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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
Taylor Gabriel Oct 20 8:30pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel caught only one pass for two yards in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints. The score is misleading as the Bears trailed by 26 points late in the game. Gabriel returned to the lineup after missing the Raiders game but was non-existent the entire game. After catching three first-half touchdowns against the Redskins in Week 5, Gabriel's chemistry with quarterback Mitch Trubisky was nowhere to be found. The entire Bears offense will be a shaky fantasy play heading into Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Trey Burton Oct 20 8:30pm ET

Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton caught two passes for 11 yards in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints at home. Burton has been a shell of the player that was a top-12 fantasy tight end in 2018 and was targeted only four times in the game. It seems that all of the Bears offensive creativity from last season has completely evaporated. With that has gone Burton's production and the tight end has fallen off the fantasy map. Burton has no fantasy viable heading into Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Dan Bailey Oct 20 8:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings kicker Dan Bailey missed a 45-yard field goal but went a perfect 6-for-6 on extra-point attempts in Week 7's win over the Detroit Lions. This was Bailey's second missed field goal this season, but he's still hitting 80% of his attempts and nailed his lone 50-yard attempt back in Week 3. Bailey is an attractive option in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins as the Vikings are currently projected to put up 27 points.

From RotoBaller

Chicago Bears Oct 20 8:30pm ET

The Chicago Bears Defense fell apart in the team's disappointing 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. The vaunted unit was once again gashed on the ground, allowing 151 rushing yards. The Bears special teams was able to post a touchdown on a kickoff return but the defense registered only one sack and zero turnovers. The Bears defense is a highly talented unit but the offense can't sustain drives. The time of possession was so out of whack that the Bears defense ran out of gas in the second half. The Bears will try and bounce back next week.

From RotoBaller

Eric Ebron Oct 20 8:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts TE Eric Ebron had four grabs for 70 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 against the Houston Texans. His touchdown in the back of the end zone was initially ruled incomplete, but instant review confirmed his score.

Fantasy Spin: Ebron has alternated games with a touchdown in each of his six games. If you believe the pattern will continue, he'll get blanked next week against the Denver Broncos. He remains a solid TE1 in most fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams, although he has been quite inconsistent.

From TheHuddle

Pierre Desir Oct 20 8:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts CB Pierre Desir had seven total tackles with two passes defensed in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.

From TheHuddle

Darius Leonard Oct 20 8:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard registered 10 more tackles with a pass defensed in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.

From TheHuddle

Justin Houston Oct 20 8:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts LB Justin Houston had three total stops with two sacks, two tackles for loss and four quarterback hits in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.

From TheHuddle

David Montgomery Oct 20 8:20pm ET

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery totaled only six rushing yards in the Bears 36-25 drubbing by the Saints in Week 7. Montgomery added two receptions for 13 yards but saw only two carries in the game. The Bears offense was a mess from the jump and the team totaled only seven rushing attempts in the entire game. Montgomery has talent but has struggled to get anything going behind a slumping offensive line. The rookie needs to be downgraded in fantasy heading into Week 8 until the Bears offense can prove it can produce.

From RotoBaller

Robbie Gould Oct 20 8:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould provided all the scoring in a 9-0 shutout against the Washington Redskins in Week 7. Gould converted three of four field goal tries, all inside the 30-yard line. Kicking with a new crew in 2019, Gould hasnt been as automatic as past years and is now 12-for-19 on the season (63 percent). Gould is still a solid fantasy kicking option.

From RotoBaller

Tarik Cohen Oct 20 8:20pm ET

Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen caught nine passes for only 19 yards in the Bears 36-25 letdown loss against the Saints. Cohen also carried the ball three times for 10 yards in a game that featured a stagnant Bears offense. For three quarters, the Bears couldn't move the ball and Cohen's receptions led to nowhere. The nine catches salvages Cohen's fantasy day in PPR leagues but all of the Bears offensive weapons need to be downgraded heading into Week 8's action.

