Glover Quin: Detroit Lions might not love Matt Patricia enough to turn things around | Glover Quin, one of the Lions' most productive defenders during his six seasons in Detroit, was released by the team after last season.   &#

Glover Quin: Detroit Lions might not love Matt Patricia enough to turn things around

Glover Quin: Detroit Lions might not love Matt Patricia enough to turn things around

Glover Quin: Detroit Lions might not love Matt Patricia enough to turn things around

Glover Quin: Detroit Lions might not love Matt Patricia enough to turn things around

Glover Quin: Detroit Lions might not love Matt Patricia enough to turn things around

Glover Quin: Detroit Lions might not love Matt Patricia enough to turn things around
Glover Quin: Detroit Lions might not love Matt Patricia enough to turn things around
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Ravens tight ends a favorite target for Lamar Jackson

Ravens tight ends a favorite target for Lamar Jackson

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Mark Andrews is part of a group of Baltimore Ravens tight ends he likes to call a “three-headed monster.”

Andrews, Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle have each played a huge role in the offense and have become a favorable target for quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The three tight ends could be the difference again this week in Buffalo where Baltimore can clinch a playoff berth with a victory against the Bills.

“The three tight ends, the three-headed monster,” Andrews said. “All these guys, Hayden,, Nick, these guys are flat out ball players. It’s cool to see.”

The tight ends are not necessarily the primary read for Jackson. However, if his receivers fail to get open, Jackson knows he has three sure-handed targets capable of extending a drive.

“I’m just going through my progression,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, you just have to take what the defense gives you. Sometimes, they do a great job covering everyone downfield, so you just have to checkdown and hit a tight end to convert. That’s just how we play ball.”

Andrews is the most prolific of the three and leads the team in receptions (53), receiving yards (693) and touchdown receptions (seven). Andrews and his fellow tight ends also embrace their role as blockers, which has helped the Raven establish the NFL’s most prolific run game, averaging 207.8 yards per game.

“We’re all so versatile, and we’re able to do so much,” Andrews said. “And they use us in a really good way that kind of exploits mismatches, and it’s really hard for teams to game-plan for three different tight ends. That’s a big thing, and we’ve all done a great job. We’re going to continue to get better, but it’s fun to be able to play with those guys.”

Boyle is ranked third behind rookie receiver Marquise Brown with 25 receptions for 281 yards. Boyle, a five-year veteran, caught his first career touchdown pass Nov. 3 against the New England Patriots. In March, he signed a three-year, $18 million contract extension with the Ravens through the 2021 season.

“I love our tight ends. I love the whole room,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. “I love everything about them, and I know that they know that they can even get a lot better. That’s what they’re focused on doing.”

Hurst was the Ravens first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2018 NFL draft. He battled some injuries in his rookie year but has been a critical playmaker this season. Hurst is ranked fifth on the team with 23 receptions for 213 yards and a touchdown.

Hurst made a pivotal play in the Ravens 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13. He kept the final drive alive by catching a pass in traffic on a fourth-and-2 and then had to grind his way to the first-down marker. That play helped set up Justin Tucker’s game-winning, 49-yard field goal. Hurst received his first game ball for his performance.

He said the relationship among the tight ends extends well beyond the playing field.

“Those two guys (Andrews and Boyle) are like my brothers,” Hurst said. “We are constantly hanging out off the field. We’re together all the time. … We compliment each other really well when we’re on the field. It’s just fun to play with those guys.”

FANTASY PLAYS: Players to start and sit for NFL Week 14

FANTASY PLAYS: Players to start and sit for NFL Week 14

Now the real fun begins. Week 14 means either quarterfinal-round play or the final week of the regular season for most fantasy football leagues. At this point, it’s about fielding a roster of players who can produce points regardless of what they may or may not have done of late. For those who own an elite player facing a tough matchup (see Mahomes, Patrick), the choice of dance with who brought you is tempting, but if there’s a better matchup sitting on the waiver wire…

START: Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings: Only Mahomes (6.8) has a higher yards after catch per completion than Cousins’ 6.3. Since Week 4, Cousins has thrown 18 touchdown passes and produced at least 276 passing yards in six of his past eight games. He faces a Lions defense that allows the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks while yielding 25 touchdown passes.

SIT: Josh Allen, QB, Bills: Allen has a stellar 11-1 TD:INT margin since Week 7, yet has only two games of better than 250 passing yards. The running threat is a plus, but his fantasy owners should strongly keep in mind the Ravens allow the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Only the Patriots and Bills have given up fewer touchdown passes than the 10 conceded by Baltimore.

START: Derrick Henry, RB, Titans: Over the past three games, Henry has averaged 165.3 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns. The Raiders are a respectable 11th overall against the run, but the play of QB Ryan Tannehill could exploit an Oakland defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing passers. Regardless, Henry is the hottest back in fantasy football right now and shows little signs of slowing down.

SIT: David Montgomery, RB, Bears: Montgomery hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown since Week 9 and has just two games this season of better than 75 yards on the ground. With defenses showing little fear in Chicago’s passing game, Montgomery is line for a frustrating Thursday night against the Cowboys.

START: DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins: He’s become a very hot hand over the past three weeks, pulling in 20 passes for 385 yards (19.2 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. Miami’s running game has struggled, which means Parker and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will continue their newfound rapport at the expense of the Jets in what could set up as a possible high-scoring matchup.

SIT: Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs: For whatever reason, Watkins has been shut out on just three targets in last week’s win over the Raiders. There’s little reason to think Watkins returns to the good graces of fantasy owners, especially against a Patriots defense that’s allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wideouts and the second-fewest overall passing yards in the league.

