Fri Sep 17 5:07pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (97) during pregame warmups prior to the start of the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott have been close friends since arriving as freshmen at Ohio State in 2013. On Sunday, the former college roommates find themselves on opposite sidelines in one of the spotlight games of the Week 2 schedule.
Bosa and the Los Angeles Chargers play in front of fans at their palatial Inglewood, California, home for the first time when they host Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys.
The Chargers won their opener for the third straight season and are looking to go 2-0 for the first time in nine years while the Cowboys attempt to avoid their first 0-2 start in 11 years.
This will be the first time Elliott and Bosa have faced each other in the NFL. Elliott was serving an NFL suspension the last time the two teams met on Thanksgiving Day in 2017.
''It'll be awesome. Last time we played against each other was in practice (preparing for the 2016 Fiesta Bowl) and we didn't take it easy on each other then, so I am sure we won't this weekend,'' Bosa said. ''We have come a long way from the dorm rooms back in 2013, so it will be cool to be out there with him.''
Bosa and Elliott were roommates during their first two years at Ohio State, including the 2014 national championship season. Elliott said they were able to spend some time with each other in Dallas during the offseason.
''Man, that's my brother,'' Elliott said. ''I mean we went through a lot together. I mean coming in, young, 17, growing up. Basically we came in on that campus together and we won a national championship here in Dallas, so it was just fun.
''I think we both were messy. We both are big mama's boys so we weren't the best cleaners. We both had our mom come do our laundry on weekends when they came in town for the game.''
Both were drafted in 2016 when Bosa went third overall to the Chargers and Elliott was selected one spot later by the Cowboys. Both have also had major impacts on the league.
Bosa's 48 1/2 sacks over the past five-plus seasons rank seventh in the league. His five-year contract extension last July also made him the league's highest-paid defensive player until Pittsburgh's T.J. Watt eclipsed that last week.
Elliott won the league rushing title two of his first three seasons, and his 8,341 scrimmage yards in his first five years were eighth most in league history.
Both players also have a lot to prove after the openers.
Elliott had only 33 yards on 11 carries in last week's 31-29 loss at Tampa Bay, and spent the majority of his time in pass protection. Elliott fielded many questions about his lack of workload against the league's top rush defense and was frustrated with the tone.
''If you know football, if you're in this building, you can tell someone can have a solid game without having the best statistics,'' Elliott said. ''If you're the one that's saying that, then you probably should study a little more.''
Bosa and Chargers coach Brandon Staley expect Elliott to see more action against them. Los Angeles allowed 4.7 yards per carry and 126 yards against Washington.
Staley faced Elliott last season when he was Rams defensive coordinator. Elliott scored two touchdowns, including one receiving, and scored both Dallas touchdowns in a 20-17 loss.
''My eyes tell me that this guy is a top two to five back in this league. Playing against him last year, what was unique is I could hear everything last year. There was no crowd, so I could hear the sound of every tackle,'' Staley said. ''I remember going home and watching the TV copy with my wife. It was late, but she stayed up and we watched it. You could hear it; you could hear the pads popping. He's a physical guy. I still think he's a premium back.''
Bosa had a sack and two quarterback hits in last week's 20-16 win over Washington. He also had a 60% win rate on beating an offensive lineman on push rushes, which according to Zebra Technologies was tops among edge defenders.
But Bosa also had a pair of roughing-the-passer penalties and said he needs more clarification about; he thought he didn't do anything malicious.
''He has a lot of length. Just an excellent player, great understanding, they're moving him around, they're a multiple defensive front football team, so we got to be really good at locating him and knowing where he is at all times,'' Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said.
Bosa said the biggest concern for the Chargers and the defensive line is trying to prevent quarterback Dak Prescott from escaping out of the pocket and making sure everyone is sound with their technique.
''Obviously, they have some weapons, but I think if you neutralize Dak, then he won't be able to get the ball to those weapons,'' Bosa said. ''It starts with us up front, being able to not take these high rushers and open up those big gaps and just rush in sound as a group before.''
Washington Football Team wide receivers Curtis Samuel (groin) and Cam Sims (hamstring) have been ruled out for Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers. Right guard Brandon Scherff (knee) will also miss another game. Samuel has been dealing with the same groin issue since June. He made his season debut in Week 4 but aggravated the injury in Week 5 and will now miss his second straight game. Fantasy managers were expecting Samuel to have a big role in Washington's offense in his first year in D.C., but he just hasn't been able to stay healthy. Terry McLaurin and Adam Humphries should continue to serve as the team's top two receivers, with rookie Dyami Brown and DeAndre Carter battling for targets as the No. 3 against Green Bay.
