Wed Sep 23 2:45pm ET
By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver (91) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14)during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
In this Sept. 20, 2020, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) walks in the bench area during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn. Quarterback facial hair is sure to be front and center when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) on Thursday night, Sept. 24, 2020. Miamis Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap; Jacksonvilles Gardner Minshew has a unkept horseshoe mustache that seems to go perfectly with his flowing locks. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen, File)
In this Dec. 29, 2019, file photo, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick speaks to the media following an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass. Quarterback facial hair is sure to be front and center when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) on Thursday night, Sept. 24, 2020. Miamis Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap; Jacksonvilles Gardner Minshew has a unkept horseshoe mustache that seems to go perfectly with his flowing locks. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) passes as he is pressured by Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Rashaan Evans (54) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) It's the Beard versus the 'Stache in prime time. Fitzmagic on one sideline, Minshew Mania on the other.
Maybe the loser should have to shave.
Quarterback facial hair is sure to be front and center when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) on Thursday night.
Miami's Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap; Jacksonville's Gardner Minshew has a unkept horseshoe mustache that seems to go perfectly with his flowing locks.
''I think the beard is a cooler look,'' Fitzpatrick said Tuesday. ''I think guys that grow mustaches a lot of times have patchy sides for their beards, so they just stick with the mustache.''
The 24-year-old Minshew politely fired back at Fitzpatrick, 37.
''I'll let mine speak for itself,'' Minshew said. ''I think I've shown I can grow a beard with no patchy sides. But you know, I'm going to have respect for my elders, especially when they're much, much elder. I'll be respectful.''
One of Minshew's teammates, defensive end Josh Allen, might have a tougher time choosing between the two looks.
''We were in a little team meeting and somebody just brought up the beard and I was like, `Bruh does have a really good beard because his chinstrap is so small, and the beard is just everywhere.' It's kind of cool,'' Allen said before quickly adding that he'll ''rock with G-Money.''
Allen is more of a fan of Fitzpatrick's beard than the quarterback's wife.
''She hates when it's long like this,'' Fitzpatrick admitted. ''She hates when it's long because, for some reason, she thinks I'm handsome. But when it's long, I'm not handsome.''
Both QBs looked just fine in close losses last week. Minshew threw three TD passes for the third consecutive game, but he had two somewhat-fluky interceptions in a 33-30 loss at Tennessee.
Fitzpatrick threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to Buffalo. He put the Dolphins ahead in the fourth quarter before Josh Allen rallied the Bills against Miami's struggling defense.
Fitzpatrick has won his past four starts against Jacksonville - each one with a different team. He beat the Jags with the New York Jets in 2015, with Houston in 2014, with Tennessee in 2013 and with Buffalo in 2012.
He's a part of one of the youngest teams in the NFL this year and will be facing another one filled with first- and second-year players, led by Minshew.
''I haven't seen him play a ton, but the few times I have, I like watching him,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I enjoy his playing style. It looks like he's out there having fun. It's not easy to play quarterback in this league. It's not easy to play as a young quarterback. He's already had a lot of success.
''He's had a great start to the season. He's a guy that I don't think I've played against him, so I'm excited to watch him play and see how he does.''
After Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins in rushing last year, the team acquired veteran running backs Matt Breida and Jordan Howard to improve the ground game. Through two weeks they've combined for only 70 yards rushing on 25 carries, an average of 2.8 per carry.
Myles Gaskin, a seventh-round pick in 2019, leads Miami with 86 yards rushing.
''There is only one football,'' offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. ''Nobody ever gets it enough. When you have good running backs, everybody cannot touch it as much as they would like.''
The Jaguars don't blitz much, but they might need to start if they can't create more quarterback pressure. They have two sacks in two games - only Carolina and Las Vegas have fewer.
''We all have to take that pride in just getting to the quarterback more, especially I do,'' said Allen, who had 10 1/2 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last year. ''So I've just been grinding as much as I can and I've been thinking about all the missed rushes that I could've had. Just learn from that and just move forward.''
The Dolphins' secondary is sure to get tested by Minshew after allowing 413 yards passing last week against the Bills. Josh Allen's receivers were often wide open, and Miami's cornerbacks were repeatedly exposed on crossing routes in man coverage.
After Byron Jones was sidelined in the first quarter by a groin injury, former Pro Bowler Xavien Howard and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene both struggled. The solution?
''My message to the guys is the guys we put you on, those are the guys we expect you to cover,'' Flores said.
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 7
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II's (ankle) MRI exam showed a mid- to high-ankle sprain that isn't considered serious, according to a source. With the Ravens on bye this week, head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday that Ingram will likely be back on Nov. 1 for the Week 8 game against the Steelers. Those types of ankle sprains can often sideline players for multiple weeks, so we wouldn't consider it a lock that the 30-year-old veteran will be ready for the Week 8 showdown with Pittsburgh. Rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards would see more work in the backfield if Ingram is limited or out in Week 8, making them worth waiver wire pickups if you're looking two weeks into the future. Ingram has rushed the ball 50 times for 225 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in six games in 2020.
