Fri Nov 27 2:30pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Carson Wentz didn't finish the game the last time he faced the Seattle Seahawks because of a concussion.
His troubles have only grown worse.
It reached the point that coach Doug Pederson hesitated when asked if Wentz or rookie Jalen Hurts would start when the Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1) host the Seahawks (7-3) on Monday night.
''He's my starter, end of story,'' Pederson eventually said to reporters. ''You guys can blow it up however you want it and that's fine. I'm focused on this team, these players, this coaching staff and the Seattle Seahawks.''
Wentz led the Eagles to four wins to secure an NFC East title last December and earned an opportunity to make his postseason debut after injuries forced him to watch Nick Foles lead Philadelphia to a Super Bowl title following the 2017 season, and a playoff win in 2018.
Wentz was outstanding down the stretch last year, completing 67.6% of his passes for 1,199 yards, seven TDs and no interceptions in four games. But he lasted only nine snaps before Jadeveon Clowney knocked him out with a shot to the head. The Seahawks won, 17-9.
Wentz hasn't been the same since that hit. He leads the NFL with 18 turnovers, including 14 interceptions, and has career lows in completion percentage (58.4) and passer rating (73.3).
But Wentz hasn't had much help. Injuries have forced the Eagles to use 12 players on the offensive line, including 10 different starters. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, running back Miles Sanders and wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery have missed significant time. Wentz is too often throwing to inexperienced receivers who aren't always running the correct routes.
''I've gone back and looked at '17 and '18 tape, our coaching staff has, I know he has,'' Pederson said, referring to when Wentz finished third in NFL MVP voting in 2017. ''We've looked at everything from play calling, me, am I different? Am I using personnel right? Am I making decisions that are beneficial for the team? I look at a bunch of that stuff.
''It comes down to just each person, each player, each coach taking a look at yourself, looking in the mirror, see what you see. If you don't like what you see, we got to change, and you got to make improvements and you got to get better. So these are all the things that we're doing and we're helping him. We're helping the offense. We're helping the offensive line. We're helping the receivers. We're helping everybody get better and we're using everything we can to make these adjustments.''
Wentz has his best chance to get back on track facing the NFL's worst pass defense. The Seahawks have allowed 343.7 yards passing per game. They've shown improvement since halftime of a 23-16 loss to the Rams on Nov. 15.
''These last six quarters that we've played have been different, and the guys have really taken a step forward in owning what they're doing and in the communications and the adjustments and utilizing the package, and disguising really well and really feeling comfortable with it,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
The arrival of Carlos Dunlap in a trade from Cincinnati has helped the Seahawks turn up the pass rush in recent weeks. Seattle has 16 sacks over the past four games, including three sacks last week of Arizona's Kyler Murray. It was notable because Seattle didn't have a QB hit on Murray in the first meeting against Arizona.
Dunlap has three sacks in his three games since arriving in Seattle. And now the Seahawks face an offense that has allowed a league-high 40 sacks.
Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner is on the cusp of joining rare company. Wagner needs four tackles to reach 100 for the season. It would be his ninth consecutive season with at least 100 tackles, one of just three players since 2000 to accomplish that feat. The other two are London Fletcher and Keith Brooking.
Meanwhile, three-time All-Pro center Jason Kelce will make his 100th consecutive start for the Eagles.
WARM IT UP, CHRIS
Seattle expects to have running back Chris Carson after missing the previous four games with a foot sprain. The Seahawks were out of balance and Wilson was under increased pressure in the three games both Carlos Hyde and Carson were sidelined. Hyde returned last week against Arizona and rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown. His return also lessened the stress on Wilson, who passed for only 197 yards but was efficient and threw two touchdowns in the 28-21 win.
DK OR JJ
The Eagles chose J.J. Arcega-Whiteside seven picks ahead of DK Metcalf in the second round of the 2019 draft. Arecega-Whiteside has 12 catches and was a healthy inactive two weeks ago before missing last week on the COVID-19 reserve list. Metcalf is already one of the best wide receivers in the league. He had seven catches for 160 yards and a touchdown in Seattle's playoff win in Philly in January.
Russell Wilson is 5-0 against the Eagles and the Seahawks have won six straight meetings. Philadelphia wanted to select Wilson in the third round of the 2012 draft but he went to Seattle at No. 75. The Eagles chose Nick Foles at No. 88.
AP Sports Writer Tim Booth contributed to this report.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Five Hot Plays: Week 12
The Cardinals Defense has a favorable matchup in Week 12. They face a New England Patriots team that's averaged just 20.9 points per game this year. The Cardinals have allowed at least 28 points in four straight games, but they've faced far more productive offenses over that stretch. Against weak offenses, the Cardinals Defense has shown some value. They held the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys to 10 points each in back-to-back weeks. If you're in a bind, you could do worse than starting the Cardinals Defense in Week 12, but there's certainly a risk that the Patriots find a way to score 25 or more points in a game that could be more high-scoring than they're accustomed to.
