In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen (7) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Charlotte, N.C. With Cam Newton reaggravating his foot, the team is looking at the possibility of starting Kyle Allen on Sunday against Arizona, the first of four road games in the next five. Allen has just one career start. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws to a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) celebrate his two point conversion catch with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona's Kyler Murray and Carolina's Kyle Allen will be competing for the spotlight when the two teams face each other Sunday in Week 3.
In some ways, it's just like old times for the quarterbacks and former college teammates.
Allen will make his second career start after the team ruled starter Cam Newton out because of a mid-foot sprain he aggravated on Sept. 12. Allen is 1-0 as a starter after beating a New Orleans team in Week 17 that was already looking ahead to the playoffs.
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn't expect any letdown from the Panthers, even without Newton.
''Last time Kyle Allen stepped on the field they won and scored 30 points on the road,'' Kingsbury said. ''We understand we'll have our hands full.''
Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in April, has had a very promising start to his NFL career. He's just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards in his first two career games.
The other guy? Newton, who was also the No. 1 pick in 2011. Both also won the Heisman Trophy.
But now that Newton can't go, the Panthers (0-2) turn to Allen, who is in his second season. Murray and Allen played together at Texas A&M in 2015, splitting time for a team that finished with an 8-5 record.
In a strange twist, both of the highly rated recruits ended up transferring at the end of the season. The two say they got along fine, even if circumstances weren't ideal. Murray called it a ''tough situation.'' Allen said they were ''never super tight. We had a mutual respect for each other obviously.''
Now they will be on the same NFL field.
''We went to school together. We played together,'' Murray said. ''I don't really have control over who starts over there. That's their deal. I just have to get ready to play, and whoever's their quarterback is their quarterback.''
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has looked 10 years younger over the Cardinals' first two games with 13 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown.
The 36-year-old has developed a quick rapport with Murray and the connection looks like it's going to be a go-to for Arizona (0-1-1) all season. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Fitzgerald is a player - along with Panthers TE Greg Olsen - whom he encourages young players to emulate.
''He's the right kind of person, the right kind of young man who understands what it takes to be successful in this game,'' Rivera said. ''It honestly doesn't surprise me that he's still playing, and it doesn't surprise me that he's having success like he is because he works at it.''
Arizona's offense has been very efficient this year except when it gets in the red zone. That was a big issue in last week's 23-17 loss to Baltimore: The Cardinals had to settle for three field goals after getting inside Baltimore's 5-yard line. It would help to get David Johnson going in the run game. He had just 14 yards rushing on seven carries in Week 2.
KUECHLY ON A TEAR
The Panthers may be 0-2 but it has little to do with the play of linebacker Luke Kuechly, who is off to another terrific start. The five-time All-Pro selection had 17 tackles, including a tackle in the end zone on running back Peyton Barber for a safety in last week's 20-14 loss to the Buccaneers. Kuechly now has 973 tackles for his career, passing Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher for the most tackles by a player through his first eight seasons. Kuechly's average of 9.4 tackles per game is second only to Miami's Zach Thomas (9.8) in NFL history.
''They have such smart defensive players,'' said Kingsbury. ''It starts with Kuechly, who gets everything lined up and has such a great feel for the game and knows what offenses are going to run before they even run it.''
ALL McCAFFREY, ALL THE TIME
Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner said before the season he wanted to limit Christian McCaffrey's reps in the offense for fear of wearing him down. Well, that hasn't quite happened. Through two games, McCaffrey has been on the field for all 137 offensive plays. After combining for 209 yards on offense and two TDs in the season opener against the Rams, McCaffrey will look to get back on track against Arizona after being held to 53 yards by the Bucs. The Panthers scored 14 points against Tampa Bay, but it came on four field goals and a safety.
If the Panthers want to succeed on offense they will need to start with moving the chains and sustaining drives. Carolina is converting a paltry 32% of its third downs (8 of 25) and is 0 for 3 on fourth-down conversions. A big part of that is the Panthers haven't used the multidimensional Newton as a runner as they have in the past due to shoulder and foot issues. In fact, Newton has five carries for minus-2 yards with two fumbles. With Allen expected to start at QB, it could add another dimension to the offense.
