Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles as Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, right, throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, left, and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer greet each other before an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Kliff Kingsbury kept a straight face for several seconds when asked about the parallels between himself and Urban Meyer.
''Two wildly successful college coaches,'' Kingsbury deadpanned.
Then he chuckled - along with everyone else in the room.
Kingsbury went 35-40 in six years at Texas Tech, never finishing higher than fifth in the Big 12. Meyer won five conference titles and three national championships during stops at Florida and Ohio State.
Now, though, Meyer probably should ask questions and take notes when Kingsbury brings his Arizona Cardinals to Jacksonville on Sunday. The Cardinals (2-0) appear to be on a playoff trajectory in their third season with Kingsbury as head coach and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray at quarterback.
The Jaguars (0-2), meanwhile, have been blown out twice and have obvious issues on both sides of the ball.
''When you pick No. 1, you know you're going to have some growing pains - that's just part of it - as you build,'' Kingsbury said. ''But you look at the team they put together. They're very talented. Playing a lot of young players, but athletic as anybody in the league. . They got it going in the right direction.''
The results say otherwise.
Jacksonville has lost 17 consecutive games, including six in a row by double digits. The team is nine losses away from tying the NFL mark for futility: expansion Tampa Bay's 26-game losing streak set in 1977.
Meyer seemingly lacks playmakers, with receivers failing to get enough separation for No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence, and defenders struggling to generate consistent pass rush.
Meyer, though, insists he has two of the three things needed for a turnaround: a good locker room and healthy players. He's still waiting for the final piece: a spark.
''Michael Jordan said it in that documentary that the Chicago Bulls struggled for years and years and all they needed was a spark,'' Meyer said. ''. And that spark, that's stepping in front of a ball, intercepting it. A spark is a great player making a great play. And how do you do that? It's called competitive excellence. You do it in practice. You work it and you work to put the players in those positions.''
Murray has been Arizona's spark. He has seven touchdown passes and two rushing scores, and the Cardinals are averaging 36 points a game.
''He's definitely different,'' Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins said. ''He's more of what the QBs are going to nowadays in the NFL, those scramble guys that can make plays outside of the pocket as well as downfield. ... You have to account for him.''
Meyer stopped the tape several times this week because watching Murray created anxiety.
''I watch it, turn it off, walk away, come back, watch it,'' Meyer quipped.
Jaguars coaches want Lawrence to start taking check downs - ''the power of completions'' - and run more when the pocket collapses. The rookie completed 14 of 33 passes for 118 yards last week against Denver.
''I know we're getting better,'' he said. ''I know that's frustrating for people out there and it's frustrating for us, too. Like, we want to win. We're here every day working our tail off to get better.
''We want to win, but I can feel it's getting better, and the morale's still really good. We have a great culture and a good environment here. It's going to take a little time, but we're getting there.''
SIMMONS VS LAWRENCE
Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons and Lawrence have been friends for years, going back to their time together at Clemson. For the first time, Simmons might actually get the chance to tackle him.
''In pads, I've never really been able to touch him other than a high-five or something,'' Simmons said, thinking about college practices. ''This will be a first.''
Added Lawrence: ''I know he's wanted to a few times, but he'll have his chance this weekend. I'm sure I'll be hearing from him all game.''
Murray has 51 yards rushing and two touchdowns, a fairly pedestrian number considering he finished with 819 yards on the ground last season.
But the third-year quarterback has made some of his biggest gains while scrambling. He found rookie Rondale Moore for a 77-yard touchdown in last Sunday's 34-33 win over Minnesota.
''It's a huge part of the game,'' Murray said. ''It's tough to score in the red zone, let alone score at all with defenses being good. Sometimes stuff breaks down and you've got to be able to make plays.''
Jacksonville likely will have a retooled secondary against DeAndre Hopkins, Moore, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green. CJ Henderson (groin) missed practice all week and Tre Herndon has yet to fully practice since injuring his right knee in the team's preseason opener.
The Jaguars probably will have to start rookie Tyson Campbell opposite Shaquill Griffin, with second-year pro Chris Claybrooks serving as a nickel cornerback and newly signed Nevin Lawson being the primary backup.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder) walked to the locker room against the Arizona Cardinals. The 28-year-old has 42 yards on two catches thus far today. The Browns were already shallow at the position with Jarvis Landry out, and if Beckham's injury is serious, this could have a serious impact on the team. The former Giant hasn't put up dazzling stats this year, but with Landry out, he was undoubtedly the Browns greatest threat at the position. If this injury leads to an extended absence, fantasy managers could very well drop the former superstar if necessary.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor carried 14 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns, adding one reception for 13 yards, during a 31-3 blowout win against the Houston Texans in Week 6. Taylor has been making the most of his opportunities as the lead back for the Colts, scoring two touchdowns in each of his last two games. He averaged 10.4 yards per carry against the Texans defense and will look to transfer his momentum against the San Francisco 49ers defense in Week 7. Taylor should no longer be questioned about his RB1 designation in fantasy formats, as he is increasing his snaps and touches every week.
