Mon Sep 26 12:00am ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) is helped off the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, foreground, is tackled by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smiles in the huddle during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
DENVER (AP) Melvin Gordon atoned for two fumbles with a late 1-yard touchdown run and safety Kareem Jackson recovered Jeff Wilson Jr.'s fumble with 1:05 left to preserve the Denver Broncos' 11-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.
Russell Wilson and the Broncos (2-1) won despite going three-and-out nine times. Their only sustained drive was a 12-play, 80-yarder that included a 12-yard scramble by Wilson. Gordon capped it with a 1-yard run with 4:10 remaining, but Wilson's 2-point pass was batted down, leaving the Broncos clinging to a one-point lead.
Jimmy Garoppolo, in his first start for the injured Trey Lance, who broke an ankle in Week 2, drove the 49ers (1-2) to midfield but his pass to Deebo Samuel was tipped by Jackson and intercepted by linebacker Jonas Griffith at the Denver 42 just before the 2-minute warning.
The Broncos went three-and-out for the ninth time in their 13 possessions, and the Niners got the ball back at their 15 with 1:42 left after punt returner Ray-Ray McCloud recovered his own muffed punt.
Bradley Chubb sacked Garoppolo for a 12-yard loss to the San Francisco 3. Then, Wilson hauled in the pass and coughed up the football on a hit from P.J. Locke, and Jackson scooped up the loose ball with 65 seconds left at the 49ers' 24.
The only other game in NFL history that finished 11-10 came on Nov. 16, 2008, when the Steelers edged the Chargers.
Before Gordon's score, Garoppolo's 3-yard strike to Brandon Aiyuk in the first quarter stood as the only touchdown on the night.
For a while it looked like this might be the first 7-5 finish since Washington beat Detroit on Oct. 16, 1938.
Garoppolo and the 49ers may never have been happier for a safety, because he stepped out of the back of the end zone while tossing a pass that Chubb picked off at the 3 and crossed the goal line for what the Broncos thought was a pick-6 that would have erased a 7-3 deficit.
But it was a safety, leaving the 49ers clinging to a 7-5 lead in the third quarter.
Garoppolo isn't the only NFL quarterback to lose track of where he was on the field and step out of the back of the end zone. It infamously happened to Dan Orlovsky on Oct. 12, 2008, while playing for the Detroit Lions. Orlovsky was trying to get away from Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen when he stepped out of bounds numerous times before the play was stopped.
Immediately after Garoppolo's blunder, Orlovsky posted on his Twitter account: ''IVE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER ... FFFFREEEEEDDDOOOMMMM.''
San Francisco star left tackle Trent Williams injured an ankle on the play and walked off the field and through the tunnel to the locker room. He didn't return.
The Broncos drove into field goal range after the subsequent free kick, but Brandon McManus was wide right on a 53-yard attempt that would have given Denver its first lead.
Robbie Gould's 51-yarder then gave San Francisco a 10-5 edge with 14 minutes remaining.
Dogged by play-calling problems, penalties and other operational miscues in his first two games as Denver's head coach, Nathaniel Hackett hired longtime NFL assistant and former Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, 66, to help him manage the game better and get calls into Russell Wilson faster.
Rosburg, who had been retired since 2019, was in the booth Sunday night and Denver's operations were cleaner, although a false start on Jerry Jeudy and a hold by Garett Bolles spoiled the Broncos' final drive before halftime.
Jeff Wilson reeled off a 37-yard run up the middle that set up San Francisco's first touchdown, a 3-yard catch by Aiyuk.
The Broncos didn't get a first down until the final play of the first quarter on Russell Wilson's 34-yard pass to Courtland Sutton out of his own end zone.
That eventually resulted in a 55-yard field goal by McManus that cut Denver's deficit to 7-3.
Linebacker Josey Jewell made his 2022 debut after missing two games with a calf injury and he recovered a fumble by Garoppolo at the 50-yard line early in the third quarter. But Denver's offense again went three-and-out.
San Francisco LB Azeez Al-Shaair left in the second quarter with a knee injury and didn't return. Broncos OLB Baron Browning left in the second quarter with a knee injury, and DT D.J. Jones left in the third with a head injury.
The 49ers host the Rams on Monday night, Oct. 3, and the Broncos visit the Raiders on Sunday.
Dynasty | Jeff Wilson was the clear lead back Sunday night with 12 carries. Dynasty Analysis: Wilson fared well against a tough Broncos defense. Marlon Mack didn't see the field and Jordan Mason carried just once for seven yards. Newly signed Tevin Coleman may be signed to the active roster going forward but it appears Wilson is the lead back until Mitchell comes back. TDP is still out with a high ankle sprain. Those who took Wilson late are being rewarded.