Buffalo Bills WR John Brown (knee) wasn't 100 percent recovered from injury against the Kansas City Chiefs Monday, Oct. 19, according to head coach Sean McDermott.
Fantasy Spin: It may help to explain Brown's disappointing catch-less performance. He scored a touchdown in each of the first two games of the season but has clearly taken a backseat to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. He'll be a risky FLEX play in Week 7, even against the New York Jets.
Los Angeles Rams PK Kai Forbath was placed on the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory was activated from the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook was Drew Brees primary red zone threat while Michael Thomas remained sidelined, but with the All-Pro wideout expected back Sunday versus Carolina, Cooks time as a TE1 in season-long formats may have passed. While Cook managed to receive seven targets Week 1 when Thomas was alongside him, the veteran has been a touchdown-dependent option since then. In addition, the Panthers Defense has been stout against opposing tight ends this season, allowing just 221 yards and two touchdowns across six games. With a plethora of options at Brees disposal, Cook remains an appealing play, albeit a tenuous one that carries sizable risk.
New York Jets QB Mike White was designated as a protected practice squad player for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, DE Henry Mondeaux and RB Wendell Smallwood were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Greg Joseph and DT Jeremiah Ledbetter were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tennessee Titans LB Daren Bates, PK Tucker McCann, G David Quessenberry and QB Trevor Siemian were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was given a vote of confidence from head coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday, confirming that the star running back would be the starter for Sundays contest against Washington. Elliott lost two fumbles Monday versus the Cardinals, ceding way to Tony Pollard at times, but with Andy Dalton once again to likely receive the start, Elliott will need to be relied upon for Dallas to have success offensively. Unfortunately for Elliott, the teams offensive line is heavily banged up due to injuries. Factoring that in on top of his fumble woes (five in 2020, four of which have been lost), DFS fantasy managers may want to look elsewhere Sunday, especially considering his price tag. Season-long managers can continue to role Elliott out and bank on his perpetual upside paying off.
Jacksonville Jaguars TE Ben Ellefson, LB Joe Giles-Harris, DB Doug Middleton and TE Eric Saubert were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Las Vegas Raiders PK Dominik Eberle, DE David Irving, DB Dylan Mabin and DE Chris Smith were chosen as the team's protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has made each of the five defenses that he has faced 2020 look rather pedestrian on his way to becoming the favorite to claim the NFLs MVP trophy this season. On paper, his matchup Sunday versus Arizona should be another such instance, which is backed up by his gaudy DFS price tag. But gleaning his numbers against the Cardinals over the past two seasons tells a different story; over their last four matchups, he has exceeded the 200-yard passing threshold just once and has not rushed for a touchdown in any of those outings. The Cardinals Defense ranks in the top half of the league in passing yards allowed per game this season (226.5), another notch in the belt of why DFS fantasy managers may want to consider other QB options during Week 7.
Cleveland Browns RB John Kelly, QB Kyle Lauletta, DE Cameron Malveaux and PK Matthew McCrane were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Denver Broncos LB Nigel Bradham, WR Fred Brown, RB Jeremy Cox and C Patrick Morris were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Houston Texans DT Corey Liuget and C Greg Mancz were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (back) was last seen dealing with back spasms when he took the field versus the Saints last Monday. Despite that, head coach Anthony Lynn has reiterated that Allen will not be hampered come Sunday versus Jacksonville, a matchup that is set to work in Allens favor due to the 270.7 passing yards per game that the Jaguars Defense is allowing. With the emergence of Justin Herbert as both a downfield threat and consistent pocket passer, Allens season-long fantasy outlook is only on the rise after having averaged 12 targets through his first four games. His recent injury should give DFS fantasy managers pause, but so long as he is given the green light to suit up, season-long managers should consider starting him in most formats where he is rostered.
Atlanta Falcons QB Kurt Benkert, DE Austin Edwards, LB Edmond Robinson and WR Chris Rowland were designated as the team's four protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Chicago Bears QB Tyler Bray was protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson should continue to see an unimpeded path to RB1 duties this Sunday against the Cardinals with both Carlos Hyde (shoulder) and Rashaad Penny (knee) unlikely to suit up. Carson was limited to just eight carries in his most recent outing, but that was primarily due to the nature of the game flow; fantasy managers can expect to see him rack up his usual workload and then some against Arizona. Having amassed three rushing and three receiving scores so far this season, Carson has retained a considerable role in the Seattle offense, with Travis Homer a distant second to cutting into his workload. Carson is a must-start in season-long formats and should have some considerable DFS appeal.