By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) reacts after throwing an interception to New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
New Orleans Saints strong safety Vonn Bell (24) celebrates after intercepting a pass by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (28) gets pulled down by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White (45) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) steps over a tackle by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting (26) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., (19) celebrates his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) beats Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting (26) on a 16-yard touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The New Orleans Saints played with the urgency of a team determined to get back on track.
''You lose a game, you move forward. The next game can't come quick enough,'' coach Sean Payton said Sunday after the NFC South leaders rebounded from an ugly loss to last-place Atlanta with a 34-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Drew Brees threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns, and NFL receptions leader Michael Thomas became the first player in league history with 90-plus catches in the first 10 games of a season for the Saints (8-2).
In addition to a 16-yard scoring pass to Thomas in the first half, Brees tosses TD passes of 3 yards to Jared Cook and 6 to Ted Ginn Jr. after New Orleans was held out of the end zone during the previous week's 26-9 loss to the Falcons.
Safety Marcus Williams put an exclamation point on a strong defensive performance, returning the third of New Orleans' four interceptions 55 yards for a touchdown that put the Saints up 34-17 with just over five minutes remaining.
Thomas, who also became the first player with at least 90 receptions in each of his first four NFL seasons, had eight catches for 114 yards. That boosted his totals for 2019 to 94 receptions for 1,141 yards. The previous high for most catches in the first 10 game of a season was 89 by Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and Atlanta's Julio Jones.
Brees isn't surprised.
''It's just what we see every day in practice. Maybe it's one of those things that when it's all said and done you'll look back and you'll really appreciate it. I just love his mindset. He is a `I want the ball, I will get open, I will make the play for you' guy,'' Brees said.
''I've played with a lot of good ones, a lot of great ones, and the thing that's common with those guys is the trust factor,'' Brees added. ''You have to be able to anticipate certain things which allow you to play with confidence and be accurate and make a lot of those throws that others might not try to make.''
A battered Jameis Winston completed 30 of 51 passes for313 yards and two TDS for the Bucs (3-7), who have lost five of six following a 2-2 start. In addition to throwing four interceptions, Winston was sacked twice and pressured all day by a persistent pass rush that left him hobbling across the field on a sore ankle to try to make the tackle on Williams' long interception return up the New Orleans sideline.
''Too many mistakes to beat a good team,'' Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said.
''It's very frustrating. We've got the players. It's never been about the players since I've been here,'' said receiver Mike Evans, closing in on his sixth 1,000-yard season, said. ''It's just we've been very, very inconsistent. ... I don't know what we've got to do to overturn it, but we've got to do something because this feeling is awful.''
Brees, meanwhile, was 28 of 35 with no interceptions in his third start since returning from a thumb injury that sidelined him five games. The Saints outgained the Bucs 195 yards to 11 while building an early 20-0 lead, controlling the ball for 20 of the game's first 25 minutes. An offensive line playing without injured guard Andrus Peat protected the 40-year-old quarterback, who was not sacked Sunday after Atlanta got to him six times the previous week.
''One of the things we felt like was going to be important in this game was a fast start on the road, and I thought we had that,'' Payton said. ''It wasn't our best game, but I thought we did a lot of good things to win.''
Winston threw TD passes of 6 yards to Peyton Barber and 30 yards to Chris Godwin. Tampa Bay ran the ball a franchise-low eight times for 36 yards, with Winston scrambling for a team-leading 23 on two attempts.
Saints running back Alvin Kamara rushed for 75 yards on 13 carries. He also had a team-high 10 receptions for 47 yards.
''It's huge,'' Kamara said of getting back on track after losing to the Falcons. ''Any time you lose, it's just a little bit more of a heightened awareness to go into the next game, execute and ... come out with a victory.''
The Saints beat the Bucs 31-24 in New Orleans in Week 5, holding Evans without a catch. While replicating that success figured to be difficult, even if injured cornerback Marshon Lattimore - the primary defender on Evans in the earlier meeting - had played Sunday, the Saints nevertheless did a nice job again of containing one of the league's top receivers with P.J. Williams filling in for Lattimore.
Evans had four catches for 69 yards and no touchdowns. The sixth-year pro boosted his season total to 58 for 993 yards - seven yards shy of joining Hall of Famer Randy Moss as the only players in NFL history to begin a career with six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Saints: Played without Lattimore (hamstring) and Peat (forearm), who were injured during last week's loss to Atlanta. Team did not announce any injuries during the game.
Buccaneers: OLB Carl Nassib (groin) missed his second straight game, replaced in the starting lineup by Jason Pierre-Paul. ... Winston said he was hit in the ankle while throwing the interception that Williams returned for a touchdown. He added he doesn't expect it to be a problem or affect his status for next week.
