Saturday October 17th, 2015

Devonta Freeman kept his breakout season rolling right along on Thursday night. The second-year back out of Florida State racked up 156 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, giving him another near 30-point fantasy performance. His last score came in garbage time and essentially meant nothing to the Falcons, but you can bet his fantasy owners don’t care much about that. He has now rushed for at least 100 yards in three of his last four games, and has nine touchdowns since Tevin Coleman opened the door to backfield dominance because of his rib injury. Freeman isn’t stepping back over that threshold.

Who will join Freeman as a fantasy star in Week 6? Get all the last-minute lineup help you need in our Week 6 Cheat Sheet.

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Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

    

     vs. QB

      vs. RB

      vs. WR

      vs. TE

     Bears

     18th

      13th

       22nd

       6th

     Lions

     27th

      26th

       24th

      27th

Vegas lines

Lions -3

Over/under 43.5

Bears o/u 20.5

Lions o/u 23.5

From Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson to Ameer Abdullah, the Lions have not done right by the fantasy community this season. That could turnaround this week, even though the Bears have played better to this point than pretty much everyone expected.

Player who could surprise: Marquess Wilson

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Over the last two weeks, Wilson has caught 12 of his 17 targets for 165 yards and a touchdown. Even if Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal can return from their hamstring injuries this week (Royal looks more likely than Jeffery), Wilson will retain a significant role in the offense. The Bears have been waiting for him to turn into a useful player, and he’s finally healthy enough to be just that. The Lions have allowed the ninth-most points per game to receivers.

Player who could disappoint: The Detroit backfield

While this sets up well for Stafford and Johnson to finally deliver for their fantasy owners, their teammates in the backfield will likely continue to struggle. Abdullah is in the doghouse, Joique Bell is coming back from an ankle injury, and Theo Riddick is only usable in full PPR leagues. This is as muddled a situation as there is in the league.

Matchup to watch: Jay Cutler vs. Detroit pass defense

Cutler has played well the last two weeks without his top weapon in the passing game. The Lions’ coverage unit has struggled, and they haven’t had a huge degree of difficulty on the other side. This could determine the game’s outcome.

Injury report

Martellus Bennett (quad): Questionable

Alshon Jeffery (hamstring): Questionable

Eddie Royal (hamstring, ankle): Questionable

Eric Ebron (knee): Out

Golden Tate (hip): Probable

Joique Bell (ankle): Questionable

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills

 

     vs. QB

     vs. RB

    vs. WR

      vs. TE

     Bengals

      12th

      17th

      20th

       10th

     Bills

      24th

      7th

     26th

       21st

Vegas lines

Bengals -3.5

Over/under 42.5

Bengals o/u 23

Bills o/u 19.5

The Bengals head into Buffalo looking to move to 6-0, and they bring with them one of the league’s best offenses. The Bills, meanwhile, have injuries up and down the roster, though LeSean McCoy, and potentially Sammy Watkins, will return on Sunday.

Player who could surprise: Marvin Jones

The Bills have an imposing secondary despite the numbers, but A.J. Green is the Cincinnati receiver who will have to deal with Ronald Darby. That could free up Jones to do some damage down the field. He has been limited in practice because of a foot injury, but he’ll be out there on Sunday.

Player who could disappoint: Sammy Watkins

Watkins could very well return from his calf injury this week, but that’s the sort of ailment that could limit a player in his first game back. On top of that, Adam Jones has been the sixth-best cover corner in the league this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Matchup to watch: A.J. Green vs. Ronald Darby

Green is about as tough a draw as a corner could get, but Darby will be up for the challenge. The rookie out of Florida State has been the league’s second-best cover corner, according to PFF, and has already placed himself on the short list of candidates for the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Injury report

Marvin Jones (foot): Probable

Karlos Williams (concussion): Out

Charles Clay (calf): Probable

LeSean McCoy (hamstring): Probable

Tyrod Taylor (knee): Questionable

Sammy Watkins (calf): Questionable

Percy Harvin (hip): Questionable

Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns

 

    vs. QB

     vs. RB

     vs. WR

     vs. TE

    Broncos

        1st

    18th

       1st

     13th

    Browns

       29th

   32nd

      19th

     22nd

Vegas lines

Broncos -4.5

Over/under 42.5

Broncos o/u 23.5

Browns o/u 19

Even though everyone knew Peyton Manning lost a step coming into this season, it’s hard to believe the Broncos are in a game with an over/under of 42.5. They may not be able to take advantage of the Browns’ shoddy run defense, while the Broncos can shut down Cleveland’s burgeoning passing game.

