Sun Sep 20 12:21pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
In this July 22, 2020, file photo, the sun sets behind Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders football team, in Las Vegas. The NFL is opening in Sin City, something even the bookies in this gambling city would never have bet on happening. But on Monday night, Sept. 21, 2020, the gamble pays off when the Raiders meet the New Orleans Saints in the opening game of the glittering $1.9 billion stadium that Raiders owner Mark Davis dubbed the Death Star.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)
In this Aug. 21, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders players stretch during an NFL football training camp practice at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The NFL is opening in Sin City, something even the bookies in this gambling city would never have bet on happening. But on Monday night, Sept. 21, the gamble pays off when the Raiders meet the New Orleans Saints in the opening game of the glittering $1.9 billion stadium that Raiders owner Mark Davis dubbed the Death Star.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)
The Raiders finally have a home to call their own.
After spending almost their entire 60-year existence sharing stadiums that were sometimes old and out of date, the Raiders are set to open their $2 billion palace in the Las Vegas desert.
The Raiders (1-0) will host the New Orleans Saints (1-0) on Monday night when they get to show off Allegiant Stadium to the world more than three years after getting approval to move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
''It's got everything you could imagine, and I can't wait to share it with our fans,'' coach Jon Gruden said. ''People around the world, entertainers are going to be here. It's going to be the hot spot if you ask me. It's the coolest place I've seen.''
Unfortunately for the fans in Las Vegas who have been waiting for an NFL team and Raiders diehards in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, they'll have to wait another year to get to see it in person.
With the COVID-19 pandemic making large crowds unsafe and owner Mark Davis insistent that either all the season-ticket holders or none would be allowed in the stadium, the Raiders are playing this season without fans.
''We wish they could experience it with us,'' quarterback Derek Carr said. ''I'm sure they will be around somewhere. I'm sure there is a certain street or strip that they'll be on that our fans will be at.''
When the team held its first practice at the new digs last month, Davis read a prepared statement to the players that said that his father's mantra that the ''greatness of the Raiders is in their future'' had come to fruition and that day had arrived with the opening of the team's ''Field of Dreams.''
''Welcome to the Death Star, where our opponents' dreams come to die,'' Davis said.
Ignoring the fact that the Death Star was destroyed twice in the ''Star Wars'' movies, the Raiders now have a stadium worthy of the team's rich history.
''I think it's a cool name for our stadium, I don't give damn about `Star Wars,''' Gruden said. ''That's what we're calling our stadium and I don't care what anybody else thinks. It's a cool stadium, it's a great name and we just have to play good when we're in there.''
The 65,000-seat dome stadium, with the sliding lanai doors, translucent roof and modern amenities is a far cry from the team's old home at the Oakland Coliseum.
That stadium that the Raiders shared with baseball's Athletics featured infield dirt for early season games, occasional sewage spills and few of the revenue-generating features that teams desire.
''I had guys from other teams come in and be like, `This is kind of like mediocre a little bit,''' Raiders running back Jalen Richard said. ''To now and seeing what we have now, I definitely won't take any of this for granted and go out there and do what I can to help us win.''
The Raiders have never had a home like this one.
When the team began in the AFL in 1960, the Raiders split their first season between Kezar Stadium and Candlestick Park in San Francisco, sharing stadiums used by the 49ers and Giants.
The Raiders then played four seasons at a 22,000-seat temporary site in Oakland called Frank Youell Field that hosted high school games after the Raiders left.
They then had their own new home for the first time for a two-year stretch in 1966-67 at the Oakland Coliseum that soon also became home to the A's. That forced the Raiders to play some games on infield dirt, relocate to Berkeley for a game in 1973 and sometimes not play a game on their home field until late October or November.
When Al Davis moved the team to Los Angeles in 1982, the team moved into the 60-year-old L.A. Coliseum, which they shared with the USC football team.
A search for their own home in the Los Angeles area never led to a new stadium, the Raiders moved back to the Oakland Coliseum where they shared that run-down facility with the A's.
Attempts to build a football-only stadium in Oakland never panned out and the Raiders then looked to leave, first getting turned down by the NFL in a bid to go to Los Angeles before getting approval in 2017 to come to Las Vegas.
''This place definitely feels like home,'' defensive tackle Maurice Hurst said. ''I really hope we can do some great things here.''
It all starts on a festive Monday night that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ''Monday Night Football'' game with a simulcast on ABC and a halftime concert by the Las Vegas band ''The Killers'' that was recorded on the roof of Caesar's Palace.
Even the Saints are excited about the opportunity to be part of the opening.
''It's absolutely a historic moment, right?'' quarterback Drew Brees said. ''First professional football team in Vegas, the opening of this new stadium, which I'm sure is tremendous. So yeah, there's a lot of unique things to it and obviously the game itself.''
