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FFL: Week 8 | NFL: Week 8

Panthers-Cardinals Preview

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Players: Greg Olsen, Larry Fitzgerald, Cam Newton, David Johnson, Peyton Barber, Kyle Allen, Christian McCaffrey, Kyler Murray

In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen (7) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Charlotte, N.C. With Cam Newton reaggravating his foot, the team is looking at the possibility of starting Kyle Allen on Sunday against Arizona, the first of four road games in the next five. Allen has just one career start. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws to a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) celebrate his two point conversion catch with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona's Kyler Murray and Carolina's Kyle Allen will be competing for the spotlight when the two teams face each other Sunday in Week 3.

In some ways, it's just like old times for the quarterbacks and former college teammates.

Allen will make his second career start after the team ruled starter Cam Newton out because of a mid-foot sprain he aggravated on Sept. 12. Allen is 1-0 as a starter after beating a New Orleans team in Week 17 that was already looking ahead to the playoffs.

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn't expect any letdown from the Panthers, even without Newton.

''Last time Kyle Allen stepped on the field they won and scored 30 points on the road,'' Kingsbury said. ''We understand we'll have our hands full.''

Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in April, has had a very promising start to his NFL career. He's just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards in his first two career games.

The other guy? Newton, who was also the No. 1 pick in 2011. Both also won the Heisman Trophy.

But now that Newton can't go, the Panthers (0-2) turn to Allen, who is in his second season. Murray and Allen played together at Texas A&M in 2015, splitting time for a team that finished with an 8-5 record.

In a strange twist, both of the highly rated recruits ended up transferring at the end of the season. The two say they got along fine, even if circumstances weren't ideal. Murray called it a ''tough situation.'' Allen said they were ''never super tight. We had a mutual respect for each other obviously.''

Now they will be on the same NFL field.

''We went to school together. We played together,'' Murray said. ''I don't really have control over who starts over there. That's their deal. I just have to get ready to play, and whoever's their quarterback is their quarterback.''

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has looked 10 years younger over the Cardinals' first two games with 13 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown.

The 36-year-old has developed a quick rapport with Murray and the connection looks like it's going to be a go-to for Arizona (0-1-1) all season. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Fitzgerald is a player - along with Panthers TE Greg Olsen - whom he encourages young players to emulate.

''He's the right kind of person, the right kind of young man who understands what it takes to be successful in this game,'' Rivera said. ''It honestly doesn't surprise me that he's still playing, and it doesn't surprise me that he's having success like he is because he works at it.''

RED-ZONE WOES

Arizona's offense has been very efficient this year except when it gets in the red zone. That was a big issue in last week's 23-17 loss to Baltimore: The Cardinals had to settle for three field goals after getting inside Baltimore's 5-yard line. It would help to get David Johnson going in the run game. He had just 14 yards rushing on seven carries in Week 2.

KUECHLY ON A TEAR

The Panthers may be 0-2 but it has little to do with the play of linebacker Luke Kuechly, who is off to another terrific start. The five-time All-Pro selection had 17 tackles, including a tackle in the end zone on running back Peyton Barber for a safety in last week's 20-14 loss to the Buccaneers. Kuechly now has 973 tackles for his career, passing Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher for the most tackles by a player through his first eight seasons. Kuechly's average of 9.4 tackles per game is second only to Miami's Zach Thomas (9.8) in NFL history.

''They have such smart defensive players,'' said Kingsbury. ''It starts with Kuechly, who gets everything lined up and has such a great feel for the game and knows what offenses are going to run before they even run it.''

ALL McCAFFREY, ALL THE TIME

Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner said before the season he wanted to limit Christian McCaffrey's reps in the offense for fear of wearing him down. Well, that hasn't quite happened. Through two games, McCaffrey has been on the field for all 137 offensive plays. After combining for 209 yards on offense and two TDs in the season opener against the Rams, McCaffrey will look to get back on track against Arizona after being held to 53 yards by the Bucs. The Panthers scored 14 points against Tampa Bay, but it came on four field goals and a safety.

THIRD-DOWN STRUGGLES

If the Panthers want to succeed on offense they will need to start with moving the chains and sustaining drives. Carolina is converting a paltry 32% of its third downs (8 of 25) and is 0 for 3 on fourth-down conversions. A big part of that is the Panthers haven't used the multidimensional Newton as a runner as they have in the past due to shoulder and foot issues. In fact, Newton has five carries for minus-2 yards with two fumbles. With Allen expected to start at QB, it could add another dimension to the offense.

Player Notes
Jordan Richards Oct 22 6:13pm ET

New England Patriots S Jordan Richards was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Vernon Davis Oct 22 6:03pm ET

Washington Redskins S Deshazor Everett (ankle), LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring), OG Wes Martin (chest), S Montae Nicholson (ankle), CB Josh Norman (thigh, hand), Adrian Peterson (ankle) and RB Chris Thompson (toe) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 22. WR Steven Sims Jr. (toe) and TE Vernon Davis (concussion) were limited. LB Ryan Kerrigan (elbow) and QB Case Keenum (shoulder, foot) participated fully in practice. OT Donald Penn (non-injury) was not given a practice designation after being limited one day earlier.

