wife was handling all the late-night diaper changes.
''Brittany is a champ,'' said Mahomes, who along with his wife welcomed Patrick ''Bronze'' Mahomes III on Monday night, and gave 1-year-old daughter Sterling a little brother. ''Everything went great and everything went smooth.''
Great. So how about that nickname?
''When we had Sterling,'' Mahomes explained, ''we didn't know if it was a boy or girl, so we thought of a name that could be a boy or girl. And we wanted them to have a connection. I always wanted to do Patrick Mahomes III, every since I was a kid. I always thought it would be `Trey,' you hear that a lot. So when me and (brother) Jackson were trying to think of something unique, he thought of `Bronze.' It fit perfectly with Sterling. They can have that connection moving forward.''
Mahomes said the addition to the family - his father, Pat Mahomes Sr., and many other family members happened to be in town for the birth - won't affect his preparation for one of the marquee games on the Chiefs' remaining schedule.
They're headed to Cincinnati on Sunday for a rematch of the AFC championship game, when Kansas City jumped out to a 21-3 lead and still led 21-10 at halftime before its offense collapsed and the Bengals rallied for a 27-24 victory.
It's a game that has stuck with everyone in the Chiefs locker room for the past 11 months.
''I think you have to keep it in perspective. It's a brand-new season,'' Mahomes said. ''But any time a team beats you before, you want to beat them, especially when they beat you in a game like they did to go to the Super Bowl.''
Mahomes acknowledged his play went downhill in the second half that night, his fundamentals going awry as the lead shrunk and the pressure mounted.
It's something he worked on throughout the offseason, and weekly during the season, and those finely tuned fundamentals have put him in the conversation for a second MVP award.
He leads the league in passing by a wide margin - Mahomes has thrown for 3,585 yards while the Bills' Josh Allen is next with 3,183. Ditto for touchdowns with Mahomes throwing 29 to Allen's 23. He's throwing for more yards per game (325.9) than any point in his career, his yards-per-attempt is the highest in three years, and Mahomes is completing better than two-thirds of his throws for a third consecutive season, all despite an injury-riddled wide receiver group.
It helps that Travis Kelce is having a similar stupendous season. The three-time All-Pro tight end already has 12 touchdown receptions, which is tied with the entire rosters of the Browns, Texans and Rams and more than seven other teams.
''A quarterback like him, he's a special guy man. Those don't come around very often,'' Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said. ''You look at Tom Brady - Tom played with how many receivers? And you can't name them all? Same thing with Pat, man. He threw to 10 different guys (last week against the Rams) and was just making plays.''
Smith-Schuster has missed time with a concussion and was out of practice Wednesday with an illness. Mecole Hardman is on injured reserve with an abdominal injury and Kadarius Toney is still out with a hamstring issue.
Yet with Mahomes under center, the Chiefs offense keeps on humming. It has eclipsed 400 yards seven times this season, and five straight, which is tied for the longest streak in franchise history.
''He stays pretty focused on the task at hand,'' said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, when asked whether the arrival of Bronze this week has caused any wrinkles in their preparation for Cincinnati.
''He has a great wife that takes care of a lot of that,'' Reid said. ''Bronze, man, I love it. Patrick Mahomes III. I think Bronze is in good hands. The players all got on Patrick: 'If he plays long enough, we'll have another quarterback here.'''
NOTES: WR Jerick McKinnon (hamstring) also missed practice Wednesday. ... The Chiefs made official the signings of ex-Broncos RB Melvin Gordon, former Raiders WR Bryan Edwards and longtime Ravens DT Brandon Williams to the practice squad. Reid was unsure what to expect of Gordon, but he adds depth after the Chiefs put RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire on IR with a high ankle sprain. ''We'll just see. That's kind of the way we explained it to him,'' Reid said. ''We'll see where this thing goes and where he's at and where the running back situation goes.''
New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton will draw yet another start in Week 13 in a high-stakes divisional matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. Tampa is not a great matchup for the quarterback position, ranked 13th this season, and the game looks to be another low-scoring affair. Leave Dalton on waivers this week, and on the bench in 2QB leagues if possible.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara has been a fantasy disappointment recently, failing to find the end zone since Week 8 and coughing up the ball twice last week. Kamara could be in line for another weak performance on the road in Tampa this week, the third-ranking defense against running backs in fantasy. Along with the tough matchup, Kamara is on the injury report after leaving the game in garbage time last week. Monitor his status the rest of the week, and be cautious firing him up in the tough matchup.
The New England Patriots' defense/special teams will look to limit an explosive Buffalo Bills offense Thursday night. New England has been one of the top fantasy defenses over the last six weeks. The Patriots have allowed 17 points or less in four of the previous six weeks. Thursday's over/under between the Patriots and Bills is 43.5 points. New England could be without key defensive players as Jabrill Peppers (illness), Marcus Jones (ankle), and Jalen Mills (groin) are all listed as questionable. The Patriots will have a challenging task against the Bills Thursday night but have played well enough recently to be considered a borderline streaming option in Week 13.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave has been the only bright spot in the offense in recent weeks. The Tampa pass defense is a little softer than the run defense, and if New Orleans gets down they will have to look to the air. Olave's target count has not dipped below five since Week 1. He will see plenty of targets again to stay fantasy-relevant this week and should be played in all formats as a volume-based WR2 on Monday Night Football.
The New England Patriots have officially ruled out running back Damien Harris (thigh) and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (foot) for the Thursday night game against the Buffalo Bills in Week 13. Harris injured his thigh in last Thursday's Thanksgiving game against the Minnesota Vikings and was seen on crutches after the contest, so it's not a huge surprise he isn't ready to go a week later. Lead back Rhamondre Stevenson should see the lion's share of the backfield work, making him a must-start in fantasy, even in a difficult matchup. With Harris sidelined, rookies Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris will split change-of-pace backup work, while J.J. Taylor could also be promoted from the practice squad. It remains to be seen if Harris will be ready to return on Monday, Dec. 12, for the Week 14 game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said he expects quarterback Aaron Rodgers (rib, thumb) to play in Week 13 against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Rodgers is nursing a rib injury as well as a fractured right thumb and didn't practice on Wednesday, but he said on Tuesday that scans on his rib came back clean and that he expects to play. The future Hall of Famer left Sunday night's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half and was worried he was playing with a punctured lung. Now that a serious injury has been ruled out, he'll try to continue this dominance over the Bears in Week 13. The soon-to-be 39-year-old threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting with Chicago in Week 2. He'll continue being a QB2 in fantasy this weekend.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Donald is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and could miss more time beyond this weekend, but the good news is that he won't need surgery and is considered week-to-week. But with the Rams well out of playoff contention, there's a chance the 31-year-old won't play again in 2022. Fantasy managers in IDP leagues need to have other options at defensive line ready for this weekend and beyond. The Rams defense/special teams will take a big hit without Donald in the fold against a potent Seahawks defense. Donald, an eight-time Pro Bowler, is in danger of failing to reach double-digit sacks in 2022 for the first time since 2016. He has just five through 11 games.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (shoulder) was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, while Trevor Siemian (oblique) did not practice. Head coach Matt Eberflus said both quarterbacks are "day-to-day." As insurance, the Bears signed quarterback Tim Boyle off the Detroit Lions' practice squad. Boyle has experience with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy from their time with the Green Bay Packers. Fields missed the Week 12 loss to the New York Jets and is questionable to play against the Packers this Sunday, but a limited practice early in the week is a good sign. Still, with Chicago out of playoff contention, the Bears aren't going to rush Fields back onto the field until he's fully healthy. The 23-year-old dual-threat signal-caller had become a must-start QB1 before his injury. If he misses another game and Siemian can't go either, it will be either Nathan Peterman or Boyle getting the starting nod.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said it's "safe to say" that quarterback Matthew Stafford (concussion, neck) won't play in Week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks. Stafford is still in the concussion protocol and won't practice on Wednesday. McVay said Stafford hasn't had any setbacks in the league's protocol, but with the team out of playoff contention, the Rams won't be rushing him back. There's a chance we won't see Stafford the rest of the season, depending on how he progresses from his injuries. If the 34-year-old is officially out for this weekend, it will be either John Wolford or Bryce Perkins starting under center. Perkins made his first NFL start in last week's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and went 13-for-23 for 100 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
New England Patriots kicker Nick Folk has been one of the most reliable kickers for fantasy football in 2022. The 38-year-old has converted 24-of-28 field goal attempts and is a perfect 23-for-23 in extra-point tries over 11 games. He has made at least four field goals in three of the last four weeks. The veteran will look to keep the momentum going against the Buffalo Bills Thursday night. Thursday's over/under is 43 points, with the Patriots team's implied total being 20. Fantasy managers can use Folk as a streamer, and he remains a solid option against the Bills for Week 13.
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry posted a season-best yardage total in the Thanksgiving game loss to the Minnesota Vikings. In last Thursday's defeat, he caught three of five targets for 63 yards and a touchdown. The 27-year-old is coming off his best of the season and will look to build on that performance against the Bills Thursday night. Henry has posted modest totals this season, with 23 catches for 323 yards and two touchdowns over 11 games. The former Charger will have a tough time repeating his Week 12 performance against a Buffalo defense that is second in DVOA against opposing tight ends. Fantasy managers can only use Henry mainly as a streamer in deep-league formats.
San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (knee) will not practice on Wednesday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said McCaffrey "just felt something" in Sunday's win over the New Orleans Saints. He added that he's hopeful McCaffrey will be able to play this week against the Miami Dolphins. Given his injury history over the past few years, fantasy players have reason to be concerned with McCaffrey's practice status. However, this could be the 49ers being overly cautious with their superstar running back. If he doesn't practice again tomorrow and Friday, fantasy players should start to worry. With Elijah Mitchell (knee) out the next 6-8 weeks with an MCL sprain, Tyrion Davis-Price and Jordan Mason are the next guys up if McCaffrey can't play this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Jaylen Warren (hamstring) told reporters that doctors have cleared him to return and that he expects to play this week. The rookie running back missed Monday night's matchup against the Indianapolis Colts because of a hamstring injury he suffered the week before against the Cincinnati Bengals. However, his return from the injury couldn't have come at a better time for the Steelers. Najee Harris suffered an abdominal injury against the Colts and couldn't play in the second half. While he reportedly didn't suffer a severe injury, Harris' status for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons is still up in the air. If Harris can't play, Warren should get the start against a struggling Atlanta run defense.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (quad) was a limited participant at practice on Wednesday. The superstar has stayed mostly healthy this season, only missing the Week 8 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Samuel was dealing with a hamstring injury in practice last week and appeared to aggravate the injury on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. However, fantasy players shouldn't panic over the receiver's practice status. The fact that he could partake in some part of Wednesday's practice is good news. Unless Samuel earns a did not practice designation tomorrow or Friday, the veteran receiver should be ready to play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
Denver Broncos wide receivers Jerry Jeudy (ankle) and KJ Hamler (hamstring) are not practicing on Wednesday. The wide receivers have missed a combined six games this season. Jeudy hasn't played since Week 10, while Hamler has missed the past three games. With both wide receivers out of the lineup, the Broncos have had to lean on Courtland Sutton and a combination of Kendall Hinton, Montrell Washington, Jalen Virgiland Brandon Johnson. The veteran Sutton has averaged 8.7 targets and 10.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game over the past three weeks. Meanwhile, the rest of the receiving corps has been hit or miss every week. Hopefully, Jeudy and Hamler can return this week, as the Broncos have a favorable fantasy matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson is set to have a vital role against the Buffalo Bills Thursday. The 24-year-old is expected to be New England's lead back, with backfield teammate Damien Harris (thigh) unlikely to suit up for Thursday Night Football. Stevenson has a tough matchup Thursday against a Bills defense that ranks seventh in rush DVOA this season. He has been productive this season, rushing for 680 yards and four touchdowns while catching 50 passes for 359 yards and a score over 11 games in 2022. The Oklahoma product has caught 15 passes over the last two weeks, and the Bills allow just over four catches a game to running backs. Despite the tough matchup, Stevenson is a mid-range RB2 in most leagues but has more fantasy appeal in PPR formats.
Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins (knee) was officially designated to return from injured reserve on Wednesday. Furthermore, the third-year running back will practice today. Dobbins has missed the past five games after having surgery to remove scar tissue from his knee. The young running back missed the entire 2021 season after suffering a severe knee injury in the preseason. He then missed the first two games this season, recovering from that injury. Hopefully, Dobbins' knee is 100% healthy, and the star running back can finish the year on a positive note. However, fantasy players shouldn't get too excited about his return, as Dobbins will share the backfield with Gus Edwards and potentially Kenyan Drake.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (shoulder) said the plan is for him to return after his four-game stint on injured reserve is over. The veteran tight end suffered a shoulder injury against Washington Commanders in Week 10. Philadelphia placed the star tight end on injured reserve, knocking him out for weeks. However, Goedert says the plan as of right now is to return when he is eligible. Therefore, he should be back for the Week 15 matchup against Chicago Bears. Fantasy players with either an open IR or a bench spot should continue to hold onto the veteran tight end. He was the TE5 before getting hurt, averaging 10.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones threw for a career-high 382 passing yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Thanksgiving game loss to the Minnesota Vikings. It was his second 300-yard and first multi-touchdown effort this season. The 24-year-old will look to build on last week's performance against the Buffalo Bills. Overall, Jones hasn't been productive this season. He has thrown for 1,768 yards, six touchdowns, and seven interceptions through eight games in 2022. Jones has a tough matchup on Thursday against a Bills defense that ranks fourth in pass DVOA, making him mainly an option in superflex league formats.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (concussion) will practice today. The superstar running back suffered a concussion in Week 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, he couldn't clear the protocol in time to play last week against the Tennessee Titans, resulting in Samaje Perine getting the start. However, Mixon's return to practice is an excellent sign that he should be ready to play Sunday for the showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs. The superstar is the RB8 for the year, averaging 16 half-point PPR fantasy points per game this season. Assuming he clears the protocol and can play, Mixon is a plug-and-play RB1 this week against Kansas City.