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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 15

Another poor finish sends Raiders to 0-3 start under Gruden

Mon Sep 24 6:36pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Mike Nugent, Derek Carr

Miami Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn (94) attempts to sack Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 28-20. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)


Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden walks the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)


ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The last time an Oakland Raiders coach watched his team lose back-to-back games when leading after three quarters, late owner Al Davis brought out the overhead projector and fired Lane Kiffin.

There will be no repeat with Jon Gruden this week, even if that doesn't ease the pain of these late-game collapses in Oakland.

The Raiders became the second team in the past 20 seasons to start the year with three straight losses after leading the first three games at halftime with the latest blown lead coming Sunday in Miami when Oakland lost 28-20 to the Dolphins.

''Nobody cares right now. They want results,'' Gruden said Monday. ''We want to win. I think the players see a lot of things to be confident about, but we know we got to finish football games much better.''

The Raiders (0-3) have spent most of this season playing from ahead, holding the lead for nearly two-thirds of the time and trailing for only 22:28 over the first three games. In fact, there hasn't been a single second played in the first three quarters of any game this season with Oakland behind on the scoreboard.

But the fourth quarter has been an utter disaster. The Raiders fell behind the Rams in the opener on the final play of the third quarter and then were outscored 13-0 in the fourth thanks in part to two interceptions by Derek Carr.

Oakland then was outscored 10-0 in the fourth quarter in a Week 2 loss at Denver before falling apart late again in Miami on Sunday. Carr threw another costly interception and the Raiders let Miami turn two gimmick plays into long touchdowns that have kept Gruden winless in his second stint as Raiders head coach.

''We've got to take a deep breath and look forward to the moment,'' Gruden said. ''We have to apply pressure, not to say we feel pressure. We've got to continue to remain confident and poised and do our jobs individually, so we can do our job collectively. I think at times we have some guys trying to do too much. That's something we really have to solve quickly. We do have good enough players to finish.''

This marked the first time since Kiffin's final two games in 2008 that the Raiders lost consecutive games when leading after three quarters. They joined the 2011 Minnesota Vikings as the only teams in the past 20 seasons to start the year 0-3 when leading all three games at halftime.

Oakland has started with the ball each week and all three games have begun with the Raiders scoring and the opposition going three-and-out. That has led to the Raiders outscoring the opponent by 18 points in the first half, tying for seventh best in the league heading into Monday night. But Oakland has been outscored by 47 points in the second half, 22 points behind the next worst team in Arizona.

The problems have been in all three phases. The offense has scored TDs on just four of nine red zone trips, committed five turnovers and fallen flat late in games with just one field goal in the fourth quarter all year.

Oakland has failed to generate any big returns on kicks or punts and had an extra point blocked in Denver that proved to be the difference in a one-point loss.

The defense has allowed three TDs on shovel passes and struggled to generate big plays after trading star edge rusher Khalil Mack. Oakland ranks last in the league with three sacks and tied for last with just one takeaway, contributing to Oakland being the only team that hasn't started a drive this season in the opponent's territory.

''It's a big reason why field position is what it is,'' Gruden said. ''Really a turnover is getting a three-and-out, too. Getting a three-and-out, getting the ball back immediately can almost be as good as a turnover. We need some of those and we need to get the ball back, whether we intercept it or strip it away.''

NOTES: K Mike Nugent has an injured hip and the Raiders are bringing in kickers for tryouts this week in case he can't play. ... S Karl Joseph has an injured hamstring and will likely miss at least one game. ... RT Donald Penn has concussion symptoms but Gruden said he thinks he'll be OK.

Player Notes
Baker Mayfield Dec 12 9:20am ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is coming off a fantastic real-life game which saw him complete 18 of his 22 pass attempts against the Carolina Panthers. That being said, his production in the fantasy realm was lacking as he threw just one touchdown in the game. Since the team fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, the Browns have been playing slow on offense, which has limited Mayfield's ceiling somewhat. This week, the Browns travel to Denver to take on the Broncos on Saturday night. The Broncos have been great against the pass this season, ranking No. 2 in pass defense DVOA. That being said, the Broncos have suffered several injuries in their secondary over the past few weeks which keeps Mayfield in the conversation as a deep-league streamer. Treat Mayfield as a mid-QB2 for Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Tannehill Dec 12 8:23am ET

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle) could be limited in practice Wednesday, Dec. 12, as the team will closely monitor his ankle injury heading into Week 15.

Fantasy Spin: Tannehill has binged with a couple of three-score games, but history has shown you can't count on that this week against the Minnesota Vikings. He's a QB2 in two-QB leagues.

Mychal Kendricks Dec 12 3:03am ET

Seattle Seahawks LB Mychal Kendricks (knee) injured his knee during the team's Week 14 win over the Minnesota Vikings, and his availability for the team's game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Dec. 16, is in question, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Cole Wick Dec 12 2:03am ET

The Tennessee Titans signed TE Cole Wick off the San Francisco 49ers practice squad on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Tennessee also signed free-agent OL Austin Pasztor (Falcons).

Pierre Garcon Dec 12 12:13am ET

San Francisco 49ers WR Pierre Garcon (knee) was officially placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Michael Thomas Dec 12 12:10am ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas will head into Week 15 with 102 receptions for 1,218 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Thomas will face a Panthers secondary that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to receivers, including four 100-yard receiving games since Week 11. Carolina has surrendered 10 touchdowns to receivers over their last six games and now must try and shut down one of the game's elite receivers. Thomas should be able to exploit this matchup in Week 15 and will be a WR1 option across all fantasy formats.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Dec 11 11:40pm ET

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will go up against a Titans defense in Week 15 that is allowing the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. But at this point in the season, tough matchups no longer scare fantasy owners of the fantastic rookie. Barkley has least 100-plus yards from scrimmage in 12 of the 13 games played this season to go along with 13 total touchdowns. Barkley is about as bankable a fantasy option as any player in the league right now and heads into Week 15 with 1,753 all-purpose yards. Start Barkley with confidence.

