Sun Sep 8 4:44pm ET
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) is tripped up by Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry (24) during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) tackles Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp (24) reaches to tackle Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud (14) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) is tacklesd by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Talib (21) and free safety Eric Weddle (32) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Shaq Thompson tackles Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown (34) is congratulated by center Austin Blythe (66) and wide receiver Robert Woods (17) following Brown's touchdown against the arolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, left, and outside linebacker Shaq Thompson (54) tackle Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (18) during the first half an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Carolina Panthers cornerback Javien Elliott (23) reaches to tackle Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) during the first half an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) passes while Carolina Panthers defensive end Mario Addison (97) rushes 4during the first half an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) hands off to running back Christian McCaffrey (22) during the first half an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) and linebacker Bryce Hager (54) tackle Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) during the first half an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore fumbles while Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Cory Littleton (58) and linebacker Bryce Hager (54) scramble to recover during the first half an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Jared Goff threw for 186 yards and a touchdown, Malcolm Brown ran for a pair of scores, and the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams spoiled Cam Newton's return with a 30-27 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Todd Gurley started and ran for 97 yards on 14 carries after being limited to 8 yards rushing on five carries in the first half. Brown was the primary ball carrier for the better part of three quarters and finished with 53 yards on 11 carries.
Christian McCaffrey led the Panthers with 209 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
It was a rough day for Newton, playing in his first regular-season game since Dec. 17, when a lingering shoulder injury forced him to the sideline. Newton completed 25 of 38 passes for 239 yards, but had a costly backward pass that resulted in a fumble deep in Carolina territory, and a fourth-quarter interception.
He rarely threw deep downfield.
With the Panthers trailing 23-13 early in the fourth quarter, Jermaine Carter blocked Johnny Hekker's punt and the Panthers recovered at the Rams 5 yard line. McCaffrey scored on a 2-yard run two plays later.
But the Rams would score on a 5-yard TD strike from Goff to Tyler Higbee with 6:42 left to make it a two-possession game.
Carolina cut the lead to 30-27 on Alex Armah's TD run with 2:00 left. The Rams recovered the onside kick and Gurley helped run out the clock.
Gurley had 64 yards rushing in the fourth quarter, helping wear down the Panthers' 3-4 defense.
It's pretty clear the Rams weren't going to overload Gurley in the first game of the season. Gurley, who suffered from knee soreness late last season, split carries with Brown. Brown, a fourth-year running back, saw all of the goal-line carries, including scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run .
Rams WR Cooper Kupp had seven catches for 46 yards in his return from a torn ACL on Nov. 11.
Newton had a costly helmet issue on a third-and-7 play in the first quarter after the Panthers had returned to the field following a timeout. That resulted in a delay of game, and after a conservative draw play undrafted rookie Joey Slye missed a 53-yard field goal.
Rams free safety Eric Weddle left in the second quarter with a head laceration after trying to tackle a leaping McCaffrey. He did return.
IN THE BOOTH
Popular former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme began working as an analyst for Carolina's radio broadcast team.
Rams: host Saints on Sunday in rematch of NFC title game.
Panthers: have short turnaround before they host Buccaneers on Thursday night.
Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman managed to score a touchdown despite rushing for just 35 yards on 10 attempts during the loss to Kansas City. With the Chiefs Defense finally stepping up in this one, Freeman and backfield mate Phillip Lindsay were collectively held to just 71 yards on Thursday night. Both men should continue to split carries moving ahead, with the slight edge from a fantasy perspective going to Lindsay moving forward.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton played well in the loss to Kansas City on Thursday, finishing the night with 87 yards on six receptions. With the Chiefs Defense smothering Joe Flacco with eight sacks in this one while limiting backfield mates Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman for a combined 71 yards, Sutton played good enough considering how bad things would turn out. He continues to lead the way in the receiving department for the Broncos and will likely continue to get his looks in Week 8 against the Colts. He remains a must-start in all formats for the most part.
