Sun Aug 18 11:28pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer
Players: Dan Bailey, Doug Baldwin, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Jaron Brown, Sean Mannion, Paxton Lynch, Kyle Sloter, Adam Thielen, Chad Beebe, Dalvin Cook, Kaare Vedvik, Mike Boone, Brandon Zylstra, Alexander Mattison, Irv Smith Jr., D.K. Metcalf
Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith, left, runs from Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Austin Calitro, right, after making a reception during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen, front, tries to make a reception in front of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers, back, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. Flowers was called for pass interference on the play. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws a pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) pitches the ball during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Fans arrive at U.S. Bank Stadium before an NFL preseason football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. and backup wide receiver Brandon Zylstra each had touchdown receptions for Minnesota and the Vikings displayed depth and versatility in their passing game in a 25-19 exhibition victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.
Kirk Cousins led the starters for two drives, the last one yielding a chip-shot field goal by Dan Bailey, and finished 6 for 8 for 68 yards without a turnover. Second-string quarterback Sean Mannion made up for an interception that safety DeShawn Shead returned 88 yards for a score by finding Smith with a short throw into the end zone just before halftime.
Then Kyle Sloter delivered the touchdown pass to Zylstra in the third quarter, polishing off a decent night for an offense that underwent an offseason scheme change after an underwhelming first year with Cousins at the helm.
The first team took two turns for the Seahawks, too, and Russell Wilson went 6 for 9 for 82 yards without a turnover after sitting out the preseason opener. He had a 33-yard completion to Jaron Brown, who has a starting wide receiver spot for now following the retirement of Doug Baldwin. First-round draft pick D.K. Metcalf did not play because of a leg injury. Brown's catch set up the first of four field goals by Jason Myers.
Seattle's pass rush was strong in the first half, with Barkevious Mingo pressuring Mannion as he threw before Chad Beebe was expecting the ball after his turn on a hitch route. The blocking for Minnesota will continue to be the most scrutinized aspect of the team, and the starting offensive line, missing injured right tackle Brian O'Neill, was vulnerable in spots. Cousins and rookie center Garrett Bradbury shared a botched under-center snap resulting in a fumble the Vikings recovered.
Mannion went 11 for 14 for 88 yards. Sloter finished 11 for 13 for 116 yards.
JUST KICKING IT
The Vikings gave Kaare Vedvik his debut a week after acquiring him in a trade with Baltimore. He punted three times for a 46.7-yard average, handled kickoffs and made his only extra point attempt.
DAY OF REST
All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner watched from the sideline in a Seahawks sweatshirt, being eased back into action following a minor knee procedure . Defensive end Ezekial Ansah remains in rehab mode following offseason shoulder surgery.
The Vikings again held running back Dalvin Cook out as a precaution and gave rookie Alexander Mattison 10 carries for 41 yards. Mike Boone followed him with 21 rushes for 66 yards, plus a 45-yard reception. Defensive tackles Shamar Stephen and Linval Joseph were also both not suited up for the second straight week.
Adam Thielen caught a 34-yard pass from Cousins, an over-the-shoulder ball near the sideline after he beat Shaquill Griffin in coverage. With the NFL encouraging teams in the preseason to test the new instant replay rule that makes pass interference reviewable, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll tossed his red flag to see if he could get a penalty on the Vikings. Thielen was bewildered, respectfully assuring Carroll and Wagner during the review that there was no foul.
The no-call was upheld. Then on the next play, Thielen drew a defensive pass interference penalty on Tre Flowers inside the 10.
Vikings cornerback Holton Hill was ejected in the fourth quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Paxton Lynch, whose neck snapped back awkwardly from the impact. After needing some time for evaluation, Lynch, the leader in the competition to be Wilson's backup, walked off on his own. J.T. Barrett replaced him.
Seahawks: Play at the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night.
Vikings: Host the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 2
Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass struggled during his NFL debut, but turned it around during the Week 2 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Bass knocked down 2 of 4 field goal attempts last week, which was a rough showing for the rookie kicker. However, he landed a 39-yard field goal this week. That was his only attempt of the game, but he made all of his PAT attempts as well. There's really no reason to add Bass in most fantasy leagues right now. He doesn't get enough chances and has been inconsistent to begin the season.
