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FFL: Week 4 | NFL: Week 4

Saints at Rams in rematch of disputed NFC title game

Sun Sep 15 11:37am ET
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Adrian Peterson, DeSean Jackson, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Nick Foles, Andrew Luck, DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Jacoby Brissett, Jameis Winston, Wil Lutz, John Ross, Joe Mixon, Tyreek Hill, Deshaun Watson, Marlon Mack, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, T.J. Hockenson, Josh Jacobs

In this Jan. 20, 2019 file photo, Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (11) during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game in New Orleans. For those who have short memories, very short, the last time the Rams and Saints met was in the NFC championship game in the Big Easy. New Orleans was victimized by a blatant officiating non-call that led to a rules change allowing pass interference to be part of the video review system. The two teams meet on Sunday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, file photo, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks to league referees before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, in New Orleans. The New Orleans Saints visit Los Angeles for a rematch of the NFC championship game won by the Rams, but remembered for the no-call that created the opening for Sean McVay's team to storm through. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)

In this Jan. 20, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints' Tommylee Lewis during the second half of the NFL football NFC championship game in New Orleans. The New Orleans Saints visit Los Angeles for a rematch of the NFC championship game won by the Rams, but remembered for the no-call that created the opening for Sean McVay's team to storm through. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay speaks to members of the media following an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, in Charlotte, N.C. The New Orleans Saints visit Los Angeles for a rematch of the NFC championship game won by the Rams, but remembered for the no-call that created the opening for Sean McVay's team to storm through. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)

Throw that flag.

For those who have short memories - very short - the last time the Rams and Saints met was in the NFC championship game in the Big Easy. New Orleans was victimized by a blatant officiating non-call that led to a rules change allowing pass interference to be part of the video review system.

The echoes of ''We was robbed!'' still reverberate in the Superdome.

So the Saints won't need any extra motivation when they visit Los Angeles in a stellar early season matchup. Even if they are trying to downplay the unforgettably painful memories.

''Still haven't, never will. When you say forgotten about, you have to find a way to compartmentalize it to where you can move on in a positive way, so I found a way to do that,'' Drew Brees said. ''But as far as just the events, you live and learn and sometimes things don't go your way, and you've got to find a way to come out better on the other side.''

Saints coach Sean Payton stressed these teams are not the same.

''It feels like it was a long time ago,'' he said. ''It's part of our game. These are two different teams now, a lot of roster moves from last year to this year. We're playing each other early in the season, so it doesn't feel like that many games ago relative to the distance between when we played. You're looking at two different teams.''

Both teams opened with tight victories, New Orleans rallying to beat Houston in the final seconds on Wil Lutz's 58-yard field goal, the Rams winning at Carolina.

While it's far too early to call this a game for NFC supremacy, the Saints and Rams should be among the conference elite.

''I think our players, our coaches know the level of urgency that's going to be needed for us to be at our best in order to give ourselves a chance to compete and hopefully come out of this thing 2-0,'' Rams coach Sean McVay said.

The second week began Thursday night with Tampa Bay's victory over North Carolina in a game that ended early Friday after being delayed 25 minutes in the first quarter because of lightning.

Jameis Winston threw for 208 yards and a touchdown and Tampa Bay held Cam Newton in check and came up with a late goal-line stand to give coach Bruce Arians his first victory with the team.

Tampa Bay improved to 1-1, and Carolina dropped to 0-2.

Seattle (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1)

Two retooling clubs that, for one week at least, looked as if they were headed in opposite directions.

The Seahawks struggled to beat Cincinnati, but showed the elements of being a contender, particularly their fortitude in coming back. Seattle is 2-7 in Pittsburgh, outscored 45-0 in the past two trips - in 2007 and 2011.

It's difficult to believe the Steelers won't rebound from their abysmal performance in Foxborough. Maybe they need a bit of that fortitude Seattle displayed.

''I like to think everything just flew off and everything was wrong so we can say `That's not going to happen again,''' defensive tackle Cam Heyward said. ''But we did some things right. Not every play was minus, but I'm going to treat it like every play was.''

Indianapolis (0-1) at Tennessee (1-0)

Both teams were far more impressive in their openers than predicted. The Colts took the Chargers to overtime, while the Titans manhandled the Browns in Cleveland.

Andrew Luck held a mastery over Tennessee, and Indy has won 13 of the past 15 meetings. Of course, Luck is retired, and the only two Titans wins in that span came with current quarterback Jacoby Brissett behind center. Watch for Marlon Mack, who had a career-high 174 yards rushing at LA and leads the league.

The Titans are retiring Nos. 27 and 9 for Eddie George and the late Steve McNair at halftime, the first 9 and 27 retired by any NFL team.

San Francisco (1-0) at Cincinnati (0-1)

Two more clubs that had solid debuts beyond expectations. San Francisco used two pick-6s to beat Tampa Bay, and the Bengals gave Seattle all it could handle before a one-point road loss.

The 49ers have the highest winning percentage vs. Cincinnati of any NFL team, and last opened a season with two road wins in 1989. They worked out at Youngstown State to avoid a second straight cross-country flight.

The Bengals' Andy Dalton had career highs with 35 completions and 418 yards passing, his first 400-yard game. Eight receivers caught passes, led by John Ross, who had careers highs with seven catches, 158 yards and two TDs. But running back Joe Mixon hurt his left ankle.

Kansas City (1-0) at Oakland (1-0)

One of the great rivalries in sports, dating to the AFL days. KC leads the series 65-53-2 and has won eight of the past nine.

But the Chiefs will be without injured star wideout Tyreek Hill, though Sammy Watkins was spectacular against Jacksonville with nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns.

The Raiders had an offensive standout in their win over Denver, too. First-round draft pick Josh Jacobs ran 23 times for 85 yards and two touchdowns, also caught a 28-yard pass that set up a touchdown.

''This man wasn't really the feature back at Alabama. He's not drawing from a lot of experience,'' coach Jon Gruden said. ''I'm anxious to see how he feels ... after 24 touches because we'd like to get him 24 more next week.''

Dallas (1-0) at Washington (0-1)

Another terrific rivalry that has become one-sided: Dallas has won seven of nine.

Washington got off to a nice start in Philly, then phlopped in the second half. It also lost its top running back, Darrius Guice, to a right knee injury, meaning Adrian Peterson - a healthy scratch last weekend - figures to get some action.

No such worries for the Cowboys now that Zeke Elliott is in the fold. He should be in better form on Sunday, too. And the Dallas passing game ranks first in the league after toying with the Giants.

Cleveland (0-1) at New York Jets (0-1), Monday night

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away ...

Well, it actually was 1970 and the Jets had Joe Namath and a recent Super Bowl crown, while the Browns were one of the league's elite franchises with an enviable history.

Now? Gang Green hasn't been back to the big game since and blew a 16-0 lead at home to Buffalo last week. Those Browns of yesteryear now reside in Baltimore as the Ravens, and this group has made the postseason once in its reincarnation in Cleveland.

Still, the NFL wanted a redux of the first ''Monday Night Football'' telecast, so here we are, with a pair of clubs that basically faltered in their openers.

New England (1-0) at Miami (0-1)

Shield your eyes.

The Patriots have had issues in South Florida, losing five of their past six visits. Considering how rarely Tom Brady loses anywhere, that's striking.

There's a catch this year: Miami has its sights on the first overall draft pick, not on-field achievements; did somebody mention tanking? The Dolphins were humiliated by Baltimore 59-10 in the opener.

Meanwhile, Brady & Co. picked apart Pittsburgh last Sunday night, an ominous sign for the rest of the AFC, because the Steelers supposedly are a contender in the conference.

Arizona (0-0-1) at Baltimore (1-0)

Lamar Jackson, Heisman Trophy owner (2016), meet Kyler Murray, who took that award last season.

Both exciting and versatile QBs had impressive debuts. Jackson had a career day in only his eighth pro start, completing 17 of 20 passes for five touchdowns. Yes, it was against Miami, but those numbers stand out against anybody.

Murray rallied the Cardinals from a 24-6 deficit in the fourth quarter vs. Detroit, overcoming some early mistakes to produce tons of clutch plays.

''Once you kind of get in that rhythm, we're going quick, everything kind of just opened up,'' Murray said. ''We just got into a rhythm and we started playing better.''

Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) at Detroit (0-0-1)

The Chargers and Lions both worked overtime last week. At least LA got the win over Indianapolis.

Austin Ekeler had the winning, 7-yard TD run and finished with a career-high 154 yards from scrimmage. Ekeler became first non-drafted player to have more than 150 scrimmage yards, two receiving and a rushing TD in the same game in 43 years.

Detroit has lost seven of the past eight in the series. Its best hope Sunday might be T.J. Hockenson who had 131 yards receiving, breaking the record for a tight end in his NFL debut set 59 years ago by Monty Stickles.

Philadelphia (1-0) at Atlanta (0-1)

DeSean Jackson's return to Philly couldn't have gone much better. He made eight receptions for 154 yards and a pair of 50-plus-yard TD catches in sparking the Eagles' rally from a 17-0 hole vs. the Redskins.

