Thu Sep 16 5:22pm ET
By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) reacts after a penalty called against the offense during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Houston. The Texans won 37-21. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Denver Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, right, confers with head trainer Vince Garcia as Chubb takes part in drills during an NFL football practice Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at the team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller responds to a question during a news conference Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at the NFL football team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs away from Denver Broncos' Von Miller (58) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Broncos won 27-13. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) One of the NFL's most dominant pass-rushing duos could be on the field together for the first time in nearly two years Sunday.
It would be somewhat fitting if it happened against Jacksonville, which has lost a franchise-record 16 consecutive games.
Denver linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb haven't shared a meaningful huddle since Sept. 29, 2019, during a game against the Jaguars. Chubb missed the rest of that season because of a left knee injury, and Miller sat out all of 2020 after dislodging a tendon in his left ankle in practice.
Chubb (ankle) was inactive for last week's opener at the New York Giants, a 27-13 victory, and was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday. There's a decent chance he's able to go Sunday and would provide a reunion of sorts for the Broncos (1-0) in Jacksonville (0-1).
''We're planning on both those guys playing,'' Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. ''So we definitely have to help take care of those guys, whatever it is. There's a lot of different ways to do it. I can just kind of leave it at that. Definitely you have to be aware of those guys because they can wreck the game.''
They nearly did two years ago in Denver.
Chubb had a sack and three quarterback hurries; Miller finished with two sacks, beating then-rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor repeatedly. Miller and Taylor are certain to meet again Sunday since Miller exclusively lines up on Taylor's side.
''Great player, high motor, high energy, great leader of his team,'' Taylor said. ''He's going to come out and play hard like he always does. He was awesome. He gave me a lot of great looks and made me a lot better. I'm looking forward to it.''
The 32-year-old Miller returned last week after missing 16 games the previous year and had two sacks at the Giants, looking every bit like a guy who managed double-digit sacks in seven of his first eight seasons in the league.
''It was probably important for him just to get something like that going,'' Broncos coach Vic Fangio said.
Added linebacker Josey Jewell: ''It's just fun to see him go out there and kick people's butt.''
Millen now has 108 sacks, putting him 24th on the league's career list.
''Very explosive,'' Taylor said. ''He looked really good. Doesn't even look like he missed a year or missed any time.''
The Jaguars were downright dysfunctional in their season opener, a 37-21 loss at Houston. They had 10 penalties, six dropped passes, three turnovers and were down 20 points at halftime. There was confusion on the sideline and in the huddle - followed by a long flight home.
Coach Urban Meyer vowed to get the issues cleaned up and hinted that the operation would be streamlined against Denver. Jacksonville ran out of time on several occasions.
Another tweak: Meyer wants rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence to improvise more.
''Trevor has got to become Trevor a little bit,'' Meyer said. ''That's part of the game, not designed necessarily like they ran it at Clemson and we ran it at Ohio State or Florida. I'm not saying we won't, but there's also the element of he's a big, fast athlete that gets you some yards every once in a while if you have to.''
The Broncos have the depth to withstand the loss of top receiver Jerry Jeudy (ankle) with the likes of Courtland Sutton, K.J. Hamler and Tim Patrick. Hamler is the fastest of the trio and could see a significant uptick in his workload for the six weeks Jeudy is expected to be out.
Hamler had a crucial third-down catch in the opener among his three grabs for 41 yards, but he also dropped a long touchdown pass after sprinting past his defender and getting wide open in the end zone.
''I came out here on Monday and I told one of the assistants just throw me 100 over-the-shoulder deep balls,'' Hamler said. ''And the wind was blowing the same way it was when we were in New York, so it was kind of perfect to get that repetition so I don't drop it again because that's not my forte.''
The Jaguars expect to be more balanced in Week 2. They threw 51 passes in the opener and ran 16 times, not a recipe for sustained success in the league.
Second-year pro James Robinson carried a career-low five times, including just once in the second half. The lopsided score dictated much of the pass-heavy approach. But Meyer and Bevell believe that's not the way to bring along a rookie quarterback - or keep a defense that features Miller and Chubb off-balance.
''We have to be able to run the football and that will help take care of some things,'' Bevell said.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow completed 23-of-38 pass attempts for 416 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception in Sunday's 41-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. He connected with tight end C.J. Uzomah for two touchdowns and fired an 82-yard score to wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. In his sophomore campaign, the 24-year-old has been excellent, throwing for 1.956 yards and a 17:8 TD: INT ratio over seven games in 2021. Burrow is a borderline QB1 against the New York Jets in Week 8.