New England Patriots running back is inactive for his team's Sunday night game against the Seattle Seahawks. In tragic news, White's father was in a car crash earlier on Sunday and did not survive. His mother was also involved in the crash and is in critical condition. White obviously has more important things on his mind than football and will be inactive for personal reasons. Prayers go out to him and his family. From a fantasy perspective, look for Rex Burkhead and possibly rookie J.J. Taylor to fill in for White on passing downs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Scotty Miller had a quiet day in a Week 2 win over the Panthers. Miller was targeted three times and caught two of them for 11 receiving yards. The 23-year-old looked like a great sleeper pick with Chris Godwin (head) sidelined, but all of the glory ended up going to Mike Evans. Perhaps Miller is better when the defense is honed in on both Evans and Godwin, leaving him to work against the opposing team's third-best corner. Miller will get a chance to redeem himself in Week 3 against a struggling Broncos' secondary.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Defense turned in a dominant performance in a 26-21 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 2. Pittsburgh racked up seven sacks and forced two turnovers after knocking Denver quarterback Drew Lock out of the game early. T.J. Watt led the way with 2.5 sacks in the win. The Steelers defense has been excellent through the first two weeks of the season and should have a field day against a leaky Houston Texans offensive line in Week 3.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis was able to find the end zone during the Week 2 victory over the Miami Dolphins. He caught his lone target for a six-yard touchdown. It was the first of his career, but hopefully there is more to come. Davis has been on the field quite a bit this season, but only been targeted three times total in two games. It's unlikely that his targets increase by much with the Bills offense fairly loaded. Maybe Davis is worth a look in deep leagues, but belongs on the waiver wire in most formats.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (head) left Sunday's game against the Chargers after a huge hit to the head. Watkins was attempting to make defenders miss after the catch when he took the hit and had to be helped off the field. It's unlikely that he returns to this game, as he's probably in the concussion protocol. Fellow receiver Mecole Hardman could see more action in this contest and moving forward if Watkins is forced to miss time.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron caught three of his five targets for 43 yards in a 26-21 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 2. While it wasn't a dominant performance, it was much better than Ebron's debut with Pittsburgh last week where he caught just one pass for 18 yards. Fellow tight end Vance McDonald saw just two targets to Ebron's five, so at least he's starting to pull away in that respect. Fantasy gamers should stay patient with Ebron for at least a few more weeks as it is possible he starts to produce more as he gets more comfortable in the Pittsburgh offense. The Steelers face the Houston Texans in Week 3.
Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox (head) was unable to finish the game during the Week 2 win over the Miami Dolphins. Knox recorded a 38-yard catch-and-run, but was crushed Kyle Van Noy and exited the game. The team put him in concussion protocol, so it's unclear if Knox will be ready for next week. He remains the starting tight end, but doesn't have much fantasy value. Knox can be left on the waiver wire in most formats because he won't get enough targets to warrant owning him.