Houston Texans wide receiver Chris Moore disappointed after his breakout performance last week. Moore was held to just 14 receiving yards on four receptions in a blowout loss to the Colts. The 28-year-old operated as the fourth option in the passing game with Nico Collins back in the picture, certainly not a good sign for Moore's value when Danny Amendola (thigh) eventually returns. Moore's 109-yard effort against the Patriots was a good story, but there likely won't be too many performances like that down the road, at least not until Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) returns.
Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines carried four times for 13 yards and caught one of two targets for an additional nine-yard reception during a 31-3 Week 6 win over the Houston Texans. Hines has seen his opportunity dwindle in the last couple of weeks, as Jonathan Taylor has proved explosive and much more involved in the Colts' passing attack. Hines should be treated as a low-end RB3 or even an RB4 if he continues to be held to two targets per game. A difficult matchup on the road against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7 will force most fantasy managers to sit Hines in PPR formats.
Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins had his best game of the season in Sunday's blowout defeat at the hands of the Colts. Akins saw six targets, tied for the second-most on the team, posting 41 yards on four receptions. The big tight end was coming off of two dud games, so it was nice to see him more involved in the offense. Still, he and Pharaoh Brown continue to eat into each other's respective fantasy values, making both players unappealing for fantasy purposes.
Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks had a great day despite his team's blowout loss to the Colts. Cooks led the team with 13 targets, nine catches, and 89 yards, operating as a short-yardage safety blanket for rookie quarterback Davis Mills. The Texans couldn't get anything going deep downfield against Indianapolis, resulting in a bevy of targets for Cooks. The veteran wideout has now seen double-digit targets in three games this year, exceeding the 75-yard receiving mark in four out of six games played. Houston has a crowded pass-catcher room, but Cooks is the best of the bunch for fantasy purposes. He'll get a tough test against an Arizona pass defense next week.
Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet had four catches for 49 yards against the Green Bay Packers. Kmet seemed like he could be poised for a breakout heading into 2021, but that has not come to fruition. Regardless, this game marked one of his best of the season. The sophomore tight end has solid hands and is extremely physical, but in his current situation, it's going to be difficult for the Bears' lackluster quarterbacks to support enough pieces to deem Kmet fantasy relevant. Nevertheless, Kmet must be rostered in any tight end premium leagues and can even be rostered as a hopeful lottery ticket in standard leagues, but fantasy managers shouldn't expect much from the youngster in 2021. In Dynasty leagues, however, Kmet is still a valuable asset as his quarterback and head coaching issues should presumably eventually be resolved.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon didn't seem bothered by the ankle injury that limited his workload over the last few weeks. He finished with 94 yards off 18 touches during the massive victory over the Lions. He also racked up a team-high five catches, totaling 59 yards and a touchdown, finding the end zone off a 40-yard pass from Joe Burrow in the third quarter. After some down weeks caused by a restricted workload, the former Oklahoma Sooner appears to be back in early season form. Fantasy managers should continue to view Mixon as a top option in all formats, especially in PPR leagues, due to his ability as a runner and pass-catcher. Keep him starting in Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz completed 11 of 20 pass attempts for 223 yards and two touchdowns during a 31-3 Week 6 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday. Despite being held to only 20 attempts, Wentz had a great outing, avoiding turnovers and distributing the ball efficiently within the Colts' offense. If you're streaming quarterbacks, Wentz is a good prospect valued as a high-end QB2 with low-end QB1 upside moving forward.
Houston Texans wide receiver Nico Collins caught four of six passes for 44 yards in his return Sunday against the Colts. Collins missed a month of action due to a shoulder injury- but posted season-highs in each receiving category in his return to the field. The rookie could carve out a fantasy-relevant role on the outside opposite Brandin Cooks- as he seemed to eat into veteran Chris Conley's snaps. Collins is worth monitoring over the next few weeks as a potential bench stash in deeper leagues.
