Tue Sep 29 6:14pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, left, jokes with quarterback Brett Rypien as they take part in drills during NFL football practice Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien is hit by Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Jordan Whitehead as he throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Brett Rypien kept his head up when he went undrafted out of Boise State. He didn't get discouraged when he twice got cut by the Denver Broncos.
He didn't flinch when the Broncos valued Brandon Allen over him last year to serve as a backup to Joe Flacco and then Drew Lock.
Rypien's determination didn't waver when the Broncos signed Jeff Driskel last offseason or Blake Bortles last week.
''I wouldn't necessarily say discouraged, no,'' Rypien said after being named the starter for the Broncos' game against the New York Jets on Thursday night in a matchup of reeling 0-3 teams. ''I've always just tried to take the mentality of get better every single day.''
Helping him with that perseverance was his uncle, former Washington QB Mark Rypien.
''He sat his first two years on IR, so having some conversations with him about (how) he overcame adversity throughout his first two years and then being able to win a Super Bowl and be a starter for a few years'' helped him learn how to cope and bide his time, Rypien said. ''So, I definitely don't think I ever lost hope or was discouraged. I just tried to get better.''
Coach Vic Fangio accidentally declared Rypien's 57-year-old uncle the starter over Driskel on Tuesday.
''Yeah, we're going to start Mark -- I mean Brett -- I keeping calling him Mark at times because of his uncle,'' Fangio said. ''But we're going to go with Brett; but we do have the ability to mix Jeff in there some in the game if we feel like we need to.''
Driskel played admirably after replacing an injured Lock (shoulder) in Denver's 26-21 loss at Pittsburgh two weeks ago, although he froze and took the sack on fourth down at the Steelers' 15-yard line in the waning minutes.
Driskel started last week against the Buccaneers but was limited to 176 yards and was sacked five times and intercepted once in Denver's 28-10 loss.
He was replaced by Rypien on the Broncos' final drive, and Rypien completed his first eight passes for 53 yards before throwing an interception in the end zone.
''Up until the last throw when he made a bad decision and a bad read, he played pretty good in there,'' Fangio said. ''So we want to see if that can continue.''
Rypien showed good enough recognition of defense alignments to change calls and protections and he was quicker throwing the ball than Driskel, who was sacked 11 times in the last two weeks.
''I've seen a lot of defenses,'' said Rypien, who started 49 games in college. ''I think that's probably my best quality is being able to understand defenses and think fast and get the ball out.''
Rypien, who spent three weeks on Denver's active roster last year and the rest of the season on the Broncos' practice squad, will be the ninth QB to start for the Broncos since they won Super Bowl 50 in Peyton Manning's final game, joining Trevor Siemien, Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Flacco, Allen, Lock and Driskel.
INJURY EPIDEMIC: Fangio confirmed Tuesday that yet another starter was headed to injured reserve. This time it's right tackle Elijah Wilkinson (shin), a day after five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey (biceps) was lost for the season.
Wilkinson will be replaced by 12th-year veteran Demar Dotson.
''He's obviously an experienced player. He's played right tackle 10,000 snaps in this league probably, so we feel good about putting him in there,'' Fangio said.
Other starters on IR are: linebacker Von Miller (ankle), wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee), cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder) and defensive end Dre'Mont Jones (knee). Backups on IR are: tight end Austin Fort (knee) and linebackers Justin Strnad (wrist) and Austin Calitro (hamstring).
The injured Broncos are making a combined $53.4 million this season, by far the highest IR payroll in the NFL and nearly $20 million more than the runner-up Dallas Cowboys ($33.5 million).
The NFL relaxed its IR rules this year on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and any player can be activated after three weeks. The Broncos didn't place Lock on IR so he could continue to attend practice for so-called ''mental reps.'' He's expected to miss a few more weeks.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 6
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross III has asked the team for a trade. The speedy former ninth overall pick had been inactive for three straight weeks before returning to action in Week 6, but he played just one snap against the Colts. Ross' agent said that his client is frustrated with his lack of playing time and they've had talks with the team about a trade, but those talks didn't go very far. The 25-year-old had a couple 100-yard games early last season, but then he got hurt and never quite established a firm role in the offense. Now he's behind Tyler Boyd, A.J. Green and rookie Tee Higgins on the receiver depth chart and has just two catches for 17 yards in three games this year. A change of scenery would be for the best, but it wouldn't guarantee that he resurfaces to fantasy relevance.
The Miami Dolphins are naming rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa their starting quarterback heading into their Week 7 bye week, according to a source. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will now serve as the backup after Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in the blowout win over the Jets in Week 6. The rookie from Alabama completed both of his pass attempts for nine yards against New York. The biggest takeaway on Sunday was that he looked fully healthy, and the Dolphins are obviously confident that he's ready for the NFL stage as their starter. That'll come in Week 8 against a tough Rams Defense looking to bounce back after a loss to the division-rival 49ers. Tagovailoa has plenty of upside as a poised and accurate QB that can also use his legs, but he'll be a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues for his first career NFL start in two weeks.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella has dropped off significantly after his two-touchdown performance in Week 3. This week, in the team's 38-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys, he was held without a catch and received just two targets. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray struggled in the game, completing just nine of his 24 passes for 188 yards. Christian Kirk, meanwhile, reeled in the team's only two receiving touchdowns in the game and has continued to be Murray's preferred target over Isabella. There's no need to hold on to Isabella in any fantasy leagues as long as the Cardinals are fully healthy at receiver.
