Guest of the League
THIS LEAGUE IS LAST YEAR'S OLD Est. 2017
One and Done - FFL: Week 1 | NFL: Week 12

Win or lose, it's Darnold's job to lead Jets rest of the way

Mon Nov 30 6:24pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer

Miami Dolphins' Andrew Van Ginkel, left, tackles New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)


NEW YORK (AP) Sam Darnold's return was supposed to be the big spark for the New York Jets.

The offense showed some positive signs the past two games with Joe Flacco under center. But the team was excited to have Darnold back at quarterback and playing with his three starting wide receivers for the first time.

Well, the Jets scored a mere three points in a 20-3 loss to Miami and dropped to 0-11. What's worse, Darnold and the offense looked much like the inept group that trudged through the first few months of the season.

So, for a team crawling perilously closer to 0-16, why not play Flacco if he's moving the offense and potentially putting them in better position to get that elusive first victory?

''It's easy to point at the quarterback all the time,'' coach Adam Gase said Monday. ''Sam needs to play. I want him to play, I want him to be out there. I feel like it wasn't all on him every drive. Were there some mistakes made? Yes. But it wasn't every drive that was his fault.''

But Darnold was responsible for two drive-killing interceptions: first on the Jets' opening possession of the second half, and second late in the game with New York in desperation mode.

''I've just got to continue to learn and grow from it,'' Darnold said of his struggles. ''That's all I can do.''

The third-year quarterback is having a brutal season that has included being sidelined twice, each time for two games, with shoulder injuries.

He has just three touchdown passes and none in his last four games, spanning 19 quarters. Darnold has also been intercepted eight times, and his 64.0 quarterback rating ranks last in the NFL among players who have started four or more games.

Despite all that, it appears there's no scenario where benching Darnold will be an option over the last five games.

''Sam is the starter, and we need Sam to play as many snaps as possible,'' Gase said. ''We're just going to keep working to get better every week, and I think he will. I think he's very competitive and he wants to do well and he's looking forward to this next game.''

The evaluation period on Darnold would seem to be over this deep into his career. The Darnold-Gase union hasn't worked, and the coach's departure after the season seems a foregone conclusion. Darnold's status remains uncertain.

If the Jets don't win a game, they'll assure themselves of the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in April. That means Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be an option - if he declares for the draft. That likely also means New York will move on from Darnold by possibly trading him in the offseason.

For now, though, it's Darnold's job the rest of the way - win or lose.

''We don't pull out offensive linemen because they get beat one time or two or three or five times,'' Gase said. ''We don't pull out receivers when they drop the ball. Guys have got to stay in there and play. That's football.''

WHAT'S WORKING

The defense was solid in the second half against Miami, causing two turnovers and forcing three punts - including two on three-and-outs - before allowing a late touchdown that sealed things. The offense struggled to take advantage of either of the takeaways, coming away with no points.

''I feel bad for our defense,'' right guard Greg Van Roten said. ''I feel, personally, seeing them in the locker room, we let them down as an offense.''

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Third-down and red-zone efficiency. It's the running theme for the season. The Jets went 3 for 13 on third downs against the Dolphins and rank last in the NFL in that category - as they have for most of the year. New York actually showed some improvement in the red zone the last two games with Flacco at quarterback, but regressed with Darnold. The Jets went 0 for 3 on scoring touchdowns inside the 20 on Sunday.

STOCK UP

Quinnen Williams. The defensive tackle is arguably the team's most improved player in his second season. Williams, the team's first-round pick last year, had seven tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, a forced fumble and two passes defensed against Miami.

''He's really showing up a lot,'' Gase said. ''He's playing his (butt) off.''

STOCK DOWN

Alex Lewis. The starting left guard was a surprise inactive Sunday for what Gase said wasn't an injury-related reason. Lewis was limited at practice Friday and then Pat Elflein started in his place against Miami. Gase wouldn't divulge details, saying the team is handling the situation internally. When asked if the two had an argument, Gase said he and Lewis ''had a conversation,'' but wouldn't call it ''a verbal altercation.''

INJURED

LB Blake Cashman is likely to miss a few weeks after injuring a hamstring. He previously missed three games with injuries to both hamstrings, but Gase said this is a new injury. The second-year linebacker also missed four games with an injured groin.

KEY NUMBER

12 - The Jets already have the longest single-season losing streak in team history. Next up is the longest overall skid of 12 games, which spanned the 1995-96 seasons under Rich Kotite.

NEXT STEPS

New York will try to avoid yet another dubious franchise milestone by dropping to 0-12 next Sunday when hosting the Las Vegas Raiders.

