Sun Oct 13 1:16pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) is congratulated by quarterback Kyle Allen after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen (7) passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) passes against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Carolina Panthers cornerback Javien Elliott (23) celebrates with teammates after intercepting a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
LONDON (AP) Christian McCaffrey scored two touchdowns and Carolina turned five interceptions by Jameis Winston into 17 points to give the Panthers their fourth straight victory, 37-26 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
After starting the season with two straight losses with hobbled Cam Newton at quarterback, the Panthers (4-2) have been on a roll with Kyle Allen at quarterback thanks to McCaffrey's big plays and an opportunistic defense that had a franchise record-tying seven takeaways on the day.
Both of those factors came up big on Carolina's first trip to London in front of a large contingent of Panthers fans for what was designated as a home game for the Bucs (2-4).
James Bradberry intercepted Winston on the first play from scrimmage to set up a field goal to set the tone for the game.
Bruce Irvin then forced a bad throw by Winston in the second quarter that Javien Elliott intercepted . That led to McCaffrey's dazzling 25-yard touchdown catch that featured him juking Vernon Hargreaves III and stiff-arming Devin White on his way into the end zone.
In between those two scores, McCaffrey capped a 99-yard drive with a 1-yard run on fourth down, giving him five TDs the past two weeks.
The Panthers took advantage of Tampa Bay's banged-up line that forced the Bucs to use backups Earl Watford and Josh Wells on the right side to harass Winston all day. They sacked him seven times, hit him to help force two of the interceptions and forced fumbles on successive plays late in the second quarter, including a strip sack by Vernon Butler that Irvin recovered.
It was part of a disturbing pattern for Winston throughout his career He has five games with at least four turnovers, while no other player has more than two of those games since Winston entered the league in 2015. Winston had five turnovers in all, giving him an NFL-worst 86 in the past five seasons.
Winston did most of his damage after the game got out of hand late, throwing for 400 yards with a 10-yard TD pass to Cameron Brate in the fourth quarter that gave him 100 touchdown passes in his career.
Curtis Samuel added two second-half TDs, scoring on an 8-yard end-around and a 13-yard pass from Kyle Allen.
Allen finished 20 for 32 for 227 yards, two TDs and no interceptions to improve to 5-0 as a starter in his career.
JUST FOR KICKS
There was a rare play at the end of the first half when the Panthers called for a fair catch at the 50 with 1 second left. Coach Ron Rivera opted to try a free kick for a field goal. Joey Slye got the opportunity to kick from the 50 with no rush as the Tampa Bay players were required to remain 10 yards back. The kick went wide right.
Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had a big game against his former team. McCoy had 2 1/2 sacks, deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and had one tackle for loss.
Carolina defensive end Efe Obada was made an honorary captain for the game as part of an emotional day for him. The Nigerian native arrived in England as a 10-year-old after being trafficked with his sister from the Netherlands. Now he's back here as an NFL player and a star attraction after first picking up the sport of American football at age 22.
Panthers: Starting CB Donte Jackson missed his third straight game with a groin injury.
Buccaneers: Safety Jordan Whitehead went down with an apparent shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.
Panthers: Carolina gets a week off before heading to San Francisco on Oct. 27 to face the 49ers.