''DeSean will tell you he's got practice speed and he's got game speed,'' coach Doug Pederson said. ''Practice speed is around 16 miles per hour and game speed is up to 22. He's a gamer. He's dynamic, he's electric, and he loves when the lights come on. That speed is real, and we saw it Sunday.''

What's real with the Falcons is hard to tell after an ugly loss at Minnesota, losing first-round pick guard Chris Lindstrom (broken foot).

Minnesota (1-0) at Green Bay (1-0)

Twenty-two of the past 33 regular-season meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer, including both games last season.

Aaron Rodgers has seven career games with a passer rating of 130-plus against Minnesota, the most by a quarterback against one team in NFL history. But this one very much could be decided by the defenses.

Green Bay's was staunch in its win at Chicago, with five sacks and lots of physicality. The Vikings has two picks, four sacks, and kept Matt Ryan and the Falcons off balance in an easy win.

Chicago (0-1) at Denver (0-1)

Vic Fangio designed the stingy and aggressive defense the Bears used last season to win the NFC North. He's now, at age 61, at last a head coach, and his Broncos D, aside from linebacker Josey Jewell's career-best 14 tackles, was anything but dominant at Oakland.

Chicago's defense once more was very strong, this time with Chuck Pagano as the coordinator. Edge rusher Khalil Mack had 10 sacks, three forced fumbles, 14 tackles for loss in eight career games against Denver while with Oakland. Mack had a career-best five sacks at Denver in with Oakland.

Jacksonville (0-1) at Houston (0-1)

If there's one team that should be encouraged by an opening loss, it's the Texans. Yes, their prevent defense prevented victory at New Orleans, but it was Drew Brees, after all, performing magic on the other side.

Most encouraging for Houston was the spectacular combination of Deshaun Watson throwing to DeAndre Hopkins, and expect to see plenty more of that Sunday. Star edge rusher J.J. Watt didn't play much of a role against the Saints, so expect to see him do so this time.

Pity the Jags, who felt they cured their longstanding QB troubles by signing Nick Foles, only to lose him early in falling to Kansas City. Just as bad, the ballyhooed D was hooey.

Buffalo (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)

Despite the names, the Jets and Giants are New Jersey teams. The Bills are the only real representative of New York state, and they woke up in the fourth quarter at the Meadowlands last Sunday to down the Jets. They return in a rare bit of scheduling to play the Giants while thinking of a Big Apple sweep.

The Giants need to upgrade the pass defense that was torn apart by Dallas and ranks dead last. Yes, worse than Miami.

Player Notes
Tim Williams Sep 29 8:03pm ET

Free-agent DT Myles Adams (Panthers, DB Damarious Randall (Raiders), DT Kobe Smith (Titans) and LB Tim Williams (Packers) tried out for the Seattle Seahawks Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Ryan Switzer Sep 29 8:03pm ET

Free-agent WR Ryan Switzer (Steelers) visited the Cleveland Browns Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Pittsburgh Steelers Sep 29 8:00pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense was going to enter Week 4 as a premier unit no matter the circumstances. But after a COVID-19 outbreak within the Tennessee organization where multiple players and personnel tested positive (but were asymptomatic), Pittsburgh will face an offense that likely wont be able to practice for the entire week. Derrick Henry will be difficult to tackle no matter the prevailing circumstances, but the boost of facing off against a team that may be out of sync should make the Steelers a highly valuable defensive fantasy asset. The league may opt to push the contest to Monday, which would take Pittsburghs defense out of DFS consideration come Sunday, so fantasy managers will want to check back for the latest updates.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Lauletta Sep 29 7:53pm ET

Free-agent WR Gary Jennings (Dolphins), QB Kyle Lauletta (Falcons) and WR Damion Willis (Browns) tried out for the Detroit Lions Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Trevor Davis Sep 29 7:53pm ET

Free-agent DB Nate Brooks (Dolphins), WR Trevor Davis (Bears) and QB Shea Patterson (Chiefs) worked out for the Houston Texans Tuesday, Sept. 29. Undrafted free-agent Kelly Bryant (Missouri) also tried out.

From TheHuddle

Teez Tabor Sep 29 7:53pm ET

Free-agent DB Nevelle Clarke (Vikings), DB Tino Ellis (Saints) and DB Teez Tabor (49ers) tried out for the Miami Dolphins Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Dede Westbrook Sep 29 7:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook has hauled in just one reception for four yards this season, with the time that he has seen due primarily to DJ Chark Jr.s absence last Thursday versus Miami. After back-to-back seasons with 66 receptions, Westbrook will have an uphill battle to that level of production in 2020 due to the breakout nature of rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. Despite working his way back from an undisclosed off-season injury, there likely arent many fantasy managers still hanging on for production at this stage; Westbrook is a massive risk due to his slipping role among an offense that has a plethora of options when Chark is healthy.