Player who could surprise: Duke Johnson

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Johnson has 25 targets over the last three weeks, catching 21 of them for 172 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos have allowed the second-most receptions to running backs this season, and over the last two weeks surrendered a total of 15 catches, 115 yards and a touchdown to Theo Riddick and Marcel Reece.

Player who could disappoint: The Denver backfield

This is just about as juicy as a matchup gets for a running back. The Browns have allowed the most points per game to running backs, giving up a total of 735 rushing yards, 319 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Unfortunately, C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman have been downright dreadful this season, and they aren’t getting any favors from the offensive line. There’s upside for both this week, but it’s hard to believe in either of them taking advantage.

Matchup to watch: Von Miller vs. Mitchell Schwartz

Joe Thomas gets all the attention on the Cleveland line, but Schwartz has been nearly as good this season. He currently rates as the No. 8 pass-blocking tackle on PFF, six spots behind his more ballyhooed linemate. He’ll certainly have his hands full this week, with Miller lined up across from him all afternoon.

Injury report

Demaryius Thomas (neck): Questionable

Aqib Talib (ankle): Questionable

Joe Haden (concussion): Out

Isaiah Crowell (toe): Questionable

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

 

    vs. QB

     vs. RB

     vs. WR

     vs. TE

     Texans

      23rd

      25th

       16th

    16th

     Jaguars

      14th

      28th

        5th

    26th

Vegas lines

Pick ‘em

Over/under 43.5

Texans o/u 22.5

Jaguars o/u 21.5

While the line on this game is a straight pick ‘em, the Texans do have the higher team total, so take that for what it’s worth. The Jaguars could be in a lot of trouble if T.J. Yeldon is unable to play because of a groin injury, especially with Arian Foster almost certainly doing his thing on the other side of this game.

Player who could surprise: Brian Hoyer

At this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Blake Borltes and Allen Hurns had big games. Hoyer, however, is only in the mind of the fantasy owner because he increases DeAndre Hopkins’ already high stock. Hopkins is the kind of a receiver who can carry an otherwise-irrelevant quarterback to a serviceable fantasy performance, and there’s no one in Jacksonville’s secondary to slow him down. Hoyer should be on the QB2 radar this week.

Player who could disappoint: Texans defense

Thanks to J.J. Watt, this unit entered the season with high expectations. It ranks dead last in fantasy points per game, registering just six sacks and two takeaways in five weeks. Even if Yeldon is out, Bortles, Allen Robinson, Hurns and Julius Thomas can take advantage of a defense that has been very friendly to the pass this year.

Matchup to watch: J.J. Watt vs. Luke Joeckel

Even with everything above taken into account, Watt is the kind of force who can single-handedly disrupt an entire offense. It’ll be up to Joeckel to prevent that from happening. Watt had three sacks in both of Houston’s games with Jacksonville last year. If that happens again, it’ll be a long day for Bortles and the Jagaurs offense.

Injury report

Arian Foster (groin): Probable

T.J. Yeldon (groin): Questionable

Julius Thomas (hand): Probable

Allen Hurns (ankle): Probable

Kansas City Chiefs at Minnesota Vikings

 

    vs. QB

     vs. RB

     vs. WR

       vs. TE

     Chiefs

      32nd

       14th

      32nd

       9th

    Vikings

      6th

       16th

     15th

      19th

Vegas lines

Vikings -4

Over/under 44

Chiefs o/u 20

Vikings o/u 24

This line can’t realistically be much higher, but the Chiefs are going to have an awfully tough time visiting a tough Minnesota defense without Jamaal Charles. Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson is ensconced in “nobody-can-stop-me” mode, and the Chiefs haven’t put up any resistance through the air. This game has sneaky blowout possibilities.

