By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) walks off the field in the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Detroit won 13-10. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, left, and Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia talk after an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Detroit won 13-10. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) celebrates his interception against the Los Angeles Chargers in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Los Angeles Chargers punter Ty Long (1) reacts to missing a field goal as Detroit Lions defensive back Dee Virgin (30) reacts in the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson (22) runs the ball as Detroit Lions outside linebacker Christian Jones (52) defends in the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws in the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (97) and Isaac Rochell (98) celebrate in the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater (5) reacts to missing an extra point in the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Brandon Facyson (28) brings Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) down after a reception in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) scores on a one-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first half an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
DETROIT (AP) Matthew Stafford and Darius Slay had a lot to do with the Los Angeles Chargers leading the Lions for three-plus quarters.
And, both players bounced back in the final minutes to lift Detroit to a 13-10 victory Sunday.
Stafford threw a go-ahead, 31-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay midway through the fourth quarter and Slay made an interception in the end zone with 1:03 left.
Detroit (1-0-1) overcame Stafford's two interceptions, Slay getting outplayed by Keenan Allen and Matt Prater missing an extra point and a field goal.
''I'm doing this team a disservice if I shut down after two picks,'' Stafford said.
The Chargers (1-1) were in a position to attempt a 45-yard field goal to tie the game, but Philip Rivers tried to force a pass to Allen and Slay picked it off.
Allen had his way with Slay for much of the day, making eight catches for 98 yards.
''I feel like I was putting on a clinic and then to come down to the last play and he makes a play,'' Allen said.
The Lions failed to make plays on both sides of the ball in the opener, blowing an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter and settling for a tie at Arizona. Stafford converted a third-down pass to Jesse James with just under a minute left - a week after a timeout was called just before Stafford completed a pass that could've sealed a win over the Cardinals.
During much of Detroit's home-opening game, though, it looked as though the franchise would have to wait at least another week to earn a win.
Austin Ekeler leaped over the goal line for a 1-yard TD on the Chargers' second drive.
Detroit scored a TD on the ensuing possession with a screen pass that Kerryon Johnson bobbled before securing and sprinting for a 36-yard reception, but Prater muted some of the cheers by missing an extra point to the left. Prater also missed a 40-yard field goal to the right in the second quarter.
The Chargers went from their 3 to the Detroit 21 in 1:16, setting up Ty Long's 39-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give them a 10-6 lead.
Stafford threw a long pass up for grabs in the end zone early in the third quarter and cornerback Casey Hayward came down with it. Stafford had thrown 181 passes without an interception, which was the NFL's longest active streak.
The Chargers had two TDs negated by flags on the next drive and a penalty by Detroit gave Los Angeles the ball at the 1. Ekeler tried to dive into the end zone again for a score, but rookie Jahlani Tavai forced him to fumble and linebacker Devon Kennard recovered it.
Los Angeles got in position to score again in the third, but Long missed a 39-yard field goal by hitting the left upright. The punter was filling in for kicker Michael Badgley, who missed a second straight game with a groin injury.
Stafford helped the Chargers keep their lead on the next possession, trying to force a deep pass to Marvin Jones and getting it easily picked off by safety Rayshawn Jenkins.
''I felt like that third quarter, it was right there for us to blow the doors off,'' Rivers said. ''And then we kept letting it stay at 10-6.''
Los Angeles opted to attempt a 41-yard kick instead of going for it on fourth-and-1 at the Detroit 23 and Long couldn't convert on the field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Detroit coach Matt Patricia chose to pass, instead of kick, on a fourth-and-1 on the ensuing drive and Stafford converted on a pass to Jones to set up his go-ahead throw to Golladay on the next snap.
''That was a laser,'' Patricia said, reflecting on Stafford's throw to Jones. ''I don't know if Marvin caught it or if it just stuck in his chest.''
Rivers converted a third-and-10 with a 12-yard run early in the next drive for his longest run since the 2014 season before getting picked off.
HE SAID IT
''There's a lot of bad football in September,'' Patricia said.
Chargers: Rivers was 21 of 36 for 293 yards and an interception. Ekeler finished with 67 yards receiving and 66 yards rushing for his second straight game with 100-plus yards from scrimmage.
Lions: Stafford was 22 of 30 for 245 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. Golladay had eight receptions for 117 yards. Johnson had 88 yards from scrimmage.
Chargers: CB Michael Davis (hamstring) was inactive. S Adrian Phillips left early in the fourth quarter with a forearm injury.
Lions: OT Taylor Decker (back) and LB Jarrad Davis (ankle) were inactive.
Chargers: Host Houston on Sunday.
Lions: Play at Philadelphia on Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is coming off a solid game in Week 7 as he tallied five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown against the Detroit Lions. It was his first touchdown and his first time exceeding 36 receiving yards on the season. Rudolph may see a slight increase in targets due to receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) being out, but he still shouldn't be trusted in standard leagues. Rudolph remains an unexciting touchdown-dependent TE2 in Week 8's home matchup against the Washington Redskins.
