Sun Aug 25 12:17am ET
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson, left, runs against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Brandon Allen (8) looks to throw as Denver Broncos defensive end Dre'Mont Jones (93) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Denver Broncos quarterback Kevin Hogan (9) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams defensive back Steven Parker during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Denver Broncos quarterback Kevin Hogan (9) throws against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LOS ANGELES (AP) Brandon Allen passed for 162 yards, and Jalen Greene caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from John Wolford with 12:38 to play in the Los Angeles Rams' 10-6 preseason victory over the Denver Broncos on Saturday night.
Both coaches sat nearly all of their starters for the final NFL preseason game at the 96-year-old Coliseum, and neither team managed a touchdown before Wolford led a 52-yard drive spanning the final two quarters and capped it with a sharp pass to Greene.
Wolford, who went 6 of 12 for 64 yards, is competing for the Rams' No. 3 quarterback spot with Allen, who had the job last season. Allen went 12 of 19 and mostly looked sharp while Jared Goff and backup Blake Bortles watched from the sideline.
Almost every Rams player expected to make a significant contribution this season skipped this game in keeping with coach Sean McVay's total disinterest in risking his starters' health for meaningless exhibitions. McVay also followed the strategy last August, and the Rams matched the NFL's best regular-season record at 13-3 before reaching their first Super Bowl in 17 years.
Kevin Hogan went 8 of 12 for 69 yards in the Broncos' fourth of five preseason games.
Hogan and undrafted rookie Brett Rypien ran the Broncos' offense with rookie Drew Lock sidelined by a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. Hogan is expected to back up Joe Flacco this season.
Rypien went 14 of 23 for 80 yards with an interception in his first preseason action since the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1. He led the Broncos to the Rams 25 in the final minutes, but Los Angeles stopped them on downs with 1:08 to play.
Kieshawn Bierria started for the Broncos as an inside linebacker, and his bid for playing time this season got a boost when he made a huge defensive play in the third quarter. Bierria wrapped up Rams tight end Johnny Mundt at the goal line and forced him out of bounds before Mundt could get his short reception over the goal line on fourth down.
Denver tight end Jake Butt had two catches for 17 yards while playing for the first time since the third game of last season, when he tore a knee ligament and required his third knee surgery. Butt also missed the entire 2017 season due to knee problems after the Broncos chose him in the fifth round out of Michigan, but his continued health could be a boost for an offense that likes to use tight ends.
Most of the Rams' few remaining positional competitions revolve around the players' roles on special teams, and those weren't all great: Los Angeles committed penalties on each of its first two punt returns.
Broncos: Finish their extra-long preseason by hosting the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday.
Rams: Rest their starters again when they visit the Houston Texans on Thursday.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 2
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 302 yards with a pair of touchdowns in Week 2 against the Chargers in a victory on Sunday. The MVP also rushed six times for 54 yards. The numbers overall were satisfactory, but Mahomes did struggle by going just 27/47. There should be no worries as Mahomes still put up a good performance and failed to turnover the ball. Mahomes remains one of the best options in the game and should always be started. He will draw a tough matchup against the Ravens in Week 3.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold didn't have a bad performance on paper, but that doesn't tell the whole story. He completed 21 of 32 passing attempts for 179 passing yards and one touchdown in the Week 2 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He did throw a touchdown, but it was at the point where the game was already out of hand. The Jets don't have many weapons on offense, so Darnold won't offer too much upside. He'll get another tough matchup against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3. Darnold belongs on the waiver wire or bench in most leagues going forward.
Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins continues to assert himself in 2020. Against the Ravens on Sunday, Akins caught a team-high seven passes for 55 yards. While Darren Fells still appears to be the end zone target at tight end for the Texans, Akins is seeing more usage all over the field. At a shallow position, Akins can provide some solid depth to fantasy managers who are looking for a tight end, and he appears to be trending towards having a solid week-to-week role on this football team.
Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith caught four of five targets, racking up 84 receiving yards and two touchdowns during Sunday's 33-30 win against the Jaguars. The 25-year-old is off to a great start to his 2020 season, having already matched his career high in touchdown receptions through just two outings. Smith's involvement in the passing offense has increased immensely, as he is on pace for over 95 targets this year. Heading into Week 3, Smith prepares to face a Vikings Defense that surrendered five catches and 111 yards to Indianapolis' Mo Alie-Cox on Sunday. He's looking like a TE1 going forward.