The Dallas Cowboys will have four important pieces of their offense back for Sunday's meeting with the Eagles, with wide receivers Amari Copper (thigh) and Randall Cobb (back) plus tackles Tyron Smith (ankle) and La'el Collins (knee) expected to play. All four players' statuses have been up in the air this week, but if the four of them play, the Cowboys offense sees a huge boost. Cooper will be a solid start, and both quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott will see a boost to their fantasy stock.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (shoulder) will likely play against the Bengals in Week 7, though he'll test the shoulder out in warmups to be safe. The Bengals Defense is an enticing matchup for Westbrook, but he's fallen from his team's top wideout to the number-two guy for quarterback Gardner Minshew, which limits his value. Play him in 12-team PPR leagues, but feel free to avoid him in shallower leagues and in standard scoring.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will play on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. He had been questionable heading into Week 7 with a shoulder injury. New Orleans allows the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, so this isn't a bad spot for Trubisky if you're in a pinch at the quarterback position. With Trubisky back, owners who picked up Chase Daniel in two-quarterback leagues can safely drop him.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (ankle) is expected to play in Week 7 against the New York Giants. New York has struggled to keep opposing running backs in check, so feel comfortable firing up Johnson in all formats on Sunday, even if we see Chase Edmonds worked into the mix a little more than usual.
Philip Rivers and the Chargers are facing a stingy Titans Defense this week. In the last three weeks, the Titans have only allowed two passing touchdowns. Meanwhile, in Rivers last three games hes passed for four touchdowns and 4 interceptions, which included a juicy matchup against the Dolphins that helped pad his stats. Rivers is a usually a streaming option, but fantasy owners shouldnt count on him this week.
Melvin Gordon has been off to a shaky start this year after missing four weeks of the season due to his holdout. Hes put up a lowly 31 and 18 yards respectively in his first two games. He plays a stiff Titans run defense this week. On the season, the Titans havent allowed much fantasy production to the RB position. The highest scoring RB to date is Nick Chubb who finished with 14.50 points in half-PPR leagues. The best is yet to come for Gordon, but this is not the week that he gets rolling.
Hunter Henry is coming off the heels of a monster performance against the Steelers. He made good on eight of his nine targets where he stacked up 100 yards and a touchdown. The Titans are a middle of the pack defense against the TE position, and they've only faced one legitimate threat in Austin Hooper back in Week 4 where he blew their secondary out of the water. The TE position is paper thin, and Henry should be a shoo-in for a TE1 week.
Chris Carson is gobbling up the running downs work in Seattle. In the last three weeks, Carson has seen no less than 26 touches in a game. Carson is a true workhorse back. He's going up against a Ravens Defense that ranks 10th against opposing rushers, but don't let that number fool you. Baltimore played the Dolphins in Week 1 and the Cardinals, who had yet to put things together, in Week 2. The Ravens have been exposed on the ground in matchups versus the Chiefs and the Browns. Don't expect Carson to slow down this week. If you own Carson, start him with full confidence.
The Baltimore Ravens Defense isn't nearly as dominant as they were a year ago. They've been involved in a couple high-scoring affairs already this season. Russell Wilson is on a roll right now, he's managed to score more than 30 fantasy points in each of his last two appearances. The Ravens are currently allowing an average of 281.5 yards per game to QB's, though things might change with the addition of Marcus Peters. Still, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense should be able to put up points against Seattle's defense, forcing Wilson to throw. If Wilson can get 30 passing attempts, or anywhere near that total, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Mike Williams has been a bit of a disappointment this season to those who drafted him. He's been dealing with an injury, but in the last two weeks he saw 13 and 10 targets respectively. If he sees a similar target share this week, he just needs one broken play to post a great stat-line. He's best as a WR3 or flex, but his upside is sky-high.
Keenan Allen has pulled a Houdini in recent weeks. The last time he saw more than six targets was back in Week 3 where he received a whopping 17 targets. He faces a middle of the pack passing defense in the Titans who rank 14th against the WR position in the last four games. Philip Rivers has his full array of targets this week with Hunter Henry and Mike Williams both healthy and ready to go. While Allen is still a must-start, if he doesn't receive an uptick in opportunity, he could disappoint yet again.
