Sat Aug 17 11:36pm ET
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
Players: Josh Johnson, Joe Webb, Matthew Stafford, Tom Savage, David Fales, DeAndre Hopkins, Zach Zenner, Will Fuller, Deshaun Watson, Kerryon Johnson, Keke Coutee, Mark Thompson, Jordan Thomas, T.J. Hockenson
Houston Texans quarterback Joe Webb III (5) is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive back C.J. Moore (49) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Detroit Lions quarterback Josh Johnson (4) avoids Houston Texans linebacker Davin Bellamy during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Detroit Lions quarterback Josh Johnson (4) fumbles the ball as he is hit by Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (59) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. The Lions recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive back Tracy Walker (47) as outside linebacker Christian Jones (52) covers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
HOUSTON (AP) Deshaun Watson took advantage of one series in his preseason debut looking sharp in directing a 75-yard drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins to help the Houston Texans to a 30-23 win over the Detroit Lions on Saturday night.
Watson, who sat out in a loss to Green Bay last week, was 5 of 7 for 60 yards and scrambled once for 7 yards. After being sacked an NFL-high 62 times last season, the third-year player had plenty of time to throw while facing a Lions defense which opened the game with the bulk of its starters.
Hopkins, also making his preseason debut, had two receptions for 17 yards and shook off Detroit's Quandre Diggs to get open and make the TD catch that put Houston up 7-0.
Hopkins, who had a career-high 1,572 yards receiving last season, was the only one of Houston's top receivers to play. Will Fuller, who is healthy after tearing a knee ligament last season, sat out and the Texans were without Keke Coutee, who injured his ankle last week.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford didn't play for the second straight week, with the Lions instead starting Josh Johnson. Johnson was signed a week ago after backup Tom Savage suffered a head injury in the team's preseason opener against the Patriots. Johnson was 9 of 18 for 85 yards with an interception.
The Lions had a chance to tie it on the last play of the game, but a pass by David Fales was knocked down in the end zone.
Tight end T.J. Hockenson, the eighth overall pick in this year's draft, had one reception for 22 yards, but also received a penalty for a crackback block. Running back Kerryon Johnson started and had three carries for 16 yards in a little more than a quarter of work.
Several of Houston's defensive starters also played briefly, including linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who sacked Johnson and caused a fumble on Detroit's first series. Defensive end J.J. Watt did not play for the second straight game despite practicing all week after recovering from tightness in his groin.
Detroit cornerback Darius Slay broke up two passes in the first quarter and Jalen Reeves-Maybin had five tackles, including one for a loss, and defended a pass.
Veteran backup Joe Webb came in after the series by Watson and was 14 of 25 for 186 yards with a touchdown and an interception after throwing for 286 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions last week.
The Texans were up 10-3 in the second quarter when Steven Mitchell fumbled after a 4-yard reception and Will Harris scooped it up and returned it 19 yards to tie it.
Webb connected with Vyncint Smith on a 31-yard touchdown pass just before halftime to put Houston on top 17-10.
Fales took over at quarterback for the Lions on the second series of the third quarter and threw a 5-yard touchdown to Zach Zenner, but the 2-point conversion failed to leave Detroit down 20-16.
Buddy Howell's 1-yard touchdown run extended Houston's lead to 27-16 with about 8 1/2 minutes left and the Lions got within 27-23 on a TD run by Mark Thompson a couple of minutes later.
Fales was 12 of 19 for 226 yards and a touchdown.
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Houston tight end Jordan Thomas caught what appeared to be a touchdown pass from Webb in the second quarter and ran off the field and halfway up the tunnel with teammates chasing him. Thomas had to hustle back after his celebration jog when an offensive holding penalty nullified his score and the Texans had to run another play.
Lions: Host the Bills on Friday.
