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Patriots' resolve unshaken after falling to 0-4 at home

Sun Oct 17 10:56pm ET
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
AP Sports Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) For 60 minutes, the New England Patriots had an answer for nearly everything the Dallas Cowboys threw at them.

But as they trudged off the field following a 35-29 overtime loss on Sunday, they had to confront the reality that they're not quite good enough to beat one of the league's elite teams.

New England fell to 2-4 for the second straight season since Tom Brady's departure.

''When you look at the big picture, you never want to say you're close, and it's hard to do that, but the games that we've lost we've been two or three plays away,'' said rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who finished 15 of 21 for 229 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. ''I guess it's just how the NFL works, and I'm learning that the hard way.''

The Patriots fell to 0-4 at home for the first time in coach Bill Belichick's 22 seasons.

''We just came up a little bit short,'' Belichick said. ''We went toe to toe with them for 60 minutes. ... They just made a few more plays than we did.''

The Patriots had positive moments.

The defense forced a fumble on the goal line, held the NFL's second-ranked offense to 10 points in the first half, and limited a rushing attack that came in averaging 173 yards per game to 122.

Damien Harris rushed for 101 yards and score, his second 100-yard game of the season. Jones also bounced back from a fourth-quarter pick-six to throw a 75-yard, go-ahead touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne.

Yet many of the same issues that have contributed to New England going 1-3 in one-score games this season persisted.

The offense was 3 of 9 on third down. Jones had two turnovers that led to 10 Dallas points, first coughing up the ball on a strip-sack and then throwing the interception to Trevon Diggs as his team was trying to protect a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter.

New England's defense was gassed after spending 39 minutes on the field, and that allowed Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to hold the ball longer and get outside the pocket to extend plays.

According to NFL NextGen Stats, Prescott averaged his longest time to throw (3.05 seconds) in a game over the last two seasons, completing 24 of 36 passes for a career-high 365 yards when he held onto the ball for 2.5 seconds or longer. He also went 9-for-11 for 171 yards when he ventured outside the pocket.

Safety Devin McCourty had little explanation for his team's failures at home.

''It just is what it is. We are the 2021 Patriots who haven't won at home,'' McCourty said. ''We just had to make a few plays at the end. It's not like we're coming in here at home and have no shot to win. All of these games, even the Saints game, it came down to a couple of plays that we're not finishing and we're falling short.''

The first step in finding a way to correct the issues is acknowledging deficiencies and attacking them, center David Andrews said.

''I think you can learn a lot from things. We've just got to keep moving forward,'' he said. ''There was some good in the game. There's obviously not enough good to win the game, so we've just got to move on and go back to work.''

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Player Notes
T.J. Hockenson Oct 17 11:40pm ET
T.J. Hockenson

Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson caught a team-high eight passes for 74 yards in the Lions 34-11 blowout loss to the Bengals in Week 6. On a day when the Lions offense struggled mightily, Hockenson can be viewed as one of the lone bright spots. He led the team with 11 targets and looked more fluid on the field than previous weeks. Hockenson has been nursing a knee injury the past two weeks and has been limited in practice as a result. As long as he can get through a week of practice, Hockenson will be a low-end TE1 option next week against the Rams.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Oct 17 11:40pm ET
Baker Mayfield

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 19 of 28 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in a 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6. Mayfield also lost two fumbles in the disappointing loss to Arizona. Both of Mayfield's touchdowns went to Donovan Peoples-Jones, with the second one a 57-yard Hail Mary at the end of the first half. The veteran quarterback also reinjured his ailing left shoulder while trying to recover one of his fumbles. He only wound up missing a few plays but he was spotted after the game with his left arm in a sling. Mayfield told reporters that he plans to play against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night this week, but time will tell whether that happens. Fantasy gamers in deep, two-quarterback leagues may want to put a waiver claim in on Case Keenum this week, just in case Mayfield can't play.

From RotoBaller

Amon-Ra St. Brown Oct 17 11:40pm ET
Amon-Ra St. Brown

Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown caught five passes for 26 yards in the team's blowout loss to the Bengals 34-11 in Week 6. The rookie came into the game with 13 receptions for 135 yards over his past two games but was held in check in this game. The Lions offense is moving backwards and the passing game is mediocre at best at the moment. St. Brown is not a fantasy option in standard formats and will carry little value into Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Oct 17 11:40pm ET
Jamaal Williams

Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams carried the ball four times for only 11 yards in the team's loss to the Bengals in Week 6. Williams was plagued by a hip injury during practice this week and was questionable to play coming into the game. The Lions offense got very little going throughout this game and teammate D'Andre Swift saw only 13 carries out of the backfield. Williams health will have to be monitored heading into next week and could be dropped in most fantasy formats at this time playing on a dismal Lions offense.

From RotoBaller

Kareem Hunt Oct 17 11:40pm ET
Kareem Hunt

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt carried the ball 14 times for 66 yards while adding 12 yards on three receptions in a 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6. Hunt had most of the backfield work to himself with Nick Chubb (calf) missing the game, but the Browns were also without both of their starting tackles, which caused issues for the offense. Hunt went down on a non-contact injury during the second half and had to be helped off of the field with what the team is calling a calf injury. The team will have him go for an MRI on Monday but he is looking extremely doubtful for Week 7's matchup, which happens to be the Thursday game against the Denver Broncos.

From RotoBaller

Tim Patrick Oct 17 11:40pm ET
Tim Patrick

Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick only caught three of his six targets in the Week 6 loss to the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, but he went for 42 yards and the team's first touchdown of the day. Patrick scored for the first time since Week 2, but he had just one more target and five more yards than Kendall Hinton, who has been serving as Denver's third wideout with Jerry Jeudy (ankle) still on Injured Reserve. Backup tight end Eric Saubert also had five targets in the blowout loss. The 27-year-old Patrick is one of the more underrated pass-catchers in the NFL, but it doesn't translate to a ton of fantasy production. He'll pretty much be off the fantasy radar as a WR4/flex in deeper leagues once Jeudy returns to the fold.

From RotoBaller

Jared Goff Oct 17 11:30pm ET
Jared Goff

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff completed 28 of 42 passes for 202 yards with one interception in the Lions 34-11 loss to the Bengals in Week 6. The Lions are now 0-6 and head coach Dan Campbell called out Goff, specifically, after the game. "I will say this," Campbell said. "I feel like he (Goff) has to step up more than he has and I think he needs to help us, just like everybody else. He's gonna need to put a little bit of weight on his shoulders here and it's time to step up, make some throws and do some things, but he needs help." Goff and the Lions offense is moving backwards, and the road gets even tougher next week against the Rams.

From RotoBaller

Courtland Sutton Oct 17 11:30pm ET
Courtland Sutton

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton caught eight of a team-high 14 targets for 94 yards and his second touchdown in as many weeks in the 34-24 Week 6 loss to the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. Sutton continues to be Denver's top target with Jerry Jeudy (ankle) on Injured Reserve, and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is not afraid to target him deep down the field. Most of the 26-year-old's production against Las Vegas came late in the game with the contest already well in hand for the Raiders, but it still counts nonetheless. Sutton has had double-digit targets the last two weeks and three times this season. The return of Jeudy in the near future will mean fewer targets, but Sutton could also become more efficient with his looks. He'll remain a WR2 with upside heading into Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns.

From RotoBaller

D'Andre Swift Oct 17 11:30pm ET
D'Andre Swift

Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift posted 67 total yards with one touchdown in the Lions 34-11 loss to the Bengals in Week 6. It was a dismal offensive effort for the Lions but Swift salvaged his fantasy week with a score. Swift led the team with 13 carries but mustered only 24 yards on the ground. He did add five receptions for 43 yards and now has four total touchdowns on the season. Swift is one of the few players currently on the Lions roster worth deploying in fantasy lineups and will have a stiff test next week against an explosive Rams team.

From RotoBaller

Melvin Gordon Oct 17 11:20pm ET
Melvin Gordon

Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III and rookie Javonte Williams continued to split backfield touches right down the middle in the Week 6 loss to the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders. Gordon had 10 carries (one fewer than Williams) for 50 yards and also caught all three of his targets for an additional 23 yards. The former Los Angeles Charger has been dealing with injuries over the last several weeks, but he hasn't missed a game and his workload hasn't really suffered in this near-even timeshare. Williams is the preferred back of choice in fantasy for the remainder of the season, but Gordon isn't going away anytime soon and will remain a touchdown-dependent RB2/3 as long as this backfield remains split evenly.

From RotoBaller

Christian Kirk Oct 17 11:20pm ET
Christian Kirk

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk accounted for one of Kyler Murray's four touchdown tosses during the win over Cleveland on Sunday. Kirk had five catches for 75 yards, and he pulled in a 21-yard throw from Murray in the first quarter for the inaugural score of the day. The 24-year-old is arguably the second-best wideout on the team, and although it would be nice if he found the end zone a little more, his ability to rack up some serious yardage from week to week shouldn't be dismissed. He has a fantastic chance to build on to what has already been an impressive 2021-22 season against the Texans in Week 7. Fantasy managers in all formats should keep him going.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Oct 17 11:20pm ET
Noah Fant

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant bounced back in a big way in the 34-24 Week 6 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, catching a team-high nine passes on 11 targets for a season-high 97 yards and his third touchdown of the season. Fant did most of his damage in garbage time late in the second half with the game already well in hand for the Raiders, but regardless, this was a great day for the 23-year-old and his fantasy managers. Fant has TE1 upside on a weekly basis, but his target share will likely take a hit when wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (ankle) returns from Injured Reserve in the near future. He has now had double-digit targets in two of the last three weeks.

