Sun Dec 15 4:36pm ET
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) reacts following an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) runs the ball while Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) and cornerback Tre Flowers (21) chase during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen (7) and wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) assist wide receiver Curtis Samuel (10) following Samuel's touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) hands pff to running back Chris Carson (32) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) runs into the end zone for a touchdown as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers (21) chases during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Seattle Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton (57) chases Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen (7) during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) reaches for a pass with Seattle Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton (57) and strong safety Bradley McDougald (30) defending during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll tosses the red flag to challenge a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Russell Wilson threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, Chris Carson ran for 133 yards and two scores, and the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Carolina Panthers 30-24 on Sunday to inch closer to clinching a playoff spot.
The Seahawks (11-3) can wrap up a postseason berth for the seventh time in the last eight seasons with a Rams or Vikings loss. Both teams play later Sunday.
It was the 100th regular season win for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
Seattle scored on its first three possessions as Wilson completed 8 of 10 passes for 175 yards, with 19-yard touchdown passes to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for a perfect 153.8 QB rating. Chris Carson added a 16-yard TD run as the Seahawks built a 20-7 lead at halftime.
But Seattle had to hold on after nearly surrendering a 30-10 lead with 7:28 left in the game.
Carolina got two touchdowns as Christian McCaffrey scored on a 15-yard run and Kyle Allen found Curtis Samuel for a 5-yard score to make it a one-possession game with 3:19 left. But the Seahawks overcame two holding penalties and Wilson connected on a 14-yard pass to Lockett on a third-and-11 to help the Seahawks run out the clock.
Despite the loss, McCaffrey continued his impressive season for Carolina (5-9), racking up 165 yards and two more touchdowns, giving him a league-high 18 for the season. McCaffrey also became the first Carolina player to eclipse 2,000 yards from scrimmage in a season.
Turnovers continued to plague the Panthers.The Panthers are now a minus-14 in turnover differential during their current six-game losing streak. Allen added to that total on Sunday as the Seahawks intercepted the second-year QB three times - two by K.J. Wright and one by Bobby Wagner.
For Allen, it was another case of trying to do too much. Under heavy duress and his team trailing 20-10 in the third quarter, he tried to force a pass and he was falling to the ground and was picked by Wright.
Wilson, on the other hand, was poised in the pocket, repeatedly making the right decisions as well as making big throws when the Seahawks needed them. Carolina's only takeaway came when the Seahawks tried to get tricky and wide receiver Josh Gordon threw an interception off a reverse.
Wilson repeatedly targeted Panthers second-year cornerback Donte Jackson in the first half, beating him for two scores and a 58-yard pass play down the seam to Gordon, who stretched out to make a sensational grab.
Lockett had eight catches for 120 yards.
Seahawks: The Seahawks have some healing to do. They played without defensive ends Ziggy Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Shaquill Griffin and tight end Luke Wilson, and safety Quandre Diggs (ankle) left in the third quarter and Wagner (knee) in the fourth.
Panthers: Tight end Greg Olsen (concussion) did not play.
Seahawks: return home to face the Cardinals next Sunday. Seattle beat Arizona 27-10 earlier this season.
Panthers: travel to face the Colts on Sunday, their final away game of the season.
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 7
New York Giants running back Devonta Freeman has seen his workload increase in each week with the team since signing after Week 2. Freeman has been the clear lead-back for Big Blue, but faces a quick turnaround this week with a Thursday night game against the Eagles. Freeman handled 17 and 18 touches in the past two games and has reached 60 yards in each game. Neither Wayne Gallman nor Dion Lewis handled a carry last week but could be more involved with the Thursday matchup this week. Philadelphia gives up the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Freeman is startable as a flex based on his volume, but does carry some risk in Week 7.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has lost four fumbles this season after losing just five in the first four years of his career, and his giveaways this year have turned into 28 points for the opposition. Elliott has more fumbles lost in 133 carries than all nine of the league's top-10 rushers combined in 1,104 touches, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Head coach Mike McCarthy said Elliott might have to prioritize ball security over fighting for extra yards to correct the issue. Dallas has 15 turnovers on the year and are an NFL-worst minus-12 in turnover differential. Despite the 25-year-old's fumbling issues and the fact that he hasn't had a 100-yard rushing game yet, he remains a must-start, high-end RB1 because he'll remain firmly in the game plan with quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) out for the year. Elliott has six total touchdowns and 32 catches through six weeks and should rebound in Week 7 against Washington.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) was listed as a limited participant in practice on Wednesday with ankle and hamstring injuries. The hamstring injury is new and is something to watch, but Thomas' high ankle sprain is what has kept him out of action since the season-opener. It was believed that the All-Pro wideout would return in Week 5 before the team's bye, but the Saints sat him for disciplinary reasons after he punched a teammate in practice. Unless the 27-year-old has a setback this week, he should make his return against Carolina in Week 7. The Panthers Defense has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts this year, but Thomas is a target hog and reception machine and is a must-start, high-end WR1 if he's active.
