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

Sun Oct 17 10:56pm ET
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
Jared Goff Oct 17 11:30pm ET
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Matt Gay Oct 17 11:00pm ET
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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.

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Chase Edmonds Oct 17 11:00pm ET
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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.

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Daniel Jones Oct 17 11:00pm ET
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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.

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Matthew Stafford Oct 17 10:50pm ET
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Darrell Henderson Oct 17 10:50pm ET
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Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr. loved his matchup in Week 6 against the New York Giants, and it was a great one for him. Henderson finished the week with 21 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He also caught two of his three targets for 29 yards and a score. Henderson dominated the backfield touches, with 23 of the 32 touches belonging to him on the day. Henderson still struggles with durability issues at times, but when he's healthy, he's the clear leading man in this backfield. As long as he's healthy, you can have confidence slotting him into your fantasy lineups every week.

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Teddy Bridgewater Oct 17 10:50pm ET
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Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater came into Week 6 against the Las Vegas Raiders with seven touchdowns and only one interception. He went 35-for-49 for a season-high 334 passing yards and three touchdowns in the 34-24 loss on Sunday, but he turned the ball over four times (three interceptions, one fumble lost). The Raiders defensive line was living in the backfield and flustering Bridgewater all day. He took five sacks and was hit 17 times. Most of the 28-year-old's production on the day came late in the second half with the Broncos trailing by multiple scores, but fantasy managers will take it. Bridgewater has four interceptions in the last two weeks, but he's probably not in any danger of being benched for Drew Lock anytime soon. Hopefully, Denver's offensive line protects Bridgewater better on Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns.

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Cooper Kupp Oct 17 10:50pm ET
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Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp had gone through a couple of quiet weeks, but he cut through the New York Giants with ease in Week 6. Kupp caught nine of his 12 targets for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Kupp had been ceding targets to teammates over the last couple of weeks, but he dominated them thoroughly against New York, with his 12 targets being more than double anyone else. This gave Kupp a 43 percent target share on the day, which is above where he was through the first three weeks of the season. Kupp is a top-five wideout on the year as a whole, and you can have confidence starting him every single week with the way that he's playing.

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DeAndre Hopkins Oct 17 10:50pm ET
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Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins only had three catches during the win over Cleveland on Sunday. However, two of them were for touchdowns, finding the end zone early in the second quarter before capping off his night with another late in the third. Hopkins had some rough weeks this season. However, as expected, the 29-year-old has bounced back just fine. With six touchdowns so far this season, the veteran will be out to make a statement against his former team, the Houston Texans, in Week 7. Keep him starting in all fantasy setups.

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Kyler Murray Oct 17 10:40pm ET
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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray led his team to an unbeaten 6-0 record by throwing four touchdowns against the Browns in Week 6. Despite dealing with a right shoulder injury entering the contest against Cleveland, the signal-caller was an accurate 20-for-30 passing for 229 yards. The former Oklahoma Sooner continues to thrive and now has 14 touchdown tosses on the year. With the Houston Texans next on the schedule, Murray could be in store for one of his best outings of the season in Week 7. Consider him as a must-start fantasy option.

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James Conner Oct 17 10:40pm ET
James Conner

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner had 71 yards off 16 carries during the win over the Browns on Sunday. Although his statistical output in Week 6 was acceptable from a fantasy standpoint, it was still disappointing for managers, primarily after he had five touchdowns throughout the last three games heading into the matchup. Still, with Chase Edmonds (shoulder) continuing to be limited to some degree, Conner has a good chance to make an appearance in the end zone against the underwhelming Houston Texans in Week 7, making him a must-start option in nearly all formats.

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