From RotoBaller

Javonte Williams Oct 17 11:10pm ET
Javonte Williams

Denver Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams had 11 carries for 53 rushing yards (4.8 yards per carry) and also added three catches on three targets for 15 yards in the 34-24 Week 6 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Williams had one more touch than backfield mate Melvin Gordon as the two continue to split this backfield directly down the middle. The impressive 21-year-old also had a 30-yard carry that was Denver's biggest play on the ground on the day. Williams has more season-long upside than his counterpart in this backfield, but until the Broncos coaching staff puts more faith in the second-rounder, he'll be remain touchdown-dependent and on the RB2/3 borderline.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Green Oct 17 11:10pm ET
A.J. Green

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green finished with a team-high five catches for 79 yards during the win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. More impressively, the former Bengal picked up another score, his third of the year. Kyler Murray had four touchdown throws in Week 6 and connected with five different options at least three times. Murray will likely continue spreading the ball around moving forward, so Green should continue to benefit. Fantasy managers, mainly those in 12 or 14-team leagues, should consider him as a flex option, at the very minimum, ahead of the Week 7 showdown against the Houston Texans.

From RotoBaller

Robert Woods Oct 17 11:00pm ET
Robert Woods

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods looked like he was on pace for another strong game with an early score, but it wasn't meant to be in Week 6 against the New York Giants. Woods caught two of his five targets for 31 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. Woods was tied for second on the team with five targets, but that was fewer than half of teammate Cooper Kupp's team-leading 12 targets. Woods has been inconsistent to start the season, but he looked as though he was preparing for a breakout after a big Week 5. Woods has at least 50 yards or a touchdown in five out of six games this season. He remains one of the top two targets on the Rams roster, and he's a safe flex play, at worst, every week with upside.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Higbee Oct 17 11:00pm ET
Tyler Higbee

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee saw five targets in Week 6, but he wasn't able to do much with them against the New York Giants. Higbee caught all five of his targets on the day, and he was second on the team with 36 yards. That's just not a great fantasy day. Higbee is really showing as the season goes on that he needs a touchdown to be viable for fantasy managers as a TE1. He is fourth on the team in targets, and despite dominating the touches and snaps at tight end, he isn't turning that into fantasy value most weeks. You can continue to play Higbee and hope he finds the end zone, but he's far from a locked-in starter with the way he has been playing.

From RotoBaller

Matt Gay Oct 17 11:00pm ET
Matt Gay

Los Angeles Rams kicker Matt Gay had dealt with some misses over the last couple of weeks, but he turned things around with some perfection in Week 6 against the New York Giants. Gay went 6-for-6 on his kicking opportunities, with five of them coming on extra points. Gay remains one of the best kicker options for fantasy while working in tune with this Rams offense, and the only thing holding him back from being even better is the overall efficiency of the offense. If they were settling for more field goals, he'd be the top kicker almost every week. Regardless, as long as he's playing, you can have confidence slotting him into your lineups.

From RotoBaller

Chase Edmonds Oct 17 11:00pm ET
Chase Edmonds

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (shoulder) managed to suit up against the Browns on Sunday, as expected. He would go on to finish with 46 yards off only four carries. However, he did struggle as a pass-catcher in this one, racking up just three receptions for four yards. Perhaps Edmonds is still bothered by the nagging shoulder issue that has plagued him for weeks now. Still, his PPR upside shouldn't be ignored, although he may continue to carry a questionable designation heading into the Week 7 matchup against Houston. Nonetheless, despite the ailment, he should remain classified as a flex option moving forward, at least until his Week 6 performance becomes a trend.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Oct 17 11:00pm ET
Daniel Jones

The Los Angeles Rams defense had been searching for their first signature performance of the 2021 season, and they got it in Week 6 against the New York Giants. The Rams were swarming all over quarterback Daniel Jones as they came away with three interceptions and a fumble recovery. They also added four sacks while holding the Giants to just 11 points, with eight of those coming late with the game already well in hand. This was the Rams defense that we were seeing every week last year, and they're likely hoping that this is the game that builds their momentum moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Matthew Stafford Oct 17 10:50pm ET
Matthew Stafford

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford didn't have the highest yardage total of the week, but he had a pretty good game against the New York Giants in Week 6. Stafford completed 22 of 28 passes for 251 yards with four touchdowns and a pick. He also added two carries for 12 yards in the blowout win. Stafford and the Rams could do no wrong on the day en route to a 38-11 thumping that wasn't close at all. Stafford remains a QB1 on the year, and he's been everything the Rams were hoping for when they traded for him during the offseason. As long as he's healthy, he remains an every-week starter for fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller