Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (13) makes the catch against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws in the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Jim Schwartz struggled to remember any of his former players still on the Detroit Lions other than Matthew Stafford.
Long snapper Don Muhlbach, punter Sam Martin and cornerback Darius Slay also remain from the teams Schwartz coached from 2009-2013. Schwartz, now a Super Bowl champion defensive coordinator for the Eagles, will see all his guys when the Lions (1-0-1) visit Philadelphia (1-1) on Sunday.
''It's funny, I don't recognize anybody on that team,'' Schwartz said. ''Stafford, the long snapper, the punter and then I think Darius Slay might be the only guys that were there. That shows you how much turnover there is in this league because it really doesn't seem that long ago. Maybe it has been.''
Schwartz was a first-year head coach when Detroit drafted Stafford No. 1 overall in 2009. He was fired after going 7-9 in 2013, two years after helping the Lions reach the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. He was 29-51 over five seasons.
''He was part of that process, so I appreciate him a lot for giving me the chance,'' Stafford said. ''We went to playoffs for the first time in a long time in this franchise's history and did a lot of good things in kind of getting us to where we are now, which I'm proud of, and I know he is, too.''
Schwartz has faced Stafford twice already. He was the defensive coordinator under Doug Marrone in Buffalo when the Bills beat the Lions in Detroit. Schwartz was carried off the field by Bills players. Stafford led the Lions to a home win over Schwartz and the Eagles in 2016.
''Matt's always been a guy that is a very accurate passer,'' Schwartz said. ''He's not afraid to put a ball in any window. He's got a strong arm. He can make all the throws. He's a really good game manager. That's gone maybe a little bit under the radar with him, and you can see that in the way they are playing. They are playing a little different scheme. They have a defensive head coach. They have an offensive coordinator that came from a run-first, Seattle-type scheme. So they have maybe a little bit different flavor, but he's still a very dangerous guy. Goes to the right spot with the ball. Makes accurate throws and moves the ball around to a lot of different people.''
Some things to watch for when the Eagles host the Lions:
The Eagles will likely be without their two top receivers. Alshon Jeffery has a calf strain and DeSean Jackson has an abdominal injury. Rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and third-year pro Mack Hollins would start in their place with Nelson Agholor in the slot. Agholor had eight catches for 107 yards and one touchdown in a 24-20 loss to Atlanta. He also dropped what would've been a go-ahead 60-yard TD catch. Hollins had five catches for 50 yards and Arcega-Whiteside only caught one ball for 4 yards.
Detroit hopes linebacker Jarrad Davis can play for the first time since injuring his right ankle nearly a month ago in a preseason game. Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker has been playing through a back ailment, which he said feels good some days and not so good on others.
''Anyone who has had a back (injury), you know how they can be finicky,'' Decker said.
The last time Lions coach Matt Patricia faced the Eagles was in the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, 2018. The former New England defensive coordinator saw Nick Foles carve his unit for 41 points in a loss to the Eagles.
''I personally try to not look back at that Super Bowl,'' Patricia said.
WHERE'S THE RUSH
The Eagles have only two sacks in two games and already have lost two defensive tackles to injury. Malik Jackson, who started opposite All-Pro Fletcher Cox inside, sustained a season-ending foot injury in Week 1. Tim Jernigan took his place but broke his foot last week. Hassan Ridgeway takes over for Jernigan. While there's been a lot of shuffling at the tackle spots, edge rushers Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat haven't been able to get to the quarterback, and that's problematic.
Carson Wentz and Philadelphia's offense continue to start slow. The team has scored an NFL-low 41 points in the opening quarter since the start of last season.
''I just have to find the magical plays,'' coach Doug Pederson said.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 34 of 54 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Practically all of the third-year quarterback's stats came in the final moments after the Bears had fallen behind 36-10. The Bears offense was abysmal for three quarters and Trubisky showed plenty of rust. He was able to salvage his outing from a fantasy perspective but will not be a viable option until he can show sustained accuracy and efficiency.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida handled eight totes for 44 yards and added a one-yard grab in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Discouragingly, Breida was thoroughly out-touched 22-9 by backfield mate Tevin Coleman, who raced for 62 yards of his own. It was an all-around team effort for the Niners in sloppy conditions and they remain undefeated. Breidas become a clear second fiddle to Coleman since the latters return from injury and should be modestly downgraded for fantasy purposes. In a run-heavy offensive scheme, Breida still has the volume to be a weekly RB3/flex option. The Carolina Panthers weak rush defense awaits in Week 8.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson tallied 10 receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Robinson's final fantasy line looks a lot better thanks to two late-game garbage drives for scores. The Bears offense is really struggling right now but the veteran receiver continues to be the only consistent source of production. Despite the Bears offensive woes, Robinson will remain a solid WR2 heading into Week 8.
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison carried seven times for 18 yards (2.6 yards per carry) in Week 7's 42-30 win over the Detroit Lions. Mattison took a clear back seat in this one as Dalvin Cook carried 25 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Mattison was also not targeted in the passing game. The rookie back out of Boise State has been productive this season (5.3 yards per carry) but remains more of a high-priority handcuff than a player to consider starting in re-draft formats. However, he could be worth a look as a sneaky RB3 option with higher expected volume in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins' porous run defense.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman converted 20 carries into 62 yards, also recording two catches for negative one yard in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Coleman wasnt efficient, but continued dominating touches over backfield mate Matt Breida by a 22-9 margin. Colemans been used as a workhorse since returning from an ankle injury, giving him a solid floor in a run-heavy offense. Hell be a high-end RB2 in Week 8 against a porous Carolina Panthers run defense.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown in the Bears disappointing 36-25 loss to the Saints. Patterson flashed what makes him so valuable in the first quarter, taking a kick from the end zone all the way to the house. Patterson was used at times on the offensive side of the ball, racking up 23 yards on one carry and two receptions. Patterson is a threat and makes an above average fantasy defense better with his ability to produce on special teams.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Alex Erickson finished with a game-high eight receptions (14 targets) for 137 yards in the loss to the Jaguars on Sunday. Though Tyler Boyd received an equal amount of looks from quarterback Andy Dalton, his five catches for 55 yards opened the door for increased production from Erickson on a day where nothing was going right. With A.J. Green (ankle) expected back within the next week or so, the sell-high window is wide open for the 26-year-old as this type of performance won't happen too often moving forward, if at all.
The San Francisco 49ers Defense continued its dominant run, shutting out the Washington Redskins in Week 7. Aided by a wet field, the Niners limited the Skins to 154 meaningless yards, collecting three sacks and recovering a fumble in the process. A driving force behind the teams undefeated start, San Franciscos defensive unit continues to take care of business and serve notice to the football community. Theyve evolved into a weekly must-start fantasy squad. The Carolina Panthers await in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard finished with no yards on four attempts in addition to four yards off of two receptions against the Jaguars in Week 7. As the team's offensive woes continue, the veteran is having one of his worst seasons as a professional. As the Bengals continue to be plagued with a horrendous offensive line and a plethora of injuries, Bernard hasn't done much this season. He has little, if any, fantasy value at the moment, with that likely staying the same moving forward unless Joe Mixon loses his spot on the depth chart.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 12 of 21 passes for 151 yards, no scores and an interception in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. The Niners leaned on their defense and wet conditions to overmatch the Redskins in the 9-0 shutout. The nondescript performance from Garoppolo has become the norm, as hes managed the team to a sparkling 6-0 start to 2019. With the continued emphasis on the run game and Jimmy G yet to push the gas, hell remain a middling QB2 in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon rushed for just two yards on 10 attempts against the Jaguars on Sunday. While he was able to bring in a two-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Andy Dalton, it was a disappointing outing overall for those who were hoping for a turnaround in Week 7. With the Bengals unable to get anything going behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league, Mixon's outlook moving forward doesn't look promising, especially in Week 8 against the Rams Defense.
Neither San Francisco 49ers wide receivers Dante Pettis nor Marquise Goodwin caught a pass in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. The two receivers garnered three total targets in a sloppy contest dominated by the Niners defense. After a week of fantasy buzz, Pettis will fall back with Goodwin in fantasy obsolescence as zero-floor WR5s in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle recorded 38 yards on three catches in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. The Niners managed just 151 pass yards in a wet and sloppy contest, resulting in Kittles lowest production of 2019. His five targets still led the squad. The Niners return home in Week 8 to host the Carolina Panthers where Kittle will be a premium TE1 against a tough pass defense.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph caught 5-of-6 targets for 58 yards and a touchdown in Week 7. Rudolph connected with Kirk Cousins on a 15-yard score in the fourth quarter, Rudolph's first touchdown catch of the year. Adam Thielen (hamstring) left the game early, meaning guys like Rudolph, Olabisi Johnson, and Irv Smith Jr. were asked to step up in the passing attack. To their credit, they all put up solid performances. That being said, Rudolph remains an uninspiring low-volume option at tight end and should only be played as a touchdown-dependent TE2 in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton wasn't able to get anything going against Jacksonville in Week 7. While the veteran was able to accumulate 276 yards and two total touchdowns on the day, the Jaguars Defense was relentless by recording interceptions on three-straight drives, with one of those picks being returned for a score. Dalton is having one of his worst seasons in the league, though he can't take all of the blame as the team has been plagued with injuries across the board. Things likely won't get any easier in Week 8 as the Bengals will look for their first win of the year against the newly revamped Rams Defense.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett caught four receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7. Everett was targeted a team-high 10 times in the game. He'll have a tough matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals next week. The Bengals have only allowed tight ends to grab 13 balls for 183 yards and no touchdowns in the last three weeks. Everett will be a low-end TE1 option.
The Los Angeles Rams Defense had a big day against the Atlanta Falcons with five sacks, two fumble recoveries, one that went for a touchdown, an interception and just 10 points allowed. They have upside next week against the Cincinnati Bengals and are a midrange start for Week 8.
Los Angeles Rams linebacker Dante Fowler had seven tackles (six solo), three sacks and a pass defense against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7. His tackles and sacks were both team highs. Fowler is a fringe player to own in individual defensive player leagues, but this might put him over the hump and onto rosters.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught 7-of-8 targets for 142 scoreless yards in Week 7's win over the Detroit Lions. Adam Thielen (hamstring) leaving the game in the first quarter concentrated targets to Diggs, but the four receiving touchdowns went to Thielen, C.J. Ham, Kyle Rudolph, and Olabisi Johnson. Diggs got dragged down just before the goal-line on a 67-yard catch (set up by some beautiful play-action) late in the game. Diggs is back to seeing WR2-worthy targets and has exceeded 100 receiving yards in three of his last four games. Start him as a top-end WR2 in Week 8's Thursday night tilt against the Washington Redskins.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook tallied 25 carries for 142 yards and two touchdowns in Week 7's 42-30 win over the Detroit Lions. He also added one catch for seven yards. This was Cook's league-leading fifth 100-yard rushing game and he now has six touchdowns on the ground in what's becoming a breakout campaign for the third-year back out of Florida State. Cook has been absolutely dynamic all season and his ceiling is raised even higher with the form that Kirk Cousins and the play-action passing game is in. Cook is a surefire RB1 and will arguably be the top option at running back in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins.