In this July 25, 2019, file photo, Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores speaks during NFL football training camp in Davie, Fla. The Dolphins look like the worst team in the NFL, and might even be the worst team in Miami. On the other hand, a comparison with the Marlins is one matchup the Dolphins might win. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) greets Washington Redskins players on the field at the end of the NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. Dallas won 31-21. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass, during the second half at an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates scoring in the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) ducks asNew England Patriots outside linebacker Elandon Roberts (52) and defensive tackle Danny Shelton (71) close in for a sack, during the second half at an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys are off to a hot start that has them looking like the playoff contenders they figured to be as long as Ezekiel Elliott's preseason-long holdout ended in time, which it did.
The Miami Dolphins are dealing with the latest ''elephant in the room'' - the rare dishonor of being 20-plus-point underdogs in an NFL game after one of the most dismal beginnings to a season in nearly 60 years.
Josh Rosen is replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback Sunday at the Cowboys (2-0) after Fitzpatrick compiled a 39.9 passer rating while the Dolphins (0-2) were outscored 102-10. No team since 1961 had a worse point differential after two games.
Rosen, traded by Arizona after the Cardinals drafted him 10th overall in 2018 before changing coaches and taking Kyler Murray No. 1 overall this year, played the fourth quarter of last week's 43-0 loss to New England.
The 36-year-old Fitzpatrick was asked about drops by receivers when he made the ''elephant in the room'' comment, while also mentioning the dismantling of the roster under first-year coach Brian Flores.
The latest move, earlier this week, was sending disgruntled defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh for a first-round pick. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills were shipped to Houston at the end of the preseason.
''A lot of this stuff, it's got to be talked about and put out there, and then you move on,'' Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ''That's kind of the way that it's been handled.''
The Cowboys don't want to talk about whether they thought a 20-point spread in a pro game was even possible. ''That's for the bettors, I guess,'' receiver Randall Cobb said.
''The NFL is so tight, from the top to the bottom,'' center Travis Frederick said. ''The difference in that is a couple of bad bounces, maybe a couple of interceptions. There's a really minute difference. From the outside, it might look bigger than that. But on the inside, it's a tight game.''
Some story lines going into the 15th meeting in a series that's been a lot closer than this week's line (23 as of Wednesday) would indicate - each franchise has seven victories:
COOKING WITH GAS
The Cowboys haven't started a season with 400-plus yards and 30-plus points in each of their first two victories since 1978, back when going to the Super Bowl was a regular thing for them. This year, Dallas hopes to end a nearly 25-year stretch without advancing past the divisional round.
Prescott is trying to become just the third quarterback with at least three touchdown tosses and a passer rating of 120-plus in four straight games. His streak goes back to last year's regular-season finale. Russell Wilson had five straight for Seattle in 2015, the now-retired Andrew Luck four with Indianapolis last year.
The Dolphins have been outscored by 49 and 43 points in their first two games - the worst and third-worst regular-season defeats in franchise history. Don Shula coached Miami for 26 seasons and was never beaten so badly.
After the latest deal involving Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins have three first-round picks in 2020, but that won't help them against the Cowboys.
''They're rebuilding,'' said Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts, an analyst for CBS who covered the loss to the Patriots. ''It's hard. It's hard on the players, the coaches, the staff, the families, the fans. It's tough.''
Elliott is another step closer to full speed. The two-time rushing champion was right on his career average for touches (25) in the 31-21 victory at Washington. Thanks to a 27-yard carry on the last real play before a kneel-down, Elliott had his 20th career 100-yard game (111).
After spending almost the entire preseason working out in Mexico, Elliott has his most yards rushing through two games (164) in his fourth season. ''I did take care of business when I was gone, but that was expected,'' the 2016 All-Pro said.
The Dolphins claimed former Dallas defensive end Taco Charlton on Thursday, a day after the Cowboys waived their 2017 first-round pick. Although the move might be too late in the week for Charlton to be ready in time to play, the former Michigan player would love the chance to show something to the team he felt gave up on him too soon.
Charlton, gone after just 27 games and four sacks as the 28th overall pick, went into training camp with his roster spot in jeopardy but was solid in preseason games while other defensive linemen recovered from injuries. With those missing plays back, Charlton was a healthy scratch the first two weeks.
INJURY BUG BITING
Receiver Michael Gallup, who leads the Cowboys with 13 catches for 226 yards, is expected to miss up to a month after surgery for a left knee injury sustained against the Redskins. Safety Xavier Woods (ankle) and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (knee) also got hurt in that game and are unlikely to play.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is unlikely to suit up for Thursday Night Football against the Washington Redskins in Week 8. The 29-year-old seems to think he is capable of playing, but the Vikings will likely rest their ailing star against a mediocre opponent on a short week. In his absence, rookie Olabisi Johnson will likely serve as the WR2. Johnson, who had 40 yards and a touchdown in Week 7, is a viable streaming option for fantasy managers that are desperate for a receiver in Week 8.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller is expected to miss several weeks with a significant hamstring strain, per Ian Rapoport. Fuller suffered the injury against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7. With Fuller sidelined, Kenny Stills becomes a must-add asset in almost all formats. The 27-year-old produced 105 yards on four catches against the Colts after Fuller exited the game. Stills can be considered a mid-tier WR3 against the Oakland Raiders in Week 8.