Player who could surprise: Mike Wallace

The Chiefs have allowed the most points per game to quarterbacks and receivers this year. Big-name receivers have leveled most of that damage, but Marquess Wilson did burn them for 85 yards and a touchdown a week ago. Wallace is in line for his first big game as a member of the Vikings.

Player who could disappoint: Charcandrick West

No one expects West to be Charles, but the fantasy community seems sold on him as an RB2 this week. The Vikings have really only been carved up on the ground by Carlos Hyde in Week 1. West figures to be the lead back, but he’s not going to have the gig entirely to himself, and Knile Davis could very well take away goal-line carries. This game could also get out of hand, which would force West off the field. There are too many red flags here to consider him a guaranteed fantasy starter.

Matchup to watch: Adrian Peterson vs. Chiefs run defense

The Chiefs rank third against the run this season according to PFF. They haven’t allowed any rusher more than 71 yards this season (Matt Forte), and all four rushing touchdowns they surrendered were the result of Andy Dalton tearing them apart through the air, setting up goal-line scores. Of course, Peterson presents a unique challenge.

Injury report

Travis Kelce (groin): Probable

Mike Wallace (knee): Probable

Charles Johnson (ribs): Questionable

Washington Redskins at New York Jets

 

     vs. QB

      vs. RB

     vs. WR

       vs. TE

    Redskins

     8th

     4th

     21st

      17th

    Jets

    2nd

    2nd

    10th

      4th

Vegas lines

Jets -6

Over/under 41

Redskins o/u 17.5

Jets o/u 23.5

The game total reflects how well both of these defenses have played this year, but only one team brings an offense that is still underappreciated, despite the way its skill players have performed this year. The bet here is that the Jets will finally get some respect after this week. You’re playing all your Jets this week, including Ryan Fitzpatrick in two-QB leagues

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​ Player who could surprise: Jamison Crowder

Crowder has 15 catches on 20 targets for 152 yards in Washington’s last two games. Even if DeSean Jackson returns from his hamstring injury this week, Crowder should be on the field for the same number of snaps given that he does most of his work out of the slot. That also means he won’t draw Darelle Revis or Antonio Cromartie in coverage, but Buster Skrine. Finally, Washington could have to throw the ball a whole lot to keep up with the Jets.

Player who could disappoint: The Washington backfield

Let’s make it a triumvirate of frustrating backfield that will continue to disappoint this week. Washington, however, transcends the difficulties with the Detroit and Denver backfields. The overall value of the run game in D.C. simply isn’t that high, and Matt Jones and Alfred Morris continue to divide that sliver of pie in unpredictable fashion. Just stay away from this situation.

Matchup to watch: Jets’ offensive line vs. Washington run defense

Chris Ivory has been great this year, while Washington has allowed the second-fewest points per game to running backs. Something has to give, and that will be decided in the trenches. For my money, Ivory is a top-10 back this week.

Injury report

Jordan Reed (concussion): Out

Chris Culliver (knee): Out

DeAngelo Hall (toe): Out

Pierre Garcon (knee): Probable

Matt Jones (toe): Questionable

DeSean Jackson (hamstring): Questionable

Eric Decker (knee): Probable

Chris Ivory (quad): Probable

Arizona Cardinals at Pittsburgh Steelers

 

     vs. QB

      vs. RB

     vs. WR

vs. TE

    Cardinals

      9th

     10th

     18th

     1st

    Steelers

     21st

     5th

     14th

     31st

Vegas lines

Cardinals -3.5

Over/under 44.5

Cardinals o/u 24

Steelers o/u 20.5

Look how big a difference Ben Roethlisberger makes in the line. If he were healthy, the Steelers would likely be favored, even though the Cardinals enter at 4-1. Without him, the Steelers are 3.5-point underdogs. As long as Le’Veon Bell is out there, though, the Steelers can beat anyone.

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​ Player who could surprise: Antonio Brown

We are admittedly stretching the bounds of the dictionary definition of “surprise,” since we’re talking about one of the two best receivers in the NFL. Michael Vick has curbed his fantasy value, however, helping keep him under 50 yards in both of the last two weeks. Still, this is Brown, and he’s being doubted as a WR1 this week. No matter who’s under center, that’s ridiculous.