Dynasty | Javonte Williams touched the ball just one more time than Melvin Gordon. Dynasty Analysis: Williams led the team in carries with 15, but Gordon was right behind him with 12 and scored the lone Broncos touchdown. Gordon was also more involved in the passing game, caching five of six targets for 29 yards. Williams is clearly the future in Denver, but Gordon is not going away quietly. Managers will have to wait a little longer for the breakout. Perhaps the youngster can get on track in a juicy matchup versus the Raiders in Week 4.
Dynasty | George Kittle brought in four of five targets for 28 yards in the Sunday night loss to Denver. Dynasty Analysis: Kittle saw his first action of the season and was active in the limited passing game. Jimmy Garoppolo made his first start and struggled, completing just 18 of 29 passes for 211 yards. Kittle should be heavily involved in the passing game moving forward as he clears the cobwebs from being inactive the early part of the season. Aiyuk and Samuel saw eight targets apiece so balance favors Kittle.
Dynasty | Albert Okwuegbunam caught one of two targets for 12 yards versus the Broncos on Sunday. Dynasty Analysis: Okwuegbunam has only 8.3 PPR points through three contests and posted a goose egg in Week 2. The Broncos spread the ball around too much for him to be a factor. At this point, he belongs deep on benches behind the likes of David Njoku, Irv Smith Jr., and even Evan Engram. Expect a big drop in the next iteration of the DLF TE rankings.
Atlanta Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier had a quiet performance in the 27-23 Week 3 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Last week he had 10 rushing attempts for 30 yards in that game. However, Allgeier couldn't take advantage of a great matchup against the Seahawks. The former BYU star had only rushing attempts for 25 yards and one reception for five yards. While he only scored 3.5 half-point PPR fantasy points in Week 3, Allgeier should be rostered in deeper leagues. He is an injury to Cordarrelle Patterson away from a featured workload.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London has been a star the first two weeks of the year. The former USC receiver had 13 receptions on 19 targets for 160 receiving yards and a touchdown over the first two weeks. However, the first-round pick had a semi-quiet performance against the Seattle Seahawks. He caught three of his six targets for 54 yards and Marcus Mariota's only passing touchdown of the game. While he had only three receptions, London still scored 12.9 half-point PPR fantasy points against the Seahawks. The rookie receiver has a solid matchup next week against the Cleveland Browns and belongs in fantasy lineups.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus caught both his targets in the 27-23 Week 3 win over the Seattle Seahawks. The veteran receiver finished third on the team in targets, only seeing fewer targets than Kyle Pitts (eight) and the rookie Drake London (six). While he had only two receptions in the game, Zaccheaus had 49 receiving yards, including a 26-yard reception in the second quarter. However, the veteran receiver has scored under 9.5 half-point PPR fantasy points in every game this season. Even fantasy players in deeper leagues should leave Zaccheaus on the waiver wire.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts had back-to-back awful fantasy performances to start the year. However, the second-year tight end rebounded in the 27-23 Week 3 win over the Seattle Seahawks. He pulled in five receptions on eight targets for 87 receiving yards, leading the team in all three categories. Furthermore, the former Florida star had eight targets after having only three last week. While he failed to find the end zone, fantasy players have to feel confident as the star tight end scored 11.2 half-point PPR fantasy points against the Seahawks. After his strong performance, Pitts remains a plug-and-play TE1.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee caught all four passes thrown his way for 61 yards in the Rams' 20-12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals Week 3. The 29-year-old closely trailed WR Ben Skowronek for the team lead in receiving yards in the Rams' 20-12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals Week 3. While he was not targeted as frequently as he was in the first two weeks, he made the most of them, compiling his highest catch rate and highest yards per reception of the season. With 10 PPR points, Higbee ranks just outside the top 12 tight ends for the week.
The Atlanta Falcons defense had a quiet performance in the 27-23 Week 3 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Despite the positive matchup, the Atlanta defense had only one turnover and two sacks in the contest. Furthermore, they allowed Geno Smith to throw for 325 yards in the game. The Falcons defense also struggled to contain Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Both Seattle wide receivers ended the game with at least 12 half-point PPR fantasy points. Next week the Falcons take on Cleveland Browns in Atlanta. However, the defense is a low-end streaming option at best.
Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo had a strong performance in Week 1, scoring 18 fantasy points against the New Orleans Saints. However, the veteran kicker has attempted only four field goals over the past two weeks, making three. While he had only two attempts against Seattle, Koo made both, including a 54-yard kick in the third quarter. The veteran kicker has made 71.4% of his field goal attempts this season and all seven of his extra-point tries. Unfortunately, Atlanta's offense limits Koo's fantasy upside this season, making the kicker a low-end streaming option at best most weeks.
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson led the team to a narrow 11-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football in Week 3, but he continued to look rough in the process. Wilson completed 20 of his 33 attempts for just 184 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions. He added six carries for 17 yards. To be fair, the Niners defense is one of the best in the NFL, but Wilson looks far from his old self from his prime with the Seattle Seahawks. He hasn't been on the same page with his receivers through three weeks, and the Broncos offense just has not been able to get into any kind of rhythm at all. Things should get easier in Week 4 against the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders, but right now, the 33-year-old can't be considered a QB1 in fantasy with any kind of confidence.
Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams led the backfield in carries for the second straight week, but he didn't do much with his opportunities in the 11-10 win over the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. He racked up 58 rushing yards on his 15 carries (3.9 yards per carry) while catching three of his five targets in the passing game for just two yards. Williams only had three more carries than backfield mate Melvin Gordon III, who caught two more passes and scored the team's only offensive touchdown in a game that was dominated by defense. Just like last year, the 22-year-old is being held back in fantasy by the presence of Gordon, and it's preventing him from having weekly RB1 upside. Williams will take on a Las Vegas Raiders defense in Week 4 that is allowing just over 100 yards per game on the ground through three weeks.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 13 of his 20 pass attempts in the Week 3 win over the Seattle Seahawks. The veteran quarterback had a pair of touchdowns in the game. He also had a one-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. Mariota then had a 14-yard touchdown pass to Drake London with 35 seconds left in the third quarter. While he had only 20 pass attempts in the win, Mariota remains a startable quarterback in superflex or two-quarterback leagues. Next week he faces the Cleveland Browns, who have struggled to slow down passing attacks this season.
Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson had a disappointing Week 2 performance, totaling only 41 rushing yards against the Los Angeles Rams. However, the veteran bounced back against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3. He had 141 rushing yards on 17 attempts, averaging 8.3 yards per rushing attempt. The Seattle defense had no answers for Patterson, as he had four rushing attempts of 17 or more yards, including a long of 40 yards. While he was a force on the ground, the former first-round pick had only one target in the game for 12 yards. Patterson is a plug-and-play RB2 next week against the Cleveland Browns.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Allen Robinson II was targeted five times and caught two passes for 23 yards. The 29-year-old has been held under 25 yards in two of his first three games as a Ram. After three weeks, he ranks as the No. 4 receiving option on the team, behind Ben Skowronek. While it may take time for a new WR to mesh with a new offense, A-Rob has now had 12 targets in three weeks and has only caught 7 of them and never gained more than 53 yards in a game. Fantasy managers hoping for a return to the 2019 and 2020 Robinson may end up disappointed.
The Seattle Seahawks defense had a rough time against the Falcons, who have an underrated offense. The defense did a good job putting Atlanta quarterback Marcus Mariota under pressure and racked up three sacks. Unfortunately, the secondary had a hard time trying to contain tight end Kyle Pitts, allowing him to finish with five receptions for 87 yards. The Seattle defense will be up against the Lions next week, a team that has had a surprisingly effective offense this year. The Lions offensive line has been great this season and was able to keep quarterback Jared Goff from being sacked this week. Seattle should likely be left on waivers for Week 4.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman caught three of four targets for 44 yards while losing a fumble in Sunday's 14-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He failed to make a significant impact on Sunday with Mike Evans (suspension), Chris Godwin (hamstring), and Julio Jones (knee) were inactive. Russell Gage led the way with 12 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown in the Week 3 loss. Evans will return next week, and Perriman will only see an uptick in target share if Godwin and Jones remain out. The 29-year-old is mainly an option in deep-league formats against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Ben Skowronek caught all four passes thrown his way for 66 yards in the Rams' 20-12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. The second-year player set a new career-high in receiving yards and led the team. After three weeks, he ranks second amongst Rams wide receivers in yardage and receptions. Skowronek has taken advantage of the additional opportunities he is getting with No. 3 receiver Van Jefferson (knee) injured. Not only did he catch key passes, he also lined up as the fullback and made a block that opened up a lane for running back Cam Akers' rushing touchdown. Head coach Sean McVay praised him after the game: "You feel the physicality. This guy's a maniac and you love what he does for our football team." With Jefferson on Injured Reserve, Skowronek will maintain this role for at least the next four weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop went 2-for-2 in field goal attempts during Sunday's 14-12 loss to the Green Packers. He drilled both 45-yard goal tries and is now 8-for-9 in attempts this season. Tampa Bay has struggled in the red zone in 2022, and the veteran has taken advantage by tallying up 27 points. The 36-year-old is one of the most reliable kickers and continues to be a vital fantasy asset. Succop is a must-start option in a projected high-scoring affair against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4.