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The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12: Two Browns out for Sunday

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The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12: Two Browns out for Sunday

UPDATE: 10:51 a.m. Saturday
They share a surname, and a talent for catching passes. And this week, both Tennessee’s A.J. Brown and Tampa Bay’s Antonio Brown will be on the sideline.

Those absences are not equal. The Titans’ Brown will be greatly missed as he is a vital part of that team’s offense, especially since the departure of Derrick Henry. Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill should be downgraded this week because of Brown’s absence, and many other reasons.

Tampa Bay’s Brown is a shadow of his former self and just one of many receiving options for Tom Brady. He was not a must-start like A.J.

Titans running back Jeremy McNichols has also been ruled out of tomorrow’s game at New England. For the struggling New York Giants, WR Sterling Shepard has been ruled out, and sidekick Kadarius Toney is considered very doubtful to play against Philadelphia.

One big name should be back this week. Cleveland RB Kareem Hunt should return to his No. 2 role behind Nick Chubb.

Notables listed as questionable this morning (besides Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh awaiting his annual Ohio State beatdown) include Giants RB Saquon Barkley, Green Bay RB Aaron Jones, 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell, Seattle RB Alex Collins, Jets wideout Corey Davis, Giants tight end Kyle Rudolph and Patriots TE Jonnu Smith.

ORIGINAL POST: 11:12 a.m. Wednesday
We all have a lot to give thanks for this year. This week’s availability of top fantasy football stars is not one of them.

Two of the top contenders for Super Bowl LVI, the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals, are on bye this week. So, stars ranging from Patrick Mahomes to Kyler Murray to Travis Kelce and DeAndre Hopkins will be spending time with their families while you spend time ignoring your families while scrounging for replacements on the waiver wire.

The three-game slate of Thanksgiving games is also a problem because it makes the return of injured standouts more untenable. Teams are unlikely to risk their fragile stars coming back on a short week, whether we’re talking about Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott or New Orleans star Alvin Karama.

Is there anything you can find on the fantasy buffet to replace your missing gridiron calories? Here’s a half dozen prospects likely still available in your league, and could be hot dishes in Week 12:

Devonta Freeman (Ravens RB) — The veteran has emerged from the mish-mash that is the Baltimore backfield to become the undisputed No. 1. His yardage totals aren’t much, but he has a TD in four of his past five games. He likely will make it 5 out of 6 against Cleveland.

Baltimore Ravens Devonta Freeman celebrates his touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Chicago. The Ravens won 16-13. (AP Photo/David Banks)

Rex Burkhead (Texans RB) — Houston suddenly decided to give the former Patriot a first-string workload last week. He rushed 18 times in the Texans’ upset of Tennessee and could be in line for his first touchdown of the season Sunday against the lowly Jets.

1638037688 682 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
Houston Texans running back Rex Burkhead (28) and Los Angeles Rams linebacker Troy Reeder (51) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex )

Elijah Moore (Jets WR) — Speaking of the Jets, this rookie has emerged as New York’s most reliable fantasy option. He has four TDs in his past three games and is coming off a 141-yard effort vs. Miami. He could do just as well against Houston.

1638037688 875 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
New York Jets’ Elijah Moore runs with the ball for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

Marvin Jones (Jaguars WR) — He’s one of the season’s biggest disappointments with only 42 catches and three touchdowns. But Jacksonville has played better lately, and the Atlanta defense has not. A good candidate for a late-season revival.

1638037688 902 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marvin Jones (11) runs a route during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers QB) — The Vikings’ defense was mostly shredded in the second half by Aaron Rodgers last Sunday, and the San Fran attack has been perking up. Garappolo has accounted for two TDs in four straight games and will likely make it a fifth Sunday.

1638037688 214 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Trevor Siemian (Saints QB) — Hard to believe but the former Northwestern platoon QB has been one of the top fantasy QBs the past three weeks after replacing Jameis Winston. A lot of his stats have been padded in garbage time, and there will be more of that against the Bills.

1638037689 790 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian (19) grabs his leg after being hurt during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

SITTING STARS
The Indianapolis defense has been pretty stout lately, which means Tom Brady and Chris Godwin might be the only Buccaneers you should start this week. … OK, and Rob Gronkowski. … Carolina QB Cam Newton will see his two-game streak of both throwing and running for a touchdown end against Miami. … Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, but we think you should avoid starting him against the Ravens. … The Chargers’ Austin Ekeler will find tougher going in Denver, so don’t expect another four TDs from him. … And we’re not expecting much from either of the running attacks in Lambeau Field on Sunday, so you might pause slightly before starting Green Bay’s A.J. Dillon or the Rams’ Darrell Henderson.

1638037689 338 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates his first touchdown at Bank of America Stadium after returning to the team during an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)

MATCHUP GAME
If Detroit is finally going to win a game, and it might, then RB D’Andre Swift will have to have a big Turkey Day. … Seattle QB Russell Wilson has been horrible since returning from injury but will regain some of his form vs. Washington. … Dallas QB Dak Prescott was spitting mad off after going touchdown-free in Kansas City, so he will bounce back against the sinking Raiders … Washington RB Antonio Gibson and wideout Terry McLaurin will have big games against Seattle … Same goes for Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews vs. Cleveland. … And speaking of tight ends, look for the 49ers’ George Kittle to look like his old self against what’s left of the Vikings’ defense.

