Thu Oct 10 7:43pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, in East Rutherford, N.J. Darnold has been cleared by doctors to play this week after he missed three games while recovering from mononucleosis. The Jets announced in a Twitter post that Darnold will start Sunday at home against Dallas. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Sam Darnold stepped to the podium as the New York Jets' starting quarterback again, his once-swollen spleen no longer keeping him from playing in a game.
Nearly a month of medical tests, tough questions, major concerns and big-time frustration is over.
And so is Darnold's time on the sideline.
''The spleen is good, finally,'' a smiling Darnold said Thursday. ''I finally get to wear a white jersey out there and be part of the team. It's been good to be back officially and get some practices under my belt.''
Darnold will start Sunday at home against Dallas, his first game since the season opener. A bout with mononucleosis sidelined him for three games after being diagnosed on Sept. 11. He was cleared by doctors Monday to play in a game, and Darnold has no concerns about getting back out on the field - with Cowboys defenders looking to make for a rough return.
''When I'm out there playing, I'm not worried about guys hitting me or anything,'' Darnold said. ''I'm trusting the guys up front to do their thing and I'm trusting the receivers to get open when it's time to pass the ball. For me, it's all about trust.
''When I do get hit, I know I'm not in danger anymore. They're letting me go out there and play because it's safe, so I'm not worried about that.''
Darnold will wear customized protective padding around his ribs/spleen area - likely for the rest of the season - just as a precaution. He said it's not restrictive, and will surely give him peace of mind.
The 0-4 Jets have struggled mightily without their starting quarterback, failing to generate much in his absence. Trevor Siemian started the second game of the season, but was lost for the season with an ankle injury, so third-stringer Luke Falk was under center the past two games - as New York rolled up a total of just 233 yards combined.
''You are what your record says you are and right now we aren't a very good offense,'' offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. ''Sam is not a magic wand. He is a really good player that is going to lift the execution of this team and he is a really gifted player with the ball in his hands and we are really excited to have him.
''But there are still things that we need to clean up, fundamentally and technically, to make sure the other 10 guys are doing their jobs the right way.''
The offensive line has allowed an NFL-worst 23 sacks, including 10 last week at Philadelphia. Falk, in a tough spot after being merely a practice squad quarterback until Week 2, held on to the ball too long at times. He had no chance to do anything at others.
''Yeah, he should be good, we should not have him dying on the field,'' coach Adam Gase joked of Darnold. ''We need to do a better job protecting the quarterback and we need to get the ball out on time, we need to run the right routes, it's got to be the right play call.''
That combination of errors so far has affected the entire operation of the offense, from Le'Veon Bell and the running backs to the wide receivers and tight ends. The Jets rank last in the NFL in total offense.
Darnold now is being looked at by some as a savior of sorts, someone who'll immediately get everything back on track.
The 22-year-old quarterback is keeping things in perspective, though.
''For me, it's all about staying within myself,'' he said. ''Not doing too much.''
The comeback nearly happened last week at Philadelphia as Darnold went through two days of practices running the first-team offense. But a medical test last Thursday night confirmed he wasn't yet healthy enough to play.
''When you're out that long,'' he said, ''you realize how awesome the game is because you miss it so much.''
Now, he'll be able to knock the rust off for real, with a chance to get the Jets in the win column for the first time this season.
''Having a couple of weeks of practice under my belt is a good thing,'' Darnold said. ''It's definitely going to help, but there's nothing like Sunday. Playing the first couple of series will be a little bit of a shock to the system, you could say, but I think I'm going to be ready.
''And hopefully, after those couple of series, I think, I'll feel right at home.''
NOTES: LB C.J. Mosley (groin), DE Henry Anderson (shoulder), LG Kelechi Osemele (shoulder/knee/illness) and RB-KR Trenton Cannon (foot/ankle) didn't practice. ... CB Nate Hairston (knee) was limited after not practicing Wednesday. Also limited were LB Jordan Jenkins (calf), DL Quinnen Williams (ankle) and WRs Josh Bellamy (shoulder) and Demaryius Thomas (hamstring/knee). ... S Jamal Adams won his appeal of his $21,056 fine by the NFL for his hit on Browns QB Baker Mayfield in Week 2. ''I knew I was going to win it because it was legal,'' Adams said of the hit. He added that with the money he'll be able to keep, he'll spend it to buy his mother Michelle a gift for her birthday - which was also Thursday.
The Denver Broncos will have a scout in attendance for free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick's (49ers) workout on Saturday, Nov. 13, according to general manager John Elway.
Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett (shin) returned to Seattle on Wednesday, Nov. 13, after spending the previous two nights in the hospital, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Lockett is expected to be ready to play when the team returns from its bye on Sunday, Nov. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Seattle's bye came at the right time for Lockett, who gets 13 days to recover from his shin contusion. There's unlikely to be more news on his injury this week but do keep an eye on things next week just to ensure everything is proceeding as planned.
Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) is considered 'week to week' by the team, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, who added that head coach Dan Quinn denied an earlier report that Hooper will be sidelined for a month.
Fantasy Spin: Hooper is obviously one of the top fantasy tight ends this season, so the fewer games he misses the better. At this point all we're sure of is that Hooper won't play Sunday against the Panthers so make alternate plans, but don't cut Hooper unless you have no other option.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will get a juicy matchup in Week 11 against a leaky Eagles secondary. Edelman has been as solid as a rock all season, posting 63 receptions for 663 yards and four touchdowns through his first nine games this season. Now he will face an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. They have surrendered 12 touchdowns to receivers and 11 different receivers have scored 10-plus fantasy points against them. The Patriots passing game should be able to exploit the Eagles, making Edelman a low-end WR1 for Week 11.