Texans: Visit Cowboys next Saturday.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett was one completion away from breaking former quarterback Peyton Manning's team record. On the day, he finished 28-of-37 for 310 yards and two touchdowns. Brissett takes care of the ball, and he makes low-risk throws. On a day where running back Marlon Mack was limited, those throws eventually added up. Brissett is unlikely to have nearly 30 completions every week, but he showed this week that he can have QB1 upside in the right circumstances.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was solid in Sunday's Week 3 loss, tossing two touchdowns. He completed 19 of his 36 passes for 259 yards. He added 33 yards on four carries as well. Wentz's touchdowns came on a 20-yard pass and a two-yard pass, both to wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Even without his top two wide receivers, Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (groin) in the game, Wentz was still able to move the offense for most of the game.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ran the ball 19 times in Week 3, picking up 125 yards on the ground. He added two catches for 14 more yards. Elliott's 125 yards were clearly great, but his fantasy owners were likely expecting at least one touchdown against the sport's worst team, the Miami Dolphins. Elliott was on the sidelines when his backup, Tony Pollard, scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter since the Cowboys were running down the clock in an obvious win. Elliott looked back to his usual workload, and should be an easy RB1 going forward.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack continues to be a consistent player for fantasy footballers. Despite being a questionable game-time decision coming into Sunday, he was able to suit up, and he had an effective day. He finished with 16 carries for 74 yards and one touchdown. He also added two catches for 14 yards on the day. Unless he sustains a more serious injury, Mack is proving to be a consistent starter on a weekly basis.
Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard had an excellent game in Week 3, running the ball 13 times for 103 yards and a touchdown while adding three catches for 25 more yards. Pollard scored on a fourth-quarter run from 16 yards out. In a game where the Cowboys had control all afternoon, Pollard got a bit more run than he would have in a closer contest. This game showed how much value Pollard could have if Ezekiel Elliott were forced to miss any time.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had a productive Week 3, throwing two touchdowns and running one in as well. Prescott completed 19 of his 32 passes for 246 yards. His passing touchdowns both went to Amari Cooper, one for five yards and another for 19. His rushing touchdown was on an eight-yard run in the third quarter. Overall, it was a solid performance for Prescott, although his owners may have expected even more with him taking on the listless Miami Dolphins.
After leaving the game shortly before halftime with an ankle injury suffered against Tampa Bay, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley returned to the sidelines with a protective boot on his right foot. While the results of his x-rays have not yet been released, Barkley was using crutches to get around on what appeared to be a severely sprained ankle. If this is the dreaded high-ankle sprain, Barkley could be in for an extended absence and his owners are in for an extended punch to the stomach. Backup Wayne Gallman needs to be added in all leagues until more is known about the severity of Barkley's injury.
Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore saved his best production for last, plunging in for a late one-yard touchdown to put Buffalo up for good over the Cincinnati Bengals 21-17 on Sunday. With Devin Singletary declared inactive prior to the game, Gore rushed 14 times for 76 yards, outpacing T.J. Yeldon who rushed eight times for thirty yards - and who also had a costly second-half fumble. With the likely return of Singletary in Week 4 and facing a Patriots teams that will likely require a pass-heavy game script, Gore will be relegated to the fantasy doldrums.
The New York Jets Defense got shredded by Tom Brady and the Patriots but salvaged their fantasy day late. With the Patriots up 30-7 in the fourth quarter backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham came into the game. His third pass hit Jamal Adams right between the numbers and the star safety returned it 61-yards for a garbage-time touchdown. The Jets also scored a touchdown on special teams after Gunner Olszewski muffed a punt and Arthur Maulet fell on it to score the Jets first touchdown since Week 1. Despite the scores, the Jets defense only recorded one sack and looked like a defense that shouldn't be owned in fantasy, especially with a bye in Week 4 followed by a tough matchup at Philadelphia.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed 22-of-36 passes for 243 yards on Sunday, with one touchdown and an interception as the Bills held off the Cincinnati Bengals for a 21-17 victory. Allen also added 46 yards on nine rushes and a two-point conversion, with Buffalo moving to a surprising 3-0 on the season. Allen still has trouble with his decision-making at times but continues to have a high floor considering how often he's willing to run. Allen and the Bills will get their first real test of the year in Week 4 when the Patriots come into town for a showdown of the AFC East undefeated.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is questionable to return after suffering an ankle injury against the Tampa Bay Bucs. He suffered a minor injury earlier in the game but returned. This one appears to be more severe and with the Giants already down 25-10, they may choose not to rush their star back. This would obviously be a massive hit to the entire Giants offense if it proves to be a multi-week injury.
