Von Miller says he and Vic Fangio get along great

Thu Oct 10 5:40pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, left, celebrates his sack with teammate outside linebacker Von Miller during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Von Miller sacked the notion that he and Vic Fangio have a rocky relationship.

The Super Bowl 50 MVP said Thursday that while they're not exactly drinking buddies, the two men get along great and he appreciates his head coach's constructive criticism because he's just trying to make him a better player.

''There's not a coach that I'd rather have right now pushing me to be the best outside linebacker I can be,'' Miller said.

With just two sacks so far, Miller is off to the slowest start of his nine-year career in Denver as he adjusts to a new coaching staff, new scheme, new teammates, new assignments and the loss of pass rushing partner Bradley Chubb to a season-ending knee injury last month.

Fangio famously declared at his introductory news conference as the Broncos' 17th head coach that Miller ''can play even better,'' and his frank assessments continued unabated as Miller posted four sackless games during Denver's 1-4 start.

The buzz over their relationship flared up again this week when Fangio described Miller's performance in Denver's 20-17 win over the Chargers as ''kind of uneventful'' even though he appeared to pressure Philip Rivers on his two interceptions and stuffed a third-down run.

All of this led to speculation that Miller and Fangio didn't get along.

''That's crazy,'' Miller said. ''Who came up with that?''

It's all over social media and the airwaves.

''You hear it all the time that me and Vic don't get along? I would like to think that me and Coach Fangio get along great,'' Miller said. ''I feel like the type of energy that he sends toward me is different than ... all the energy that he sends to everybody else. I feel that we have just that connection. We're teammates at the end of the day.

''I don't think it's a situation where like we go out and drink beers and have movie night and all that stuff. No, we don't do that. But when it comes to ball and me being a better football player and him seeing the best out of me, I know that's a fact. He wants to see me be great,'' Miller said.

An even harsher critic of Miller's play has been Miller himself. He has suggested that even if he's disrupting drop-backs or stuffing the run, what he measures himself by are sacks, and those have been hard to come by this season.

He sacked Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew II twice two weeks ago, giving him an even 100 for his career. But he didn't get close to Derek Carr, Mitchell Trubisky or Aaron Rodgers and Rivers avoided a sack with an intentional grounding Sunday when Miller had him in his grasp.

Miller said he doesn't care if Fangio's blunt critiques come off as mean-spirited, either.

''I'm not really worried about that,'' Miller said. ''I'm worried about being the best football player I can possibly be, and I know his mindset is there and that's exactly where my mindset is.''

Miller said that whatever Fangio tells the media he says right to his face.

''He's going to keep it all the way 100. As a player, you can appreciate that. I don't want a guy'' sugarcoating it, Miller said. ''If I'm not doing well, I would want him to tell me. If I can work at something, I want him to tell me about that. Coach Fangio might tell everybody about it, but he's going to keep it 100 with me and I can appreciate it.''

Player Notes
Jamison Crowder Oct 18 10:40pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder will face a tough test Monday when the Patriots No. 1 ranked pass defense comes to town. New England allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and shut down Crowder in Week 3 when they held him to only 25 yards on two catches. Third-string quarterback Luke Falk started that game, so Crowder should have more success with Sam Darnold back under center. In two games with Darnold, Crowder has 20 catches for 197 yards, so he has major fantasy upside moving forward, especially as the Jets' schedule gets softer. In Week 7, however, Crowder is only a borderline WR3 who has more appeal in PPR formats.

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Le'Veon Bell Oct 18 10:30pm ET

New York Jets Le'Veon Bell will face a tough matchup Monday night when the Patriots elite defense heads to MetLife Stadium. New England allows the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs so it's a tough matchup for Bell, but he should put up RB2 numbers based on volume. Bell has played 92.2 percent of the team's offensive snaps so far and has the second-most targets on the team. Bell should see his usual 20-25 touches and fantasy owners should start him with confidence he can put up a decent day even if he doesn't score a touchdown.