From RotoBaller

Evan Engram Dec 11 11:40pm ET

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram's fantasy arrow has been pointing up over the last two games, posting 143 yards over that span. But he could struggle to out-score his fantasy projections against a Titans defense that is allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. The Titans defense has not allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown against them this season and only two tight ends have scored more than six fantasy points in a single game. Engram will be a dicey TE2 play in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Chad Williams Dec 11 10:23pm ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Chad Williams (ankle, hamstring) was listed with the first-team offense on the team's depth chart Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: This is somewhat notable since Williams has missed the last five games and doesn't exactly have the kind of resume that one usually has to keep a job when he is sidelined that long. Larry Fitzgerald remains the only playable Cardinal receiver, but DFS players who may have been hoping to strike gold with J.J. Nelson and Trent Sherfield versus the Atlanta Falcons may have to look elsewhere.

Kelvin Benjamin Dec 11 10:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Kelvin Benjamin is reportedly picking up the offense quickly, but it remains unlikely he will play an extended amount of time in Week 15 versus the Los Angeles Chargers.

Fantasy Spin: It's understandable considering he hasn't been with the team two weeks yet. Still, Tyreek Hill will almost certainly be limited in some way, shape or form and the Chiefs may be down to Damien Williams as their starting running back. Despite the presence of Patrick Mahomes, owners should be able to do better than Benjamin in their starting lineups during the fantasy playoffs.

Kelvin Benjamin Dec 11 8:50pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who had his first practice with the team last Friday, is unlikely to play extended snaps if he makes his team debut on Thursday against the Chargers. However, they may need Benjamin active with Sammy Watkins (foot) not expected to be available until the playoffs and Tyreek Hill (heel, wrist) being dinged up in Week 14. Its just concepts and really learning the language of a new playbook, Benjamin told The Star on Tuesday. Its coming real good to me. I feel like Im grasping it real well. Benjamin was terrible in his time with Buffalo and lacked hustle and motivation, so hopefully he'll be more motivated to make an impact with his first team, who currently have the top seed in the AFC. Even if Benjamin plays this Thursday and in the final two games of the season, he's unlikely to make much of a fantasy impact unless either Hill or Chris Conley get hurt.

From RotoBaller

Keke Coutee Dec 11 8:00pm ET

Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring) was limited in practice on Tuesday. Coutee has missed the last two games but is trending toward being active in Week 15 on Saturday against the Jets. Hamstring issues have limited the rookie to just six games in 2018, and he can't be trusted in starting lineups behind DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas if he returns. Quarterback Deshaun Watson hasn't been throwing the ball all that much either, making Coutee unlikely to see heavy targets if he's back this Saturday.

From RotoBaller

DeSean Jackson Dec 11 7:53pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR DeSean Jackson (thumb) had his injured thumb immobilized Tuesday, Dec. 11. He cannot squeeze a football with his injured hand yet but hopes to play again this season.

Fantasy Spin: In the meantime, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries will continue to see increased targets. They have a tough matchup this week, though, against the Baltimore Ravens, so lower your expectations.

Andre Roberts Dec 11 7:33pm ET

New York Jets LB Jerry Attaochu (concussion), RB Trenton Cannon (toe) and LB Jordan Jenkins (shoulder, ankle) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 11. LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) was limited. OT Kelvin Beachum (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder, neck), TE Jordan Leggett (knee), C Spencer Long (knee, finger), WR Andre Roberts (foot) and CB Buster Skrine (shoulder) participated fully.

Robby Anderson Dec 11 7:23pm ET

New York Jets WR Robby Anderson (ankle) participated fully in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Last week Anderson found the end zone for the first time in six games and saw seven targets for the third time in four games, but he's an inconsistent player who can't be trusted in postseason lineups.

Quincy Enunwa Dec 11 7:23pm ET

New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) was not at practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Enunwa has done next to nothing since the beginning of the season. Now is not the time to take a chance on starting him and hoping he rebounds.

Sam Darnold Dec 11 7:23pm ET

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (foot) participated fully in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: If you made your league's playoffs, you probably didn't get there by starting Darnold. Don't start now.

J.J. Watt Dec 11 7:13pm ET

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Carter (concussion), WR Keke Coutee (hamstring), C Zach Fulton (hand), S Andre Hal (ankle), CB Kareem Jackson (knee), OG Senio Kelemete (elbow) and DE J.J. Watt (knee) were limited in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11. LB Dylan Cole (wrist, knee), CB Aaron Colvin (ankle), C Greg Mancz (knee), LB Brian Peters (ankle), S Justin Reid (shoulder, wrist) and CB Shareece Wright (neck) participated fully.

DeAndre Hopkins Dec 11 7:03pm ET

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (foot) practiced on a limited basis Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Hopkins has been limited in practice practically the entire season. He has produced consistently despite the nagging issue, so there's no reason to remove him from starting lineups, especially in the fantasy playoffs.

Deshaun Watson Dec 11 7:03pm ET

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder) was a full practice participant Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Watson has been bruised and battered for the entirety of his sophomore campaign but he'll be good to go in a favorable matchup with the New York Jets. He's a QB1 for those still in the fantasy postseason.