Denver Broncos running back Phillips Lindsay couldn't get anything going against a Chiefs Defense that stepped in the wake of the injury to quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is expected to miss some time after suffering a knee injury in the second quarter. After accumulating four touchdowns over his last four games, Lindsay finished with just 36 yards on 11 carries in this one. Though Royce Freeman managed to rush for a touchdown, expect these two to continue to split carries, with a slight edge going to Lindsay moving forward.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (hip/calf) has been a limited participant in practice this week, after returning to action in a 17-16 Week 6 loss to the Washington Redskins. After missing virtually the entire season due to injury, Wilson caught 5-of-6 targets against the Redskins but only totaled 15 yards. While he has been limited leading up to a matchup on the road against the Buffalo Bills in Week 7, Wilson is still expected to be the Dolphins starting slot receiver. Unfortunately, it will come against a Buffalo Bills Defense that is allowing the fewest points per game to opposing wide receivers in 2019. Whether he's fully healthy or not, Wilson belongs on the waiver wire with the rest of his teammates.
Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco finished with 213 yards on 21-for-34 passing in the blowout loss to Kansas City on Thursday. The veteran wasn't able to get anything going as the Chiefs Defense recorded nine sacks on the night, with eight of them going to Flacco. Though the former Raven has maintained a career-best 65.7 completion percentage, he has thrown for just six touchdowns to go along with five picks on the year. With this loss in the books, the Broncos will look to get on track against the Colts in Week 8 but continue to expect to see Flacco as a free agent in a majority of fantasy leagues, and for a good reason.
After being benched following a Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been named the starter for a Week 7 matchup in Buffalo. Fitzpatrick replaced starter Josh Rosen in the fourth quarter of Miami's loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 6, leading the Dolphins on two touchdown drives but ultimately falling short of victory. Facing his most recent former team, Fitzpatrick may find it tough sledding in Buffalo, as the Bills are allowing less than 10 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, a mark that is fourth-best in the league. Even having regained his starting position, Fitzpatrick doesn't belong anywhere but on the waiver wire until further notice.
Benched to start the fourth quarter after throwing two interceptions and completing 15-of-25 passes for just 85 yards in a 17-16 Week 6 loss to the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen will ride the pine again in Week 7. Claiming on Monday that he believed Rosen would still remain the starting quarterback going forward, head coach Brian Flores proved once again that the words of NFL coaches can rarely be trusted, announcing on Wednesday that Ryan Fitzpatrick would instead start against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. A first-round pick in 2018, Rosen has since been traded from the team that drafted him and been benched by league's worst team. If Rosen is still on your roster for some reason, now it the time to correct the mistake.
Following his first career start in a 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 6, Miami Dolphins running back Mark Walton (thumb) has been limited in practice this week, but he should be good to go for Week 7. Even with the start, Walton is still clearly behind Kenyan Drake on the depth chart heading into a Week 7 matchup on the road against a tough Buffalo defense. While there is no reason to start Walton this week in any league, he would certainly become more interesting if Drake were to be dealt before the October 29 trade deadline. Until then Walton remains only a speculative stash.
The subject of trade rumors that have recently heated up, Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake continues to be a fantasy non-entity heading into a Week 7 matchup with the Buffalo Bills. Drake has only 290 total yards on the season, with 19 receptions and zero touchdowns, giving him just 25 points on the year in standard leagues and making him a poor option for a majority of fantasy teams. Things won't get any easier in Week 7 with Miami facing one of the league's stingiest defenses in regards to allowing fantasy points. While the Bills are not as effective at stopping the run as they are the pass, the 18 points per game they've allowed to running backs is still good for 12th-best in the NFL. Facing a tough defense on the road and with teammate Mark Walton continuing to see more action, Drake's owners can only hope that he's traded to a better situation. Until that happens, he remains a low-end RB3/flex in deep leagues only.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams was briefly trending up in the fantasy community after receiving 12 targets in a Week 3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but his arrow has since pointed right back down. Blanketed by cornerback Josh Norman for much of last week's 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins, Williams finished with just 31 yards receiving, catching two of his six targets. Williams and the Dolphins travel to Buffalo on Sunday to face a Bills Defense that has allowed a league-low 71 points to opposing wide receivers in 2019. That mark is almost 20 points better than the 90 points allowed by the Chicago Bears, who sit in second place in the category. Like most of his Dolphin teammates, Williams is nothing but a desperate flex play and should remain on the waiver wire until Miami's offense proves it can be anything but awful.
He may have scored touchdowns in his past two games but Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker still isn't trending up and still doesn't belong on your fantasy roster. Even in a favorable matchup last week against the previously winless Washington Redskins, and with teammate Preston Wilson drawing most of cornerback Josh Norman's attention, Parker still only finished with 28 yards on three receptions, with his touchdown not coming until Miami's final drive. Heading into a Week 7 matchup with a Buffalo defense that's allowing the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers on the season, Parker should only be a dart thrown at the flex position by desperate owners in deep leagues.
