Fri Feb 22 3:22pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
In this Oct. 7, 2018, file photo, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, in Cleveland. A person with knowledge of the trade tells The Associated Press, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, that the Denver Broncos have agreed to acquire Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in exchange for a fourth-round pick in this year's NFL draft. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither team announced the deal.(AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)
In this March 16, 2018, file photo, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway, left, shakes hands with Case Keenum during a news conference to introduce him as the new starting quarterback of the Broncos at the team's headquarters, in Englewood, Colo. Count Keenum among those who were stunned by Elway's decision to replace him with Joe Flacco after just one season as the Broncos' starting quarterback. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) A lot of fans were stunned by Denver Broncos general manager John Elway's decision to replace quarterback Case Keenum with Joe Flacco.
Count Keenum among them.
Appearing on the Sports Spectrum Podcast this week with his wife, Kimberly, Keenum said he was caught off guard when he was informed the Broncos and Ravens had the framework in place for a trade that will end Keenum's stint as the Broncos starting QB after just one season.
Neither the Broncos nor the Ravens, or even Flacco, can formally acknowledge the trade until it becomes official when the new league year begins March 13.
Keenum is under no such gag order.
''Elway called me that morning and we had a great conversation, which he didn't have to do, and I appreciated that,'' Keenum said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast this week.
''I was definitely shocked, it was a surprise for us ... we're definitely disappointed, it's not something we wanted to happen. I know that everybody's doing their job and John feels like that was a chance for him to help the Broncos out.''
A year ago, Keenum was a hot commodity, second only to Kirk Cousins among available veteran quarterbacks. He was coming off a breakout season in Minnesota, where he went 11-3 and helped the Vikings reach the NFC championship game.
When the Vikings signed Cousins, Keenum inked a two-year, $36 million deal with Denver that included $25 million guaranteed. The couple bought a home in Denver and Keenum said he hoped to turn his short-term deal into a long-term situation.
He got off to a slow start last season, however, throwing interceptions in Denver's first eight games on his way to a career-high 15 interceptions, which tied for second-most in the NFL.
Preaching patience became a weekly mantra of his with Keenum expressing confidence he and his new teammates and coaches would eventually adjust to each other in time to make a late-season run.
By December the Broncos weren't rolling but staggering, bedeviled by an injury epidemic that had waylaid three O-line starters and the team's top two tight ends. On Dec. 5, Emmanuel Sanders, who rose to No. 1 receiving threat when Demaryius Thomas was traded to Houston, tore an Achilles at practice.
The Broncos lost their final four games, finishing 6-10 for their first back-to-back losing seasons since the Nixon Administration. That led Elway to fire Vance Joseph and replace him with Vic Fangio . Keenum wasn't among the players who attended Fangio's introductory news conference because he was on vacation out of the country.
As he cleaned out his locker after the final game, Keenum said, ''I learned a lot this year. I learned what it is to be a franchise quarterback.''
Elway clearly didn't see Keenum in that way.
So, he's moving on to another veteran in Flacco, 34, who will be Denver's fifth starting quarterback since Peyton Manning retired after winning the Super Bowl three years ago.
Keenum is slated to count $21 million against the salary cap next season, which is actually more than Flacco's $18.5 million salary cap hit.
That Broncos are hoping a trade partner emerges or that they can restructure Keenum's contract to a figure more befitting a backup. Otherwise, releasing him would cost them $7 million but save them $11 million.
Keenum seems to believe his time with the Broncos is over.
''My time with the Broncos has been really special,'' he said on the podcast. ''I have enjoyed every second of it. I have absolutely been so proud to wake up every day and to walk into that building to represent the Broncos as their quarterback. ... It was an honor.''
The New England Patriots Defense have allowed only three points all season and now will go up against third-string quarterback Luke Falk and the Jets in Week 3. The Patriots have been suffocating through the first two games and picked up two defensive pick-6 touchdowns against the Dolphins. With the offense humming and perhaps their most talented defensive secondary in the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots are to a great start. The defense suddenly is a must-own in all fantasy formats and will be a top play against the Jets in Week 3.
