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FFL: Week 7 | NFL: Week 7

Winless Falcons may not get chance to blow lead at Green Bay

Thu Oct 1 6:08pm ET
By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley (21) runs against the Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) hands the ball off to Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill (23) against the Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)


Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn watches play against the Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)


Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) dives over the goal line for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) dives over the goal line for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates his touchdown with offensive guard Elgton Jenkins (74) in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (13) celebrates his touchdown reception with offensive guard Lucas Patrick (62) and tight end Robert Tonyan (85) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)


The next challenge for the winless Atlanta Falcons is imposing enough that it might not afford them an opportunity for another fourth-quarter collapse.

After blowing two-touchdown leads in the final period each of the last two weeks, the Falcons could have trouble getting ahead Monday night when they visit the unbeaten Green Bay Packers.

''I know the first three weeks haven't been what we would have wanted,'' Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. ''That's for sure. But I still have a lot of faith and a lot of belief in this football team, that we're capable of winning, and winning regardless of who we're going against.''

Green Bay (3-0) is the first team in NFL history to have at least 35 points and no turnovers in each of its first three games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Packers average 6.9 yards per play to lead the NFL.

''I feel like it's not realistic to think we'll have 40 every game, but it's not unrealistic to think we can do it, either,'' receiver Davante Adams said.

The Packers have trailed in each of their games this season, which could offer Atlanta (0-3) reason for hope.

Then again, getting ahead hasn't been a problem for the Falcons. Staying in front has proved much more difficult.

Atlanta led the Dallas Cowboys 20-0 in the first quarter and 39-24 with 5 minutes remaining before falling 40-39 on a field goal as time expired, thanks in part to the Falcons' inexplicable failure to recover a slow-rolling onside kick.

The Falcons followed that up by falling 30-26 to Chicago as the Bears scored 20 unanswered points in the final 6 1/2 minutes. The collapses brought back reminders of the Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl after the 2016 season.

''There's anger, obviously,'' embattled Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. ''There's frustration that goes along when you don't play well. For us losing two games that, in the regular season, is as tough as it gets. You get tested, but you also find out a lot and learn a lot from those `L's.' And that's what I saw from our team.''

LaFleur expects the Falcons' recent misfortune will only add to their incentive.

''We're going to have a very hungry Atlanta Falcon team coming in here that, no doubt about it, should be 2-1 right now,'' said LaFleur, a former quarterbacks coach on Quinn's Atlanta staff. ''And they're not, but that's life in this league. Every game comes down to just a couple of plays here and there that can really change the outcome.''

QUINN'S FUTURE

All eyes in Atlanta are on Quinn.

The sixth-year coach came into 2020 knowing he would likely need to guide the Falcons to the playoffs to keep his job after two straight 7-9 seasons.

Players have been vocal in their support of Quinn, but their opinions won't matter if the losses keep piling up.

''Look at what he's done here,'' defensive back Blidi Wreh-Wilson said. ''He's always got our backs. He's a really great coach. This is a tough spot for the team. A lot of things are being said. We just need to stay together.''

UNCERTAINTY FOR RECEIVERS

Each team has a star receiver who didn't play last week due to injury. An ankle injury sidelined Green Bay's Adams while Atlanta's Julio Jones had a hamstring problem.

Both returned to practice this week. But each team now has another injury in its receiving corps. Atlanta's Calvin Ridley (ankle) and Green Bay's Allen Lazard (core) didn't practice Wednesday.

PROTECTING THEIR PASSERS

Green Bay has started a different combination on the offensive line for each of its first three games due to injuries, yet the Packers have allowed only two sacks all year. The Packers have given up sacks on 1.9% of their dropbacks to rank second in the NFL behind Kansas City.

The Falcons have been sacked on 3.7% of their dropbacks, which is sixth-best in the league.

INJURY ISSUES ON DEFENSE

Atlanta safety Ricardo Allen (elbow) and cornerback A.J. Terrell (COVID-19) missed the Bears game. And now the Falcons have lost their most experienced cornerback, placing Darqueze Dennard (hamstring) on injured reserve.

Quinn is hoping cornerback Kendall Sheffield plays Monday after he missed the team's first three games with an ailing foot.

Green Bay could be missing linebacker Christian Kirksey, who left the Packers' win over the Saints with a pectoral injury.

Player Notes
Tom Brady Oct 24 1:00am ET

The Las Vegas Raiders defense has been statistically one of the worst defenses in the league this season. They are averaging under two fantasy points per game and face an ascending Buccaneers offense this week. Tom Brady is currently fourth in the league in passing touchdowns, and this Tampa Bay offense is ascending after hanging 31 offensive points on Green Bay in Week 6. The Raiders rank 27th in scoring defense and 24th in yards allowed. There is nothing to suggest they will have a good performance this week and should be kept on the bench or dropped entirely.

From RotoBaller

Darren Waller Oct 24 12:40am ET

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller has a tough test against the Buccaneers this week, but he should be able to produce a solid fantasy performance. Waller has been great at home this season, with 21 catches, 193 yards, and a touchdown in two games. The Buccaneers have one of the league's best defenses, but the Patriots are the only team to hold Waller under five catches so far this season. He currently ranks third in fantasy points per game among tight ends, and he leads the Raiders in targets. The Buccaneers rank sixth in the league against tight ends, but fantasy owners should feel comfortable starting him based on his performances so far this season.

From RotoBaller

Henry Ruggs III Oct 24 12:20am ET

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III will have a tough matchup against a good Buccaneers secondary in Week 7. Ruggs had a breakout performance in his last game against the Chiefs, but his value rests with the deep ball at this time. That is not great news considering the Buccaneers are one of the best defenses against the deep ball, ranking third in the league in allowing receptions of over 20 yards. He was able to get loose in the Chiefs secondary with a 72-yard reception in the first half but caught just one other pass the rest of the game. Ruggs' big-play potential makes him a fringe flex option in deeper leagues, but don't expect a lot of targets for the rookie this week.

