Sat Aug 17 11:45pm ET
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) makes a touchdown catch in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels (38) runs the ball as Kansas City Chiefs defensive back D'Montre Wade (40) tries to tackle him in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) is hit as he plays against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passes in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) runs away from Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor (97) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Matthew Wright wears a "DD" sticker on the back of his helmet before a preseason NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. The team will wear the stickers to honor receivers coach Darryl Drake who died last week. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
PITTSBURGH (AP) Mason Rudolph guided a long first-half touchdown drive to perhaps nudge ahead of Josh Dobbs in the race to be the backup behind Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 17-7 on Saturday night.
Rudolph finished 10 of 15 for 77 yards while Dobbs completed 6 of 11 for 95 yards with a red-zone interception on a night the Steelers (2-0) opted to keep several key starters on the sideline, from quarterback Roethlisberger to Pro Bowl offensive linemen David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey to rookie linebacker Devin Bush.
Kansas City coach Andy Reid suggested Patrick Mahomes would play most of the first half.
The reigning NFL MVP - who directed a touchdown in his lone drive in Kansas City's preseason opener last week - did little during two series of work following a thunderstorm that forced the opening kickoff to be pushed back nearly an hour.
Mahomes completed just 2 of 5 passes for 11 yards, a far cry from his previous visit to Heinz Field, when he threw for six touchdowns in a Week 2 win last September that served as a harbinger of the season to come.
Mahomes' best play during his cameo may have been his decision to slide during an 8-yard scramble, something he didn't do a week ago when he lowered his shoulder against Cincinnati rather than step out of bounds.
Chad Henne found Mecole Hardman for a 17-yard touchdown late in the first half for Kansas City (1-1), which managed a lone touchdown a week after putting up 38 against the Bengals. Hardman, a second-round pick, has two touchdowns in two weeks and his rapid emergence could give Reid another option to play with in what could be the NFL's most potent offense.
Pittsburgh chose to give the 37-year-old Roethlisberger the night off. Rudolph, a third-round pick a year ago who is hoping to supplant Dobbs as the top backup, was given the start instead. Playing with a group that included Pro Bowl running back James Conner and star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rudolph struggled early to gain some momentum.
It wasn't until Rudolph found himself playing with the reserves that he started to get going. He directed a 14-play, 89-yard drive in the second quarter, a series that ended with a 14-yard sprint to the end zone by Jaylen Samuels.
Dobbs started off brilliantly, hitting Washington for a 40-yard gain. He couldn't sustain the momentum, thanks in part to an interception in the end in which he overthrew Diontae Johnson. The ball sailed into the arms of Kansas City's Charvarius Ward to cut short a scoring chance late in the first half.
Johnson, a third-round pick, ended up scoring in the fourth quarter when he made a diving grab in the end zone on a heave from fourth-stringer Devlin Hodges.
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Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree is entering the season with a significant amount of pressure after Pittsburgh opted to pick up his fifth-year option but have not approached him about signing a long-term deal. Dupree provided a spark, sacking Mahomes and Henne and knocking down a pass.
A difficult week that began with the sudden passing of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake at age 62 ended with the Steelers making sure Drake's legacy won't be forgotten.
Coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert and their wives attended Drake's funeral in Gallatin, Tennessee. The wide receivers took the field for warmups with shirts emblazoned with the phrase ''Shut out the noise,'' the credo Drake adopted for his group for the 2019 season.
Dozens of Steelers knelt for a prayer shortly before kickoff and the team will wear ''DD'' stickers on their helmets this season and a moment of silence was held just before the national anthem.
The Chiefs didn't escape Heinz Field unscathed. Safety Tyrann Matthieu left with a shoulder injury. Wide receiver Deon Yelder went down with a knee injury and Marcus Kemp exited with a knee injury. Linebacker Breeland Speaks suffered a knee injury in the second half and did not return. Quarterback Chase Litton was taken out in the final seconds after taking a hard hit shortly after releasing a pass.
Chiefs: Host San Francisco next Saturday.
Steelers: Expect to give Roethlisberger his only reps of the preseason next Sunday when they visit Tennessee.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had eight receptions (nine targets) for 128 yards and a touchdown against the Colts in Week 3. After catching 11 passes and racking up three trips to the end zone coming into this one, Jones caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Matt Ryan late in the game for his fourth score of the year. He will look to keep it going against the Titans in Week 4. Obviously, keep him starting in all fantasy formats.
New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios made two catches for 29 yards in a loss to the Patriots Sunday. Berrios led the Jets with six targets but couldn't get much done against a stout Patriots Defense. Berrios served as the team's third wide receiver today, but would see his role decrease if Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) gets healthy and joins the active roster after a bye in Week 4. Despite leading the team in targets, Berrios doesn't need to be owned in fantasy.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had six receptions for 66 yards and two scores during the loss to the Colts on Sunday. After failing to score a touchdown through the first two weeks of the year, Hooper finally came to life against Indianapolis. His absence in the end zone up to this point has been somewhat troubling, but his ability to haul in passes gives him some PPR appeal moving ahead.
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.