Saints: Return home to host Carolina on Sunday, continuing stretch of four consecutive games against NFC South rivals.
Buccaneers: at Atlanta on Sunday.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 2
Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker (Achilles) suffered a torn Achilles in the Week 2 win over the Vikings and will miss the rest of the season, according to a source. The first-round pick in 2017 has been injury prone in his career, which is why the team didn't pick up his fifth-year option. Hooker will finish the season with seven tackles (five solo) in two games. His absence for the rest of the season will surely weaken the Colts secondary, but their defense is still worth a play in Week 3 against a Jets offense that is among the worst in the league through two weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that wide receiver Chris Godwin (head) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and will play in Week 3 against the Broncos. Godwin will return to action after missing the Week 2 win over the Panthers. The 24-year-old got off to a good start in Week 1 with six catches on seven targets for 79 yards in the loss to the Saints. Against a Denver secondary that will be missing cornerback A.J. Bouye, Godwin has clear WR1 potential in his return to the field. His return will make Scotty Miller a much less interesting flex option in deeper leagues, especially after he had only two receptions for 11 yards with Godwin inactive in Week 2.
The San Francisco 49ers are meeting with free-agent pass-rusher Ziggy Ansah with the expectation that they will sign him after he goes through COVID-19 testing. Ansah has visited with the team twice, but the sides never agreed to a deal. With pass-rushers Nick Bosa (knee) and Solomon Thomas (knee) both suffering serious injuries in Week 2, the Niners are looking for reinforcements on the defensive line. The 31-year-old former first-round pick of the Lions in 2013 had 2.5 sacks in 11 games (one start) with the Seahawks last year and has had trouble staying on the field in his seven-year career. He could provide some much-needed depth, but Ansah won't be on the IDP radar. San Fran's defense is still worth starting in fantasy, but they'll lose some of that high-end potential with Bosa injured.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (toe) is believed to be dealing with turf toe after getting injured in the Week 2 loss to the Bears, according to a source. Shepard will undergo an MRI exam on Monday, but this is an injury that typically requires a wide receiver to miss some time. With running back Saquon Barkley (knee) done for the year with an ACL tear, the G-Men lost two of their best offensive weapons in the same game. Fantasy managers of Shepard should be planning on him missing multiple weeks. Darius Slayton, Golden Tate and tight end Evan Engram will be the team's top three receiving options for quarterback Daniel Jones if Shepard misses time.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) suffered a high ankle sprain in the Week 2 win over the Jets, and he didn't play at all in the second half. The injury will keep Garoppolo off the field for at least one game and probably more. He was 14-for-16 in the game with 131 yards passing and two touchdowns before the injury, so it ruined what could have been a really good game for him. Already a low-ceiling QB2 in a run-first offense, Jimmy G can obviously be avoided for a few weeks in superflex leagues. Nick Mullens replaced Garoppolo in the second half on Sunday and should get the starts moving forward, but he doesn't have much fantasy appeal as more of a game manager under center.
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said that safety Byron Jones (groin) would "have to heal pretty quickly" in order to play on Thursday night against the Jaguars. At this point, Jones is a long shot to play in Week 3, which will leave Miami's secondary a bit more vulnerable against quarterback Gardner Minshew II and company. It's good news for Jacksonville wide receivers DJ Chark Jr. and rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. Jones had one tackle in Week 2 and has four total tackles through two weeks with his new team. You should be ignoring the Dolphins Defense in fantasy.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor (chest) was released from the hospital late Sunday night after dealing with chest pain. His chest issue will be evaluated throughout the week, and head coach Anthony Lynn said that Taylor will remain the team's starter if he's fully healthy. The Chargers probably won't rush Taylor back after rookie Justin Herbert looked very solid in his NFL debut in the overtime loss to the Chiefs in Week 2. Lynn has been very loyal to Taylor, but even though Herbert had some rookie mistakes on Sunday, he probably presents the team with more upside right now. Keep a close eye on Taylor's status this week. If Taylor can't go for Week 3, the rookie signal-caller would become an attractive QB2 in superflex leagues in a great matchup with Carolina.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal caught three balls for 19 yards and a touchdown in a win against the Vikings. Pascal has just seven targets over the first two weeks. The Colts are much higher on young receiversParris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. Campbell was injured in Week 2, so this may open the door for Pascal to see more targets with Campbell out indefinitely. With this being said, Pascal has just two games in his career where he has over 100 yards. History suggests that even with more opportunity, Pascal does not hold much value in any fantasy lineup. He will match up against the Jets next week and is worth considering as a waiver pickup in deeper leagues if you're hurting at the position.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring), who has missed the first two weeks of the season, is expected to return in Week 3 against the Cardinals, according to a league source. Golladay was close to playing in Week 2, but the Lions didn't want to risk aggravating the injury. The 26-year-old led the league with 11 touchdowns in 2019 and finished seventh in the league with 1,190 receiving yards, which was his second straight season with over 1,000 yards receiving. You still need to keep an eye on Golladay's practice status this week, but it looks like you can insert him back into starting lineups against Arizona, where he'll have WR1 upside if he's at full strength.