Top Headlines

Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 12

The Paur Report
Player Notes
Will Fuller Nov 30 6:50pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V (suspension) will miss at least the remainder of the 2020 regular season after being tagged with a six-game suspension for violation of the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Fuller claimed on Instagram that the substance was a medication he now realizes was not cleared under league protocol. Assuming that Houston does not make a postseason run this year, Fuller will also miss the first game of the '21 season, which may not come as a member of the Texans due to his pending free agency. His absence in the Texans' passing game may knock Deshaun Watson down a peg in outlook over the stretch run, while Brandin Cooks, Keke Coutee, and Isaiah Coulter could all step into increased roles as soon as Week 13 against Indianapolis. Fuller can be dropped to the waiver wire in all single-season leagues.

From RotoBaller

T.J. Logan Nov 30 5:43pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB T.J. Logan (knee) and WR Jaydon Mickens were activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 on Monday, Nov. 30. Logan will remain on the Reserve/Injured list, however.

From TheHuddle

Genard Avery Nov 30 5:33pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles LB Genard Avery (elbow) was activated from the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Nov. 30. The Eagles also elevated DT T.Y. McGill and TE Caleb Wilson from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Julian Edelman Nov 30 5:13pm ET

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (knee) was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 30.

From TheHuddle

Andy Janovich Nov 30 5:03pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs S Tedric Thompson was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns on Monday, Nov. 30. FB Andy Janovich was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list to make room for him on the roster.

From TheHuddle

Tavon Austin Nov 30 4:53pm ET

Free-agent WR Tavon Austin (49ers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Green Bay Packers on Monday, Nov. 30.

From TheHuddle

Denver Broncos Nov 30 4:30pm ET

The Denver Broncos Defense was not able to slow down fill-in quarterback Taysom Hill and the New Orleans Saints in the 31-3 blowout loss in Week 12. A week after sacking Dolphins rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa six times and springing the upset on Miami, the Broncos D put up little fight on a day in which their offense and practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton could only muster one completion as the emergency starter under center. They were of little help to fantasy managers by allowing 30-plus points for the fifth time in the last six games. Denver managed only three sacks (two by DeMarcus Walker) and one interception of Hill in the contest. With another dreadful matchup upcoming -- the division-rival Chiefs -- Denver's D should be avoided once again. They allowed a season-worst 43 points to KC back in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Nov 30 4:30pm ET

Updating previous reports, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) was diagnosed with a hamstring strain that will likely force him to miss some time, according to a source. The Giants will know more later this week when Jones attempts to practice, but there is optimism that he won't be out long. Tests on Monday ruled out a significant tear. It's highly unlikely that Jones will play in Week 13 against the Seahawks, meaning that backup Colt McCoy should see his first start since his lone start for Washington last year. Jones, the sixth overall pick in 2019, has completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 2,332 yards, eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. New York's pass-catchers will need to be downgraded for the next game if McCoy is starting under center.

From RotoBaller

Brandon McManus Nov 30 4:20pm ET

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus gave the team their only points of the day in the Week 12 blowout loss to the Saints by making a season-long 58-yard kick in the 31-3 defeat. McManus hasn't missed a kick since Week 7 against the Chiefs when he shanked an extra point, and he's missed just one of his 22 field-goal attempts on the year as well. He's 7-for-8 on 50-plus yard tries and has proven to be one of the most automatic kickers in the game with his 95.5 percent success rate in 2020. However, he remains a fringe fantasy starter, at best, because of the Broncos inconsistent offense. McManus had zero chance of racking up points for fantasy owners with practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton playing QB on Sunday. In the rematch with KC in Week 13, McManus should be considered a low-upside option. He was afforded just one field goal try in the first matchup in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Moore Nov 30 4:13pm ET

Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in Week 12, but an X-ray on Monday, Nov. 30, revealed no break. According to head coach Matt Rhule, Moore may be able to return after the team's Week 13 bye.

From TheHuddle

Jerry Jeudy Nov 30 4:10pm ET

Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy wasn't alone, but he failed to haul in a pass on his only target in the 31-3 blowout loss to the Saints in Week 12. On a day when practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton filled in at quarterback due to COVID-19 knocking out the rest of Denver's eligible QBs, the Broncos offense managed to complete just one pass against a strong New Orleans defense. Jeudy should've been benched by his fantasy managers, and he should remain there unless Drew Lock makes a return in Week 13 against the Chiefs. The rookie from Alabama had seen 40 targets in his previous four games, but he caught just 18 of them and remains a WR4/flex in deeper leagues in this inconsistent offense. Jeudy had just two catches for 20 yards in the previous meeting with the Chiefs in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Tim Patrick Nov 30 4:00pm ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick had just two targets in the 31-3 blowout loss to the Saints in Week 12 and failed to catch a single pass. Emergency fill-in quarterback Kendall Hinton attempted just nine passes and completed only one of them, so the entire Broncos passing game was non-existent on Sunday. Patrick should only be considered as a WR4/flex in deeper leagues in Week 13 against the division-rival Chiefs if quarterback Drew Lock returns from the COVID-19 protocols. Patrick has been the team's most consistent wideout in 2020 and has three 100-yard games, but he has only three touchdowns and remains a shaky flex play in deeper leagues because of the inconsistent nature of Denver's offense. The 27-year-old caught three of four targets for 44 yards in the first meeting with Kansas City in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Nov 30 3:50pm ET

With Denver Broncos practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton filling in as the team's emergency quarterback in Week 12 against the Saints, tight end Noah Fant caught Hinton's lone completion of the day for 13 yards on two targets. Fantasy managers would've been smart to bench everyone from Denver's offense on this strange day in the 31-3 blowout loss. Unless quarterback Drew Lock returns in Week 13 against the division-rival Chiefs, Fant should remain benched. The 23-year-old is still looking for his first touchdown since Week 2. He caught three of his seven targets for 38 yards in the first meeting with KC back in Week 7. Fant continues to have TE1 appeal with Lock under center, but he'll be more of a low-end TE1 if Lock is cleared from the COVID-19 protocol this week.

From RotoBaller

Jamar Taylor Nov 30 3:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers CB Jamar Taylor (knee) will miss the remainder of the season after he was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament Monday, Nov. 30.

From TheHuddle

Carson Wentz Nov 30 3:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles veteran offensive lineman Jason Peters (toe) will play on Monday night against the Seahawks despite having a broken and dislocated toe that will require surgery in the offseason, according to a source. However, instead of playing left tackle and protecting quarterback Carson Wentz's blind side, Peters will be moving to guard to help make up for his lack of mobility. Philly's offensive line, which has been the best at run-blocking so far this season, is encountering some adversity in the form of injuries to Peters and right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), who said over the weekend that he's done for the season. Although the offensive line still has plenty of talent, they'll be working at far less than full strength in Week 12 against Seattle and to close out the season.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Nov 30 3:30pm ET

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains have been splitting the play-calling duties around 50/50 for around the last four games. The Jets have been more competitive in recent weeks, even with backup quarterback Joe Flacco starting two of the last three games, but the Jets remain the only winless team in the NFL through 12 weeks of the season. The play-calling situation probably won't make much difference in New York's underwhelming offense the rest of the way. The good news for the Jets is that quarterback Sam Darnold returned from a shoulder injury in Week 12 and he has his full complement of receivers in Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder and rookie Denzel Mims to close out the season. However, it's still hard to get behind any of the team's offensive weapons for fantasy purposes heading into Week 13 against the Raiders.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Nov 30 3:30pm ET

Tests on New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) on Monday showed that he avoided a major injury, according to sources. Jones will have an outside chance of playing in Week 13 against the Seahawks, but the team will have a better read on his status when they know if he'll be able to get on the practice field later this week. Jones was looking really good on Sunday against the Bengals before going down with his injury, and he'd offer some streaming upside next week against a bad Seahawks Defense if he's able to play. If he cannot go, the G-Men would likely go with backup Colt McCoy, who came in for Jones in Week 12. McCoy went 6-for-10 for 31 yards in his first game action in 14 months. He'd be a low-end QB2 option for desperate fantasy managers in superflex leagues.

From RotoBaller

Joe Burrow Nov 30 3:20pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow (knee) will head West this week to have reconstructive knee surgery on his ACL, and the procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. Although there have been varying reports on whether Burrow will be ready to go in Week 1 of the 2021 season, he's expected to make a full recovery after tearing multiple ligaments in Week 11. Burrow is likely looking at a timetable of around eight to nine months, so we'll have to follow his rehab closely heading into training camp and the start of next season. Cincinnati is expected to play it extra safe with the face of their franchise after taking the former LSU star with the first overall pick in 2020. Brandon Allen got the start at QB in Week 12, but Ryan Finley could also see some starts before the end of the season for the Bengals.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Nov 30 3:03pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones' lack of touches (10) in Week 12 was due primarily to the team needing its pass-catchers on the field, according to head coach Bruce Arians. 'I don't think there's any doubt (Jones) needs to have 20 touches,' Arians told the team's website Monday, Nov. 30.

Fantasy Spin: Jones ranks fourth in the league in rushing and is averaging a career-high 5.1 yards per carry, yet Arians continues to make excuses as to why he doesn't get the ball more often. Arians has also shown a disturbing tendency to publicly support Jones only to leave him off the field for significant portions of the game shortly after doing so. If Arians should commit to Jones down the stretch, he would be a strong RB2 with RB1 upside. As it is, he should continue to be viewed as an inconsistent RB2 with a low floor.

From TheHuddle