Thu Oct 8 2:16pm ET
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Chiefs began the season eagerly awaiting the return of Bashaud Breeland, the veteran cornerback so instrumental in slowing down the San Francisco 49ers and helping Kansas City win its first Super Bowl in 50 years in February.
Now that Breeland served his four-game suspension, though, there is no guarantee he will even start.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said Thursday that the Chiefs are slowly working Breeland back into the mix, but that he remains comfortable with the cornerbacks that already have helped them to a 4-0 start. That includes Charvarius Ward, who has played through a fractured hand, and Rashad Fenton, a 2019 sixth-round pick who's flourished after a move from nickelback to the outside that was needed when L'Jarius Sneed broke his collarbone.
''Bashaud was a starter for us. We know what he can do,'' Spagnuolo said. ''It's Game 5 and going down the stretch here we'll need everybody, so you want to get guys oiled up. We'll tread lightly and figure it out, but we have a lot of confidence in him and we have a lot of confidence in the guys that have been playing there.''
Spagnuolo has good reason. The Chiefs have the sixth-rated pass defense in the NFL through the first four weeks, despite Breeland's suspension and injuries to Ward and Sneed that have forced Spagnuolo to use different rotations.
It helps that the Chiefs have been fortunate when it comes to opposing quarterbacks.
After slowing down the Texans' Deshaun Watson in their season opener, the Chiefs caught a break when the Chargers' Tyrod Taylor was hurt in pregame warmups and rookie Justin Herbert made his first career start.
Then, after holding the Ravens' Lamar Jackson to just 15 for 28 for 97 yards passing, Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the Patriots to go with journeyman Brian Hoyer and untested youngster Jarrett Stidham last Monday night.
Up next is the Raiders' Derek Carr, who has struggled mightily just about every time he's visited Arrowhead Stadium.
''You look at the other players that they've played against, the other teams they've played against and what they've been able to hold them to - what a challenge for us,'' Carr said. ''We better step up to the plate and be ready to play.''
Especially now that Breeland is back in the mix in the secondary.
''He brings a lot of energy back,'' Fenton said. ''You know, he's another vet along with the Honey Badger'' - that would be Tyrann Mathieu - ''and Dan (Sorensen) on the defensive court. It's great because I'm a cornerback, so he brings the years into the DB room. It's great to have him back. The whole team loves him.''
The fact that he still has the support of his teammates is noteworthy. Breeland put them in a considerable bind in April, when he was arrested on multiple charges that included resisting arrest, having alcohol in a motor vehicle and possessing marijuana. He already was facing a suspension for a failed drug test prior to the arrest, so it merely sealed the deal on a four-game suspension. Breeland pleaded guilty last week and received a fine and 30-day suspended jail sentence.
The legal troubles out of the way and the suspension lifted, Breeland was finally back on the practice field this week.
''He should certainly get reps out there,'' Spagnuolo said. ''There's a lot of moving parts even during the week, guys with injuries and getting reps. We only get so many this time of year. We do more walk-throughs than anything else. We want to get Breeland up to speed, but we want to keep getting the other guys work.''
NOTES: Special teams coach Dave Toub said WR Mecole Hardman has been trying to do too much in the return game, and that has led to some miscues. He was fortunate to avoid a penalty Monday night when he started running after signaling for a fair catch on a punt return, and he let the ball bounce between his legs on another return. ... K Harrison Butker, who was the star of the Chiefs' win over the Chargers, missed a field goal against the Ravens and extra points each of the past two weeks. ''You have to look at it and say, `What's the problem?''' Toub said. ''We figured out exactly what it was, we worked on it yesterday, we hit nothing but extra points. We know where the miss is happening. We just have to eliminate the miss.''
Five Hot Plays: Week 13
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.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (foot, ankle) is good to go for a rematch with the New Orleans secondary in Week 13. Ridley has been banged up for a couple of weeks now but has still produced, putting up at least five catches and 50 yards in his last two games. The Saints' secondary has clamped down in the past few weeks, though they'll be without the services of Janoris Jenkins (knee). The potential presence of Julio Jones (hamstring) could also help Ridley's outlook. He should finish among the WR1 ranks this week.
Tennessee Titans WR Adam Humphries (concussion) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Humphries is on track to play after missing several weeks because of the concussion. He will see a handful of targets this week but can be avoided in most leagues.