From RotoBaller

Kendall Donnerson Sep 29 7:43pm ET

Free-agent LB Kendall Donnerson (Raiders, OT John Leglue (Saints) and OT Timon Parris (Falcons) tried out for the Cincinnati Bengals Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

San Francisco 49ers Sep 29 7:40pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers Defense may have sustained significant blows by losing Nick Bosa (knee) and Solomon Thomas (knee) for the remainder of the season in Week 2, but that didnt stop them from looking strong against the Giants in Week 3. Looking ahead, theyll face a rocky Eagles offense that has had to answer questions about Carson Wentzs starting quarterback status since Sunday, with a Dolphins squad two weeks away that is quarterbacked by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has tossed three interceptions this season. While their status as the preeminent defensive unit may have taken a step back, San Francisco still unquestionably has a defense worth rostering and deploying on a weekly basis until the group proves otherwise.

From RotoBaller

Allen Lazard Sep 29 7:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard benefited greatly from Davante Adams (hamstring) absence during Week 3, amassing six receptions for a career-high 146 receiving yards and a touchdown. Should Adams continue to be sidelined this Sunday against Atlanta, Lazard would track up the board as a premier WR option due to the Falcons propensity for being burned by opposing wideouts through the first three weeks. Even if Adams is cleared to return, Lazard has clearly developed a rapport with Rodgers, hauling in 13 of the 17 targets that he has seen thus far in 2020. With other potential favorable matchups against Tampa Bay and Houston on the horizon, Lazard can be added in most season-long formats as an upside play for October, and potentially beyond.

From RotoBaller

Kenjon Barner Sep 29 7:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Kenjon Barner, DB Ross Cockrell, WR Cyril Grayson and PK Greg Joseph were named to the Week 4 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Trevor Siemian Sep 29 7:23pm ET

Tennessee Titans LB Daren Bates, WR Cameron Batson, PK Tucker McCann and QB Trevor Siemian were placed on the Week 4 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Alfred Morris Sep 29 7:20pm ET

The New York Giants have inked veteran running back Alfred Morris to the teams practice squad in a continued attempt to bolster their backfield situation in light of Saquon Barkleys (knee) season-ending absence. Morris last appeared in 2019 in one game for the Cardinals, receiving just one carry for four yards. His best days came as a member of Washington, where he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 13 and 14, before joining Dallas, where current Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was his head coach. Newly-signed Devonta Freeman carried the ball just five times Sunday versus San Francisco, although the score of the game likely dictated his workload more than the teams level of confidence in their new running back. Morris is a name to keep an eye on should he eventually be elevated to the active roster.

From RotoBaller

Wendell Smallwood Sep 29 7:13pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, DE Henry Mondeaux and RB Wendell Smallwood were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 4 Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Earl Thomas Sep 29 7:10pm ET

Free-agent safety Earl Thomas III was set to have a workout with the Houston Texans on Tuesday, but COVID-19 related protocol scuttled that meeting. Things had advanced so far between the two sides that Thomas had already taken a physical with the organization. Released by Baltimore during pre-season activities following an altercation with a teammate, the seven-time Pro Bowler would be a sound addition to the Houston secondary. With the workout cancelled Tuesday, it does throw into flux the possibility that Thomas could be available this weekend when the Texans take on Minnesota. Having allowed at least 28 points in each of their first three contests, the Texans defense is currently not a fantasy option in any-sized format.

From RotoBaller

Devin Smith Sep 29 6:53pm ET

Houston Texans C Greg Mancz, DB Jonathan Owens and WR Devin Smith were named to the Week 4 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Doug Middleton Sep 29 6:53pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Ben Ellefson, OT KC McDermott, DB Doug Middleton and TE Eric Saubert were named to the Week 4 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Garrett Gilbert Sep 29 6:43pm ET

Cleveland Browns QB Garrett Gilbert, DT Joey Ivie, PK Matthew McCrane and OT Greg Senat were designated as protected practice squad players Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Bray Sep 29 6:33pm ET

Chicago Bears QB Tyler Bray was selected as a protected practice squad player Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Jonathan Bullard Sep 29 6:23pm ET

Arizona Cardinals DE Jonathan Bullard, DE Michael Dogbe, RB Jonathan Ward and DB Jace Whittaker were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 4 Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle