Guest of the League
FFL: Week 12 | NFL: Week 12

Darnold gives Jets, struggling offense 'new life' in return

Mon Oct 14 7:02pm ET
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Ryan Griffin, Robby Anderson, Luke Falk, Sam Darnold

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, left, celebrates with Le'Veon Bell after Bell scored a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) Sam Darnold's presence alone gave the New York Jets an immediate lift.

From the loud ovation the second-year quarterback received during pregame introductions to the smiles on the sideline, the impact of his return was clear.

Then, he took the field.

''Him coming back gave the team, our offense, a new life,'' wide receiver Robby Anderson said during a conference call Monday. ''He's our starting quarterback and he brings a lot of upside, and there's a lot in store with him.''

Darnold showed no signs of rust in a 24-22 victory over Dallas on Sunday after missing three games while recovering from mononucleosis. He was 23 of 32 for 338 yards and two touchdowns - a 92-yarder to Anderson and a 5-yarder to Ryan Griffin - and an interception.

The Jets put up 382 yards of total offense against the Cowboys after getting 233 combined in the last two games with practice squad player-turned-starter Luke Falk at quarterback.

It all resulted in New York's first win of the season, and first under coach Adam Gase.

''We've got to just continue to work out the details,'' Darnold said of the offense. ''Obviously, we got the win, which was awesome. Our defense played great. We played good at times, but there's a lot of things we can clean up.

''I think we left a lot of points on the field.''

Still, it was a huge positive step after the Jets - particularly the offense - barely resembled an NFL-caliber squad during Darnold's absence.

It was also proof that New York isn't exactly the bunch that people were making fun of the past three games during losses to Cleveland, New England and Philadelphia.

''We've got to build off each week, good or bad,'' Gase said. ''Those three weeks where Sam was out, those were some tough learning experiences for us. ... We really didn't give ourselves much of a chance.''


Everything, for the most part, seemed to be clicking with Darnold back in action. A big key was the offensive line, which was maligned for much of the first four games. It's still a work in progress as Gase tinkers with personnel, but the five big guys up front gave Darnold ample time to make plays against Dallas, and his ability to quickly improvise certainly helped.

After allowing an NFL-leading 23 sacks through four games, the Jets' offensive line gave up just two - both by Robert Quinn - against the Cowboys.


The running game. It seems silly to say that with Le'Veon Bell leading the way, but the Jets are averaging just 64 yards rushing per game. That ranks them 30th in the league, ahead of Miami (58.2) and Cincinnati (56.5).

Bell has run for 256 yards as a workhorse out of the backfield on 85 carries. But that's good for only a 3.0 average. With Darnold back and defenses unable to constantly stack the box anymore while not fearing New York's passing game, Bell and the rest of the Jets' backfield should start seeing some running lanes.


Anderson. The speedy receiver was mostly a non-factor through the first four games, catching 11 passes for 131 yards and no touchdowns.

He broke out with five receptions for 125 yards, including the 92-yard touchdown, in the win over Dallas. Having that deep threat is a huge key to the Jets' success by keeping defenses honest.


Leonard Williams. The defensive lineman's name has come up in trade rumors, and Gase did little to defuse them. Teams are asking about him, but the Jets aren't actively shopping him - although a deal by the Oct. 29 deadline isn't out of the question.

''I really don't deal in the hypotheticals,'' Gase said, adding that GM Joe Douglas and his staff frequently get calls about players and potential trades and signings.

''I haven't had any of those conversations, so I don't know what other teams are thinking,'' he said. ''But right now, I like the way that our guys are rolling. Anything's always possible. Right now, I like how our team is.''

Williams, the No. 6 overall pick in 2015, has no sacks this season and just two in his last 16 games.


Left tackle Kelvin Beachum has a sprained ankle that could sideline him a few games. Brandon Shell, formerly the starting right tackle, replaced him against Dallas and could do so while he's out. ... Linebacker C.J. Mosley has missed the last four games with a groin injury, but Gase expressed optimism that he could return to practice this week. ... Defensive end Henry Anderson (shoulder), cornerback Nate Hairston (knee), linebacker Neville Hewitt (stinger) and nose tackle Steve McLendon (hamstring) are day to day.


92 - With his 92-yard touchdown toss to Anderson, Darnold became the youngest player in the Super Bowl era - at 22 years, 30 days old - to throw a TD pass of 90 or more yards. It was also the longest play from scrimmage in the NFL this season.


