Sun Oct 20 1:20pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, left, celebrates with Le'Veon Bell after Bell scored a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets have been looking up at the New England Patriots in the AFC East for nearly two decades.
Since 2002, actually.
That's the previous time the Jets won the division that Tom Brady's bunch has had a stranglehold on for what seems like forever. And, consider this: Current New York quarterback Sam Darnold was only 5 years old then.
Yeah, it has been a while.
''I think winning the AFC East comes along with beating the Patriots,'' Darnold said. ''But you've also got to beat other teams as well and have a good season. And to make that happen, you have to take it one week at a time.''
The undefeated Patriots (6-0) head to MetLife Stadium on Monday night to face Darnold and the Jets (1-4), looking for their fourth straight season sweep of the AFC East rivals.
Well, not so fast, says Le'Veon Bell.
''It's going to be a fun game,'' the Jets running back said. ''And I think we have a really great opportunity to shock the world in a sense.''
That's because few are giving New York much of a chance in this one, with New England opening as a 12-point favorite on the road. There's also the not-so-distant memory of the Patriots rolling over the Luke Falk-led Jets 30-14 four weeks ago.
The difference this time, of course, is Darnold is back under center after missing that game while recovering from mononucleosis. After leading the Jets to a 24-22 victory over Dallas last week and being selected the AFC offensive player of the week for his performance, Darnold sees plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
And, not only that. Confident, too.
''Once all the guys are back together, I think we're unstoppable as an offense, or we can be,'' Darnold said. ''It's up to us how much we execute or how well we go out there and play. It's really up to us how many points we score. I think we're capable of scoring so many points and our offensive line too, the way they played last game.
''With the way we've been running the ball and the way they've been protecting, I think the sky is the limit for us.''
The Jets had been struggling mightily without Darnold at quarterback, particularly in the two games Falk started when New York had just 233 total yards against New England and Philadelphia.
Darnold's return allowed Adam Gase to open some things up against Dallas as the Jets put up 382 yards. Darnold was 23 of 32 for 338 yards and two touchdowns - a 92-yarder to Robby Anderson and a 5-yarder to Ryan Griffin - and an interception.
''He looked great last week, just knowing what he wanted to do, getting the ball down the field,'' Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty said of Darnold. ''So, we've just got to be aware it's going to be different from just that aspect of the first time we played them, we really had their third quarterback in there.''
The Jets are still waiting to get second-year tight end Chris Herndon back. He was suspended the first four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Then, on the verge of returning to the team two weeks ago, he injured a hamstring while working out on his own. He's expected to miss the game against the Patriots, but will eventually give Darnold another target he developed chemistry with last season.
The offensive line is dealing with some injuries, too, with Gase having to shuffle things up front.
New York could get linebacker C.J. Mosley back from a groin injury that has sidelined him since the season opener. Gase likened his impending return to getting a starting quarterback back.
''We're moving in the right direction,'' Bell said. ''I've been talking about getting the ship sailing in the right direction. We're starting to slowly turn that ship. I remember three or four weeks ago, everybody was saying I was crazy.''
It might already be too late this season for the Jets to dethrone the Patriots, who have won the AFC East for 10 straight years and 15 of the past 16.
But the Jets know pulling off a victory Monday could provide a building block for their own future - which someday could include them sitting atop the division again.
''When you get locked in on trying to break the dynasty or tear them down, that's when you start losing control of yourself and losing control of your emotions during the game,'' Darnold said. ''For us, it's continuing to take it one game at a time and just focus on this game plan, what we need to do, the certain looks that we get, how we're going to adjust to those and go about the game that way.
''Because if we get outside of ourselves, and try to take down Tom Brady, take down (Bill) Belichick, those are all legit things. But for us, it's really just about focusing on what we need to do and how we need to execute.''
Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez was 2-for-2 in field goals and 2-for-3 in extra points against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. Gonzalez has been strong the last few weeks, but he'll be on a bye next week. He's probably not worth stashing in traditional formats to get through it.
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones recorded four tackles (three solo) in Week 11, and he extended his sack streak to three consecutive games. Jones has 11.5 sacks on the season and has reached the quarterback in all but two games. The Cardinals are off next week and will face the Los Angeles Rams Dec. 1.
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks had 12 tackles (eight solo), a sack, an interception and a pass defended against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. Hicks has been effective, but he hasn't quite reached LB1 status. He'll be in the mix for a flex play when the Cardinals return to play Dec. 1, against the Los Angeles Rams.
Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker had 13 tackles (12 solo) against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. It's the third time in four games he has had 13 or more tackles as Baker has risen up the DB1 ranks in fantasy. The Cardinals will be off next week before they take on the Los Angeles Rams Dec. 1.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver produced more of his usual excellence in a 34-17 Week 11 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The All-Pro receiver tagged the Bucs secondary with eight catches on 11 targets for 114 yards and a touchdown. Thomas is the first player in NFL history to catch 90+ passes through the first 10 games of a season. As the number-one target on a team with less-than-stellar secondary wide receivers, Thomas should continue to eat. He'll square off with the Carolina Panthers in Week 12.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray went 24-for-33 for 150 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and rushed for a score in the 36-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. He rushed eight times for 67 yards. It was a great performance considering it was against one of, if not the best defense in the league. Murray has now played two solid games against them, which is an outstanding sign for his development. He has established himself as a QB1, and he should be stashed through his bye next week.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson received no carries or targets in Week 11. That could go down as one of the biggest surprises all week. Johnson had been battling an ankle injury, but he was taken off the injury report. Unless something comes out about him still being limited due to injury, he has taken a serious backseat to Kenyan Drake. Johnson should remain owned in all leagues, and if he's dropped by an owner, scoop him immediately. The Cardinals are on a bye next week, and more should be learned before then.