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Robby Anderson Oct 18 9:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson will look to change his fortunes against the Patriots in a tough matchup Monday. In seven career games against New England, Anderson hasn't scored a touchdown and his 39.5 percent catch rate is by far his lowest mark against any team he's faced more than once. This season, the Patriots are as daunting a matchup as there is in the NFL allowing the fewest fantasy points against to wide receivers. There is always the chance Anderson grabs a long touchdown, like the 92-yard score he had last week, so he has some appeal as a flex in deeper leagues. However, where possible, owners should look to steer clear of Anderson in this matchup.

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Sam Darnold Oct 18 9:40pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold will face a tough challenge Monday night against the Patriots, the team that has given up the fewest fantasy points this season to opposing quarterbacks. Darnold, who missed three games with mono, had a strong showing in his return to the field Sunday when he put up 338 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect that type of performance Monday against arguably the best defense in the NFL, especially with two starters on the offensive line unlikely to play. Darnold is best left on the bench this week, however, the Jets schedule gets very soft after the game vs New England so Darnold is a good bench stash for those matchups.

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Jakeem Grant Oct 18 8:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant (hamstring) and cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) were limited in practice this week and are questionable for Week 7 against the Bills. Even if Grant plays this weekend, he's nowhere close to being fantasy relevant behind Devante Parker, Preston Williams and Albert Wilson on the depth chart. Grant has only nine catches (19 targets) for 52 scoreless yards in four games this year. Howard is the team's best cornerback, but the Dolphins Defense/special teams is also well off the fantasy radar. If Howard sits, it'll be good news for Bills wideout John Brown.

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Josh Oliver Oct 18 8:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring) practiced in full the last two days and isn't on the Week 7 injury report against the Bengals. Oliver has yet to play in his rookie season, but this weekend would be good timing for him to make his debut with Geoff Swaim out and James O'Shaughnessy on Injured Reserve. There's no guarantee that Oliver is heavily involved in the offense in his first game, but he's one to watch for those that are desperate at the position.

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Jimmy Graham Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle) was limited in practice on Friday and was removed from the Week 7 injury report against the Raiders. With Davante Adams (toe) out, Geronimo Allison (concussion) doubtful and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) questionable, Graham could see his biggest workload of the season this weekend. The Packers will continue to lean on the running game with their receivers beat up, but Graham could easily be quarterback Aaron Rodgers' favorite target against Oakland. The Raiders have also allowed the sixth most fantasy points per game (9.7) to tight ends. Graham has clear WR1 upside in Week 7.

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Geronimo Allison Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (chest, concussion) missed practice all week and is doubtful to play in Week 7 against the Raiders. The Packers are holding out hope that Allison can get cleared from the concussion protocol, but it doesn't look like it's happening. Davante Adams (toe) has already been ruled out and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) will be a game-time decision. Green Bay could be without their top three wideouts, so Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and rookie Darrius Shepherd could be their three receivers on Sunday. Kumerow and Lazard will be in play as DFS sleepers and flex options in deeper leagues, but expect the Packers to lean heavily on their ground game.

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Michael Badgley Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley (groin) practiced in full the last two days and is listed as questionable for Week 7 against the Titans. Badgley has been out all season but looks to have a good chance to make his season debut on the road in Tennessee. As usual, the Bolts have had a nightmare on special teams in the kicking game this year and were using their punter, Ty Long, for field-goal duties earlier this year with Badgley sidelined. They've been using rookie Chase McLaughlin in recent weeks, but he's predictably been unreliable in the kicking game. The Chargers will give Badgley a shot to win his job back, but he should be avoided in fantasy for the time being if he's active.

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Jacksonville Jaguars Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Following two straight close losses, the Jacksonville Jaguars enter their contest against the Cincinnati Bengals needing a victory to remain in AFC playoff conversation. At the crux of securing that win will be their defensive unit, which has been largely hit or miss over the first six weeks of the year. Despite All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey being shipped to the Los Angeles Rams earlier in the week, the team has become accustomed to playing without him. While many owners may overreact to Ramseys departure, Jacksonville is coming off holding New Orleans to 13 points last week, and now squares off with a much-maligned Bengals offense. Andy Dalton and the rest of the offensive unit are averaging just 16.2 points per game and their 56.5 average rushing yards per contest enters the week as the lowest in the league. The Jaguars defense is not the same dominant group that has been in years past, but should be a serviceable fantasy unit in Week 7.

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Darrell Henderson Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson could have some luster as a flex option against the Atlanta Falcons. Running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) is doubtful this week, but Todd Gurley (thigh) is expected back. Gurley's workload could be spotty, and Henderson could see extended run. He rushed six times for 39 yards in Week 6, but he lost a key fumble to open the second half. He'll have a chance at redemption against the midrange matchup.

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Brandin Cooks Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks has been irrelevant for a couple of weeks for fantasy owners. He left the Oct. 3 game with a concussion, and the entire Rams offense was plugged up last week. He had four catches for 47 yards in the two games combined. He has an awesome matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week. They are the worst at defending the position in the league. They've allowed just over 15 catches for 219 yards and nearly two touchdowns per game to receivers over the last five games. Cooks is a low-end WR2 option for Week 7.

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Cooper Kupp Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp broke a four-game string with 100 receiving yards last week as the entire offense was shut down by the San Francisco 49ers. The good news, though, is the Rams face the leaky Atlanta Falcons Defense, which is the worst at defending receivers the last five weeks. Kupp is sixth in the league in fantasy points over the last five weeks at the position despite having four catches for 17 yards last week. He'll return to the WR1 section this week.

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Robert Woods Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods has been Jekyll and Hyde in the matter of a couple of weeks. He busted out with 13 catches for 164 yards three weeks ago and didn't catch a last on four targets last week. He'll have a brighter matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, who are the best matchup for opposing receivers the last five weeks. The Rams spread the ball around a lot, though, and Woods is limited to a flex option in point-per-reception formats.

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Tyler Higbee Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee has been an afterthought in the offense this season with 16 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown in five games. He has a good matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week, but he is too spotty to rely on in traditional leagues. He'd be someone to take at a basement price in daily formats, though.

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Gardner Minshew II Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Jacksonville rookie signal caller Gardner Minshew hit a significant bump in the road last week for the first time as a starter. The cure for that skid? It may just prove to be a matchup against a Bengals Defense yielding greater than 425 yards per game. Minshew failed to toss a touchdown last Sunday against New Orleans, the first time he did not record one in six games. While his 240.3 passing yard per contest average is far from gaudy, he has tossed nine touchdowns to just two interceptions, making him a safe option in traditional fantasy, as well as a high-upside low-priced option in DFS.

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Darren Sproles Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen) and running back Darren Sproles (quadriceps) both missed practice all week and have officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Jackson is closer to returning than Sproles, but there remains no timetable for either player. D-Jax has been out since getting hurt in Week 2, and the Eagles offense is surely missing their deep threat, as Mack Hollins hasn't come close to replicating Jackson's production as a field-stretcher. Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Hollins will continue to operate in three-receiver sets in the big divisional showdown on Sunday evening.

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Los Angeles Rams Oct 18 8:30pm ET

The Los Angeles Rams Defense shouldn't be played against the Atlanta Falcons this week. They've had their issues on the ground, but they still put up points and air it out. The Rams are amidst a tough portion of their schedule and really haven't played well enough to hang onto in traditional formats.

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Kyler Murray Oct 18 8:20pm ET

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has a good matchup against the New York Giants in Week 7. Murray has been hot lately, and he's fifth in fantasy points among quarterbacks over the last three weeks. Murray has tossed for 834 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, but his legs have been the difference. He has rushed 25 times for 152 yards and two touchdowns during that stretch. The Giants allow the eighth-most fantasy points to the position on average over the last five weeks. Murray is a mid-to-low QB1 this week.

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Chase Edmonds Oct 18 8:20pm ET

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds has been a sneaky contributor over the last two games, but it's because he found the end zone each game. He had 12 carries for 102 yards and five catches for 51 yards combined in the games, and he scored on the ground and through the air. Starting running back David Johnson (ankle) is a game-time decision this week, but he practiced more than he did before he played with a back injury last week. The matchup against the New York Giants is a solid one with the Giants averaging the seventh-most points allowed to the position the last five weeks. Edmonds has flashed the big play on limited touches, but he relies on those touchdowns heavily if you use him as a flex.

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