Thu Oct 10 7:43pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, in East Rutherford, N.J. Darnold has been cleared by doctors to play this week after he missed three games while recovering from mononucleosis. The Jets announced in a Twitter post that Darnold will start Sunday at home against Dallas. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Sam Darnold stepped to the podium as the New York Jets' starting quarterback again, his once-swollen spleen no longer keeping him from playing in a game.
Nearly a month of medical tests, tough questions, major concerns and big-time frustration is over.
And so is Darnold's time on the sideline.
''The spleen is good, finally,'' a smiling Darnold said Thursday. ''I finally get to wear a white jersey out there and be part of the team. It's been good to be back officially and get some practices under my belt.''
Darnold will start Sunday at home against Dallas, his first game since the season opener. A bout with mononucleosis sidelined him for three games after being diagnosed on Sept. 11. He was cleared by doctors Monday to play in a game, and Darnold has no concerns about getting back out on the field - with Cowboys defenders looking to make for a rough return.
''When I'm out there playing, I'm not worried about guys hitting me or anything,'' Darnold said. ''I'm trusting the guys up front to do their thing and I'm trusting the receivers to get open when it's time to pass the ball. For me, it's all about trust.
''When I do get hit, I know I'm not in danger anymore. They're letting me go out there and play because it's safe, so I'm not worried about that.''
Darnold will wear customized protective padding around his ribs/spleen area - likely for the rest of the season - just as a precaution. He said it's not restrictive, and will surely give him peace of mind.
The 0-4 Jets have struggled mightily without their starting quarterback, failing to generate much in his absence. Trevor Siemian started the second game of the season, but was lost for the season with an ankle injury, so third-stringer Luke Falk was under center the past two games - as New York rolled up a total of just 233 yards combined.
''You are what your record says you are and right now we aren't a very good offense,'' offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. ''Sam is not a magic wand. He is a really good player that is going to lift the execution of this team and he is a really gifted player with the ball in his hands and we are really excited to have him.
''But there are still things that we need to clean up, fundamentally and technically, to make sure the other 10 guys are doing their jobs the right way.''
The offensive line has allowed an NFL-worst 23 sacks, including 10 last week at Philadelphia. Falk, in a tough spot after being merely a practice squad quarterback until Week 2, held on to the ball too long at times. He had no chance to do anything at others.
''Yeah, he should be good, we should not have him dying on the field,'' coach Adam Gase joked of Darnold. ''We need to do a better job protecting the quarterback and we need to get the ball out on time, we need to run the right routes, it's got to be the right play call.''
That combination of errors so far has affected the entire operation of the offense, from Le'Veon Bell and the running backs to the wide receivers and tight ends. The Jets rank last in the NFL in total offense.
Darnold now is being looked at by some as a savior of sorts, someone who'll immediately get everything back on track.
The 22-year-old quarterback is keeping things in perspective, though.
''For me, it's all about staying within myself,'' he said. ''Not doing too much.''
The comeback nearly happened last week at Philadelphia as Darnold went through two days of practices running the first-team offense. But a medical test last Thursday night confirmed he wasn't yet healthy enough to play.
''When you're out that long,'' he said, ''you realize how awesome the game is because you miss it so much.''
Now, he'll be able to knock the rust off for real, with a chance to get the Jets in the win column for the first time this season.
''Having a couple of weeks of practice under my belt is a good thing,'' Darnold said. ''It's definitely going to help, but there's nothing like Sunday. Playing the first couple of series will be a little bit of a shock to the system, you could say, but I think I'm going to be ready.
''And hopefully, after those couple of series, I think, I'll feel right at home.''
NOTES: LB C.J. Mosley (groin), DE Henry Anderson (shoulder), LG Kelechi Osemele (shoulder/knee/illness) and RB-KR Trenton Cannon (foot/ankle) didn't practice. ... CB Nate Hairston (knee) was limited after not practicing Wednesday. Also limited were LB Jordan Jenkins (calf), DL Quinnen Williams (ankle) and WRs Josh Bellamy (shoulder) and Demaryius Thomas (hamstring/knee). ... S Jamal Adams won his appeal of his $21,056 fine by the NFL for his hit on Browns QB Baker Mayfield in Week 2. ''I knew I was going to win it because it was legal,'' Adams said of the hit. He added that with the money he'll be able to keep, he'll spend it to buy his mother Michelle a gift for her birthday - which was also Thursday.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (knee) is officially active for the team's Week 10 game.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert is coming off a disappointing Week 10 performance and probably will only see a handful of touches this week. He can be avoided in all fantasy leagues.
Seattle Seahawks WR Josh Gordon (ankle) is officially active for the team's Week 10 game.
Fantasy Spin: Gordon has been with the Seahawks for a little over a week, so he may see limited snaps this week against the San Francisco 49ers. Fantasy players probably should see him play in a game before considering him as a starting option.
San Francisco 49ers PK Robbie Gould (quadriceps) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 10 game.
Oakland Raiders LB Marquel Lee (ankle) participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. He is currently on the Reserve/Injured list.
The San Francisco 49ers have declared CB Ahkello Witherspoon, RB Jeff Wilson Jr., PK Robbie Gould, DT Jullian Taylor, OT Justin Skule, QB C.J. Beathard and TE George Kittle inactive for Week 10.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (ankle, knee) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 10 game.
The Seattle Seahawks have declared WR Jaron Brown, CB Akeem King, WR John Ursua, OG Phil Haynes, RB C.J. Prosise, DL L.J. Collier and S Lano Hill inactive for Week 10.
Now with the backfield almost completely to himself, Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage did little in Miami's 16-12 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, rushing 20 times for just 48 yards. Following the trade of Kenyan Drake and the suspension of Mark Walton, Ballage was virtually the only option out of the backfield for Miami, with just two carries going to backup Jordan Laird. Ballage may have the job to himself for the foreseeable future but Miami continues to be a subpar offense, making him only a desperate play for most fantasy owners. Until he and the Dolphins can prove they are able to manage more than the 229 yards of offense that they did on Sunday, leave Ballage on the waiver wire where he belongs.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's favorite target in a 16-12 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, with his 10 targets leading the team. Parker could only haul in five of those passes, however, finishing with just 69 yards receiving in the win, and failing to score a touchdown for only the second time in the past six games. It may have been a disappointing final line, as the Dolphin offense only managed 229 yards of offense on the day, but Parker is seemingly firmly entrenched as Miami's number-one receiver, making him a viable flex option in most weeks. Just not for this week, as the Dolphins will face a Buffalo Bills Defense in Week 11 that's allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers in 2019.
Denver Broncos S Will Parks (hand) will participate in practice Tuesday, Nov. 12, while CB Bryce Callahan (foot) will try to practice.
Indianapolis Colts WR Devin Funchess (shoulder) is expected to participate in practice this week.
Fantasy Spin: Funchess probably is a few weeks away from returning to the lineup but should be at least a limited participant during practice this week. He should have some fantasy value when he returns and can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett (knee) likely will be the starting quarterback for the Week 11 game if he is able to be a full participant during practice Wednesday, Nov. 13, according to head coach Frank Reich.
Fantasy Spin: The Colts decided to hold Brissett out last week so he could rest his knee, so fantasy players will need to monitor his practice participation during the week. He would be facing a good Jacksonville Jaguars defense if he plays but could be a low-end No. 1 quarterback in deeper leagues.
After winning his second-straight game, head coach Brian Flores declared that Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick would remain the starter for "the foreseeable future". Fitzpatrick didn't exactly shine in the Dolphins 16-12 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10, throwing for 169 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception, salvaging 12 fantasy points on the day with an 11-yard touchdown run late in the second half. Save for the one touchdown drive, Miami's offense was mostly inept in victory, totaling just 229 yards on the day. Fitzpatrick needs to stay on the waiver wire in Week 11, as the Dolphins will face a Buffalo Bills team that's allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2019.
A popular streaming option headed into a Week 10 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki scored zero fantasy points in Miami's 16-12 victory on the road. The second-year tight end had three receptions for 28 yards, with a lost fumble on Miami's first drive negating what few points Gesicki would earn on the day. While his six targets were second on the team to the ten of Devante Parker, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick targeted Gesicki mostly on shorter routes, throwing him only one ball down the field. With teammate Preston Williams out for the remainder of the season, Gesicki could occasionally be worth a look as a streaming candidate given his likely volume of targets. Just probably not when the Dolphins host the Bills in Week 11, as Buffalo is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2019.
New York Jets LB Brandon Copeland (hip) is dealing with a hip strain and is scheduled to meet with a specialist.
Free-agent S DeShawn Shead (Seahawks) worked out for the Oakland Raiders Monday, Nov. 11, according to a source.
Free-agent WR Deon Cain was signed to the Indianapolis Colts practice squad Monday, Nov. 11.
San Francisco 49ers TE Garrett Celek (back) was activated from the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Nov. 11. The team also waived CB Dontae Johnson.
Cleveland Browns WR Antonio Callaway's benching was only for the Week 10 game, and he will return to the lineup for Week 11, according to head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Fantasy Spin: Callaway likely will serve as the No. 3 receiver for the Browns this week against a good Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Fantasy players can consider benching Callaway if they have better options available.