The Jets got their first win but take on AFC East rival - and undefeated - Patriots on Monday night. They'll be hard-pressed to pull off a two-game winning streak but should fare better than the 30-14 loss in New England three weeks ago with Falk making his first NFL start.

''It was good for the guys to go through it and see here's where we're at right now,'' Gase said. ''We've got to get better fast. We're not going to have a lot of room for error. We've got a tough opponent coming up this week, so we have to do a good job of finding a way of just getting better this week.''

Player Notes
Parris Campbell Nov 19 4:40pm ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Jordan Wilkins (ankle) and rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell (hand) were both listed as limited participants in Tuesday's estimation of their walkthrough practice. Wilkins was inactive in Week 11 but looks to be on track to play in Week 12 on Thursday against the Texans. It's notable with Marlon Mack (hand) out up to a month, but Jonathan Williams remains the more likely candidate for early down work on Thursday with Mack sidelined. Nyheim Hines should maintain his role as a third-down pass-catcher. Williams is the running back to target off waivers if you're in need, although both Williams and Wilkins could wind up sharing touches. Campbell is making progress but isn't expected to return until next month. He's a fine dynasty stash, but we wouldn't expect much fantasy production from him in redraft leagues the rest of the way.

From RotoBaller

Eric Ebron Nov 19 4:30pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) and tight end Eric Ebron (ankle) both remained sidelined for Tuesday's estimation of their practice report. The Colts aren't ruling Hilton out for a return on Thursday night against the Texans, but fantasy owners would like to see him at least get in a limited session on Wednesday. While he's been out since Week 8, Hilton would have high-end WR2 upside against a weak Texans secondary if he were to return this week. He's been notorious for having huge games against Houston in the past. Ebron looks to be in danger of sitting out on the short week. If that were to happen, Jack Doyle would have low-end TE1 appeal after throwing up a donut in Week 11. Zach Pascal has been the team's primary receiver in Hilton's absence, but he's a low-upside flex in this run-first offense.

From RotoBaller

Noah Brown Nov 19 3:13pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (knee) recently underwent a second surgery on his knee and is not expected to play this season. Brown is expected to be ready for the start of the offseason program, however.

From TheHuddle

JuJu Smith-Schuster Nov 19 2:33pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion, knee), WR DIontae Johnson (concussion) and DE Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (concussion) were officially placed in the league's concussion protocol Tuesday, Nov. 19.

From TheHuddle

Brandin Cooks Nov 19 2:33pm ET

Los Angeles Rams WR Brandin Cooks (concussion) is expected to return from a two-game absence and play in Week 12 versus the Baltimore Ravens.

Fantasy Spin: Such news in previous years would have been cause for celebration, but Cooks' poor production this season - mostly due to the regression Jared Goff has experienced - makes the 26-year-old receiver a risky fantasy starter, especially given the matchup. There's also the matter of Cooks' troubling history with concussions, and the fact one more in 2019 could put his season - if not his career - in some jeopardy.

From TheHuddle

Chase Edmonds Nov 19 2:23pm ET

Arizona Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds (hamstring) was held out of practice again Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Fantasy Spin: It was likely a light session with the upcoming bye week, suggesting Edmonds isn't anywhere close to a return. Kenyan Drake appears to have taken control of the backfield for now, but we'll see if David Johnson can use the time off to close the gap and earn back some touches.

From TheHuddle

Pierre Desir Nov 19 2:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts CB Pierre Desir (hamstring) is expected to be a game-time decision for Week 12 against the Houston Texans on Thursday, Nov. 21.

From TheHuddle

Tyreek Hill Nov 19 1:43pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill (hamstring) will have an MRI on his hamstring in the next day or so, and there will be a better timetable after that.

Fantasy Spin: The Chiefs are on a bye in Week 12, and it's possible that he could avoid missing time. However, hamstrings are usually multiple-week issues.

From TheHuddle

Tyreek Hill Nov 19 1:40pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (hamstring) will undergo an MRI exam on his hamstring in the next day or so, according to a source. At that point they'll have a better idea for a timeline. Hill missed both of his targets on Monday night against the Chargers before leaving the game and never returning, so it was a tough pill to swallow for his fantasy owners. The good news is that the Chiefs are on their bye in Week 12, so Hill may not end up missing any games as long as his MRI yields positive results. If he's forced to miss time, Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson would once again be attractive flexes in deeper leagues behind Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins.

From RotoBaller

Chase Edmonds Nov 19 1:40pm ET

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (hamstring) was not seen at the portion of practice open to the media on Tuesday. The Cardinals are going on their bye in Week 12, so Edmonds will have another week to rest up. He's been out since Oct. 27 against the Saints. In the meantime, the Cardinals signed Kenyan Drake, and he has now leaped an injured David Johnson on the running back depth chart. Edmonds could get some run in Week 13 if he's ready and DJ is still slowed by his injuries, but Edmonds is still unlikely to have any standalone value the rest of the way. He can be left to the waiver wire in most leagues.

From RotoBaller

Andy Janovich Nov 19 1:23pm ET

Free-agent TE Orson Charles (Broncos) re-signed with the Denver Broncos on an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 19. FB Andy Janovich (arm) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

From TheHuddle

T Y Hilton Nov 19 1:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) can play Thursday, Nov. 21, if he receives medical clearance from doctors and clearance from the team, according to head coach Frank Reich.

Fantasy Spin: It's still pretty questionable with the short week. Hilton would be a WR2 against the Houston Texans.

From TheHuddle

Benny Snell Jr. Nov 19 12:30pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he's "excited about the potential return" of rookie running back Benny Snell Jr. (knee) for Week 12 against the Bengals. Snell has missed the last two games and will be evaluated in practice this week. The 21-year-old has 28 rushing attempts for 118 yards in five games this season. He could have a role in the team's backfield if he returns this weekend if James Conner (shoulder) remains sidelined, but Jaylen Samuels would still likely see most of the touches as Pittsburgh's lead back. Snell is only worth stashing in deeper leagues if you own either Conner or Samuels.

From RotoBaller

Rob Gronkowski Nov 19 12:10pm ET

Retired tight end Rob Gronkowski won't rule out a return to football in the future, but he has no plans to come back in 2019. If he had planned to return to football this season, Gronk would have to do so by Nov. 30, per league rules. The Patriots offense could surely use Gronkowski on the field this year, as they predictably haven't gotten much production from the tight end position without him. The combination of Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo and Benjamin Watson has left a lot to be desired. The veteran Watson has become the primary pass-catching tight end of late, but he's a low-end TE2 for fantasy purposes. It looks like the Pats will continue to roll with Watson for the foreseeable future.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Nov 19 11:50am ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (knee) is expected to play in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones himself is the source here, who said he expects his top wide receiver to play in a huge game against the 9-1 Patriots. Cooper played on just 55 percent of offensive snaps in Week 11, but Jones stating this early in the week that Cooper will play could be good news. Fantasy owners should keep a close eye on practice reports this week to see how limited Cooper is leading up to Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Mark Walton Nov 19 11:40am ET

The Miami Dolphins waived running back Mark Walton on Tuesday morning. Walton was already suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy, but the Dolphins were, "made aware of a police matter earlier this morning regarding Walton" according to Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier. Kalen Ballage will continue as the lead back for the Dolphins presumably for the rest of the season. Walton, still only 22 years old, may already be running out of chances in the NFL.

From RotoBaller

Morgan Burnett Nov 19 10:53am ET

Cleveland Browns FS Morgan Burnett (Achilles') was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Nov. 19.

From TheHuddle

Michael Badgley Nov 19 2:50am ET

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley took advantage of the thin air in Mexico City and drilled a 49-yarder, the second longest good kick of his career. While Badgley did barely miss a 40-yard shot in the first quarter, he was able to make kicks from 27, 26, and 49 yards on the night. Badgley's leg kept LA in the game since their offense sputtered terribly once they were staring down the goal line, but unfortunately, the Chargers fell to the Chiefs anyway. Badgley has made 80% of his field goal tries and all of his extra points since he returned from a severe groin injury. He's not a superstar or Mr. Dependable, but he's getting the job done well enough for an LA franchise that struggled with kicking woes for years.

From RotoBaller

Rayshawn Jenkins Nov 19 2:40am ET

Los Angeles Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins made a slashing leap in front of a Chiefs receiver to snag his third interception of the year on Monday night. The pick was just the second one of the season for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and LA is the first defense this season to hold Mahomes under 200 yards passing when he played a full game. Unfortunately, failures on the offensive side of the ball cost the Chargers the game even though the defense held KC to just 24 total points. While it looks like the season is a wash for LA, their defense can still be useful if they can play like that more often.

From RotoBaller