The Los Angeles Chargers have ruled out cornerback Casey Hayward (groin) and defensive end Melvin Ingram (knee) for Week 12 against the Bills. Ingram has already spent time on Injured Reserve for a knee injury, so this is more bad news for the 31-year-old pass-rusher from South Carolina. He's totaled just 10 tackles, four QB hits and one interception in his seven games played this season. The Chargers secondary will be extra vulnerable without Hayward out there on Sunday, giving more upside to both Bills QB Josh Allen and top wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The Los Angeles defense should be faded this week in DFS and season-long leagues with both Ingram and Hayward out.
If you're in a tight spot going into Week 12, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella could be a decent dart throw option for you. Isabella has been extremely quiet ever since his two-touchdown performance in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions. However, this week the Cardinals will be without Larry Fitzgerald (COVID) for the first time this year, which should open up extra opportunities for Isabella. The Cardinals will face the New England Patriots in Week 12. The Patriots Defense is known for focusing attention on No. 1 targets, which could mean DeAndre Hopkins will struggle in the game. Isabella is an extremely risky start, but he could see around five targets, which gives him a solid chance to make a few big plays and deliver a solid flex performance for deep league owners.
The Colts Defense has a tough test this week against a good Titans offense. The Titans offense is led by Derrick Henry who rushed for over 100 yards on 5.4 yards per carry against the Colts defense in Week 10. Henry has at least 100 yards in six of 10 games and is averaging 4.8 yards per carry on the season. They struggled in stopping the run in Week 10 but were good against the pass. They held Ryan Tannehill to just 147 passing yards and a passer rating of 83.4. They ended up holding the Titans offense to just 17 points in their first meeting and will look for a similar performance this week. It will be a tall task, but the Colts defense should have starting consideration based on how well they have played for most of the season.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Kalen Ballage (ankle, calf) is listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Bills. Ballage was limited in practice this week, so he should be able to play, barring a last-minute setback. But we also don't know for sure yet if Austin Ekeler (hamstring) will return yet after being designated to return from Injured Reserve this week. But if Ekeler sits out another game, which is expected, Ballage should continue to be the leader of this backfield while fending off rookie Joshua Kelley and Troymaine Pope. The Bills Defense has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points per game to running backs, too, so Ballage will be in the RB2 conversation if he's active and Ekeler remains sidelined.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Trey Burton enters the week as the No. 2 tight end on the Colts depth chart behind Jack Doyle. Burton played just 29 percent of the team's snaps last week while Jack Doyle played in 54 percent. Mo Alie-Cox is still in the mix as well, and he played 51 percent of the team's snaps. Despite Doyle and Alie-Cox seeing more snaps, Burton is still the most expensive DFS option this week between the three. The formula for Burton's production is fairly simple. He does not catch a lot of passes, so he relies on touchdowns for decent fantasy days. This makes him difficult to trust from week to week, but he is the only tight end on the team that should be given starting consideration being that Doyle and Alie-Cox hardly ever produce.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has a bit of a challenge ahead against the New England Patriots in Week 12. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is widely known for his efforts to take team's No. 1 options away in games. This week, that will certainly mean Hopkins. Hopkins is coming off a disappointing showing where he caught just five of eight targets for 51 yards. He's followed up every disappointing game with a big one this year, so he's likely going to make it hard on Belichick and the Patriots contain him. Start him with confidence as a WR1 this week, but don't be surprised if it's a bit of a bumpy ride.
Miami Dolphins rookie running back Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) has been ruled out for Week 12 against the Jets. On top of it, the Dolphins are non-committal on whether Myles Gaskin (knee) will play after being designated to return from Injured Reserve this week. If Gaskin is available to play, he should be at least eased in as the featured back in a great matchup against the winless Jets. However, if Gaskin misses another game, we should see some sort of timeshare between Matt Breida, Patrick Laird and DeAndre Washington. The matchup is obviously a tasty one, but good luck to any fantasy managers trying to navigate those choppy backfield waters if both Gaskin and Ahmed aren't available.
The Cleveland Browns will travel to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 12. Jacksonville has benched rookie quarterback Jake Luton and will turn to journeyman QB Mike Glennon against Cleveland in the contest. Glennon has not been particularly impressive in his career, having thrown 20 interceptions in 29 games. The last time Glennon started for a team, he threw five picks in four starts for the Chicago Bears back in 2017. Cleveland's defense has been at or near the league leaders in takeaways this season and should be able to add to that total against a struggling Jacksonville offense that will be without top wideout D.J. Chark in Week 12. Start the Browns as a top-six fantasy defense this weekend.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk has had two straight rough outings. He's caught just eight passes for 77 yards over the past two weeks. However, things look favorable for him going into Week 12 against the New England Patriots. The team will be without Larry Fitzgerald (COVID-19) for the game, which should mean more targets will be headed his way. Plus, the Patriots are known for focusing in on No. 1 offensive options, which means that the Patriots Defense may be flooding on DeAndre Hopkins, allowing for more open space for Kirk. Start Kirk as a WR2 in all formats. Look for him to see at least eight targets in the game, giving him a good chance to flirt with 100 yards and find the endzone.
