Sun Aug 18 11:28pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer
Players: Dan Bailey, Doug Baldwin, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Jaron Brown, Sean Mannion, Paxton Lynch, Kyle Sloter, Adam Thielen, Chad Beebe, Dalvin Cook, Kaare Vedvik, Mike Boone, Brandon Zylstra, Alexander Mattison, Irv Smith Jr., D.K. Metcalf
Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith, left, runs from Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Austin Calitro, right, after making a reception during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen, front, tries to make a reception in front of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers, back, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. Flowers was called for pass interference on the play. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws a pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) pitches the ball during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Fans arrive at U.S. Bank Stadium before an NFL preseason football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. and backup wide receiver Brandon Zylstra each had touchdown receptions for Minnesota and the Vikings displayed depth and versatility in their passing game in a 25-19 exhibition victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.
Kirk Cousins led the starters for two drives, the last one yielding a chip-shot field goal by Dan Bailey, and finished 6 for 8 for 68 yards without a turnover. Second-string quarterback Sean Mannion made up for an interception that safety DeShawn Shead returned 88 yards for a score by finding Smith with a short throw into the end zone just before halftime.
Then Kyle Sloter delivered the touchdown pass to Zylstra in the third quarter, polishing off a decent night for an offense that underwent an offseason scheme change after an underwhelming first year with Cousins at the helm.
The first team took two turns for the Seahawks, too, and Russell Wilson went 6 for 9 for 82 yards without a turnover after sitting out the preseason opener. He had a 33-yard completion to Jaron Brown, who has a starting wide receiver spot for now following the retirement of Doug Baldwin. First-round draft pick D.K. Metcalf did not play because of a leg injury. Brown's catch set up the first of four field goals by Jason Myers.
Seattle's pass rush was strong in the first half, with Barkevious Mingo pressuring Mannion as he threw before Chad Beebe was expecting the ball after his turn on a hitch route. The blocking for Minnesota will continue to be the most scrutinized aspect of the team, and the starting offensive line, missing injured right tackle Brian O'Neill, was vulnerable in spots. Cousins and rookie center Garrett Bradbury shared a botched under-center snap resulting in a fumble the Vikings recovered.
Mannion went 11 for 14 for 88 yards. Sloter finished 11 for 13 for 116 yards.
JUST KICKING IT
The Vikings gave Kaare Vedvik his debut a week after acquiring him in a trade with Baltimore. He punted three times for a 46.7-yard average, handled kickoffs and made his only extra point attempt.
DAY OF REST
All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner watched from the sideline in a Seahawks sweatshirt, being eased back into action following a minor knee procedure . Defensive end Ezekial Ansah remains in rehab mode following offseason shoulder surgery.
The Vikings again held running back Dalvin Cook out as a precaution and gave rookie Alexander Mattison 10 carries for 41 yards. Mike Boone followed him with 21 rushes for 66 yards, plus a 45-yard reception. Defensive tackles Shamar Stephen and Linval Joseph were also both not suited up for the second straight week.
Adam Thielen caught a 34-yard pass from Cousins, an over-the-shoulder ball near the sideline after he beat Shaquill Griffin in coverage. With the NFL encouraging teams in the preseason to test the new instant replay rule that makes pass interference reviewable, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll tossed his red flag to see if he could get a penalty on the Vikings. Thielen was bewildered, respectfully assuring Carroll and Wagner during the review that there was no foul.
The no-call was upheld. Then on the next play, Thielen drew a defensive pass interference penalty on Tre Flowers inside the 10.
Vikings cornerback Holton Hill was ejected in the fourth quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Paxton Lynch, whose neck snapped back awkwardly from the impact. After needing some time for evaluation, Lynch, the leader in the competition to be Wilson's backup, walked off on his own. J.T. Barrett replaced him.
Seahawks: Play at the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night.