The Philadelphia Eagles defense struggled again in a Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. In a 33-22 loss, the Eagles defensive unit allowed Derek Carr to throw for 323 yards and let multiple Raiders runners combine for over 100 yards on the ground. They did not record a sack or force a fumble, but they did end up with one interception. All of that made for a fantasy score of -2.0 in standard scoring, the fourth time this season where they've scored one point or less. This is not a defense worth starting in fantasy, regardless of their opponent. They can be left alone on the waiver wire.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins made two catches in a Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Watkins saw four targets, catching half of them for 37 yards. Watkins is playing an important role on the Eagles offense, but this is not a passing game that can support multiple fantasy-relevant wide receivers. With tight end Dallas Goedert and rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith ahead of Watkins on the passing tree, Watkins is not much more than a hold-and-hope asset in most fantasy formats.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (ankle) is undergoing X-rays on his injured ankle, but head coach Nick Sirianni doesn't think Sanders suffered a broken ankle in the Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. Sanders was carted off the field and was quickly ruled out with his ankle injury. While he may have avoided a broken ankle, it doesn't mean that he won't be forced to miss time moving forward. The 24-year-old has been a huge disappointment so far this year and had six carries for 30 yards before his injury, adding one catch for minus-three yards. Quarterback Jalen Hurts led the team with 13 carries for 61 yards, but Boston Scott had seven carries (two more than rookie Kenneth Gainwell) for 24 yards and a rushing score after Sanders left the contest. Gainwell was second on the team with eight targets, catching four of them for 41 yards and a touchdown. If Sanders misses time, Scott and Gainwell figure to share the backfield, with Scott being the early down back and Gainwell playing in passing situations.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor finally did something useful in a Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Reagor was targeted twice, catching both for 25 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown came on a 17-yard catch in the fourth quarter to bring the Eagles within two scores. Last year's first round pick has two touchdowns on the year and hasn't totaled more than 25 yards since Week 3. He's been jumped on the receiver hierarchy by Quez Watkins and does not need to be rostered in most formats.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott attempted and made two extra points in a Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Elliott did not get a chance to attempt a field goal, leaving him with just two fantasy points in most scoring formats. Elliott is a decent enough NFL kicker, but he's kicking at a very low volume in this offense and doesn't have the big leg upside to make him worth starting in any formats. He can be left alone on the waiver wire.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell scored a touchdown in a Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. With starter Miles Sanders (ankle) forced to leave the game early, Gainwell and Boston Scott took over in the Eagles backfield. Both of them worked behind quarterback Jalen Hurts, however, who once again led the Eagles in rushing yards and attempts. Gainwell ran the ball five times for 20 yards and added four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. He saw eight targets and scored on a 13 yard catch in the first quarter. If Sanders is forced to miss time, Gainwell should get the first crack at leading the Eagles running back room with Scott working behind him. Gainwell is likely to be one of the top waiver wire adds heading into Week 8.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert led the Eagles in receiving yards in a Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. After the Eagles traded Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals, Goedert worked in an alpha-TE1 role in this one. He was the only Eagles tight end to see a target. He was thrown to five times, catching three for 70 yards. It was a decent game for Goedert, but more importantly it was a sign of things to come. Without Ertz around, Goedert should be an easy TE1 every week.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith caught five passes in a Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Smith led the Eagles in targets, seeing nine balls thrown his way. He came down with five, gaining 61 yards. Smith continues to see WR1 usage but just hasn't done much with his plentiful targets of late. He gained 122 yards in Week 4 but has gained just 169 total since then. He may be a decent buy-low target in redraft leagues right now, there should be big weeks ahead for the rookie.
The Las Vegas Raiders ruled running back Josh Jacobs (chest) out of the Week 7 game against the Philadelphia Eagles after he was injured during the game, but early indications are that he avoided a major injury, according to a source. The Raiders are on bye next week as well, so Jacobs will have extra time to recover and may not have to miss a game. The 23-year-old had six carries for 29 yards and managed to find the end zone before leaving the game, so at least it wasn't all bad for his fantasy managers on Sunday. He also caught all three of his targets for 39 yards. Jacobs has scored in three straight games after a rough start to the season, and it sounds like he won't have to miss much time, if any. With Peyton Barber a healthy scratch, Kenyan Drake led the team with 14 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown with Jacobs leaving the game against Philly.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had another solid fantasy performance in a Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Hurts attempted 34 passes, completing 18 of them for 236 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, he led the team in rushes and yards, running 13 times for 61 yards. It was another up-and-down performance on the field for Hurts, but he's the only quarterback in fantasy to score 20 points or more every week of the season (in standard scoring formats). Hurts has shown that he's probably not the long-term answer on the NFL field for the Eagles, but he's a valuable QB1 in all formats as long as he keeps running the ball.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott shows up on offense in Week 7 and scored a touchdown, his first of the season. Starting running back Miles Sanders (ankle) was forced to leave with an injury, leaving backfield duties to rookie Kenneth Gainwell and Scott. Scott had been playing exclusively on special teams this season, but ran the ball seven times in this game, gaining 24 yards and scoring a touchdown. His score came on a one-yard plunge at the end of the third quarter. If Sanders is forced to miss time, Scott will likely find his way into a role on offense, but he's unlikely to develop much if any fantasy value.