START: Darren Waller, TE, Raiders: The sure-handed Waller hasn’t visited the end zone since Week 8 but has caught 15 passes for 229 yards in the past three games. He should be good for double-digit targets against a Titans defense that has given up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Waller is due and could carry fantasy teams into another week if his recent production comes with a touchdown or two.

SIT: Noah Fant, TE, Broncos: New starting QB Drew Lock targeted Fant just three times last week, further dimming the promise from his Week 9 outing against the Browns. The Texans tend to be tough against opposing tight ends, making it highly unlikely Fant suddenly becomes a fantasy option in the win-or-else portion of the season.

START: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles: With their season on the line, the Eagles will probably continue a four-week trend that has seen Wentz average 42.5 attempts per game. That type of volume will pay off on Monday night against a Giants defense that has allowed the fifth-highest yards per completion (12.6) in the league and will have to contend with a healthy WR Alshon Jeffery and the possible return of RB Jordan Howard.

SIT: Will Fuller, WR, Texans: He’s too much of a hit-miss player to gamble with in most lineups. Fuller scored all three of his touchdowns this season in Week 5 and must face a solid Broncos pass defense that ranks fifth in fewest passing yards allowed while giving up just 14 touchdown passes.

START: D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers: Moore is averaging 103.4 yards and nearly 12 targets per game over the past five weeks and is a solid play against the Falcons, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers while also allowing nearly 12 yards per reception.

SIT: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: Take away his frenetic fourth quarter against the Texans last week and Brady is a passer who is in a protracted slump. He has had six games this season in which he has either thrown one touchdown or less and three games with 216 or fewer yards. Outside of WR Julian Edelman and RB James White, the Pats’ passing game no longer makes for a sure play, even against a suspect Chiefs defense.

START: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars: Although he’s had solid rushing numbers, what makes Fournette a great play in PPR formats is that he’s caught 37 of 43 targets (86 percent) over the past five weeks. The Chargers are 10th-worst in fantasy when it comes to allowing points to opposing backs, and the return of Gardner Minshew under center will also enhance the upside of Fournette and the Jacksonville offense.

SIT: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals: Murray has thrown for just 313 yards over the past two games and while his injured hamstring might be a cause behind that, he’s just too risky for a fantasy playoff team to roll with. He’s done a good job avoiding turnovers this season, but he faces a tough challenge in the form of a Steelers D that leads the league with 29 forced turnovers.

___

This column was provided to The Associated Press by SportsGrid Inc., www.sportsgrid.com

Late-bloomer Parker becomes centerpiece in Dolphins’ rebuild

Late-bloomer Parker becomes centerpiece in Dolphins’ rebuild

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — DeVante Parker has become such an eye-catching receiver that even he is talking about it.

The Miami Dolphins wideout is a man of few words, but in his first four NFL seasons, attempts to let his play do the talking were a bit of a bust.

So was Parker. Miami’s 2015 first-round pick developed a reputation as an underachiever unable or unwilling to play through nagging injuries, and there was some head-scratching around the league in March when the Dolphins gave him a $10 million, two-year contract.

Their faith is finally paying off, and Parker has become a centerpiece in Miami’s rebuilding plan.

“He’s developing into the player that everybody thought he could be,” Dolphins wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell said.

Parker is on pace for his first 1,000-yard season, and the game Sunday was his best yet. He had his first two-touchdown game, with both scores coming thanks to leaping catches, and a career-high 159 yards on seven receptions as the Dolphins upset the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Every time I looked up he was coming down with the ball,” Miami offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea said, “which as a play-caller makes it easy to keep throwing it up to him.”

It was a breakout performance in a breakout season.

This year Parker has 854 yards receiving and six touchdowns, both career highs, and is four receptions shy of his career-best total of 57. Since Week 6 he leads the AFC in yards receiving.

Many catches have been highlight material, with the 6-foot-3 Parker often out-leaping a defensive back or two to snatch what Dolphins coach Brian Flores calls 50-50 balls.

“I have to catch the next one — that’s all it is,” Parker said. “I know I have the ability to make plays and do whatever I can to help the team.”

For Parker, that’s a long speech. He has always been notoriously media-shy, and is quiet around the team, too.

“He doesn’t say much,” Dorrell said. “He grunts a lot. He smiles, though. He smiles quite a bit.”

Parker’s doing that more this season as he disproves doubters — not just those who dissed him, but critics who treated the 2019 Dolphins as laughingstocks.

“They got it wrong,” Parker said. “This team fights.”

Sparked by Parker, the Dolphins (3-9) have pulled off three upsets in the past five weeks. This Sunday they play the New York Jets, who are sure to make containing Parker a priority.

He has become the Dolphins’ best offensive player for Flores, Parker’s third head coach in Miami. Dorrell, as part of the new staff, said he offered Parker a clean slate last spring.

“He and I hit it off right from the start when we had our first meeting about, ‘I’m coaching you the player from this point forward and not looking backward,’” Dorrell said.

While Parker was often slowed by injuries during his first four seasons, he hasn’t missed a practice since the new staff took over.

Now 26, he has embraced acupuncture and other treatments to help stay healthy. He’s spending more time studying video and game plans. He earns praise from teammates as selfless.

And he’s blossoming into a star.

“I think it’s a little bit of everything. It’s health, it’s maturity, his experience,” Flores said. “When you’re 22 years old and you’re just coming in the league and it’s the first time you’ve ever had any money, some of those things — acupuncture, massages and hydration — kind of fall by the wayside. As you get older, you understand that those things are very important, and that everything you do counts.

“DeVante has worked extremely hard. Football is very important to him.”

While Flores credits Parker, Parker credits the Dolphins.

“They gave me another chance. They didn’t have to sign me back, but they did,” Parker said.

“I’m still here.”

He doesn’t say much, but in the debate about whether he’s a bust, Parker may get the last word.

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