Sun Aug 25 12:17am ET
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson, left, runs against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Brandon Allen (8) looks to throw as Denver Broncos defensive end Dre'Mont Jones (93) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Denver Broncos quarterback Kevin Hogan (9) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams defensive back Steven Parker during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Denver Broncos quarterback Kevin Hogan (9) throws against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LOS ANGELES (AP) Brandon Allen passed for 162 yards, and Jalen Greene caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from John Wolford with 12:38 to play in the Los Angeles Rams' 10-6 preseason victory over the Denver Broncos on Saturday night.
Both coaches sat nearly all of their starters for the final NFL preseason game at the 96-year-old Coliseum, and neither team managed a touchdown before Wolford led a 52-yard drive spanning the final two quarters and capped it with a sharp pass to Greene.
Wolford, who went 6 of 12 for 64 yards, is competing for the Rams' No. 3 quarterback spot with Allen, who had the job last season. Allen went 12 of 19 and mostly looked sharp while Jared Goff and backup Blake Bortles watched from the sideline.
Almost every Rams player expected to make a significant contribution this season skipped this game in keeping with coach Sean McVay's total disinterest in risking his starters' health for meaningless exhibitions. McVay also followed the strategy last August, and the Rams matched the NFL's best regular-season record at 13-3 before reaching their first Super Bowl in 17 years.
Kevin Hogan went 8 of 12 for 69 yards in the Broncos' fourth of five preseason games.
Hogan and undrafted rookie Brett Rypien ran the Broncos' offense with rookie Drew Lock sidelined by a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. Hogan is expected to back up Joe Flacco this season.
Rypien went 14 of 23 for 80 yards with an interception in his first preseason action since the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1. He led the Broncos to the Rams 25 in the final minutes, but Los Angeles stopped them on downs with 1:08 to play.
Kieshawn Bierria started for the Broncos as an inside linebacker, and his bid for playing time this season got a boost when he made a huge defensive play in the third quarter. Bierria wrapped up Rams tight end Johnny Mundt at the goal line and forced him out of bounds before Mundt could get his short reception over the goal line on fourth down.
Denver tight end Jake Butt had two catches for 17 yards while playing for the first time since the third game of last season, when he tore a knee ligament and required his third knee surgery. Butt also missed the entire 2017 season due to knee problems after the Broncos chose him in the fifth round out of Michigan, but his continued health could be a boost for an offense that likes to use tight ends.
Most of the Rams' few remaining positional competitions revolve around the players' roles on special teams, and those weren't all great: Los Angeles committed penalties on each of its first two punt returns.
Broncos: Finish their extra-long preseason by hosting the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday.
Rams: Rest their starters again when they visit the Houston Texans on Thursday.
Five Cold Plays: Week 2
The Philadelphia Eagles are having free-agent running back Devonta Freeman in for a visit on Friday, according to the league transaction wire. It doesn't sound like a signing is imminent, but it's worth watching after lead-back Miles Sanders missed the season opener with an injury. Sanders says he's fully healthy heading into Week 2 against the Rams, though, so a Freeman signing would just provide depth to this backfield alongside Boston Scott and Corey Clement. Philadelphia didn't get much production out of either Scott or Clement against Washington, so perhaps they view Freeman as a backup upgrade. Freeman, still only 28, has been bothered by injuries in recent seasons, but he was a Pro Bowler in 2015 and 2016 with 1,000-yard rushing campaigns in both years and 22 total rushing touchdowns in that span.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods received a four-year, $68 million extension on Friday with $32 million guaranteed, according to a source. Woods' previous contract was due to expire after the 2021 season. It comes after the team just signed teammate Cooper Kupp to a three-year, $48 million extension, putting both wideouts together for even longer. Quarterback Jared Goff will be happy. Woods had eight targets and 119 total yards in the Week 1 win over the Cowboys and should once again see a steady diet of targets against a sketchy Eagles secondary in Week 2. The one concern is that Eagles cornerback Darius Slay may stick with Woods for most of this contest. You should still fire Woods up as a strong WR2 in this matchup. He's seen 88 targets in his last eight games, making him a must-start at this point.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (shoulder) was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable for Week 2 against the Steelers. Sutton is expected to be a game-time decision for Sunday after he missed the season-opening loss to the Titans. If Sutton winds up playing, he probably won't be 100 percent and could have his snaps limited, which makes him an extremely risky flex option against a stingy Steelers Defense. Quarterback Drew Lock would certainly benefit from the return of his top wideout, but even then we can't recommend the second-year QB in standard leagues. Without Sutton last week, tight end Noah Fant led the team in receiving and scored their lone aerial touchdown.