New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick takes questions from reporters before an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and head coach Bill Belichick, right, speak during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Cleveland Browns' Christian Kirksey (58) celebrates with Myles Garrett (95) after Garrett sacked New York Jets' quarterback Luke Falk (8) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) When the New York Jets called New England earlier this month to inquire about trading for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, it was a long shot considering Bill Belichick hadn't once traded during his Patriots coaching tenure with the team he infamously resigned from after one day as head coach in 2000.
But Jets coach Adam Gase recalls New York general manager Joe Douglas being optimistic about the prospect in the aftermath of New England signing four-time All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown.
Thomas, who played under Gase when he was offensive coordinator in Denver in 2013 and `14, was a perfect fit for an offense the first-year Jets coach felt needed a boost after a season-opening loss to Buffalo.
''We were trying to figure out, `How could we go about this?''' Gase recalled. ''I think to Joe's credit, he was like, `I'm just going to call him and the worst they could say is no.' And when they said, `Let's talk,' then those guys worked it out.''
Belichick acknowledged that the stars aligned perfectly to make a rare deal between the AFC East foes possible.
''I would say, a certain period of time when there's no way this transaction would've happened,'' Belichick said. ''They're not the easiest trades to make, but, you know, if the trade is good for both teams and ultimately what we're trying to do is improve our team.''
It may be the only bit of kindness Belichick shows New York (0-2) when it arrives at Gillette Stadium for Sunday's matchup.
The Patriots (2-0) ran through Pittsburgh and Miami in their first two games, outscoring them 76-3 in a pair of routs .
Now they face a Jets team against which they have won six straight games and eight consecutive regular-season games in New England. The Jets beat the Patriots in Foxborough in the playoffs in the 2010 season, but haven't won a regular-season game there since 2008.
The Jets opened as an 18-point underdog. The line quickly grew to 23 by early in the week.
Asked this week if he's ever gone into a game with his opponent favored by that much, Gase smiled.
''Oh, I'm sure,'' Gase said. ''I was in Detroit five years.''
Some things to know as the two AFC East rivals square off in the first of two meetings this season:
Luke Falk will make his first NFL start after making his debut last Monday night against Cleveland.
The 24-year-old quarterback was on the practice squad a week ago, but was promoted to the active roster a few hours before the game. That was because Sam Darnold is recovering from mononucleosis . Trevor Siemian started against the Browns, but is now out for the season after injuring ankle ligaments. Falk went 20 of 25 for 198 yards after replacing Siemian.
Gase chose to stick with Falk as the starter - until Darnold returns in a few weeks. Falk was with Gase last season in Miami.
''He's very confident in his abilities,'' Gase said of Falk. ''He's confident in his intelligence, and he's able to take things from the classroom with no reps and go out and execute. Obviously, being in the system for two years now, he has a really good grasp of it.''
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL yet to give up a TD and are just the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to allow three points or fewer through their first two games. The previous one was 1981 Buffalo Bills.
ON THE CORNER
Trumaine Johnson entered the season as the Jets' No. 1 cornerback. He opened the team's second game on the sideline - and stayed there most of the game.
Johnson, who signed a five-year, $72.5 million deal last year, was replaced in the lineup by Nate Hairston. And, it appears that could be the case against the Patriots.
''It just hasn't worked out as well as we need it to,'' Gase said of Johnson's benching. ''The good thing is we've got a long ways to go.''
Johnson didn't play until late in the fourth quarter when Hairston dealt with cramps. Johnson acknowledged after the game against the Browns and again during the week that he was ''upset'' by the team's decision. He insisted, though, he just wants to do what's best for the team to help them win.
''When my number's called,'' Johnson said, ''I'll be ready to play.''
New England's offensive line took another hit this week when starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn was placed on injured reserve .
Wynn hurt a foot during the Patriots' 43-0 win at Miami. This is the second straight season Wynn has been placed on IR. A preseason Achilles tendon injury caused him to miss his entire rookie season in 2018.
It comes after starting center David Andrews went on IR before the season opener with blood clots in his lungs. Starting right tackle Marcus Cannon also sat out last week after injuring his shoulder in the win over Pittsburgh.
Marshall Newhouse, who was signed last week, started in Cannon's place against Miami. He is likely to get nod this week if Cannon remains out.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders finished by hauling in five of his six targets for 60 yards in the loss to Kansas City on Thursday. After dealing with a knee injury coming into this one, Sanders played the role of innocent bystander after watching quarterback Joe Flacco get slaughtered for eight sacks by the Chiefs Defense. Though this performance was a step in the right direction after compiling just two catches for nine yards during his previous two outings, he will continue to remain at the mercy of Flacco's inability to get anything going this season in addition to Courtland Sutton stepping up as the go-to receiver in Denver.
Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman managed to score a touchdown despite rushing for just 35 yards on 10 attempts during the loss to Kansas City. With the Chiefs Defense finally stepping up in this one, Freeman and backfield mate Phillip Lindsay were collectively held to just 71 yards on Thursday night. Both men should continue to split carries moving ahead, with the slight edge from a fantasy perspective going to Lindsay moving forward.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton played well in the loss to Kansas City on Thursday, finishing the night with 87 yards on six receptions. With the Chiefs Defense smothering Joe Flacco with eight sacks in this one while limiting backfield mates Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman for a combined 71 yards, Sutton played good enough considering how bad things would turn out. He continues to lead the way in the receiving department for the Broncos and will likely continue to get his looks in Week 8 against the Colts. He remains a must-start in all formats for the most part.
Denver Broncos running back Phillips Lindsay couldn't get anything going against a Chiefs Defense that stepped in the wake of the injury to quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is expected to miss some time after suffering a knee injury in the second quarter. After accumulating four touchdowns over his last four games, Lindsay finished with just 36 yards on 11 carries in this one. Though Royce Freeman managed to rush for a touchdown, expect these two to continue to split carries, with a slight edge going to Lindsay moving forward.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (hip/calf) has been a limited participant in practice this week, after returning to action in a 17-16 Week 6 loss to the Washington Redskins. After missing virtually the entire season due to injury, Wilson caught 5-of-6 targets against the Redskins but only totaled 15 yards. While he has been limited leading up to a matchup on the road against the Buffalo Bills in Week 7, Wilson is still expected to be the Dolphins starting slot receiver. Unfortunately, it will come against a Buffalo Bills Defense that is allowing the fewest points per game to opposing wide receivers in 2019. Whether he's fully healthy or not, Wilson belongs on the waiver wire with the rest of his teammates.
Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco finished with 213 yards on 21-for-34 passing in the blowout loss to Kansas City on Thursday. The veteran wasn't able to get anything going as the Chiefs Defense recorded nine sacks on the night, with eight of them going to Flacco. Though the former Raven has maintained a career-best 65.7 completion percentage, he has thrown for just six touchdowns to go along with five picks on the year. With this loss in the books, the Broncos will look to get on track against the Colts in Week 8 but continue to expect to see Flacco as a free agent in a majority of fantasy leagues, and for a good reason.
After being benched following a Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been named the starter for a Week 7 matchup in Buffalo. Fitzpatrick replaced starter Josh Rosen in the fourth quarter of Miami's loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 6, leading the Dolphins on two touchdown drives but ultimately falling short of victory. Facing his most recent former team, Fitzpatrick may find it tough sledding in Buffalo, as the Bills are allowing less than 10 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, a mark that is fourth-best in the league. Even having regained his starting position, Fitzpatrick doesn't belong anywhere but on the waiver wire until further notice.
Benched to start the fourth quarter after throwing two interceptions and completing 15-of-25 passes for just 85 yards in a 17-16 Week 6 loss to the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen will ride the pine again in Week 7. Claiming on Monday that he believed Rosen would still remain the starting quarterback going forward, head coach Brian Flores proved once again that the words of NFL coaches can rarely be trusted, announcing on Wednesday that Ryan Fitzpatrick would instead start against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. A first-round pick in 2018, Rosen has since been traded from the team that drafted him and been benched by league's worst team. If Rosen is still on your roster for some reason, now it the time to correct the mistake.
Following his first career start in a 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 6, Miami Dolphins running back Mark Walton (thumb) has been limited in practice this week, but he should be good to go for Week 7. Even with the start, Walton is still clearly behind Kenyan Drake on the depth chart heading into a Week 7 matchup on the road against a tough Buffalo defense. While there is no reason to start Walton this week in any league, he would certainly become more interesting if Drake were to be dealt before the October 29 trade deadline. Until then Walton remains only a speculative stash.
The subject of trade rumors that have recently heated up, Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake continues to be a fantasy non-entity heading into a Week 7 matchup with the Buffalo Bills. Drake has only 290 total yards on the season, with 19 receptions and zero touchdowns, giving him just 25 points on the year in standard leagues and making him a poor option for a majority of fantasy teams. Things won't get any easier in Week 7 with Miami facing one of the league's stingiest defenses in regards to allowing fantasy points. While the Bills are not as effective at stopping the run as they are the pass, the 18 points per game they've allowed to running backs is still good for 12th-best in the NFL. Facing a tough defense on the road and with teammate Mark Walton continuing to see more action, Drake's owners can only hope that he's traded to a better situation. Until that happens, he remains a low-end RB3/flex in deep leagues only.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams was briefly trending up in the fantasy community after receiving 12 targets in a Week 3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but his arrow has since pointed right back down. Blanketed by cornerback Josh Norman for much of last week's 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins, Williams finished with just 31 yards receiving, catching two of his six targets. Williams and the Dolphins travel to Buffalo on Sunday to face a Bills Defense that has allowed a league-low 71 points to opposing wide receivers in 2019. That mark is almost 20 points better than the 90 points allowed by the Chicago Bears, who sit in second place in the category. Like most of his Dolphin teammates, Williams is nothing but a desperate flex play and should remain on the waiver wire until Miami's offense proves it can be anything but awful.
