Cardinals, Rams meet Sunday for 4th time in calendar year

Thu Sep 22 5:35pm ET
By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer

Related photo caption below

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) There aren't many secrets between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams, teams that will face each other Sunday for the fourth time in the past calendar year.

There's also no secret the Rams have had a huge advantage of late.

The defending Super Bowl champions have won 10 of 11 games in the series dating to 2017, including a dominant 34-11 playoff victory in the NFC wild-card round.

''They've obviously had our number here for a long time and that's not lost upon us, but we're just trying to improve,'' Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. ''The last two weeks, we have started so slow, and we had 12 penalties last week. There's a lot that we have to focus on.

''We know they're a talented team and defending champs, so it's really been about us improving this week.''

The Cardinals (1-1) are in a good mood after last week's stunning come-from-behind win. Arizona trailed Las Vegas 20-0 at halftime, but rallied for a 29-23 victory when Byron Murphy Jr. returned Hunter Renfrow's fumble 59 yards for a touchdown with 3:51 left in overtime.

The Rams (1-1) bounced back from a rough loss to Buffalo in Week 1 by beating Atlanta 31-27 last week.

''I think they know us. We know them,'' Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford said of the rivalry. ''Every year is a little bit different, players are different, schemes a little bit different, how those players fit into that scheme, all of it. But they're a really talented football team.''

The Cardinals did beat the Rams once last season, 37-20 in Inglewood.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray said facing the Rams - including seven-time All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald - is something he enjoys, no matter how difficult it can be.

''I've learned to embrace and love the opportunity to be able to play against (Donald) just because he's not going to be here forever and playing the game forever,'' Murray said. ''To be able to step on the field with him is an honor and to be able to go to battle against him. Like I said, he's one of the best ever do it, so that's how I see it.''

MURRAY'S MOVING

It has been a conundrum since Murray was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cardinals in 2019: The shifty quarterback is at his best when he runs the ball, but that also increases his risk of injury.

Kingsbury said Murray did a good job of picking his spots against the Raiders. The fourth-year quarterback made multiple incredible plays during Arizona's comeback against Las Vegas, including a 20-second scramble for a crucial 2-point conversion.

''He took advantage of the opportunities when they were there,'' Kingsbury said. ''I thought he made really good decisions of when to take off and when to move around.''

FIVE PICKS

Arizona's defense doesn't have an interception yet this season, but Stafford has been generous with the Rams' last few opponents.

The veteran quarterback leads the NFL with five interceptions in the first two weeks, and he tied for the league lead last season with 17 in his first year in LA. Stafford has thrown eight interceptions in his last four games, counting the Rams' final two postseason victories.

Stafford has vowed to cut down on his turnovers, which have happened even with coach Sean McVay largely avoiding long downfield routes in one of the NFL's most cautious passing attacks.

SCOUTING SIMMONS

Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons lost his starting job after one week but had the team's biggest moment in Week 2, forcing Renfrow's fumble that was returned by Murphy for the overtime touchdown.

Simmons - a first-round pick out of Clemson in 2020 - has been an enigma for the Cardinals during his first three seasons and it's hard to know where he goes from here. He was on the field for just 15 snaps against the Raiders because of his inconsistency, but has a penchant for big plays.

TURNOVER TURNABOUT

The Rams' defense has compensated for Stafford's profligacy by making seven takeaways in the first two weeks of the season, tied with Buffalo for the most in the league. The defense only made 25 total takeaways last season.

Seven players have a takeaway, including All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey's game-clinching interception against Atlanta last week. The Rams might need Ramsey to be a difference-maker again this week, since promising rookie defensive back Cobie Durant is unlikely to play due to a hamstring injury and starter David Long could be slowed by a groin injury.

WATT'S UP

Defensive lineman J.J. Watt is relatively healthy and should play Sunday, which is good news for the Cardinals.

Watt had a sack last week against the Raiders and the five-time All-Pro continues to be effective when he's on the field. He's one reason the Cardinals didn't give up a touchdown after halftime in last week's win over the Raiders.

Player Notes
Melvin Gordon Oct 3 2:13pm ET
Melvin Gordon

Dynasty | Broncos running back Javonte Williams has been diagnosed with a torn ACL, and LCL. Dynasty Analysis: And with that, we have our first major injury in dynasty leagues after a relatively quiet first month, Williams is out for the season, will undergo surgery and should return in time for the 2023 season. It's a brutal blow for the Sophomore running back who was starting to separate himself from Melvin Gordon. He'll end his season with 404 rushing yards, 16 catches, 76 receiving yards and no scores. Williams' dynasty value is going to take a hit after this injury and he's likely to drop out of first round consideration. However, this injury could open an opportunity for a dynasty owner to buy on our RB3.

From Dynasty League Fantasy

Cordarrelle Patterson Oct 3 2:10pm ET
Cordarrelle Patterson

Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) is headed to Injured Reserve but is expected to return at some point this season. His placement on IR means he'll be out for at least four weeks. Rookie Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley combined for 140 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Browns and will be the featured backs moving forward. Damien Williams (rib) could return soon, too, so he's worth noting. For now, it's tough to say whether Allgeier or Huntley is the player to start in Week 5 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it'll be a tough matchup against one of the league's premier front sevens in the NFL.

From RotoBaller

Cordarrelle Patterson Oct 3 1:23pm ET
Cordarrelle Patterson

Atlanta Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Patterson is averaging 5.9 yards per carry and ranks fourth in the league in rushing at 340 yards, so there is no question his absence will be a big one for the Falcons. With Damien Williams also on IR, rookie Tyler Allgeier will almost certainly be asked to carry most of the load for the next couple of weeks. Caleb Huntley also figures to play a prominent role after rushing for 56 yards and his first NFL touchdown on 10 carries in Week 4. Allgeier should be considered a strong flex option with RB2 upside and Huntley a priority stash in deeper leagues.

From TheHuddle

Javonte Williams Oct 3 1:10pm ET
Javonte Williams

Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (knee) suffered a torn ACL in the Week 4 loss to the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders and his 2022 season is over, according to a source. Williams came into the year as a popular breakout candidate in his second NFL season, but after four weeks, no touchdowns and a torn ACL, his sophomore season comes to a disappointing end. He can now be dropped in single-season leagues. With Williams now done, the Broncos will turn to some combination of Melvin Gordon III and Mike Boone. Gordon had a disastrous Week 4 with three carries for eight yards and a lost fumble that was returned for a touchdown. While this could be another frustrating timeshare, Gordon should have more fantasy upside as a potential RB2, but Boone is also worth waiver-wire consideration in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Oct 3 1:00pm ET
Marquise Brown

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (forearm) didn't suffer a major forearm injury in the Week 4 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and has a chance to play in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, cornerback Avonte Maddox (ankle), who suffered an ankle sprain last week, is up in the air for Week 5, according to sources. Maddox could miss another game, but his injury isn't long-term. It's good news for the Eagles secondary as they try to remain the only undefeated team in the league heading into a matchup against Arizona. If Slay is able to play, it will be bad news for Cardinals No. 1 receiver Marquise Brown. The Eagles defense/special teams has been a must-start fantasy unit this season.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Oct 3 12:50pm ET
Baker Mayfield

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters on Monday that he's sticking with Baker Mayfield as his quarterback after the Week 4 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Rhule added that Sam Darnold (ankle) is still not ready to return from his high-ankle sprain. Darnold reportedly isn't close to coming off Injured Reserve, so the struggling Mayfield will have a little more leash as the starter under center. The 27-year-old has gone 64-for-117 for 747 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in his first four games with the Panthers. Mayfield is averaging a career-low 6.4 yards per attempt and 186.8 yards per game. He'll remain a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues going forward, and if he's still struggling when Darnold is healthy enough to return, the Panthers could be compelled to make a switch.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Smith Oct 3 12:40pm ET
Jimmy Smith

Long-time Baltimore Ravens standout cornerback Jimmy Smith is retiring on Monday after 11 seasons with the team, the Ravens announced. Smith was originally drafted by Baltimore in the first round (27th overall) in 2011 out of the University of Colorado, and he spent all 11 seasons of his NFL career with the Ravens. In total, he racked up 374 tackles (324 solo), eight tackles for loss, three QB hits, 14 interceptions (two for touchdowns), 74 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (one touchdown) and three sacks in 128 regular season games (90 starts). The 34-year-old played in only 10 games (two starts) in 2021 and had 18 tackles (15 solo) and three passes defensed.

From RotoBaller

Kendrick Bourne Oct 3 12:40pm ET
Kendrick Bourne

New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne had just two receptions on three targets for 23 yards in the 27-24 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 4. He also added one carry for a 15-yard gain. On the bright side, Bourne played 45 percent of the team's offensive snaps, which was his highest mark in four games with Jakobi Meyers (knee) missing his second straight game. Still, it wasn't much action for the 27-year-old considering Meyers' absence, and with quarterback Mac Jones (ankle) and backup Brian Hoyer (head) now hurt, Bourne's fantasy appeal will take another hit if rookie third-stringer Bailey Zappe is forced to start in Week 5 against the Detroit Lions.

From RotoBaller

Darius Leonard Oct 3 12:33pm ET
Darius Leonard

Indianapolis Colts LB Shaquille Leonard (concussion) will be out for Week 5.

Fantasy Spin: He had just two tackles before exiting his first game of the year. Zaire Franklin will continue to get run in his absence and is a flex option.