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown's first game with the Patriots was a rousing success, catching four passes for 56 yards and one touchdown in Week 2. Brown sat out the first offensive play but then immediately got in on the action and his quick chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady was evident. This week the Patriots will take on a banged up Jets team and Brown's snaps should increase. The All-Pro receiver still is learning the offense but has the kind of elite talent that can shine in any system. He may not be fully up to speed but Brown should still deliver solid fantasy numbers in Week 3.
New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon will try and rebound after catching only two passes for 19 yards in Week 2. Gordon has plenty of talent but the acquisition of Antonio Brown certainly is cutting into his chances. He will go up against a Jets Defense that was gashed by Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns last Monday. The Patriots offense is so explosive that keeping everyone happy will be tough. Gordon may be the one to suffer for now and will be no higher than a WR3/4 heading into Week 3.
The Minnesota Vikings Defense got off to a rough start, allowing Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to jump out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter. They righted the ship after that, though, holding the Packers scoreless for the rest of the contest. They also notched two sacks, recovered two fumbles, and allowed just 191 passing yards in what was an impressive bounce-back effort. Though this wasn't a productive day from a fantasy standpoint, it wasn't exactly expected to be - on the road against the Packers is not the greatest spot to be in. Slot the Vikings defense in as a top-10 play at home against the bottom-tier Oakland Raiders offense.
New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead has been a fantastic role player for an explosive offense through the first two games of the season. Burkhead has carried the ball 13 times for 5.0 yards per carry and has added seven catches for 88 yards. He clearly is the backup behind teammate Sony Michel but has outplayed veteran James White in the first month of the season. Burkhead is not worth a start in most fantasy formats but has produced when called upon in the Patriots offense. Barring injury, however, Burkhead carries little fantasy value heading into Week 3.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen had a decent fantasy outing in Week 2, catching five of eight targets for 75 yards in Sunday's 21-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Though quarterbackKirk Cousins attempted 32 passes, he only completed 14 of them and had an awful day finding his receivers downfield. The inconsistency from Cousins is impacting Thielen's production, but the team's willingness to completely abandon the pass is of even more concern. Head coach Mike Zimmer will undoubtedly look to again feature the run in Week 3's contest against the Oakland Raiders, though Thielen still has to be started as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 thanks to the juicy matchup.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will face a Jets Defense in Week 3 that has allowed the 12th most fantasy points to receivers through two games. Edelman has been a rock for a dynamic Patriots offense, picking up first down after first down. The veteran is still looking for his first touchdown of the season but heads into Week 3's action with 10 catches for 134 yards. The Jets come into the contest undermanned on both sides of the football and the Patriots are expected to dominate. Edelman carries WR3 value, perhaps even higher in PPR leagues, heading into this Sunday.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel will try and build off of his 85-yard, one-touchdown performance last week when the team takes on the Jets this Sunday. After a disappointing game to start the season, the second-year running back bounced back nicely. Michel ran hard as the Patriots racked up a sizeable lead. The Patriots backfield consists of Rex Burkhead, James White and Damien Harris but Michel led the way last week with 21 carries. The Jets are down to their third-string quarterback and the Patriots could lean heavily on the running game in Week 3. Michel has RB2 value with a high ceiling this week.
New England Patriots running back James White is off to a slow start through the first two games of the season. With so many weapons on offense, there are a lot of mouths to feed for quarterback Tom Brady. White has seen only seven carries through the first two weeks and has eight catches for 75 yards. The veteran will face a Jets Defense that has allowed 12 receptions to running backs but the Patriots game plan could lean towards relying on the running game. White is better suited in the passing game and his production could continue to suffer.
Chicago Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro played the hero in Week 2 and will now travel to Washington take on the Redskins in Week 3. Pineiro hit all three of his field goals last week, including a dramatic 53-yard boot to win the game with a second left. Pineiro is a perfect 4-for-4 on the season but is still largely unproven. He'll carry some value with a Bears offense that has scored only one touchdown through the first two games, but he doesn't come with much upside.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is off to a sparkling start, passing for 605 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions through his first two games. The Patriots offense is loaded with weapons all over the field and Brady has made it look easy. Now in Week 3 he'll go up against a Jets team that is down to their third-string quarterback. On the defensive side, the Jets have allowed 579 passing yards to the first two quarterbacks they have faced. The Patriots are, once again, all lined up to dominate the competition. Brady should be considered an elite QB1 option for Week 3.
The Indianapolis Colts worked out free-agent kickers Elliott Fry, Cody Parkey, Younghoe Koo, Greg Joseph, Cole Hedlund and Chase McLaughlin on Tuesday in the wake of Adam Vinatieri's struggles through two weeks. The 46-year-old veteran has made just one of his three field-goal attempts and two of his five extra points in 2019, and there were reports speculating that he might retire after Week 2. The Colts may have talked him out of it at least for another week, but he'll need to pick it up unless the team might go in another direction. Fantasy owners should stay away for now.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will play the free safety spot with his new team to help replace Sean Davis (shoulder), who was placed on Injured Reserve on Tuesday. The Steelers traded a first-round pick to Miami for Fitzpatrick on Monday night, and he'll make his debut in Week 3 on the road against the 49ers. The 2018 first-rounder was being used all over the place in Miami, so he should be more comfortable at safety with his new club. Pittsburgh hasn't been able to stop much of anything on defense through two weeks, so hopefully Fitzpatrick's addition can help shore up their secondary. The Steelers Defense/special teams should be avoided against San Francisco this weekend.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries said his chemistry with quarterback Marcus Mariota is a work in progress. Humphries is working on being a better option for Mariota, especially on third down. The first-year Titan has just three catches for four yards after two weeks and is sixth on the team in targets with four, tied with Tajae Sharpe. There's obviously room to improve from here on out, but Humphries shouldn't be owned anywhere except the deepest of leagues. Tennessee just doesn't throw the ball nearly enough to support more than one or two pass-catchers in fantasy.
The Chicago Bears Defense will travel to Washington to take on the Redskins in Week 3 for Monday night football. The elite unit played well last week against Denver but tired down the stretch in the high altitude. They did, however, pick up their first turnover of the season and the unit appears to be among the fastest in the league. They will face a Redskins offense that has allowed only two sacks all season but have not played against anyone the likes of Khalil Mack. Expect a low scoring affair on MNF, making the Bears defense a top choice in fantasy for Week 3.
The Los Angeles Chargers signed free-agent tight end Lance Kendricks on Tuesday and placed safety Adrian Phillips (arm) on Injured Reserve in a corresponding move. Kendricks has caught 241 passes for 2,505 yards and 19 touchdowns in 125 career games. He caught 19 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown last year with Green Bay, but he's merely tight end depth until Hunter Henry (knee) can return. Los Angeles is unlikely to utilize the position much with Henry out. Phillips' injury, coupled with Derwin James being out, leaves the Bolts secondary pretty vulnerable. Texans receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller could go off this Sunday.
The New Orleans Saints placed wide receiver Keith Kirkwood (hamstring) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday after he injured his hamstring in pregame warmups on Sunday. He caught 13 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns in eight games (one start) in 2018. Kirkwood was buried on the team's receiver depth chart and didn't put up any numbers in Week 1. Rookie Deonte Harris and Austin Carr will battle for the No. 4 job behind Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn and Tre'Quan Smith.
Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said that he needs to put quarterback Baker Mayfield in better position to succeed and get the ball out of his hand quicker because he's taking too many hits after two weeks. It hasn't helped that Cleveland's offensive line isn't giving Mayfield much time to throw, but Mayfield also needs to do a better job of reading the defense's coverage schemes. The Browns could have their hands full next Monday night against the Rams defensive front, making Mayfield more of a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 for that matchup. A shift to more of a short passing game could benefit Jarvis Landry as well.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel will try and kick-start his season in Week 3 against a very vulnerable Redskins secondary. Gabriel has caught only three passes through the first two games but the entire Bears passing game has struggled. He will go up against a Redskins Defense that currently is allowing the most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Gabriel has the speed to put a big play on the board but quarterback Mitch Trubisky's long game has been non-existent. The veteran receiver will be no more than a WR5 dart-throw on Monday Night Football.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller will try and get his season going when the team takes on the Redskins in Week 3 for Monday Night Football. The second-year receiver was expected to take a leap this season but has only one reception for two yards to show for it. Miller also appears to be on a limited snap-count, whether for health or the coaching staff is opting to trust other players. Miller was drafted in a handful of leagues but has been completely non-existent. The talented receiver will, however, face a Redskins Defense that has already allowed five touchdown catches to opposing receivers through the first two games.