Thu Nov 7 1:37pm ET
By PAT GRAHAM
AP Sports Writer
Denver Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen (2) runs the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos wide receiver Diontae Spencer (11) is helped up by teammate Courtland Sutton (14) after fumbling the football against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Denver. The Browns recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) is hit by Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward during the second half of NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30) runs for a 30-yard touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the second half of NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen (2) throws against the Cleveland Browns during the second half of NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30) runs as Cleveland Browns linebacker Mack Wilson (51) pursues during the first half of NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
DENVER (AP) Brandon Allen's first start for the Denver Broncos nearly rivaled that of Peyton Manning.
It was that efficient. It was that precise.
It may not matter.
The fourth-year quarterback might be only a temporary fix. Allen is caught between the brief Joe Flacco Era and the possible Drew Lock Experiment.
When the Broncos (3-6) resume after the bye week, the rookie Lock figures to be activated off the injured reserve and practice for the first time since jamming his right thumb in the preseason. All signs point toward Allen starting at Minnesota on Nov. 17, especially after he threw for 193 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-19 win over a reeling Cleveland squad. Allen posted a passer rating of 125.6 in that game, which was the third-best for a Broncos quarterback making his first start with the team. Only Manning (129.2) and Brock Osweiler (127.1) were better.
Allen understands the situation. He's rolling with it.
Then again, he's learned the art of patience since being a sixth-round selection by Jacksonville and then getting cut by the Jaguars. He was picked up by the Los Angeles Rams, who ended up waiving him, and finally arrived in Denver on Sept. 1.
''I take everything one day at a time,'' said Allen, who made his first start since guiding Arkansas past Kansas State 45-23 in the Liberty Bowl on Jan. 2, 2016. ''Obviously, we've got a lot of great talent at quarterback on this team. Whatever opportunities I get, I'm going to try to take advantage.''
Allen earned his chance to start when Flacco went on IR with a herniated disk in his neck after a loss at Indianapolis.
Backing up Allen for now is undrafted rookie Brett Rypien, who was promoted from the practice squad.
That all could change next week when the team resumes practice. Lock, the second-round pick out of Missouri, figures to occupy some sort of spot in the QB hierarchy.
The Broncos aren't tipping their hand, though.
''Still up in the air,'' first-year Broncos coach Vic Fangio said.
Denver remains haunted by an offensive line that's allowed 30 sacks (one was on punter Colby Wadman when he attempted a failed fake). And one of the biggest distresses has been the play of left tackle Garett Bolles, the 2017 first-round pick whose number frequently gets called by officials for holding.
''I think Garett kind of plays with more confidence than you think and maybe that is warranted,'' Fangio said. ''It's our job to maximize and make sure we're doing everything possible to develop him. If the guy has talent, we want to maximize every opportunity to develop it.''
There's no real contingent plan for Bolles considering the injury to right tackle Ja'Wuan James (knee), who's given Denver only a handful of snaps for the $32 million in guarantees he signed for.
The shaky line could be a factor why offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello was so conservative with his play-calling early in the season. Flacco called out the rookie coordinator, although not by name, after a loss in Indy when the team took a cautious approach in the latter stages.
With a more mobile Allen running the show last weekend, Scangarello opened up the playbook. He broke out all the modernized elements expected of him since he arrived from San Francisco, even using tailback Phillip Lindsay in the wildcat formation to pick up a first down to close out the win.
What's more, Scangarello got the younger players involved - rookie tight end Noah Fant had a 75-yard score and Courtland Sutton caught a leaping TD pass over a Browns defensive back.
It was that sort of day.
''We need it to be a weekly thing for all of them,'' Fangio said.
The Broncos' defense has been dependable for the most part. Denver is currently ranked fourth in total defense.
Still, Fangio, who oversees the defense, believes there's another level for a unit that's missing Bradley Chubb (torn ACL) and cornerback Bryce Callahan, who signed a three-year, $21 million deal in free agency, only to reinjure his surgically repaired foot in July.
And while teams have double-teamed pass rusher extraordinaire Von Miller - he has four sacks - it's led to opportunities for Derek Wolfe (five sacks) and DeMarcus Walker (four sacks).
''There's no quit in this locker room,'' linebacker Todd Davis said. ''We know what type of team we can be.''
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery finished with 14 carries for only 31 yards during the loss to the Rams on Sunday night. He also managed to catch a single pass for 19 yards but was outperformed in all areas by Tarik Cohen, who finished with more receiving and rushing yards, while also recording a touchdown. With this one in the books, Montgomery, who was nursing an ankle issue coming into this one, will hopefully be 100 percent for a showdown with the Giants in Week 12.
Updating previous reports, Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack (hand) is not expected to play in Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 21. He'll see a specialist this week to figure out how long he'll be out.
Fantasy Spin: Jordan Wilkins could be the featured back against the Houston Texans. It's not a good matchup, but Wilkins is at least worth a flex play.
Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen outplayed David Montgomery on Sunday night in the loss to the Rams. Cohen rushed for 39 yards, eight more than Montgomery, on nine attempts in addition to five receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown. This was arguably the most productive outing of the year for the 24-year-old, who has now scored in his last two games. He likely will return to yielding touches to Montgomery on a week-to-week basis moving ahead, but he still possesses PPR appeal in deeper formats due to his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. He will look to keep it going against the Giants at home in Week 12.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky struggled on Sunday night in the loss to the Rams, finishing with 190 yards, a touchdown, and a pick on 24-for-43 passing. The 25-year-old, who threw three touchdowns the week before against the Lions, suffered a hip injury early in this one but continued to play before finally shutting it down late in the fourth quarter. Trubisky will likely take it easy during practice throughout the week, with his status for Week 12 against the visiting New York Giants in limbo at the moment.
