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.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb continues to impress as the team's lead back, scoring a touchdown in six of seven games since the Carlos Hyde trade. Chubb will travel to Denver to face the Broncos in Week 15 in what shapes up as a somewhat difficult matchup for him. The Broncos have been solid against the run this season, ranking 11th in DVOA and allowing the 18th-most fantasy points per game. With at least three receptions in each of his last four games, Chubb's production in the passing game has been a pleasant surprise in his rookie year. That production keeps him in the RB1 conversation against a Broncos defense that has struggled to contain opposing running backs in the passing game. Keep in mind the Browns play on Saturday night in Week 15 so be sure to get Chubb active in those lineups early.
After a huge game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9, Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson has seen just seven total touches over his past three games played. The pass-catching specialist will take on the Denver Broncos on Saturday night in Week 15. Denver's defense has struggled against running backs in the passing game, ranking 23rd in DVOA against the position. While this theoretically sets up as a plus matchup for Johnson, his lack of touches makes him nearly impossible to trust in the fantasy semifinals. Keep Johnson on the bench in Week 15.
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.
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.
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.
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).
San Francisco 49ers WR Pierre Garcon (knee) was officially placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.