New York Jets running back Frank Gore was heavily involved in their Week 2 gameplan. The San Francisco 49ers destroyed them, but head coach Adam Gase continued to keep Gore involved in the game. Gore carried the ball 21 times for 63 yards in the loss. It's nice to see Gore getting that many attempts, but the road doesn't get easier against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3. Gore could be a desperation flex option for this one, but it's tough to trust anyone on the Jets offense.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had an explosive Week 1 in his NFL debut last week, but returned to earth in Week 2 against the Chargers. The rookie was the lead back out of the backfield, but only saw 10 rushes for 38 yards at 3.8 yards per carry. The positive news for Edwards-Helaire was that he was featured in the pass game and caught six balls for 32 yards. Edwards-Helaire already has strong value and if he is able to carve out a consistent role as a pass catcher, he could become a top-5 running back. Edwards-Helaire will look for more opportunities in a tough matchup versus the stingy Baltimore Ravens Defense in Week 3. He should be treated as a low-end RB1 for now.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker was a bit of a question mark heading into this one because of the hamstring issue. Despite that, Parker caught five of eight targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. Sadly, the Dolphins weren't able to pull off the comeback victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. However, Parker will have a much easier matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars next week. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on Parker as a WR2 for that contest.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry put together another strong performance in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Henry hauled in eight of his six targets for 83 yards. Henry has seemed to be a favorite of both quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor (chest) and Justin Herbert and should continue to put together strong numbers with whoever is behind center. Henrys biggest flaw throughout his career has been his health, so it wouldnt be a bad idea for managers to shop Henry at a high value. Henry should still be treated as a top-10 option at the position and as long as his health pans out, managers should be happy with the results. Henry will face the Panthers in Week 3 and should be started every week in 10-team leagues.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense looked very convincing in a Week 2 win over Carolina. The unit recorded five sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries en route to a 31-17 victory. Rising star Devin White led the team in tackles with 15 while Ndamukong Suh recorded two sacks. With a Week 3 date set up against the Broncos and backup quarterback Jeff Driskel, Tampa Bay's defense should once again be among the best units to use for fantasy purposes.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews had just one catch for 29 yards during the win over the Texans on Sunday. With the team turning toward its rushing attack behind the trio of Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards, and J.K. Dobbins, the former Sooner saw his production dwindle after a two-touchdown performance against the Browns in Week 1. Nonetheless, this output shouldn't be alarming as Andrews likely has plenty more effective fantasy outings left in the tank over the team's next 14 contests. He will attempt to get back on track in Week 3 for a Monday Night Football showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Arizona Cardinals tight end Dan Arnold was the team's top pass-catching tight end for the second-straight game in Week 2. Arnold caught two of his four targets for 26 yards in the game. The Cardinals were without Maxx Williams (ankle) in the game. Williams had two targets in Week 1, but didn't catch either. Darrell Daniels was the only other tight end to receive a target in Week 2. He earned just one look, but failed to reel it in. It's encouraging that Arnold is the clear No. 1 tight end for a highly-productive Cardinals offense, but he's going to need to put some better production together before we consider him a legitimate fantasy option.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams put together another dud performance in the Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Williams hauled in one of his five targets for 26 yards in this one. To be fair, All-Pro defensive back Tre'Davious White was on Williams for a good amount of this game. Williams has struggled to start the season, but is expected to bounce back against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. Williams should be able to be counted on as a low-end WR3 or flex option next week.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams struggled in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Williams was a popular waiver wire add after a strong Week 1, but was only targeted four times by rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. Williams only caught two balls and those went for 14 yards. Despite the rough performance, Williams should see brighter days ahead as Justin Herbert is likely to remain the starter at quarterback. Williams should be treated as a WR4/WR5 in deeper leagues for now, but has strong upside if he reaches his potential.
The Cardinals Defense held the Washington Football Team to just 15 points in Week 2. Washington only scored three points in the first three quarters, but managed a few touchdowns with failed two-point conventions in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals sacked Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. four times and also recovered a Haskins fumble as well as a Steven Sims Jr.fumble. The Cardinals have now turned in two-straight solid defensive efforts and have a favorable matchup against the Detroit Lions in Week 3. They'll be a potential low-end starting option next week.
Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders put together a fairly solid game versus the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. Sanders connected on both of his field goals attempts of the game. He nailed a 52-yard field goal, which is quite impressive. Sanders finished with eight points in the game, but sadly the Dolphins weren't able to pull off the win. Unfortunately, the Dolphins offense isn't very reliable otherwise Sanders could have some fantasy value. He's a decent kicker, but Miami doesn't give him enough chances to warrant adding in most formats.
Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb was more involved in Week 2 than he was in Houston's first game of 2020, catching five passes for 59 yards in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Cobb was expected to serve as an underneath option for quarterback Deshaun Watson this year, and on Sunday he looked like he was playing the role as expected. Cobb could be a solid streaming option in full PPR leagues, though we might want to see another game of Cobb at this level of involvement before we fully start to trust the veteran receiver.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop made one field-goal and four extra-points in a 31-17 win over the Panthers. Succop had a solid role in Week 2, as the Buccaneers offense made several trips to the red zone. That could be a common occurrence with the number of weapons they possess on offense. After two weeks, Succop has made 2 of 3 field-goals and all six extra-points. He should be a starting option next week against the Broncos, who just allowed 26 points to the Steelers.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was extremely efficient in Week 2 against the Washington Football Team, catching all seven of his targets for 50 yards. He was second on the team in receptions behind DeAndre Hopkins, but he was out-gained in yardage by three others - Hopkins, Andy Isabella and Christian Kirk. Fitzgerald averaged just 7.1 yards per reception, which isn't a huge surprise, but certainly highlights his current place on the team as their short-yardage extraordinaire. Because of this role, he has a rather limited ceiling, but his floor in PPR is nice to have as he should regularly catch around five passes or more on a weekly basis.
Baltimore Ravens running back Marquise Brown finished with five catches for 42 yards during the win over the Houston Texans on Sunday. Hollywood equaled his Week 1 total in receptions but took a step backward overall as the team relied heavily on the rushing attack. Fantasy managers shouldn't be alarmed as Brown's seesaw season will likely continue, primarily with Baltimore having so many different options to turn to on its roster. Next up for the former Sooner will be the Kansas City Chiefs at home for a Monday Night Football clash.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie running back Joshua Kelley continues to be a valuable option for fantasy managers. Kelley entrenched himself as the No. 2 running back in Week 1 and continued the momentum against the Chiefs on Sunday. The rookie rushed 23 times compared to Austin Ekelers 16 attempts and put up 64 yards with a pair of catches for 49 yards. Ekeler remains the No. 1 runner in the backfield for the Chargers, but Kelley is getting enough run to warrant being owner across the board. Expect Ekeler to get most of the catches out of the backfield, but Kelley receiving seven more rush attempts was a positive sign. Kelley should be owned and considered as a flex in Week 3 versus the Panthers.