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said the team will watch film on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) and running back Myles Gaskin (knee) before deciding if they will play in Week 12 against the Jets. Tagovailoa's thumb injury wasn't deemed serious this week, so it's curious that they are considering sitting him out against the winless Jets in a matchup that he should bounce back in after being benched late in the Week 11 loss to Denver. With the injury and now the chance that he won't play at all, the rookie QB is a shaky low-end QB2 this weekend. Gaskin was designated to return from Injured Reserve this week and could make his return in an excellent matchup with the Jets. With rookie Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) ruled out, Gaskin could have some nice RB2 upside if he returns on Sunday. Check to make sure he's not available on your league's waiver wire.
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake had an interesting performance last week against the Seattle Seahawks. He carried the ball 11 times for 29 yards and a touchdown while adding four catches for 31 yards on five targets. His 2.6 yards per carry were disappointing, but the touchdown helped save his day. Meanwhile, his work in the passing game was a nice surprise. It was his first time this year with more than two targets in a game and also his first time with over 10 receiving yards in a game. This week, against the New England Patriots, it's unclear whether Drake will still be used heavily in the passing game, but he should get plenty of work regardless. Look for him to see around 15 touches in the game, making him a solid RB2 in Week 12.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Vikings, but head coach Matt Rhule said he's "pessimistic" that McCaffrey will play. McCaffrey has been unlikely to play all week, especially with Carolina having their bye in Week 13. But the All-Pro running back is getting closer and should return in Week 14 to face the Broncos. Fantasy managers can only hope that McCaffrey is ready to roll when the fantasy playoffs begin in most leagues. You shouldn't be holding out slim hopes that he'll play this Sunday, though. Mike Davis should continue to be the featured back with McCaffrey hurt, once again giving him RB1 upside against Minnesota.
Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper is in the midst of a slow season with his new team. Hooper has caught just 26 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown while missing two games for Cleveland. He draws a plus matchup against a Jacksonville Jaguars pass defense that has been generous to opposing tight ends this season. Jacksonville is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the tight end position on the year. Hooper settles in as a low-end TE1 for Week 12.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds only saw two carries in Week 11 against the Seattle Seahawks, but he delivered in the passing game, catching four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. Edmonds has amazingly caught all 17 of his targets over his past four games. Unfortunately, Kenyan Drake has been soaking up all the carries since he returned to action in Week 10, but Edmonds remains heavily involved regardless. Edmonds' role in the passing game makes him a decent low-end flex option in PPR leagues in Week 12 when the Cardinals face the New England Patriots. He's a bit more risky in non-PPR.
Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl offensive lineman Zack Martin (calf) is expected to miss three to four weeks with a calf strain that he suffered in the Thanksgiving loss on Thursday to Washington, according to a source. Based on where we are in the season, it could mean that Martin has played his last down of the 2020 season, especially if the Cowboys want him to heal fully before he returns. Left tackle Cameron Erving was also injured on Thursday and is expected to miss multiple weeks. These injuries are a huge blow to Dallas' offensive line and offense as a whole moving forward. It'll make life tougher on quarterback Andy Dalton and running back Ezekiel Elliott heading into a Week 13 matchup with the Ravens next Thursday night.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (shoulder) has been limited in practice this week with a right shoulder injury. He is currently questionable for this Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, but the team seems optimistic that he'll be good to go. Murray had one of his weakest fantasy outputs of the year last time out against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11 as he managed just 15 rushing yards and only two total touchdowns. Look for him to bounce back this week after a long rest. The Patriots rank amongst the middle of the pack in the league in both passing yards allowed and points allowed per game. Look for Murray to put up solid yardage totals both on the ground and in the air in the game while scoring at least three touchdowns.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) is off the team's final injury report and is good to go for Week 12 against the Vikings. Bridgewater was close to playing last week but was held out as a precaution in the shutout win over the Lions. Minnesota's defense has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks all year, too, so Bridgewater will be a sneaky streaming option or second QB in superflex leagues now that we know for sure he will be active. It's also good news for wide receivers Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel. Five quarterbacks have thrown for three or more touchdowns against the Vikings Defense this year, so Bridgewater will have some sneaky upside in his return to action after missing a game with an MCL sprain.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton mostly lacks fantasy value this week against the Titans but could be a flex play in deeper leagues if your lineup is stretched thin. His receptions per game, yards per game, and yards per target are all the lowest of his nine-year career. Hilton also has yet to haul in a touchdown. He is averaging a little over four catches for about 61 yards in 16 career games against the Titans and hauled in four catches for 40 yards in their Week 10 matchup. Hilton's ceiling definitely is not high but could be thrown in the flex spot if your lineup is in a pinch.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. has played well over the last three weeks, catching a total of 14 balls on 16 targets. He takes on the Titans this week where he had his coming out party in Week 10, catching seven passes for 101 yards. Pittman has played in at least 80 percent of the team's snaps in each of the last three weeks, and he is taking advantage of that opportunity. He is listed as the No. 2 receiver on the Colts depth chart this week but is the most expensive DFS receiver on the team. The Titans rank 23rd against opposing wide receivers, so Pittman should be able to put up another good performance. He definitely has starting value this week.