Austin Ekeler started the season with a bang, but the Ekeler show ended when Melvin Gordon returned to the fold. Ekeler barely left the sidelines last week against the Steelers. Granted, the game script couldnt have been worse for the Chargers as they found themselves trying to erase a 14 point deficit early in the game. Still, the disparity in touches was alarming if you own Ekeler. The Titans dont have the fire power to put up points quickly against the Chargers, so there should be a more equal timeshare in the backfield. Regardless, weve seen what Ekelers floor is, and it isnt pretty.
Tyler Lockett's out-of-this-world touchdown per catch ratio has finally caught up with him this season. Russell Wilson is distributing the ball more, and it's been at Lockett's detriment. In weeks 2 and 3, Lockett saw double-digit targets in each game and converted those into nice fantasy outings. Now that Will Dissly is out of the picture, Lockett's target share should go up again, and we all know what one well-placed long ball from Wilson can do for Lockett's fantasy day. Lockett goes up against a Ravens Defense that hasn't been playing at a high-level this season. However, the newly acquired Marcus Peters may change things. In what looks to be a high-scoring matchup, pencil Lockett in as a WR2 with upside.
D.K. Metcalf has pieced together a couple of nice fantasy outings this season, but his outlook for the future is contingent on touchdowns. In games without a touchdown, Metcalf has yet to score more than 10 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. Baltimore's secondary is exploitable, and there will be more targets to go around with Will Dissly's absence, but it's best to avoid Metcalf unless absolutely necessary.
The Chargers play a Tennessee Titans team with newly appointed Ryan Tannehill at the helm. The Chargers have to find a way to contain Derrick Henry if they expect to win, as they currently rank 24th against fantasy RB's. If they can win the battle up front, they might be able to take advantage of Ryan Tannehill who threw an interception in limited action last week. Though not ideal, there are worse defenses to stream this week.
Free-agent TE Dan Arnold (Saints) was signed to the New Orleans Saints' active roster roster Saturday, Oct. 19. TE Brian Parker was waived in a corresponding move.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews caught six passes on eight targets for 99 yards in Week 6 against the Bengals. On the season he has 34 receptions for 410 yards and three touchdowns. Andrews has been targeted at least seven times in every game this year, but hasn't gotten in the end zone since Week 4 against Cleveland. The Ravens play a Seahawks Defense that has allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends in 2019, two to Vance McDonald and one in Week 6 to Ricky Seals-Jones. Seattle has been somewhat stingy against tight ends, but also gave up 187 yards to the Rams tight ends in Week 5. If receiver Marquise Brown is unable to go in Week 7, Andrews has a high possibility of leading Baltimore in receiving again in Hollywood's absence. Andrews is a TE1 for Week 7.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram rushed 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against the Bengals. The Ravens play a Seahawks Defense that has allowed 557 rushing yards and given up six touchdowns to opposing backs in 2019. In Week 6 Seattle allowed the Browns to rush for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Ingram has rushed for at least 44 yards in every game this season, but is becoming a touchdown-dependent option. He hasn't even come close to his outlier performance against Kansas City when he rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Baltimore still hosts a run-first offense so expect Ingram to get his touches, but he's in RB2 territory for Week 7.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson posted 236 passing yards, 152 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown against the Bengals in Week 6. Baltimore plays a Seahawks Defense in Week 7 that's allowed the eighth-most passing yards in the league through six games (1,602). Seattle has allowed at least 15 fantasy points every week to opposing quarterbacks in 2019 and let Baker Mayfield run for a touchdown in Week 6. Receiver Marquise Brown is still questionable to play with an ankle injury. If Hollywood is unable to go on Sunday, expect tight end Mark Andrews to get the bulk of targets and for Jackson to use his legs to get the ball moving. Jackson has firmly placed himself as a top-three QB start for the rest of the way.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) was a limited participant in practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is questionable for Monday Night Football.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas may not get to face his former team in the New England Patriots. He's coming off his best game of the season in Week 6, catching all four of his targets for 62 yards. He's a flex option at best as a bye-week replacement if active.