Tue Aug 13 3:06pm ET
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer
Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott yells during an NFL football training camp with the Carolina Panthers in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers' Temarrick Hemingway, right, reaches for pass with Buffalo Bills' Dean Marlowe defending during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey (22) runs while Buffalo Bills' Vosean Joseph chases during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) hands off to Cameron Artis-Payne during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton passes during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton passes during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) laughs beside Christian McCaffrey (22) during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera speaks with Buffalo Bills' Micah Hyde (23) during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, right, speaks with Buffalo Bills' Kurt Coleman while Bills' Mike Love (56) and Shaq Lawson (90) look on during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Buffalo Bills' Ed Oliver puts on his pads prior to an NFL football training camp with the Carolina Panthers in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly runs through drills during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) takes a snap during an NFL football training camp with the Carolina Panthers in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers' Greg Olsen (88) runs a pass play while Buffalo Bills' Micah Hyde defends during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton jokes with a player during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) Captain Munnerlyn has no doubt that ex-teammate Cam Newton will bounce back from a shoulder injury in a big way this season.
All it took to convince Munnerlyn was watching Newton step up in the pocket and uncork a 50-yard strike to a streaking Curtis Samuel down the middle of the field, one of the biggest highlights of Tuesday's joint practice between the Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills at Wofford College.
''It's like night and day - just night and day. His arm looks a whole lot better,'' said Munnerlyn, who played cornerback the last two seasons for Carolina before signing with the Bills.
Munnerlyn watched firsthand as Newton struggled with shoulder soreness during the second half of the 2018 season.
The Panthers QB could barely throw the ball 20 yards downfield and had to be subbed out on Hail Mary passes. Newton wound up missing the final two games before undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in January.
''You can tell he has been working,'' Munnerlyn said. ''To see him come back from that injury. ... I know it has been tough for him. But to see him come back like he has, I'm expecting big things from him.''
Along with the deep throw, Newton was effective running Carolina's hurry-up offense during one team drill, completing a series of short intermediate passes to keep the chains moving.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera also liked what he saw from Newton and the first-team offense in what was the first two of two practices against the Bills before the teams meet Friday night in a preseason game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
''Watching the offense I thought we handled some things pretty well,'' Rivera said. ''What is interesting is you get anxious and a little overhyped and I thought that was part of our problem early. Once our guys settled in and got into a little bit of a routine you felt a lot better about things.''
Other things from the joint Bills-Panthers joint practice:
ALLEN PICKING KUECHLY'S BRAIN
Both coaches emphasized to players to use the two days to learn as much as they could from the opposition, and Bills quarterback Josh Allen took that message to heart.
After practice Allen tracked down Carolina's Luke Kuechly and asked the six-time Pro Bowl linebacker why he reacted to a particular play during the 11-on-11 team period.
''I just wanted to know why he did what he did in a certain concept that we ran,'' Allen said. ''And he was asking what we were looking for and what our read is on that play was. So I took a couple of words from him.''
Allen called Kuechly one of the smartest players in the NFL and was eager to pick his brain.
''At the end of the day, we don't play each other this year (in the regular season) so we are just trying to make each other better,'' Allen said.
Bills center Mitch Morse was back in pads and wearing a red non-contact jersey on Tuesday, but remains in the concussion protocol. Bills coach Sean McDermott refused to speculate on how long it will be before Morse will be ready to play.
Morse has been sidelined since being diagnosed with a concussion on July 29, five days after the start of training camp.
Panthers first-round draft pick Brian Burns left practice midway through practice and did not return. Trainers were treating Burns' ankle on the sideline, but Rivera said after practice he had no information on injuries.
Burns had a smashing debut for the Panthers this past Thursday night against the Bears with two sacks while starting at outside linebacker in the team's new 3-4 defense.
It's becoming increasingly obvious that wide receiver Curtis Samuel is going to play a huge role in the Panthers offense this season. The versatile Samuel has lined up at a variety of positions and had as many touches Tuesday as anyone on the Carolina offense other than running back Christian McCaffrey.
''Coaches can call any play, but it's up to me to get open,'' Samuel said. ''As long as I'm getting open I'm going to get the ball.''
Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister has been a revelation this season, but he's come back to Earth recently. He'll be facing another uphill battle this weekend when Seattle visits Carolina, one of the stingiest defenses in the game versus opposing tight ends. Hollister has been held without a TD for three straight weeks, and he hasn't cracked 50 yards receiving during the stretch either. Meanwhile, the Panthers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, and they haven't allowed a tight end touchdown in nearly a month. Hollister is still a talented receiver, but other teams have caught on to some of his moves and he'll be in for another challenge in Week 15.
Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers has cranked it up recently, and he'll look to continue his stellar ways in the cool, crisp air of Charlotte on Sunday. Myers hasn't missed a field goal in over a month, he's been better on the road than in his wet and windy home stadium, and he'll be facing a Carolina team that does an excellent job of locking down opposing offenses only after they've gotten in field goal range. Carolina has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing kickers this year, and it should be a perfect day for booting the ball on Sunday. If there was ever a day to roll the dice on Myers, this is probably going to be the day.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson is set to face a Carolina Panthers Defense that has been plagued by the run all year. Carolina is the most generous run defense in the game for opposing running backs, and Carson will now shoulder nearly the entire load since Rashaad Penny has been lost for the season with a torn ACL. With Seattle's defense being beat up and their wide receivers still recovering from a flu epidemic that spread through the locker room, it's a perfect situation for Carson. Owners should be confident starting him, and he could be looking at a huge week.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf stepped into the primary role quite well while Tyler Lockett was banged up and ill, and he'll look to continue that growth this weekend as he faces a Carolina squad that has allowed the third-most yards to opposing wide receivers this year. The Panthers have proven quite adept at limiting touchdowns, but their bendy secondary has allowed some big weeks on the outside. Expect Metcalf to push the field and look for the home run ball, and his improved catching should keep him on the scoreboard even if he can't land the big one.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a rough game last week against the improved Rams Defense as he was held to zero touchdown passes for the first time in a year. Now he'll face off against another strong defense in Carolina. Though Wilson has usually found a way to have success against the Panthers, they always present a solid defense and make the games close. Wilson has won three of their last four matchups, but the games have only been decided by more than four points once. Wilson will have his full complement of receivers, and hopefully Tyler Lockett will finally be fully healthy and ready to resume his role as Wilson's favorite target.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (flu) was officially ruled out of Sunday's game on Saturday afternoon, and the Seahawks Defense is starting to look a little thin. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) was ruled out for the second week in a row, defensive end Ziggy Ansah is questionable with a neck injury, and cornerback Shaquill Griffin, one of the team's breakout stars, is questionable with a hamstring injury of his own. The good news is that the Seahawks defense will be facing a rookie quarterback that has thrown 12 interceptions this season, but they'll also be facing Christian McCaffrey, an MVP finalist. It's not a great week to bet on the Seahawks defense.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley is back in sunny southern California for Sunday's game against the Vikings, and he's been on a bit of a hot streak. Badgley isn't known for his power, but his accuracy has returned after a shaky start. Badgley is 10-for-12 from less than 50 yards over the last five weeks, pushing his season stats up closer to his career numbers now that he's healthy. Badgley's groin injury put him behind when he returned to the team, but the further he gets away from the issue, the better he's getting. He should be considered a highly accurate kicker from here on out.
Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James will get his first opportunity to face former teammate and friend Dalvin Cook when LA squares off against the Vikings on Sunday. James has faced Cook plenty of times in practice, but this will be the first game against one of the NFL's leading rushers. To go along with Cook, Pro Bowl wide receiver Adam Thielen will be returning to the field, and Kirk Cousins will be working on padding his resume as he's looking like one of the top passers in the league. The Chargers Defense has been better lately, but this matchup looks like a beastly one for the squad. Owners are probably able to make a better choice with a different one this week.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams is carrying quite the streak, and he'll be looking to add to it with another deep pass on Sunday. Williams has a reception of 40 or more yards in six straight games, though amazingly, only one of those bombs has turned into a touchdown. The third-year wideout is at 841 yards receiving, but it wasn't until last week's blowout against Jacksonville that he recorded his first score of the season. Facing off against a stingy Minnesota secondary, Williams will be hard-pressed to find an opening for another big play, but owners can bet he'll be trying and Rivers will give him a chance.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry has put up 60 or more receiving yards or a touchdown in seven of his nine games this season, and he'll get another opportunity on Sunday when he faces a Minnesota defense that is surprisingly soft against opposing tight ends. Though the Vikings are above average in just about every defensive category, opposing tight ends have been particularly successful in the fat part of the field. Minnesota has allowed the 10th-most yards to opposing tight ends this season, but they have done a good job of clamping down once they get close to the end zone. Expect Henry to get some opportunities, and he'll probably be able to keep his good games going with some decent numbers.
