In this July 25, 2019, file photo, Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores speaks during NFL football training camp in Davie, Fla. The Dolphins look like the worst team in the NFL, and might even be the worst team in Miami. On the other hand, a comparison with the Marlins is one matchup the Dolphins might win. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) greets Washington Redskins players on the field at the end of the NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. Dallas won 31-21. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass, during the second half at an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates scoring in the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) ducks asNew England Patriots outside linebacker Elandon Roberts (52) and defensive tackle Danny Shelton (71) close in for a sack, during the second half at an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys are off to a hot start that has them looking like the playoff contenders they figured to be as long as Ezekiel Elliott's preseason-long holdout ended in time, which it did.
The Miami Dolphins are dealing with the latest ''elephant in the room'' - the rare dishonor of being 20-plus-point underdogs in an NFL game after one of the most dismal beginnings to a season in nearly 60 years.
Josh Rosen is replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback Sunday at the Cowboys (2-0) after Fitzpatrick compiled a 39.9 passer rating while the Dolphins (0-2) were outscored 102-10. No team since 1961 had a worse point differential after two games.
Rosen, traded by Arizona after the Cardinals drafted him 10th overall in 2018 before changing coaches and taking Kyler Murray No. 1 overall this year, played the fourth quarter of last week's 43-0 loss to New England.
The 36-year-old Fitzpatrick was asked about drops by receivers when he made the ''elephant in the room'' comment, while also mentioning the dismantling of the roster under first-year coach Brian Flores.
The latest move, earlier this week, was sending disgruntled defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh for a first-round pick. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills were shipped to Houston at the end of the preseason.
''A lot of this stuff, it's got to be talked about and put out there, and then you move on,'' Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ''That's kind of the way that it's been handled.''
The Cowboys don't want to talk about whether they thought a 20-point spread in a pro game was even possible. ''That's for the bettors, I guess,'' receiver Randall Cobb said.
''The NFL is so tight, from the top to the bottom,'' center Travis Frederick said. ''The difference in that is a couple of bad bounces, maybe a couple of interceptions. There's a really minute difference. From the outside, it might look bigger than that. But on the inside, it's a tight game.''
Some story lines going into the 15th meeting in a series that's been a lot closer than this week's line (23 as of Wednesday) would indicate - each franchise has seven victories:
COOKING WITH GAS
The Cowboys haven't started a season with 400-plus yards and 30-plus points in each of their first two victories since 1978, back when going to the Super Bowl was a regular thing for them. This year, Dallas hopes to end a nearly 25-year stretch without advancing past the divisional round.
Prescott is trying to become just the third quarterback with at least three touchdown tosses and a passer rating of 120-plus in four straight games. His streak goes back to last year's regular-season finale. Russell Wilson had five straight for Seattle in 2015, the now-retired Andrew Luck four with Indianapolis last year.
The Dolphins have been outscored by 49 and 43 points in their first two games - the worst and third-worst regular-season defeats in franchise history. Don Shula coached Miami for 26 seasons and was never beaten so badly.
After the latest deal involving Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins have three first-round picks in 2020, but that won't help them against the Cowboys.
''They're rebuilding,'' said Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts, an analyst for CBS who covered the loss to the Patriots. ''It's hard. It's hard on the players, the coaches, the staff, the families, the fans. It's tough.''
Elliott is another step closer to full speed. The two-time rushing champion was right on his career average for touches (25) in the 31-21 victory at Washington. Thanks to a 27-yard carry on the last real play before a kneel-down, Elliott had his 20th career 100-yard game (111).
After spending almost the entire preseason working out in Mexico, Elliott has his most yards rushing through two games (164) in his fourth season. ''I did take care of business when I was gone, but that was expected,'' the 2016 All-Pro said.
The Dolphins claimed former Dallas defensive end Taco Charlton on Thursday, a day after the Cowboys waived their 2017 first-round pick. Although the move might be too late in the week for Charlton to be ready in time to play, the former Michigan player would love the chance to show something to the team he felt gave up on him too soon.
Charlton, gone after just 27 games and four sacks as the 28th overall pick, went into training camp with his roster spot in jeopardy but was solid in preseason games while other defensive linemen recovered from injuries. With those missing plays back, Charlton was a healthy scratch the first two weeks.
INJURY BUG BITING
Receiver Michael Gallup, who leads the Cowboys with 13 catches for 226 yards, is expected to miss up to a month after surgery for a left knee injury sustained against the Redskins. Safety Xavier Woods (ankle) and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (knee) also got hurt in that game and are unlikely to play.
Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley has been put on the trade block with the deadline approaching, according to a league source. The former first-round pick is making $12.8 million this year and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The 27-year-old had a career-high 15.5 sacks in 2016 but had a combined 10 sacks the following two seasons as the Falcons moved him around. He has 12 total tackles and 1.5 sacks through six games in 2019. He's off the IDP radar for now, but he could become more attractive if he lands in the right spot.
Washington Redskins tight end Jeremy Sprinkle will be the starter for the third consecutive week with Vernon Davis having once again been ruled out and Jordan Reed's entire career up in the air. The Redskins are the only team, real or otherwise, that he should start for this week. The 49ers are allowing fewer than four catches per game to tight ends, and Sprinkle has caught a total of four in his two weeks as the starter. There isn't much else to say. Sprinkle isn't relevant on his own bad team, so he is thereby a player to ignore in fantasy.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3, has caught three or fewer passes in four of six games, and has broken 40 receiving yards just once. His next opponent is a 49ers Defense that is certain to highlight all of those shortcomings for another week, as they have allowed opposing wideouts to catch an average of nine passes a game. Terry McLaurin figures to see over half of that average on his own, leaving little else for Richardson or any other Washington pass-catcher.
New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (ankle, knee) missed a second straight practice on Friday. Tight ends Ryan Izzo (concussion) and Matt LaCosse (knee) also sat out. Gordon looks unlikely to play on Monday night against the Jets, so fantasy owners should make plans to be without him. If that's the case, it's likely that Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett will be the team's top two receivers in a good matchup against Gang Green. Dorsett has sneaky flex and DFS appeal after missing last Thursday's game. LaCosse is out multiple weeks and Izzo is in danger of sitting out Monday, leaving the Pats dangerously thin at tight end. It's why they re-signed veteran Benjamin Watson earlier this week.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn looked like he might be on the brink of carving out a PPR-relevant role for himself early in the season, hauling in 13 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in his first three games. Since then, he has seven catches for 36 yards. Even the return of Case Keenum in Week 6 against an atrocious Dolphins team wasn't enough to bring Quinn back up, as he failed to eclipse even 10 receiving yards in his team's most inviting matchup to date. Now he'll have to deal with a 49ers secondary allowing opposing WRs to catch nine passes a game. Dynasty owners who are looking to tank the 2019 season for the number-one pick in their draft next year would be wise to start Quinn this week. For everyone else, stay away.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin has been his team's lone bright spot on offense in 2019, but he's about to face a 49ers Defense that has dimmed those bright spots on each and every one of its previous adversaries. The Niners create pressure on 33.9% of opponents' drop-backs, which is the second-best rate in the league. This will inevitably have Case Keenum scrambling for his life behind a shaky offensive line, in turn minimizing the amount of time he has to find his favorite target downfield. Only one quarterback has thrown for more than 200 yards in a game against San Francisco, and the 49ers haven't given up a touchdown pass in their last two games. McLaurin is a volume-based flex play at best in this matchup.
San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) has been ruled out for Week 7 against the Redskins. Samuel has been a little-used receiver in his rookie season in a run-first offense, so he belongs on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues. His absence is good news for both Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, but the Niners probably won't have to rely on the passing game all that much against a poor Redskins team all around.
The Washington Redskins Defense is allowing an average of 4.6 yards on opposing rushing attempts, and they're about to go up against a 49ers team that has attempted the second-most rushes in the league despite playing one fewer game than a majority of NFL teams. San Francisco's commitment to the run isn't just some stubborn refusal to diversify its game plan, either, as they're averaging 4.6 yards per carry. They've got two capable running backs in Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, so there will always be a relatively fresh set of legs ready to rumble over what is sure to be a worn-out Washington front seven. The Redskins allow opponents to extend drives on 50.6% of third down opportunities, the second-worst mark in the league. Steer clear.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (ankle), tight end Jared Cook (ankle) and wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) have all been ruled out for Week 7 against the Bears. Make sure to remove Kamara and Cook from your lineups now. With Kamara sidelined, backup Latavius Murray will be the backfield workhorse and will have RB2 value, albeit in a tough matchup on the road against Chicago. Josh Hill should see starting tight end duties, but he can be avoided in fantasy. No. 1 wideout Michael Thomas should be targeted heavily, but Chicago's superior defense will game plan to slow him down. The Bears Defense, already a weekly top play, just got more attractive in fantasy. Even with Smith out, fantasy owners shouldn't be banking on Ted Ginn.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle) will be a game-time decision in Week 7 against the Giants. Kirk is cutting more often in practice but is not all the way back. He sounds on the wrong side of questionable in what is a great matchup for Arizona's receivers. If Kirk sits, it'll be his third straight absence. Larry Fitzgerald should see heavy targets and has WR2 upside this weekend, especially if Kirk is inactive. Damiere Byrd and rookie Keesean Johnson would also have expanded roles if Kirk is out, but they have been too inconsistent in this offense to be realistic starting options in fantasy.
Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) is doubtful for Week 7 against the Falcons. Todd Gurley (thigh) is expected to return from a one-game absence anyway, so Brown's fantasy appeal would've taken a hit anyway. With Brown unlikely to play, though, look for rookie Darrell Henderson to see his biggest workload of the season with Gurley likely to be scaled back. The Falcons have been generous to opposing running backs in 2019 as well, making Henderson a sneaky DFS pick and RB3/flex in deeper leagues.
Washington Redskins running back Wendell Smallwood should see a season-high in touches in Week 7 with Chris Thompson out. The downside is that "season-high" could be defined by as few as seven touches, and the team he'll be taking them against is a 49ers Defense that has yet to allow a running back to cross the goal line. If Smallwood inherits the full share of Thompson's passing game workload, it is worth noting that Thompson was averaging seven targets per game in the five contests the Redskins lost. The Redskins are a two-score home underdog this Sunday, bringing about the potential for similar usage for Smallwood. Either way, this is not a player or matchup you should be targeting in fantasy lineups.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that running back David Johnson (ankle) will be a game-time decision in Week 7 against the Giants. If the Cardinals had to play on Friday, Johnson would've been inactive. We thought there wouldn't be drama around Johnson's status this week with him getting in more practice work, but that won't be the case. Ultimately Johnson should be able to play in a mouthwatering matchup, but you'll need to check Sunday morning inactives just to be sure. DJ is a surefire RB1 if he plays. If he doesn't, backup Chase Edmonds would be a strong RB2 fill-in.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay expects running back Todd Gurley (thigh) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back) to play in Week 7 against the Falcons. Gurley missed last week's game but should be back on the field in an excellent matchup with the free-falling Falcons Defense. Gurley will be more of a low-end RB2 for this game and will be at risk of losing valuable snaps to both Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson. But the good news is that fantasy owners should have Gurley back. Ramsey is set to make his debut with the Rams after coming over in a trade from Jacksonville. He's tentatively expected to match up with Falcons top wideout Julio Jones on the outside. It's a downgrade for Jones in fantasy, but he should still be a must-start in all leagues. Avoid the Rams Defense as a streaming option in fantasy this week.
Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited in practice all week but has been ruled out for Week 7 against the 49ers. Davis is recovering from his head injury but just couldn't get cleared in time. With Jordan Reed (concussion) on Injured Reserve, Jeremy Sprinkle will continue to start for the 'Skins. He's an unattractive TE2, though, having caught just four passes for 41 yards in the last two weeks with Davis banged up. You can't really trust any pass-catcher outside of rookie Terry McLaurin in this dysfunctional offense.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) has officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the Packers. Williams is dealing with plantar fasciitis and should be considered week-to-week at this point. In his absence, it'll be Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones, Keelan Doss and Trevor Davis battling for targets in a tough matchup on the road against the Packers. Expect the Raiders offense to continue to function through rookie running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller, making all of the Raiders receivers low-upside WR4/5 options.
Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (ankle) practiced in full all week and was left off the final injury report for Week 7 against the Dolphins. Kroft is set to make his season debut this Sunday. The matchup is a great one against the winless Dolphins, but fantasy owners can't expect much of Kroft right away, and he could split snaps with rookie Dawson Knox. Kroft is off the fantasy radar for now, even for those desperate at the position. His return is undoubtedly bad news for Knox owners, though.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion) practiced in full all week and was taken off the final injury report for Week 7 against the Saints. The last time Gabriel played, he caught three first-half touchdowns before suffering a head injury. He'll be back in the fold this weekend but shouldn't be in many team's starting lineups against a Saints Defense that has actually limited opponent's passing games quite well so far this year. Gabriel's three-score game the last time he played was an outlier.
The New Orleans Saints Defense gets a good matchup in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. New Orleans ranks 11th in the NFL in points allowed and seventh in sacks. They'll take on a Bears offense that ranks 26th in scoring and will likely get injured quarterback Mitch Trubisky back on the field. Trubisky struggled with accuracy at times when he was healthy this season, so the Saints' defense has the potential to generate turnovers. Whether it's Trubisky or backup Chase Daniel, the Saints should be able to get several sacks and an interception or two in Week 7.
Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (toe) has officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the 49ers. Thompson is dealing with turf toe, so he could also wind up missing Week 8 and potentially beyond. It means that Adrian Peterson will handle the early downs, with Wendell Smallwood chipping in on passing downs. However, neither running back is a good fantasy weapon against a 49ers Defense that has yet to allow a rushing or receiving touchdown to a running back this year. Smallwood should be faded in deep PPR leagues, even if you're desperate.