Mon Sep 21 6:51pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) looks to throw during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Anthony Lynn did a good job throughout the offseason and training camp of installing Tyrod Taylor as the Los Angeles Chargers' starting quarterback - even after Justin Herbert was taken with the sixth overall pick in April's draft.
But after Herbert came on as a last-minute starter and threw for 311 yards in Sunday's 23-20 overtime loss to Kansas City, Lynn has the makings of a quarterback controversy on his hands.
The coach is trying to squelch any sense of a competition by saying: ''Tyrod Taylor 100% is our quarterback.'' Lynn said Taylor was in the team's building Monday, but didn't have any update on his status for the upcoming week.
''The veteran QB gives us the best chance to win. I know what to expect from him and know what we are going to get done,'' Lynn said. ''Justin stepped up and gave us a chance. I'm really excited about Justin, but I want to put him out there when he's ready. He's a rookie and has a lot to learn about.''
Herbert found out less than a minute before kickoff that he was going to get his first NFL start after Taylor couldn't play due to complications from a chest injury. Instead of being fazed, Herbert became the ninth quarterback since the merger to post a 300-yard game in his debut and was the first in 66 years to rush and pass for a touchdown in the first half of his first game.
Taylor led the Chargers to a 16-13 win in the Sept. 13 opener at Cincinnati, but struggled at times in throwing for 208 yards. The offense had four three-and-out drives and didn't gain consistency until the second half.
Herbert finished 22 of 33 with a touchdown and interception. The offense had only two three-and-outs, but one was on the opening possession of overtime.
Herbert showed tremendous accuracy on a TD pass to Jalen Guyton and a 25-yard throw to Keenan Allen in the third quarter between two defenders that had a 22.9% completion probability according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats. But he also made a costly error in the third quarter with an ill-advised throw downfield that was picked off by L'Jarius Snead instead of scrambling and taking the first-down yardage.
''I think Tyrod did a great job in Week 1 and had stuff to build on,'' running back Austin Ekeler said. ''I still think he's probably in the starting role. But going forward, you know, he's gonna have to prove just like all of us that, `Hey, I deserve to be in this spot.' I feel comfortable with both of them. I think it just comes down to the performance.''
Herbert and Ekeler had similar numbers in downfield throws, but Herbert did a better job of getting Ekeler and Joshua Kelley involved on screens. Herbert was 6 of 6 for 73 yards, while Taylor had only two screens in the opener.
Lynn's goal of making this a run-first team has been accomplished through the first two games. The Chargers lead the league with 83 rushing attempts and their 55.3% rush percentage leads the AFC and is second in the NFL.
Ekeler has gone over 80 rushing yards in consecutive games for the first time in his four-year career, while Kelley has provided a nice balance as a between-the-tackles type back.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Keeping someone to spy on the quarterback so they don't scramble for huge yards. The Chargers have already allowed four quarterback scrambles of over 10 yards, with two going for 20 yards or more. Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes had a 21-yard scramble on third-and-20 late in regulation to get the Chiefs into field goal range.
''I'll just say we just have to stay locked in,'' linebacker Kyzir White said. ''We just have to know that's how teams are going to try to attack when they've got a quarterback that can run.''
DT Jerry Tillery has had a strong start after having a disappointing rookie season. Last year's first-round pick blocked an extra point and had a pair of quarterback hits.
Desmond King played 44 of the 77 defensive snaps, but the fourth-year defensive back thinks he should be on the field more. When safety Derwin James was lost for the season due to a knee injury, many thought that would open up more opportunities for him to get more plays because of his versatility in the secondary.
King took to social media after Sunday's game and tweeted: ''I'll continue to do my job but I'm going to need answers real soon.''
Lynn responded to King's tweets on Monday by saying, ''I think everyone knows where to get those answers. They may not like the answers, but they know where to get it.''
Lynn had no updates on offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), defensive tackle Justin Jones (shoulder) and safety Rayshawn Jenkins (groin), who left Sunday's game and did not return.
7 - Consecutive losses in division games with six decided by seven points or fewer. This is the Chargers' second losing streak of at least six games in AFC West contests since 2010.