Player who could disappoint: Chris Johnson

Johnson apparently found the Fountain of Youth during the offseason, and his discovery is paying huge dividends for the Cardinals, as well as his fantasy owners. He’s a rock-solid play this week, and likely will be every week for the rest of the year. Having said that,  the Steelers have allowed just one 100-yard game this season, and the next rushing touchdown scored against them will be the first. This sets up as a game dominated by Carson Palmer.

Matchup to watch: Antonio Brown vs. Patrick Peterson

Even though Vick limits Brown’s effectiveness, you don’t want to miss him matching up with a corner like Peterson. Toss in Tyrann Mathieu, who will provide help over the top, and we’ll be treated to one of the league’s best route runners going up against elite coverage this week.

Injury report

Ben Roethlisberger (knee): Out

Miami Dolphins at Tennessee Titans

 

     vs. QB

      vs. RB

       vs. WR

      vs. TE

    Dolphins

      13th

      23rd

      25th

      15th

    Titans

      17th

      6th

      8th

      24th

Vegas lines

Titans -2.5

Over/under 44

Dolphins o/u 21

Titans o/u 23.5

The Dan Campbell interim era begins in Tennessee with the Dolphins coming in as slight underdogs. Much of the focus is on the offense, but the defense has been equally as disappointing and will need to find a way to slow down Marcus Mariota, who has been surprisingly consistent this year.

Player who could surprise: Lamar Miller

Typically, when a football coach ignores his best player, his tenure doesn’t go well. Philbin’s usage of Miller was shocking, and you can bet that Campbell won’t repeat that mistake. The Dolphins have to get Miller going to jumpstart the offense, and they know it. Even though Tennessee’s defense has exceeded expectations, Miller has RB1 upside this week.

Player who could disappoint: Marcus Mariota

Mariota has a pair of top-10 weeks this season, and has scored the 11th-most points per game in standard-scoring leagues through five weeks. The Dolphins did a good job against Ryan Fitzpatrick two weeks ago, though, to be fair, Eric Decker wasn’t quite 100% in that game. Mariota is a high-end QB2 this week, but he needs some more consistency from his receivers.

Matchup to watch: Dolphins offensive line vs. Titans pass rush

According to PFF, the Titans feature the league’s seventh-best pass rush through five weeks. While the Dolphins first need to establish the run with Miller, they can only truly take advantage if the line keeps Tennessee’s front four out of Tannehill’s face.

Injury report

Branden Albert (hamstring): Questionable

Brent Grimes (knee): Questionable

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

 

     vs. QB

     vs. RB

     vs. WR

     vs. TE

     Panthers

         5th

       22nd

      11th

       2nd

    Seahawks

       11th

       1st

     3rd

      28th

Vegas lines

Seahawks -7

Over/under 40.5

Panthers o/u 17

Seahawks o/u 24

When these two teams get together, you can typically expect a defensive showdown. Vegas is clearly betting on that, setting the total just over 40 points. This might not be the best game in which to invest from a fantasy perspective. Both Cam Newton and Russell Wilson are right on the QB1/2 borderline.

Player who could surprise: Jimmy Graham

It seems people are down on Graham, both for this week and the remainder of the season. The Panthers may have versatile linebackers like Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly, but Graham almost always got the better of them when he was with the Saints. In 10 career games against the Panthers, most of those with Davis and Kuechly on the other side, Graham has 56 catches for 700 yards and eight touchdowns, good for 11.8 points per game in standard-scoring leagues. In the last two seasons alone, he had 241 yards and four touchdowns in four games against Carolina.

Player who could disappoint: Both quarterbacks

Newton and Wilson are typically reliable fantasy starters, but they’re both facing defenses who can neutralize what they do best. Both of these quarterbacks are at their best when they’re adding value on the ground, and that might be harder for them this week. I still have both just barely outside the QB1 class, so I could see starting them depending on your roster makeup, but don’t expect any top-five quarterback weeks to come from this game.

