Thu Oct 17 5:20pm ET
By KEITH JENKINS
AP Sports Writer
Chicago Bears quarterback Chase Daniel (4) is sacked by Oakland Raiders defensive end Benson Mayowa (91) during the first half of an NFL football game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden shouts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard makes a catch for a first down while being defended by Detroit Lions cornerback Justin Coleman during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. Green Bay won 23-22. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) is tackled during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and head coach Matt LaFleur, third from left, talk during a timeout in the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, front right, talks with quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Next man up: Allen Lazard.
Lazard caught his first pass from Aaron Rodgers on Monday night. He ended up catching three more, including one for a 35-yard touchdown in the Packers' win over Detroit. It was the biggest moment of the undrafted second-year receiver's career.
''Anybody can do it one time, and that's what we say, but now you gotta do it each and every time,'' coach Matt LaFleur said. ''That's the expectation and that's the standard. But, again, he puts in the work and he does a great job in practice. So I'm excited to see him put together back-to-back-to-back (productive games) and see where it goes.''
Lazard will try for an encore on Sunday when Green Bay (5-1) hosts the Oakland Raiders (3-2), a team the Packers have defeated seven straight times, going back to 1990.
''Monday was great and all, but our focus is on Miami in February (site of the Super Bowl). So we still gotta get to there,'' Lazard said.
Despite being an All-Big 12 performer in three seasons at Iowa State, the 6-foot-5 Lazard went undrafted last year and wound up on the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad. He used that time to learn from one of the game's best.
''I was going against Jalen Ramsey every single day,'' Lazard said. ''And so just to be able to sit there and go against him, and really, I was studying, watching him, how he reacted against me and how he played me. I sat there and talked to him, asked him questions. What was he doing here? What was he thinking?''
That preparation made Lazard an attractive option for the Packers, who snatched him from the Jaguars toward the end of last season.
Injuries to receivers Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison and a vote of confidence from Rodgers created an opportunity for Lazard to showcase his skills. Now, Lazard is another weapon for Rodgers in an offense that Raiders coach Jon Gruden and his staff have to figure out how to stop.
''They are doing a lot of different things with the structure of their plays, but Rodgers is still working the snap count,'' Gruden said.
''You see him beat Denver with the hard count. His magnificent scrambling, creating offense is uncommon, it's just unbearable to watch. I hate watching this guy, he's fun to watch but he's really not fun to watch when you got to play against him. He still has a very quick trigger, deadly accurate, a lot of overall athleticism and a great competitor. You saw it again the other night.''
The Packers announced the signing of receiver Ryan Grant on Wednesday. The 6-foot, 194-pound six-year veteran was with the Raiders from the offseason through the first two games this year. Grant, who worked out with Adams during the offseason, will wear No. 11 for Green Bay.
''I just want to come in and help as much as possible,'' Grant said. ''Whether it's on offense or special teams. Anyway, anywhere I can help.''
FRIEND OR FOE?
No. 11 previously belonged to Trevor Davis, whom the Packers traded to Oakland following their Week 2 win over the Vikings. Davis had four catches for 42 yards and a 52-yard kickoff return in the Raiders' Week 5 win over Chicago in London.
Oakland also has Rodgers' former backup, DeShone Kizer. Kizer played in three games for the Packers last season and threw for 273 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for Green Bay during the preseason before not making the team's 53-man roster.
The Raiders have been searching for a consistent pass rush ever since trading away Khalil Mack before last season. The rush is showing signs of progress. Oakland had four sacks in its last game against Chicago for its most since 2017. Benson Mayowa leads the team with 4+ sacks, second-year defensive tackle Maurice Hurst had two against the Bears, and rookie Maxx Crosby got his first and has been disruptive the past two weeks.
GROUND AND POUND
Rookie Josh Jacobs is showing why the Raiders drafted him in the first round. His 430 yards rushing is the second most for a Raiders rookie through five games to Bo Jackson's 475 yards in 1987. He had 26 carries for 123 yards and two TDs against the Bears and has been a bigger factor in the passing game of late with five catches his past two games. The running game should get a boost this week with the expected return of right guard Gabe Jackson, who has been out since training camp with a knee injury.
