Sun Sep 20 5:08pm ET
By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Pro Football Writer
Dallas Cowboys' Greg Zuerlein (2), Chris Jones, center, and Blake Bell (80) celebrate their 40-39 win against the Atlanta Falcons in an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) talks to an official standing nearby in the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy watches play against the Atlanta Falcons in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford, left, pressures as Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Fans watch as the Atlanta Falcons play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Socially distanced fans look on fro the lower bowl at AT&T Stadium as the Dallas Cowboys play the Atlanta Falcons in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst crosses into the end zone after catching a pass for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, left, talks with quarterback Dak Prescott (4) on the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) fumbles the ball after being sacked by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones (45) with help from defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (56) in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Greg Zuerlein kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired, and the Dallas Cowboys overcame four fumbles and a 20-point deficit in the first quarter to beat the Atlanta Falcons 40-39 in coach Mike McCarthy's home debut Sunday.
The Falcons were still up 12 in the fourth quarter when Dak Prescott became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 400 yards and rush for three touchdowns in the same game, getting the Cowboys (1-1) within two.
C.J. Goodwin recovered the onside kick with 1:48 remaining, and rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb's 24-yard catch got the Cowboys in field goal position so they could run down the clock.
Matt Ryan threw four touchdown passes, two off lost fumbles from the Cowboys, on the way to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. But the Falcons couldn't avoid their first 0-2 start under coach Dan Quinn in a performance reminiscent of their blown 28-3 lead in a Super Bowl loss to New England in Houston.
The successful onside kick for Dallas came after two failed fake punts and a gamble from McCarthy in going for the 2-point conversion before the final touchdown the Cowboys would have needed to get even.
The Cowboys were down two after the third short touchdown run from Prescott, who threw for 450 yards and a score. It was Prescott's first game with multiple rushing touchdowns. He's the franchise leader for quarterbacks in that category.
After the Falcons drove 56 yards in the final two minutes of the first half for a field goal and a 29-10 lead, the limited crowd of 21,708 booed the Cowboys as they headed for the tunnel in one of the corners of the end zone.
Normally, both teams enter and exit the field from behind the benches, but those areas and the rest of the field-level suites were covered by tarps. The announced crowd was 27% of AT&T Stadium's 80,000-seat capacity.
Prescott answered with a pair of short rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to get the Cowboys within five.
Ryan responded by converting a third down with a 22-yard pass to Hurst, who also had a 42-yard touchdown catch, and a fourth-and-2 with a 19-yarder to Julio Jones. Russell Gage scored on an 8-yard throw for a 36-24 lead.
Ryan had 273 yards passing after getting 450 in an opening loss to Seattle, the first game in franchise history with three 100-yard receivers in Jones, Gage and Calvin Ridley, who was the leader this week with 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Gage had 46 yards and a score, while Jones was held to two catches for 24 yards.
Prescott's second rushing touchdown on a 1-yard sneak came after he left the game for two plays and was checked in the medical tent following a roughing-the-passer penalty against Deion Jones.
Dontari Poe was again the only Dallas player to kneel for the national anthem, a week after the defensive tackle became the first on owner Jerry Jones' team to kneel. Jones has been among the most outspoken against players kneeling to protest social injustice and police brutality.
There was confusion over who was kneeling because several players from both teams were unaware ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' had started. That included several Dallas players kneeling in the end zone as part of their pre-game routine.
During most of the anthem and when it was over, Poe was the only player for either team kneeling. Safety Donovan Wilson and linebacker Justin March had a hand on each shoulder, a show of support similar to what Poe received when he knelt before the opener at the Los Angeles Rams last weekend.
Falcons RT Kaleb McGary injured his left knee in the first quarter and didn't return. Atlanta also lost linebacker Foeysade Oluokun to cramps and safety Ricardo Allen to an elbow injury.
Falcons: Chicago at home next Sunday.
Cowboys: At Seattle next Sunday.
Five Sleepers: Week 7
The Las Vegas Raiders defense has been statistically one of the worst defenses in the league this season. They are averaging under two fantasy points per game and face an ascending Buccaneers offense this week. Tom Brady is currently fourth in the league in passing touchdowns, and this Tampa Bay offense is ascending after hanging 31 offensive points on Green Bay in Week 6. The Raiders rank 27th in scoring defense and 24th in yards allowed. There is nothing to suggest they will have a good performance this week and should be kept on the bench or dropped entirely.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller has a tough test against the Buccaneers this week, but he should be able to produce a solid fantasy performance. Waller has been great at home this season, with 21 catches, 193 yards, and a touchdown in two games. The Buccaneers have one of the league's best defenses, but the Patriots are the only team to hold Waller under five catches so far this season. He currently ranks third in fantasy points per game among tight ends, and he leads the Raiders in targets. The Buccaneers rank sixth in the league against tight ends, but fantasy owners should feel comfortable starting him based on his performances so far this season.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III will have a tough matchup against a good Buccaneers secondary in Week 7. Ruggs had a breakout performance in his last game against the Chiefs, but his value rests with the deep ball at this time. That is not great news considering the Buccaneers are one of the best defenses against the deep ball, ranking third in the league in allowing receptions of over 20 yards. He was able to get loose in the Chiefs secondary with a 72-yard reception in the first half but caught just one other pass the rest of the game. Ruggs' big-play potential makes him a fringe flex option in deeper leagues, but don't expect a lot of targets for the rookie this week.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs will face one of the league's best run defenses this week in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are allowing just three yards per carry and rank second in the league in total rushing yards allowed. Jacobs is having a productive year and is certainly a must-start option, but he is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry on the season. Jacobs has just one game this season where he has rushed for over four yards per carry. With that being said, he is still seventh in points per game among running backs. It will not be an easy day for Jacobs, but fantasy owners should feel encouraged that he can put up a solid fantasy performance despite a difficult matchup.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will have one of his most difficult tests of the year against a great Buccaneers Defense. The Buccaneers defense has allowed just seven passing touchdowns and have grabbed eight interceptions in their six games this season. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 82 against this Todd Bowles defense. They confused Aaron Rodgers and made him uncomfortable, so this will not be an easy day for Carr. With that being said, Carr has thrown for almost 600 passing yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in two home games this season. The Raiders are coming off a bye, and Carr is having a career year. However, he is likely a bench option this week due to the matchup.
The New Orleans Saints Defense faces a middle-of-the-pack matchup against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7. It's a date with former Saint Teddy Bridgewater, who started five games for the team in 2019. New Orleans' defense is finally starting to get healthy after a rash of injuries, as they will get Janoris Jenkins (shoulder) back and essentially be at full strength. This unit may start to put together some good performances, starting with this week. They can be used as a starting option.
New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz faces a favorable matchup in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers. Lutz is perfect on the season, having made all nine field-goals and all 18 extra-points. Carolina ranks 22nd in fantasy points allowed to kickers, making this a juicy matchup for Lutz. Expect strong fantasy numbers from the 26-year-old.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook could see more opportunities in Week 7 against the Panthers. Cook had one of his better games against the Chargers, catching two passes for 52 yards and a score. New Orleans is down two of it's best pass-catchers- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- heading into the contest against the Panthers. The veteran tight end should see more targets, making him a good start as a TE1 in Week 7.
Seattle Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder, toe) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Hyde will serve as the backup for Chris Carson but should see a handful of touches during the game. Fantasy players should be able to find better options and can keep Hyde on the bench.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert is expected to miss multiple weeks because of the injury, so fantasy players should look for other options to use. Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty likely will share playing time while Mostert is sidelined. McKinnon probably has more fantasy value and can be a flex option in leagues. Hasty should be rostered in leagues and has a chance to be a flex option depending on the opponent.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen (back) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Allen has been targeted at least eight times in four of the five games this season and seems to have a good connection with Justin Herbert. Allen can be considered a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) was limited during practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is listed as questionable for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins likely will be able to play despite the injury, but fantasy players will need to check the inactive list for his status. He is a must-start option in all leagues if he is active for the game.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith faces a tricky matchup in Week 7 against the Panthers. However, matchup concerns are alleviated by the fact that New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Smith will be busy against a Panthers Defense that has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wideouts. With a good chance of finding the end zone, Smith is looking like a high-end WR3 in Week 7, despite the matchup.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Demarcus Robinson served as the No. 2 receiver for the Chiefs last week and probably will have a similar role this week. He can be a flex option or bye week replacement in fantasy leagues.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara gets an excellent matchup against the Panthers Defense. Kamara has offered fantasy managers the safest floor of any running back, particularly in PPR formats, as he's had at least 19 fantasy points in every game this season. He'll go up against a Panthers defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing halfbacks. The Saints will probably go with a more run-heavy approach, seeing as their top-two wideouts- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- are out for the contest. Kamara is a must-start in redraft leagues and is well worth the price in DFS formats.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray has a favorable matchup in front of him against the Panthers in Week 7. Murray has had at least 13 touches in three of five contests this season, with two of those games coming against teams that struggle to stop the run. New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) against the Panthers' 24th-ranked run defense. Murray is a good bet for 12-15 touches in Week 7, putting him squarely in the flex discussion.
Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods (groin) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to keep an eye on the situation to see if Woods will be able to play in Week 7. He can be a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues if he is cleared to play.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (hand) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Higbee probably will need to practice Saturday, Oct. 24, if he wants a chance to play in the Week 7 game. He is coming off his best game of the season and would see a few targets if he plays this week. He could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in some leagues.
Los Angeles Rams OT Andrew Whitworth (non-injury) and DT Aaron Donald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faces the Panthers in Week 7. Brees will face a sneakily-good Carolina defense without his top two receivers, Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Despite not having Thomas, Brees has thrown for at least 250 yards or two touchdowns in each game this season, giving fantasy managers a solid floor. The Panthers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, limiting Brees' upside. However, he should be able to finish as a solid QB2 in Week 7.