Another week, another dramatic finish for the Minnesota Vikings. QuarterbackKirk Cousins led an offensively dominant performance for the Vikings, completing 33 of 48 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in the 34-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Cousins was able to spread the ball around, with four players reaching at least 70 yards. He also tossed touchdown passes to three different receivers, including the game-winner in overtime to K.J. Osborn. After two straight disappointing fantasy performances, Cousins once again showed why he is one of the most reliable, if not flashy, quarterback options in fantasy. Cousins' fantasy managers will have to look at other options next week, though, as the Vikings head into their bye.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin had a disastrous fantasy performance after finishing with just four catches for 28 yards on eight targets. McLaurin was banged up heading into this game with a hamstring injury, so that could have been a factor in his poor play. Fantasy managers shouldn't worry too much, as the third-year stud will continue to command a massive target share in the Washington offense, especially with Logan Thomas (hamstring) and Curtis Samuel (groin) being held out of the lineup. He will look to get back on track in Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers, which isn't too worrisome of a matchup considering Jaire Alexander is dealing with an injury.
Washington Football Team tight end Ricky Seals-Jones caught four passes for 58 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 31-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Seals-Jones has filled in nicely for Logan Thomas (hamstring) as he has been one of the top targets for quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Moving forward, the 26-year-old can be started with confidence as long as Thomas remains sidelined, as he has become a main target in the offense, considering Curtis Samuel (groin) is out of the lineup. He has a realistic chance to produce low-end TE1 as long as he remains the starting tight end in Washington.
Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries versus the Green Bay Packers. With Damien Williams out with a positive COVID-19 test, Herbert was slated for a nice workload, and he certainly capitalized on that opportunity. The sixth round rookie received some hype heading into the draft but slid and found himself in a crowded running back room. Herbert also amassed 75 yards on 17 carries last week, but Williams played well too. Williams will presumably return in Week 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which will hurt Herbert's value. However, even once Williams returns, Herbert's performance definitely still warrants a roster spot and probably a start in most leagues.
Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic led the team in receptions and receiving yards with eight catches for 65 yards in Sunday's 31-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He added 45 yards on the ground on just eight carries, so he was extremely efficient out of the backfield against a weak Kansas City defense. The negative game script allowed McKissic to have a significant role, as he is still clearly above Antonio Gibson in terms of the receiving game. Fantasy managers shouldn't get accustomed to this type of usage, as Gibson will still have a huge role in the offense moving forward, making McKissic a FLEX-play at best in deep leagues. However, if he were to miss any time, McKissic's fantasy value would skyrocket.
Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders signed a long-term extension before the season. However, he has been off to a slow start through the first six games. To be fair, the Dolphins offense has been horrendous, which doesn't give him many chances to make field goals. In Week 6, Sanders connected on two of three field-goal attempts in the loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The return of quarterbackTua Tagovailoa didn't impact Sanders' fantasy value like some may have hoped. There isn't much reason to trust that the Dolphins will fix their offensive issues before their matchup with the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7.
Washington Football Team kicker Dustin Hopkins made two of three field-goal attempts and his only extra-point attempt in Sunday's 31-13 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. As of now, Hopkins has the look of a reliable streaming option if fantasy managers need to fill in for any upcoming bye weeks. In the future, he should be in for more than one extra-point opportunity when the Washington offense gets fully healthy.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson caught three of his six targets for 46 yards and a touchdown in a Week 6 victory versus the Washington Football Team. The Chiefs had already locked up a victory versus the Washington Football Team late in the fourth quarter, but the Chiefs elected to go for the dagger with a 24-yard pass to Robinson for the score and a 31-13 victory. Robinson has now caught two touchdowns on the season, but remains a shaky option with Byron Pringle, Mecole Hardman and Josh Gordon all competing for targets and playing time behind wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Moving forward, Robinson can remain on the waiver wire and would need an injury or two to become relevant.
The Washington Football Team defense was once again not able to have an effective day defending the pass. They gave up 397 passing yards while giving up another 109 yards on the ground. Washington forced Patrick Mahomes to throw two interceptions, but it still wasn't enough to take down the former league MVP. Moving forward, they can be left on the waiver wire in conventional formats considering their recent performance and hard schedule for the remainder of the season.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce put together another nice performance in a Week 6 victory versus the Washington Football Team. Despite dealing with a wrist injury and missing some series, Kelce caught eight of his 11 receptions for 99 yards. Kelce seems to have escaped any long-term injury and that's the most important thing to come out of this contest. He remains a favorite of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and also at the top of his class for his position. Kelce will have a juicy matchup versus the Tennessee Titans in Week 7 and managers should once again feel confident with as the top tight end play of the week.