From RotoBaller

Olabisi Johnson Oct 20 8:20pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Olabisi Johnson caught 4-of-8 targets for 40 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions. Johnson was able to take advantage of some increased volume due to an early exit from Adam Thielen (hamstring). The rookie scored his first career touchdown on a one-yard play-action pass in the first quarter and worked in as the Vikings' clear second option in the passing attack with Thielen sidelined. Johnson is worth a look as a bye-week streamer with an opportunity to produce against the burnable Washington Redskins in Week 8, depending on the playing status of Thielen.

From RotoBaller

Anthony Miller Oct 20 8:20pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller caught five passes for 64 yards in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Miller saw nine targets in the game but rarely generated any kind of production until the final two garbage-time drives. The second-year receiver also lost a costly fumble in the first half in a game that was dominated by the Saints. Miller now has back-to-back games of 50-plus receiving yards but the Bears offense is a mess right now. Miller lacks fantasy appeal heading into Week 8.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Oct 20 8:13pm ET

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton registered six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.

Fantasy Spin: Hilton was outshined by Zach Pascal, who had six grabs, 106 yards and two scores, but the two co-existed in this one and did nice things for their fantasy owners. It's a tougher matchup in Week 8 against the Denver Broncos, but Hilton remains a must-start in most fantasy formats.

From TheHuddle

Mitch Trubisky Oct 20 8:10pm ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 34 of 54 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Practically all of the third-year quarterback's stats came in the final moments after the Bears had fallen behind 36-10. The Bears offense was abysmal for three quarters and Trubisky showed plenty of rust. He was able to salvage his outing from a fantasy perspective but will not be a viable option until he can show sustained accuracy and efficiency.

From RotoBaller

Matt Breida Oct 20 8:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida handled eight totes for 44 yards and added a one-yard grab in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Discouragingly, Breida was thoroughly out-touched 22-9 by backfield mate Tevin Coleman, who raced for 62 yards of his own. It was an all-around team effort for the Niners in sloppy conditions and they remain undefeated. Breidas become a clear second fiddle to Coleman since the latters return from injury and should be modestly downgraded for fantasy purposes. In a run-heavy offensive scheme, Breida still has the volume to be a weekly RB3/flex option. The Carolina Panthers weak rush defense awaits in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Allen Robinson Oct 20 8:10pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson tallied 10 receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Robinson's final fantasy line looks a lot better thanks to two late-game garbage drives for scores. The Bears offense is really struggling right now but the veteran receiver continues to be the only consistent source of production. Despite the Bears offensive woes, Robinson will remain a solid WR2 heading into Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Alexander Mattison Oct 20 8:10pm ET

Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison carried seven times for 18 yards (2.6 yards per carry) in Week 7's 42-30 win over the Detroit Lions. Mattison took a clear back seat in this one as Dalvin Cook carried 25 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Mattison was also not targeted in the passing game. The rookie back out of Boise State has been productive this season (5.3 yards per carry) but remains more of a high-priority handcuff than a player to consider starting in re-draft formats. However, he could be worth a look as a sneaky RB3 option with higher expected volume in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins' porous run defense.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Oct 20 8:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman converted 20 carries into 62 yards, also recording two catches for negative one yard in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Coleman wasnt efficient, but continued dominating touches over backfield mate Matt Breida by a 22-9 margin. Colemans been used as a workhorse since returning from an ankle injury, giving him a solid floor in a run-heavy offense. Hell be a high-end RB2 in Week 8 against a porous Carolina Panthers run defense.

From RotoBaller

Cordarrelle Patterson Oct 20 8:10pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown in the Bears disappointing 36-25 loss to the Saints. Patterson flashed what makes him so valuable in the first quarter, taking a kick from the end zone all the way to the house. Patterson was used at times on the offensive side of the ball, racking up 23 yards on one carry and two receptions. Patterson is a threat and makes an above average fantasy defense better with his ability to produce on special teams.

From RotoBaller