New York Jets tight end Ryan Griffin caught his only target for five yards in a loss to the Patriots Sunday afternoon. Griffin now has four catches for 15 yards on the season and continues to be a non-factor in fantasy. Griffin had an opportunity to start with Chris Herndon serving a four-game suspension but has done nothing to prove he should be more than a blocking tight end when Herndon returns in Week 6. The Jets are on bye in Week 4 and Griffin will make one more start in Week 5 vs the Eagles but should not be owned in fantasy.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder made two catches for 25 yards Sunday afternoon against the Patriots. The Jets struggled to move the ball all afternoon with Luke Falk making his first career start as they had only 105 net yards against a strong Patriots Defense. Crowder made 14 catches in Week 1 but has only six since as starting QB Sam Darnold (mono) has been sidelined. The Jets will have a bye week next week and hope Darnold will be back for a game at Philadelphia in Week 5. If Darnold plays, Crowder is in the WR3 discussion in fantasy but it will be hard to trust him the Jets continue to trot out backup quarterbacks.
New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken made two extra points and didn't attempt a field goal in a loss to the Patriots Sunday. Ficken has now made all three attempts as a Jet after signing with the team prior to Week 2. That should be enough to keep Ficken employed with the team given the Jets kicker struggles in the preseason, but fantasy owners should look elsewhere as the Jets offense will severely limit Ficken's scoring opportunities.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu caught all six of his targets for 75 yards during the Week 3 loss to the Colts. Despite failing to score a touchdown yet this season, Sanu continues to be a reliable option for quarterback Matt Ryan. He isn't the best option in 10 or 12-team leagues, but his ability to pull in receptions in a pass-first offense gives him some credibility moving ahead.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had eight receptions (nine targets) for 128 yards and a touchdown against the Colts in Week 3. After catching 11 passes and racking up three trips to the end zone coming into this one, Jones caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Matt Ryan late in the game for his fourth score of the year. He will look to keep it going against the Titans in Week 4. Obviously, keep him starting in all fantasy formats.
New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios made two catches for 29 yards in a loss to the Patriots Sunday. Berrios led the Jets with six targets but couldn't get much done against a stout Patriots Defense. Berrios served as the team's third wide receiver today, but would see his role decrease if Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) gets healthy and joins the active roster after a bye in Week 4. Despite leading the team in targets, Berrios doesn't need to be owned in fantasy.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had six receptions for 66 yards and two scores during the loss to the Colts on Sunday. After failing to score a touchdown through the first two weeks of the year, Hooper finally came to life against Indianapolis. His absence in the end zone up to this point has been somewhat troubling, but his ability to haul in passes gives him some PPR appeal moving ahead.
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson made three catches for 11 yards in a loss to the Patriots Sunday. Anderson was targeted five times but could get nothing done as the Jets had just 105 yards of total offense with third-string QB Luke Falk making his first career start. Of all the Jets offensive weapons, Anderson has suffered the most with starting QB Sam Darnold (mono) out of action as Anderson has always been a receiver reliant on big plays and the Jets simply can't throw the ball downfield given their current QB situation. The Jets have a bye in Week 4 but will face another tough matchup in Week 5 at Philadelphia. If Darnold plays, Anderson is a boom-or-bust WR3 but he should be avoided as long as Darnold is out.
Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard was on the field for a season-high 29 snaps in the team's Week 3 loss to the Vikings. It helped that Josh Jacobs was dealing with an illness and a hip injury earlier this week, not to mention the team trailed by three scores for most of the game. Richard didn't do much with his playing time, however, picking up 29 scrimmage yards on two rushes and three catches as his involvement in the passing game has faded this year. Owners of Jacobs shouldn't worry about the rookie losing his bell-cow status, as Richard is no threat to his workload. The 25-year-old doesn't carry any standalone value and will be off the fantasy radar as long as Jacobs is active.