New York Jets running back Michael Carter has seemingly run away with the lead back job over the last few weeks. The fourth round rookie continued his success against the New England Patriots in Week 7. Carter rushed 11 times for 37 times, but hauled in a team-high eight receptions and 67 yards through the air. The rookie back hasn't surpassed 40 rushing yards in a game since Week 2. Despite that, Carter has continued to have fantasy value in PPR formats. Although, it's uncertain if his fantasy value will continue with rookie quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) likely sidelined next week. Fantasy managers in deep leagues might need to look for another option if Carter's touches decrease.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (finger, shoulder) is in danger of missing more time moving ahead. The veteran has reportedly been playing through multiple fractures in his finger, and even worse, a torn rotator cuff. However, he didn't appear to be injured by any means in Week 7, at least on the statistical end, as he would record two sacks during the win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Nonetheless, while it's apparent that the 32-year-old isn't as effective as he once was, any further absences would certainly be unfortunate for any fantasy manager participating in formats that utilize individual defensive positions.
New York Jets quarterback Mike White came into the game unexpectedly during the Week 7 matchup with the New England Patriots. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) was forced out of the game earlier than expected on Sunday. That forced White into action and he struggled as expected against a tough Patriots secondary. White completed 20-of-32 passing attempts for 202 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the loss. It's uncertain whether or not Wilson will be able to make the next start versus Cincinnati next week. White might be asked to start and wouldn't be a recommended streaming option in any format.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore had just two catches for 17 yards during the win over Houston on Sunday. Moore had only three targets on the afternoon, one less than he got in Week 6 and three fewer than he had in Week 5. Nonetheless, the rookie should have a few more games of effective play moving forward. However, it's clear he's the No. 4 option behind DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and A.J. Green, and with Zach Ertz now in town, his place on Kyler Murray's priority list could be even lower. Yet, he's worth a stash, especially in dynasty setups, and could see his value rise if an injury were to occur at some point. Still, his outlook isn't bright against the Packers on Thursday, although the upside is always there for DFS contests.
Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) is set to be designated to return and practice on Wednesday. After the designation, the team will have 21 days to activate him and place him back on the roster or be forced to keep him on the injured reserve list for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign. Taylor hasn't played since suffering a Grade 2 hamstring strain during the second game of the year against the Cleveland Browns. He played relatively well before succumbing to the ailment and had thrown three touchdowns while maintaining an acceptable 70.5 completion percentage. Although it's unlikely Taylor suits up for the upcoming matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, there is a chance he could be back for Week 9 against the Dolphins. His presence would mean Davis Mills would head back to the bench, while Brandin Cooks could benefit from the play of a more stable signal-caller.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton caught 5-of-9 targets for 63 yards in Sunday's 25-3 win over the Carolina Panthers. He returned to action on Sunday after missing the last three weeks due to a hamstring injury. Kadarius Toney (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee), and Sterling Shepard were ruled out ahead of Sunday's game. The 24-year-old was QB Daniel Jones' top option and led the Giants in targets (9) and receiving yards (63). Slayton's role in the Giants offense will depend on the availability of Toney, Golladay, and Shepard for Monday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green had three grabs for 66 yards in the win over the Houston Texans on Sunday. The veteran was entering this one coming off a 79-yard, one-touchdown effort against the Cleveland Browns in Week 6. Yet, while this wasn't the worst outing from a statistical standpoint, fantasy managers were hoping to capitalize on the favorable matchup in Week 7. Nonetheless, Kyler Murray has shown love to all of his wideouts this season, so it's logical to believe Green will find the end zone some more throughout the year. He's been healthy, which is even more promising news, and he should continue to be considered for any fantasy lineup ahead of Thursday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk finished Week 7 against the Texans by hauling in four of his five targets for 50 yards. He also scored a touchdown, catching a five-yard toss from Kyler Murray late in the second quarter. Kirk now has a trip to the end zone in each of the last two games and has established himself as the clear-cut No. 2 wideout behind DeAndre Hopkins. While he isn't a lock to produce from week to week, he's done enough to warrant consideration for any fantasy set up for the Thursday night showdown against the Green Bay Packers.