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.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Duke Williams had a fantastic debut for the team in Week 5, catching all four of his targets, including the game-winning touchdown. He figures to be the team's second outside wide receiver for now, behind No. 1 receiver John Brown. However, slot receiver Cole Beasley still receives a heavy dose of targets and tight end Dawson Knox is also in the mix. Williams could be a sneaky start this week against the Dolphins if Brown (ankle) misses the game. Brown was a limited practice participant in Wednesday's practice. However, if Brown is active, just keep an eye on Williams.
Cincinnati Bengals left tackle Cordy Glenn (concussion) was cleared to return from his concussion on Wednesday, but he and the team have been at odds regarding his head injury, its symptoms, whether he's able to return and the need for second opinions, according to multiple sources. Cincinnati fined Glenn $200,000 for conduct detrimental to the team and Glenn at one point told head coach Zac Taylor to cut him. The second-round pick back in 2012 has yet to play this season and feels the team was trying to rush him back. He would be a huge upgrade to the team's atrocious offensive line, but it doesn't look like he'll be back in Week 7 against the Jaguars.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle) missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday. It's particularly concerning since the team's top three receivers -- Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison -- have also yet to practice and are all in danger of sitting out in Week 7 against the Raiders. The veteran Graham could be available if he gets in some practice on Friday, so we'll have to keep an eye on his status. Although he hasn't done much for fantasy owners this year, he'll be as close to a must-start as ever this Sunday if the Packers are missing some of their receiving threats.
Green Bay Packers wide receivers Davante Adams (toe), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) remain sidelined at practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday. Adams has missed the last two games with turf toe and seems doubtful to play in Week 7 against the Raiders. MVS and Allison are also on the wrong side of questionable right now, so they must practice on Friday to have a chance to play. Green Bay would be down to Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and rookie Darrius Shepherd if all three of Adams, MVS and Allison are inactive. That'd obviously be terrible news for quarterback Aaron Rodgers this weekend. No matter what, expect Green Bay to lean on both running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams in this one.
Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown (ankle) remains sidelined at practice for the second straight day Thursday. Brown missed practice all of last week and the Week 6 game, and he's looking unlikely to play again this weekend against the Seahawks. None of Willie Snead, rookie Miles Boykin or Seth Roberts stepped up in the passing game with Brown sidelined last week, so all three of them are desperation dart throws, at best, for a flex spot if Brown misses his second straight contest. Tight end Mark Andrews remains quarterback Lamar Jackson's favorite target outside of Brown.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) said he still has "a little ways to go." He hasn't practiced this week and isn't expected to make his season debut in Week 7 against the Jaguars. With Green out at least another week, Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate will remain the team's top two receivers. Against a Jaguars team now without cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Boyd has WR1 upside in a great bounce-back spot this Sunday. Tate will have flex appeal for those hurting at the position or in need of a body because of bye weeks. Continue to stash Green everywhere. He'll be Cincy's top wideout whenever he returns.
The Los Angeles Chargers placed wide receiver Travis Benjamin (quadriceps) on Injured Reserve on Thursday and signed defensive tackle T.Y. McGill in a corresponding move. Benjamin can return later this year, but he should be dropped from all fantasy rosters in deeper leagues. The 29-year-old had just six catches on 16 targets for 30 scoreless yards in five games this year. With Dontrelle Inman also on IR, Geremy Davis figures to be the team's No. 3 wideout behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. He won't be fantasy relevant unless there's an injury ahead of him.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' (ankle) injury is a legitimate injury. Sources are saying that the injury is worse than most people think it is, and head coach Andy Reid said it's something that has bothered the quarterback since Week 1. Mahomes aggravated the ankle each of the last two weeks. He has been very reluctant to flee the pocket and has seen his completion percentage drop as a result. Opposing defenses have switched to play man coverage recently with Mahomes ailing. Denver's defense doesn't often play man coverage, but it remains to be seen how they defend the start quarterback Thursday night. The Broncos D has been playing much better in recent weeks and this is no easy matchup, but Mahomes remains a must-start in fantasy.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen) missed another practice on Thursday. The Eagles were optimistic about Jackson playing this weekend for the first time since Week 2, but that's looking like more of a long shot if he can't get on the practice field. A notoriously slow healer, D-Jax might be more likely to come back in Week 8 against the Bills on the road. The Eagles desperately need Jackson's deep-threat abilities to open up their offense. If he sits out again, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins will continue to operate in three-wide sets on Sunday night against the Cowboys.
New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) practiced in full on Thursday. After missing last Thursday's contest, Gallman looks to be on track to return in Week 7 against the Cardinals. However, Saquon Barkley (ankle) is also practicing in full and should be able to return after a two-game absence. Gallman will be a little-used backup for the Giants if Barkley is starting and playing his normal allotment of snaps. Gallman would only be on the RB2/3 borderline if the Giants play it cautious and hold Barkley out for another week. With Barkley healthy, Gallman is strictly a handcuff for Barkley owners.
Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (toe) remained sidelined at practice for the second straight day Thursday. It's looking unlikely that Thompson plays in Week 7 against the 49ers while dealing with a minor case of turf toe. Adrian Peterson should see another heavy workload this Sunday, but it might not matter against San Fran's strong defensive front. If Thompson is inactive this weekend, expect Wendell Smallwood to handle most of the pass-catching duties out of the backfield. He'd strictly be a desperation RB3/flex in deep PPR leagues.
New England Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (hamstring), who missed last Thursday's game, was moving around well at practice on Thursday. Dorsett is on track to play on Monday night against the Jets. It's welcomed news, too, as Josh Gordon (knee) is questionable to play after getting injured last Thursday. It's looking like Julian Edelman and Dorsett will be New England's top two receivers for this week. Dorsett will have sneaky flex appeal for fantasy owners in a good matchup if Gordon doesn't play.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) will not practice again on Thursday. The Bengals aren't rushing their No. 1 receiver back, and he's highly unlikely to play in Week 7 against the Jaguars. With Cincy's bye coming in Week 9, it's possible that Green doesn't make his season debut until Week 10 against the Ravens. The Bengals (0-6) have no reason to rush the veteran at this point in a lost season. With Green still sidelined, Tyler Boyd will have WR1 upside this weekend against a Jaguars Defense that just traded their top cornerback in Jalen Ramsey. It's a great week for Boyd to bounce back from his clunker in Week 6. Auden Tate also has flex appeal at home in this matchup.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that quarterback Mitch Trubisky (shoulder), who practiced in full on Wednesday, is "feeling good." All signs point to Trubisky returning in Week 7 to face the Saints after missing the London game in Week 5. If that happens, backup Chase Daniel will go back to holding the clipboard. The Saints allow the 11th most fantasy points per game (24.1) to signal-callers, but Trubisky and Chicago's passing game has been wildly mediocre through five games in 2019. It's best to treat Trubisky as a low-upside, midrange QB2 if he returns to action in Week 7.
Dallas Cowboys wide receivers Amari Cooper (ankle, quadriceps) and Randall Cobb (back) both missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Both players are on the wrong side of questionable right now for Sunday night against the Eagles. Until further notice, plan on being without both of them. That would put Michael Gallup as the No. 1 receiver with Tavon Austin in the slot and Cedrick Wilson out wide in three-receiver sets. Gallup is the only viable option for starting lineups outside of much deeper leagues. The good news is that offensive tackles Tyron Smith (ankle) and La'el Collins (knee) both returned to practice, so Dallas' offensive line might be near full strength to face Philly's strong defensive front. Tight end Jason Witten should see more targets as well if Cooper and Cobb sit out.
New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (knee) and tight end Matt LaCosse (knee) were not at practice on Thursday. Gordon was injured last Thursday night and didn't return to the game. He's in serious danger of sitting out on Monday night against the Jets, and he's even more difficult to trust with the game being on Monday. With Phillip Dorsett also banged up, it could be Julian Edelman, rookie Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski in three-receiver sets for the Pats. Edelman would obviously be a must-start, while Meyers would simply be a dart throw as a flex in deeper formats. LaCosse will miss at least a few weeks. Ryan Izzo should perform as the team's primary tight end, but he should be faded in fantasy.
Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon has served as the Bills' No. 2 running back behind Frank Gore since Week 3, after the team lost Devin Singletary (hamstring) to an injury. Singletary is looking likely to make his return in Week 7, which is bad news for Yeldon. Yeldon had a season-high 10 touches in Week 3, then had a total of 10 touches the next two games. If Singletary is active, Yeldon may not see the field more than a few times this week. Even if Singletary is inactive, Yeldon still won't get enough opportunities to warrant starting him. He should be on waivers in all leagues.
Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore has received at least 16 touches in four straight games. This week, he faces a Dolphins Defense that just allowed Adrian Peterson and the Redskins to run all over it. Gore has a fantastic opportunity to rack up around 100 rushing yards with a good chance to score, making him a high-end RB2 this week. The team's No. 2 running back Devin Singletary (hamstring) is looking likely to make his return this week, which could cost Gore a few touches, but nothing significant enough to warrant benching Gore.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has 27 catches through five games this year, a sturdy total for PPR leagues. This week, Beasley and the Bills have a favorable home matchup against the Dolphins. Beasley should be able to get open at will, making him a solid candidate for around six or seven catches. The team's No. 1 receiver John Brown (ankle) is currently questionable for the game. If Brown sits, Beasley could be a low-end WR3 or flex option in non-PPR leagues, but if Brown is in, Beasley should be considered for PPR only.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has had a bumpy start to the year with seven interceptions and a lost fumble over five games. This week, however, he has an ideal matchup at home against the Dolphins. He has a good chance to put his turnover woes to rest and deliver some solid yardage through the air and on the ground. He should be able to contribute at least two touchdowns on the day as well. He's a fantastic, low-risk QB2 in two-quarterback leagues and a low-end QB1 option in one-quarterback leagues.