Vikings: Host the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 2
Miami Dolphins running back Jordan Howard has already found the end zone once this season, but was able to do it again in Week 2. Howard rushed fives time for four yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins use a three-back committee, which limits their fantasy value. Howard appears to be the back they trust near the goal line, but that doesn't mean a lot. He has become a desperation low-end flex option who is basically touchdown dependent. There is a chance that he rebounds against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. However, most fantasy owners should leave Howard on the bench until he proves he's reliable.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins continued to groove with quarterback Kyler Murray in Week 2. Hopkins caught eight of his nine targets for 68 yards and a touchdown, his first touchdown as a Cardinal. He has now caught 22 of the 25 passes Murray has thrown his way this year. While Hopkins didn't have quite the obscene target-share that he did in Week 1, he was still the clear target leader on the team. Larry Fitzgerald was next on the team with seven short-distance targets, but no other Cardinals pass-catcher earned over four targets. Keep rolling Hopkins out there as an elite WR1. He should stay hot in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler put together a nice all-around performance in a Week 2 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ekeler was a popular preseason selection and put up 84 yards in Week 1, but the pass-catcher only had one reception. Week 2 yielded better results with 93 yards and four catches for 55 yards. Ekeler was playing with Justin Herbert over Tyrod Taylor (chest) this week and it was a positive sign to him get involved in the pass game. No. 2 running back Joshua Kelley had another good start and isnt going away, so owners would wise to try to own both players. Ekelers value should be on the rise if Herbert continues to start as should his receptions. He is a top-10 running back play versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 3.
Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks led the team with 95 receiving yards in Week 2's loss to the Baltimore. He was targeted a team-high eight times, bringing in five of those for receptions. Cooks played the role that Will Fuller V had played in Week 1. Houston's lack of a clear-cut No. 1 receiver means that no one might emerge as a consistently weekly threat here, complicating things immensely for fantasy football managers who were hoping that either Fuller or Cooks would become a solid WR2 this season.
Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards ran for 73 yards on 10 carries during the win over the Texans on Sunday. After playing third fiddle to the duo of J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram II in Week 1, Edwards was the featured back as he had one more attempt than Ingram. Nonetheless, he likely won't retain this role as the primary ball-carrier moving ahead, especially with Dobbins on the roster. Edwards is worth a stash in fantasy leagues in all formats, but at the moment, nothing more until he has consistent games with a similar workload.
After a dreadful Week 1, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk showed signs of life in Week 2, catching two of his four targets for 57 yards against the Washington Football Team. Most of his production came on a 49-yard reception. Kirk will need to do better than this in order to warrant starting - or even rostering - in fantasy going forward. On the bright side, his four targets were third-most amongst Cardinals wide receivers, behind DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald. On the not-so-bright side, fellow receiver Andy Isabella outgained him by catching two passes for 67 yards on just two targets. Kirk has definite upside in an offense that looks like it's going to be quite formidable, but if you need to drop him to clear a roster spot for a hot waiver add, he's expendable.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen had a nice Week 2 against the Chiefs. Allen had a rough Week 1, but bounced back with seven receptions, 96 yards and a fumble on Sunday. Allen also saw a team high 10 targets with new quarterback Justin Herbert. Allen figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Herbert and the rookie relied on the veteran wide receiver throughout the game. Allens outlook was looking shaky with Tyrod Taylor (chest) after Week 1, but with the rookie behind center, Allens value slides up a few spots. The wide receiver remains an underrated performer every year and will look to build off Sundays performance next week against the Panthers.
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki started off the season slow, but completely destroyed the Buffalo Bills Defense in Week 2. He hauled in eight of his 11 targets for 130 receiving yards and one touchdown in the loss. There was nothing the Bills could do to stop Gesicki in this one. He has moved to the slot receiver role this season and it appears to be working. Fantasy owners should be able to count on Gesicki as a low-end TE1 versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3.
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake led the way for the team's backfield in Week 2, carrying the ball 20 times for 86 yards. He also caught both of his targets and gained a total of nine yards through the air. The Cardinals' No. 2 running back Chase Edmonds was quiet in the game, gaining just 13 yards on six touches (three carries). Drake's statline would have looked better with a touchdown or some more receptions, but fantasy owners certainly can't be disappointed by seeing him get 22 touches. Keep rolling him out there as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2.
What happened? While he did have one carry for no yards, Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V was completely blanked on the receiving sheet in Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Ravens. No catches. No yards. Not even a target, despite playing 63 percent of the team's snaps. Fuller did leave the game shortly to have his leg looked at. We thought Fuller was no longer the boom-or-bust guy he'd been in the past, but Sunday proved that the ability to bust is still a real possibility.