The Chargers face NFC South teams the next three weeks, beginning next Sunday when they host the Carolina Panthers. Los Angeles is 8-4 against NFC teams under Lynn, but Los Angeles has dropped three straight and five of six to Carolina.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 2
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick secured just two of his five targets for 24 yards in the 26-21 Week 2 loss to the Steelers on the road. It was a slight step down for the 26-year-old, as he caught four of five targets for 29 yards in the season-opening loss to the Titans. There will be more opportunities for Patrick the rest of the year with Courtland Sutton (knee) suffering a torn ACL, but even so, Noah Fant and rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler will likely be ahead of him in the pecking order. Also, quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) is out for two to six weeks.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy caught four of his seven targets for 62 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers. Even though Jeudy has yet to score a touchdown in his first year in the NFL, he was tied for the team lead in catches and targets in this game. There's a lot to like about his route-running ability, which helps him gain plenty of separation, but he won't be as exciting as a WR4/flex for fantasy managers with quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) expected to miss anywhere from two to six weeks.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant caught four of his five targets for 57 yards and a touchdown in the 26-21 Week 2 loss to the Steelers. He now has nine catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, just one short of his rookie-season total, through two games in 2020. Quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) will be out anywhere from two to six weeks, but the drop-off to Jeff Driskel may not affect Fant all that much. In fact, Driskel could lean heavily on Fant moving forward. As one of the top receivers in Denver's offense with Courtland Sutton (knee) out for the year, Fant has become a solid TE1.
Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman attempted just three rushes for 20 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers with Phillip Lindsay (toe) inactive. Even with Lindsay on the sidelines for this one, Freeman just wasn't a part of the offense as Melvin Gordon III's backup. Lindsay could miss more time, but Freeman just won't see enough touches to be fantasy relevant unless Gordon also suffers an injury that causes him to miss time.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III carried the ball 19 times for 70 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers with Phillip Lindsay (toe) inactive, but he salvaged his day for fantasy managers with two catches for 14 yards and his second touchdown of the season. The good news for Gordon is that he should continue to be a big part of this offense with Lindsay potentially out for another game and receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) out for the remainder of the year. He'll be facing a Buccaneers Defense in Week 3 that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the running back position through the first two weeks. Consider Gordon a usage-based RB2 until Lindsay is back in the fold.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard had a quiet day in Week 2 against the Lions, though he was still sneakily involved in the offense. Lazard saw five targets, which was an improvement on the four looks he saw in Week 1. He hasn't put up amazing numbers yet, though he has been on the field far more often than fellow wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has had better stats so far. Interestingly enough, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a higher passer rating when targeting Lazard than when he throws to Valdes-Scantling or star receiver Davante Adams. These are reasons to keep the 24-year-old stashed on fantasy benches. Lazard has a couple of fantasy-friendly matchups on the way against the Packers in Week 3 and the Falcons in Week 4.
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson led the Detroit backfield in carries and scored a rushing touchdown in a 42-21 loss to the Packers in Week 2. It should be noted that Detroit had to abandon the run earlier than they would have liked in this one, considering how quickly Green Bay jumped out to a lead. So in reality, leading the backfield in touches sounds much more impressive than it actually was, as Johnson ended up with only eight touches. It wasn't a bad showing, but Johnson's role is just too unpredictable with D'Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson also manning the backfield. He's likely not worth rostering a this point, unless injuries force him into action.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (knee) has suffered a torn ACL and is out for the remainder of the season. The team was fearful that he would miss significant time and the MRI confirmed those fears. The 22-year-old was a big reason why the 49ers fielded arguably the league's best defense last season, as he registered nine sacks as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl. It's a crushing blow for a defense that was looking to prove that 2019 was no fluke. With multiple injuries on defense in addition to Bosa, the 49ers' unit is one that will have to be downgraded for fantasy purpose moving forward.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (knee) is active and will take the field against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. Ruggs III was expected to play after upgrading to a limited session on Friday and taking the practice field again on Saturday, though it is always nice to get the official word. It's possible that the rookie isn't 100 percent for this one, but his speed and big-play ability will still have to be respected by the New Orleans defense. Look at him as a boom-or-bust WR4 for a contest that has the potential to be high-scoring.
Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel led an unlikely comeback against the Steelers in Week 2 that ultimately fell short after Drew Lock (shoulder) was injured. Driskel took six sacks and absorbed 17 hits from a ferocious Pittsburgh defense, but the Broncos were 15 yards away from a stunning upset on the road. With Lock out at least several weeks, Driskel will continue to lead Denver's offense, beginning in Week 3 against the Buccaneers. In the end, he completed 18 of 34 passes for 256 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the 26-21 loss, adding two rushes for five yards. Even though Driskel exceeded expectations in a tough situation, he'll be low-end QB2 streamer going forward in superflex leagues.
Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (knee) tore his ACL in the Week 2 win over the Patriots on Sunday night and will miss the rest of the 2020 season, according to a source. It's a tough blow for the 32-year-old veteran, especially since the Seahawks Defense had allowed close to 1,000 total yards of offense combined to the Falcons and Patriots in the first two weeks. Rookie first-rounder Jordyn Brooks will need to step up in the middle of Seattle's defense for the rest of the season. Against a Cowboys team that made a miraculous comeback in Week 2 with over 40 points, you should be looking to avoid the Seahawks defense in fantasy.
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed that nickel cornerback Tavon Young (knee) will miss the rest of the 2020 season after suffering a torn ACL in the Week 2 win over the Texans. The 26-year-old had just two combined tackles in two games this year, but it's a blow to Baltimore's secondary moving forward. It could immediately become an issue heading into the Week 3 showdown against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football, making Tyreek Hill a better option to go off deep down the field. While the Ravens Defense surely won't have as much high-end fantasy upside this week against the defending Super Bowl champions, they're still in play as a starting unit.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) is expected to miss "multiple weeks" after suffering a knee injury in the Week 2 win over the Jets, according to a source. The Niners are expected to be without both Coleman and Raheem Mostert (knee) for Week 3 against the Giants, which would leave Jerick McKinnon as the primary running back. Jeff Wilson Jr. will also have a role in this backfield, but McKinnon is the one you should be targeting on the waiver wire if you own Mostert or Coleman or one of the other handful of backs that suffered injuries in a crazy Week 2. Don't be surprised if Coleman is placed on Injured Reserve, which would make him droppable in shallow leagues if you don't have the room to hold onto him.
Miami Dolphins CB Byron Jones (Achilles, groin) did not participate in practice Monday, Sept. 21. S Clayton Fejedelem (pectoral), CB Xavien Howard (knee), DE Shaq Lawson (hip) and WR DeVante Parker (hamstring) were limited. RB Matt Breida (ankle), WR Jakeem Grant (shoulder), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle), LB Elandon Roberts (concussion) and LB Kyle Van Noy (hand) practiced in full. The Dolphins did not hold a practice Monday, so the report is an estimation.
San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (knee) suffered a knee injury in Week 2 against the New York Jets that is expected to sideline him for 'multiple weeks,' according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Coleman is expected to join Raheem Mostert on the sideline for Week 3 and perhaps longer. As a result, undrafted rookie free agent JaMycal Hasty is expected to be elevated from the practice squad to join Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson as the three active backs versus the New York Giants. McKinnon is expected to get the start and would be the recommended fantasy play but may be kept under 15 touches given his injury history. Nevertheless, he would be a high-upside flex play in that matchup.
Los Angeles Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor (chest) missed the team's Week 2 game versus the Kansas City Chiefs after experiencing complications from a pregame injection that was administered to address a rib injury, according to multiple sources. Taylor's status for Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers is not yet clear, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
Fantasy Spin: Justin Herbert shined in his first pro start against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 and nearly led the Chargers to an upset of the reigning Super Bowl champions. Considering their upcoming opponent and the fact they will be without Christian McCaffrey, it may be the prudent move for the Chargers to turn to the rookie yet again. With that said, only fantasy owners in superflex or two-quarterback leagues should consider Herbert this week.
Denver Broncos DL DeMarcus Walker (calf) suffered a calf injury in Week 2 that is expected to keep them from playing 'multiple weeks,' according to head coach Vic Fangio.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (toe) is believed to be dealing with turf toe and expected to miss 'some time,' according to a source via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Fantasy Spin: Week 2 marked the first time in Daniel Jones' pro career that he had Saquon Barkley, Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram all available at the same time, but it was short-lived and obviously won't happen again in 2020 with Barkley's ACL injury. Assuming Shepard misses at least a couple of games, Slayton and Tate are good bets to flirt with WR3 production, although starting either player will come with limited upside against the San Francisco Giants in Week 3.
Free-agent WR Chester Rogers, DB Breon Borders and DB Greg Mabin were added to the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans on Monday, Sept. 21. The Titans released DL Kobe Smith, DB Picasso Nelson and DB Maurice B. Smith from the practice squad to make room.
Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (knee) suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in Week 2 and is unlikely to play in Week 3 against the New York Giants, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Fantasy Spin: During what was a brutal day for injuries on Sunday, Mostert appears to have gotten off easy. MCL sprains are no joke and can require multi-week absences, but the 28-year-old back seems shouldn't miss too much time. Expect the 49ers to exercise plenty of caution with Mostert this week in a game they should be able to win without him. Jerick McKinnon has been exceptional thus far for San Francisco and would be the preferred flex play over Tevin Coleman should Mostert sit versus the Giants.