Sat Aug 17 7:38pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Derrick Willies (84) makes a catch for a touchdown in front of Indianapolis Colts cornerback Jalen Collins (32) and defensive back Rolan Milligan (42) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts cornerback Marvell Tell (39) breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns wide receiver D.J. Montgomery (83) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Tell was called for pass interference on the play. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron (85) celebrates a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) throws against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jaelen Strong (10) celebrates a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Cleveland Browns wide receiver D.J. Montgomery (83) drops a pass as he is hit by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Pierre Desir (35) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Garrett Gilbert threw two touchdown passes in the first half and David Blough added another TD pass in the second half Saturday, leading the Cleveland Browns past Indianapolis 21-18.
Cleveland (2-0) has won nine of its past 10 preseason games - this one with its top two quarterbacks sitting out and Kareem Hunt returned to the field for the first time in nearly nine months. It's the first time the Browns have beaten the Colts in the preseason since 1979 when the franchise was still located in Baltimore.
Quarterback Chad Kelly did everything he could to keep the Colts' winning streak intact.
After Blough gave Cleveland a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter with a 4-yard TD pass to Derrick Willies , Kelly tried to rally the Colts.
He took advantage of one roughing the passer call to get the Colts into scoring position then threw a 24-yard TD strike to Ross Travis , who drew a lowering the helmet penalty on the play. Kelly's 1-yard conversion pass to Hale Hentges made it 21-18. And Kelly led the Colts to the Browns 9-yard line in the final minute before Will Harvey swatted away Kelly's final throw on fourth-and-1.
Gilbert played the entire first half and was 13 of 19 with 151 yards. Blough played the entire second half and was 7 of 12 with 74 yards.
Kelly wound up 12 of 17 with 115 yards for Indy (0-2).
Hunt made his first start with the Browns and got his first carry since Nov. 19 but didn't stick around long.
He had two carries for 6 yards while playing the first two series.
But the league's 2017 rushing champion did take another step on his comeback journey. He hadn't played in a football game since video of him shoving and kicking a woman surfaced in November. He was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks later and didn't land with another team until the Browns signed him in February.
Browns: Visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday.
Colts: Host the Chicago Bears next Saturday.
Five Hot Starts: Week 3
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage has been a pleasant surprise through two weeks of the 2020 season. Gage has taken the Mohamed Sanu role to new heights, as he ranks in the top-10 so far in targets and receptions. However, Week 3 brings a tougher matchup against the Bears, who have yet to allow 100 yards to any receiver this year. If Julio Jones (hamstring) doesn't play, Gage would see a slight boost in value, though he would also be going up against a more skilled defensive back, potentially lowering his efficiency. He is best looked at as a WR4, who could have the upside to finish as a WR3.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been the number-one wideout in fantasy football through two weeks. Ridley is tied for the league-lead in receiving yards with 239, ranks sixth with 23 targets and has scored two touchdowns in consecutive games. Week 3 brings a matchup against the Bears, who have yet to allow a 100-yard receiver, though it should be noted they haven't played a passing offense with Atlanta's firepower. Ridley is on fire right now and very well could be the first 100-yard receiver against this unit. If teammate Julio Jones (hamstring) sits out, Ridley would see even more targets in Week 3. Either way, he should be in lineups as a WR1.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) faces a Bears Defense that has surrendered the seventh-fewest fantasy points to enemy wideouts so far in 2020. After reportedly making his injury worse in Week 2, Jones missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday- needless to say, his Week 3 status is in jeopardy right now. There is some considerable risk if the veteran wideout plays, both of re-injury and Atlanta using him as the dreaded decoy. However, this is still an All-Pro wideout we're talking about, who put up a 9-157-0 line in Week 1 while having the same injury designation he has now. If he's playing, start him as your WR1.
Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II gets a seemingly-tough matchup against the Bears. Chicago has allowed the 11th-fewest rushing yards to opposing backs, though they did it against an uninspiring Lions' backfield and a Giants' offense that lost Saquon Barkley (knee) early in the game. Gurley II- who quietly ranks eighth in rushing attempts- should be able to find running room against the Bears. He may not look like the 2018 version of himself, but Gurley II can certainly put up RB2 numbers with the kind of volume he's getting. If he gets more involved as a receiver, it will be gravy to his fantasy managers. Plug him into lineups as an RB2/flex for Week 3.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will face off with the Chicago Bears in Week 3. Chicago presents a tough matchup, as they've allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks through two weeks and have surrendered the league's lowest passer rating against. However, they've faced Matthew Stafford and Daniel Jones, neither of whom are playing at the level that Ryan is so far. The veteran signal-caller ranks in the top-10 in passing yards, yards per attempt and touchdown passes through two weeks. Ryan has also thrown the second-most passes in the NFL, thanks to a poor Falcons' defense. This is Ryan's toughest matchup yet, but he should throw enough to put up solid QB1 numbers.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry is off to a slow start in the 2020 season. The usual target-hog has turned nine targets into eight catches for 107 scoreless yards in two games. The new Cleveland offense has been run-heavy, as expected under Kevin Stefanski, which has limited Landry thus far. The veteran wideout will go up against the Washington Football Team in Week 3. Washington has an exploitable secondary but they also have a dangerous pass rush that could throw off the rhythm of the Cleveland passing attack. Fantasy gamers need to treat Landry as a low-upside WR3 until he starts to be a larger part of the game plan.
Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper is off to a slow start with his new team. The veteran tight end has caught just four of six targets for 37 yards through two games. Last year's overall TE6 was certainly expected to perform better by those who drafted him this summer. Hooper will go up against the Washington Football Team in Week 3. Washington was shredded by Dallas Goedert in Week 1 and is not a particularly formidable opponent for fantasy tight ends. That being said, it is hard to trust Hooper in fantasy until he shows that he is going to be targeted more heavily in the Cleveland offense. Treat him as a low-end TE2 in Week 3.
The Denver Broncos Defense must disrupt Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady in Week 3 to have a chance at avoiding an 0-3 start on the season. Linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu has stepped up in Von Miller's (ankle) absence, starting across from former fifth overall pick Bradley Chubb. The young secondary of Essang Bassey and Michael Ojemudia will surely be tested by Brady, with Tampa wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who is returning from a concussion, having the clear advantage. Denver's D has just two sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception through two games, good for three fantasy points per game. Until the Broncos get a better matchup, you should look elsewhere for your starting defensive unit.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to check on Smith-Schuster's status after practice Friday, Sept. 25, but he was able to play last week despite the injury. He should be at least a No. 2 receiver in leagues if he is able to play.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Sept. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Roethlisberger is off to a terrific start to the season and seems to have a good connection with his receivers. He can be considered a low-end No. 1 quarterback in deeper fantasy leagues.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant has caught nine of his 11 targets for 138 yards and two touchdowns through two games this season and has even more fantasy upside now that receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) is out for the rest of the year. Even with quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) out and backup Jeff Driskel in this Sunday against Tampa Bay, Fant should see a healthy array of targets, putting him at least on the TE1/2 borderline for fantasy managers. Saints tight end Jared Cook had five catches for 80 yards in the season-opener against rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr., so Fant could easily match or exceed that kind of production.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is coming off a productive game in a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Beckham caught four passes for 74 yards and a touchdown in the win. He will go up against a leaky secondary employed by the Washington Football Team in Week 3. While Washington doesn't have a great secondary, they do have one of the pass rushes in the league, led by rookie Chase Young. That could spell trouble for the Cleveland passing attack in Week 3. The Browns are also seven-point home favorites, so expect the team to skew run-heavy on Sunday. Fantasy gamers can still start Beckham as a low-end WR2 but a WR1 week out of OBJ is looking unlikely.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus has a big leg and kicks half of his games in altitude, but he just hasn't been worth putting in starting lineups just yet in 2020. McManus didn't attempt a field goal in the season-opening loss to the Titans, but he connected on two of his three tries in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers. With quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) and running back Phillip Lindsay (toe) out this week and receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) out the rest of the season, Denver's offense isn't expected to move the ball consistently enough to give McManus enough chances for points. In a matchup against the Buccaneers in Week 3 where Denver is the clear underdog, it's wise to avoid McManus.
Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Sept. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Jackson has been targeted 16 times over the first two games of the season and should see plenty of targets this week with Jalen Reagor sidelined. He will have a favorable matchup and can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option in leagues.
Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams (hamstring), TE Josiah Deguara (ankle) and P JK Scott (non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 24. DL Kenny Clark (groin) and LB Randy Ramsey (groin) were limited. DL Montravius Adams (toe), CB Jaire Alexander (hand), C Corey Linsley (thumb) and OL Billy Turner (knee) practiced in full.
New Orleans Saints DT Malcom Brown (foot), LB Chase Hansen (hip) and WR Michael Thomas (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 24. OT Terron Armstead (groin), DE Marcus Davenport (hip) and DE Trey Hendrickson (groin) were limited.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick will be in three-receiver sets moving forward now that Courtland Sutton (knee) is done for the rest of the 2020 season. Patrick will be behind rookie wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler and tight end Noah Fant in the passing-game pecking order, though, which will leave him very few targets on a weekly basis in this offense. On top of that, quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) will miss multiple weeks with his injury. The 26-year-old has six catches (10 targets) for 54 scoreless yards through two weeks and should remain on waiver wires in the majority of fantasy leagues.
Minnesota Vikings CB Cameron Dantzler (rib), CB Mike Hughes (neck) and CB Kris Boyd (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 24. RB Mike Boone (concussion) and OT Riley Reiff (ankle) were limited.
Updating a previous report, Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle (knee) was limited during practice Thursday, Sept. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Doyle may be a game-time decision this week, so fantasy players will need to monitor his status over the next few days. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 tight end in leagues if he is able to play.
New York Giants DB Adrian Colbert (quad) was limited in practice for a second straight day Thursday, Sept. 24. LB Carter Coughlin (hamstring) practiced in full.