In this Oct. 20, 2019, file photo, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, left, encourages quarterback Josh Allen as he warms up before an NFL football game Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Allen and Daboll are overseeing an offensive renaissance in Buffalo in which the suddenly pass-happy Bills are among the NFL's most explosive teams three weeks into the season. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Derek Carr and Josh Allen first crossed paths seven years ago at a summer camp at Fresno State.
Carr was the star quarterback for the Bulldogs at the time, while Allen was a scrawny high school kid hoping to get a scholarship offer from his local college and follow in Carr's footsteps.
That offer never materialized and Allen eventually ended up in college at Wyoming before becoming a first-round pick by Buffalo in 2018. Now he gets the chance to play against Carr when the Bills (3-0) visit the Las Vegas Raiders (2-1) on Sunday.
''It's unbelievable,'' Carr said about Allen's rise from the time they met at the camp in 2013. ''I think that's the last time I was taller than him. He sprouted up, he went on to Wyoming and did fantastic things. We don't text each other all the time or anything like that. I got too many kids running around. But everything I know about him, he's a great person. He's a heck of a competitor. He is having a great year, a hot start to the season. Happy for him and all those kinds of things.''
After an up-and-down start to his career, Allen has reached another level this season. He has thrown for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns in leading the Bills to three straight wins and has also run for two more scores.
He has a franchise record two straight games with at least four TD passes and has tied Jim Kelly for the Buffalo record with three 300-yard passing games in a row as experience and the addition of Stefon Diggs have made a major difference.
''I think the better I play, the more I know, the more comfortable I feel, and it's going to just cycle,'' he said. ''So I've just got to stay on top of it, understand what the defense is doing. Understand that it's really about what they do, it's about how we react to what they do.''
Allen's fast start has caught the attention of Raiders coach Jon Gruden.
''The quarterback is eye-opening,'' he said. ''He is a fun guy to watch, man. He can really throw the ball. He's got a great playing style. He's got a lot of John Elway playing style. He can scramble, he's strong, he's tough. He's a big-time player. And they've got an arsenal around him.''
Allen always believed Raiders receiver Rico Gafford had NFL-caliber talent. The two were teammates at Wyoming, where Gafford played defensive back before making the switch to receiver with the Raiders.
''I wish like heck he was on the offensive side of the ball when I was there because he was unbelievably fast,'' Allen said.
Unlike Allen, who was selected with the seventh pick in the 2018 draft, Gafford was an undrafted free agent, who first signed with the Tennessee Titans before spending most of the 2018-19 seasons on the Raiders practice squad. He then scored a touchdown on a 49-yard catch in his second NFL game.
After catching 12 passes for 105 yards and a TD in a Week 2 win over New Orleans, Raiders tight end Darren Waller was neutralized by New England. The Patriots focused their coverage on Waller and held him to two catches for only 9 yards. The Raiders hope to get more from their top receiving option this week.
''We got Waller open a couple of times. Unfortunately, we didn't get it there,'' Gruden said. ''It was perhaps an issue here or there. ... We're doing the best we can to give Waller the ball, but we also have to get a lot of production from the guys around him.''
Before being hired by Buffalo, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll held the same title on Alabama's 2018 national championship team, which featured Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and receiver Henry Ruggs III.
''Josh was second or third on the depth chart. ... but you could tell right from the get-go how special he was,'' Daboll recalled. ''And Henry, he just caught touchdowns as a young freshman. Two good young players. Not surprised by the success that those guys are having.''
The Raiders will once again play in their new stadium without any fans. Owner Mark Davis has said he doesn't want to allow fans until all season-ticket holders are allowed to come. Nevada changed its regulations this week to allow venues to apply for waivers for 10% capacity, which would be about 6,500 fans at Allegiant Stadium. UNLV has said it hopes to have some fans at games this season even if the Raiders won't.
''I'm just going to stick to coaching football,'' Gruden said. ''I'm talking a lot about masks right now and protocols. We're doing the best we can. I'm going to let Mark Davis and the governor handle all of that. I'd like to see as many fans there as soon as possible, but I understand the reality of it all.''
Bills rookie receiver Gabriel Davis is drawing praise for how quickly he's made an impact. The fourth-round pick out of Central Florida has seven catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. The abilities he showed in training camp led to the Bills being comfortable in opening the season with various four-receiver formations, with Davis filling various spots alongside Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley. Diggs said Davis might know more of the playbook than he does.
''In a game, when I say, 'Hey, Gabe, what do I got on this side?' he's probably going to know. I trust Gabe,'' Diggs said. ''He's a smart rookie.''
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 8
Buffalo Bills CB Josh Norman (hamstring) hasn't been ruled out, but he's unlikely to play in Week 8.
Fantasy Spin: It's a tough break for Norman, who was going off in fantasy before the injury. He can be dropped for fresh legs in IDP leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap was told to stay home while the team attempts to trade him.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy doesn't intend to bench quarterback Nick Foles in favor of Mitchell Trubisky after the team's 24-10 Monday night loss to the Rams in Week 7. The Bears are 5-2 but rank 27th in points per game (19.7), 30th in yards per play (4.8), 30th in yards per run (3.8), 29th in yards per pass (5.6), 30th on third-down conversions (35.1 percent) and 29th in red-zone efficiency (47.6 percent). Foles took over for Trubisky in Week 3 and was 28-for-40 for 261 yards and two interceptions against the Rams. Foles has thrown for 1,139 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions in five appearances (four starts) this year. The Saints -- Chicago's Week 8 opponent -- allow the sixth-most fantasy points per game to signal-callers, but Foles remains a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues in Chicago's stagnant offense.
Atlanta Falcons wide receivers Julio Jones (hip) and Russell Gage (knee) were both limited in practice on Tuesday. Jones' injury is new, but the 31-year-old always seems to be fighting through some sort of injury and he should be fine for the Thursday night matchup with the Panthers. The All-Pro wideout missed the Week 5 matchup with Carolina due to an injury, but he should be fine for this one and he remains a locked-in, must-start WR1 whenever he's on the field as the team's No. 1 receiver. Jones has 16 receptions on 19 targets for 234 yards and two touchdowns in the last two weeks against the Vikings and Lions. The Panthers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wideouts, but Jones should be in all starting lineups regardless. Gage should play on Thursday, but he's been a non-factor the last five weeks and can be left to the waiver wire in shallow leagues.
The San Francisco 49ers reached an injury settlement with wide receiver Tavon Austin (knee) on Tuesday, and he is no longer on their Injured Reserve list. Austin was put on IR before the 2020 regular season started. He spent the last two years in Dallas, recording 21 catches on 37 targets for 317 yards and three touchdowns in 21 games. The eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Rams, Austin had his best season in 2016, catching 58 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns. He has just 15 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons and has essentially become a little-used gadget player in recent seasons. Don't expect Austin to resurface anywhere in 2021 as a fantasy relevant option.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that rookie third-round safety Terrell Burgess (ankle) broke his ankle in the Monday night win over the Bears and will miss the rest of the season. The 21-year-old will finish his rookie season with eight tackles (seven solo) and one pass defensed in seven games of action. Burgess was taken with the 104th overall pick in April and has the versatility to also play nickel cornerback in the NFL. He's a smart player and anticipates routes in coverage. The former Utah Ute should have plenty of time to recover in time for training camp next summer.
Because of COVID-19 protocols, the Detroit Lions Defense will not have newly acquired defensive end Everson Griffen available to play in Week 8 against the Colts. Griffen's debut with Detroit will come on Nov. 8 against the Vikings, the team that he spent the first 10 years of his career with while earning four Pro Bowl nods. The Lions sent a sixth-round draft pick in 2021 to the Cowboys for Griffen's services on Tuesday, and he'll be a veteran present for Detroit's defensive line the rest of the season. While the 32-year-old isn't an IDP starting option at his position on a weekly basis, he should help improve their defensive line. However, the Lions defense overall is near the bottom of the league in fantasy points through seven weeks, so you should continue to avoid them everywhere.
Buffalo Bills WR Cole Beasley has either topped 50 receiving yards or caught a touchdown pass in all seven games this season.
Fantasy Spin: Beasley's 470 receiving yards rank in the top 20 in the NFL, and he sits inside the top 15 in receptions. He's a PPR flex option.
Atlanta Falcons RB Todd Gurley's 122 rush attempts rank second in the NFL, and he has logged at least 14 carries in all seven games.
Fantasy Spin: The heavy workload is a bit of a surprise given Gurley's history of knee problems, and while he has managed just one 100-yard game, he has scored seven times and topped 50 yards six times. He's a volume-based RB2 heading into a friendly matchup against Carolina in Week 8.
Free-agent WR Dwayne Harris (Texans) was signed to the Chicago Bears' practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Los Angeles Rams DL A'Shawn Robinson (undisclosed) will be activated from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list this week, head coach Sean McVay said Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (hand) could be ready to play against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, according to head coach Sean McVay Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Fantasy Spin: Higbee was forced to sit out Week 7 for his first missed game of the season. He has 18 catches on 21 targets for 222 yards and three touchdowns through six games and is a low-end TE1 most weeks.
Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't being shopped for a trade, according to a source with direct knowledge Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Fantasy Spin: Fitzpatrick would definitely have at least some measure of fantasy value on any one of the NFL's current QB-needy teams, but it appears he'll be staying in Miami to mentor rookie Tua Tagovailoa. It will help Tagovailoa, but it's a shame for fantasy managers in two-QB leagues.
Tennessee Titans RB D'Onta Foreman, PK Tucker McCann, QB Trevor Siemian and LB Tuzar Skipper were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, LB Jayrone Elliott and RB Wendell Smallwood were named to the team's Week 8 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Greg Joseph and DT Jeremiah Ledbetter were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
New York Giants RB Alfred Morris, P Ryan Santoso, G Chad Slade and QB Clayton Thorson were named as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) could be back in the mix as soon as Sunday versus Seattle, with head coach Kyle Shanahan saying that he was hopeful that they'd have Coleman for the game. The 49ers' backfield has been a constant shuffling endeavor with Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) both now out of the mix for the foreseeable future. Coleman's return coincides with Jerick McKinnon likely moving up the depth chart, although how any share of carries would be split remains unclear. Coleman started 11 games for San Francisco last season, so despite having compiled just 30 yards across 18 carries this year, he's likely to see an increased role whenever he's officially ready to return. Check back throughout the week for updates on his status as they become available.