Thu Oct 1 1:25pm ET
By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, file photo, Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, left, talks with outside linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (51) on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Jacksonville, Fla. The Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks play on Sunday, Oct. 4. Everything has changed for Flores since the 2015 Super Bowl when he substituted Malcolm Butler, who made a game-saving interception of Russell Wilson to help New England edge Seattle. That stuff is in the past, Flores said. Cant help us now. Then Patriots' linebackers coach, Flores is now in his second year as the Miami Dolphins' head coach. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
CenturyLink Field is shown as the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys warm up before an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
MIAMI (AP) Malcolm Butler won't be available for Brian Flores to send into the game if the Seattle Seahawks get down to the 1-yard line Sunday, and that's not his only worry.
Everything has changed for Flores since the 2015 Super Bowl when he substituted Butler, who made a game-saving interception of Russell Wilson to help the New England Patriots edge Seattle.
''That stuff is in the past,'' Flores said. ''Can't help us now.''
Then the Patriots' safeties coach, Flores is now in his second year as the Miami Dolphins' head coach. But Wilson and the Seahawks (3-0) are still a championship-caliber team, which means the Dolphins (1-2) will have their hands full when the teams meet for the first time in four years.
Flores' order of ''Malcolm, go!'' sent Butler into the game and into Super Bowl lore. His decision is still fondly remembered in New England, as is the Seahawks' choice of plays.
When asked whether he anticipates that the Seahawks will run or pass in a similar situation Sunday, Flores allowed himself a small smile.
''They can do anything on the 1,'' he said. ''They've got a lot of options.''
The bigger issue for Miami is that Seattle can score from anywhere on the field. Wilson leads the NFL with 14 touchdown passes, the most after three games in league history, and the Seahawks have scored 111 points.
Flores' defense is coming off its best performance yet in a 31-13 win at Jacksonville. But Cam Newton and Josh Allen gave the Dolphins fits with both their running and passing, which makes the matchup against the elusive Wilson problematic.
''You've got some guys who extend plays and they're looking to scramble,'' Flores said. ''There are some guys who extend plays who are looking to throw. With Russell Wilson, it can be either-or. He's very good at both.''
Seattle's secondary has been riddled by opposing quarterbacks and by injuries. The Seahawks, who have allowed a league-worst 431 yards per game, are likely to be without starting strong safety Jamal Adams. He suffered a groin strain last week against Dallas.
Seattle already lost nickel cornerback Marquise Blair for the season, and both cornerback Quinton Dunbar (knee) and backup safety Lano Hill (back) were inactive last week and are uncertain against the Dolphins.
Seattle is also likely to be without rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks (knee), who made his first start last week.
''We have to quit making the errors that come from the newness and the guys not being out there together,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ''It has been sloppy at times, and the communication has not been as effective as it needs to be.''
In the first two weeks, Wilson was more than happy to spread the wealth with his touchdown tosses. But last week against Dallas, Wilson focused on Tyler Lockett, who set a career high with three touchdown receptions.
Lockett finished with nine catches for 100 yards and is on pace for a 128-catch season.
''We have a quarterback that can figure out a way to run around and just keep the play alive, and you never know when he's going to be able to give it to you,'' Lockett said.
Lockett isn't alone in having a big start to the season. This week DK Metcalf can become the third player in league history to start the season with four consecutive games of at least 90 yards receiving and a TD catch.
Myles Gaskin, a seventh-round pick from Washington in 2019, has surprisingly beaten out veterans Matt Breida and Jordan Howard to become Miami's No. 1 running back.
Gaskin leads the team with 152 yards rushing and 15 receptions, and he's averaging 4.6 yards per touch after playing little as a rookie.
''Trying not to look bad,'' he said. ''Last year was definitely a learning, humbling experience. It makes you hungry, not playing.''
The Dolphins are averaging 3.8 yards per rush and have allowed only five sacks. Their improvement over last year in both categories reflects well on a revamped line that includes two rookies, left tackle Austin Jackson and right guard Solomon Kindley.
''Those two have played pretty well thus far,'' offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. ''They need to continue to improve, which they can. They have the ability to become very good players before it's over.''
Five Sleepers: Week 7
Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis received reps with the first-team defense during practice Friday, Oct. 23, and could be in line to see increased playing time after being successful in a limited role.
Las Vegas Raiders S Jeff Heath appears to be the leading candidate to start at strong safety in place of SS Johnathan Abram for Week 7's contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After being on the field for an average of just 10 percent of the team's defensive snaps through the first four games, Heath began to see more playing time in Week 6's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, when he was on the field for 42 percent of the Raiders' defensive plays.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley (knee) is scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament next week and doctors are optimistic that he will be ready for training camp. Barkley needed to wait for his medial collateral ligament injury to heal before he was eligible to undergo ACL surgery.
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has both made and received calls about WR Dante Pettis recently, although no deal appears imminent, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Le'Veon Bell is expected to see some snaps against the Denver Broncos in Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: It is no surprise that the Chiefs plan to ease Bell into action. There is no denying his upside, but he needs to be left on the bench until his role and workload become clear.
New Orleans Saints WR Bennie Fowler (shoulder) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Oct. 23.
The Philadelphia Eagles waived DE Daeshon Hall from the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list Friday, Oct. 23.
The Denver Broncos released DT Sylvester Williams Friday, Oct. 23.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.