The San Francisco 49ers Defense should continue their dominant run in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Entering the contest as the second-best defense by DVOA, the Niners should wreak havoc against quarterback Case Keenum and the woeful Skins. Operating as heavy favorites, the defense should steer Washington away from its stagnant run game and put constant pressure on an offensive line thats allowed 15 sacks. Facing one of the sloppier teams in the NFL, the 49ers make for a premium defensive unit this Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo enters Week 7 against the Washington Redskins with seven turnovers through five games (five picks, two fumbles). While he draws a cake matchup against the one-win Skins, Garoppolo is just an upside QB2 facing a weak pass defense. To climb the ranks of fantasy relevance, Garoppolo needs to stop committing mistakes and opposing teams must force the Niners away from their dominant rushing attack. That probably wont happen in Week 7 with the 49ers heavy favorites. While the run-heavy game plan partially offsets the juicy matchup, Garoppolo could finish the week a top-15 quarterback.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson was able to haul in a few receptions after a dud last week. Robinson didn't catch anything in the loss to the Colts during Week 6, but got back on the board in this one. He caught three of his five targets for 31 yards in the Week 7 victory over the Broncos. However, losing quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) is a big concern for the Chiefs offense. Robinson would only be a desperation flex option with veteran Matt Moore at quarterback in Week 8. Fantasy owners will have to wait and see what happens with Mahomes.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce continues to remain a strong and reliable fantasy option each and every week. He caught six of his eight targets for 44 yards in the Week 7 win over Denver. Kelce only has one touchdown this season, but continues to see a high volume of targets. It's unclear if quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) will suit up in Week 8 versus the Packers. However, Kelce is probably the only player on the Chiefs' offense that shouldn't lose value with Matt Moore at quarterback. Fantasy owners should continue to trust Kelce as a top five tight end.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was having a slow game in the Thursday night matchup versus the Broncos, until one play changed it all. Hill caught a 57-yard touchdown from quarterback Matt Moore late in the third quarter. He finished with three receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown in the Week 7 victory. Patrick Mahomes (knee) going down will hurt the Chiefs offense, assuming he misses time. Hill would be downgraded to a high-end WR2 for Week 8, assuming Mahomes sits out at least one week.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman was able to save his fantasy value with a touchdown in the Week 7 victory over the Denver Broncos. He caught two of his three targets for 28 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) going down did hurt the Chiefs offense a bit in this one. However, losing Mahomes for multiple games could kill Hardman's fantasy value. Veteran Matt Moore didn't look his way often after he replaced Mahomes in the second quarter. Hardman would have some shaky flex value, assuming Mahomes misses Week 8 versus the Packers.
Kansas City Chiefs running game Damien Williams has been basically a ghost on the field since Week 2. He finished with six total rushing yards during Week 6, but manages to have a worse fantasy game the following week. Williams rushed nine times for seven yards in the Week 7 victory over the Broncos. Williams got negative yards in the passing game, so he can't even be trusted there. Fantasy owners in standard leagues should probably be benching Williams at this point. He'll have low-end flex appeal versus the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. LeSean McCoy is looking like the better running back in KC right now.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Moore played surprisingly well after being thrown into the fire during Thursday's Week 7 matchup versus the Denver Broncos. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) exited in the second quarter after suffering a right knee injury. The veteran Moore was asked to take over and run the offense for the rest of the game. Moore completed 10 of 19 passing attempts for 117 yards and one touchdown in the victory. It's unclear if Mahomes is going to miss time yet, but Moore could carry some fantasy value, assuming Mahomes is out at least one week. Moore might have limited fantasy value for QB needy fantasy teams since he's surrounded by such a great offense. Don't expect him to light it up like Mahomes, but Moore looked decent on Thursday.
Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy was strong in the running game for the team during their Week 7 victory over the Denver Broncos. McCoy rushed 12 times for 64 yards and caught two passes through the air for 12 extra yards on Thursday. McCoy has been clearly rushing better than lead back Damien Williams over the last few weeks. The Chiefs seem to be leaning more on McCoy than Williams at this point in the season. However, losing quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) could hurt the offense, assuming he misses time. McCoy is on the radar as a flex option for Week 8 versus the Packers.