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry is finally coming around and putting together some successful games. He has found the end zone in three straight games heading into this favorable matchup against the New York Jets. A defense that has allowed the tenth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Henry isn't the most reliable option, but is certainly trending in the right direction. Fantasy managers should consider Henry on the low-end TE1 radar for this Week 7 matchup.
New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers has seen 52 targets over the first six games of the season. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones appears to have found a favorite target in Meyers. Thus far, Meyers has hauled in at least four receptions in every game this season. He'll head into a plus matchup against the New York Jets defense in Week 7. A defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. The targets should be there, so Meyers should be a high-end WR3 for this game.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (shin) is listed as questionable for Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers on the final injury report. Gibson missed Wednesday's practice but has gotten in work the last two days, making it likely that he suits up as Washington's primary running back this Sunday. However, it's understandable to be skeptical about his workload after he carried the ball a season-low 10 times for 44 yards in the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The 23-year-old should be considered more of an RB2 this weekend, with pass-catching back J.D. McKissic potentially seeing a healthy amount of touches to spell Gibson in a game where Washington could be forced to play catch-up.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne salvaged his fantasy value last week with a 75-yard touchdown. Sadly, fantasy managers cannot expect Bourne to do this on weekly basis. His fantasy value has been inconsistent this season and that's unlikely to change. Luckily for him, Bourne heads into a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that has struggled to contain anyone this season. Fantasy managers shouldn't get too excited as Bourne is a boom-or-bust deep league option for this contest.
Baltimore Ravens running back Latavius Murray (ankle) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (thigh) didn't practice again on Friday and are unlikely to be available in Week 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Watkins is set to miss his second straight game. With Murray likely sidelined, the Ravens will likely split the running back touches between veterans Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell, with Ty'Son Williams serving as the No. 3. Freeman and Bell both found the end zone last week, but they will be low-ceiling RB3/flex options in deeper leagues against Cincy. First-round rookie receiver Rashod Bateman caught four of six targets for 29 yards in his season debut in Week 6 and should slowly see his role increase behind Marquise Brown, especially now that Watkins is injured.
New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor has struggled to do much damage since the season opener. In fact, Agholor has three receptions or less in every game since Week 1. He'll get a Jets defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. Despite a favorable matchup, it's unlikely that Agholor succeeds here. He was expected to be the deep threat for this offense, but quarterback Mac Jones rarely takes deep shots. Agholor should be on the bench for this game even with a plus matchup.
The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain expects Chicago Bears rookie running back Khalil Herbert, not Damien Williams, to be the first one off the bench to spell David Montgomery (knee) when he returns from his injury. Herbert has been great in the last two games and has shown plenty of versatility in the backfield. Williams, who remains on the COVID-19 list, could play more of a niche role as a pass-catcher on third downs once this backfield is completely healthy. With both Montgomery and Williams out in Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers, Herbert had 19 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown and added two catches for 15 yards. There's a chance Williams won't be cleared by Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which would make Herbert at least an RB3/flex option for fantasy managers again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (lung, ribs) are out for the Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears. Neither player has practiced all week. The Bucs will also be without linebacker Lavonte David (ankle) and cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring). With Brown out, Mike Davis and Chris Godwin will have higher ceilings against Chicago, with Tyler Johnson likely stepping into the No. 3 receiver role for quarterback Tom Brady. Gronk will miss his fourth straight game. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate will continue to split the tight end snaps in his absence. Howard had six catches for 49 yards and his first touchdown in Week 6 and is the better touchdown-dependent TE2 bye-week filler this weekend.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (calf), who missed practice on Thursday, will return to practice on Friday, according to head coach Joe Judge. Engram apparently suffered a setback on Thursday, but it doesn't appear to be too serious, and he should have a decent chance at playing on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. The 27-year-old has only 14 catches on 21 targets for 127 yards and no touchdowns through four games this year, but he could be one of the top targets against Carolina with wide receivers Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney (ankle) likely out and with Sterling Shepard (hamstring) suffering a setback on Thursday. With bye weeks hitting fantasy managers hard in Week 8, Engram has low-end TE1 appeal as a streamer if he's active.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson has seen an increased role in the offense over the last two weeks. The loss of James White (hip) has opened up more chances for Stevenson. Sadly, he hasn't seen much success on the ground with only 23 yards in each of the last two games. Luckily for Stevenson, he'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that has struggled to stop any back all season long. There isn't much upside here because Damien Harris is healthy and should get a bulk of the carries. Stevenson should be viewed as a deep league desperation option here.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has only produced two multi-touchdown games through the first six games of the season. The rookie quarterback has not exceeded 275 passing yards in a single game since the season opener. Despite that, Jones will get an excellent matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. There isn't a ton of fantasy value here, but Jones could have some streaming appeal for QB needy fantasy managers in Week 7.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (illness) said on his Twitter account that his body continues to reject any food he eats as he tries to get past a bout of food poisoning that had him questionable to play last Monday night in Week 6. Brown didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday and could draw another questionable tag in Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs. It's been a rough week for the 24-year-old, and he looked to be under the weather in the first half of Monday's game before exploding for seven catches on nine targets for 91 yards in the second half. We ultimately expect him to play this Sunday in an excellent matchup against the Chiefs. As long as Brown is active, he needs to remain in all fantasy lineups.
