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.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 3
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense was dominant in the Week 3 win over the Broncos, getting six sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and two picks. The Bucs took advantage of an injured Broncos offense and capitalized with a dominant performance. The schedule looks promising for next week as they will likely face rookie QB Justin Herbert when they play the Chargers.
Tennessee Titans TE Jonnu Smith saw a team-high eight targets in Week 3, finishing with five receptions for 61 yards in a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Fantasy Spin: Smith failed to score for the first time this year, but he finished with a season high in catches and targets. Smith could be headed for a TE1 campaign, and he is at least worth streaming while A.J. Brown is sidelined.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr tossed two touchdowns in a Week 3 loss against the Patriots. Carr's fantasy value continues to rise with six touchdown passes and no interceptions on the year. There are a lot of elite fantasy quarterbacks, so Carr probably isn't a starter quite yet. He generally has the same type of performance every week, so that makes his ceiling a bit lower than other players. With that being said, he can be counted on for consistency and he typically won't put up a terrible performance. He will have another challenge against the Bills next week who have one of the top secondaries in the league. He should probably stay on the bench but is worth considering for a start depending on who the other option is.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz made four catches in Week 3, gaining 48 yards. He was targeted six times and was still pretty well-involved in the passing game. He took a clear step back from being the featured receiver in Week 2, but he maintained enough playing time and passing routes to remain a relevant fantasy tight end, especially in deeper leagues. He should settle into a fantasy role much like traditional Cowboys tight ends: solid, with a high floor, but not much of a ceiling.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein made both of his field goal attempts in Week 3 along with one of his two extra points. Zuerlein's field goals came from 43 and 42 yards out. He continues to be a solid fantasy kicker, and with the Cowboys offense clicking on most cylinders, he should continue to put up points for fantasy managers.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense struggled again in a Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The Cowboys defense allowed 36 points, recording four sacks and one fumble recovery. Through three weeks, the Cowboys defense has allowed 95 points, recorded six sacks, and just one interception. They won't be a recommended fantasy option in Week 4 against the Cleveland Browns.
Green Bay Packers LB Christian Kirksey (shoulder) left the Week 3 game against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter and he is questionable to return.
Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis caught five of his six targets for 69 yards in a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Davis continues to have a steady role in the passing game, and he is currently on pace for 80 catches and more than 1,000 yards. With A.J. Brown reportedly recovering slowly, Davis could have flex potential for the foreseeable future.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs had an average performance against the Patriots, rushing for 71 yards and catching three passes for 12 yards. This is not the type of performance you would like from a star running back like Jacobs, but the Patriots are not an easy matchup. Jacobs has yet to rush for over 100 yards in the first three games of the season, and he will look to eclipse that mark for the first time next week against the Bills. The Bills have a solid defense but surrendered 167 yards on the ground in Week 3 against the Rams. The Raiders' offensive line is good at run blocking, so there is a good chance Jacobs sees more success in Week 4.
The Las Vegas Raiders defense struggled again, giving up 36 points to the Patriots. They managed to grab an interception and sack Cam Newton twice but gave up over 400 yards in total offense. They have a young secondary, and their only real pass-rusher is Maxx Crosby. Through the first three weeks, the Raiders have not shown any signs that warrant them being on any fantasy team, let alone in the starting lineup. They take on the Bills next week who are showing signs of an elite offense through three weeks. It is reasonable to expect that game to be a shootout, so the Raiders would be a horrible play in Week 4.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Ced Wilson came out of nowhere in Week 3 to score two long touchdowns in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson was targeted seven times, catching five for 107 yards and the two scores. Wilson's first score was on a 40-yard pass in the second quarter. He followed it up with a 42-yard score in the third quarter. There's a good chance this will be Wilson's best game of the season, as he's still no higher than fourth on the wide receiver depth chart. Still, it's hard to ignore his performance, so fantasy managers with a free bench spot can probably snag him off the waiver wire before Week 4.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper made nine catches in a Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He was targeted a team-leading 12 times, gaining 86 yards on his nine grabs. Cooper tied with Ezekiel Elliott for the team lead in targets and led the team in catches, but fell behind Michael Gallup and Ced Wilson in yards. Both of those guys scored touchdowns in this one as well, while Cooper is still looking for his first score of the season. The Cowboys have all kinds of options in the passing game, which may limit Cooper's upside this season. He may settle into the high-end WR2 range for most games, but he'll often have WR1 upside.
Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb caught five passes in a Week 3 loss, gaining 65 yards. He was targeted six times in this one, ending up fifth on the team in targets. Ced Wilson came out of nowhere and Michael Gallup along with Amari Cooper took on most of Dak Prescott's targets in this one. Lamb should continue to have solid games like this one, but his upside is somewhat limited by all of the other strong options in the Dallas passing game.
Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill completed 23 of his 37 pass attempts for 321 yards and an interception in a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: It was a season high in yards for Tannehill, but he failed to throw a touchdown pass after tossing a combined six in the first two games. The Tennessee offense will continue to revolve around Derrick Henry and the ground game, but Tannehill is able to keep defenses honest and is a solid QB2.
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry rushed 26 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns and caught two of his three targets for 11 yards in a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Henry found the end zone for the first time this season, recording his second 100-yard game. The workhorse back has logged at least 25 carries and topped 80 rushing yards in all three games, and Henry's volume gives him one of the highest floors among fantasy backs.
Carolina Panthers LB Shaq Thompson finished with 13 total tackles and two passes defensed in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was held in check for once in Week 3. The Seattle Seahawks Defense did a good job keeping Elliott from doing much. He ended up running the ball 14 times, gaining just 34 yards but scoring on a one-yard plunge in the first quarter. He added six catches on 12 targets, gaining 24 yards through the air. "Zeke" tied for the team lead with the dozen passing targets, but couldn't do much with them. It was a down game from the elite RB1, but he should get back on top of things next week against the Cleveland Browns.
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard touched the ball only once on offense in Week 3. Pollard did not record a rushing attempt, and he caught his only target, losing five yards on it. Pollard continues to play as a distant backup to three-down back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott saw 12 targets in the passing game in this one, a spot that Pollard may have been used in in the past. Pollard remains a backup with league-winning upside but is not a starting option in any format as long as Elliott is healthy.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup played very well in a Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Gallup caught six passes on nine targets, gaining 138 yards and scoring a touchdown. Gallup's touchdown was an impressive 43-yard catch at the end of the third quarter. Gallup was much more involved in this one, ending up third on the team in targets behind Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper. Gallup will have more big games like this one, but he'll be hard to predict on a game-to-game basis. He's a WR3 with upside next week against the Cleveland Browns.
Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore registered two receptions for 65 yards on four targets in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Fantasy Spin: Moore saw his lowest catch total, and he was back to an average receiving total after hitting the century mark in Week 3. He'll search for his first visit to the end zone in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals.