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FFL: Week 8 | NFL: Week 8

Panthers-Cardinals Preview

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Players: Greg Olsen, Larry Fitzgerald, Cam Newton, David Johnson, Peyton Barber, Kyle Allen, Christian McCaffrey, Kyler Murray

In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen (7) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Charlotte, N.C. With Cam Newton reaggravating his foot, the team is looking at the possibility of starting Kyle Allen on Sunday against Arizona, the first of four road games in the next five. Allen has just one career start. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws to a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) celebrate his two point conversion catch with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona's Kyler Murray and Carolina's Kyle Allen will be competing for the spotlight when the two teams face each other Sunday in Week 3.

In some ways, it's just like old times for the quarterbacks and former college teammates.

Allen will make his second career start after the team ruled starter Cam Newton out because of a mid-foot sprain he aggravated on Sept. 12. Allen is 1-0 as a starter after beating a New Orleans team in Week 17 that was already looking ahead to the playoffs.

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn't expect any letdown from the Panthers, even without Newton.

''Last time Kyle Allen stepped on the field they won and scored 30 points on the road,'' Kingsbury said. ''We understand we'll have our hands full.''

Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in April, has had a very promising start to his NFL career. He's just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards in his first two career games.

The other guy? Newton, who was also the No. 1 pick in 2011. Both also won the Heisman Trophy.

But now that Newton can't go, the Panthers (0-2) turn to Allen, who is in his second season. Murray and Allen played together at Texas A&M in 2015, splitting time for a team that finished with an 8-5 record.

In a strange twist, both of the highly rated recruits ended up transferring at the end of the season. The two say they got along fine, even if circumstances weren't ideal. Murray called it a ''tough situation.'' Allen said they were ''never super tight. We had a mutual respect for each other obviously.''

Now they will be on the same NFL field.

''We went to school together. We played together,'' Murray said. ''I don't really have control over who starts over there. That's their deal. I just have to get ready to play, and whoever's their quarterback is their quarterback.''

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has looked 10 years younger over the Cardinals' first two games with 13 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown.

The 36-year-old has developed a quick rapport with Murray and the connection looks like it's going to be a go-to for Arizona (0-1-1) all season. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Fitzgerald is a player - along with Panthers TE Greg Olsen - whom he encourages young players to emulate.

''He's the right kind of person, the right kind of young man who understands what it takes to be successful in this game,'' Rivera said. ''It honestly doesn't surprise me that he's still playing, and it doesn't surprise me that he's having success like he is because he works at it.''

RED-ZONE WOES

Arizona's offense has been very efficient this year except when it gets in the red zone. That was a big issue in last week's 23-17 loss to Baltimore: The Cardinals had to settle for three field goals after getting inside Baltimore's 5-yard line. It would help to get David Johnson going in the run game. He had just 14 yards rushing on seven carries in Week 2.

KUECHLY ON A TEAR

The Panthers may be 0-2 but it has little to do with the play of linebacker Luke Kuechly, who is off to another terrific start. The five-time All-Pro selection had 17 tackles, including a tackle in the end zone on running back Peyton Barber for a safety in last week's 20-14 loss to the Buccaneers. Kuechly now has 973 tackles for his career, passing Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher for the most tackles by a player through his first eight seasons. Kuechly's average of 9.4 tackles per game is second only to Miami's Zach Thomas (9.8) in NFL history.

''They have such smart defensive players,'' said Kingsbury. ''It starts with Kuechly, who gets everything lined up and has such a great feel for the game and knows what offenses are going to run before they even run it.''

ALL McCAFFREY, ALL THE TIME

Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner said before the season he wanted to limit Christian McCaffrey's reps in the offense for fear of wearing him down. Well, that hasn't quite happened. Through two games, McCaffrey has been on the field for all 137 offensive plays. After combining for 209 yards on offense and two TDs in the season opener against the Rams, McCaffrey will look to get back on track against Arizona after being held to 53 yards by the Bucs. The Panthers scored 14 points against Tampa Bay, but it came on four field goals and a safety.

THIRD-DOWN STRUGGLES

If the Panthers want to succeed on offense they will need to start with moving the chains and sustaining drives. Carolina is converting a paltry 32% of its third downs (8 of 25) and is 0 for 3 on fourth-down conversions. A big part of that is the Panthers haven't used the multidimensional Newton as a runner as they have in the past due to shoulder and foot issues. In fact, Newton has five carries for minus-2 yards with two fumbles. With Allen expected to start at QB, it could add another dimension to the offense.

Player Notes
Jordan Howard Oct 23 12:20pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard might only play a fantasy relevant role in Week 8 if he is able to score a touchdown. Howard and the Eagles travel to Buffalo to take on a tough Bills Defense. While Howard has handled almost all early-down and goal line work lately, he has not put together many yards and is a complete non-factor in the passing game. He's looking at another game that could possibly be similar to his 50-yard performance in Week 7. Howard is a risky RB3 with a concerning floor this week.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Oct 23 11:53am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (quadriceps) is expected to play in Week 8 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Fantasy Spin: Conner is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, but he has scored touchdowns in two games straight. The Chargers are a good matchup for the RB2.

From TheHuddle

Carson Wentz Oct 23 11:50am ET

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz could have a hard time in Week 8 on the road against the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles offense looked like a mess in Week 7 against the Cowboys, with Wentz throwing for just 191 yards on 16 completed passes. The Bills Defense poses another threat to Wentz and the whole Philly offense. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) still not a sure thing to suit up, it looks like a week to fade every fantasy-relevant Eagle a bit. Wentz is more of a high-end QB2 this week.

From RotoBaller

Kerryon Johnson Oct 23 11:50am ET

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) underwent a procedure on Tuesday morning and will miss at least eight weeks while on injured reserve. After many had hoped that the 22-year-old would be in store for a breakout season, Johnson disappointed by compiling just 308 yards and three total touchdowns while averaging a subpar 3.3 yards per carry throughout six games. With his season potentially over, Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic will take over, with Johnson potentially getting the bulk of the carries on the ground and McKissic being involved catching passes out of the backfield. How exactly the time will be split is unknown at the moment in addition to the team also rumored to make a deal before the trade deadline.

From RotoBaller

DeSean Jackson Oct 23 11:13am ET

Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson (abdomen) won't practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.

Fantasy Spin: D-Jax could be inching toward returning, but he'll need to practice over the next couple of days to have a shot to face the Buffalo Bills. Alshon Jeffery remains a low-end WR2 option in PPR leagues if Jackson is out.

From TheHuddle

Washington Redskins Oct 23 11:00am ET

The Washington Redskins Defense will head to Minnesota on Thursday night to take on a Vikings team that has averaged 36 points a game over the last three weeks. Minnesota's recent offensive success directly coincides with its newly established willingness to air the ball out from the arm of Kirk Cousins, who has averaged 325 yards per game and thrown 10 total touchdowns in this span. Adding fuel to the grease fire that is Washington's fantasy outlook for Week 8, the Vikings also have a running back by the name of Dalvin Cook who just so happens to lead the NFL in rushing yards per game at 103.6. Even with Adam Thielen in danger of missing this game for the Vikings, there is no conceivable reason to deploy the Redskins defense in fantasy lineups this week.

From RotoBaller

Jeremy Sprinkle Oct 23 10:50am ET

Washington Redskins tight end Jeremy Sprinkle will presumably start for the fourth consecutive week on Thursday night against the Vikings, but that starting role has yet to yield any positive fantasy results. Vernon Davis has missed Washington's last three games, a time frame in which Sprinkle has caught a total of six passes for 54 yards. Even a visit to the endzone can't necessarily save him from a usage rate that low. The Vikings are allowing double-digit PPR production on average to tight ends, but the last thing you want to do is needlessly roll the dice on a risky Thursday night player and have it go up in flames. Whether Davis (who is currently listed as doubtful) unexpectedly suits up or not, there are safer and more proven options at tight end than Sprinkle for Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Paul Richardson Oct 23 10:30am ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson has a relatively favorable matchup on his hands Thursday, but has done nothing this season to convince fantasy owners he can capitalize. The Vikings are allowing an average of 15 receptions and 159 yards per game to opposing receivers, along with 11 total touchdowns. Richardson hasn't caught a pass for two straight weeks, and Terry McLaurin is a productive target vacuum in Washington's offense, so the reliability scale tips in the latter's direction. As much as the Redskins would probably like to involve someone other than McLaurin and diversify their attack, Richardson simply cannot be trusted as a fantasy play in any format based on his output to this point in the season.

