Sun Sep 23 4:57pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) tries to break a tackle by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Bills won 27-6. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) pressures Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Buffalo Bills tight end Jason Croom (80) celebrates after catching a 26-yard touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen throws a pass over Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen dives into the end zone over Minnesota Vikings' Sheldon Richardson, left, and Ben Gedeon (42) during a 1-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen tries to break a tackle by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) fumbles as he is hit by Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes, left, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen dives to the end zone during a 10-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Josh Allen played with the poise of a well-seasoned quarterback for the Buffalo Bills by accounting for three touchdowns in his first road start in the NFL. Allen made Minnesota's Kirk Cousins look like the raw rookie in a stunning 27-6 upset of the Vikings on Sunday afternoon.
Cousins had three turnovers, including a lost fumble on a third-down sack inside Minnesota's 20-yard line, on each of the first two possessions. Buffalo turned those recoveries into 10 points and was on cruise control by midway through the second quarter as the crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium cranked up the boos.
The Vikings (1-1-1) were 16 1/2-point favorites when the game began, allowing the Bills (1-2) to become only the sixth such underdog in the NFL's last 81 point spreads that big. After being outscored 75-9 over their first six quarters of the season, the Bills have enjoyed a 41-9 advantage over the last six periods.
Allen, the seventh overall pick in the draft out of Wyoming who took the job earlier than expected in relief of a struggling Nathan Peterman in the opener, completed 15 of 22 passes for 196 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Jason Croom.
Though Allen took three sacks and fumbled three times, the Bills were able to recover all of them. He settled almost exclusively for safe underneath or sideline throws, but took advantage of several broken coverages by the Vikings for chain-moving gains.
Where Allen did the most damage was on the ground, putting together a mini-highlight film with his feet while injured running back LeSean McCoy watched in team-colored sweats - with a big smile - from the sideline. Allen dived to finish a 10-yard run by beating Anthony Barr to the edge of the end zone and scraping the pylon with the ball to finish the game's first drive.
At the end of the first quarter on third-and-9, Allen sprinted straight up the middle out of a collapsed pocket and hurdled Barr 2 yards short of the marker to get the first down. He capped that possession with a 1-yard touchdown sneak on fourth down for a 24-0 lead in the second quarter.
Allen became the first Bills rookie to run and pass for at least one score each in his first career road start.
With running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) inactive and the score so lopsided, the Vikings set a franchise record for fewest rushing attempts with six. Cousins took four sacks.
That's because Buffalo's front seven, with former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier serving as defensive coordinator, overwhelmed Minnesota's offensive line. Left tackle Riley Reiff was beaten regularly by Jerry Hughes, who had one of the sacks that caused a fumble. Linebacker Matt Milano had a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery. Defensive end Trent Murphy took credit for the other strip sack.
The Bills, including their playoff game, went the final eight games of last season without recovering a fumble.
Cousins finished 40 for 55 for 296 yards and a late touchdown to Kyle Rudolph.
The Vikings inducted the late Dennis Green, who's second behind Bud Grant in winning percentage as a head coach, into their Ring of Honor. Green, who guided the Vikings to the playoffs in eight of his 10 seasons, became the 24th member. The Vikings beat the Bills in all three meetings under Green.
Bills: Beyond McCoy (rib) and Gaines (elbow), backup DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring) was inactive. ... C Russell Bodine, who started in place of Ryan Groy, limped off with leg cramps in the third quarter. Groy, who had moved to LG when Vlad Ducasse left with an injury, shifted back to the middle as Ducasse re-entered. ... Lewis left with an injury in the fourth quarter, as did Murphy (ankle).
Vikings: In addition to Cook and DE Everson Griffen (knee), backup TE David Morgan (knee) and PR Marcus Sherels (ribs) were held out. ... CB Trae Waynes (ankle) left the game in the first quarter and did not return. ... RT Rashod Hill (ankle) limped off in the second quarter and was replaced by rookie Brian O'Neill.
Bills: Play at Green Bay next Sunday.
Vikings: Play the Rams in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
When Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) was lost for the year with an injury, wide receiver Josh Reynolds stock immediately went on the rise. Against the Kansas City Chiefs, he had what was expected to be his breakout game. He has slumped the last couple of weeks, but he could turn that around this week. The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the worst defenses against the pass, and this Rams offense has the ability to take advantage of that. Reynolds is still too touchdown dependent to be relied upon as a legitimate starter, but he does have major flex appeal this week.
All season long, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods has been a consistent WR2. He has been quarterback Jared Goff's favorite target, and it is likely that will continue this week against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles rank 31st in the NFL in receiving yards allowed, and they have only gotten worse as the season has gone on. Woods plays in the slot where he has a matchup with cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc who has struggled all year long. Woods is still unlikely to be a WR1, but his WR2 floor remains ever present.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks struggled last week like the rest of the offense, but he should be able to fix that in Week 15 in a great matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles secondary has struggled this season due to injuries and other issues. The Rams have been successful in taking advantage of struggling defenses, and Cooks figures to be a major part of that this week. When the offense is clicking, all of its major pieces are involved. Cooks does a great job of taking the top off the defense, which opens up plays for others. If Cooks can get rolling early, he will be in for a big week.
After facing one of the toughest defenses in the NFL in Week 14, Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley gets a far easier matchup in Week 15. The Philadelphia Eagles are giving up 4.9 yards per carry this season. Coincidentally, Gurley is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He also is a great threat out of the backfield with 49 receptions on the season. Gurley is the best running back in the NFL, and, outside of last week, he has been the most consistent performer at the position this season. He struggled last week, but he should bounce back and be an RB1 again this week.
