Fri Aug 16 6:31pm ET
By The Associated Press
In this May 11, 2019, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush, left, catches the ball during pass defense drills at NFL football practice in Pittsburgh. First-round pick Bush will get a chance to show his eye-opening debut _ when the inside linebacker made 10 tackles against Tampa Bay _ was a taste of things to come. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
In this July 29, 2019, file photo, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten catches the ball from a passing machine at the NFL football team's training camp in Oxnard, Calif. The Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams meet Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Honolulu, a place that used to be a regular NFL stop for the Pro Bowl. The first exhibition game in Hawaii since 1976 also figures to be Wittens return after a year in retirement as a broadcaster. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker, File)
Aloha. The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams meet Saturday night in Honolulu, a place that used to be a regular NFL stop for the Pro Bowl.
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Eds: With AP Photos.
By The Associated Press=
The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams meet Saturday night in Honolulu, a place that used to be a regular NFL stop for the Pro Bowl.
Instead, Hawaiians will see lots of backups for both teams, who faced off in a playoff game in January won by LA on its way to the Super Bowl.
''Hawaii is a magical place,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ''There is a great football tradition there, a lot of great players have come from there. One of our great players years ago, Mark Tuinei, is from Hawaii, and so many others. But once you get around the logistical part it's going to be fun to go over there and play a football game and hopefully grow as a team in a great environment.''
The first exhibition game in Hawaii since 1976 also figures to be Cowboys tight end Jason Witten's return after a year in retirement as a broadcaster. The 11-time Pro Bowler is on the verge of setting a club record with a 16th season. The 37-year-old Witten already holds the Dallas records for catches and yards receiving and could threaten the mark for touchdowns receiving.
With two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott about to miss his second preseason game in a holdout, rookie Tony Pollard should get a slightly longer look than he did in the opener at San Francisco. Playing just the first series against the 49ers, Pollard had four carries for 16 yards on a drive to a field goal. Alfred Morris, the primary replacement during Elliott's six-game suspension two years ago, could see his first action of the preseason after signing during training camp.
Many of the Rams' top players are not even making the trip to Hawaii. Coach Sean McVay intends to stick to his strategy of sitting out his key starters for the entire preseason.
After spending last week in Northern California ahead of a game in Oakland, the Rams are already a bit tired of life on the road again, so they're only spending about 48 hours total in Hawaii.
Lions at Texans
While Houston coach Bill O'Brien doesn't seem ready to play many starters, one of them who would like to get in Saturday's game, or at least one of the next three preseason contests. Receiver Will Fuller, a first-round pick in 2016, sustained a season-ending knee injury last October.
''I think I need to play in a preseason game because I haven't played a football game in a long time,'' he said. ''So just being out there and feeling game speed again, getting hit again, I haven't gotten tackled yet, is important.''
For the second straight week, the Lions will play a team after having joint practices with the opponent. Last week, New England was at the Lions' facility for practices and faced them in their preseason opener.
''Competing against the Patriots, competing against Houston, you really get three good sets of evaluation with different types of players,'' Detroit coach Matt Patricia said. ''J.J. Watt is obviously a phenomenal player, as is everybody that's down there, so I think that it is a great opportunity.''
Of course, Watt and those others ''down there'' likely won't play.
Browns at Colts
After two days of physical workouts and minor skirmishes, Cleveland and Indianapolis get together one more time.
Indy needs to see more productivity out of its offense. In last week's loss to Buffalo, the Colts managed only two first downs on their first seven possessions. Those problems reappeared during the joint practices and included slow starts by the offensive line on both days. Coach Frank Reich wants to see that corrected this weekend even as Andrew Luck continues sitting out to recover from calf and lower left leg injuries.
The Browns are expected to keep the bubble wrap on star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who didn't play in the first exhibition and is dealing with a hip injury the team claims is minor.
Beckham's absence has given Rashard Higgins more reps and the receiver's development has been one of the team's most pleasant surprises this summer.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to get a few more snaps with the starting offense.
Patriots at Titans
The Patriots have wideout woes.
Julian Edelman is still recovering from a thumb injury, and they also practiced without N'Keal Harry for a second straight day this week. Phillip Dorsett also watched with a wrap over his left thumb and hand after not being able to finish Wednesday's practice. And Maurice Harris didn't finish that practice and wasn't seen Thursday.