From RotoBaller

Josh Jacobs Oct 24 12:10am ET

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs will face one of the league's best run defenses this week in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are allowing just three yards per carry and rank second in the league in total rushing yards allowed. Jacobs is having a productive year and is certainly a must-start option, but he is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry on the season. Jacobs has just one game this season where he has rushed for over four yards per carry. With that being said, he is still seventh in points per game among running backs. It will not be an easy day for Jacobs, but fantasy owners should feel encouraged that he can put up a solid fantasy performance despite a difficult matchup.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Oct 24 12:00am ET

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will have one of his most difficult tests of the year against a great Buccaneers Defense. The Buccaneers defense has allowed just seven passing touchdowns and have grabbed eight interceptions in their six games this season. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 82 against this Todd Bowles defense. They confused Aaron Rodgers and made him uncomfortable, so this will not be an easy day for Carr. With that being said, Carr has thrown for almost 600 passing yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in two home games this season. The Raiders are coming off a bye, and Carr is having a career year. However, he is likely a bench option this week due to the matchup.

From RotoBaller

New Orleans Saints Oct 23 9:10pm ET

The New Orleans Saints Defense faces a middle-of-the-pack matchup against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7. It's a date with former Saint Teddy Bridgewater, who started five games for the team in 2019. New Orleans' defense is finally starting to get healthy after a rash of injuries, as they will get Janoris Jenkins (shoulder) back and essentially be at full strength. This unit may start to put together some good performances, starting with this week. They can be used as a starting option.

From RotoBaller

Wil Lutz Oct 23 9:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz faces a favorable matchup in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers. Lutz is perfect on the season, having made all nine field-goals and all 18 extra-points. Carolina ranks 22nd in fantasy points allowed to kickers, making this a juicy matchup for Lutz. Expect strong fantasy numbers from the 26-year-old.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Oct 23 8:50pm ET

New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook could see more opportunities in Week 7 against the Panthers. Cook had one of his better games against the Chargers, catching two passes for 52 yards and a score. New Orleans is down two of it's best pass-catchers- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- heading into the contest against the Panthers. The veteran tight end should see more targets, making him a good start as a TE1 in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Carlos Hyde Oct 23 8:43pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder, toe) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Hyde will serve as the backup for Chris Carson but should see a handful of touches during the game. Fantasy players should be able to find better options and can keep Hyde on the bench.

From TheHuddle

Raheem Mostert Oct 23 8:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Mostert is expected to miss multiple weeks because of the injury, so fantasy players should look for other options to use. Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty likely will share playing time while Mostert is sidelined. McKinnon probably has more fantasy value and can be a flex option in leagues. Hasty should be rostered in leagues and has a chance to be a flex option depending on the opponent.

From TheHuddle

Keenan Allen Oct 23 8:33pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen (back) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Allen has been targeted at least eight times in four of the five games this season and seems to have a good connection with Justin Herbert. Allen can be considered a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

DeAndre Hopkins Oct 23 8:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) was limited during practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is listed as questionable for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Hopkins likely will be able to play despite the injury, but fantasy players will need to check the inactive list for his status. He is a must-start option in all leagues if he is active for the game.

From TheHuddle

Tre'Quan Smith Oct 23 8:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith faces a tricky matchup in Week 7 against the Panthers. However, matchup concerns are alleviated by the fact that New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Smith will be busy against a Panthers Defense that has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wideouts. With a good chance of finding the end zone, Smith is looking like a high-end WR3 in Week 7, despite the matchup.

From RotoBaller

Sammy Watkins Oct 23 8:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Demarcus Robinson served as the No. 2 receiver for the Chiefs last week and probably will have a similar role this week. He can be a flex option or bye week replacement in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Alvin Kamara Oct 23 8:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara gets an excellent matchup against the Panthers Defense. Kamara has offered fantasy managers the safest floor of any running back, particularly in PPR formats, as he's had at least 19 fantasy points in every game this season. He'll go up against a Panthers defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing halfbacks. The Saints will probably go with a more run-heavy approach, seeing as their top-two wideouts- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- are out for the contest. Kamara is a must-start in redraft leagues and is well worth the price in DFS formats.

From RotoBaller

Latavius Murray Oct 23 8:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray has a favorable matchup in front of him against the Panthers in Week 7. Murray has had at least 13 touches in three of five contests this season, with two of those games coming against teams that struggle to stop the run. New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) against the Panthers' 24th-ranked run defense. Murray is a good bet for 12-15 touches in Week 7, putting him squarely in the flex discussion.

From RotoBaller

Robert Woods Oct 23 8:13pm ET

Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods (groin) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to keep an eye on the situation to see if Woods will be able to play in Week 7. He can be a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues if he is cleared to play.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Higbee Oct 23 8:13pm ET

Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (hand) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.

Fantasy Spin: Higbee probably will need to practice Saturday, Oct. 24, if he wants a chance to play in the Week 7 game. He is coming off his best game of the season and would see a few targets if he plays this week. He could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in some leagues.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Donald Oct 23 8:13pm ET

Los Angeles Rams OT Andrew Whitworth (non-injury) and DT Aaron Donald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23.

From TheHuddle

Drew Brees Oct 23 8:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faces the Panthers in Week 7. Brees will face a sneakily-good Carolina defense without his top two receivers, Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Despite not having Thomas, Brees has thrown for at least 250 yards or two touchdowns in each game this season, giving fantasy managers a solid floor. The Panthers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, limiting Brees' upside. However, he should be able to finish as a solid QB2 in Week 7.

From RotoBaller