Fri Nov 26 6:43pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
New York Jets' Quincy Williams during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, on Oct. 31, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. Quincy is making a name for himself as a raw, but fierce tackler in his third NFL season. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
New York Jets' Quincy Williams, left, tries to take down Miami Dolphins' Myles Gaskin during the second half of an NFL football game, on Nov. 21, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. Quincy is making a name for himself as a raw, but fierce tackler in his third NFL season. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)
New York Jets' Quincy Williams, left, and Quinnen Williams celebrate after an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, on Oct. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. Quincy is making a name for himself as a raw, but fierce tackler in his third NFL season. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Quincy Williams has been tackling his way out of his younger brother's massive shadow for years.
The New York Jets linebacker, who's almost 16 months older than teammate and sibling Quinnen, was the ''other'' Williams brother through high school and college. And then in the biggest moments of their football careers.
Quinnen was the first-round pick of the Jets in 2019 out of Alabama, the third overall selection. He was a 6-foot-3, 300-pound national champion considered one of the premier defensive lineman in the country.
Meanwhile, Quincy waited until the next night when he went in the third round to Jacksonville. He was a 5-11, 230-pound lesser-known linebacker at Murray State.
''When I first got drafted, the thing was, who is Quincy Williams?'' he recalled Friday. ''And everybody was like, 'Oh, that's Quinnen who played for Alabama's brother. So most people would take it as like, `I'm a person, I'm a person,' and just be mad about it. But then I just put that as a chip on my shoulder like I had to make a name for myself.
''That's the realest thing, so I use it as like ammunition, for real.''
It certainly shows in his play.
While Quinnen is a space-eating run stuffer who shoves offensive linemen aside on his way to taking down quarterbacks, Quincy is a heat-seeking missile who slams into anyone trying to get past him.
''My No. 1 thing is just running through people,'' said a smiling Quincy Williams, who ranks second to C.J. Mosley with a career-high 51 tackles. ''So that's the main thing. And at first, it's like the crowd `ooohs.' I love that. It feeds me. Then all of a sudden, it's my teammates that get hyped about it. ...
''So it's basically like me setting the tone for my teammates and my teammates rallying behind it. And I love that part of it.''
He started in place of Jarrad Davis last week and had 15 total tackles in New York's 24-17 loss to Miami, the most for a Jets player since David Harris had 17 in 2009.
''One of his superpowers is speed,'' coach Robert Saleh said. ''He's one of the faster linebackers in football, if you just look at his GPS numbers. He has the luxury of taking a step before triggering because whatever he lost at the snap, he can regain because he's so fast and long.''
Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich remembers scouting Williams at Murray State leading up to the draft and loving what he saw.
''I fought hard to try to get him in Atlanta and for us to draft him,'' Ulbrich recalled. ''Obviously, it didn't work out. Spent a day with him, worked him out, the whole deal. He's got that stuff you can't coach. He's got obviously the athleticism, the explosiveness, the speed and all of that. He's also got instincts that are really rare.
''He can't always articulate what he sees, but he sees it and he reacts. At the same time, he's a hitter.''
Williams spent his first two NFL seasons mostly as a backup linebacker who started eight games as a rookie, and as a core special teams player. He also dealt with a few injuries, and was waived by the Jaguars when the team made its final cuts.
The Jets swooped in and claimed him the next day, reuniting him with his brother. Williams worked his way into the starting lineup at inside linebacker opposite Mosley for five straight games after the season opener as Davis recovered from an ankle injury suffered during New York's preseason game at Green Bay.
''He's got some stuff,'' Ulbrich said. ''He's a guy that is so far from what he will become. Not even close to being a finished product. He's got a long way to go and we're excited about him.''
Davis returned to his starting role last month, with Williams going back to playing mostly special teams. But Davis still isn't 100% healthy, so the Jets put Williams back in the starting lineup last Sunday - and he was all over the field.
''My first two years, I was playing on raw talent: I'm faster than you,'' he said. ''My eyes would be in the wrong spot, but I'd still make the play and maybe a good play, but if I was technical, I could've made it a lot faster if I had been looking at the right keys and stuff.''
That's what has been improving drastically, through picking the brains of Mosley and Davis and devouring the playbook. Williams knows exactly where plays are heading now, and takes even quicker first steps.
''The play just looks so much easier, and most people are like, it's natural to him, it was a natural thing,'' Williams said. ''And it really does just because the preparation I did, and that's what they harp on here at the Jets.''
Williams called stepping back and watching how Davis prepares ''a wonderful experience'' and insisted he didn't feel he was ''downgraded'' because he learned how to better prepare from a veteran. Williams incorporated some of the things he picked up from Davis and added them to his approach.
''You have like your way, then you have the professional way,'' Williams said. ''So I want to be a pro in this league a long time.''
And with each fierce tackle, force everyone to know his name.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (back) didn't practice on Friday, but he was removed from the final injury report in Week 12 and will play on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Gronk practiced in full on Wednesday and Thursday, so the team was likely just giving him a breather on Friday after he returned in Week 11. The 32-year-old played 59% of the offensive snaps on Monday night and caught six of his eight targets for 71 total yards. The Bucs rested most of their starters late in the blowout win over the New York Giants, so Gronk should be on the field more this weekend. As one of quarterback Tom Brady's favorite targets, especially in the red zone, Gronkowski is a no-brainer TE1 at the weakest position in fantasy.
There is a belief in fantasy football that volume is king. And that tends to be true with kickers as well. Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph is third in the league in both field-goal attempts and field goals made. In what should be a close contest against the San Francisco 49ers with an offense capable of moving the ball, Joseph should see plenty of opportunities in Week 12. For the season, San Francisco gives up the 11th fewest points to opposing kickers. Despite leading the league in fourth-down conversion percentage in 2021, the Vikings are tied for the third-fewest attempts. That conservative approach coupled with an offense full of playmakers is one reason fantasy managers can start Joseph with confidence in any matchup.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (hip, knee) practiced in full on Friday and was removed from the final injury report for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The All-Pro pass-rusher missed the Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, but he'll be back in action chasing second-year quarterback Joe Burrow on Sunday. With safety Minkah Fitzpatrick also returning from the COVID-19 list, Pittsburgh's defense should be much more stout this weekend and can be returned to starting fantasy lineups. In eight games in 2021, Watt has 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, four passes defensed, 13 tackles for loss and 20 QB hits. Get him back into your IDP lineups at the linebacker position.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate (thigh) missed practice all week and is listed as doubtful to play in Week 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Tate is inactive on Sunday, it will be his fourth straight missed game. The 24-year-old just hasn't been relevant at all in 2021 in a crowded receiver corps that also includes rookie Ja'Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Tate has caught only three of four targets for 39 yards and one touchdown in seven games played in 2021. Mike Thomas and Stanley Morgan will battle for scraps as the team's fourth wideout if Tate is on the sidelines again this weekend.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (knee) was limited in practice the last two days and has no injury designation heading into Sunday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12. The Ravens have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to receivers in the last three weeks and have given up the second-most passing yards per game in 2021. However, quarterback Baker Mayfield (shoulder, foot, groin) is extremely banged up and the Browns will likely continue to rely heavily on their ground game as long as the game script remains positive. Landry has yet to score this season and has just 11 catches for 63 yards on 18 targets in the last three games. He has become a low-upside WR4/flex in PPR leagues.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin) is listed as questionable for the Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens, while rookie wideout Anthony Schwartz (concussion) has been ruled out. Peoples-Jones would serve as the No. 2 wideout alongside Jarvis Landry if he's active in Cleveland's run-first offense. DPJ has some big-play ability with 20.6 yards per catch in eight games this season, but relying on Browns pass-catchers in 2021 hasn't yielded many results. If he's active, Peoples-Jones will be a boom/bust WR4/5. Schwartz missed last week's game and only has eight catches on the year for 117 yards on 17 targets. If DPJ is inactive, Rashard Higgins would serve as the Browns No. 2 receiver.
The Dallas Cowboys will consider giving running back Ezekiel Elliott (knee) some time off to heal from a knee injury that he has been managing in recent weeks, which means he could be held out of action next Thursday against the New Orleans Saints. The source doesn't think the Cowboys are planning on placing Elliott on Injured Reserve, however. "It's that time of year, head coach Mike McCarthy said. "Zeke's running style is ferocious. He gives a pounding, and he takes some hits. We need to evaluate that, and this week we'll see what the preparation looks like for him." Elliott hasn't been nearly as productive the last two weeks, averaging 3.17 yards per carry on 18 rushing attempts for 57 yards and a touchdown. Tony Pollard would have RB1 upside in the event that Elliott is held out of the Week 13 game or beyond.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (shoulder, foot, groin) was removed from the final injury report for Week 12 and will play on Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens. Mayfield has been gutting multiple injuries out and managed to practice in full the last two days. It doesn't mean the 26-year-old will be effective, though, even against a Ravens defense that has allowed the second-most passing yards per game (281.1) this year. The Browns will likely continue to rely on their ground game against Baltimore as long as they don't fall behind by multiple scores, and Cleveland is expected to get running back Kareem Hunt (calf) back from Injured Reserve. Mayfield hasn't gone over 200 yards passing since Week 9 and has completed only 26 passes in the last two games combined. He's a low-end QB2.
New England Patriots tight ends Hunter Henry (neck) and Jonnu Smith (shoulder) were both limited in practice all week and are questionable for the Week 12 date against the Tennessee Titans. Barring setbacks, we'd expect both Henry and Smith to be active on Sunday against a Titans defense that has allowed just 356 receiving yards and three touchdowns to tight ends all season. Henry and Smith combined for only three catches for 42 yards on five targets in last Thursday's blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons. Henry has been the much better fantasy option this year with 11 more receptions and six more touchdowns than Smith on seven more targets. Henry will be the better target as a touchdown-dependent, low-end TE1 as long as both players are active.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has had plenty of issues on the field this season, but he's still been a fantasy QB1 10 times this season while no other quarterback has made that list more than seven times. For those who value consistency in their signal caller, there's an argument to be made for Hurts being the top fantasy quarterback so far. Week 12 sees the Eagles take on the New York Giants, who have actually done well against opposing quarterbacks this year. Still, the Eagles shouldn't have too hard of a time moving the ball, and with Hurts operating as the team's top running back, it's easy to see him finishing with yet another QB1 week. He's a top-six option for Week 12 fantasy lineups.
New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (neck) was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable for the Week 12 matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Harris returned from a concussion last week but only saw 10 carries for 56 yards and caught one pass for nine yards while sharing more of the work with impressive rookie Rhamondre Stevenson (knee) in the blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons. Both Harris and Stevenson are questionable this weekend, but Patriots players listed as questionable usually tend to suit up on Sundays. Assuming both backs play this weekend, Harris' fantasy stock has fallen slightly with the emergence of Stevenson, and he'll be more of a low-end RB2/flex against Tennessee.
New England Patriots rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson (knee) popped up on the injury report on Thursday and has been limited in practice the last two days. He is listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans. Stevenson and Damien Harris (neck) are both questionable, but the fact that they were both limited in practice for multiple days suggests that they'll be able to play this Sunday. Harris played only three more offensive snaps than Stevenson in last week's blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons, but Stevenson had 13 touches for 75 yards compared to Harris' 11 touches for 65 yards. Stevenson's emergence in New England's backfield has made Harris more of a low-end RB2 heading into Week 12 action.
The Dallas Cowboys defense wasn't at its best in a 36-33 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving Day. They allowed 36 points and only recorded three sacks. They were unable to secure any turnovers for only the third time all season. In leagues that count kick returns, a Tony Pollard 100-yard touchdown helped with some points, but in defense-only leagues, this was a rough outing for an otherwise strong fantasy defense.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein missed two kicks in a Thanksgiving loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Zuerlein attempted three field goals and two extra points, missing one of each type of kick. His made field goals came from 29 and 45 yards out, while his miss came from 59. His 45-yard kick was a clutch one that tied the game at the end of the fourth quarter though, so Dallas fans can't be too upset at him for missing the longer kick earlier.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown was targeted nine times in a Week 12 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Brown caught six of those passes for 53 yards. With Amari Cooper (COVID-19) and CeeDee Lamb (concussion) both out, Brown ended up second on the team in targets, only one behind team leader Cedrick Wilson. It was a solid performance from a wide receiver much more commonly used for his blocking ability in the run game. With Cooper and Lamb expected back for Week 13, Brown will likely make his way back to fantasy irrelevance.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz scored a touchdown in a Thanksgiving loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Schultz was targeted seven times but only made three catches, gaining 46 yards. His score came on a 32-yard strike in the fourth quarter from quarterback Dak Prescott that tied the game at 30. Schultz had a pair of disappointing games a few weeks ago, but he's back to TE1 status and should continue even with the Cowboys getting healthier in their receiving corps next week.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup led the Cowboys with 106 receiving yards in a Week 12 Thanksgiving loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. He was targeted eight times, making five catches. He finished third on the team in targets, with Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown seeing more passes thrown their way. Gallup has the talent to go up against an opposing team's top defensive backs, but when Amari Cooper (COVID-19) and CeeDee Lamb (concussion) return, Gallup will be back to third on the receiver depth chart.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (ankle) caught seven passes in a Week 12 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, gaining 104 yards. He was targeted 10 times, setting team highs in targets and catches and falling two yards shy of the team lead in yards. Wilson missed a few snaps with an ankle injury, but was able to return and should be fine for another Thursday game in Week 13. His role will be diminished though, as Amari Cooper (COVID-19) and CeeDee Lamb (concussion) are both expected to be back on the field.
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard looked great in a Thanksgiving overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. With starter Ezekiel Elliott (knee) looking less than 100% throughout the game, Pollard had his first game of the season where he ended up with more touches than Elliott. Pollard ran the ball 10 times for 36 yards and added four catches for 32 more yards on four targets. Most impressively, Pollard worked a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown in the third quarter. With the Cowboys saying they may begin managing Elliott's snaps to some extent, Pollard's fantasy arrow is pointing almost straight up.
San Francisco 49ers running back JaMycal Hasty (ankle) has been ruled out for the Week 12 game against the Minnesota Vikings. Hasty suffered an ankle injury in Week 9 and hasn't practiced or played since. Rookie Elijah Mitchell (finger, rib), who is questionable for this weekend, is closer to a return and would likely take over the lead-back role from Jeff Wilson Jr. if he's active. Hasty has only 13 rushing attempts for 48 yards and one touchdown (3.7 yards per carry) in the five games he's played in, and when this entire backfield is healthy, he's probably third on the depth chart behind Mitchell and Wilson. He's only worth hanging onto in really deep leagues or dynasty/keeper formats.