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake rushed 16 times for 67 yards and caught six receptions for 13 yards in Week 11. He was kept out of the end zone, but it was a solid showing in point-per-reception leagues against one of the best defenses in football. Running back David Johnson didn't have a rush or a target in the game for a mysterious reason, but one thing is for sure. Drake has taken over as the lead back, and he'll be an RB2 option after the bye week against the Los Angeles Rams.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk had six receptions for 41 yards in Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers. His nine targets led the team. It was a rough matchup, but he still posted 10 points in point-per-reception leagues. Kirk will have the week off before facing the Los Angeles Rams Dec. 1. He'll remain a WR3 option.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had five catches for 37 yards and a touchdown in Week 11, but he also lost a fumble. The score was his first one since Week 3. Fitzgerald has been catching just enough to be worth using in point-per-reception formats, but his yardage and touchdowns haven't been up to snuff. He'll remain a flex option after the bye week.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella had just one catch for six yards in Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers. Isabella flirted with fantasy relevance with big plays in recent weeks, but he didn't quite make it. The Cardinals are on a bye next week, and Isabella doesn't have roster viability.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray struggled to make an impact in Week 11 against the stingy run defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 29-year-old posted 10 carries for 27 yards and two catches for five yards. Murray's physical, ground-and-pound style wasn't as successful against this defense as Alvin Kamara's elusive, scat-back style. The seventh-year veteran was out-touched by Kamara in this game 23-12. The positive for Murray is he'll likely be locked into around 10-12 touches each game, giving him flex value depending upon the matchup. Next week against the Carolina Panthers looks like a good one, as they've surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this year.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert caught three of his four targets for 21 yards in Week 11 against the Raiders. The Bengals managed to move the ball well on the ground in the game, but quarterback Ryan Finley struggled mightily through the air, completing just 13 passes. Eifert has some value in deep leagues but Finley's inexperience and struggles make him hard to trust as a starter for now. Eifert has failed to top 25 receiving yards in five of his past six games, which is a very uninspiring trend.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd was a complete non-factor in Week 11 against the Raiders. He had just one catch in the game but he failed to gain any yards on it. His only positive yardage came on a 10-yard rush, his only rushing attempt in the game. Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley completed only 13 passes in the game, so it's no surprise that Boyd wasn't able to come through with a decent game. Boyd had been mostly consistent all year until this game, so hopefully he can bounce back against the Steelers in Week 12.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow caught five passes for 66 yards as the team edged the Bengals 17-10 in their home victory. The Clemson product finished only one behind Darren Waller in targets with six as he recorded his fourth-straight game with four or more catches. Renfrow has emerged as a favored target for Derek Carr, and is starting to produce a safe floor in PPR formats. His ceiling is capped, however, as the third passing option on a team that chooses to run the ball nearly 50% of the time. Renfrow is an intriguing dynasty stash but is a WR4 at best in PPR redraft leagues. He'll look to continue his solid production next week when the Raiders travel to face the Jets
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dreadful offensive showing for the Bengals in Week 11. Mixon carried the ball 15 times for 86 yards and a touchdown and added a 17-yard reception for his only catch of the day. This was one of Mixon's better performances of the season as he'd only topped 80 rushing yards twice before this game. He has a tough matchup against the Steelers in Week 12, but is still worthy of an RB2 start or at least flex consideration in most leagues due to his workload alone.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard carried the ball three times for 30 yards and added a 16-yard reception in Week 11. The Bengals managed 173 total rushing yards in the game, but most of it came from fellow running back Joe Mixon, while quarterback Ryan Finley also added 47 yards. Bernard is the clear No. 2 behind Mixon in the offense and would warrant some appeal if something were to happen to Mixon, but for now, Bernard can be left on the waiver wire.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate led the Bengals in receiving in Week 11, catching four of his six targets for 56 yards. Tate has now topped 50 receiving yards in four of his past five games. Tate was fortunate that his line ended up decent on a day where quarterback Ryan Finley completed just 13-of-31 passes for 115 yards. No other Bengal had more than 21 receiving yards. Tate is a viable WR3 or flex option most weeks and is worth rostering in all leagues of 12 or more teams.
The Patriots Defense might not have single-handedly carried your team this week as they've done in previous weeks, but they still managed to have a solid fantasy day against the Eagles in Week 11. The Patriots held the Eagles to 10 points in the game while recovering a fumble and sacking Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz five times. The Ravens have been the only team to eclipse 14 points against the Patriots, who will look to keep things rolling against the Cowboys in Week 12.
New England Patriots kicker Nick Folk hit all three of his field goal attempts in Week 12 against the Eagles. He wasn't heavily challenged in the game as none of his attempts were longer than 39 yards. Folk is now a perfect 5-for-5 in two games with the Patriots. He should be owned in all leagues and counted on as a reliable starter until further notice.