Seattle Seahawks S Bradley McDougald (back) sat out of practice all week after suffering from back spasms and was unable to play in Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens, but head coach Pete Carroll told reporters during his postgame press conference that he believes McDougald will be able to make it back for Week 8 versus the Atlanta Falcons.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen only hauled in 4-of-11 targets for 61 yards during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Despite having a positive pass-catching game script, Allen and Philip Rivers failed to connect on several deep balls. Luckily, due to the Chargers' uninspiring defensive unit, the game script is almost always positive for the passing attack. Allen remains a mid-tier WR1 against the Chicago Bears in Week 8.
Updating a previous report, New Orleans Saints CB Eli Apple (knee) likely suffered a hyperextended knee late in the team's Week 7 game versus the Chicago Bears, although more tests are scheduled to determine the extent of his injury Monday, Oct. 21.
Updating previous reports, Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss 'several weeks' after suffering 'a rather significant hamstring pull,' according to a source via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Fantasy Spin: Fuller hasn't come close to playing a full season in four years in the NFL, so fantasy owners can't exactly be shocked by this development. While the Texans will miss his ability to stretch the field, Fuller's lack of durability was probably one of the biggest reasons Houston made sure to land Kenny Stills in the Laremy Tunsil trade this summer. Stills should be able to fill in nicely and serve as a high-upside WR3 for however long Fuller is sidelined.
Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins S Montae Nicholson (ankle) was seen walking around in a boot Monday, Oct. 21, after injuring his right ankle in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Free-agent CB Kayvon Webster (Saints) worked out for the New Orleans Saints on Monday, Oct. 21.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry caught six passes for 97 yards during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. The 24-year-old has seen 17 targets over his past two games. Now fully healthy, Henry is unquestionably a top-tier tight end for the remainder of the season. He has a tougher matchup against the Chicago Bears in Week 8, but he is still an undisputed TE1 for the contest.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert pulled in just two receptions for 10 yards against Jacksonville in Week 7. The veteran has been a huge fantasy disappointment this season, and with rumblings of a trade before the deadline, Eifert's days in Cincy may be over soon. He has the potential to produce, and if you're able, he is worth a stash in deeper formats, at least for now.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt (abdomen) has been cleared by the NFL to rejoin the team and begin practicing with them Monday, Oct. 21.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt has been sidelined all season recovering from sports hernia surgery and serving an eight-game suspension for domestic abuse for an incident that occurred during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. The former rushing champion is not eligible to return to game action until Week 10, so Nick Chubb will serve as a team's featured back for at least two more weeks. It's expected Hunt will serve as the change-of-pace back when he returns.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler only produced seven rushing yards on five carries in Week 7, but he salvaged the day by catching seven passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. Melvin Gordon had 16 carries in the contest despite being outplayed by Ekeler, but the Chargers continue to let Gordon dominate the ground game. Nevertheless, Ekeler's ability as a receiver continues to give him value as a fantasy asset. He is an above-average flex option against the dominant Chicago Bears' defense in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate finished with three catches (six targets) for 65 yards against Jacksonville in Week 7. After getting 11 looks from quarterback Andy Dalton against the Ravens in Week 6, Tate's production was yielded by Alex Erickson, who hauled in eight receptions for 137 yards on the day. With A.J. Green (ankle) expected to return soon, Tate will likely be relegated to backing up Green and Tyler Boyd moving forward. Keep an eye on Green's status for Week 8 and plan accordingly.
Updating previous reports, Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, Oct. 21, but he faces the 'real possibility' of not playing in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins.
Fantasy Spin: While everyone around the team believes the injury is not serious, the Vikings play on Thursday, making it an almost impossible turnaround for Thielen. In theory, Minnesota should not need him against the Redskins, but the Vikings' passing attack is not so deep and talented that it can just assume it will thrive without Kirk Cousins' favorite receiver. If Thielen sits, it will be the first game he's missed in his NFL career. Fantasy owners should feel free to bump up Stefon Diggs in their weekly rankings as well.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon produced 32 yards on 16 carries during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. While he caught a one-yard touchdown pass, he also lost a fumble at the goal line in the final seconds of the game to drop the Chargers to 2-4 on the season. The 26-year-old continues to be outplayed by Austin Ekeler, but Gordon continues to get the majority of the touches. As long as he remains the workhorse in the offense, he is a worthy RB2 in fantasy formats. Unfortunately, he has a tough matchup in Week 8 against the daunting Chicago Bears Defense, which likely makes him a flex play at best.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd finished with five receptions for 55 yards against Jacksonville on Sunday. With 14 targets on the day, which was tied with Alex Erickson, who hauled in eight catches for 137 yards, Boyd wasn't able to get anything going against a Jaguars Defense that was all over quarterback Andy Dalton. A.J. Green (ankle) is expected to return within the next week or so, and while it may decrease Boyd's looks, Green's presence back in the lineup may open things up for 24-year-old moving forward.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 24 of his 38 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Rivers has now thrown for over 300 yards in a game five times this season and has also had five games with multiple passing touchdowns. Despite the notable production, Rivers is a tough fantasy asset to trust in Week 8 against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. He is only an option in two-quarterback leagues for that contest.
Free-agent RB Spencer Ware (Colts) is working out for the Arizona Cardinals Monday, Oct. 21.
Free-agent WR Eli Rogers (Steelers) is working out for the Houston Texans Monday, Oct. 21.
Free-agent RB Jay Ajayi (Eagles) is working out for the Arizona Cardinals Monday, Oct. 21.
Fantasy Spin: Ajayi has been training and preparing to sign with a team for a few weeks. He's definitely worth stashing in deeper leagues and would be a flex option in the right situation.