Wed Sep 23 2:45pm ET
By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver (91) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14)during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
In this Sept. 20, 2020, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) walks in the bench area during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn. Quarterback facial hair is sure to be front and center when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) on Thursday night, Sept. 24, 2020. Miamis Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap; Jacksonvilles Gardner Minshew has a unkept horseshoe mustache that seems to go perfectly with his flowing locks. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen, File)
In this Dec. 29, 2019, file photo, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick speaks to the media following an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass. Quarterback facial hair is sure to be front and center when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) on Thursday night, Sept. 24, 2020. Miamis Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap; Jacksonvilles Gardner Minshew has a unkept horseshoe mustache that seems to go perfectly with his flowing locks. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) passes as he is pressured by Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Rashaan Evans (54) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) It's the Beard versus the 'Stache in prime time. Fitzmagic on one sideline, Minshew Mania on the other.
Maybe the loser should have to shave.
Quarterback facial hair is sure to be front and center when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) on Thursday night.
Miami's Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap; Jacksonville's Gardner Minshew has a unkept horseshoe mustache that seems to go perfectly with his flowing locks.
''I think the beard is a cooler look,'' Fitzpatrick said Tuesday. ''I think guys that grow mustaches a lot of times have patchy sides for their beards, so they just stick with the mustache.''
The 24-year-old Minshew politely fired back at Fitzpatrick, 37.
''I'll let mine speak for itself,'' Minshew said. ''I think I've shown I can grow a beard with no patchy sides. But you know, I'm going to have respect for my elders, especially when they're much, much elder. I'll be respectful.''
One of Minshew's teammates, defensive end Josh Allen, might have a tougher time choosing between the two looks.
''We were in a little team meeting and somebody just brought up the beard and I was like, `Bruh does have a really good beard because his chinstrap is so small, and the beard is just everywhere.' It's kind of cool,'' Allen said before quickly adding that he'll ''rock with G-Money.''
Allen is more of a fan of Fitzpatrick's beard than the quarterback's wife.
''She hates when it's long like this,'' Fitzpatrick admitted. ''She hates when it's long because, for some reason, she thinks I'm handsome. But when it's long, I'm not handsome.''
Both QBs looked just fine in close losses last week. Minshew threw three TD passes for the third consecutive game, but he had two somewhat-fluky interceptions in a 33-30 loss at Tennessee.
Fitzpatrick threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to Buffalo. He put the Dolphins ahead in the fourth quarter before Josh Allen rallied the Bills against Miami's struggling defense.
Fitzpatrick has won his past four starts against Jacksonville - each one with a different team. He beat the Jags with the New York Jets in 2015, with Houston in 2014, with Tennessee in 2013 and with Buffalo in 2012.
He's a part of one of the youngest teams in the NFL this year and will be facing another one filled with first- and second-year players, led by Minshew.
''I haven't seen him play a ton, but the few times I have, I like watching him,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I enjoy his playing style. It looks like he's out there having fun. It's not easy to play quarterback in this league. It's not easy to play as a young quarterback. He's already had a lot of success.
''He's had a great start to the season. He's a guy that I don't think I've played against him, so I'm excited to watch him play and see how he does.''
After Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins in rushing last year, the team acquired veteran running backs Matt Breida and Jordan Howard to improve the ground game. Through two weeks they've combined for only 70 yards rushing on 25 carries, an average of 2.8 per carry.
Myles Gaskin, a seventh-round pick in 2019, leads Miami with 86 yards rushing.
''There is only one football,'' offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. ''Nobody ever gets it enough. When you have good running backs, everybody cannot touch it as much as they would like.''
The Jaguars don't blitz much, but they might need to start if they can't create more quarterback pressure. They have two sacks in two games - only Carolina and Las Vegas have fewer.
''We all have to take that pride in just getting to the quarterback more, especially I do,'' said Allen, who had 10 1/2 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last year. ''So I've just been grinding as much as I can and I've been thinking about all the missed rushes that I could've had. Just learn from that and just move forward.''
The Dolphins' secondary is sure to get tested by Minshew after allowing 413 yards passing last week against the Bills. Josh Allen's receivers were often wide open, and Miami's cornerbacks were repeatedly exposed on crossing routes in man coverage.
After Byron Jones was sidelined in the first quarter by a groin injury, former Pro Bowler Xavien Howard and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene both struggled. The solution?
''My message to the guys is the guys we put you on, those are the guys we expect you to cover,'' Flores said.
Five Sleepers: Week 8
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) missed practice all week but is considered questionable for Week 8 against the Chargers. Patrick has been the team's most reliable fantasy receiver so far in 2020 in what has been an inconsistent offense, seeing at least four targets in each game while going over 100 yards receiving in both Weeks 4 and 6. But a full week of missed practices doesn't bode well for his availability in this divisional matchup. As of right now, you should have other options in place. If Patrick is inactive, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler and DaeSean Hamilton would likely be the team's top three receivers. Check back on Sunday for the official inactives to see if Patrick is suiting up.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (concussion) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Chargers. Lindsay did not practice on Wednesday, but he got in limited action both Thursday and Friday, at least giving him a chance to be cleared before Sunday's game. The 26-year-old was more effective than Melvin Gordon in Week 7 against the Chiefs before suffering a head injury, toting the rock nine times for 79 yards (8.78 yards per attempt). He's sporting a 5.2 yard-per-carry average in 2020, but Lindsay can't shake the injury bug, playing in just one full game to this point. If he's active against the Bolts, he'll once again be sharing touches with Gordon, making him a risky RB3/flex for this weekend.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon II could see the lion's share of the backfield work in Week 8 against his former team, the Chargers, if backfield mate Phillip Lindsay (concussion) misses another game. Because of the volume he'd see in a revenge game if Lindsay is inactive, Gordon would have RB2 upside. The first-year Bronco ran the ball 17 times for 68 yards and a touchdown in the blowout loss to the Chiefs last week, but he also lost two costly fumbles. Gordon has a potential suspension still hanging over his head after a DUI arrest several weeks ago, but he should be available for this Sunday against L.A. If Lindsay plays, Gordon will be more of a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 for fantasy managers.
Buffalo Bills TE Lee Smith was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, Oct. 30.
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock just hasn't looked good since returning from a shoulder injury two weeks ago. In a 43-16 blowout loss to the division-rival Chiefs last weekend, Lock went 24-for-40 for only 254 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions for the second straight week. He salvaged his stat line by rushing for a score. He'll face a Chargers Defense this Sunday that has given up the seventh-most fantasy points per game to signal-callers, but Lock just cannot be trusted to perform for fantasy managers in Denver's inconsistent offense. The second-year QB has yet to surpass 254 passing yards in a game this year and threw for just 189 yards in the Week 6 win over New England. He's a low-end QB2 for those in superflex leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Le'Veon Bell will look to have a revenge game against the Jets in Week 8. Bell made his Chiefs debut in Week 7 and saw 33% of the backfield snaps behind rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Bell saw six carries in that span and picked up 39 yards, but was not targeted in the pass game. The Jets have allowed 105 yards per game and 45 yards receiving to opposing backs and Bell would certainly like to remind the Jets of what they've missed out on. Edwards-Helaire will continue to be the lead back for the Chiefs, but Bell could see increased action this action and beyond. Bell should be considered at RB3/flex option in Week 8 and beyond for now.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is in a prime spot to put up big numbers in Week 8 against the Jets. The Jets Defense has struggled against wide receivers and is allowing 176 yards per game to pass catchers. Hill started a new touchdown streak in Week 7 and has now scored six of his first seven games this season. This game could wild with the Chief overpowering offense versus a winless Jets team, and the speedy receiver should be a big part of the game plan. Hill should be fired up as a WR1 Sunday.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Chris Thompson was activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, Oct. 30.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut FB Bruce Miller Friday, Oct. 30.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry will look to get back on track in Week 8 versus the Denver Broncos. Henry only had 23 yards on three catches in Week 7 and hasn't topped 50 yards since Week 3. Henry has been targeted seven or more times by quarterback Justin Herbert in all but one game this season, but he hasn't done much with those opportunities recently. Henry will look to turn that around in Week 8 in a favorable matchup versus the Broncos, a defense that has been allowing 52 yards per game to tight ends. Henry has an opportunity to put together a strong game, but Denver hasn't allowed a touchdown to a tight end since Week 1 and that will limit Henry's upside. Henry should be treated as a low-end TE1 in Week 8.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will look to get back on track with a Week 8 matchup against the New York Jets. Kelce was held to just three catches for 31 yards in Week 7, but managers shouldn't worry. The Jets are currently allowing 47 yards a game against tight ends. The Chiefs are expected to score a lot on Sunday versus the winless Jets and that puts Kelce in a prime position to help managers. Kelce can safely be plugged in lineups every week as a TE1.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is gearing up for a feast against the 0-7 New York Jets in week 8. Mahomes had a quiet Week 7 by his standards, but also sat out part of the fourth quarter due to the Chiefs large lead and that could again happen on Sunday. The Jets Defense is allowing 29 points per game and 268 yards passing per game and has allowed two or more touchdowns in every game besides two. The Chiefs clearly outmatch the Jets and it's scary to envision what this matchup will like. Managers should be aware that if the score gets out of control, Mahomes will likely be rested, but he should be fired up as a QB1.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire will look to keep his strong season alive in a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 8 that is allowing opposing runners to gains 105 yards per contest and 45 yards per catch, both which bode well for the rookie. Managers should be aware that veteran Le'Veon Bell should see some run in a revenge and moving forward. The Chiefs have a clear edge of talent in this contest and that means that in addition to giving up snaps to Bell, CEH could have a shorter day than normal if the score goes as expected. Either way, Edwards-Helaire should be fired up as a RB1 in Week 8.
The New York Jets waived DE Daeshon Hall with a failed-physical designation Friday, Oct. 30.
Free-agent LB Elijah Lee (Lions) was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Friday, Oct. 30.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson will have a tough task in Week 8 versus a tough Denver Broncos run defense. Jackson has been the starter with Austin Ekeler (hamstring) sidelined, but he has been splitting the backfield work with rookie Joshua Kelley. Jackson only picked up five carries for 12 yards in Week 7, but he did secure five catches for 43 yards. The Broncos Defense has only allowed 90 yards per game to opposing runners, but running backs are averaging close to seven catches a game against them, and that works to Jackson's benefit. Between a tough matchup and splitting work with Kelley, though, Jackson shouldn't be viewed as more than a flex option in deeper leagues this Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie running back Joshua Kelley will look to get his season back on track in Week 8 versus a stingy Denver Broncos Defense that has allowed just 90 yards per game to opposing runners. Kelley has really struggled over his last three games and has been splitting work with Justin Jackson in the backfield while Austin Ekeler (hamstring) has been sidelined. Neither Jackson or Kelley has run away as the top back for the Chargers, but Jackson has been operating as the starter in a close to 50-50 timeshare and seems to be preferred the option for coach Anthony Lynn. Kelley is best served as a bench option in Week 8.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams will look to get back on track in Week 8 against the Broncos. Williams is fully healthy after dealing some injuries earlier in the season, but he has been inconsistent on the season. The big receiver only had one catch for four yards in Week 7, but has a chance to put together a good performance against a Broncos Defense allowing 164 yards per game versus wide receivers. Due to his inconsistency, managers shouldn't count on Williams to be more than a WR4/WR5 with upside on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen will look to keep producing against the Denver Broncos in Week 8. Allen has been a target machine for quarterback Justin Herbert and enters Sunday with 44 receptions, 481 yards and a pair of touchdowns over the first six games of the season. Allen has been heavily featured and remains the top option for a Chargers offense that has become more pass friendly with the arrival of Herbert and running back Austin Ekeler (hamstring) sidelined. The Broncos are allowing 164 yards per game to opposing pass catchers and Allen should be very involved in a game that is expected to go back and forth on Sunday. Allen should be considered a WR2 in Week 8.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert will look to keep his strong debut season going against the Denver Broncos in a Week 8 battle on Sunday. Herbert picked up his first victory versus the Jaguars in Week 7 and looked brilliant in doing so. The Broncos Defense has been playing very of late and has only allowed one touchdown over their last three games, but Herbert has been challenged early in his career and has come through. The rookie will come into Sunday's game with 1542 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions and has also rushed 25 times for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns over his first five games. It should be a close matchup between the Broncos and Chargers in Week 8 and Herbert should be considered a QB2 with the potential to put up QB1 numbers.