Green Bay Packers' Aaron Jones runs during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers throws as he's hit by Minnesota Vikings' Everson Griffen during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Von Miller expects more from the Broncos' defense.
Following a last-second Week 2 loss to the Bears, the three-time All-Pro edge rusher said it was time to ''get back in the lab and keep practicing.''
Through two games, Denver (0-2) hasn't forced a turnover or recorded a sack, both uncharacteristic of a Miller-led defense. But first-year coach Vic Fangio isn't worried.
''Not at this point, OK,'' he said. ''The only thing I will say is I was disappointed in our rush in the last drive (on Sunday), but prior to that in these first two games they've been unusual games as it related to pass rush.''
Miller, fellow pass-rusher Bradley Chubb and the rest of the Broncos will look to get a victory this Sunday against the Packers at Lambeau Field, a place where Denver has never won (0-5-1).
Aaron Rodgers, who for the third straight week will be staring down yet another prolific tandem of pass rushers, knows it's only a matter of time before the Broncos' defense starts piling up the sacks, especially with Fangio at the helm.
''He's a fantastic coach,'' Rodgers said. ''I'm happy for him to get the opportunity after so many years being a great assistant in the league. I haven't spent a lot of time with him, but I have a ton of respect for the way he's gone about his business over his career.''
Fangio faced Rodgers-led offenses seven times as Bears defensive coordinator from 2015-18. Fangio went 2-5 in those matchups, including a 1-4 mark in games played in Green Bay.
Fangio was in charge when the Bears forced Rodgers out of the game and into the locker room in the second quarter of the season opener last season, only to watch the two-time MVP throw three touchdowns and help the Packers overcame a 20-point deficit.
Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari primarily will be dealt the task of slowing down Chubb, who had 12 sacks last year as a rookie. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga will be on Von Miller watch. Miller is two sacks away from 100 for his career. He would be the 34th player in NFL history to reach the century mark.
''They're very, very good players,'' Bulaga said. ''So regardless of what their numbers say, that's not what bothers me. It's watching tape of those guys win consistently, especially for Von, being able to do it for, what, nine years now? I mean, he's been doing it for a long time. He didn't forget how to rush the passer. I can promise you that.''
The Broncos held Rodgers to 77 yards passing the previous time the teams met. But that was way back in 2015 when Denver's defense was leading the franchise to its third Super Bowl title and sending Peyton Manning into retirement as a champion. Only three defenders who started against the Packers that game are still starting: OLB Von Miller, DE Derek Wolfe and CB Chris Harris Jr. (the only returning offensive starter is WR Emmanuel Sanders).
RB Aaron Jones had 116 yards and a touchdown on career-high 23 carries in the Packers' win last week against the Vikings. Jones figures to be a large part of coach Matt LaFleur's offensive plans going forward as he continues to seek a balanced offense.
''When I first saw him when he came up with them, I looked out and said, `Where'd they get this guy?' Fangio said of Jones. ''And I think he was a sixth-round pick, and I'm saying, `Jeez.' He's powerful. He's got really good balance. He runs tough. He's a capable pass receiver out of the backfield. They do everything with him. They got a steal there.''
The Broncos haven't had their full defense together so far with ILB Todd Davis (calf) and CB Bryce Callahan (foot) missing the first two games. Callahan was limited in practice and odds are he won't be back for the Packers. But Davis, the team's leading tackler last season, finally looks ready to return to the lineup. He's been out since tearing his left calf on the first day of training camp in July.
ALL EYES ON JIMMY
TE Jimmy Graham has been unable to practice this week for Green Bay because of a groin injury, which could affect his status for Sunday. Meanwhile, the Packers signed TE Evan Baylis to the 53-man roster.
The Broncos are bedeviled over left tackle Garett Bolles' holding habit, which has somehow gotten worse under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Mike Munchak.
After getting flagged four times against Chicago in Week 2 - the most by any NFL player in the past five seasons - Bolles disputed some of the penalties and suggested he was the victim of an undeserved reputation. That promoted backlash from coaches, teammates and even GM John Elway, who asked, ''Does he know what holding is?''
Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst had one reception for 10 yards on two targets in Sunday's Week 7 win against the Seahawks. Hurst has 14 receptions for 141 yards and one touchdown in 2019 and hasn't seen the end zone since Week 2. With Mark Andrews seeing the bulk of Lamar Jackson's targets, Hurst is best left off your bench unless Andrews misses time.
Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards carried the ball 8 times for 35 yards in Sunday's Week 7 win against Seattle. Edwards has 52 rushing attempts for 234 yards but has failed to get into the end zone in 2019. Edwards is the clear handcuff to Mark Ingram with Justice Hill barely getting touches, but he isn't worth a spot in your lineup unless Ingram misses time.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead did not record a catch on his only target and rushed once for two yards in Sunday's Week 7 win against the Seattle Seahawks. Snead has 15 receptions for 223 yards and two touchdowns in 2019. Even with receiver Marquise Brown recovering from an ankle injury, Snead hasn't proven himself to be fantasy relevant at this point in the season. Leave him off your rosters for now.
Baltimore Ravens running back Justice Hill returned two kicks for 21 yards but did not record a carry in Sunday's Week 7 win against the Seahawks. Hill has 18 rushing attempts for 78 yards in 2019 and has been a non-factor in fantasy. In the event that running back Mark Ingram misses time, it will be Gus Edwards who will see the bulk of carries. Keep the rookie off your rosters moving forward.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is unlikely to suit up for Thursday Night Football against the Washington Redskins in Week 8. The 29-year-old seems to think he is capable of playing, but the Vikings will likely rest their ailing star against a mediocre opponent on a short week. In his absence, rookie Olabisi Johnson will likely serve as the WR2. Johnson, who had 40 yards and a touchdown in Week 7, is a viable streaming option for fantasy managers that are desperate for a receiver in Week 8.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller is expected to miss several weeks with a significant hamstring strain, per Ian Rapoport. Fuller suffered the injury against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7. With Fuller sidelined, Kenny Stills becomes a must-add asset in almost all formats. The 27-year-old produced 105 yards on four catches against the Colts after Fuller exited the game. Stills can be considered a mid-tier WR3 against the Oakland Raiders in Week 8.
Seattle Seahawks S Bradley McDougald (back) sat out of practice all week after suffering from back spasms and was unable to play in Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens, but head coach Pete Carroll told reporters during his postgame press conference that he believes McDougald will be able to make it back for Week 8 versus the Atlanta Falcons.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen only hauled in 4-of-11 targets for 61 yards during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Despite having a positive pass-catching game script, Allen and Philip Rivers failed to connect on several deep balls. Luckily, due to the Chargers' uninspiring defensive unit, the game script is almost always positive for the passing attack. Allen remains a mid-tier WR1 against the Chicago Bears in Week 8.
Updating a previous report, New Orleans Saints CB Eli Apple (knee) likely suffered a hyperextended knee late in the team's Week 7 game versus the Chicago Bears, although more tests are scheduled to determine the extent of his injury Monday, Oct. 21.
Updating previous reports, Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss 'several weeks' after suffering 'a rather significant hamstring pull,' according to a source via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Fantasy Spin: Fuller hasn't come close to playing a full season in four years in the NFL, so fantasy owners can't exactly be shocked by this development. While the Texans will miss his ability to stretch the field, Fuller's lack of durability was probably one of the biggest reasons Houston made sure to land Kenny Stills in the Laremy Tunsil trade this summer. Stills should be able to fill in nicely and serve as a high-upside WR3 for however long Fuller is sidelined.
Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins S Montae Nicholson (ankle) was seen walking around in a boot Monday, Oct. 21, after injuring his right ankle in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Free-agent CB Kayvon Webster (Saints) worked out for the New Orleans Saints on Monday, Oct. 21.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry caught six passes for 97 yards during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. The 24-year-old has seen 17 targets over his past two games. Now fully healthy, Henry is unquestionably a top-tier tight end for the remainder of the season. He has a tougher matchup against the Chicago Bears in Week 8, but he is still an undisputed TE1 for the contest.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert pulled in just two receptions for 10 yards against Jacksonville in Week 7. The veteran has been a huge fantasy disappointment this season, and with rumblings of a trade before the deadline, Eifert's days in Cincy may be over soon. He has the potential to produce, and if you're able, he is worth a stash in deeper formats, at least for now.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt (abdomen) has been cleared by the NFL to rejoin the team and begin practicing with them Monday, Oct. 21.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt has been sidelined all season recovering from sports hernia surgery and serving an eight-game suspension for domestic abuse for an incident that occurred during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. The former rushing champion is not eligible to return to game action until Week 10, so Nick Chubb will serve as a team's featured back for at least two more weeks. It's expected Hunt will serve as the change-of-pace back when he returns.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler only produced seven rushing yards on five carries in Week 7, but he salvaged the day by catching seven passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. Melvin Gordon had 16 carries in the contest despite being outplayed by Ekeler, but the Chargers continue to let Gordon dominate the ground game. Nevertheless, Ekeler's ability as a receiver continues to give him value as a fantasy asset. He is an above-average flex option against the dominant Chicago Bears' defense in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate finished with three catches (six targets) for 65 yards against Jacksonville in Week 7. After getting 11 looks from quarterback Andy Dalton against the Ravens in Week 6, Tate's production was yielded by Alex Erickson, who hauled in eight receptions for 137 yards on the day. With A.J. Green (ankle) expected to return soon, Tate will likely be relegated to backing up Green and Tyler Boyd moving forward. Keep an eye on Green's status for Week 8 and plan accordingly.
Updating previous reports, Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, Oct. 21, but he faces the 'real possibility' of not playing in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins.
Fantasy Spin: While everyone around the team believes the injury is not serious, the Vikings play on Thursday, making it an almost impossible turnaround for Thielen. In theory, Minnesota should not need him against the Redskins, but the Vikings' passing attack is not so deep and talented that it can just assume it will thrive without Kirk Cousins' favorite receiver. If Thielen sits, it will be the first game he's missed in his NFL career. Fantasy owners should feel free to bump up Stefon Diggs in their weekly rankings as well.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon produced 32 yards on 16 carries during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. While he caught a one-yard touchdown pass, he also lost a fumble at the goal line in the final seconds of the game to drop the Chargers to 2-4 on the season. The 26-year-old continues to be outplayed by Austin Ekeler, but Gordon continues to get the majority of the touches. As long as he remains the workhorse in the offense, he is a worthy RB2 in fantasy formats. Unfortunately, he has a tough matchup in Week 8 against the daunting Chicago Bears Defense, which likely makes him a flex play at best.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd finished with five receptions for 55 yards against Jacksonville on Sunday. With 14 targets on the day, which was tied with Alex Erickson, who hauled in eight catches for 137 yards, Boyd wasn't able to get anything going against a Jaguars Defense that was all over quarterback Andy Dalton. A.J. Green (ankle) is expected to return within the next week or so, and while it may decrease Boyd's looks, Green's presence back in the lineup may open things up for 24-year-old moving forward.