New England Patriots TE Benjamin Watson caught three of his four targets for 52 yards in Week 11 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fantasy Spin: The 52 yards nearly doubled his previous season high. Watson is bringing more fantasy relevancy to the position than Matt LaCosse or Ryan Izzo did, but the 38-year-old is still not an advisable streamer and probably won't be at any point this season.
New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu hauled in two of his four targets for four yards and added an eight-yard run on his only rushing attempt in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fantasy Spin: It's definitely not what fantasy owners were looking for after he posted a 10-81-1 line in his last game before the team's Week 10 bye. Then again, New England's offense wasn't exactly clicking on all cylinders against an inspired Eagles' defense. Sanu should be considered a low-end WR3 or WR4 option in Week 12 versus the Dallas Cowboys.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor had four receptions for 40 yards against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Nov. 17.
Fantasy Spin: With Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson out, Agholor was the de facto WR1 for Carson Wentz -- his nine targeted balls were more than Jordan Matthews, Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside combined. He made some plays but again left some on the field, and he had a chance to tie the game late on a tough ball that he couldn't haul in. Agholor is a WR4 when Jeffery is healthy and could bump up to a WR3 when he's not.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman hauled in five of his 10 targets for 53 yards in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also threw for a 15-yard touchdown on his only pass attempt.
Fantasy Spin: The receiving yardage total was his lowest since Week 7, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels helped saved his fantasy day by dialing up a trick play for the former college quarterback to throw a touchdown pass that ultimately led to Phillip Dorsett getting hurt. With at least 10 targets in five consecutive contests and at least five receptions in six straight, Edelman is a rock-solid WR2 with WR1 upside. Expect similar production in Week 12 versus the Dallas Cowboys.
New England Patriots RB James White carried five times for 20 yards and caught four of his seven targets for 16 yards in Week 11 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fantasy Spin: Considering how good the Eagles' rush defense is, this should have been a James White game. However, it was a bad day for most of the Patriots' offense as Philadelphia played one of its better games on defense. Amazingly, White has scored only two touchdowns in 2019 after erupting for a career-high 12 last year. He'll be a low-end RB2 play at best in Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert caught three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown in Week 11 against the New England Patriots.
Fantasy Spin: Goedert's TD was originally ruled an interception before being overturned on review. That gives him three TDs in his last four games, though with so many players missing it seemed like a day to get Goedert more involved. Still, his propensity for touchdowns does give him some fringe TE1 value.
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady went 26-of-47 for 216 with no touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 11 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fantasy Spin: Brady did not look particularly good in this one, although the Eagles' defense did their part to make it tough on him. Still, he uncharacteristically missed throws he usually makes. His biggest chunk play was on a 30-yard screen pass in which Rex Burkhead did most of the work. Week 11 marked the third time this season in which he failed to throw for a score and the second one in which he did not account for one. He'll be in the QB2 conversation in Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys.
New England Patriots RB Sony Michel rushed for 33 yards on 10 carries and added two receptions for 11 yards in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fantasy Spin: Same story, different week for his fantasy owners. Michel has been a touchdown-dependent RB2 for most of the season, but he has been nearly unusable whenever Rex Burkhead has been active. Owners should consider other alternatives in Week 12 when the Patriots host the Dallas Cowboys.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz logged nine catches for 94 yards during the team's Week 11 loss to the New England Patriots.
Fantasy Spin: After some lean weeks Ertz has bounced back with a vengeance, posting consecutive nine-catch outings and easily leading the team with 94 receiving yards against the Pats. He's a must-start TE1 each and every week.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz completed 20 of 40 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots in Week 11.
Fantasy Spin: Yes, the Pats might have the NFL's toughest defense. Yes, the Eagles were missing some key weapons. And yet it's hard not to lay some blame at the feet of Wentz, who has now passed for fewer than 250 yards and exactly one TD in five of his last six games. Bottom line, those aren't QB1 numbers, and it seems unlikely he'll get healthy against a rested Seahawks club in Week 12.
Chicago Bears WR Anthony Miller caught six passes for 54 yards against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Nov. 17.
Fantasy Spin: Six receptions were a season high for Miller, who has now topped 50 yards receiving four times in his last six games. While that qualifies as encouraging, Miller has no TDs this year and hasn't reached the 70-yard plateau. He's a fringe bench option in large leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals LB Nick Vigil finished with 12 tackles (six solo) in Week 11 versus the Oakland Raiders.
Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith was credited with 11 tackles (six solo) against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 11.
Oakland Raiders TE Darren Waller hauled in five of his team-high seven targets for 78 yards in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He also lost two yards on an end-around.
Fantasy Spin: Although it's hard for owners to be too upset with Waller considering the return on investment they've already realized, he had not topped three catches or 52 yards in three straight before this outburst. The breakout star is not exactly the blame, however, as the Raiders typically enjoyed positive game script and become run-heavy over that stretch. With tight end being the black hole it is in fantasy, owners should feel good about continuing to start him moving forward, including Week 12 against the New York Jets.
Chicago Bears WR Taylor Gabriel tallied seven receptions for 57 yards against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Nov. 17.
Fantasy Spin: Gabriel caught half of his 14 targets and has been a decent secondary producer behind Allen Robinson. He hasn't topped 75 yards in a game, however, and Chicago's passing attack isn't exactly providing opponents with many sleepless nights. Gabriel has some deep-league value, but in standard formats you should be able to do better.
Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson had four receptions for 15 yards in the club's Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Fantasy Spin: Robinson seemed to frequently attract the attention of Jalen Ramsey in coverage, and Chicago's top wideout finished with less than 20 yards receiving for the second time in three weeks. While Robinson remains the top Bears receiver to own, he's a risky WR3 at this point.