The Seattle Seahawks Defense got a takeaway in Week 2, but they struggled to slow down the New England Patriots all game long. They ran up 30 points on them and nearly lost the game late before a goal-line stand against quarterback Cam Newton. Cornerback Quinton Dunbar snagged an interception, but that was about the only positive this defense had, with only one sack on the night. Based on what we've seen through two weeks, it looks like this defense should be faded when you're looking for streaming options after allowing 55 points through two games.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox took advantage of his opportunity, grabbing five balls for a game-high 111 receiving yards in Week 2 against the Vikings. Alie-Cox was inserted in the starting lineup due to an injury to starting tight end Jack Doyle. This was just the fourth start of his three-year career, and it is the first time where he had over two catches in a game. It was a nice performance, but this is more of a statistical anomaly than something we can expect to see going forward. He will have a good matchup next week against the Jets, but do not expect to see the same performance, especially if Doyle returns to the fold.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett wasn't quite perfect in Week 2, but he was pretty close to it. He caught seven of his eight targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. Lockett is quickly becoming one of the best fantasy wide receivers to roster, and with the connection he has with quarterback Russell Wilson, he's a threat to finish as a WR1 on a weekly basis. Just like Wilson, you should have no doubts about starting him every week, regardless of his matchup.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf went long again in Week 2 and he turned in another solid fantasy outing. He caught four of his six targets for 92 yards and a touchdown. This is the second week in a row that Metcalf has averaged over 20 yards per reception, and it's clear that this offense is content to allow quarterback Russell Wilson to stretch the field more and more. As long as Wilson is airing it out, Metcalf is going to have WR2 upside on a weekly basis thanks to his big-play ability. His performance on Sunday night was even more impressive, considering the fact that he was being covered by Patriots All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Metcalf is the real deal, folks.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore had the most improbable touchdown of the season on Sunday night, but it counts just the same. He caught all three of his targets for 48 yards and the score. Due to wide receiver Phillip Dorsett's (foot) injury, the third wide receiver role in Seattle is up for grabs. He's shown a connection with quarterback Russell Wilson so far in his career, and as long as Dorsett remains out, Moore is going to present WR4/5 value on a weekly basis in deeper leagues.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Freddie Swain seized the day in Week 2. Thanks to a nifty route design, he was wide open to catch his only target en route to a 21-yard touchdown. It was clear that Swain was the fourth receiving option among pass-catchers when you don't include the running backs. Moving forward, he's going to be nothing more than a flyer in extremely deep leagues, but you could be doing much worse than getting a talented pass-catcher in one of the league's best offenses.
Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers was perfect in Week 2, but he was unable to get any field-goal opportunities due to his efficient offense. He went 5-for-5 on his extra points, and it was nice to get a solid outing from him. It's unlikely that this offense is going to score touchdowns exclusively moving forward, and you should get safe production out of him every week. If you're looking for a kicker that's going to get you points every week because of Seattle's high-scoring offense, Myers should be on your radar.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson finished another phenomenal night in Week 2 with a thrilling win over the New England Patriots. He finished the night 21 of 28 for 288 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He also added five carries for 39 yards on the ground. His impressive performance nearly wasn't enough, but his defense was able to hold on for a win. Wilson looks like the early favorite for the MVP award, and he's going to be winning a lot of fantasy MVPs if he keeps playing at this level. Fire him up every week with no doubts.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson continues to be a valuable fantasy asset with a solid performance in Week 2. Carson finished with 17 carries for 72 yards to go with three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown that came late in the game. Carson is firmly in the RB2 conversation, and he has RB1 upside on a weekly basis thanks to his work in the passing game in this explosive offense. While he may not finish every game with a bloated stat line, he tends to come up with a solid performance by the time it's all said and done. Keep him in your lineups moving forward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (concussion) has cleared the concussion protocol and is good to go for Week 3 against the Denver Broncos.
Fantasy Spin: The Broncos were bitten hard by the injury bug, and Godwin should be a low-end WR1 play next week.
Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (ankle) will miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, according to sources.
Fantasy Spin: Mike Davis could be the featured back if the team doesn't go outside the organization for help. He should be owned everywhere as a flex option. Curtis Samuel had four rushes in Week 2, and he could continue to see a small workload in the backfield, but it doesn't move the needle much for fantasy purposes.