From TheHuddle

Sylvester Williams Oct 22 6:03pm ET

Free-agent DL Sylvester Williams (Saints) was signed to an undisclosed contract by the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Kyle Rudolph Oct 22 5:53pm ET

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 22. DE Everson Griffen (quad), DT Linval Joseph (knee), DE Hercules Mata'afa (neck), CB Xavier Rhodes (hip), TE Kyle Rudolph (thumb), OT Riley Reiff (ankle), LB Eric Kendricks (hip), LB Ben Gedeon (concussion), OG Josh Kline (foot) and DT Shamar Stephen (knee) each participated in full.

From TheHuddle

Justin Bethel Oct 22 5:43pm ET

Updating a previous report, free-agent DB Justin Bethel (Ravens) signed an undisclosed contract with the New England Patriots shortly after meeting with the team on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Jerell Adams Oct 22 5:23pm ET

Free-agent TE Jerell Adams (Texans) was signed to the practice squad of the Houston Texans on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Zach Zenner Oct 22 5:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints RB Zach Zenner was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Justin Bethel Oct 22 5:03pm ET

Free-agent DB Justin Bethel (Ravens) visited with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Quandre Diggs Oct 22 4:53pm ET

Detroit Lions S Quandre Diggs was traded along with a 2021 seventh-round draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Alfred Morris Oct 22 4:43pm ET

Free-agent RB Alfred Morris (Cowboys) signed an undisclosed contract with the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Kerryon Johnson Oct 22 4:23pm ET

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) underwent a procedure on his injured knee Tuesday, Oct. 22, and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Matt Patricia.

Fantasy Spin: Initial reports had Johnson missing "some time," but an IR designation would pretty much knock him out for the rest of the season. Sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson should handle the majority of snaps in his absence and should be added in all leagues, while J.D. McKissic figures to take the bulk of the work in the passing game. It's also entirely possible the Lions bring back C.J. Anderson to assume at least part of the early-down workload after cutting him earlier in the season.

From TheHuddle

Ramik Wilson Oct 22 4:13pm ET

Arizona Cardinals LB Ramik Wilson was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Deone Bucannon Oct 22 4:03pm ET

Free-agent LB Deone Bucannon (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the New York Giants on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Adam Thielen Oct 22 3:53pm ET

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Logan Paulsen Oct 22 3:43pm ET

Houston Texans TE Logan Paulsen was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Deebo Samuel Oct 22 3:40pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers expect wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) to return in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers. Samuel missed Week 7 but appears ready to practice and play against a tough Panthers pass defense this Sunday. Despite showing exciting flashes this season, the rookie is averaging just 4.4 targets and 33.6 yards per game. His fantasy value will be further impaired with the acquisition of veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders. With the Niners leaning heavily on their running game and tight end George Kittle dominating target share, Samuel is gradually fading from redraft relevance. Hell be a desperation WR5 if he suits on in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Marcus Sherels Oct 22 3:23pm ET

Minnesota Vikings CB Marcus Sherels was released on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Malik Hooker Oct 22 3:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts S Malik Hooker (knee) told reporters he expects to play in Week 8 versus the Denver Broncos. Hooker has been sidelined since Week 3 with a torn meniscus.

From TheHuddle

Emmanuel Sanders Oct 22 3:20pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers traded for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Denver Broncos on Tuesday. Reported by ESPNs Adam Schefter, the Niners will ship 2020 third and fourth round picks to Denver for Sanders and a 2020 fifth rounder. The 10-year pro should instantly upgrade a Niners receiving corps that have been anonymous outside of stud tight end George Kittle. However, Sanders should be downgraded fantasy-wise as he enters a run-heavy offense while competing for looks against Kittle, a versatile backfield and an amalgam of wideouts. Hell be a risky WR3 in Week 8 against a tough Carolina Panthers pass defense. Other losers in the deal are receivers Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel (groin) and Marquise Goodwin who all continue to slide outside of fantasy relevance.

From RotoBaller

Mohamed Sanu Oct 22 3:20pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will make his Patriots debut in Week 8 against a Browns Defense that is allowing the 14th fewest fantasy points to receivers. Sanu was acquired via trade from the Falcons and immediately brings size and physicality to a banged up wide receiving group in New England. Sanu caught 66 passes last season for 838 yards and four touchdowns but has been held to only 313 yards with one touchdown this season. Sanu is an excellent addition as a player that can bring the kind of size in the red zone that the Patriots have been lacking due to a banged up Josh Gordon and Rob Gronkowski's retirement in the preseason. Sanu should be thrown right into the mix against a Browns defense that has allowed 10-plus fantasy points to eight different receivers this season. He may lack the amount of targets, however, to garner anything higher than a WR4 play in Week 8.

From RotoBaller