Thu Sep 19 6:25pm ET
By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) looses control of the ball as Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) looks on in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum (8) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Paul Richardson in the second half of an NFL football game against Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) throws against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) breaks away from Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) to run downfield in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. Also on the field is Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13). (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Mitchell Trubisky wants the Bears to believe this will be the week their struggling offense gets going.
It might actually be that week because Chicago is facing a Washington Redskins defense that hasn't been able to stop much of anything.
The Bears (1-1) go into Monday night's matchup with the third-worst offense in the NFL through the first two weeks of the season. Fortunately for them, the Redskins (0-2) rank third-worst on defense and are dealing with some key injuries contributing to that disappointing start.
''They got some openings where we could have some success on offense this week,'' Trubisky said Thursday. ''We've got to believe that this offense can explode at any minute because of the playmakers and the special guys we have in the locker room.''
Chicago's offense has produced just one touchdown through two games - a 1-yard-run by David Montgomery last week - and Trubisky is a combined 42 of 72 for 348 yards and an interception. The 2017 second overall pick is near the bottom of the league at 4.8 yards a completion.
''Right now, it's just about getting into that rhythm and then understanding the execution of the plays,'' coach Matt Nagy said. ''And us as coaches, too, making sure that we're putting them in optimum position to make the plays with whatever play call is made. We're not running different plays. We're not running anything different than we did last year. It's a long season.''
That's the mantra inside the Redskins' locker room where injuries to defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Quinton Dunbar have contributed to them getting worn down as games go on. Coach Jay Gruden said it's not time to panic yet, but the defense underachieving is alarming.
Washington has allowed a combined 569 yards in the second half in losses to Philadelphia and Dallas .
''We're struggling a little bit, but it takes time,'' defensive tackle Tim Settle said. ''The more we work together as a team, the more we progress as a team, the better we're going to get. We're going to get things rolling. It's going to be pretty.''
Not much is pretty about the Redskins' defense or the Bears' offense so far. Settle mentioned communication as an issue, and first-year Washington middle linebacker Jon Bostic pointed to a lack of cohesiveness on the defensive side of the ball.
''Everybody's got to be on the same page,'' Bostic said. ''If you got 10 guys on the same page and one guy that's off it, it's going to lead to an explosive play. Explosive plays win ballgames for you.''
A big kick by Eddy Pineiro won the Bears their game last week at Denver, and they're still looking for the big plays that have eluded them.
''That comes down to everybody being locked in, making sure that everybody's on being on the same page - no miscues on any part of the offense,'' Chicago receiver Allen Robinson said. ''It just comes down to everybody being on the same page and executing.''
Some things to watch when the Bears visit the Redskins on Monday night:
MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY
Unlike the Redskins, the Bears' defense is doing just fine. It's ranked fourth in the league and sixth against the run under new coordinator Chuck Pagano after Vic Fangio left to take the Broncos' head coaching job.
''They're physical in the middle and they have speed at linebacker,'' Gruden said. ''They have good edge play. They have a safety that's a ball hawk. Their corners are pretty good and experienced. They don't really have a weakness in their defense.''
Chicago has seven sacks through two games, two off the league lead.
KEENUM IN RHYTHM
Case Keenum won Washington's starting QB job essentially by default because longtime backup Colt McCoy is still injured and first-round pick Dwayne Haskins isn't ready. But Keenum is far from a problem for the Redskins, throwing for 601 yards and five touchdown passes with no interceptions.
''I'm well aware of Case Keenum and what he can do,'' Nagy said. ''He's obviously having a good year right now. Statically he's protecting the football. He's very, very football smart. So his football IQ is high. He gets the ball out.''
The Bears brought in a long line of kickers during the offseason after letting the embattled Cody Parker go following his double-doink miss in the playoff loss to Philadelphia at Soldier Field. They ultimately went with Pineiro, and he just might be winning them over.
He nailed a 53-yard winner as time expired last week after hitting from 40 and 52 earlier in the game and is 4 for 4 this season. The big boot against the Broncos came after Nagy chose to go for a first down on fourth-and-10 in the opener against Green Bay at home rather than try a 51-yarder.
''I'm trying to gain trust from them,'' Pineiro said. ''Now that he's seen me hit a couple 50-yarders, maybe he lets me try a few longer ones. So it's all a trust process. But we work for that moment behind the scenes at practice. Last-second kick, your team loses, we've been doing this for the past four months now.''
STILL NO REED
The Redskins hoped to get matchup nightmare tight end Jordan Reed back last week after being concussed Aug. 23. This is his fifth documented concussion in seven years, Reed didn't practice again Thursday and all possible caution being taken means he could miss the Bears game, too.
''This is all a part of the process of recovering from this ordeal,'' Gruden said. ''We're just taking it very slowly, making sure he goes through the right process to make sure it's right before he goes back on the field.''
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (ankle) won't practice Wednesday, but the team wants to see where he's at by the end of the week. The team signed running backs Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris for depth, but Johnson still has a chance to play. The breakout of running back Chase Edmonds doesn't give them any urgency to run Johnson out there. Edmonds is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and he went off last week with 27 carries for 126 yards and three touchdowns against a weaker opponent. The New Orleans Saints are a tougher matchup. If Johnson is able to play, he'll be a high-end RB2, and Edmonds would fall to flex status. Conversely, if Johnson is out, Edmonds is the high-end RB2.
Updating an earlier report, Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (knee) will throw the ball today at practice, and they'll see if he can make it through the individual period.
