Thu Nov 19 5:46pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) looks to pass the football during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) looks to throw against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
DENVER (AP) Tua Tagovailoa isn't putting up the ''Star Wars'' numbers that we've grown accustomed to seeing from quarterbacks coming out of today's high-powered college offenses.
Miami's rookie QB is averaging just 172 yards passing in his three starts and has thrown five touchdown passes. Over a full season, that would equate to approximately 2,750 yards and 26 TDs, or about what Patrick Mahomes has already piled up this season.
Yet, here are the numbers that really stand out for the ex-Alabama lefty: zero interceptions, no losses.
''He's got a really quick release. He's accurate. Obviously, he's got the athletic ability,'' said Vic Fangio, whose reeling Broncos (3-6) host Tagovailoa's surging Dolphins (6-3) on Sunday. ''He can be a scrambler and elusive in the pocket. But I think the biggest thing is that he's running their offense very, very efficiently.''
Tagovailoa is one of only two quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to win his first three career starts without throwing an interception. The other was Philadelphia's Carson Wentz.
''It's hard to coach accuracy,'' Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. ''I can't get a guy more accurate than he is.''
Tagovailoa's touchdown/interception ratio of 5-0 is nothing new to those who followed his Crimson Tide career. His ratio in three seasons at Alabama was 87/11.
''You always want to end the drives in a kick,'' Tagovailoa said. ''Even if that means a punt.''
The Broncos have had way too many drives end with the ball in opponents' hands.
They lead the league with 21 giveaways, including an NFL-high 16 interceptions, four of which came last week in a 37-12 rout by the Raiders, who forced five turnovers altogether.
Miami ranks fourth in the league with 15 takeaways.
''This will be a very important week for us to take care of the ball,'' Fangio said.
Other subplots Sunday include Tagovailoa seeking to join Ben Roethlisberger as the only rookie quarterbacks in the last 40 years to win their first four starts.
WHO SHALL LEAD
Broncos QB Drew Lock and his backup Brett Rypien shared snaps at practice during the week as Lock worked his way back from bruised ribs and a strained oblique he sustained on a blindside hit by Raiders pass rusher Arden Key last week.
''I'm feeling better every day,'' Lock said.
MIXING IT UP
The blitz-happy Dolphins rank second in the NFL in takeaways per game at 1.7. Ten players have sacks, which has kept opponents guessing.
''I would say we were probably pretty confused out there with the looks that they were giving us,'' Chargers receiver Keenan Allen said last week. ''They kind of messed with our play calling a little bit.''
The Dolphins, who are embarking on a three-week stretch against teams that are a combined 5-21-1, sometimes bunch seven players along the line of scrimmage, and they'll then rush the passer in any combination.
''We work on that every day at practice,'' Miami sacks leader Emmanuel Ogbah said, ''and until it gets stopped, we're going to keep doing it.''
Some of it has to do with the Broncos' offensive miscues giving opponents a short field, but Denver's normally solid defense has slipped over the last month. The Broncos have allowed at least 30 points in four straight games for the first time since 1968, and 37 of those 144 points they've given up in that span have come off turnovers.
Exacerbating Denver's defensive woes are the absences of coordinator Ed Donatell and end Shelby Harris because of COVID-19 infections. Harris will miss his third consecutive game and Donatell has been out since Oct. 31. Donatell is one of two people in the NFL known to have been hospitalized with a serious case of the novel coronavirus. The other is Jaguars RB Ryquell Armstead.
Fangio said Donatell is back home and recovering and they speak a couple of times a day, text often, ''and he is looking in on some of the meetings virtually from his residence. He's much, much better. Every day he gets better.''
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 13
The New York Giants placed starting outside linebacker Kyle Fackrell (calf) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday with a calf injury. Fackrell will miss at least the next three games, leaving the Giants very short-handed at the position. He was tied for second on the team with three sacks and was playing close to 100 percent of the defensive snaps before suffering the injury in the Week 12 win over the Bengals. No outside linebacker on the active roster has more than one sack this year. Linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines are also on IR. Jamaal Sheard and rookies Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown could start in Week 13 against the Seahawks, making the New York defense one to avoid for fantasy managers after they were a popular streaming defense against Cincy.