From RotoBaller

Trey Quinn Oct 23 10:30am ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn has totaled seven catches for 56 yards in his last three games. His only double-digit PPR outing came all the way back in Week 1 when he happened to score a garbage-time touchdown. With a short week to prepare for Thursday night's game and a Redskins offense that hasn't looked any good for pretty much the entire season, Quinn's outlook remains grim even against a Vikings Defense that has been somewhat friendly to wide receivers. If he miraculously has a productive night against Minnesota after catching three or fewer passes in four consecutive weeks, it unfortunately needs to happen on the waiver wire.

From RotoBaller

Terry McLaurin Oct 23 10:20am ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin should be in line for a ton of targets in Thursday night's game at Minnesota, making him the only reasonably safe fantasy option among his teammates. The Vikings have allowed the most receptions to wide receivers of any team in the league, for 1,116 total yards and a league-high 11 touchdowns. McLaurin's well-established rapport with Case Keenum through the first half of the season suggests he should be the pass-catcher tasked with exploiting Minnesota's secondary. Game flow figures to work in his favor as well, as the Vikings could reasonably be expected to jump out to an early lead. McLaurin's volume keeps him in flex territory for WR-needy fantasy teams.

From RotoBaller

Case Keenum Oct 23 10:10am ET

Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum will look to bounce back from Sunday's 9-0 loss in which he threw for under 100 yards, but a date with Minnesota doesn't provide him with much more fantasy appeal. This should be interpreted more as a lack of faith in Washington's offense than a vote of confidence in the Vikings' relatively exploitable pass defense, but the point remains. The Redskins are averaging 12.9 points per game on offense, and they could be without both of Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson in the backfield. The hope here from a fantasy perspective is that Minnesota's suddenly explosive offense puts the Redskins up against a massive early deficit, thus forcing Keenum to air it out. Even if the Thursday night game unfolds as such, fantasy owners would be putting a ton of misguided faith in pass-catchers like Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn by starting Keenum in fantasy lineups. The reward does not outweigh the risk.

From RotoBaller

Wendell Smallwood Oct 23 10:00am ET

Washington Redskins running back Wendell Smallwood might be the starter by default in Thursday night's game at Minnesota. Adrian Peterson is questionable with a high ankle sprain, while Chris Thompson continues to nurse a toe injury that held him out of last week's contest. Considering the short week, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Redskins err on the side of caution regarding Peterson and Thompson. They don't have much to play for, and it wouldn't be worth risking further injury to either if one or both are not at 100% health. If Smallwood does have the backfield to himself, volume doesn't outweigh the unfavorable matchup. The Vikings are giving up 3.8 yards per carry to opposing backs, and have surrendered just one rushing touchdown to the position. Smallwood will have to turn in his fantasy value in the receiving game, which is not worth banking on. He is best avoided unless you find yourself in desperate need of a PPR flex.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Gaines Oct 23 2:03am ET

Houston Texans CB Phillip Gaines (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injury list Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Keion Adams Oct 23 1:43am ET

New York Giants LB Keion Adams (knee) was released from the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 21.

From TheHuddle

Pernell McPhee Oct 23 12:53am ET

Baltimore Ravens LB Pernell McPhee (triceps) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Brent Urban Oct 23 12:23am ET

Chicago Bears DE Jonathan Harris was released Tuesday, Oct. 22; the move cleared a spot for the signing of DL Brent Urban.

From TheHuddle

Elijah McGuire Oct 23 12:23am ET

Cleveland Browns RB Elijah McGuire was released from the practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Calvin Ridley Oct 22 10:53pm ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley was listed as the No. 2 receiver on the version of the Falcons' depth chart released following the trade of WR Mohamed Sanu Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Fantasy Spin: Ridley was already Atlanta's second-most productive receiver behind Julio Jones, but he stands to gain at least a few extra targets per game without much depth behind the top two wideouts for the Falcons.

From TheHuddle

Kerryon Johnson Oct 22 9:53pm ET

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Duke Johnson Oct 22 9:13pm ET

Houston Texans RB Duke Johnson out-snapped RB Carlos Hyde 39-to-26 in the Week 7 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Oct. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Johnson received a total of nine touches and racked up 56 yards. It was his first start of the season but Carlos Hyde still had more carries. Johnson has the higher ceiling in PPR formats, but Hyde is the safer option in standard leagues.

From TheHuddle