New England Patriots running back James White (personal) is inactive for Sunday night's game against the Seahawks. There was a death in White's family, leading to his surprise listing as inactive. The 28-year-old won't play in Week 2 and could understandably be away from the team for several days. Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and J.J. Taylor will pick up the slack in White's absence.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein made all six of his kicking attempts in Week 2, including four extra points and two field goals. One of the field goals was a game-winner from 46 yards out, giving the Cowboys an improbable 40-39 win after being down 20-0 at the end of the first quarter. Zuerlein's other kick came from 33 yards out. With the Cowboys offense clicking the way they (eventually) did in this one, "Greg the Leg" should be a strong fantasy contributor the rest of the way.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster caught seven of his eight targets for 48 yards in a 26-21 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 2. While the seven catches were nice, Smith-Schuster's 6.9 yards per catch is not what fantasy gamers were looking for out of their WR1. To make matters worse, Smith-Schuster watched as rookie Chase Claypool and second-year man Diontae Johnson scored touchdowns. Smith-Schuster is looking more like a WR2 for fantasy purposes going forward. He will face the Houston Texans in Week 3.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans hauled in seven of a team-high 10 targets for 104 yards and a touchdown. With teammate Chris Godwin (head) out and head coach Bruce Arians basically guaranteeing his other star wideout would get the ball- Evans was in a smash spot and he delivered. He connected with Tom Brady on a long, 50-yard pass and also hauled in a 23-yarder for his second score of the season. There likely would have been room for more production if Tampa Bay hadn't been in the driver's seat for much of the game. While Godwin should be back on the field for Week 3, Evans will be a strong start against Denver's suspect secondary.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown has been overlooked because of the performance of Stefon Diggs, but made his presence known in Week 2. Brown finished with four receptions on six targets for 82 yards and one touchdown in the victory over the Miami Dolphins. This is the second straight week that Brown has been able to find the end zone. He caught a 46-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to put the Bills up 31-20. He'll get a tougher matchup against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. He should be able to be counted on as a WR3 in PPR leagues.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been productive during the first two weeks of the regular season. He is third on the depth chart, but has found a way to continue making plays each week. Beasley hauled in five of his six targets for 70 yards in the Week 2 victory over the Miami Dolphins. The Bills continue to involve him in the offense, but he won't have great value with Stefon Diggs and John Brown healthy. He might be able to be leaned on as a low-end flex option against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool caught all three of his targets for 88 yards and a touchdown in a 26-21 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 2. Claypool's touchdown grab was the first of his short NFL career and came on a beautiful deep pass from Ben Roethlisberger down the left sideline. Claypool made the over-the-shoulder catch and then outran his defender for the final 40 or so yards for the score. The rookie receiver has shown he belongs over the first two games of his NFL career but he remains low on the pecking order for targets, having drawn just five so far. He's much more interesting in dynasty leagues than he is in redraft formats.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton caught 3-of-6 targets for 33 yards in a loss to the Bears on Sunday. It was a disappointing game for Slayton after his huge game in Week 1, however, his fantasy stock is still trending up. With Sterling Shepard (toe) and Saquon Barkley (knee) exiting with injuries, more targets should be available for the 23-year-old. Slayton has 15 targets through two weeks so he should continue to be a big part of the New York offense.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup only caught two passes in a Week 2 comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons. He was able to gain 58 yards and was targeted five times in a game where quarterback Dak Prescott made 47 throws. Gallup was well behind wide receivers CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, who each saw nine targets their way, and tight end Dalton Schultz, who saw 10. Gallup will have some huge games here and there, but he's the least likely of the three Cowboys wide receivers to put together a consistent string of fantasy performances. He's best used in best-ball formats or carefully matched up in standard leagues.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle) will have an MRI to discover the severity of the ankle injury he sustained in his team's loss to the Buccaneers. McCaffrey was on the sideline and wasn't ruled out, though he never returned to the game. The team is optimistic that it's not too serious, though the MRI will be telling. Hopefully the number-one fantasy player from 2019 will be able to suit up for fantasy managers as soon as Week 3 against the Chargers. If not, backup Mike Davis would see most of the work, with Trenton Cannon and possibly even receiver Curtis Samuel factoring in for some touches.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz led the team in targets with 10 in a Week 2 win over the Atlanta Falcons. He caught nine of those passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. After starting tight end Blake Jarwin went down with a knee injury in Week 1, it was assumed the Cowboys would mostly go away from involving the tight end in the passing game, but Schultz had other ideas. His score came on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Dak Prescott in the fourth quarter, helping the Cowboys to their impressive 40-39 comeback win. If Schultz continues to see this kind of involvement in the offense, he could be the least expected TE1 in many years.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs was a tough man to slow down during the Week 2 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Diggs hauled in eight of his 13 targets for 153 receiving yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Josh Allen did miss Diggs a few times, but made up for it. During that game, Diggs caught four passes for 20 yards or more. The Dolphins had no answers for Diggs, but he'll have a more difficult matchup next week. He'll go up against Jalen Ramsey and the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Fantasy owners should be able to count on Diggs as a low-end WR2 for that one.