Updating a previous report, free-agent PK Kai Forbath (Vikings) had a strong workout with the Pittsburgh Steelers Wednesday, Dec. 12, and could be an option for the Steelers if they decide to release PK Chris Boswell.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie running back Justin Jackson may get his first big chance on Thursday in Kansas City. First-stringer Melvin Gordon is questionable due to his knee injury, and second-stringer Austin Ekeler is out due to a concussion, so Jackson could be the man when LA faces their division rival in primetime. Jackson struggled last week against Cincy, but KCs defense is anything but stout. Even if Gordon is active, hell likely be protected and used sparingly to prevent any recurrences, so Jackson should be a solid start either way.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is having a special season, and Thursday night could be an absolutely massive night for the 37-year-old. Rivers is having a resurgent year where hes on pace to throw more than 35 touchdowns and 4,400 yards, and hes about to face an epic showdown for the division crown against one of the softest defenses in the NFL. Kansas Citys high-powered offense means the game will likely be a shootout, and their baby soft secondary means Rivers could be looking at a career night. Owners should definitely be starting Rivers in all formats.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff has had a brutal past couple of weeks. Against the Philadelphia Eagles this week, he has a big chance to get rolling again. The Eagles are 30th in the NFL in passing yards allowed this season, and their secondary has been ravaged by injuries. When Goff has played against the lower ranked passing defenses this season, he has typically taken advantage of them. The Rams offense just hasn't looked as explosive, and they will be looking to change that. Goff will be the driving force behind all of that.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has been a monster down the stretch as hes caught touchdowns in five straight games, and hes primed to have a huge night against Kansas City on Thursday. Allen is easily the favorite target in the LA receiving corps, and with the game likely to be a shootout, multiple touchdowns isnt out of the question for the 62 receiver. He should be active in all formats, as he could single-handedly win the week for some owners. The fact that the Chargers run game may be leaning entirely on a rookie should also increase his usage.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie safety Derwin James has been the true face of the defense. James is a safety by trade, but hes played every position this season except nose tackle. He leads the team in tackles, hes tied for the lead in interceptions, and hes fourth in sacks. Hes also one of the reasons why the Chargers are the fifth-best defense in football over the last four weeks. Unfortunately, they still shouldnt be run out there by fantasy owners this week. Its not that LAs defense isnt good. Its that theyre facing the top scoring offense in the league. James and his crew will need to play exceptionally well to escape KC with a win, and fantasy owners need to look somewhere else this week to get their own wins.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams is the ultimate example of a home run play at this stage of the game, but that may be just what the doctor ordered for some desperate owners. Williams is cheap in any fantasy format right now due to his hot and cold usage, but with a primetime matchup against the Chiefs that is likely going to be a barn burner, Williams could haul in a couple huge catches. Add in his speed and ability to take any catch to the house, and Williams could be that surprise receiver that wins a week for an underdog. Hes certainly still a long shot, but hes a long shot in a perfect situation to cash in.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley took home the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award this week, thanks in part to his franchise-record 59-yard field goal on Sunday. Now he gets rewarded by having to kick in the windy, rainy, freezing cold conditions of Kansas City, Missouri on Thursday night. Badgley has been nothing short of a miracle for an LA team whose kicking woes go back further than their name, but this week will be a true test of his mettle. Fantasy owners should probably look for their kicking points in a different game unless they have no other reasonable options. The conditions are simply expected to be too nasty to allow for a dependable leg.
Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines has been up and down all season long. His up coincided with the absence fellow running back Marlon Mack. With both of them active, Hines just doesn't have the same level of value unless the team gets into a major shootout when they're throwing a lot. Against a vastly improved Dallas Cowboys offense, that is a legitimate possibility this week. If the Colts have to go pass heavy to keep up, Hines has that increased value in PPR formats, but he doesn't have the value in standard scoring formats.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams is expected to be the starting running back for the Chiefs in Week 15 if RB Spencer Ware (hamstring, shoulder) is not able to play.
Fantasy Spin: Williams posted only 30 total yards on 12 touches in relief last week but had two touchdowns in that game. He would receive most of the work at running back if Ware is ruled out and could be at least a flex option for owners.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark (quadriceps) will not be able to play in the Week 15 game. Head coach Doug Marrone said the team hopes Chark can start running next week.
Houston Texans CB Kayvon Webster (quadriceps) will be allowed to participate in practice after he was designated to return from the Reserve/Injured list.
Buffalo Bills PK Stephen Hauschka (hip) likely will be able to play in the Week 15 game, according to head coach Sean McDermott.
Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson (non-injury) was limited in practice Wednesday, Dec. 12.
Fantasy Spin: This is being done to manage Carson's reps, which is understandable given how he's established himself as the undisputed lead dog in Seattle's backfield. As a result, Carson should be fired up in all formats every week.
Seattle Seahawks LB K.J. Wright (knee), OG D.J. Fluker (hamstring), Ss Bradley McDougald (knee), Maurice Alexander (concussion), DE Dion Jordan (knee), DT Shamar Stephen (foot) and OT Duane Brown (non-injury) did not practice Wednesday, Dec. 12. DE Frank Clark (elbow) and DT Jarran Reed (oblique) were limited participants, while FB Tre Madden (chest) practiced in full.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hip) is day-to-day, and the team is hoping he can play in Week 15 against the 49ers. Baldwin didn't practice at all last week and was inactive on Monday night in the win over the Vikings. If he does return this Sunday, he'll be a boom/bust WR3 in an offense that continues to focus on the ground game. If he sits again, Tyler Lockett will have WR2 upside. Baldwin had two catches for 22 yards and a score against San Fran on Dec. 2.