Fri Oct 9 3:21pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws while being pressured by Chicago Bears' Akiem Hicks (96) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago Bears' David Montgomery (32) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts' Justin Houston (50), Bobby Okereke (58) and Anthony Walker (54) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich looks at his play chart during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles is sacked by Indianapolis Colts' Justin Houston (50) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts will face the NFL's top-ranked rushing offense without one key starter, linebacker Darius Leonard.
They could be without middle linebacker Anthony Walker, too.
On Friday, coach Frank Reich ruled out Leonard and left tackle Anthony Castonzo for Sunday's game at Cleveland, and acknowledged Walker's status was still uncertain.
''We'll see how he responds to the limited work he got today and make that decision tomorrow,'' Reich said when asked about Walker. ''Obviously, if he can go, we'd love for him to be out there. He's a big part of our defense, a big part of our success and when Darius hasn't played he's had huge, huge games. So hopefully he responds well to the work today.''
The Colts (3-1) have won three straight since an opening-day loss at Jacksonville, and they've done it largely because of their stingy defense.
Indy has given up the fewest yards per game (236.3), the fewest points per game (14.0) and fewest yards passing per game (159.3) while ranking fourth against the run (77.0).
But the Colts deep linebacking corps has been depleted badly by injuries over the past two weeks.
Leonard missed the second half at Chicago after injuring his groin and didn't practice all week. Walker hurt his ankle in Wednesday's practice, sat out Thursday and did limited work Friday. Indy's other starting linebacker, Bobby Okereke, had thumb surgery Tuesday, sat out Wednesday and returned to the practice field Thursday with a protective wrap around his hand.
Even the backups are struggling to stay healthy. E.J. Speed hurt his elbow against Chicago and did limited work Wednesday while being a full participant the next two days. And Matthew Adams went on injured reserve Sept. 26 with an ankle issue.
When Leonard missed three games last year, Reich adapted by moving Walker to outside linebacker and plugged Okereke in at middle linebacker. It could happen again - if both are cleared to play.
Meanwhile, the loss of Castonzo creates a huge void on an offensive line that has started the same five players in a league-high 20 consecutive games. The timing couldn't be worse.
Indy was hoping Castonzo could neutralize one of league's top pass rushers, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, on Sunday. Instead, that role will likely be filled by veteran Le'Raven Clark.
And it could force the Colts to make additional changes to the game plan.
''We think he (Castonzo) is a great player. So a lot of times in protection, you don't have to help him as much,'' Recih said. ''If you want to keep a guy to help in protection, it comes at the cost of not getting a fifth guy out in the pattern.''
But Reich remains confident that Clark can get the job done.
''I'm excited to see Le'Raven play,'' Reich said. ''I thought he had his best training camp since I've been here. He's looked as good as he's looked the three years I've been here. I think he's going to come in and play well.''
Five Hot Plays: Week 13
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon will once again get the start this week but should remain benched in fantasy. Glennon posted 235 yards and two touchdowns last week in an impressive performance, but that was only one game and the journeyman has not proved he is worthy of a start each week. The Vikings are middle-tier against fantasy QBs, but there are certainly better, proven options out there.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson is an RB1 this week against the Vikings. The 22-year-old has now rushed for at least 99 yards in four of the last five games and has been stellar this season as the lead back for the Jags even though his value in the passing game has been minimal. The Vikings are middle-tier against fantasy backs, but Robinson's high weekly volume sets him up to produce once again.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow had a good performance last week against the Falcons, and he will look for another solid performance this week against a poor Jets secondary. He is a consistent possession receiver but lacks the explosion to be considered a viable fantasy option. Renfrow is averaging 3.5 catches and 46 yards per game this season, so those numbers make him a fringe flex option. He has not found the end zone in four consecutive games, but the Jets Defense allows a lot of points. He consistently catches passes every game, but his ceiling is low.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller disappointed last week against a bad Falcons Defense but will likely bounce back this week against the Jets. The Jets Defense ranks 29th against opposing tight ends, and Waller is the second-most expensive DFS tight end this week. Waller has had a few bad performances this season but always seems to bounce back. He has followed up his disappointing performances this season with at least five catches in the following game. Look for Waller to rebound in a big way this week. He is definitely a must-start TE1 in Week 13.
Indianapolis Colts TE Trey Burton (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Burton has been targeted 11 times over the last two games and has two touchdowns during that span. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 tight end in deeper leagues.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Devontae Booker (back) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Booker likely will receive most of the work at running back with Josh Jacobs ruled out. He will have a favorable matchup this week and can be considered a low-end No. 2 running back or flex option.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Jalen Richard (chest) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Richard may have a bigger role in the offense with Josh Jacobs not available to play. He has a chance to be a flex option in deeper point-per-receptions leagues but is not a must-start option.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III had three catches on five targets for 56 yards last week and sees a favorable matchup this week against the Jets. Ruggs had a 36-yard reception last week against the Falcons, and the Jets have allowed 38 passing plays over 20 yards this season. His fantasy value is still limited considering he is not even averaging two receptions per game. He also has just one touchdown and has only helped the team move the chains eight times all year. The big-play potential is there against this Jets secondary, but Ruggs has proved to be unreliable. Fantasy owners can feel comfortable leaving him on the bench this week.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (non-injury) did not participate in practice Friday, Dec. 4, but is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton posted a season-high 81 yards last week and picked up his first touchdown of the season. He will see a handful of targets this week and could be at least a flex option because of the matchup.
Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers (toe) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Rivers has thrown at least two touchdowns in four of the last six games and has posted solid passing numbers over the last several weeks. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 quarterback in some deeper leagues this week.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Devontae Booker is set to start Sunday against the Jets due to Josh Jacobs (ankle) being out. Jacobs is a workhorse back, so Booker's touches have been limited throughout the season. He has just one game where he has seen double-digit carries, and he took advantage of that opportunity. While Booker has seen a limited amount of attempts, he is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. The Jets have actually been decent against the run, allowing 3.8 yards per carry so far this season. Booker will likely share some touches with Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick, but he is worthy of starting consideration.
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins continues to be one of the top receivers in the NFL and is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.
Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo has been cleared to play in Week 13 against the Saints. Koo was dealing with a quad injury, though he is good to go for the divisional rematch with New Orleans. The 26-year-old has been the best kicker in fantasy football this year, which shouldn't change against the Saints. Koo made all three of his field-goal attempts in his previous meeting with New Orleans and is a top-five option this week.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr struggled mightily last week against the Falcons but will have a good chance to bounce back against the 0-11 Jets. The Jets have allowed 21 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 104.8. Carr has played well against the Jets in his career, averaging 210 yards and over two touchdowns. Other than last week's performance, Carr has also played well on the road. He has nine touchdown passes and a passer rating of 103.1 away from Las Vegas. Carr does not put up the volume numbers to be in the QB1 conversation, but he should have QB2 value against a horrendous Jets team.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage has been a streaky fantasy performer this year. Gage has just four games this year with over 50 receiving yards and has been a little too streaky for his fantasy managers. The former LSU receiver has had some of his best games with Julio Jones (hamstring) in the lineup- and there's a chance his teammate returns this week. Still, the matchup with New Orleans is a tough one, given how well their defense is playing. Gage shouldn't be trusted in fantasy lineups for Week 13.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Williams has been targeted at least seven times in four of the last seven games and has posted at least 70 yards in all four of those games. He should see a handful of targets this week and could be a possible flex option in deeper leagues.
Seattle Seahawks running back Carlos Hyde (ankle) and defensive end Carlos Dunlap (foot) are listed as questionable for Week 13 against the Giants. Hyde got in a limited practice on Friday, so we'd anticipate him playing on Sunday. Dunlap missed practice all week, so he's definitely on the wrong side of questionable for a great matchup against the Giants and backup quarterback Colt McCoy. Hyde out-snapped Chris Carson in Week 12 as the Seahawks eased Carson back into action after an extended absence. Despite seeing more work on Monday night, Hyde had just 29 total yards on 17 touches and should take a back seat to Carson if he plays this weekend. Hyde is a RB3/4 if he plays, but he's best served as a Carson handcuff at this point. Dunlap has been excellent since joining the team and would be a starting defensive lineman in IDP leagues if he can suit up. Seattle's defensive unit is also a great streaming option this weekend against New York.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald remains on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as of Friday, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury. It means that the veteran receiver is likely to miss his second straight game in Week 13 against the Rams. DeAndre Hopkins is facing a showdown with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, giving Christian Kirk plenty of opportunities to break out of recent funk that has coincided with quarterback Kyler Murray's shoulder injury. Hopkins remains a fantasy must-start despite the tough matchup, while Kirk will have WR3/flex value with some upside. Andy Isabella should operate as the No. 3 wideout once again with Fitzgerald out of the picture, giving him deep-league and DFS appeal as a sleeper.
Seattle Seahawks OT Brandon Shell (ankle), RB Travis Homer (wrist, thumb, knee) and CB Tre Flowers (hamstring) did not practice all week and are listed as doubtful for Week 13 versus the New York Giants. DE Carlos Dunlap (foot) also did not practice all week but is listed as questionable. OL Kyle Fuller (ankle) did not practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is also listed as questionable. OL Damien Lewis (groin) and RB Carlos Hyde (toe) were limited in practice Friday and are also listed as questionable. OL Cedric Ogbuehi (calf) was added to the injury report Friday but is expected to play after getting in a limited practice. OL Duane Brown (knee, rest), OG Jordan Simmons (calf), RB Chris Carson (foot), WR Tyler Lockett (knee), DE Benson Mayowa (ankle), WR Freddie Swain (foot), S Jamal Adams (shoulder), TE Jacob Hollister (knee, neck), WR David Moore (hip), CB D.J. Reed (foot), CB Shaquill Griffin (hamstring, elbow) and OG Mike Iupati (shin) practiced in full Friday and no longer appear on the injury report.
Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. (ribs) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Chark should be the main option in the passing game for the Jaguars this week and can be at least a flex option in fantasy leagues.