Sat Sep 14 5:00pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase looks at the scoreboard during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Well, this isn't quite how the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets expected to start the season.
Both are coming off opening losses and look to avoid going 0-2 with a Monday night matchup loaded with juicy storylines, surprising twists and a slight hint of desperation.
And, it's only Week 2.
''I think every game is a must-win game,'' Jets running back Le'Veon Bell said, ''but obviously this game holds a lot of weight to it.''
The Browns didn't live up to the preseason hype that had some making them potential Super Bowl contenders.
Instead, Cleveland committed 18 penalties - the most by the team since 1951 - in a 43-13 loss to Tennessee that put early pressure on first-year coach Freddie Kitchens.
''I feel a lot of confidence with this team that we're going to get all the haters and naysayers out of here,'' cornerback Denzel Ward said, ''so I hope everybody's all gone now and we're just focused on us.''
Well, most of the Browns, that is.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returns to MetLife Stadium for the first time since being traded by the Giants in March. But that's not even the biggest headline.
Neither is all the attention on his expensive watch.
Beckham spiced things up Thursday when he called out former Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams - now in the same role with the Jets - and said the coach instructed players to hurt him in a preseason game in 2017. He sustained a severe ankle injury when Cleveland's Briean Boddy-Calhoun cut his legs out, something he says ''changed my life forever'' because he says it led to other injuries.
''Just got to watch out for the cheap shots and the dirty hits and all the things that he likes to teach,'' Beckham said.
Williams denied Beckham's accusations, and told reporters they should ignore the receiver's comments.
''We don't do that,'' Williams insisted. ''Never done it anywhere that I've been. We don't do anything to hurt the team.''
Williams, of course, is facing the Browns for the first time since leading them to a 5-3 record after taking over when Hue Jackson was fired - and then losing out to Kitchens for the vacancy.
''Obviously, he has a chip on his shoulder about this game,'' Jets safety Jamal Adams said. ''We're going to go out there and play for him. He's going to be all riled up.''
Adam Gase was plenty fired up this week himself after the Jets blew a 16-0 third-quarter lead last Sunday in his debut for New York and lost 17-16 to Buffalo.
WILD WEEK FOR JETS
Kicker Kaare Vedvik was waived after he missed an extra point and a 45-yard field goal, and Sam Ficken was signed to replace him.
Second-year defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd was suspended six games for two violations of the NFL's policy on performance enhancers.
They swung a rare trade with New England, acquiring wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for a 2021 sixth-round draft pick.
Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa was lost for the season with his second neck injury in just over two years.
And, then, the capper of `em all: Quarterback Sam Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis, likely sidelining him for several games. That means it'll be Trevor Siemian starting against Baker Mayfield, who appears OK after needing X-rays on his hand Sunday, and the Browns on Monday night.
''I guess maybe I'm messed up,'' Gase said, trying to put a positive spin on it all. ''I'm like, `Great, let's go. Trevor is up, let's go find a way to win the game.'''
On Saturday, the Jets ruled out linebacker C.J. Mosley and rookie defensive tackle Quinnen Williams for the game.
NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
Beckham dismissed any extra motivation in going back to his old, New Jersey stomping grounds.
''It is just another game,'' he said. ''It really is. `Monday Night Football' in the lights. Just trying to get wins.''
But Beckham is an entertainer and loves the big stage, so he'll undoubtedly try to put on a performance with the rest of the league watching.
And speaking of watching, Beckham said he'll sport the Richard Mille-designed watch: ''if I want to wear it, I'll wear it.'' The league told the Browns that Beckham is violating their policy on ''hard objects.''
BAKER & THE JETS
Mayfield has fond memories of the Jets. He made his NFL debut against them last season, coming off the bench in Week 3 and leading the Browns to a 21-17 win to end Cleveland's 19-game winless streak.
Following the game, fans streamed from FirstEnergy Stadium singing, ''Bak-er, May-field,'' feeling the Browns had finally found their franchise quarterback. Mayfield took off from there, setting the league rookie record with 27 touchdown passes while leading Cleveland to a 7-8-1 record.
Bell had a solid return in his first game action in nearly 20 months. He rushed for 60 yards on 17 carries and caught six passes for 32 yards and a TD in his Jets debut. He also caught a pass for a 2-point conversion.
The star running back sat out practice Wednesday and had an MRI on a shoulder, but it came up clear and he should play against the Browns.
It was an emotional week for the Browns following the tragic death of defensive end Chris Smith's girlfriend.
Petara Cordero, who gave birth to the couple's daughter last month, was struck by a car as she stood on a highway roadside Wednesday. She was a passenger in Smith's Lamborghini, which blew a tire and spun out. The 26-year-old Cordero had exited the car when another car, driven by a 47-year-old woman who admitted to police she had been drinking, smashed into her.
''It's a tough situation,'' guard Joel Bitonio said. ''You forget about things when you're in this building, sometimes the outside world you forget. We love this game and this game does a lot for us, but football comes second to a lot of things sometimes. We're trying to pick Chris up and his family, his little baby and all those things. We're thinking about him every chance we get.''
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who will make his debut with the team in Week 7 against the Falcons, promised the Rams that he won't hold out next season in the last year of his contract even if the two sides don't agree to a long-term deal this offseason, according to league sources. However, all bets are off if Los Angeles uses the franchise tag on the All-Pro cornerback in the winter of 2021. The Rams sent two first-round picks to Jacksonville for Ramsey, so they expect him to immediately bolster their suspect secondary. The Rams would like to sign Ramsey but aren't in a rush and could also trade him if they can't reach a long-term deal. Ramsey's presence in LA's secondary bolsters them no doubt, but they're still a weak streamer this weekend against a strong Falcons offense.
Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (hand, thigh) is inactive for Week 7 against the 49ers. You obviously shouldn't come close to trusting Washington's defense in fantasy this year, and having Norman out makes them an even weaker unit this weekend. Norman's absence is good news for San Francisco receiver Marquise Goodwin, but he'll still a shaky flex in fantasy because of a low target share this year and the fact that the 49ers probably won't need to pass all that much in this one.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (ankle) is active for Week 7 against the Giants, while wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle) will miss his third straight game. Johnson was expected to play after getting in some practices this week. He should continue to be heavily involved in this improving offense in a great matchup against the Giants. Johnson is a strong RB1 choice. Chase Edmonds will remain a strong handcuff for Johnson owners, but he's a low-end flex as long as Johnson is active. With Kirk out again, Larry Fitzgerald has strong WR2 appeal. You can't really trust rookie Keesean Johnson, Damiere Byrd and Trent Sherfield behind him, though.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (ankle, knee) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson should receive plenty of touches this week against the New York Giants and is a must-start option in all leagues.
Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 7 game.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones is a healthy inactive for Week 7 against the Packers. It's a surprise considering Tyrell Williams (foot) is also out, but it appears that Jones just hasn't mastered the offense yet after being acquired from the Bills last week. Also inactive are right tackle Trent Brown (calf) and wide receiver Dwayne Harris (ankle). With both Jones and Williams inactive, the Raiders are thin at the receiver position; expect rookie Hunter Renfrow, Trevor Davis and rookie Keelan Doss to work in three-receiver sets against a solid Green Bay defense. Oakland will lean heavily on running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller.
Green Bay Packers wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) are both active for Week 7 against the Raiders after testing themselves in pre-game workouts. It's a bit of surprise that both are inactive, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn't complaining since he'll be without top receiver Davante Adams (toe) for the third straight game. MVS and Allison really haven't done much with Adams out, so they make for low-ceiling flex plays again this weekend, with MVS being the better target. Both receivers being active hurts the value of tight end Jimmy Graham, although he still has TE1 potential in this game. Rodgers remains a low-end QB1 until Adams returns. Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow can now be avoided in DFS.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (thigh) is officially active for Week 7 against the Falcons after sitting out last week. He's back in the RB2 mix in a good matchup against the Falcons, especially since backup Malcolm Brown (ankle) is inactive. Gurley should have a decent workload in this one, but rookie Darrell Henderson will spell him. As a result, Henderson has some flex appeal in deeper leagues against a Falcons run defense that continues to get beat by running backs.
Green Bay Packers WR Geronimo Allison (chest, concussion) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Allison is a risky option since he did not practice much this week. He should still see a solid amount of targets during the game and can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook (shoulder) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Westbrook should have a solid role in the passing game and will have a favorable matchup. He can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option in fantasy leagues.
Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Valdes-Scantling likely will serve as the top option in the passing game for the Packers this week despite the injuries. He can be considered a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Buffalo Bills rookie running back Devin Singletary (hamstring) is officially active for Week 7 against the Dolphins. The matchup against Miami is as good as it gets, which immediately puts Singletary on the RB3/flex map in his return to action this weekend. However, his ceiling is still somewhat low as long as he continues to play second fiddle to veteran Frank Gore in this backfield, which is expected to be the case yet again against the Dolphins. Singletary could see more run in the second half if the Bills are up big, though. With the rookie back in the fold, T.J. Yeldon is a healthy scratch.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (shoulder) is officially active for Week 7 against the Bengals. Westbrook tested his shoulder before the game and will give it a go in a great matchup against a Cincinnati team that will be missing their top cornerbacks. D.J. Chark and Westbrook remain quarterback Gardner Minshew's favorite targets in the passing game. Westbrook will be at risk of an in-game setback, but you can leave him in your lineups as a WR3 this weekend with some upside in this particular matchup.
Correcting a previous report, the Cincinnati Bengals have declared WR A.J. Green, DL Carlos Dunlap, OT Cordy Glenn, OG John Miller, CB William Jackson III, CB Dre Kirkpatrick and DE Carl Lawson inactive for Week 7.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) and safety Reshad Jones (chest) are both inactive for Week 7 against the Bills. In an already excellent matchup, the Bills passing game just got a boost with Miami's top cornerback being out. It'll mainly impact Buffalo's top wideout John Brown and quarterback Josh Allen, who are both in a good spot to produce big numbers this Sunday. You should obviously stay far away from the Dolphins Defense this year.
The Los Angeles Rams have declared RB Malcolm Brown, OG Jamil Demby, OG Austin Corbett, LB Bryce Hager, DL Greg Gaines, LB Kenny Young and LB Clay Matthews inactive for Week 7.
The Arizona Cardinals have declared LB Ramik Wilson, WR Christian Kirk, C Lamont Gaillard, RB D.J. Foster, DL Zach Allen, DL Michael Dogbe and DB Zeke Turner inactive for Week 7.
The New York Giants have declared CB Corey Ballentine, QB Alex Tanney, TE Garrett Dickerson, WR Sterling Shepard, OG Chad Slade, DE Chris Peace and OL Eric Smith inactive for Week 7.
The Washington Redskins have declared CB Deshazor Everett, CB Josh Norman, SS Josh Harvey-Clemons, TE Vernon Davis, RB Chris Thompson, OG Wes Martin and QB Colt McCoy inactive for Week 7.
The Minnesota Vikings have declared DL Armon Watts, CB Marcus Sherels, LB Ben Gedeon, DE Jalyn Holmes, C Brett Jones, OG Dru Samia and OL Olisaemeka Udoh inactive for Week 7.