He may have scored touchdowns in his past two games but Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker still isn't trending up and still doesn't belong on your fantasy roster. Even in a favorable matchup last week against the previously winless Washington Redskins, and with teammate Preston Wilson drawing most of cornerback Josh Norman's attention, Parker still only finished with 28 yards on three receptions, with his touchdown not coming until Miami's final drive. Heading into a Week 7 matchup with a Buffalo defense that's allowing the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers on the season, Parker should only be a dart thrown at the flex position by desperate owners in deep leagues.
The San Francisco 49ers Defense should continue their dominant run in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Entering the contest as the second-best defense by DVOA, the Niners should wreak havoc against quarterback Case Keenum and the woeful Skins. Operating as heavy favorites, the defense should steer Washington away from its stagnant run game and put constant pressure on an offensive line thats allowed 15 sacks. Facing one of the sloppier teams in the NFL, the 49ers make for a premium defensive unit this Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo enters Week 7 against the Washington Redskins with seven turnovers through five games (five picks, two fumbles). While he draws a cake matchup against the one-win Skins, Garoppolo is just an upside QB2 facing a weak pass defense. To climb the ranks of fantasy relevance, Garoppolo needs to stop committing mistakes and opposing teams must force the Niners away from their dominant rushing attack. That probably wont happen in Week 7 with the 49ers heavy favorites. While the run-heavy game plan partially offsets the juicy matchup, Garoppolo could finish the week a top-15 quarterback.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson was able to haul in a few receptions after a dud last week. Robinson didn't catch anything in the loss to the Colts during Week 6, but got back on the board in this one. He caught three of his five targets for 31 yards in the Week 7 victory over the Broncos. However, losing quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) is a big concern for the Chiefs offense. Robinson would only be a desperation flex option with veteran Matt Moore at quarterback in Week 8. Fantasy owners will have to wait and see what happens with Mahomes.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce continues to remain a strong and reliable fantasy option each and every week. He caught six of his eight targets for 44 yards in the Week 7 win over Denver. Kelce only has one touchdown this season, but continues to see a high volume of targets. It's unclear if quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) will suit up in Week 8 versus the Packers. However, Kelce is probably the only player on the Chiefs' offense that shouldn't lose value with Matt Moore at quarterback. Fantasy owners should continue to trust Kelce as a top five tight end.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was having a slow game in the Thursday night matchup versus the Broncos, until one play changed it all. Hill caught a 57-yard touchdown from quarterback Matt Moore late in the third quarter. He finished with three receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown in the Week 7 victory. Patrick Mahomes (knee) going down will hurt the Chiefs offense, assuming he misses time. Hill would be downgraded to a high-end WR2 for Week 8, assuming Mahomes sits out at least one week.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman was able to save his fantasy value with a touchdown in the Week 7 victory over the Denver Broncos. He caught two of his three targets for 28 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) going down did hurt the Chiefs offense a bit in this one. However, losing Mahomes for multiple games could kill Hardman's fantasy value. Veteran Matt Moore didn't look his way often after he replaced Mahomes in the second quarter. Hardman would have some shaky flex value, assuming Mahomes misses Week 8 versus the Packers.
Kansas City Chiefs running game Damien Williams has been basically a ghost on the field since Week 2. He finished with six total rushing yards during Week 6, but manages to have a worse fantasy game the following week. Williams rushed nine times for seven yards in the Week 7 victory over the Broncos. Williams got negative yards in the passing game, so he can't even be trusted there. Fantasy owners in standard leagues should probably be benching Williams at this point. He'll have low-end flex appeal versus the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. LeSean McCoy is looking like the better running back in KC right now.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Moore played surprisingly well after being thrown into the fire during Thursday's Week 7 matchup versus the Denver Broncos. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) exited in the second quarter after suffering a right knee injury. The veteran Moore was asked to take over and run the offense for the rest of the game. Moore completed 10 of 19 passing attempts for 117 yards and one touchdown in the victory. It's unclear if Mahomes is going to miss time yet, but Moore could carry some fantasy value, assuming Mahomes is out at least one week. Moore might have limited fantasy value for QB needy fantasy teams since he's surrounded by such a great offense. Don't expect him to light it up like Mahomes, but Moore looked decent on Thursday.