By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp celebrates after a long run with head coach Sean McVay during the second half of an NFL football game New Orleans Saints Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, right, is sacked by New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams can't get a hand on a incomplete pass intended for Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (89) as Eli Apple, right, looks on during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks, left, catches a pass inform of New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LOS ANGELES (AP) When Drew Brees went to the sideline holding his injured throwing hand, this NFC championship game rematch - and maybe this season's Super Bowl race - dramatically changed in an instant.
Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams didn't waste the opportunity created by Brees' absence to beat the Saints again. And with no help from a no-call this time.
Goff passed for 283 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score, and the Rams stopped New Orleans from scoring an offensive touchdown for the first time since 2016 during Los Angeles' 27-9 victory Sunday.
A strong performance by the Rams' defense, an impressive second half from Goff's offense, and another officiating decision that hurt the Saints were all overshadowed by Brees' departure late in the first quarter.
''I told him I'm hoping for the best,'' Goff said of his postgame chat with Brees. ''He's a great player for this league, a face of the league, and somebody we need in the league.''
Brees' throwing hand collided with Aaron Donald's outstretched hand while he threw an incompletion on the Saints' second drive, and the NFL's career leader in yards passing spent the afternoon on the Coliseum sideline with his thumb heavily wrapped. Brees will see a hand specialist Sunday night, he said.
''There is only so much you can do here as far as a doctor seeing it on the sideline,'' Brees said. ''Hoping it is not too significant.''
Teddy Bridgewater went 17 of 30 for 165 yards in solid relief, while Alvin Kamara rushed for just 45 yards for the Saints (1-1), who seemed understandably discombobulated without their longtime quarterback - although the Rams' defense deserves plenty of credit as well.
Brees' absence ''really didn't change anything at all for us,'' Rams pass rusher Dante Fowler said. ''We were doing a good job before he got hurt. Everybody was on top of their game.''
New Orleans didn't score an offensive touchdown for only the fourth time in 13-plus seasons under coach Sean Payton, who got a lengthy contract extension before the game.
''It is going to be a hard film to watch for guys,'' Payton said. ''We got whipped up front.''
Todd Gurley rushed for 63 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season late in the third quarter of this rematch of the Rams' 26-23 overtime win in New Orleans last January. That game turned on the infamous uncalled pass interference late in regulation by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who had six tackles in the rematch.
''Every win is a big win, but today was a very important win,'' Robey-Coleman said. ''It was a win that basically just closed all the chatter and the naysaying.''
This one also contained early refereeing drama that left the Saints steamed: New Orleans' Cameron Jordan had a long fumble return for a touchdown wiped out in the second quarter. The play initially was ruled an incomplete pass before video review determined Goff had fumbled, but Jordan's long return didn't count because officials had blown the play dead.
Jordan was still furious after the game, even referring to the refs as ''the Foot Locker'' and saying certain members of the officiating crew ''were maybe in their prime a decade ago.''
''If Drew is down, it's on the defense,'' Jordan added. ''I take it upon me. I don't know how many times we hit Jared Goff, but it wasn't enough. We've got to create more turnovers.''
The Saints were hampered by 11 penalties for 87 yards, while the Rams' offense recovered from a slow start to make three straight touchdown drives in the second half.
But this matchup between two of the most prolific offenses in NFL history was definitely not a fireworks show, between Brees' absence and the inconsistent performance of Los Angeles coach Sean McVay's offense. The Rams failed to score a touchdown in the first half for only the third time in McVay's tenure.
KUPP RUNNETH OVER EVERYBODY
Shortly after Brandin Cooks caught a TD pass, Cooper Kupp made the play of the game with a spectacular 67-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter. Goff scored after Kupp was ruled down at the 1 by video review.
''It was like something you only see in a football movie,'' Cooks said with a laugh.
Kupp finished with five catches for 120 yards, while Goff surpassed 10,000 career yards passing.
Both teams had far too many. Along with Brees, the Saints lost left guard Andrus Peat to an ankle injury in the second half. Linebacker A.J. Klein also went to the locker room in the second half. Backup receiver Keith Kirkwood was ruled out with a hamstring injury in pregame warmups.
The Rams lost two offensive starters: right guard Austin Blythe injured his ankle in the first half, and tight end Tyler Higbee incurred a chest injury early in the second half.
Donald missed part of the first half with a back injury, but the two-time Defensive Player of the Year returned.
The game was the Rams' final home opener at the 96-year-old Coliseum: They'll move into SoFi Stadium in Inglewood next season. The Rams and Chargers unveiled the name of their multibillion-dollar complex before the game.
Saints: Staying on the West Coast this week to face the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.
Rams: At the Cleveland Browns next Sunday.
Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley has been put on the trade block with the deadline approaching, according to a league source. The former first-round pick is making $12.8 million this year and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The 27-year-old had a career-high 15.5 sacks in 2016 but had a combined 10 sacks the following two seasons as the Falcons moved him around. He has 12 total tackles and 1.5 sacks through six games in 2019. He's off the IDP radar for now, but he could become more attractive if he lands in the right spot.
Washington Redskins tight end Jeremy Sprinkle will be the starter for the third consecutive week with Vernon Davis having once again been ruled out and Jordan Reed's entire career up in the air. The Redskins are the only team, real or otherwise, that he should start for this week. The 49ers are allowing fewer than four catches per game to tight ends, and Sprinkle has caught a total of four in his two weeks as the starter. There isn't much else to say. Sprinkle isn't relevant on his own bad team, so he is thereby a player to ignore in fantasy.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3, has caught three or fewer passes in four of six games, and has broken 40 receiving yards just once. His next opponent is a 49ers Defense that is certain to highlight all of those shortcomings for another week, as they have allowed opposing wideouts to catch an average of nine passes a game. Terry McLaurin figures to see over half of that average on his own, leaving little else for Richardson or any other Washington pass-catcher.
New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (ankle, knee) missed a second straight practice on Friday. Tight ends Ryan Izzo (concussion) and Matt LaCosse (knee) also sat out. Gordon looks unlikely to play on Monday night against the Jets, so fantasy owners should make plans to be without him. If that's the case, it's likely that Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett will be the team's top two receivers in a good matchup against Gang Green. Dorsett has sneaky flex and DFS appeal after missing last Thursday's game. LaCosse is out multiple weeks and Izzo is in danger of sitting out Monday, leaving the Pats dangerously thin at tight end. It's why they re-signed veteran Benjamin Watson earlier this week.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn looked like he might be on the brink of carving out a PPR-relevant role for himself early in the season, hauling in 13 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in his first three games. Since then, he has seven catches for 36 yards. Even the return of Case Keenum in Week 6 against an atrocious Dolphins team wasn't enough to bring Quinn back up, as he failed to eclipse even 10 receiving yards in his team's most inviting matchup to date. Now he'll have to deal with a 49ers secondary allowing opposing WRs to catch nine passes a game. Dynasty owners who are looking to tank the 2019 season for the number-one pick in their draft next year would be wise to start Quinn this week. For everyone else, stay away.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin has been his team's lone bright spot on offense in 2019, but he's about to face a 49ers Defense that has dimmed those bright spots on each and every one of its previous adversaries. The Niners create pressure on 33.9% of opponents' drop-backs, which is the second-best rate in the league. This will inevitably have Case Keenum scrambling for his life behind a shaky offensive line, in turn minimizing the amount of time he has to find his favorite target downfield. Only one quarterback has thrown for more than 200 yards in a game against San Francisco, and the 49ers haven't given up a touchdown pass in their last two games. McLaurin is a volume-based flex play at best in this matchup.
San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) has been ruled out for Week 7 against the Redskins. Samuel has been a little-used receiver in his rookie season in a run-first offense, so he belongs on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues. His absence is good news for both Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, but the Niners probably won't have to rely on the passing game all that much against a poor Redskins team all around.
The Washington Redskins Defense is allowing an average of 4.6 yards on opposing rushing attempts, and they're about to go up against a 49ers team that has attempted the second-most rushes in the league despite playing one fewer game than a majority of NFL teams. San Francisco's commitment to the run isn't just some stubborn refusal to diversify its game plan, either, as they're averaging 4.6 yards per carry. They've got two capable running backs in Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, so there will always be a relatively fresh set of legs ready to rumble over what is sure to be a worn-out Washington front seven. The Redskins allow opponents to extend drives on 50.6% of third down opportunities, the second-worst mark in the league. Steer clear.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (ankle), tight end Jared Cook (ankle) and wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) have all been ruled out for Week 7 against the Bears. Make sure to remove Kamara and Cook from your lineups now. With Kamara sidelined, backup Latavius Murray will be the backfield workhorse and will have RB2 value, albeit in a tough matchup on the road against Chicago. Josh Hill should see starting tight end duties, but he can be avoided in fantasy. No. 1 wideout Michael Thomas should be targeted heavily, but Chicago's superior defense will game plan to slow him down. The Bears Defense, already a weekly top play, just got more attractive in fantasy. Even with Smith out, fantasy owners shouldn't be banking on Ted Ginn.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle) will be a game-time decision in Week 7 against the Giants. Kirk is cutting more often in practice but is not all the way back. He sounds on the wrong side of questionable in what is a great matchup for Arizona's receivers. If Kirk sits, it'll be his third straight absence. Larry Fitzgerald should see heavy targets and has WR2 upside this weekend, especially if Kirk is inactive. Damiere Byrd and rookie Keesean Johnson would also have expanded roles if Kirk is out, but they have been too inconsistent in this offense to be realistic starting options in fantasy.
Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) is doubtful for Week 7 against the Falcons. Todd Gurley (thigh) is expected to return from a one-game absence anyway, so Brown's fantasy appeal would've taken a hit anyway. With Brown unlikely to play, though, look for rookie Darrell Henderson to see his biggest workload of the season with Gurley likely to be scaled back. The Falcons have been generous to opposing running backs in 2019 as well, making Henderson a sneaky DFS pick and RB3/flex in deeper leagues.
Washington Redskins running back Wendell Smallwood should see a season-high in touches in Week 7 with Chris Thompson out. The downside is that "season-high" could be defined by as few as seven touches, and the team he'll be taking them against is a 49ers Defense that has yet to allow a running back to cross the goal line. If Smallwood inherits the full share of Thompson's passing game workload, it is worth noting that Thompson was averaging seven targets per game in the five contests the Redskins lost. The Redskins are a two-score home underdog this Sunday, bringing about the potential for similar usage for Smallwood. Either way, this is not a player or matchup you should be targeting in fantasy lineups.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that running back David Johnson (ankle) will be a game-time decision in Week 7 against the Giants. If the Cardinals had to play on Friday, Johnson would've been inactive. We thought there wouldn't be drama around Johnson's status this week with him getting in more practice work, but that won't be the case. Ultimately Johnson should be able to play in a mouthwatering matchup, but you'll need to check Sunday morning inactives just to be sure. DJ is a surefire RB1 if he plays. If he doesn't, backup Chase Edmonds would be a strong RB2 fill-in.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay expects running back Todd Gurley (thigh) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back) to play in Week 7 against the Falcons. Gurley missed last week's game but should be back on the field in an excellent matchup with the free-falling Falcons Defense. Gurley will be more of a low-end RB2 for this game and will be at risk of losing valuable snaps to both Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson. But the good news is that fantasy owners should have Gurley back. Ramsey is set to make his debut with the Rams after coming over in a trade from Jacksonville. He's tentatively expected to match up with Falcons top wideout Julio Jones on the outside. It's a downgrade for Jones in fantasy, but he should still be a must-start in all leagues. Avoid the Rams Defense as a streaming option in fantasy this week.
Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited in practice all week but has been ruled out for Week 7 against the 49ers. Davis is recovering from his head injury but just couldn't get cleared in time. With Jordan Reed (concussion) on Injured Reserve, Jeremy Sprinkle will continue to start for the 'Skins. He's an unattractive TE2, though, having caught just four passes for 41 yards in the last two weeks with Davis banged up. You can't really trust any pass-catcher outside of rookie Terry McLaurin in this dysfunctional offense.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) has officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the Packers. Williams is dealing with plantar fasciitis and should be considered week-to-week at this point. In his absence, it'll be Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones, Keelan Doss and Trevor Davis battling for targets in a tough matchup on the road against the Packers. Expect the Raiders offense to continue to function through rookie running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller, making all of the Raiders receivers low-upside WR4/5 options.
Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (ankle) practiced in full all week and was left off the final injury report for Week 7 against the Dolphins. Kroft is set to make his season debut this Sunday. The matchup is a great one against the winless Dolphins, but fantasy owners can't expect much of Kroft right away, and he could split snaps with rookie Dawson Knox. Kroft is off the fantasy radar for now, even for those desperate at the position. His return is undoubtedly bad news for Knox owners, though.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion) practiced in full all week and was taken off the final injury report for Week 7 against the Saints. The last time Gabriel played, he caught three first-half touchdowns before suffering a head injury. He'll be back in the fold this weekend but shouldn't be in many team's starting lineups against a Saints Defense that has actually limited opponent's passing games quite well so far this year. Gabriel's three-score game the last time he played was an outlier.
The New Orleans Saints Defense gets a good matchup in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. New Orleans ranks 11th in the NFL in points allowed and seventh in sacks. They'll take on a Bears offense that ranks 26th in scoring and will likely get injured quarterback Mitch Trubisky back on the field. Trubisky struggled with accuracy at times when he was healthy this season, so the Saints' defense has the potential to generate turnovers. Whether it's Trubisky or backup Chase Daniel, the Saints should be able to get several sacks and an interception or two in Week 7.
Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (toe) has officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the 49ers. Thompson is dealing with turf toe, so he could also wind up missing Week 8 and potentially beyond. It means that Adrian Peterson will handle the early downs, with Wendell Smallwood chipping in on passing downs. However, neither running back is a good fantasy weapon against a 49ers Defense that has yet to allow a rushing or receiving touchdown to a running back this year. Smallwood should be faded in deep PPR leagues, even if you're desperate.