New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will look to build off his excellent performance in Week 9 when the Patriots take on the Eagles in Week 11. In his second game with his new team, Sanu caught 10 passes for 81 yards and one touchdown. The veteran now will face an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to receivers this season. Sanu actually caught four passes for 16 yards against the Eagles in Week 2 but he played for the Falcons at the time. The Eagles secondary has allowed seven 100-yard receiving games to receivers this season, a number Sanu could conceivably achieve in Week 11. Sanu will carry WR2/3 value into Sunday's matchup.
The New England Patriots Defense will look to get back to its elite ways in Week 11 against the Eagles. The defense was exposed in Week 9 by the Ravens and have had an entire bye week to stew about it. They will face an Eagles offense that has been inconsistent this season and has allowed 12 sacks over their last four games. Before the Ravens game, the Patriots defense was on pace to break all sorts of fantasy records. Now they will have a chance to get back on track in Week 11 and should be considered a top-five fantasy play among defenses this coming Sunday.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel will try and get his season on track against the Eagles in Week 11. It won't be easy as the Eagles Defense has allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Outside of the Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards against them in Week 7, no other running back has posted more than 63 rushing yards in a single game. Michel's fantasy status has been saved by his six rushing touchdowns this season but must drastically improve upon his 3.3 yards per carry. The second-year running back could disappoint with this difficult matchup in Week 11.
New England Patriots running back James White is coming off the bye week with 44 receptions for 404 yards this season heading into Week 11's action. The veteran will go up against an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. The Eagles have been tough on the run all season and have surrendered only one receiving touchdown to an opposing running back all season. The Patriots will still look to exploit the underneath passing game and White should see a solid amount of targets. But don't expect the world out of White in fantasy for Week 11.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Co. will be ready to roll of their bye week when they play the Eagles in Week 11. After a disappointing loss to the Ravens, the Patriots offense will look to get back on track against an Eagles Defense allowing the 15th most fantasy points to opposing passers. Brady is having another top-10 fantasy season at the quarterback position but has posted only modest totals the past few games. The Eagles secondary is still a mess but the defensive unit has allowed only an average of 15.1 fantasy points to quarterbacks over their last three games. But Brady is no average quarterback and should post top-10 totals once again in Week 11.
The Chicago Bears Defense will go up against a Rams offense in Week 11 that was manhandled by a feisty Steelers Defense last week. Los Angeles' offense has taken a step back this season and quarterback Jared Goff has already thrown nine interceptions this season. The Bears defense still is posting decent fantasy numbers but the takeaways have been on the decline over the past month. The Rams will be without multiple starters on their offensive line for this important game and the Bears defense will be an appealing choice with Khalil Mack and Co. can take advantage in Week 11.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery will face a Rams Defense that is allowing the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Montgomery's touches have been on the rise but, for the most part, his yardage is capping around 60-80 total yards a game. This is will be a challenging marker to hit against a Rams defense that hasn't allowed more than 66 rushing yards to a single running back since Week 5. The rookie does have three touchdowns over his last three games and will need a score to post RB2-type fantasy numbers in Week 11.
Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen will look to make an explosive play on Sunday Night Football when the Bears take on the Rams in Week 11. Cohen is coming off one of his more active games of the season, posting 37 total yards with one touchdown against the Lions last week. Cohen is a threat in the passing game but the Rams Defense has not allowed an opposing running back to post more than 35 receiving yards against them since Week 1. The Bears offense is still a major work in progress, making Cohen a very risky FLEX play in most fantasy formats for Week 11.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel will take on a Rams Defense that is allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Gabriel caught four passes for 39 yards and one touchdown in last week's win and could see plenty of targets with teammate Allen Robinson being shadowed by top corner Jalen Ramsey. The Rams secondary, however, has been tough on wide receivers this season. Outside of a three-touchdown meltdown against the Seahawks, the Rams have allowed only four touchdowns to receivers all season. Gabriel should see at least one deep target in the game and will be no more than a dart-throw in deeper fantasy formats for Week 11.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will try and bring his team back to .500 against the Rams in Week 11, Trubisky bounced back after a horrific showing against the Eagles by throwing three touchdowns against the Lions last week. But he will have a more challenging test this week against a Rams Defense that is allowing the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. They have, however, allowed an average of 281 yards passing over their last six games, The season is on the brink for both teams but Trubisky can't be trusted to deliver in fantasy for Week 11.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson will have a tough test against the Rams in Week 11. Robinson has been the only consistent source of production for the Bears this season, heading into the game with 53 receptions for 618 yards and three touchdowns. But he should see plenty of Jalen Ramsey shadowing him throughout the game and the Rams are allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to receivers. In addition, outside of allowing three touchdowns in Week 5 to Seahawks receivers, the Rams have surrendered only four touchdowns to receivers all season. Touchdowns have already been hard to come by for the Bears offense this season and Robinson could struggle to post WR2 numbers in Week 11.
The San Francisco 49ers signed free agent DE Damontre Moore to a one-year deal on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
San Francisco 49ers DL Ronald Blair (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase will return for the 2020 season, owner Christopher Johnson said Wednesday, Nov. 13. In fact, the owner said no changes will be made to the coaching staff during or after the season.
The Miami Dolphins will not activated CB Aqib Talib (ribs) from the Reserve/Injured list, so he will miss the remainder of the 2019 season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers S M.J. Stewart (knee) will miss 'possible three to four' weeks due to the knee injury he suffered in Week 10, head coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday, Nov. 13.