Defensive end Aaron Lynch has unretired and has been reinstated to the Jacksonville Jaguars exempt list on Wednesday. Lynch must go through five days of COVID-19 testing before he's eligible to return to the team's facilities. He signed a one-year contract with the team in May but retired on Aug. 18 due to personal reasons. Nose tackle Al Woods and linebacker Lerentee McCray both opted out of the season, and defensive end/tackle Rodney Gunter (heart) has been out, so Lynch's return will give Jacksonville some much-needed depth on that side of the ball. Lynch has 20 sacks and 10 pass breakups in 73 career games with the 49ers and Bears. The Jaguars Defense is well off the fantasy radar, however, ranking 31st out of 32 NFL defenses in fantasy points.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense is a solid streaming option this week against the Raiders. In a highly anticipated matchup between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers last week, the Tampa defense stole the show and got after Rodgers all day, compiling five sacks and two picks. Though the Raiders are a capable offense, the Bucs' defense can generate turnovers and put immense pressure on the QB. After that encouraging and dominant performance last week, they are a great starting option for this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop is a streaming option in standard leagues this week against the Raiders. Succop has been mostly reliable this season, going 10-for-12 in field-goal attempts and 19-for-20 in extra-point attempts. The Raiders offer the 10th-most points to fantasy kickers, which puts him in the starting tier.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is a low-end TE1 for this week's clash against the Raiders. Gronk had his best game of 2020 last week, posting five receptions for 78 yards and a score on eight targets. This was an encouraging performance by the veteran, one that may have instilled hope in managers because he looked his dominant New England version. The Raiders are middle-of-the-pack in points allowed to fantasy TEs, which means Gronk is a good streaming option this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans is a low-end WR1 this week against the Raiders, if active. Evans has been dealing with an ankle injury and his status for the game is unclear. Nevertheless, the WR has been quite streaky this year, as he has posted monster games along with contests where he only had one or two catches going for touchdowns. Evans is too talented to bench, so managers can only hope for more consistency. The Raiders offer the fifth-most points to fantasy WRs, making this a solid matchup for Evans if he plays.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin is a low-end WR1 against the Raiders this week, if active. The WR has been dealing with a hamstring injury and has overall missed three games this season. He returned last week and grabbed five receptions for 48 yards on seven targets. Godwin has immense potential, but he hasn't been able to showcase it due to setbacks this season. The Raiders allow the fifth-most points to fantasy WRs, meaning Godwin could have a great game if active.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette is easing back from an ankle injury and his status heading into Week 7 is still unclear. Nevertheless, if he plays, he is a risky option. The back has missed two out of the past three games and this has paved the way for Ronald Jones II to take the RB1 role in the meantime. Now, Fournette should be considered the RB2 on the team and the size of his role is uncertain but likely smaller. Though the Raiders offer a favorable matchup this week, it's tough to trust Fournette considering his recent injury and uncertainty regarding how large his role would be.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is a low-end QB1 this week against the Raiders. The QB has been decent this season but posted a season-low 166 yards last week in the blowout win over Green Bay. Nevertheless, that was because the Bucs had a comfortable lead for most of the game. Brady is a great streaming option against a Raiders squad allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II is a solid starter this week. Jones has now established himself as the top RB on this team and has proved it with three straight 100-yard rushing games. The momentum is building for Jones and he could have another big day on the ground against a Raiders team allowing the most points to fantasy backs. This is one of the best weeks to start Jones with confidence.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has struggled so far this season and will face a quick turnaround playing on Thursday night versus the Eagles. The sophomore signal-caller has thrown just three touchdowns against six interceptions through six games. Jones also has three fumbles-lost, a stat he lead the league in as a rookie. While the Giants did pick up their first win this past Sunday, Jones had little to do with it as he completed only 12 passes for 112 yards. Philadelphia is a middle-of-the-pack defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, but Jones is just a fringe QB2 in superflex and two-QB leagues.