1638037689 693 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) runs for a 57-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

INJURY WATCH
Chicago won’t have Justin Fields at quarterback on Thanksgiving in Detroit, so Andy Dalton will be back over center. As for the winless Lions, QB Jared Goff is said to be “trending” towards starting. … Also Thursday, Dallas is hoping to get WR CeeDee Lamb out of the concussion protocols in time to face the Raiders. … Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers will be inhibited by a toe injury and a depleted offensive line against the Rams, though you likely should start him anyway. … Players ruled out include Dallas WR Amari Cooper, Jacksonville wideout Jamal Agnew, Seattle RB Chris Carson and Philly RB Jordan Howard. … The ranks of the questionable include San Fran RB Elijah Mitchell, Atlanta RB Cordarrelle Patterson, Titans WR A.J. Brown, Baltimore WR Marquise Brown, Cleveland WR Jarvis Landry, Chicago WR Darnell Mooney and Washington tight end Logan Thomas.

1638037689 789 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) looks to pass the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

THE DEEPEST SLEEPERS
The New York Jets need to replace rookie running back Michael Carter for at least a couple of weeks because of a high ankle sprain. Who will it be? Either Tevin Coleman or Ty Johnson. One or both could become a fantasy factor, particularly with the lowly Houston Texans on the slate this week. Coleman, with only 118 yards on the season, is likely to get the most rushing attempts, while Johnson, with three touchdowns on the season, will be the primary pass catcher. With Zack Wilson returning to quarterback the J-E-T-S, we like Johnson best in this showdown of 2-8 juggernauts.

1638037689 114 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
New York Jets running back Ty Johnson (25) runs before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

THE THURSDAY PICKS
Bears at Lions (+3½):
Pick: Lions by 3
Raiders at Cowboys (-7½):
Pick: Cowboys by 8
Bills at Saints (+4½):
Pick: Bills by 7

1638037689 274 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 12 Two Browns out
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates after a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

BREAKING NEWS
We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Mikaela Shiffrin leads 17-member U.S. ski team nominated for Olympics

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Mikaela Shiffrin leads 17-member U.S. ski team nominated for Olympics

PARK CITY, Utah — Two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin leads the 17-member list for the U.S. Alpine skiing team nominated Friday for the Beijing Winter Games.

There are nine first-time Olympians on the roster, which still awaits confirmation from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Shiffrin heads to her third Olympics. She already owns three medals, including a gold in slalom in 2014 and in giant slalom in 2018.

Other Americans who previously made Olympic teams and are back are Breezy Johnson, Tricia Mangan, Jackie Wiles, Bryce Bennett, Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Tommy Ford and Travis Ganong.

The first-timers are Keely Cashman, Katie Hensien, AJ Hurt, Mo Lebel, Paula Moltzan, Nina O’Brien, Bella Wright, River Radamus and Luke Winters.

The Alpine schedule in Beijing starts Feb. 6 with the men’s downhill, followed by the women’s giant slalom on Feb. 7.

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Ravens part ways with defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale

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Ravens part ways with defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale

The Ravens announced Friday night that they’ve parted ways with defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.

Martindale, a beloved coach among players and one of the NFL’s most aggressive play-callers, had served under coach John Harbaugh in Baltimore since 2012. After coaching the team’s linebackers for six years, he took over as defensive coordinator for Dean Pees in 2018.

From 2018 to 2020, the Ravens had one of the NFL’s most successful defenses, ranking in the top 10 in efficiency each year under Martindale, according to Football Outsiders. This year, however, injuries and inconsistency in their well-regarded secondary led to a precipitous fall; they finished 28th overall in DVOA, their lowest ranking since the franchise’s first year in Baltimore.

“After several productive conversations, Don and I have agreed to move forward in separate directions,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “We have had a great run on defense, and I am very proud of what has been accomplished and the work he has done.

“Don has been a major contributor to the success of our defense since 2012, and especially since he became defensive coordinator four years ago. He has done a great job. Now it is time to pursue other opportunities. Sometimes the moment comes, and it’s the right time.”

This story will be updated.

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The Chicago Bears interviewed Ryan Poles for their GM vacancy. Here’s what to know about the Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel.

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The Chicago Bears interviewed Ryan Poles for their GM vacancy. Here’s what to know about the Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel.

The Chicago Bears have reached out to at least 15 general manager candidates and 11 coaching candidates for interviews. As they go through the process, we’re looking at each of the prospective hires.

Ryan Poles interviewed for the GM opening Friday, the team announced.

Ryan Poles

Title: Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel

Age: 36

Experience

Poles has been with the Chiefs for nearly 13 years, working his way up from player personnel assistant to college scouting administrator and coordinator, director of college scouting, assistant director of player personnel and now executive director of player personnel this season. He was part of the Chiefs team that won Super Bowl LIV.

Poles was an offensive lineman at Boston College, where he was part of the line that protected quarterback Matt Ryan. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Bears before working as a recruiting assistant for BC in 2008-09.

You should know

Poles also is interviewing with the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings this year and made it to the second round of Giants interviews. He was a finalist for the Carolina Panthers GM job last year.

Chicago connection

Poles’ time with the Chiefs has spanned multiple GMs and coaches. He was on the Chiefs staff when former Bears coach Matt Nagy was the quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator under coach Andy Reid.

What has been said

Poles spoke to his hometown paper two years ago about finding leadership among the players he scouts: “We see these guys on TV as athletes every week, but they’re around each other all the time, too. So the locker room has to be good. If you don’t have a strong locker room, if you don’t keep everyone on the same page and if you don’t have leaders to keep the focus forward, you’ll lose it.”

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