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver K.J. Hamler (hamstring) practiced in full all week and was taken off the final injury report for Week 2, meaning he's poised to make his NFL debut against the Steelers. The second-round speedster is an explosive playmaker at just 5-foot-9, 176 pounds, but he should remain out of fantasy lineups in his NFL debut, even if Courtland Sutton (shoulder) misses his second straight game. Hamler is certainly intriguing in dynasty/keeper leagues in this up-and-coming offense out of the slot with fellow rookie Jerry Jeudy and Sutton on the outside when everyone is healthy, but he's unlikely to see enough targets to make him relevant in standard-sized leagues.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (knee) has been ruled out for Week 2 against the Jets. Kittle suffered a knee sprain in the Week 1 loss to the Cardinals and will rest up for a week. The All-Pro tight end is a must-start each and every week, but his fantasy managers will have to pivot and go in another direction in Week 2. Jordan Reed could be an intriguing name to monitor as a one-week play at the position in DFS and deeper leagues, especially with Deebo Samuel (foot) still out. In the passing game, Kendrick Bourne, Dante Pettis, rookie Brandon Aiyuk and Trent Taylor could all benefit against New York, while running back Jerick McKinnon is also worth a look in deep PPR formats.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (toe) missed practice all week and has been ruled out for Week 2 against the Steelers. Lindsay hurt his toe in the first half of the Week 1 loss to the Steelers and was diagnosed with turf toe. He's listed as week-to-week for now, but the good news is that he had a near-even split of the workload with Melvin Gordon III before he went down with his injury. Gordon will be more of a low-end RB2 this Sunday with Lindsay out, despite the tough matchup against Pittsburgh's defense. Expect Royce Freeman to spell Gordon when he needs a breather, but he won't have any standalone fantasy value in this matchup.
Baltimore Ravens DT Justin Madubuike (knee) and WR Chris Moore (finger) did not practice all week and have been ruled out for Week 2 against the Houston Texans. CB Jimmy Smith (hip) was limited in practice for a second straight day Friday, Sept. 18, and is listed as questionable. OT Ronnie Stanley (hip) and RB Justice Hill (thigh) were upgraded to a full practice Friday but are also listed as questionable. DE Calais Campbell (non-injury) and DT Brandon Williams (non-injury) were not given practice designations Friday while LB Pernell McPhee (non-injury) did not practice, but all three are expected to play.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III has more upside as an RB2 this weekend against the Steelers with teammate Phillip Lindsay (toe) week-to-week with turf toe. The matchup is a daunting one, though, as the Steelers Defense held Saquon Barkley in check (15 carries for six yards) in Week 1. But the extra touches that Gordon should receive on Sunday push him from a flex play to more of a low-end RB2. Royce Freeman should help spell Gordon when he needs a breather. In his first game with Denver, the 27-year-old had 86 total yards and a touchdown on 18 touches, but he also had a costly lost fumble in the first half. Gordon had 18 yards in eight carries against Pittsburgh last year while with the Chargers.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring) has been officially ruled out for Week 2 against the Packers. Golladay will miss his second straight game to open the season, but hopefully his fantasy managers will be able to put him into their lineups for Week 3. The Lions will use three-wide sets of Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola and rookie Quintez Cephus against their division rivals on Sunday. Jones will be a high-end WR3 and Amendola will be in flex consideration in DFS and deeper leagues. Tight end T.J. Hockenson will be intriguing with some TE1 upside with Golladay out again.
Miami Dolphins LB Elandon Roberts (concussion) was upgraded to a limited practice Friday, Sept. 18, but has been ruled out for Week 2 versus the Buffalo Bills. DB Clayton Fejedelem (pectoral) was limited in practice all week and is listed as doubtful. WR DeVante Parker (hamstring) was also limited in practice all week but is listed as questionable. CB Xavien Howard (knee), CB Byron Jones (Achilles), LB Kyle Van Noy (hand) and WR Preston Williams (knee) practiced in full Friday, Sept. 18, and have been removed from the injury report. WR Jakeem Grant (calf) was not given a practice designation for a second straight day Friday but is also expected to play.
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock faces a stiff test in Week 2 on the road against the Steelers Defense. The 23-year-old second-year signal-caller had his ups and downs in the Week 1 Monday night loss to the Titans. His mobility and arm strength were on display, but he was hurt by some drops and overthrows and he also fumbled the ball twice but recovered. His final line was 22-for-33 for 216 yards and one touchdown. Lock should get both Courtland Sutton (shoulder) and rookie K.J. Hamler (hamstring) back for this one, but the matchup is too tough to consider him as anything more than a low-end QB2 in leagues that start two quarterbacks.
Kansas City Chiefs DE Alex Okafor (hamstring), DT Khalen Saunders (elbow) and CB Charvarius Ward (hand) did not practice all week and have been ruled out for Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers. C Austin Reiter (knee), DT Derrick Nnadi (ankle), OG Kelechi Osemele (knee), S Juan Thornhill (knee) and RB Darrel Williams (hamstring) practiced in full all week and no longer appear on the injury report.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Justin Jackson (quad) did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful for Week 2 versus the Kansas City Chiefs. TE Donald Parham (illness) returned to a full practice Friday, Sept. 18, and has been removed from the injury report. DE Joey Bosa (triceps), CB Casey Hayward (knee), OG Trai Turner (knee), WR Mike Williams (shoulder) and QB Tyrod Taylor (ribs) also practiced in full Friday and no longer appear on the injury report.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) was not present at practice on Friday for the second straight day. There were reports that Thomas "felt fantastic" at practice on Thursday, and there is a "glimmer of hope" that he can play in Week 2 on Monday night against the Raiders, but it's a long shot, at best. The All-Pro receiver is dealing with a high ankle sprain, which can keep players out up to a month or more. The 27-year-old is known as a quick healer and wants to get back out there as soon as possible, but fantasy managers need to keep realistic expectations. You should be planning to be without Thomas this week. Both Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook should have heavy target shares with Thomas likely out.
Chicago Bears linebackers Khalil Mack (knee) and Robert Quinn (ankle) are both questionable to play in Week 2 against the Giants. Mack was also questionable for the season opener against the Lions, but he played and was quiet with just four combined tackles. Quinn missed Week 1 with Chicago after a big season with the Cowboys. The Bears are counting on the combination of Mack and Quinn to be a big pass-rushing force this year, so if they both sit out, it'll be excellent news for Daniel Jones and the Giants passing attack. Chicago's defense/special teams should be considered a midrange starting unit in fantasy, but they'll lose a little luster if one or both of Mack and Quinn are ruled out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Antony Auclair (calf) did not practice for a second straight day Friday, Sept. 18, and has been ruled out for Week 2 versus the Carolina Panthers. WR Chris Godwin (concussion) was upgraded to a limited practice Friday and is listed as doubtful. DL Ndamukong Suh (non-injury) did not practice Friday but was removed from the injury report. WR Mike Evans (hamstring), OT Donovan Smith (knee) and S Jordan Whitehead (elbow) practiced in full Friday and no longer appear on the injury report. LB Jason Pierre-Paul (non-injury) was not given a practice designation Friday but is also expected to play.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (ankle) practiced in full the last two days and was taken off the Week 2 injury report. Conner will be active this Sunday against the Broncos, but he might play second fiddle to Benny Snell Jr. after Snell replaced the injured Conner in Week 1 against the Giants and ran for over 100 yards on the ground. Conner couldn't stay healthy last year as the team's lead back, so perhaps this will become more of a backfield committee in 2020 to preserve Conner's health. Snell is probably the more attractive RB3/flex this week, but both running backs are hard to trust because of the uncertain playing time split.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Week 2 against the Bears. Tate sat out in Week 1 against the Steelers, but he was much more active in practice on Friday than he was last week. Even if the 32-year-old plays this weekend, there are likely better flex options you can plug into your fantasy lineups. If he doesn't play for the second straight week, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and tight end Evan Engram would all stand to benefit from extra targets in the passing game. Slayton was the biggest beneficiary in Week 1, hauling in two touchdowns.
The Carolina Panthers Defense has ruled out defensive tackle Kawann Short (foot) and rookie defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (concussion) for Week 2 against the Buccaneers. A shaky Panthers defense that allowed over 30 points to the Raiders in Week 1 will be hoping that rookie defensive tackle Derrick Brown can step up against their division rivals on Sunday. Already at the bottom of the pile for fantasy defenses, Carolina should be avoided like the plague this weekend against Tom Brady and the Bucs, who are looking for their first win of the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (hamstring) practiced in full on Friday and was taken off the Week 2 injury report. Evans will be good to go against the division-rival Panthers. The 27-year-old should draw the coverage of cornerback Donte Jackson, but he's good enough to put up points, and he should be targeted even more by cornerback Tom Brady with Chris Godwin (concussion) doubtful to play. Evans had a quiet Week 1 but still managed to find the end zone to salvage his day. With Godwin likely out, Evans will be a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 this Sunday.