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown (knee) was unable to suit up for practice on Wednesday. He was barely able to make it through the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. There is a good chance that the team holds him out of the Week 7 matchup with the New York Jets. Brown was unable to haul in any of his four targets in his last game. Fantasy owners should probably look for a suitable replacement since it sounds like Brown's status is trending in the wrong direction. He hasn't exactly been reliable lately, so standard league owners might want to add some insurance.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has used his legs and arm effectively in the red zone so far this year, completing 18 of 22 red-zone passing attempts for 109 yards and eight touchdowns. He hasn't thrown an interception inside the 20-yard line and has posted the fourth-highest red-zone passer rating in the league at 126.9. On the ground, Murray has four rushing touchdowns inside the red zone on 66 yards (6.0 yards per carry) and an 81.8 percent success rate. The 5-foot-10, 207-pounder has a pair of red-zone touchdowns when eight or more defenders have been in the box. Murray threw for just 188 yards in Week 6 against Dallas, but he still had three touchdowns and will remain a must-start, high-end QB1 in Week 7 against a Seahawks Defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense might be a decent option in Week 7 despite their poor season-long performance. The Dallas defense has totaled just five fantasy points this season. Total. Five points. But they have a great matchup against a struggling Washington Football Team offense that has surrendered the second-most turnovers, third-most sacks, and ranks 30th in points scored. There's a chance that the Cowboys "defense" is the cure for what has been ailing the Washington offense, but if the Cowboys defense can't do anything with this cake matchup, then they can't do anything at all. They're ranked right around 15th among fantasy defensive units this week.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been one of the biggest surprises for this team this season. He continues to be a reliable option for this offense and has seen four or more targets in every game. Fantasy owners should be able to count on Beasley as a solid flex play against the New York Jets in Week 7. Beasley has put up reliable numbers in PPR formats in just about every game this season.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz could be set up for a nice bounce-back performance in Week 7 against the Washington Football Team. Schultz blew up in his first start in Week 2, but he's caught just five passes for 41 yards in his last two games combined. This week, however, Schultz and the Cowboys will take on a Washington defense that has allowed several tight ends to have top-15 fantasy weeks. While they defend opposing wide receivers well, they are somewhat vulnerable to tight ends. Schultz enters this game with nice upside and a pretty solid floor, even with quarterbackAndy Dalton running the offense. He's somewhere in the lower third of TE1 ranks.
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has scored all five of his red-zone rushing touchdowns this year while working with a blocking disadvantage, using his 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame to his advantage with his quick feet doing the work. Newton has also completed eight of his 17 red-zone passing attempts for 61 yards, two touchdowns and a 95.5 passer rating in 2020. He's scored five rushing touchdowns in the red zone on 44 rushing yards and a 66.7 percent success rate. Fantasy managers might be hesitant to start Newton after he laid an egg in the Week 6 loss to the Broncos, but he'll have QB1 upside against the 49ers this Sunday. San Fran's defense has allowed a league-high 35 rushing attempts to opposing signal-callers for 231 yards and two touchdowns through six weeks.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein is still a decent fantasy kicking option in Week 7 despite the Cowboys offense no longer being run by Dak Prescott. Zuerlein has made nine of his 11 field goal attempts so far this season, making one and missing one in a Week 6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. It may be worth noting that both of his misses this season have come from further than 50 yards out. Fantasy managers in leagues where kickers get bonus points for longer kicks may want to look elsewhere for more upside, but in leagues where all field goals count the same, Zuerlein remains a solid if unexciting K1.