From TheHuddle

Jamie Collins Oct 3 12:30pm ET
Jamie Collins

The New England Patriots are expected to sign free-agent linebacker Jamie Collins, according to sources. It remains to be seen if Collins will join the practice squad or the active roster, but he's expected to join the team in some capacity as they look for improved linebacker play. This will be Collins' fourth different stint with New England after they initially drafted him in the second round in 2013 out of South Miss. In 10 games with the Patriots in 2021, he had 20 tackles (11 solo), three tackles for loss, an interception and three passes defensed. The 32-year-old made the Pro Bowl back in 2015 and had over 100 combined tackles as recently as 2020 in 14 starts for the Detroit Lions.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Oct 3 12:20pm ET
Sam Darnold

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (ankle) is now eligible to come off Injured Reserve, but he's not close to returning from the left high-ankle sprain that he suffered in late August, according to a source. In the words of the source, it's "going to be a while." It's good news for Baker Mayfield, who has underwhelmed in his first four games as the starter for Carolina. Mayfield has completed a career-low 54.7 percent of his 117 pass attempts for 747 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions through four games. It's not as if Darnold would be any better, but when he's finally healthy again, he could put some heat on Darnold if he hasn't improved by then. The 25-year-old Darnold should remain on the waiver wire in all single-year leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Oct 3 12:10pm ET
Jamison Crowder

Buffalo Bills veteran wide receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle) suffered a broken ankle in the Week 4 win over the Baltimore Ravens, according to a source. Crowder will have additional tests to see what other damage he might have, but he's now out indefinitely. It's a tough break for the 29-year-old slot man, who had just six catches on 13 targets for 60 yards in four games before his injury. He wasn't a realistic option for starting fantasy lineups with Isaiah McKenzie the starter in the slot in 2022. Crowder isn't a must-stash in deep single-season formats. McKenzie should see more targets as a result, and it should also mean more work for rookie Khalil Shakir, but don't expect much out of the youngster in redraft leagues.

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders Oct 3 12:10pm ET
Miles Sanders

Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders proved in Week 4 that he can be a strong fantasy option in 2022, running for a career-high 134 yards in the 29-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was the first time in his four-year career that the 25-year-old reached 27 carries in a game. In the first three weeks of the season, only one RB had 27-plus carries in a game. "Miles Sanders is our No. 1 back! There ain't no question about it!" head coach Nick Sirianni said. Sanders is playing the best football of his career and has become a must-start in fantasy lineups for the 4-0 Eagles. Through four games, he has 72 carries for 356 yards and three touchdowns without turning the ball over. Fantasy managers shouldn't expect 27 carries every week, but Sanders has proven to be up to the task in one of the best offenses in the league.

From RotoBaller

Landon Collins Oct 3 12:03pm ET
Landon Collins

Free-agent SS Landon Collins (Commanders) is visiting the New York Giants Monday, Oct. 3.

From TheHuddle

Sam Darnold Oct 3 11:53am ET
Sam Darnold

Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold (ankle) is eligible to come off the Reserve/Injured list, but he's not close to returning from a high-ankle sprain.

From TheHuddle

Jamie Collins Oct 3 11:53am ET
Jamie Collins

Free-agent LB Jamie Collins (Patriots) is likely to re-sign with the New England Patriots Monday, Oct. 3.

From TheHuddle

Jamison Crowder Oct 3 11:33am ET
Jamison Crowder

Buffalo Bills WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) suffered a broken ankle in Week 4 and will be out indefinitely. He'll undergo tests for potential other damage.

Fantasy Spin: He only had six grabs for 60 yards this year and hasn't been worth owning in fantasy.

From TheHuddle

Jimmy Smith Oct 3 10:33am ET
Jimmy Smith

Former Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith will sign a one-day contract with the team Monday, Oct. 3, to retire with the club.

From TheHuddle

Noah Fant Oct 3 8:50am ET
Noah Fant

Seattle Seahawks tight end Noah Fant was coming off a four-catch performance last week, but was barely seen on Sunday. The 24-year-old hauled in one of his two targets for two yards and a touchdown in the Week 4 win over the Detroit Lions. The Seahawks have struggled to get Fant consistently involved in this offense. Will Dissly is the better fantasy option between the two tight ends. It's hard to imagine Fant having much streaming value against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5.

From RotoBaller

Will Dissly Oct 3 8:40am ET
Will Dissly

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly made the most of his chances during the Week 4 matchup against the Detroit Lions. The 26-year-old hauled in all four of his targets for 39 yards and a touchdown in the win. He now has three touchdowns in four games, which is somewhat saving his fantasy value. Although, he won't be anything more than a touchdown-dependent option against the New Orleans Saints defense in Week 5.

From RotoBaller