Following a series of ho-hum weeks through the middle of the season, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has been on a hot streak of late, racking up 27 catches and 290 yards receiving over the last four games. Allen was able to haul in a pair of touchdowns over the stretch as well, and he has put up 68 or more receiving yards in each of the games. That said, Allen will be facing a tough matchup as he'll possibly be lining up across from Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and the rest of an intimidating Minnesota secondary. With the Vikings on a hot offensive streak, don't be surprised if LA is playing catch-up and Allen sees plenty of chances. He'll just have to fight his way through a lot of coverage to bring them in.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and will play on Sunday against the New York Giants. The Giants are starting four rookies in the secondary and Parker and the Dolphins shouldn't have too hard a time moving the ball. Parker is a strong WR2 with a nice ceiling for the fantasy semifinals this week. Parker's fellow Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson also cleared the protocol and will suit up for Sunday's game.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley said he is feeling 'healthier and healthier' ahead of a Week 15 matchup with a Miami Dolphins team ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing defense.
Fantasy Spin: Barkley hasn't had a 100-yard rushing game since Week 2, and he has gone five straight games without scoring. He has been one of the bigger fantasy disappointments this season, but RB2 numbers should be possible in Week 15 with a friendly matchup on tap.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, Saturday, Dec. 14.
Fantasy Spin: The knee injury certainly won't help the former first-round pick establish himself as the potential starter in Seattle in 2020. If you own Penny in a dynasty league, you just have to stash him and hope he eventually turns things around.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman has seen his targets decrease since Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins returned healthy. He's seen one target over the last two games, but that catch was a 48-yard touchdown. Hardman doesn't see enough targets to warrant owning in most formats. He's a touchdown-dependent receiver that is only worth using in the deepest of leagues. It's unclear how he'll be worked into the game plan, so he's risky for fantasy formats.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in the NFL alongside George Kittle. Kelce is expected to easily surpass 1,000 receiving yards on the season during the Week 15 matchup with the Denver Broncos. Kelce should be in for a solid game against the average Broncos Defense. Fantasy owners have been able to count on Kelce basically every week this season. He'll remain a TE1 for this home matchup with Denver.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been unable to live up to his epic Week 1 performance. He's been able to carry enough fantasy value worth rostering him in most 12-team leagues, but hasn't scored since Week 1. Watkins heads into a matchup against the Denver Broncos in Week 15. The Broncos Defense has allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, according to Yahoo Sports. Fantasy owners should consider Watkins a WR3 or flex option for Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson has seen increased involvement in the offense the last two games. Damien Williams (ribs) and Darrel Williams (hamstring) both being sidelined has given Thompson an opportunity in the backfield. Damien has a chance to play in Sunday's Week 15 contest against the Denver Broncos. Having him back might push Thompson out of the backfield rotation. Thompson showed promise in the passing game when he caught four passes for 36 yards versus the Patriots in Week 14. Thompson could again have value in the passing game if Williams is forced to sit out again. He's only a deep league option at this point, but he could have some flex value if Williams remains out.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has been a reliable fantasy option throughout most of the season. However, Hill has been unable to find the end zone through the last three games. He's heading into a matchup with the Denver Broncos in Week 15. The same team that he caught three passes for 74 yards and a touchdown on in Week 7. Fantasy owners should feel confident that Hill can be a WR1 for this home matchup with Denver. Hill has caught at least five receptions in each of the last two games.
Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy has been the lead back lately with Damien Williams (ribs) sidelined. However, Williams is listed as questionable for Sunday's Week 15 matchup with the Broncos. McCoy saw 11 rushing attempts for 39 yards during the Week 14 victory over New England. He might end up getting another start, but will battle with Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware for carries. McCoy is basically a touchdown-dependent option that will be handcuffed to around 10 to 12 carries.