Fantasy Spin: We'll need to see more to believe he's going to play this weekend. Obviously, he should be in your lineups if he goes.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (ankle) is out of practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: The team signed Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris to shore up their depleted backfield, but Johnson has a chance to play. However, it's trending toward Chase Edmonds being an RB2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (knee) will practice Wednesday, Oct. 23, but QB Matt Moore will take the majority of team repetitions. Head coach Andy Reid didn't rule out Mahomes playing in Week 8.
Fantasy Spin: We'd put Mahomes on the wrong side of questionable this week and look toward other options. Moore isn't worth consideration unless you play two quarterbacks.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott has made every single kick so far this season, but his fantasy value has suffered due to an all-around struggling offense. Elliott has only attempted eight field goals and 17 extra points, and while he's made all of them, he currently ranks as just the 20th best kicker in standard scoring leagues. Most waiver wires will have a kicker who, while perhaps less consistent himself, will have more consistent scoring opportunities. Elliott's fantasy owners may need to consider moving on.
The Philadelphia Eagles Defense is not a strong fantasy option for a Week 8 road matchup against the Buffalo Bills. While the 5-1 Bills have mostly been winning games thanks to their defense, they have an offensive unit with the potential to put up big numbers at times. The Eagles are coming off a rough 37-10 loss to the Cowboys, and the offense has not been able to do the defense any favors. Despite getting a bit healthier in the secondary, the Eagles defense is not even on the streaming radar this week.
Detroit Lions RB Paul Perkins was added to the 53-man roster Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Perkins is worth the deeper-league pickup with Kerryon Johnson (knee) hitting IR. Ty Johnson takes over as the lead back, and Perkins could become a factor quickly.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (ankle) is unlikely to suit up in Week 8.
Fantasy Spin: Continue to stash Green, but at 0-7, there is little reason to rush him back. Auden Tate continues to show flashes on the awful team, and he's a flex option against the Los Angeles Rams.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is looking at another tough matchup in Week 8. The Eagles will be in Buffalo to take on the Bills and their difficult defense. Ertz is coming off a disappointing two-catch, 38 yard performance in Week 7 and could put up a similar performance this week. With the Eagles offense struggling to move the ball in general and especially struggling to stretch the field, opposing defenses have been able to zone in on Ertz and remove him from a lot of plays. He's still a TE1 this week, but that speaks more to the lack of depth at the position.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert is not a good bet to put up big numbers in Week 8. The Eagles travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills and their tough defense. Goedert led the team in receiving in Week 7 and scored a touchdown, but that's unlikely to happen again this week. Goedert is a middling option in two-tight end leagues at best and should not be started in single tight end formats.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor is not a good idea in fantasy starting lineups for Week 8. The Eagles will be on the road going up against the Buffalo Bills and their stingy defense. Agholor has made just seven catches since Week 3, and appeared to completely give up on a very catchable pass last week. He's got NFL speed, but severely lacks NFL hands and is only an average route runner. Even if DeSean Jackson (abdomen) misses another game, Agholor is just a zero-floor WR5 dart throw.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Mack Hollins is completely off the fantasy radar for Week 8. The Eagles will be in Buffalo to take on the Bills, and Hollins has not made a catch since Week 4 despite starting in three-wide sets in place of the injured DeSean Jackson (abdomen). He's droppable in all but the deepest fantasy formats.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside came into the season with plenty of hype, but he has not even seen a pass thrown his way since Week 3. Arcega-Whiteside remains an intriguing dynasty/keeper player, but doesn't belong on a redraft league roster and shouldn't be anywhere close to a starting lineup. Almost all waiver wires will have more useful wide receivers for Week 8, even in the deepest leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders is not a particularly eye-opening option in a Week 8 fantasy lineup. With the Eagles on the road taking on a tough Buffalo Bills Defense, Sanders and the whole Eagles offense could struggle on Sunday. Last week against the Cowboys, Sanders ran for just 21 yards and caught three passes for 11 yards. He's looking at a potentially similar stat line this week, making him no better than a mid-range RB3.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will be in a rough spot in Week 8. The Eagles will be on the road in Buffalo to battle their tough defense. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) possibly looking at another missed game, Jeffery will receive top wideout attention from the Bills secondary. He's coming off a two-catch, 38 yard performance against the Cowboys, and more of the same can be expected in this one. Jeffery is a moderate-upside, low-floor WR2/3 this week.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (foot) is out of practice Wednesday, Oct. 23, as expected.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard might only play a fantasy relevant role in Week 8 if he is able to score a touchdown. Howard and the Eagles travel to Buffalo to take on a tough Bills Defense. While Howard has handled almost all early-down and goal line work lately, he has not put together many yards and is a complete non-factor in the passing game. He's looking at another game that could possibly be similar to his 50-yard performance in Week 7. Howard is a risky RB3 with a concerning floor this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (quadriceps) is expected to play in Week 8 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Fantasy Spin: Conner is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, but he has scored touchdowns in two games straight. The Chargers are a good matchup for the RB2.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz could have a hard time in Week 8 on the road against the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles offense looked like a mess in Week 7 against the Cowboys, with Wentz throwing for just 191 yards on 16 completed passes. The Bills Defense poses another threat to Wentz and the whole Philly offense. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) still not a sure thing to suit up, it looks like a week to fade every fantasy-relevant Eagle a bit. Wentz is more of a high-end QB2 this week.
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) underwent a procedure on Tuesday morning and will miss at least eight weeks while on injured reserve. After many had hoped that the 22-year-old would be in store for a breakout season, Johnson disappointed by compiling just 308 yards and three total touchdowns while averaging a subpar 3.3 yards per carry throughout six games. With his season potentially over, Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic will take over, with Johnson potentially getting the bulk of the carries on the ground and McKissic being involved catching passes out of the backfield. How exactly the time will be split is unknown at the moment in addition to the team also rumored to make a deal before the trade deadline.