Mon Sep 18 12:21pm ET
Field Level Media
Brandon Staley has long been one of the NFL's most polarizing head coaches.
Known for his penchant for taking risks on fourth down, it's his team's ongoing habit of turning wins into losses that could land Staley in the unemployment line.
The Los Angeles Chargers decided to keep Staley despite blowing a 27-point lead at Jacksonville in last season's playoffs -- with the Jaguars staging the third-largest postseason comeback in NFL history.
The Chargers have also held fourth-quarter leads in both games to open the 2023 season, only to walk away with losses to Miami and Tennessee. They're only a game out in the AFC West, where Kansas City and Las Vegas are 1-1, but Staley is now the +200 favorite by SportsBetting.ag to be the first coach fired this season.
He opened the season at +1600, tied for the ninth-shortest odds. That was slightly behind Chicago's Matt Eberflus, whose odds have shifted from +1400 to +400 following the Bears' own 0-2 start. While Staley is in Year 3 in L.A., Eberflus is in just his second season in the Windy City, but has just three wins through his first 16 games.
Their stories differ significantly from that of Washington's Ron Rivera. Despite the Commanders' 2-0 start, Rivera's odds at the book of being the first coach fired this season have actually shortened from +700 to +400.
The Commanders have opened with victories against Arizona and Denver, a pair of 0-2 teams that held leads against Washington. Rivera is also playing under a new ownership group that didn't hire him, and the Commanders face a daunting schedule ahead that begins with Sunday's home game against Buffalo followed by a trip to Philadelphia.
The next-shortest odds belong to Las Vegas' Josh McDaniels. He was one of the co-favorites preseason, and is being offered at +500 despite the Raiders' 1-1 start.
FIRST NFL COACH FIRED ODDS
Brandon Staley (+200)
Matt Eberflus (+400)
Ron Rivera (+400)
Josh McDaniels (+500)
Kevin O'Connell (+1200)
Robert Saleh (+1400)
Dennis Allen (+2500)
Mike Vrabel (+2500)
Todd Bowles (+2500)
Jonathan Gannon (+3300)
Kevin Stefanski (+3300)
Mike Tomlin (+3300)
Sean Payton (+3300)
Zac Taylor (+3300)
Bill Belichick (+4000)
Pete Carroll (+5000)
Frank Reich (+6600)
Matt Lafleur (+6600)
Mike McCarthy (+6600)
Sean McDermott (+6600)
Shane Steichen (+6600)
Arthur Smith (+10000)
Brian Daboll (+10000)
Dan Campbell (+10000)
DeMeco Ryans (+10000)
Doug Pederson (+10000)
John Harbaugh (+10000)
Sean McVay (+10000)
Mike McDaniel (+20000)
Nick Sirianni (+25000)
Andy Reid (+50000)
Kyle Shanahan (+50000)
Staley said following Sunday's loss against the Titans that last season's loss to the Jaguars "hasn't carried onto the season whatsoever."
The fact remains the Chargers are 0-2 and it won't take much for their season to spiral out of control.
They travel to Minnesota for a Week 3 game against an equally desperate 0-2 Vikings team. Following a home game against McDaniels' Raiders, the Chargers play host to Dallas and return home to face Kansas City.
Whether Staley survives to see the conclusion of his third season in L.A. could well ride on where the Chargers are sitting after Week 6.
"It's a convenient storyline for you and for everybody else, but it's not the truth," Staley said of any potential carryover from the Jacksonville loss. "We've lost two tough games but the guys in that locker room, the men in that locker room they are finishers and they have what it takes and we're excited to prove ourselves."
Meanwhile, the two men McDaniels shared the shortest odds with ahead of the season have seemingly worked their way to cooler chairs thanks to 2-0 starts.
Dallas has begun the season with a pair of impressive blowout victories, leading coach Mike McCarthy's odds to go from +600 to +6600. And Tampa Bay's Todd Bowles is now +2500 following the Buccaneers' opening two wins against Minnesota and Chicago.
Dynasty | Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool will remain away from the team this week after expressing displeasure in regards to his role in the offense. Dynasty Analysis: After showing a ton of promise in his first two years with the Steelers, the wheels have fallen off the proverbial cart. Claypool was traded at last year's deadline but was only able to muster 14 catches for 140 scoreless yards in seven games with the Bears last year. Through three games this season, he has four catches for 51 yards and a score. This relationship seems fractured beyond repair as Head Coach Matt Eberflus is basically keeping him home instead of even being around the team. Expect a trade or release in the coming days. Claypool's ranking of WR81 has nowhere to go but up at this point.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion) is still in concussion protocol after missing Sunday's Week 4 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. He has now been in the protocol for a week. Head coach Josh McDaniels said the veteran signal-caller is still the team's starting quarterback when he returns from the injury. Rookie Aidan O'Connell threw for 238 yards and an interception in the Week 4 loss, but he did score a rushing touchdown on a QB sneak. Garoppolo's eventual return to the lineup should help Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers get back on track.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert had his best game of the young season in the 38-3 shellacking of the New England Patriots on Sunday in Week 4. Tolbert hauled in all four of his targets for 53 yards, which was third on the team in this one behind tight end Jake Ferguson and receiver Michael Gallup. Both the catches and receiving yards were career-highs for the 24-year-old Tolbert, and he also made a big special-teams tackle early in the game. Fantasy managers can continue to ignore Tolbert, even in deeper formats, as he's currently behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Gallup on the receiver depth chart in Dallas.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus told ESPN1000 in Chicago that wide receiver Chase Claypool will remain away from the team this week as they prepare for their Week 5 matchup against the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football. The Bears made some changes to their offense heading into the Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, the biggest of which was making the struggling Claypool a healthy scratch. A report on Sunday also surfaced that the Bears are seeking to trade the 25-year-old wideout to a team that is in need of receiver depth. In the first three weeks this year, Claypool has just four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. His fantasy value has hit rock bottom at this point, but a change of scenery could do him some good.
It wasn't much, but Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught a season-high four passes on four targets for 27 receiving yards in the team's 38-3 blowout win over the New England Patriots in Week 4 on Sunday in Dallas. Cooks returned in Week 3 from a knee injury after missing one game and he has six receptions for 44 yards on 11 targets the last two weeks. The Cowboys really haven't had to throw the ball all that much early on this year, which has hurt Cooks in his first year with the team. That won't remain the a case all year, but the 30-year-old veteran wideout probably isn't going to have a very dynamic role in this offense unless CeeDee Lamb or Michael Gallup miss time with an injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) is getting his injured hamstring scanned on Monday. It's not just a tweak, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. We'll have to wait to see what the tests show on his hamstring, but at this point, he seems pretty questionable to play in Week 5 against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens. Before leaving Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans, the 24-year-old had three catches on four targets for just seven yards. If you've been rolling with Freiermuth as your TE1, you'd be wise to start making backup plans for Week 5 now. If he's unable to play against Baltimore, Darnell Washington and Connor Heyward would both be in line for bigger pass-catching roles for the Steelers.
New England Patriots wide receiver Demario Douglas hauled in two of three targets for 45 yards against the Cowboys in Week 4. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Douglas seemed to impress the Patriots' coaching staff throughout training camp and the first four weeks of the regular season, with the exception of his Week 2 fumble. The Patriots have a somewhat deep but not very top-heavy receiving corps, creating the possibility for Douglas to earn more targets if he keeps playing well. Dynasty managers would be wise to stash the Liberty product.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne hauled in two of three targets for 36 yards in Week 4 versus the Cowboys. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. This was the Bourne's worst game of the season in terms of both statistics and fantasy production. The 28-year-old had a big Week 1, playing 91 percent of snaps and scoring two touchdowns, but has come back down to earth since then. Notably, he has yet to log more than 56 percent of snaps in a single game since the opener. He has lost playing time to DeVante Parker and Demario Douglas and isn't an appealing fantasy option for the time being.
Cleveland Browns All-Pro pass-rusher Myles Garrett (ankle) rolled his ankle in the Week 4 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and was seen in a walking boot after the game, but it doesn't seem to be a major injury. The Browns are heading into their bye in Week 5, and Garrett assured reporters on Sunday that he's not going to miss any time with his ankle injury. It's great timing for the 27-year-old, the Browns defense and fantasy managers that have Garrett rostered in IDP leagues, as he should be back and ready to rock in Week 6 at home against the San Francisco 49ers. Garrett is one of the best pass-rushers in football and has nine tackles (eight solo) and 5.5 sacks through the first four weeks of the 2023 season.