Buccaneers: Tampa Bay gets a brief respite in its five-game stretch away from home with a bye week before traveling to Tennessee for the fourth game in this stretch on Oct. 27.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 2
New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz connected on his only field-goal attempt and made three extra points in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders. Lutz didn't get to try for many field goals considering the Saints offense capitalized with touchdowns when they were in the red zone. As part of a high-octane offense, Lutz remains a weekly starter considering his large role and reliability.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara had a tremendous performance in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders, getting 13 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns along with leading the team with nine receptions for 95 yards on nine targets. The absence of Michael Thomas thrust Kamara into a huge role and he put on a great display in both the passing and rushing game. He remains a solid RB1 going forward.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith came through in the Week 2 loss to Las Vegas, getting five receptions for 86 yards on seven targets. With Michael Thomas sidelined, it was only natural to see Smith see some more targets and he delivered with a great performance. He should see some targets as long as Thomas is out, keeping him in the flex tier for the foreseeable future.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders only managed one reception for 18 yards on three targets in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders. It was certainly a disappointing performance for the temporary WR1 of the Saints as Drew Brees even eclipsed 300 passing yards. Sanders will look to get back on track in Week 3 against the Packers, but his value should be downgraded to a flex considering his Week 2 struggles.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook only managed two receptions for 13 yards on five targets in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders. After coming off an 80-yard performance in Week 1, the tight end was certainly disappointing. Nevertheless, with Michael Thomas sidelined, he should still see a decent number of targets and can redeem himself in Week 3. Cook can be explosive, thus keeping him in the TE1 tier going forward.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees went 26-for-38 and put up 312 yards, one touchdown, and one pick in the loss to the Raiders on Monday. After a hot start, the Saints cooled down and the offense couldn't get going deeper into the game. It was obvious the absence of Michael Thomas was felt, but this was the type of performance that is now expected of Brees, which is generally not explosive in terms of touchdowns. He should remain a low-end QB1 or high QB2 going forward.
The Denver Broncos Defense was respectable in the Week 2 loss against a powerful Steelers offense with two rookies in the secondary. Safety Justin Simmons had two passes defensed, including an interception of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Fellow safety Kareem Jackson also recovered a fumble that led to a fourth-quarter touchdown that cut Pittsburgh's lead to five. The defense had a total of six tackles for loss, with their lone sack coming courtesy of defensive tackle Mike Purcell. They did, however, allow two passing touchdowns and gave up over 100 yards on the ground to James Conner, the second straight week allowing a back to go for over 100 rushing yards. Against Tampa and Tom Brady with receiver Chris Godwin (concussion) back in the fold, Denver's D will be a risky streaming option.
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Solomon Thomas (knee) was confirmed to have suffered a torn ACL in the Week 2 win over the Jets. The season got off to a bad start for Thomas when the Niners declined the 25-year-old's fifth-year option, and things just got a lot worse. The Stanford product hasn't lived up to his draft stock as a third-round pick in 2017. The 49ers had the worst luck of any team in the injury department in a Week 2 full of devastating season-ending injuries. All-Pro pass-rusher Nick Bosa also tore his ACL, ending his 2020 campaign. Look for rookie Javon Kinlaw to pick up the slack up the middle, while the Niners will also need DJ Jones and Arik Armstead to step up.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus was 2-for-3 on his field-goal attempts and made his lone extra-point try in the 26-21 Week 2 loss to the Steelers. McManus connected from 49 yards and 28 yards out and missed his lone attempt from 58 yards out. Denver's offense has potential, but they are dealing with injuries to quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) and running back Phillip Lindsay (toe), while receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) will miss the rest of the season. McManus isn't much of a fantasy option at the kicking position until further notice, despite his big leg.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick secured just two of his five targets for 24 yards in the 26-21 Week 2 loss to the Steelers on the road. It was a slight step down for the 26-year-old, as he caught four of five targets for 29 yards in the season-opening loss to the Titans. There will be more opportunities for Patrick the rest of the year with Courtland Sutton (knee) suffering a torn ACL, but even so, Noah Fant and rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler will likely be ahead of him in the pecking order. Also, quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) is out for two to six weeks.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy caught four of his seven targets for 62 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers. Even though Jeudy has yet to score a touchdown in his first year in the NFL, he was tied for the team lead in catches and targets in this game. There's a lot to like about his route-running ability, which helps him gain plenty of separation, but he won't be as exciting as a WR4/flex for fantasy managers with quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) expected to miss anywhere from two to six weeks.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant caught four of his five targets for 57 yards and a touchdown in the 26-21 Week 2 loss to the Steelers. He now has nine catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, just one short of his rookie-season total, through two games in 2020. Quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) will be out anywhere from two to six weeks, but the drop-off to Jeff Driskel may not affect Fant all that much. In fact, Driskel could lean heavily on Fant moving forward. As one of the top receivers in Denver's offense with Courtland Sutton (knee) out for the year, Fant has become a solid TE1.
Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman attempted just three rushes for 20 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers with Phillip Lindsay (toe) inactive. Even with Lindsay on the sidelines for this one, Freeman just wasn't a part of the offense as Melvin Gordon III's backup. Lindsay could miss more time, but Freeman just won't see enough touches to be fantasy relevant unless Gordon also suffers an injury that causes him to miss time.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III carried the ball 19 times for 70 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers with Phillip Lindsay (toe) inactive, but he salvaged his day for fantasy managers with two catches for 14 yards and his second touchdown of the season. The good news for Gordon is that he should continue to be a big part of this offense with Lindsay potentially out for another game and receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) out for the remainder of the year. He'll be facing a Buccaneers Defense in Week 3 that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the running back position through the first two weeks. Consider Gordon a usage-based RB2 until Lindsay is back in the fold.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard had a quiet day in Week 2 against the Lions, though he was still sneakily involved in the offense. Lazard saw five targets, which was an improvement on the four looks he saw in Week 1. He hasn't put up amazing numbers yet, though he has been on the field far more often than fellow wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has had better stats so far. Interestingly enough, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a higher passer rating when targeting Lazard than when he throws to Valdes-Scantling or star receiver Davante Adams. These are reasons to keep the 24-year-old stashed on fantasy benches. Lazard has a couple of fantasy-friendly matchups on the way against the Packers in Week 3 and the Falcons in Week 4.
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson led the Detroit backfield in carries and scored a rushing touchdown in a 42-21 loss to the Packers in Week 2. It should be noted that Detroit had to abandon the run earlier than they would have liked in this one, considering how quickly Green Bay jumped out to a lead. So in reality, leading the backfield in touches sounds much more impressive than it actually was, as Johnson ended up with only eight touches. It wasn't a bad showing, but Johnson's role is just too unpredictable with D'Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson also manning the backfield. He's likely not worth rostering a this point, unless injuries force him into action.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (knee) has suffered a torn ACL and is out for the remainder of the season. The team was fearful that he would miss significant time and the MRI confirmed those fears. The 22-year-old was a big reason why the 49ers fielded arguably the league's best defense last season, as he registered nine sacks as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl. It's a crushing blow for a defense that was looking to prove that 2019 was no fluke. With multiple injuries on defense in addition to Bosa, the 49ers' unit is one that will have to be downgraded for fantasy purpose moving forward.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (knee) is active and will take the field against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. Ruggs III was expected to play after upgrading to a limited session on Friday and taking the practice field again on Saturday, though it is always nice to get the official word. It's possible that the rookie isn't 100 percent for this one, but his speed and big-play ability will still have to be respected by the New Orleans defense. Look at him as a boom-or-bust WR4 for a contest that has the potential to be high-scoring.
Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel led an unlikely comeback against the Steelers in Week 2 that ultimately fell short after Drew Lock (shoulder) was injured. Driskel took six sacks and absorbed 17 hits from a ferocious Pittsburgh defense, but the Broncos were 15 yards away from a stunning upset on the road. With Lock out at least several weeks, Driskel will continue to lead Denver's offense, beginning in Week 3 against the Buccaneers. In the end, he completed 18 of 34 passes for 256 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the 26-21 loss, adding two rushes for five yards. Even though Driskel exceeded expectations in a tough situation, he'll be low-end QB2 streamer going forward in superflex leagues.
Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (knee) tore his ACL in the Week 2 win over the Patriots on Sunday night and will miss the rest of the 2020 season, according to a source. It's a tough blow for the 32-year-old veteran, especially since the Seahawks Defense had allowed close to 1,000 total yards of offense combined to the Falcons and Patriots in the first two weeks. Rookie first-rounder Jordyn Brooks will need to step up in the middle of Seattle's defense for the rest of the season. Against a Cowboys team that made a miraculous comeback in Week 2 with over 40 points, you should be looking to avoid the Seahawks defense in fantasy.