Miami Dolphins running back Matt Breida has not started the 2020 season the way he wanted to. He wasn't able to get much going during the first week and struggled again in the loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. He rushed seven times for 37 yards and caught one pass for two yards through the air. The Dolphins have a three-back committee and Breida appears to be the worst option out of the bunch. He is quickly becoming a cut-candidate in fantasy leagues. Maybe, Breida can bounce back against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3, but probably belongs on the bench.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert was called upon right before opening kick to start against the Chiefs in Week 2 with Tyrod Taylor (chest) hurting himself in warmups. The rookie performed as good as one could ask for and the stage didnt seem to big for the youngster. The Oregon product completed 22 of 33 passes for 311 and a touchdown. He also threw an interception and rushed four times for 18 yards. If Herbert didnt win the starting job with Sundays performance, he will sure make it hard on coach Anthony Lynn to officially name a Week 3 starter. Herbert should start Week 3 and his promotion will be a good sign for the Chargers receiving core. Herbert is worth a look in two-quarterback leagues and will face off against the Panthers in an easier matchup on paper than the Chiefs.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds gave a nice spark to the offense in Week 1, but he was unable to make much of an impact in Week 2. Edmonds carried the ball three times this week and gained just four yards. In the passing game, he was targeted four times and came down with three receptions for nine yards. He also fumbled, but it was recovered by the Cardinals. It was his second fumble of the year. Edmonds is going to be involved in this offense regularly and should typically deliver more production than this. He's the clear No. 2 behind Kenyan Drake, but has been more involved than Drake in the passing game so far, which is promising. He's a worthwhile stash in deep leagues, especially PPR, but in shallow leagues, he can remain on waivers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard saw three targets and caught one of them for 11 receiving yards in Week 2. There aren't too many positives to take from this performance for Howard, though one is that he looked better than Rob Gronkowski, who failed to record a catch. This tight end room hasn't been pretty to start the season, though Howard does have a leg up with his adequate showing in Week 1. Howard should be scooped up off the waiver wire if he's still there, as he's likely the tight end to roster from Tampa Bay for the foreseeable future. Up next is a matchup with the Denver Broncos, who are having problems with their secondary to start the year.
Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins had two carries for 48 yards during the Week 2 victory over the Texans. He also caught a pass for 13 yards. After his two-touchdown performance last Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, the rookie wasn't featured as he conceded carries to the duo of Mark Ingram II and Gus Edwards. The former Buckeye still has plenty of stock moving ahead and should be considered a starter in deeper leagues, especially if he begins to emerge as the workhorse back over the team's next 14 contests. In the meantime, fantasy managers in other formats should continue stashing him as he likely has some more favorable performances on tap in the future.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson did managed to throw for 275 yards against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, but with just one touchdown and an interception, Watson didn't have the strong day that fantasy managers expect from Watson. His 17 rushing yards on five carries were also a disappointment. Watson's opened 2020 with a pair of tough matchups and is clearly missing with former top target, DeAndre Hopkins, and things don't get much easier against a good Steelers Defense in Week 3. Still, Watson's always a must-start in season-long leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski was targeted once but didn't record a catch in a 31-17 win over Carolina. It was incredibly disappointing for fantasy managers to see, especially considering there were vacated targets with Chris Godwin (head) sitting out. Gronkowski has looked like someone who's been away from football after two games, as he's mustered just four targets in two contests. At this point, fantasy managers should begin looking for tight end help on the waiver wire, if they haven't already. Gronkowski obviously has the talent to bounce back, but his days as an every-week, elite TE1 are clearly over.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray completed 26 of 38 passes for 286 yards, one touchdown and one interception and added 67 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in Week 2 against the Washington Football Team. Murray now has 156 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns over two games, in addition to solid passing numbers. If he keeps these rushing numbers up, he's easily going to be one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy this season. He'll look to stay hot in Week 3 when the team hosts the Detroit Lions.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was unable to pull off the victory in Week 2, but gave it all he had. Fitzpatrick completed 31 of 47 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to the Buffalo Bills. The 37-year-old veteran was almost able to lead his team to a comeback victory. His solid performance here has likely earned him another start versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. You really never know what to expect from Fitzpatrick, but this seems like a favorable streaming matchup for him.
Houston Texans running back David Johnson could never find his sledding on Sunday in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Johnson carried the ball 11 times for 34 yards and added two catches for 16 yards. With Duke Johnson (leg) out, David Johnson was the only running back to get a touch in this contest. Duke's status moving forward is unclear, but as long as he's sidelined, there's no threat on this roster to take running back touches away from David Johnson, which makes him an RB2 play, even if he's got a pretty low floor.