The Cardinals Defense had their best outing of the year so far in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. They held the Cowboys to just 10 points in the game and came up with two Andy Dalton interceptions as well as two fumble recoveries, both as a result of Ezekiel Elliott fumbles. The Cardinals also sacked Dalton three times in the game. While it was certainly an encouraging outing from the Cardinals Defense, don't expect a similar result in Week 7 when they face the Seattle Seahawks, who have topped 30 points in four of their five games this year.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald wasn't heavily utilized in the team's 38-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. Fitzgerald was targeted four times in the game and came down with three catches for 22 yards. It's been an extremely slow start to the year for Fitzgerald, who is yet to top 50 receiving yards in a game and also yet to score a touchdown this year. Kyler Murray had a rough day throwing the ball in this game, completing just nine of his 24 passes for 188 yards. Fitzgerald shouldn't be trusted as a starting option for now and can be left on waivers in most leagues at this point.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk had only two catches in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys, but luckily they were both big ones. Kirk had a six-yard touchdown reception and an 80-yard touchdown reception, leading to his final stat line of two catches for 86 yards on three targets. The Cardinals dominated the Cowboys, winning 38-10, but their passing game struggled a bit, regardless. Kyler Murray only completed nine passes all game and totaled just 188 yards. That's three-straight solid fantasy outings now for Kirk, who should be considered a decent WR3 or flex option in most formats going forward.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a 60-yard reception in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. It was his longest gain of the season. However, he wasn't able to do much else in the game. He was targeted eight times on Monday night and came down with just two catches for 73 yards. It was a rough game from a passing standpoint for the Cardinals as quarterback Kyler Murray completed just nine of his 24 passes for 188 yards. Christian Kirk had the team's only two touchdown receptions in the game. It was the first game this year in which Hopkins was held under six receptions. Look for him to bounce back strong when the team faces the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7.
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake had a much-needed breakout game in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. Drake rushed the ball 20 times for 164 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first game with over 100 yards from scrimmage this year as well as his first time averaging over five yards per carry in a game. Drake had his stat line bolstered significantly by a 69-yard touchdown run with under two minutes left when the game was already decided, but it was a true breakout game for Drake regardless. He's been a frustrating slow-starter for fantasy owners this year, but hopefully his Week 6 breakout will be a sign of things to come.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds wasn't able to contribute much to the team's 38-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. Edmonds had five carries for 23 yards in the game and caught one of his two targets for six yards. The Cardinals dominated the last three quarters of the game and leaned heavily on No. 1 running back Kenyan Drake to seal the victory, giving him a total of 20 carries in the game. Even though Drake has struggled out of the gate this year, the team is still sticking with him as their primary ball-carrier with Edmonds as a pass-catching option and change-of-pace rusher. Edmonds is still worth owning in most leagues and could see an uptick in usage when the Cardinals attempt to keep pace with the high-scoring Seattle Seahawks in Week 7.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray had a rough overall game despite the team's 38-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. Luckily, it still turned out to be a decent fantasy day. Murray completed just nine of his 24 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 74 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. It was his first game of the year without a turnover, which is certainly encouraging, but he's now been held under 200 passing yards in two of his past three games. With 370 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on the year, he's definitely doing enough to remain a no doubt QB1 in all formats, but it's been a shakier start to the season than fantasy owners were hoping to see from the second-year pro.
Cincinnati Bengals WR John Ross approached the team about a trade. Ross is in the last year of his rookie deal and seeking a fresh start.
Updating previous reports, Kansas City Chiefs RB Le'Veon Bell will receive $500,000 for 25 percent playing time in an AFC title win and $500,000 for 25 percent playing time in a Super Bowl win.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald extended his streak with at least one reception to 249 games in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. His streak is the longest of any player with a single team, and the second-longest overall streak in NFL history (Jerry Rice, 274). Fitzgerald's streak started Nov. 7, 2004.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes tossed two touchdowns in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills, and he set a franchise record with at least one scoring strike in 16 straight outings.
Philadelphia Eagles DL Malik Jackson (quadriceps) might miss two weeks due to the a quadriceps injury he suffered in the Week 6 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup posted two catches for 15 yards on six targets in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Fantasy Spin: Gallup definitely wasn't on the same page as new starter Andy Dalton, and he was very far behind Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb for the eye of the quarterback among the wide receivers. He is only worth a look as a WR5 in fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams heading into Week 7 on the road against the Washington Football Team.
Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz posted five receptions for 35 yards in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals on five targets.
Fantasy Spin: Schultz was targeted early on by Andy Dalton, but he was barely used in the second half. He has four or more grabs in four of the past five outings, emerging as a respectable TE2 in most fantasy leagues and a decent bye week replacement. The Cowboys travel to meet the Washington Football Team in Week 7.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense struggled once again in Week 6, allowing 38 points and recording just one sack with no turnovers. They ended up with -3.0 points in standard scoring formats, their third time in six games winding up with negative points. They've totaled seven fantasy points this season. Seven. Even with a seemingly good matchup next week against the struggling Washington Football Team's offense, the Cowboys will not be a recommended fantasy defense.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper registered seven receptions for a team-high 79 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Fantasy Spin: Cooper didn't have a lot of work downfield, as most of his stuff came on the short and intermediate routes with Andy Dalton making his first start of the season for the injured Dak Prescott. Fantasy owners can't be too disappointed about this showing, especially those in PPR leagues. The Cowboys travel to meet the Washington Football Team in Week 7.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz made four catches in a Week 6 loss, gaining 35 yards. He was targeted five times, mostly running short routes in a game where Andy Dalton threw the ball 54 times but struggled seemingly every time he threw. Schultz flashed in his first post-Blake Jarwin start, but he's settled into a decent floor but low-ceiling tight end option. He'll come down with a touchdown now and then, but is more of a high-end TE2 in most matchups.