Matchup to watch: Cam Newton vs. Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright

Seattle’s fast, rangy linebackers will be the key to keeping Newton contained and limiting his rushing production. Few teams have two linebackers who are capable of carrying out an assignment, but that’s one of the traits that makes the Seahawks what they are defensively.

Injury report

Marshawn Lynch (hamstring): Questionable

San Diego Chargers at Green Bay Packers

 

      vs. QB

       vs. RB

       vs. WR

        vs. TE

     Chargers

       7th

       31st

        2nd

       23rd

     Packers

      4th

      12th

        4th

      14th

Vegas lines

Packers -10.5

Over/under 50.5

Chargers o/u 21

Packers o/u 31

Every game in Lambeau is the Aaron Rodgers Show, but don’t be surprised when Eddie Lacy steals the spotlight this week. The game flow should be right, the opponent is a doormat against the run, and Lacy has finally put those nagging injuries behind him. His first true RB1 game of 2015 comes on Sunday.

Player who could surprise: Danny Woodhead

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The Packers have done a good job limiting production by running backs, but a game flow that works for Lacy will also likely work for Woodhead. If the Packers can build a big lead, as most everyone thinks they will, Woodhead is going to be on the field even more than he usually is. That doesn’t just bode well for his involvement in the passing game, but more snaps should lead to more carries, as well.

Player who could disappoint: Philip Rivers

It stands to reason that if the Chargers need to throw a lot to keep up with Rodgers and company that Rivers would, in turn, have a good fantasy game. Unfortunately for him, the Packers pass defense ranks first in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and fifth in pass rush and fourth in pass coverage according to PFF. This is a fearsome unit that has shut down quarterbacks this season. All the volume in the world might not save Rivers.

Matchup to watch: Randall Cobb vs. Patrick Robinson

Cobb is likely the most dangerous receiver out of the slot in the league, but Robinson has done a great job as San Diego’s slot corner this season. In 87 snaps, he has been targeted 10 times and held quarterbacks to a 33.8 rating. He has yet to see a duo quite like Rodgers and Cobb, however.

Injury report

D.J. Fluker (ankle): Questionable

Randall Cobb (shoulder): Probable

James Jones (hamstring): Probable

Davante Adams (ankle): Questionable

Baltimore Ravens at San Francisco 49ers

 

    vs. QB

       vs. RB

      vs. WR

      vs. TE

      Ravens

       31st

        9th

       31st

       5th

      49ers

      28th

       27th

       27th

       25th

Vegas lines

Ravens -2.5

Over/under 43.5

Ravens o/u 23

49ers o/u 20.5

I fully realize that the 49ers are hurtling toward a high draft pick, but what exactly have the Ravens done this season to be favored by 2.5 points against anyone on the road? And yes, I said much the same thing a few weeks ago when they were favored at Pittsburgh. The Steelers gave that game away. The Ravens won’t be so luck this week.

Player who could surprise: Colin Kaepernick

After turning in two of the worst quarterback performances of the 2015 season, Kaepernick got back on track against the Giants last week, throwing for 262 yards, 7.49 yards per attempt and two touchdowns. The Ravens, meanwhile, haven’t stopped anyone from throwing on them since losing Terrell Suggs. Derek Carr, Andy Dalton and Josh McCown averaged 31.37 points (!!!) in standard-scoring leagues against them. Carr’s 351-yard, three-touchdown performance was the worst of the three. Kaepernick should be able to light up this group.

Player who could disappoint: Carlos Hyde

If Kaepernick does indeed do to the Ravens what Carr, Dalton and McCown have done before him, it could come at Hyde’s expense. It certainly doesn’t help that Hyde popped up on the injury report late in the week with foot troubles. You’re still starting him with confidence, but he could take a backseat to the passing game on Sunday.

Matchup to watch: Ravens’ run blocking vs. 49ers front seven

The Ravens have actually done a good job opening up holes this season, ranking second in the league in run-blocking efficiency, according to PFF. The 49ers are going to want to speed this game up, but the Ravens may be able to control it on the ground, especially after getting Justin Forsett (ankle) back in practice on Friday.

Injury report

Steve Smith (back): Questionable

Marshal Yanda (ankle): Questionable

Crockett Gillmore (calf): Questionable

Carlos Hyde (foot): Questionable

Vernon Davis (knee): Questionable

New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts

 

     vs. QB

      vs. RB

      vs. WR

      vs. TE

       Patriots

      19th

      8th

     23rd

        18th

      Colts

     22nd

     15th

    29th

        7th

Vegas Lines

Patriots -9.5

Over/under 55.5

Patriots o/u 33

Colts o/u 23

Can someone remind me if these teams shared any headlines during the offseason? Any reason to believe that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick might want to exact some revenge on the Colts? Does Andrew Luck need any extra motivation to play in this game? Get ready for fireworks on Sunday night, and don’t be surprised if the Patriots go for 50-plus.

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​ Player who could surprise: Coby Fleener

It’s not going to be a shock to see any of the principles in this game star for their fantasy owners. Fleener, however, is sort of flying under the radar after Dwayne Allen returned last week. While Allen played more total snaps, it was Fleener who ran more routes. We all know we could be looking at 70 total points scored in this game. Why not take a shot on a guy like Fleener, who could have a lucrative role in the Colts’ offense?

Player who could disappoint: LeGarrette Blount

Blount is getting a lot of love based on the belief that the Patriots will run away with another win, as well as the fact that they have used Blount, as recently as last year, to run all over the Colts. I’d be surprised if we saw either of those play out on Sunday night. The Colts can score, too, and this isn’t going to be a runaway. Almost all of Blount’s meaningful stats the last two weeks came once the Patriots were up by at least two scores. The Colts can keep up enough to force the Patriots to lean more heavily on Dion Lewis.

Matchup to watch: Vontae Davis vs. ???

Davis typically lines up across from an outside receiver, but the Patriots most dangerous pass catchers, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, play mostly inside the numbers. Davis is going to have to check one of these guys, if not switch between both of them. You’ll want to pay attention any time he matches up with Gronkowski or Edelman.

Injury report

Dion Lewis (abdomen): Questionable

Andrew Luck (shoulder): Questionable

T.Y. Hilton (groin): Probable

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

 

      vs. QB

      vs. RB

     vs. WR

      vs. TE

      Giants

     20th

      19th

      7th

      29th

     Eagles

    25th

      3rd

     30th

     11th

Vegas Lines

Eagles -3.5

Over/under 50

Giants o/u 23.5

Eagles o/u 27

This game will be a whole lot less interesting if Odell Beckham (hamstring) cannot go. If that’s the case, you can bet the total, as well as the Giants total, would come down. Beckham is one of the rare receivers who can swing a line. His absence would really hurt Eli Manning, but for now both he and Sam Bradford are top-10 options at the quarterback position for Week 6.

Player who could surprise: Rueben Randle

While Beckham may be on the shelf on Monday night, Randle, who has a hamstring injury of his own, was a full participant in Friday’s practice. That certainly bodes well for him. If Beckham isn’t out there, he’ll be Manning’s top option against a defense that has allowed the third-most points to receivers and eighth most to quarterbacks. Even if Beckham does play, Randle has WR2 upside.

Player who could disappoint: Rashad Jennings

Whether or not Beckham plays, this sets up as a real challenge for Jennings, especially from a fantasy perspective. The Eagles have been legitimately tough against the run, but their fantasy numbers are artificially inflated because they’ve been so bad against the pass. Teams are basically going away from the run because they can beat the Eagles through the air. With or without Beckham, that’s likely the route the Giants will take on Monday.

Matchup to watch: Jordan Matthews vs. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

This is one of the best receiver-corner matchups of Week 6, but it isn’t getting much attention. PFF rates Rodgers-Cromartie as the 15th best cover corner, and 10th best corner overall. Matthews has been up and down this season, and now he gets one of his toughest draws to date. This should be a matchup in focus on Monday night.

Injury report

The official injury report for Monday night isn’t available until Sunday, but Beckham did not participate in Friday’s practice. Neither did Nelson Agholor, who is dealing with an ankle injury. Ryan Mathews was surprisingly a limited participant because of a groin injury.

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