WHERE ARE THE WIDEOUTS?
Oakland will be without its projected top four wide receivers heading into the season this week. Antonio Brown was expected to be the focal point of the offense before getting released two days before the opener.
Tyrell Williams got off to a strong start this year but is expected to miss his second straight game with a foot injury. Grant and J.J. Nelson have both been released in recent weeks. That leaves Davis, fifth-round rookie Hunter Renfrow and recently acquired Zay Jones as the top options for quarterback Derek Carr.
''We've had a lot of things happen to our wide receiver corps, so we've been on the lookout to acquire some good, young players,'' Gruden said. ''To get Zay for what we feel like we gave up is a risk worth taking and we'll see if it pays any dividends, but he's a good young player. He's got some size and speed and was a very, very productive receiver, so we're happy to have him.''
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 7
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) has been activated off Injured Reserve. Reagor was initially placed on Injured Reserve after Week 2 while undergoing surgery to repair a torn UCL in his thumb. The Eagles are desperately in need of help at receiver, so Reagor's impending return is great news for the team. He should still be considered questionable for Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles have a bye in Week 9 and they may want to give Reagor the extra time to recover. He's a solid stash candidate in deep leagues as he could be a valuable fantasy contributor down the stretch.
Following the team's ugly 33-6 loss in Week 7, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was adamant that Cam Newton would remain the team's starting quarterback. Newton was benched in the second half of the team's Week 7 game against the San Francisco 49ers after throwing three interceptions and completing just nine passes for 98 yards. Second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham took over and finished the game. After the game, Belichick said that he only made the move in order to give Stidham more experience. Expect to see Newton back under center against the Buffalo Bills in Week 8.
New York Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman (head) has entered the league's concussion protocol. Perriman took a hard hit from Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde late in Sunday's game and was slow to get up. He should be considered doubtful for the team's Week 8 game against the Kansas City Chiefs at this point. If he misses the game, it will open up more opportunities for Denzel Mims, Braxton Berrios and Jamison Crowder (groin), though Crowder is dealing with a groin injury of his own that caused him to miss this week's game. Perriman has only played in four of the team's seven games so far this year. An ankle injury cost him three games earlier in the year. He has 11 catches for 118 yards on the season.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle) appears to be a long-shot to play in Thursday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, though he hasn't been ruled out yet. According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, McCaffrey is pushing to play in the game and will try to make as much progress as he can in practice this week. McCaffrey has been sidelined since Week 2 with a high ankle sprain. In his absence, Mike Davis has handled a heavy workload for the Panthers and it appears likely that Davis will have another opportunity for fantasy stardom in Week 8 if McCaffrey is indeed out again.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (knee) suffered a knee injury during a kick-off return in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The team fears that it could be severe for Westbrook, potentially a torn ACL, which would end Westbrook's season. It's been a disappointing year for Westbrook, who has been inactive for several games and has just one catch for four yards on the year. Westbrook is scheduled for an MRI on Monday that will provide more details on the injury.
Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb (knee) could return in Week 10 after the bye, according to head coach Kevin Stefanski.
Fantasy Spin: Chubb should be stashed in all formats. Kareem Hunt is on the RB1/RB2 apex in all formats in the meantime.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon had just three carries for negative one yard in Week 7. It was a surprising development as McKinnon was presumed to be the team's primary ball-carrier in the game. Head coach Kyle Shanahan recently shed some light on the situation, saying that the team had planned to rest McKinnon all along due to his heavy workload through the early going of the season. McKinnon has missed the past two seasons and with the team's injuries to Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Tevin Coleman (knee), McKinnon has had to take on a bigger role sooner than the 49ers thought. While this justification might not make fantasy owners who started McKinnon this week feel any better, it should at least provide a bit more clarity. McKinnon may end up being a decent low-end flex play in Week 8 as the team will once again be riddled with running back injuries in the game.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. reportedly has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the 2020 season. While the Browns have yet to confirm it, Beckham reportedly texted ESPN's Josina Anderson and informed her of the results of his Monday morning MRI. The star wideout injured his knee while making a tackle following a Baker Mayfield interception in the first quarter of Sunday's win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Minus OBJ, Cleveland will move forward with Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, and Donovan Peoples-Jones as their top three wideouts while Taywan Taylor should get a chance to be active on game days going forward. There's also a chance the team dips into the free-agency pool to fill out their depth at the position. There is no timetable for Beckham's return to the field.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) confirmed that he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and his season is over.
Fantasy Spin: Rashard Higgins caught all six targets for 110 yards yesterday, and he can be viewed as a low-end WR3 right now.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) suffered an ankle injury after scoring his third touchdown in Week 7 against the New England Patriots. He was down on the ground in pain at the time of the injury, suggesting that he was dealing with something significant. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that he was worried that the injury is a high-ankle sprain, adding that the team should know more soon. Wilson should be considered doubtful for the team's Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty figure to be the team's primary running backs in the game.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook (knee) is feared to have suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 7. He'll have an MRI Monday, Oct. 26, to confirm.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown's deal is likely to be official Monday, Oct. 26, and he'll clear COVID-19 protocol later in the week. Due to his suspension, he can enter the team's facility, but he can't practice.
Arizona Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake's (ankle) X-rays were negative, but he'll have an MRI Monday, Oct. 26.
Fantasy Spin: We'll know more after the MRI, but the X-rays provide a positive light. Chase Edmonds will be a hot pickup this week and could be an RB2 if Drake misses time.
Updating previous reports, Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson (foot) has a mid-foot sprain, and an MRI will be taken Monday, Oct. 26, to determine the severity.
Fantasy Spin: Mid-foot sprains can be serious and will probably cost him at least a couple of weeks. Carlos Hyde should vault to a low-end RB2 in the interim.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella wasn't able to contribute much in the team's 37-34 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7. Isabella caught just one pass for seven yards on three targets in the game. It's been a rough stretch for Isabella lately. He has just five receptions over his last four games. Christian Kirk has been coming on strong lately, which has led to far fewer opportunities for Isabella to contribute. Isabella should remain on waivers in all leagues at this point.
The Cardinals Defense was the latest victim of the scorching hot Seattle Seahawks offense. The Seahawks compiled 572 yards from scrimmage and put 34 points on the board against the Cardinals in Week 7. Luckily, the Cardinals offense kept pace and managed to lead the team to a win. The Cardinals defense did come up with some key turnovers as they forced three Russell Wilson interceptions and also recorded two sacks. Safety Budda Baker almost scored a defensive touchdown, but was tackled by DK Metcalf inside the 10-yard line after a long interception return.
Arizona Cardinals tight end Dan Arnold had his best game of the season so far in Week 7 against the Seattle Seahawks. He caught two of his three targets for 57 yards. His 41-yard reception was the team's longest passing play in the game. No other Cardinals tight end recorded a catch in the game. Arnold is the clear top pass-catching tight end on the Cardinals, but just hasn't been involved enough to warrant any fantasy consideration. He had four receptions in Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers, then failed to record a catch in his next two games. He should remain on waivers in all leagues for now.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk came up with some big plays for the team in Week 7 against the Seattle Seahawks. Kirk caught five passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns on eight targets. Kirk has now posted back-to-back two-touchdown games. He tied with Larry Fitzgerald for second on the team in targets in this week's game. DeAndre Hopkins led the way with 12 targets. Kirk has been delivering great production lately. While he may be a bit inconsistent going forward, he's a solid WR3 or flex option most weeks.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had his most productive game of the season so far in Week 7 against the Seattle Seahawks. Fitzgerald caught all eight of his targets for 62 yards. He was second on the team in receiving yards in the game, behind DeAndre Hopkins, and he tied with Christian Kirk for second on the team in targets. It was the first time this year that Fitzgerald had topped 50 receiving yards in a game and only the second time he'd compiled over four receptions in a game. This week's performance puts Fitzgerald back on the PPR map, though the Cardinals have a bye next week, so he should remain on waivers in all leagues for now.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught 10 of his 12 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night in Week 7. It was his fourth 100-yard game of the season and he now has three touchdowns on the year. Hopkins benefitted from a fantastic performance from Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns in the game. Murray and Hopkins have been clicking all year long as Hopkins has dominated targets for the team. Hopkins leads the NFL with 704 receiving yards on the year. He is a no doubt, high-end WR1 going forward.