Not that it mattered to Tom Brady, who simply completed most of his passes to receivers such as undrafted rookie Gunner Olszewski of Bemidji State. And the standout thus far in camp has been undrafted WR Jakobi Meyers.
Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker is hoping to play for Tennessee after watching the Titans' preseason-opening win in Philadelphia. He sat out three straight practices before working against the Patriots on Thursday. The Titans also might get back rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown, who sat out for two weeks of training camp after hurting his left hamstring on the opening day of camp.
Chiefs at Steelers
The Steelers will begin the painful process of moving on following the death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake.
Drake's passing left the Steelers in mourning and the young group of receivers the 62-year-old led missing more than just a coach.
''It's hard to get back to the game you love because he's not out there telling you what to do, he's not out there yelling,'' Steelers receiver Ryan Switzer said. ''So it's hard. But it's part of our profession, and it's something we have to do. And something that coach Drake would want us to do.''
First-round pick Devin Bush will get a chance to show his eye-opening debut - when the inside linebacker made 10 tackles against Tampa Bay - was a taste of things to come.
The Chiefs head to Pittsburgh with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the rest of their starters expected to play most of the first half. That includes a number of guys who have missed practice this week with an illness, such as wide receiver Sammy Watkins and defensive end Frank Clark.
Newly signed cornerback Morris Claiborne could also get on the field for the first time with Kansas City, even though he will be suspended the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Saints at Chargers, Sunday
The Saints' first-team defense struggled in its preseason opener while healthy Pro Bowl edge rusher Cameron Jordan watched from the sideline.
''We've got some things we have to fix,'' Jordan said. ''I'm always going to put it on the front D-line when we don't generate enough pass rush. I'd say it's concerning, but at the same time, that's why you have a preseason game to tune everything up.''
While Jordan could see his first preseason action, more attention is on how much progress fellow end and 2018 first-round draft choice Marcus Davenport is making. He struggled to create pressure on Vikings QBs last week in a 34-25 loss.
''He's got a lot of things he wants to do, mentally,'' Jordan said of Davenport. ''So, I try to tell him sometimes it's not about thinking so much. It's about just going out there and physically performing.''
Philip Rivers will be held out for the second straight game as Chargers coach Anthony Lynn continues to get the backups and young players more snaps. Rivers said he would be fine with not playing in a preseason game, which is a pretty stunning admission from him; he likes getting in as much work as possible.
Tyrod Taylor will get the start followed by Cardale Jones and rookie Easton Stick.
Adrian Phillips will get a lot of snaps at free safety now that Derwin James (foot) is injured.
Seahawks at Vikings, Sunday
After playing the starters one series in their opening win at New Orleans, the Vikings will probably give the first-team offense a longer look as quarterback Kirk Cousins continues to settle in to the revamped scheme under coordinator Kevin Stefanski and adviser Gary Kubiak. Running back Dalvin Cook, entering his third year after two injury-shortened seasons, was held out against the Saints as a precaution. Rookie Alexander Mattison is the leading candidate to be the No. 2 running back and will get plenty of action against the Seahawks.
The most intriguing player in purple will undoubtedly be specialist Kaare Vedvik, the recent acquisition from Baltimore who is being evaluated equally as both a kicker and a punter. Though it's unlikely Vedvik, a native of Norway in his second year in the league out of Marshall, would be given both jobs for the regular season, he'll get a chance to kick and punt in the remaining exhibition games.
Russell Wilson likely will see the field for the first time and will give the first true look at his connection with rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf that has shown promise during training camp. Running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny - leaders of the top running attack in the NFL last season - are also likely to get some carries.
Defensively the focus will be on Seattle's pass rush that remains the biggest question heading into the season.
49ers at Broncos, Monday night
San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to get his first game action since going down with a season-ending knee injury last September. Garoppolo sat out the first exhibition game, but is expected to play at least a series at Denver. The Niners are counting on big things this season from Garoppolo, who has made only 10 starts in five NFL seasons.
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders is expected to make his first start since tearing his left Achilles tendon in practice last December. Sanders revealed recently that in addition to that injury, he had ''tightrope'' surgery on his right ankle (which is being used in athletes now to speed the recovery from high ankle sprains).