Sunday Morning Update: Week 2
The Tennessee Titans Defense won't have linebacker Vic Beasley (knee) in Week 2 against the Jacksonville. Beasley had been practicing, so it's likely this is just a precaution in what should be a relatively easy matchup for the Titans. Against a better team, Beasley's absence could be an issue for the Titans, but this shouldn't be a game changer in this contest. Consider the Titans defense one of the top defensive options in fantasy this week.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that the Los Angeles Rams will move towards more of a running back committee approach in Week 2 against the Eagles, with Darrell Henderson Jr. playing more than he did in Week 1. Garafolo expects the team to use Henderson, Cam Akers, and Malcolm Brown "roughly equally" in this week's game and moving forward. We'll see if that's how it plays out, but if Garafolo is right, this backfield gets a lot harder to predict for fantasy and both Brown and Akers take a hit in season-long value.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) is set to make his NFL debut on Sunday against the New York Jets. Aiyuk will debut in a game where the Niners are missing their top two receiving threats, wide receiver Deebo Samuel (foot) and tight end George Kittle (knee). Aiyuk should get some immediate snaps on this offense and has flex appeal because of the lack of threats that the 49ers have on offense and the fact that the Jets Defense is susceptible to big plays.
The Indianapolis Colts Defense won't have defensive back Rock Ya-Sin for their Week 2 contest against the Vikings after he was ruled out at the last second with an illness. It doesn't appear that the illness is related to COVID-19. Ya-Sin was a key contributor in Week 1 for the Colts, playing 92 percent of defensive snaps and making three solo tackles. While not an elite corner, his absence still provides a boost to the offensive projection for the Minnesota Vikings's passing game.
New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine (ankle) didn't play in Week 1, but is set to make his NFL debut against the 49ers on Sunday. With Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) on the injured reserve, Perine could play a small role right away as the passing-down option when veteran Frank Gore rests. In season-long leagues, Perine should be ignored, but he's an interesting punt play in DFS this week and should get at least a few touches.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook is a healthy inactive in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans. This is the second week in a row that Westbrook won't play. It's clear that last week's absence wasn't a fluke, and it's now safe for fantasy managers to drop Dede Westbrook in all redraft leagues. Maybe you could pick up fellow Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole, who has stepped into a bigger role for the team with Westbrook out of the receiver rotation.
Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (shoulder) is officially active for the team's Week 2 game.
Fantasy Spin: Sutton was a game-time decision, so it is not known if he will be able to handle his normal workload. He will have a tough matchup but can still be at least a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.
New York Giants WR Golden Tate (hamstring) is active for Week 2's game against the Chicago Bears.
Fantasy Spin: Tate is likely to receive a decent number of targets in this afternoon's game, making him a viable WR3 or flex option in all fantasy formats.
The New York Giants have declared S Adrian Colbert, TE Eric Tomlinson, OT Jackson Barton, LB T.J. Brunson, RB Wayne Gallman, DE Carter Coughlin and DT R.J. McIntosh inactive for Week 2.
Chicago Bears wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Riley Ridley are healthy scratches in Week 2. The big news here is Ginn, as he played 43 percent of the team's Week 1 snaps. Ginn wasn't a factor in that game and Bears should turn to Anthony Miller more in this one, whose snap rate should take a huge leap. Miller's an interesting option now, while Ginn can be dropped in redraft leagues this week unless some news emerges to suggest he was injured, because being a healthy scratch on this offense is really, really bad news.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (hamstring) is officially active in Week 2, with the Giants taking on the Chicago Bears. This probably isn't the week for fantasy managers to play Tate, as he'll likely be a little limited as he works his way back. But if you need a deep league dart throw, Tate's a solid option, and his presence presents a slight hit to both Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. More so to Shepard, as it looks like Slayton has emerged as quarterback Daniel Jones's top receiving threat.
The Indianapolis Colts have declared TE Jack Doyle, QB Jacob Eason, WR Dezmon Patmon, LB E.J. Speed, DT Eli Ankou and CB Rock Ya-Sin inactive for Week 2.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared QB Jake Luton, CB Luq Barcoo, WR Dede Westbrook, TE Tyler Davis, CB Josiah Scott and DL Doug Costin inactive for Week 2.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (hamstring) is officially active for the team's Week 2 game.
Fantasy Spin: Parker is still a risky option because he could aggravate the injury during the game, but fantasy players can consider him a No. 3 receiver or flex option in their lineups.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring) is active for Miami's Week 2 meeting with the Buffalo Bills, though that doesn't mean that fantasy managers should deploy him in their lineups. We're likely not going to see a 100 percent healthy Parker in this game, and he has a tough matchup with a really good Bills secondary. Usually a fantasy WR2 when healthy, think of Parker more as a risky flex option in this one due to immensely more downside than he would usually have.
The Detroit Lions have declared CB Desmond Trufant, WR Kenny Golladay, CB Chris Jones, OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, TE Hunter Bryant, LB Julian Okwara and DL Nicholas Williams inactive for Week 2.
The Carolina Panthers have declared OT Dennis Daley, DL Kawann Short, QB Will Grier, DE Yetur Gross-Matos, DL Shareef Miller and CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver inactive for Week 2.
The Miami Dolphins have declared S Clayton Fejedelem, DE Jason Strowbridge, OL Adam Pankey, WR Malcolm Perry and LB Elandon Roberts inactive for Week 2.
Atlanta Falcons running back Qadree Ollison is inactive for the team's Week 2 meeting with the Dallas Cowboys. At this point, it looks like Ollison's only chance of a bigger role in Atlanta would be if injuries strike the backs ahead of him. Brian Hill and Ito Smith will serve as Todd Gurley's backups again. If you've been rostering Ollison in redraft in hopes he could breakout this season, you can go ahead and move on.