The Denver Broncos activated quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday after all three had PCR tests come back negative on Monday. They will all be eligible to play in Week 13 against the Chiefs. So barring additional team discipline, the Broncos won't be forced to use a practice-squad wide receiver under center against their division rivals. If Lock returns as the starter for this offense, it'll be excellent news for receivers Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler and tight end Noah Fant. Denver will likely be forced to throw often to keep up with the Chiefs high-octane offense, too, but Lock's inconsistency this season keeps him as a low-end QB2. The 24-year-old was 24-for-40 for 254 yards and two interceptions in the first meeting against KC back in Week 7.
The Atlanta Falcons placed wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (toe) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday after he left the Week 12 win over the Raiders with a toe injury. In a corresponding move, the team activated receiver Laquon Treadwell from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and added him to the 53-man roster. Zaccheaus popped up for a couple decent games this year, but it his production was inconsistent on a weekly basis and he was too far down the team's receiving depth chart to be a viable fantasy option in most leagues. The second-year wideout's best game came in Week 9 against the Broncos when he had four receptions for 103 yards and his first touchdown of the season. If he doesn't make it back this year, he'll finish with 20 receptions (32 targets) for 274 yards and the one touchdown. Christian Blake and Brandon Powell could see some more playing time as the No. 4 wideout with Zaccheaus out.
Baltimore Ravens running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram II are both eligible to be activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list prior to the Week 12 game against the Steelers on Wednesday, but it's not a given that either will play. Both players have been isolated since testing positive for the virus on Nov. 22 and aren't allowed to fly on the team plane on Tuesday night. At this point, if you have Dobbins or Ingram on your roster, you've likely benched them for other running backs that already played in Week 12. Even if they both play, Gus Edwards could see the majority of backfield touches and will be the best fantasy play of the trio. Those that picked up Edwards in order to start him this week are hoping that neither Dobbins nor Ingram suit up in the tough matchup against the undefeated Steelers.
The Baltimore Ravens activated defensive tackle Brandon Williams, quarterback Trace McSorley, nickelback Tavon Young and cornerback Khalil Dorsey from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. They could activate more players from the list before kickoff against the Steelers on Wednesday. McSorley should be the backup to Robert Griffin III on Wednesday with Lamar Jackson testing positive for COVID-19 and being unavailable this week. The return of Williams will be good news for Baltimore's defensive line, who will again be without Pro Bowl defensive lineman Calais Campbell. The Ravens Defense is more of a gamble in DFS and season-long leagues against the undefeated Steelers, but inclement weather is expected and could make things tougher on both offenses.
Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (ankle) is 'just kind of beat up,' according to offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Cook briefly left the Week 12 game against the Carolina Panthers but returned to finish with 83 total yards and 22 touches. He leads the league with 1,385 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns on the season. The Vikings' schedule gets much tougher following the Week 13 home date against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he'll remain a matchup-proof RB1 due to his heavy usage.
San Francisco 49ers DT D.J. Jones, DE Jordan Willis and practice squad TE Daniel Helm will be activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and practice Thursday, Dec. 3, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Los Angeles Chargers TE Matt Sokol and DB Jaylen Watkins were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Las Vegas Raiders LB Vic Beasley, PK Dominik Eberle, DE David Irving and DE Chris Smith were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Houston Texans WR Chad Hansen, DT Corey Liuget, WR Steven Mitchell Jr. and WR Damion Ratley were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Terry Godwin, DB Josh Nurse, DT Caraun Reid and PK Aldrick Rosas were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Dallas Cowboys DB Deante Burton, OT Jordan Mills, DB Rashard Robinson and OT William Sweet were named protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Denver Broncos RB LeVante Bellamy, TE Troy Fumagalli, DB Alijah Holder and LB Josh Watson were made protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Cleveland Browns OT Michael Dunn, QB Kyle Lauletta, PK Matthew McCrane and OT Alex Taylor were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Free-agent WR Joe Webb (Lions) is visiting the New York Giants Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Chicago Bears QB Tyler Bray was designated as a protected practice squad player for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Cincinnati Bengals QB Kevin Hogan, WR Stanley Morgan, RB Jacques Patrick and TE Mitchell Wilcox were named as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Buffalo Bills DE Bryan Cox Jr., C Jordan Devey, C Jonotthan Harrison and LB Darron Lee were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 13 on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller and CB Bradley Roby were officially placed on the Reserve/Suspended list Tuesday, Dec. 1. The Texans also activated DT Andrew Brown from the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list.
Arizona Cardinals TE Seth DeValve, DE Michael Dogbe, RB D.J. Foster and WR A.J. Richardson were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 13 on Tuesday, Dec. 1.