The Broncos are hoping to finally have their starting O-line together in a game. LT Garett Bolles, LG Dalton Risner and C Connor McGovern have all played, but health concerns have limited RG Ronald Leary and RT Ja'Wuan James. The Broncos need this group to show marked improvement and keep Joe Flacco upright for them to have any chance of returning to respectability in 2019.
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson made three catches for 11 yards in a loss to the Patriots Sunday. Anderson was targeted five times but could get nothing done as the Jets had just 105 yards of total offense with third-string QB Luke Falk making his first career start. Of all the Jets offensive weapons, Anderson has suffered the most with starting QB Sam Darnold (mono) out of action as Anderson has always been a receiver reliant on big plays and the Jets simply can't throw the ball downfield given their current QB situation. The Jets have a bye in Week 4 but will face another tough matchup in Week 5 at Philadelphia. If Darnold plays, Anderson is a boom-or-bust WR3 but he should be avoided as long as Darnold is out.
Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard was on the field for a season-high 29 snaps in the team's Week 3 loss to the Vikings. It helped that Josh Jacobs was dealing with an illness and a hip injury earlier this week, not to mention the team trailed by three scores for most of the game. Richard didn't do much with his playing time, however, picking up 29 scrimmage yards on two rushes and three catches as his involvement in the passing game has faded this year. Owners of Jacobs shouldn't worry about the rookie losing his bell-cow status, as Richard is no threat to his workload. The 25-year-old doesn't carry any standalone value and will be off the fantasy radar as long as Jacobs is active.
New York Jets quarterback Luke Falk was dreadful Sunday in New England completing 12 of 22 passes for 98 yards. Falk didn't lead a touchdown drive and threw an interception in the ugly loss. Falk was serviceable in Week 2 when he was forced into action, but the Patriots Defense completely dominated today sacking Falk five times and giving up only 105 total yards. The Jets have a much-needed bye next week before another tough matchup at Philadelphia in Week 5. The team hopes starting QB Sam Darnold (mono) will be healthy enough to play, but if not all the Jets fantasy options need to be downgraded with Falk under center.
The New England Patriots Defense stifled an opponent once again as the team cruised to a 30-14 win over the Jets. The Jets were never in this game as the Patriots pass rush racked up five sacks while allowing only 35 rushing yards. The defense, technically, still has not allowed a touchdown all season as the Jets scored on a special teams fumble and a pick-six from backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham. The Patriots defense has risen quickly to become an elite unit in fantasy moving forward.
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman ran for a season-high 88 yards on 16 carries in addition to three receptions for seven yards against Indianapolis on Sunday. Freeman was productive despite failing to find the end zone against the Colts, but it was a step in the right direction after amassing just 41 yards on the ground through the first two weeks of the year. He remains a must-start in most fantasy leagues, however, but he will have to do more to keep that tag moving forward, including scoring a touchdown.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell carried the ball 18 times for 35 yards and hauled in all four of his targets for 28 yards against the Patriots on Sunday. A 63-yard day is disappointing for fantasy owners, but considering the Jets only gained 105 yards of offense total things could have been worse for Bell. The Jets offense could get nothing going with third-string quarterback Luke Falk making his first career start on the road against a defense that is yet to allow a touchdown this season. If nothing else, fantasy owners can be satisfied Bell out-touched Ty Montgomery 22-2 and he is still the centerpiece of New York's offense. The Jets will be on bye in Week 4, but Bell will continue to be a must-start running back in fantasy moving forward.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns on 29-for-34 passing in the narrow loss to the Colts in Week 3. After throwing five picks during the first two games of the year, his lone interception in this one was a step in the right direction. Despite Ryan's inaccuracies in the passing game, he remains one of the most productive fantasy quarterbacks in 2019, however, and should continue to have a place in starting lineups in a majority of formats. He will look to keep it going in Week 4 against the Titans.
New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers caught two passes for 38 yards in the team's 30-14 win over the Jets. Meyers was the star of the Patriots training camp but took a backseat after Antonio Brown signed with the team. Now with Brown out of the fold, Meyers is looking at an expanded opportunity moving forward. This performance was a small step in the right direction and his snaps should be on the rise in the coming weeks.
