Thu Dec 12 2:49am ET
By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes as he is pressured by Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree (48) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws as Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush pursues during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches the clock during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens answers questions after an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 27-19. (AP Photo/David Richard)
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Baker Mayfield has the moxie and machismo while Kyler Murray prefers to keep things low-key.
The two will always be linked by their similar back stories, similar skill sets and a similar career path, but it's hard to find a pair of NFL quarterbacks with more opposite personalities.
''Obviously,'' Murray said with a grin. ''We're a little different.''
Even so, the two friends are in total agreement that there's a little something extra on the line when Mayfield's Cleveland Browns travel to face Murray's Arizona Cardinals this weekend.
''This is real bragging rights being in the same quarterback room for a few years and just razzing each other back and forth,'' Mayfield said.
''Yeah,'' Murray said laughing after he heard about Mayfield's comment. ''For sure.''
The former University of Oklahoma teammates - who are the two most recent No. 1 overall draft picks and Heisman Trophy winners -- will have different team stakes on Sunday. The Browns (6-7) need a win to stay in the playoff race while the Cardinals (3-9-1) are simply trying to gain momentum in their rebuild.
But the individual matchup is also intriguing.
The mutual respect between Murray and Mayfield is obvious. They became close after spending two seasons together at Oklahoma in 2016 and 2017 when Mayfield was the starter. Murray red-shirted the first season and was a backup in '17 when Mayfield won his Heisman.
Murray started in 2018 after Mayfield left for the NFL and made it back-to-back Heismans for the Sooners.
Murray said he learned a lot from Mayfield and even made a good-natured crack that the lessons included ''what not to do.''
''To the public, obviously, he's kind of a rebellious guy,'' Murray said. ''But he's a great dude. I look forward to playing against him.''
Both franchises have staked a large portion of their near future to the pair of young quarterbacks.
It can be argued that the Browns' willingness to draft Mayfield with the top pick in 2018 helped open the door for Murray.
Mayfield is a little smaller than the typical NFL quarterback at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds and Murray is a more extreme example at 5-10 and 207 pounds. Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma during his college career while Murray moved from Texas A&M to the Sooners. Both grew up in Texas.
''We both understand the background, what we stand for, the competitiveness,'' Murray said. ''Obviously, when you're with somebody as many days as we were with each other, you just get close.''
Mayfield's thrown for 3,109 yards, 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions this season while Murray has 3,060 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Both have the ability to extend plays with their feet, though Murray has been more productive on the ground this season, leading the Cardinals with 448 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
''I think Kyler is just a phenomenal athlete. He is one of a kind,'' Mayfield said. ''After being around him for a few years in practice watching him tear it up on scout team and then play, he is who he is. He is a special player.''
Cleveland coach Freddie Kitchens said Murray's ability to run is a ''great attribute'' and the rookie is doing a good job keeping defenses off balance.
''He is seeing the field well, and he is brave from the standpoint of he likes to fit balls in tight windows and things like that,'' Kitchens said. ''He kind of plays fearless, and that is the trait of good quarterbacks - smart but fearless - and I think he does a good job of that.''
Currently, the biggest difference between the two quarterbacks is the Browns are winning a few games. Cleveland has won four of its last five to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Arizona has lost six straight. Murray is trying to help the Cardinals climb out of their rut while fixing his own problems - he had three interceptions during the Cardinals' 23-17 loss to the Steelers last week.
But Mayfield said the Browns won't overlook Murray's talent.
''The things he is able to do when he throws the ball, it comes out different,'' Mayfield said. ''When you see it in person, you will understand what I am talking about.''
Five Sleepers: Week 3
Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith (neck) isn't expected to play against the Seahawks in Week 3. Ordinarily, replacing a tackle of Smith's caliber with someone else would be an issue for any offense, but the Seahawks rank in the middle of the league this year in pressure percentage and the Cowboys passing and rushing offense should still be in fine shape in a game that many expect to be a shootout. Don't think Smith's absence means you need to downgrade Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, or any of the team's other options.
Free-agent CB Morris Claiborne (Chiefs) is not actively looking for work but is remaining in shape in case the ideal circumstance to return presents itself.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (ankle/knee) is set to return on Sunday against the New York Jets. Quarterback Philip Rivers looked to tight end Mo Alie-Cox often in last week's game and with Doyle sliding into the lineup, Rivers should continue to target the tight end position. Doyle might not see the same snap rate we're used to from the reliable veteran, but he's a definite streaming option for fantasy managers who are looking for additional help at a shallow position.
The San Francisco 49ers are promoting running back JaMycal Hasty to the active roster for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. With injuries to their top two running backs, the Niners weren't going to go into Week 3 with only Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr. on the roster. McKinnon and Wilson should see almost all of the work, so don't get too excited about Hasty this week, who'll likely see just a handful of touches at best and shouldn't be on anyone's fantasy radar...yet.