New England Patriots running back Damien Harris is coming off his best rushing performance of the season. Last week, Harris rushed for 101 yards on 18 carries and found the end zone for the second straight week. The hope is that he'll be able to carry that momentum into the Week 7 matchup with the New York Jets. A defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Fantasy managers should feel comfortable with Harris as a RB2 for this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) didn't appear to be practicing Friday during the portion open to the media. Brown, who has been dealing with a sprained ankle, wasn't able to practice Wednesday and Thursday- and appears to be trending towards another absence to close out the week. Brown should be considered doubtful for Sunday's game against the Bears at this point. If officially ruled out, fellow wideouts Chris Godwin and Mike Evans could see more targets headed their way.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hamstring) was downgraded from a full to limited participant Thursday, and he has reportedly endured a setback with his hamstring issue. Giants beat writer Ralph Vacchiano noted that head coach Joe Judge didn't seem so sure about Shepard's practice status for Friday's session after expressing optimism about fellow pass-catchers Evan Engram (calf) and Darius Slayton (hamstring). Of course, nothing is official until the Giants release their practice report later, but it sure sounds like Shepard could find himself on the wrong side of questionable heading into the game against the Panthers. With Saquon Barkley (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee), and Kadarius Toney (ankle) all heading towards absences, the Giants' entire offense could be an easy fade for fantasy purposes. However, Engram and Slayton could both see increased volume in Week 7.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (illness) appeared to be practicing during the portion available to media viewing at Friday's session. Goedert didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday but was activated off of the reserve/COVID-19 list, suggesting that he would be on track for Sunday if he could return to practice in some capacity. That appears to be the case regardless of the designation heading into a favorable matchup against a Raiders defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. Goedert could be headed for elite-level usage sans Zach Ertz and look like a strong play in Week 7.
Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas has been playing sparingly through his first season and a half, but he could see some major snaps in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. Chris Carson (neck) and Alex Collins (groin) are both dealing with injuries. Carson was placed on Injured Reserve, and Collins failed to practice on Thursday. Dallas played 34 percent of the snaps in the team's Week 6 game, and his nine total touches, including five receptions, were second only to Collins. The matchup against the Saints isn't the best, as they've allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this year, but he could still see solid value in PPR formats due to his work in the receiving game if Collins is unable to play.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett has been a volatile asset in fantasy with an extremely high ceiling thanks to his connection with quarterback Russell Wilson, but he doesn't have that same outlook in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. With Geno Smith under center in Week 6, Lockett caught two of his seven targets for 21 yards, and he just wasn't getting those deep shots that he would often get with Russ. The offense is going to be funnelled to teammate D.K. Metcalf and the running backs, which will leave Lockett's fantasy managers hoping that he breaks one big play down the field. He has flex value with the rest of the stars that are on bye weeks or the injured list, but don't count on a big week out of him.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was the team's top target last week, and he figures to maintain that spot in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. Metcalf caught six of his seven targets a week ago, and he was turned into somewhat of a possession receiver rather than a downfield threat with Geno Smith at quarterback. With his size and athleticism, he can fill that role, and he'll have a size advantage over all of the Saints defensive backs. With the Seattle running backs dealing with injuries, we could see a heavier emphasis on passing the ball, which would lead to more opportunities for Metcalf. He's not quite in the WR1 category this week, but he's still a solid WR2 or flex option for your fantasy lineups.