Dynasty | Embattled Jets quarterback Zach Wilson completed 28-of-39 passes for 245 yards and two interceptions in the Jets close loss on SNF to the Chiefs. Dynasty Analysis: The Jets decided to stop playing it safe with Wilson and just let him loose in prime time. The results were shocking as he made difficult throws throughout the night and genuinely looked like a player who should have been taken in the top five of an NFL Draft. This is a small sample size and Wilson still made a critical mistake on a late fumble but the talk of Trevor Siemian taking over will be extinguished for now. Wilson is still off the dynasty radar but he at least has a pulse.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (finger) suffered a fractured finger on his left, non-throwing hand in the Week 4 win over the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, according to sources. Herbert's finger also suffered a gruesome nail injury, but he somehow finished the game and with the team's bye coming in Week 5, Herbert shouldn't miss any time. Once he returned to the game after having a split put on his fractured finger, he didn't take any snaps under center, except for a fourth-down sneak late in the game. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said he doesn't see this being a major issue for Herbert moving forward. The 25-year-old saved his fantasy day on Sunday with two rushing touchdowns, but he should remain a strong QB1 option coming off the bye for a Week 6 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, Oct. 16.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for just 30 yards on 14 carries against the Cowboys on Sunday evening. He also hauled in two of three targets for an additional 10 yards through the air. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Stevenson's relative struggles were the product of an ugly game that saw Mac Jones get benched in the second half. With that said, the Patriots face the Saints next week, which could be a bit more favorable. Stevenson should be treated as a low-end fantasy RB2.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens caught just three of his seven targets for 25 yards in the team's 30-6 blowout loss to the Houston Texans. Still, outside of running backs, the second-year pro led the team in receiving yards. The entire Pittsburgh offense sputtered against a beatable Houston defense. They also lost quarterback Kenny Pickett (knee) and tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) to injuries. It appears as though Mitch Trubisky could get the start against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. The passing game can't get much worse, so Pickens will still be viewed as a flex option next week.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren received 14 opportunities out of the backfield in the team's 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans. The second-year pro turned eight carries and six catches into 55 total yards. Warren and Najee Harris nearly split the touches 50/50. The starter ran the ball 14 times and caught one pass on two targets. Both backs saw 49% of the snaps in the blowout loss. Warren and the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. An already struggling offense could have a new quarterback in Mitch Trubisky, who is likely to start in place of Kenny Pickett (knee).
New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed just six times for 16 yards against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. He added six receiving yards on two catches. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Elliott was reportedly expected to handle the workload of an RB1 on Sunday, but that certainly did not happen. Not only did he and the offense struggle, but he was out-touched by Rhamondre Stevenson, 16 to eight. Elliott should not be started in fantasy football, and he can be dropped in leagues with 10 or fewer teams.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris cobbled together a fantasy-relevant performance for the Steelers in their 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans. The third-year pro ran the ball 14 times for 71 yards and caught one pass for 32 yards. His 100-yard performance was his first of the young season, despite his lowest snap percentage of the campaign. Backup running back Jaylen Warren received 14 touches in the game. The Steelers scored just six points on the afternoon as the offense continued to sputter. Harris and the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, where quarterback Mitch Trubisky may start in place of Kenny Pickett (knee).
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry remained the team's most involved pass-catcher on Sunday, hauling in four of five targets for 51 yards. The Patriots lost to the Cowboys by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Henry has 17 catches, 176 yards, and two touchdowns so far, ranking as the overall TE6 in PPR leagues. As much as the Patriots' offense has endured sporadic struggles, Henry has remained a relatively constant force and should be started in most fantasy leagues going forward. The Patriots face the Saints in Week 5.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (knee) will miss some time but it appears he's avoided a season-ending injury. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports that an MRI showed no ACL injury to Pickett's knee. We'll have a better idea about Pickett's injury soon but expect Mitchell Trubisky to start in Week 5 against Baltimore. Following their tilt against the Ravens, the Steelers will have a bye week. Pickett hasn't been good for fantasy managers this season and isn't on rosters in standard-sized redraft leagues. The Steelers' offense has been a disaster so far in 2023 and a new quarterback may not solve the problem.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (hamstring) may not miss any time with what is believed to be a minor hamstring injury. The 30-year-old departed the game against New Orleans in the second quarter after snagging three catches for 40 yards. The Buccaneers are on bye in Week 5 which gives Evans more time to heal. They'll face the Detroit Lions in Week 6. If he is still unable to play two weeks from now, Chris Godwin will play the role of No. 1 wide receiver. Trey Palmer and Deven Thompkins would also earn more snaps.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Adam Thielen caught seven of his eight targets for 76 yards in a 21-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. Thielen wound up leading all Panthers receivers in yardage while finishing second behind Terrace Marshall Jr. in targets and catches. Thielen has been productive since his Week 1 dud, going for 25 catches and two touchdowns over his past three games. Emerging as the top target in Carolina, Thielen has earned every week WR3 status in fantasy. He will look to stay hot against the Detroit Lions on the road in Week 5.