New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick takes questions from reporters before an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and head coach Bill Belichick, right, speak during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Cleveland Browns' Christian Kirksey (58) celebrates with Myles Garrett (95) after Garrett sacked New York Jets' quarterback Luke Falk (8) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) When the New York Jets called New England earlier this month to inquire about trading for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, it was a long shot considering Bill Belichick hadn't once traded during his Patriots coaching tenure with the team he infamously resigned from after one day as head coach in 2000.
But Jets coach Adam Gase recalls New York general manager Joe Douglas being optimistic about the prospect in the aftermath of New England signing four-time All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown.
Thomas, who played under Gase when he was offensive coordinator in Denver in 2013 and `14, was a perfect fit for an offense the first-year Jets coach felt needed a boost after a season-opening loss to Buffalo.
''We were trying to figure out, `How could we go about this?''' Gase recalled. ''I think to Joe's credit, he was like, `I'm just going to call him and the worst they could say is no.' And when they said, `Let's talk,' then those guys worked it out.''
Belichick acknowledged that the stars aligned perfectly to make a rare deal between the AFC East foes possible.
''I would say, a certain period of time when there's no way this transaction would've happened,'' Belichick said. ''They're not the easiest trades to make, but, you know, if the trade is good for both teams and ultimately what we're trying to do is improve our team.''
It may be the only bit of kindness Belichick shows New York (0-2) when it arrives at Gillette Stadium for Sunday's matchup.
The Patriots (2-0) ran through Pittsburgh and Miami in their first two games, outscoring them 76-3 in a pair of routs .
Now they face a Jets team against which they have won six straight games and eight consecutive regular-season games in New England. The Jets beat the Patriots in Foxborough in the playoffs in the 2010 season, but haven't won a regular-season game there since 2008.
The Jets opened as an 18-point underdog. The line quickly grew to 23 by early in the week.
Asked this week if he's ever gone into a game with his opponent favored by that much, Gase smiled.
''Oh, I'm sure,'' Gase said. ''I was in Detroit five years.''
Some things to know as the two AFC East rivals square off in the first of two meetings this season:
Luke Falk will make his first NFL start after making his debut last Monday night against Cleveland.
The 24-year-old quarterback was on the practice squad a week ago, but was promoted to the active roster a few hours before the game. That was because Sam Darnold is recovering from mononucleosis . Trevor Siemian started against the Browns, but is now out for the season after injuring ankle ligaments. Falk went 20 of 25 for 198 yards after replacing Siemian.
Gase chose to stick with Falk as the starter - until Darnold returns in a few weeks. Falk was with Gase last season in Miami.
''He's very confident in his abilities,'' Gase said of Falk. ''He's confident in his intelligence, and he's able to take things from the classroom with no reps and go out and execute. Obviously, being in the system for two years now, he has a really good grasp of it.''
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL yet to give up a TD and are just the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to allow three points or fewer through their first two games. The previous one was 1981 Buffalo Bills.
ON THE CORNER
Trumaine Johnson entered the season as the Jets' No. 1 cornerback. He opened the team's second game on the sideline - and stayed there most of the game.
Johnson, who signed a five-year, $72.5 million deal last year, was replaced in the lineup by Nate Hairston. And, it appears that could be the case against the Patriots.
''It just hasn't worked out as well as we need it to,'' Gase said of Johnson's benching. ''The good thing is we've got a long ways to go.''
Johnson didn't play until late in the fourth quarter when Hairston dealt with cramps. Johnson acknowledged after the game against the Browns and again during the week that he was ''upset'' by the team's decision. He insisted, though, he just wants to do what's best for the team to help them win.
''When my number's called,'' Johnson said, ''I'll be ready to play.''
New England's offensive line took another hit this week when starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn was placed on injured reserve .
Wynn hurt a foot during the Patriots' 43-0 win at Miami. This is the second straight season Wynn has been placed on IR. A preseason Achilles tendon injury caused him to miss his entire rookie season in 2018.
It comes after starting center David Andrews went on IR before the season opener with blood clots in his lungs. Starting right tackle Marcus Cannon also sat out last week after injuring his shoulder in the win over Pittsburgh.
Marshall Newhouse, who was signed last week, started in Cannon's place against Miami. He is likely to get nod this week if Cannon remains out.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram rushed 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against the Bengals. The Ravens play a Seahawks Defense that has allowed 557 rushing yards and given up six touchdowns to opposing backs in 2019. In Week 6 Seattle allowed the Browns to rush for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Ingram has rushed for at least 44 yards in every game this season, but is becoming a touchdown-dependent option. He hasn't even come close to his outlier performance against Kansas City when he rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Baltimore still hosts a run-first offense so expect Ingram to get his touches, but he's in RB2 territory for Week 7.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson posted 236 passing yards, 152 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown against the Bengals in Week 6. Baltimore plays a Seahawks Defense in Week 7 that's allowed the eighth-most passing yards in the league through six games (1,602). Seattle has allowed at least 15 fantasy points every week to opposing quarterbacks in 2019 and let Baker Mayfield run for a touchdown in Week 6. Receiver Marquise Brown is still questionable to play with an ankle injury. If Hollywood is unable to go on Sunday, expect tight end Mark Andrews to get the bulk of targets and for Jackson to use his legs to get the ball moving. Jackson has firmly placed himself as a top-three QB start for the rest of the way.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) was a limited participant in practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is questionable for Monday Night Football.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas may not get to face his former team in the New England Patriots. He's coming off his best game of the season in Week 6, catching all four of his targets for 62 yards. He's a flex option at best as a bye-week replacement if active.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon (hamstring) didn't practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is considered doubtful for Monday, Oct. 21's game against the New England Patriots.
Fantasy Spin: Herndon is yet to play this season following suspension and now injury. WRs Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson will remain the target hogs in New York's passing game.
New York Jets LB Albert McClellan (concussion) didn't practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is out for Monday, Oct. 21's game against the New England Patriots. DE Henry Anderson (shoulder), OL Kelvin Beachum (ankle), RB Trenton Cannon (foot/ankle), LB Neville Hewitt (neck/knee) and G Kelechi Osemele (shoulder) also didn't practice and are considered doubtful. OL Alex Lewis (neck), CB Nate Hairston (knee), LB C.J. Mosley (groin), DT Steve McLendon (hamstring), CB Darryl Roberts (ankle) and Brian Winters (shoulder/knee) were limited participants and are questionable. C Ryan Kalil (shoulder) didn't practice and is also questionable.
New England Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) was limited in practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is considered questionable for Monday, Oct. 21's games against the New York Jets.
Fantasy Spin: Dorsett is at risk of missing a second straight game after he left the Week 5 contest against the Washington Redskins with just four snaps played. WR Josh Gordon (ankle) has already been ruled out and WR Julian Edelman (chest) is also questionable. Expect plenty of work for RBs James White and Sony Michel in the passing game.
New England Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (foot) was a limited participant in practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is considered questionable for Monday Night Football against the New York Jets.
Fantasy Spin: Burkhead hasn't been noteworthy this season outside of a surprise Week 3 start with RBs James White and Sony Michel inactive. Expect his two teammates to see plenty of work this week.
New England Patriots TE Ryan Izzo (concussion) didn't practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and has been ruled out for Monday night's game against the New York Jets. TE Matt LaCosse (knee) also didn't practice and has been ruled out. S Patrick Chung (heel/chest) and WR Gunner Olszewski (hamstring) were limited and are questionable for Monday.
New England Patriots WR Josh Gordon (ankle) was ruled out for Monday, Oct. 21's game against the New York Jets.
Fantasy Spin: Gordon made just one seven-yard catch against the New York Giants last Thursday night. His absence should open up playing time and targets for Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers. Both are desperation flex plays as bye-week replacements.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (chest) was a limited participant in practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is considered questionable for Monday, Oct. 21's game against the New York Jets.
Fantasy Spin: Edelman had season highs with 15 targets, nine receptions and 113 yards last Thursday against the New York Giants. He should suit up Monday, but don't expect such high volume with added work for the running backs and WR Jakobi Meyers likely on the way.
Free-agent DT Mike Pennel was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Oct. 19. DT Terrell McClain was released in a corresponding move.
Despite being the starting tight end last week, Luke Willson was only able to scrape together three targets. Baltimore is a neutral-to-slightly bad matchup for TE's, but even in a plus matchup, Willson will only be relevant if he's able to break the plane. Until he builds a track record of decent usage, Willson isn't even worth a speculative add at this point.
Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson was added to the 53-man roster Saturday, Oct. 19, following his six-game suspension. OL Brett Toth (illness) was placed on the non-football injury list in a corresponding move.
No team in football has yielded more rushing yards per contest than the Cincinnati Bengals during 2019, who have allowed the opposition to storm down the field for over 184 yards per contest. What does all that mean? Leonard Fournette, the Jaguars unquestioned No. 1 option on the offensive side of the ball should be in line to feast. Not only has Fournette seen at least 20 carries in each of his last three contests, he has recorded at least four receptions in five of six games this year. While a lot of the talk surrounding Fournette has been focused on his aversion to finding the end zone through the first six weeks, the combination of one of the leagues top rushers facing the one of the leagues most permeable run defenses should equal big things for No. 27.
Jacksonville Jaguars second-year wide receiver D.J. Chark might wind up being the unlikeliest member of the Pro Bowl roster if he continues his dominant 2019 campaign. Through six games, Chark has totaled 528 yards and five touchdowns, bringing that hot stretch into a matchup against a Cincinnati Bengals Defense that has yielded the fewest points to opposing wide receivers entering this week. The 23-year-old has recorded four or fewer catches in two of his past three games, but the targets havent been an issue Chark has combined to see 26 balls thrown his way in that span. Hes a reasonably priced asset in DFS and should likely be roster in most traditional formats.
Houston Texas running back Duke Johnson is still drawing snaps and making the most of his time on the field, but has seen Carlos Hyde erupt over the past few weeks as a ball carrier. Johnson found the end zone as a receiver last week, his first receiving touchdown since Week 10 of last season. The former Miami (FL) standout is yet to record double-digit carries in a contest this season, limiting his fantasy value significantly. Despite averaging a gaudy 6.5 yards per carry through the first six weeks, owners will need to see Johnson consistently tip the scales as it pertains to a timeshare in the backfield before deploying him in lineups.
Houston Texans CB Bradley Roby (hamstring) on Saturday, Oct. 19, was downgraded to out for the Week 7 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Roby did not travel with the team.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller erupted onto the scene as a legitimate fantasy weapon in Week 5 with his 15-reception, three-touchdown game. He followed it up by a pedestrian outing last week, but he did see nine targets, with finding the end zone on multiple occasions very nearly coming to fruition. The Colts pass defense is nothing to be scoffed at, but Fullers boom/bust potential seems to be at its apex with his recent output. With quarterback Deshaun Watson under center, Fuller presents a definite traditional fantasy option and a great upside DFS play.
He may have been acquired in the wake of the Lamar Miller injury, but Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde is making his impact felt with his new franchise. Houston is fifth in the league with nearly 140 yards gained on the ground per game, with Hyde now having established himself as the bell cow of the group. He carried the ball a season-high 26 times last week, resulting in his first performance that exceeded 100 yards since Week 2 of the 2017 year. In addition, he has found the end zone in three of his past four games, aiming to continue that trend against a middle of the pack Colts rush defense.
The primary concern surrounding Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook is a shoulder ailment that has kept his status for Sundays contest up in the air. While owners wouldnt be blamed for shying away with the injury lingering enough to keep the questionable tag on him, Westbrook has seen a combined 19 targets from quarterback Gardner Minshew over the past two weeks. The former Oklahoma standout has only pulled in one touchdown reception this season but has had numerous opportunities since then. A matchup against a thin Cincinnati secondary could lead to a high-volume passing afternoon for all those involved in the Jacksonville offense.