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison has gotten at least seven carries in 5-of-7 games this year, though he hasn't quite emerged as a player to consider starting as he's still the clear backup to Dalvin Cook. That being said, Mattison could be in line for a sizeable workload this week as the Vikings are favored by 16 points in a home matchup against the Washington Redskins. The Redskins Defense is more vulnerable through the air, but the Vikings will undoubtedly lean on the rushing attack as they still run at the second-highest rate in the league. Start Mattison if you're in desperate need of a deep-league FLEX option as there's a good chance that he sees at least 10 carries and does something meaningful with them. He's also not the worst dart-throw in daily formats if you're multi-entering into tournaments.
Denver Broncos TE Jake Butt (knee) and Theo Riddick (shoulder) are eligible to return to practice this week, but head coach Vic Fangio said Wednesday, Oct. 23 that he isn't going to practice either of them this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (neck, shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday. Marqise Lee (ankle), who missed Week 7, was limited. Westbrook was questionable for last Sunday's game but played and went over 100 yards against the Bengals injured and ineffective secondary. He'll have a good chance of playing this Sunday as long as he practices later this week. The matchup will be just as nice, too, as the Jags will face off with Gang Green's struggling defense. If he plays, Westbrook has clear WR2 upside. If he's inactive, Chris Conley would be on the DFS and deep league streaming radar.
The Vikings Defense gave up 30 points in a win over the Detroit Lions in Week 7 but still rank sixth in yards per game allowed and points per game allowed. They also have seven interceptions, 19 sacks, four fumble recoveries, and a safety on the season. They're presented with a golden matchup against Case Keenum and the Washington Redskins on Thursday night in Week 8. The Redskins are averaging a miserable 12.9 points per game and their offensive line is no match for Danielle Hunter and the Vikings imposing defensive front. Look for the Vikings to force mistakes and pick up plenty of sacks and start them with confidence in Week 8.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said he's not optimistic that wide receivers Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back) will make it back this season after they both had "a couple setbacks." Obviously neither wideout should be stashed in season-long leagues, but Hurd has appeal to those in dynasty/keeper setups. The 49ers just traded for Emmanuel Sanders on Monday, too, so it would've been unrealistic to expect either Taylor or Hurd to make an impact in single-year leagues even if they returned. Sanders is expected to be in three-wide sets immediately with Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis in Week 8 against the Panthers.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has been silencing his critics the past three weeks, throwing for 977 yards and an impressive 10/1 TD/INT ratio. He's also coming off back-to-back outings with four touchdowns in wins over the Lions and Eagles. Cousins will be missing Adam Thielen (hamstring) this week, but it shouldn't matter much in an exploitable matchup against the Washington Redskins at home. The Redskins Defense has already given up 14 passing touchdowns and they've been absolutely shredded by competent passing offenses all season. The only reason for pause is the potential cap of Cousins' volume as the Vikings are favored by a whopping 16 points. Start Cousins as a low-end QB1 option as he should be able to keep the streak going through the air in a soft matchup.
New York Giants TE Evan Engram is a possible player to be moved at the NFL trade deadline next week, but an AFC scout believes the fact Engram cannot stay healthy hurts his value. 'He's hurt way too much, but he's a big problem when he's healthy,' the scout said. 'His speed makes him a matchup nightmare. I don't know if (the Giants are) using him right, but another team could.'
Fantasy Spin: Engram is just 25 years old and the team could pick up his fifth-year option, which would put him under control through 2021. But if they decide not to pick up the option and move Engram, there would likely be plenty of takers. He has wide receiver ability in a tight end body, again, when healthy.
New York Giants CB Janoris Jenkins remains the most valuable and likely piece the team has to sell because cornerbacks are prized possessions, beat writer Ralph Vacchiano suggests. 'He's still good. And in this pass-happy league, everyone needs cornerbacks,' one NFL scout said last week.
New York Giants TE Rhett Ellison could move up to the top spot on the depth chart if the team elects to move TE Evan Engram at the NFL trade deadline. Ellison is reportedly a favorite of head coach Pat Shurmur, and the team could deal Engram and use Ellison in a limited pass-catching role where he's been effective at times.
Fantasy Spin: Even if Ellison were to slide up to the top spot of the depth chart, he has proven to have limitations. Expect 40-50 yards per game with an occasional touchdown, and that might be the ceiling of his fantasy production. That all hinges on whether or not the team parts with Engram, which isn't a certainty.
Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher (hernia) and defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin) both were limited in practice on Wednesday. Fisher has been out the last five game, while Jones has missed two straight. Fisher's return would be a positive development, as he might be blocking the blind side of backup Matt Moore if the Chiefs hold Patrick Mahomes (knee) out for another week. Jones' return would also be a welcomed addition with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers coming into town on Sunday night. The 25-year-old has 11 total tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery in five games after setting a career high with 15.5 QB takedowns a year ago.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is leading the league with 725 rushing yards, a 5.5 yards per carry average, and eight rushing touchdowns. He's RB2 in half-ppr scoring (Christian McCaffrey). You're starting him without hesitation in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins, who are allowing 134.4 yards per game on the ground. Cook could easily finish as the top running back of the week with the Vikings favored by 16 points at home (and with McCaffrey facing the 49ers Defense). The Vikings still run at the second-highest rate in the NFL and could lean on Cook even more in the absence of stud receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring). Cook remains an RB1 and he should be a priority play in daily formats as well.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron saw his stock rise last week when he caught four of his five targets for 70 yards and one touchdown. He had 49 more yards than fellow tight end Jack Doyle, and he's been out-playing him all year. The Denver Broncos have some good safeties, but Ebron is better than he's been this year. As quarterback Jacoby Brissett continues to look his way, he maintains some value every week. Consistency is key for tight ends, and you can have some faith in Ebron this week.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle had high hopes coming into the season. Heading into Week 8, it's becoming more clear that he won't be having the bounce-back season he was hoping for. Doyle has 25 targets on the year, but he has just 17 catches for 149 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett looks his way on a regular basis, but it's not down the field. It's also not in the red zone. Doyle gives you a safe option to score more than zero every week, but he's not going to light it up, especially in a bad matchup with the Denver Broncos. Teammate Eric Ebron has been the better option at the position. Doyle should be avoided this week.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Olabisi Johnson had a productive game stepping in for Adam Thielen (hamstring) in Week 7, catching 4-of-8 targets for 40 yards and a touchdown in the win. The rookie out of Colorado State is now in line for a spot-start as the second receiver in Week 8 as Thielen has been ruled out against the Washington Redskins and their forgiving defense. It's not crazy to project a usable target share again in an advantageous matchup at home, especially considering Johnson has received at least four targets in three of his last four games played. It's also worth noting that Kirk Cousins and the Vikings passing game has been on fire for three games straight. Johnson can be considered a WR3/WR4 and should be in consideration for deep leagues this week.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle leads the team in receptions and receiving yards by a wide margin, but he now has some company with the addition of WR Emmanuel Sanders. QB Jimmy Garoppolo believes the addition of Sanders could take some pressure off of Kittle, who opposing defenses have keyed on. 'Yeah, it'll be interesting to see how defenses line up,' Garoppolo said Wednesday, Oct. 23. 'If they change anything, tilt the safeties toward him, whatever it is. Yeah, we'll have to adjust during the game and see how that goes.'
Fantasy Spin: Kittle's production isn't expected to take a hit with the addition of Sanders as the team's No. 1 wideout. In fact, there might be fewer double teams on the star tight end, if Sanders can stay healthy and be the type of receiver he was in Denver.
San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo is excited about the addition of WR Emmanuel Sanders, and he said he is willing to help get the receiver up to speed quickly. 'I'll do my best to, but receiver-quarterback is a little bit different in what you have to learn, specifics and that nature,' Garoppolo said Wednesday, Oct. 23. 'But yeah, anything I can do to help him. I'm going to put in the extra time with him, whatever it takes, really.'
Fantasy Spin: The addition of Sanders gives the team an NFL-caliber No. 1 receiver, something they have honestly been lacking, with perhaps a bunch of secondary or tertiary options trying to fill the role. George Kittle is the team's leading receiver in catches and yardage by a wide margin. The addition of Sanders is great for the fantasy appeal of Garoppolo, although he still remains more of a QB2 in most fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams.
New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas is on the verge of being streamable this week against the Lions. The former Pro Bowler hasn't had much success this year and has yet to make more than one field goal in a game all season. However, he's in a good matchup. The Giants figure to move the ball against a banged-up Lions Defense, and they will need to push the tempo to keep up with quarterbackMatthew Stafford and the Lions offense. Rosas still isn't a recommended option, but he can be considered in deep leagues.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal has seen his stock consistently grow over the past few weeks. He's still not a player that you can have a ton of confidence in starting, but he does have some flex consideration this week. His size allows him to be a mismatch against most corners, and the Denver Broncos don't have a guy that can match up with him consistently in that regard if cornerback Chris Harris Jr. shadows wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. If you're missing wideouts due to injuries or bye weeks, Pascal gives you upside thanks to his touchdown production and big-play ability.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett went off on the Houston Texans in Week 7. In Week 8, his matchup gets more difficult against the Denver Broncos. Through seven games, Denver has yet to allow a player to clear 300 passing yards, and no quarterback has thrown for more than two touchdowns against them. The Colts have a lot of pieces on offense, especially with the emergence of wide receiver Zach Pascal, but expectations for Brissett should be tempered this week. He's still a starter in two-quarterback leagues, but you have better options at QB in standard formats.