The Carolina Panthers have promoted running back Reggie Bonnafon to the active roster ahead of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers. With Christian McCaffrey on the injured reserve, making this move seems like an obvious choice. Many expected Bonnafon to be the primary backup to McCaffrey this season, but he was passed by both Mike Davis and Trenton Cannon on the depth chart and wound up on the Carolina practice squad. Don't expect more than a handful of touches at most for Bonnafon, whose addition shouldn't impact Mike Davis's workload.
Philadelphia Eagles DT Fletcher Cox (oblique) is considered a game-time decision for Week 3's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to head coach Doug Pederson. He practiced on a limited basis Friday, Sept. 25, after missing the team's first two practice sessions of the week, and is officially listed as questionable on the injury report.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeSean McCoy was targeted seven times in Week 2, which is just enough times to make him semi-interesting as a rosterable option in deep leagues. His complete lack of involvement in the run game and 18 percent snap rate show just how risky of an option he is, though, and he should be barely on the fantasy radar in Week 3 against the Broncos. Maybe in a 16-team league, you throw the dart at him and hope the targets continue, but otherwise steer clear of the veteran rusher.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams was unable to make much of an impact during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He hauled in both of his two targets for seven yards and one touchdown. It was a disappointing game for Williams, but quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick only had 20 passing attempts on the night. It has been a slow start to the season for Williams, but things should pick up next week. He'll get a favorable matchup against the Seattle Seahawks who have one of the worst pass defenses in the league.
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki was able to score a touchdown for the second time in two weeks during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gesicki hauled in one of three targets for 15 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick only had 20 passing attempts in this one, so it was a bit of an odd game. Regardless, Gesicki carries TE1 value into a favorable matchup versus the Seattle Seahawks shaky pass defense in Week 4.
If you thought the Texans and their revamped wide receiver core would feature some wide-open, four-receiver sets this season, you were wrong. Houston hasn't run a single play this season with four receivers and has run just one play without a tight end. This is one of the reasons to stay away from the team's No. 4 receiver, Kenny Stills, in Week 3. Still a talented wideout, Stills is on the field less than half of the time and has just two catches for 16 yards this season. Unless there are injuries ahead of him, Stills is a fantasy afterthought right now.
Las Vegas Raiders rookie wide receiver Bryan Edwards (foot) has been removed from the team's injury report, a sign that he'll be on the field this week against the New England Patriots. With Henry Ruggs III (hamstring/knee) sitting, Edwards will look for a larger role on Sunday. He's been targeted just three times through two games, but did catch both Week 2 targets for 42 yards. The promising young wideout has some appeal in deep leagues this week with no Ruggs, but he remains an incredibly risky play until we see him get a higher target share.
Seattle Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar (knee) will be 'ready to play' against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker is clearly still not 100 percent healthy, but did play during the Thursday night win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He caught all five of his targets for 69 yards in Week 3. He'll get 10 days to heal up before his matchup with the Seattle Seahawks next week. Seattle has been horrendous at stopping the pass attack this season. Parker should be a reliable WR2 for that one, assuming he's healthy.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews will look to get back on track in Week 3 against the Chiefs. After a strong start to the 2020 campaign, the 25-year-old caught only one pass against the Houston Texans on Sunday. While that performance certainly left a bad taste in the mouths of fantasy managers, Andrews should remain starting in all formats, especially since his ceiling is higher than most at his position.
Miami Dolphins running back Jordan Howard has been having trouble finding any room to run this season. He rushed three times for one yard and one touchdown in the Thursday night win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Howard has 16 carries for 12 yards on the season, but has three touchdowns as well. Myles Gaskin has become the clear lead back in Miami, so there is little reason to keep Howard rostered in 12-team leagues. He does have a three game touchdown streak, but that won't be enough value to warrant ownership in most leagues.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown will face his most formidable task of the season against the Chiefs in Week 3. Hollywood has compiled at least five catches in each of his first two games to go along with 143 yards. While Brown hasn't found the end zone yet during the 2020 campaign, he is always in line for a productive outing, especially with so many weapons on the offensive side of the ball opening things up for him. Fantasy managers should keep him starting for the Monday night showdown with Kansas City.
Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin saw a heavy workload during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gaskin rushed 22 times for 66 yards and caught five passes for 29 yards through the air. He has become the clear lead back in Miami, but Jordan Howard and Matt Breida will still get a few touches each game. Gaskin is quickly picking up steam in PPR formats. He'll get another favorable matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4.
Miami Dolphins running back Matt Breida has been having issues finding any momentum through the first three weeks of the 2020 NFL season. He rushed three times for four yards during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Breida has been horrendous this season and is a cut-candidate in most formats. Myles Gaskin has become the clear lead back in Miami. Breida will still get a few carries each week, but it won't be enough to have value in most formats.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick put together another solid performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. He completed 18 of 20 passing attempts for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 38 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown as well. The Jaguars had no answers for Fitzpatrick through the first half, but were able to slow him down after halftime. He'll get another solid matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4. Seattle is struggling to slow down the passing game, so Fitzpatrick could be a possible streaming option again.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 25, and is not on the injury report for Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Fitzgerald may receive a few extra targets this week with Christian Kirk ruled out. He has posted decent numbers in the first two games and can be a flex option in some leagues.