New England Patriots wide receiver caught six passes for a team-high 83 receiving yards in the Patriots 30-14 win over the Jets. Gordon got off to a slow start but finished the game with 11 targets and some big-time catches. The talented receiver appeared to injure his hand in the second half but came back and immediately made some plays. Gordon's ability to win one-on-one matchups with his size makes him a force outside the numbers. A huge fantasy performance is on the horizon for Gordon moving forward.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw for 242 yards and a touchdown in the team's 34-14 loss to the Vikings Sunday. He also threw one ugly interception, but he managed to save face with a 75-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes of garbage time. Carr's 27-for-34 completion rate (79.4%) was decent, but his early-season mediocre results aren't moving the needle much for his fantasy appeal. He'll get an easier matchup in Week 4 at Indianapolis versus a banged-up Colts secondary, but managers should look elsewhere for a potential streamer.
New England Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett caught six passes for 53 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown catch in the team's 30-14 win over the Jets in Week 3. With Antonio Brown out of the fold, Dorsett's snaps were on the rise and he delivered. Dorsett ran crisp routes as quarterback Tom Brady targeted him seven times. Moving forward, fantasy owners can expect Dorsett to play a bigger role in the offense but will have to fight for targets with teammates Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 28-of-42 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns in the Patriots convincing 30-14 win over the Jets. Brady now has multiple touchdown passes in each of his first three games this season after another sharp performance. The Patriots built an early lead but that did not prevent their offense from throwing the football and posted only 68 rushing yards the entire game. Brady now has seven touchdown passes this season with zero interceptions as the Patriots offense currently is a force to be reckoned with.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel carried the ball nine times for only 11 yards with one touchdown in the team's 30-14 win over the Jets in Week 3. Fantasy owners certainly became excited when Michel scored on the Patriots first possession but mostly disappeared from the game plan after that. Michel remains the starter and more talented back but slowly is losing snaps to Rex Burkhead. Michel's limited ability in the passing game is costing him opportunities at this point. The second-year back will try and bounce back next week.
New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead led the team with 11 carries for 47 yards and one touchdown in the team's 30-14 victory over the Jets. Burkhead also added six catches for 22 yards and is earning more snaps by the week. The Patriots offense has leaned heavily on the arm of Tom Brady to begin the season and Burkhead has value in the backfield as well as the passing game. Running back Sony Michel is a more talented player but Burkhead is earning plenty of touches in the backfield. Burkhead will be a streamer to watch heading into Week 4.
Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller dominated targets once again in the team's Week 3 loss to the Vikings. He caught a team-high 13-of-14 targets for 134 scoreless yards, proving to have one of the safest floors among tight ends so far this season. Waller's role has grown every week since a six catch 63-yard performance in Week 1, and his early-season success is only looking like the tip of the iceberg. With the offense likely playing from behind in the majority of games this season, Waller is shaping up to be an every-week starter in all fantasy formats. He'll look to get his first TD of the season in another plus matchup in Week 4 at Indianapolis, who most recently gave up two scores to Falcons tight end Austin Hooper.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams failed to make an impact against a tough Vikings Defense for the majority of the team's Week 3 contest, but his late-game TD saved his fantasy day. He picked up three catches for an unimpressive 29 yards as he hauled in an 11-yard TD on a slant in garbage time. There will undoubtedly be better days for the 28-year-old who came into this game leading the team with 151 receiving yards and two scores. Williams will re-enter WR3 status in Week 4 when the team travels to Indianapolis to take on a banged-up Colts Defense.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver J.J. Nelson had a nice welcome back game after dealing with an ankle injury throughout the first few weeks of the season. He hauled in a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter on a flea-flicker from quarterback Derek Carr, finishing the day with four catches for 36 yards. Nelson is a boom or bust option in fantasy and is better off left alone on waiver wires. His big-play ability is admirable, but he's never shown much consistency over his career and won't develop into a primary target in this offense.
Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs struggled to get anything going in the team's Week 3 loss to the Vikings. He picked up 44 yards on 10 carries while failing to haul in either of his two targets in the passing game. With the team playing from behind for the entirety of the game, Jacobs wasn't relied upon as often with the offense in pass-mode. Jacobs remains the bell cow back, but his ceiling is capped on a team that likely won't need to run the ball more than 25 times in a game very often. The rookie will get a more favorable matchup in Week 4 against a Colts Defense that has struggled to stop the run this season.
Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury during the Week 3 game and is considered questionable to return.
Atlanta Falcons DE Takkarist McKinley (knee) suffered a knee injury during the Week 3 game and is considered questionable to return.