In this July 25, 2019, file photo, Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores speaks during NFL football training camp in Davie, Fla. The Dolphins look like the worst team in the NFL, and might even be the worst team in Miami. On the other hand, a comparison with the Marlins is one matchup the Dolphins might win. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) greets Washington Redskins players on the field at the end of the NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. Dallas won 31-21. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass, during the second half at an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates scoring in the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) ducks asNew England Patriots outside linebacker Elandon Roberts (52) and defensive tackle Danny Shelton (71) close in for a sack, during the second half at an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys are off to a hot start that has them looking like the playoff contenders they figured to be as long as Ezekiel Elliott's preseason-long holdout ended in time, which it did.
The Miami Dolphins are dealing with the latest ''elephant in the room'' - the rare dishonor of being 20-plus-point underdogs in an NFL game after one of the most dismal beginnings to a season in nearly 60 years.
Josh Rosen is replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback Sunday at the Cowboys (2-0) after Fitzpatrick compiled a 39.9 passer rating while the Dolphins (0-2) were outscored 102-10. No team since 1961 had a worse point differential after two games.
Rosen, traded by Arizona after the Cardinals drafted him 10th overall in 2018 before changing coaches and taking Kyler Murray No. 1 overall this year, played the fourth quarter of last week's 43-0 loss to New England.
The 36-year-old Fitzpatrick was asked about drops by receivers when he made the ''elephant in the room'' comment, while also mentioning the dismantling of the roster under first-year coach Brian Flores.
The latest move, earlier this week, was sending disgruntled defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh for a first-round pick. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills were shipped to Houston at the end of the preseason.
''A lot of this stuff, it's got to be talked about and put out there, and then you move on,'' Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ''That's kind of the way that it's been handled.''
The Cowboys don't want to talk about whether they thought a 20-point spread in a pro game was even possible. ''That's for the bettors, I guess,'' receiver Randall Cobb said.
''The NFL is so tight, from the top to the bottom,'' center Travis Frederick said. ''The difference in that is a couple of bad bounces, maybe a couple of interceptions. There's a really minute difference. From the outside, it might look bigger than that. But on the inside, it's a tight game.''
Some story lines going into the 15th meeting in a series that's been a lot closer than this week's line (23 as of Wednesday) would indicate - each franchise has seven victories:
COOKING WITH GAS
The Cowboys haven't started a season with 400-plus yards and 30-plus points in each of their first two victories since 1978, back when going to the Super Bowl was a regular thing for them. This year, Dallas hopes to end a nearly 25-year stretch without advancing past the divisional round.
Prescott is trying to become just the third quarterback with at least three touchdown tosses and a passer rating of 120-plus in four straight games. His streak goes back to last year's regular-season finale. Russell Wilson had five straight for Seattle in 2015, the now-retired Andrew Luck four with Indianapolis last year.
The Dolphins have been outscored by 49 and 43 points in their first two games - the worst and third-worst regular-season defeats in franchise history. Don Shula coached Miami for 26 seasons and was never beaten so badly.
After the latest deal involving Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins have three first-round picks in 2020, but that won't help them against the Cowboys.
''They're rebuilding,'' said Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts, an analyst for CBS who covered the loss to the Patriots. ''It's hard. It's hard on the players, the coaches, the staff, the families, the fans. It's tough.''
Elliott is another step closer to full speed. The two-time rushing champion was right on his career average for touches (25) in the 31-21 victory at Washington. Thanks to a 27-yard carry on the last real play before a kneel-down, Elliott had his 20th career 100-yard game (111).
After spending almost the entire preseason working out in Mexico, Elliott has his most yards rushing through two games (164) in his fourth season. ''I did take care of business when I was gone, but that was expected,'' the 2016 All-Pro said.
The Dolphins claimed former Dallas defensive end Taco Charlton on Thursday, a day after the Cowboys waived their 2017 first-round pick. Although the move might be too late in the week for Charlton to be ready in time to play, the former Michigan player would love the chance to show something to the team he felt gave up on him too soon.
Charlton, gone after just 27 games and four sacks as the 28th overall pick, went into training camp with his roster spot in jeopardy but was solid in preseason games while other defensive linemen recovered from injuries. With those missing plays back, Charlton was a healthy scratch the first two weeks.
INJURY BUG BITING
Receiver Michael Gallup, who leads the Cowboys with 13 catches for 226 yards, is expected to miss up to a month after surgery for a left knee injury sustained against the Redskins. Safety Xavier Woods (ankle) and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (knee) also got hurt in that game and are unlikely to play.
New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas is on the verge of being streamable this week against the Lions. The former Pro Bowler hasn't had much success this year and has yet to make more than one field goal in a game all season. However, he's in a good matchup. The Giants figure to move the ball against a banged-up Lions Defense, and they will need to push the tempo to keep up with quarterbackMatthew Stafford and the Lions offense. Rosas still isn't a recommended option, but he can be considered in deep leagues.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal has seen his stock consistently grow over the past few weeks. He's still not a player that you can have a ton of confidence in starting, but he does have some flex consideration this week. His size allows him to be a mismatch against most corners, and the Denver Broncos don't have a guy that can match up with him consistently in that regard if cornerback Chris Harris Jr. shadows wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. If you're missing wideouts due to injuries or bye weeks, Pascal gives you upside thanks to his touchdown production and big-play ability.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett went off on the Houston Texans in Week 7. In Week 8, his matchup gets more difficult against the Denver Broncos. Through seven games, Denver has yet to allow a player to clear 300 passing yards, and no quarterback has thrown for more than two touchdowns against them. The Colts have a lot of pieces on offense, especially with the emergence of wide receiver Zach Pascal, but expectations for Brissett should be tempered this week. He's still a starter in two-quarterback leagues, but you have better options at QB in standard formats.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has a bad matchup this week, but you have to start him anyway. He's scored five touchdowns in the five games that he's played, and he's averaging an impressive 17.2 PPR points per game this season. He has 15 more targets than any other Indianapolis pass-catcher, and quarterback Jacoby Brissett looks his way whenever he needs a reliable receiver. He's gotten at least nine targets in three out of his five games, and those looks will continue to be there for him against the Denver Broncos.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack got shut down in Week 7, but he has a good bounce-back spot in Week 8. Teams like the Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars have beaten the Denver Broncos by running the ball at them all game to control the clock. Mack does his best work when he gets a ton of volume, and that's how the Colts like to win games. If the passing game struggles, which is possible against a solid passing defense, they could lean on Mack throughout the game, especially down in the red zone.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs is in line for an increased workload on Thursday night with target-hog Adam Thielen (hamstring) sitting out for the first time in his career. Week 8's matchup against the Washington Redskins is a favorable one as Diggs should be able to take advantage of coverage by either Quinton Dunbar or a struggling Josh Norman. Cousins and the play-action passing game have been on point as of late, as has Diggs with 14 catches for 310 yards and three touchdowns over his last two games. They remain a run-first team and are likely to lean on Dalvin Cook as they're favored by over 15 points at home, but Diggs needs to be started as a WR1/WR2 with upside considering Thielen's absence.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford absolutely feasted on the Vikings secondary in Week 7, and the feast may not be over with the New York Giants coming to town in Week 8. The Giants currently allow 8.92 yards per attempt, which trails only the Dolphins, so fantasy owners could be in for another huge performance from the 31-year-old signal-caller. The Giants don't present much in the way of run defense either, but with Kerryon Johnson recently being placed on IR a more pass-heavy approach can be expected. With top quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott on byes this week, and with Matt Ryan still yet to practice, Stafford vaults up the charts as one of the top quarterback options in Week 8 no matter the fantasy format. Get him in your lineups.
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (knee) fully participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Wilson threw his first interception last week but still has posted 15 passing touchdowns in seven games. He should have success against the Atlanta Falcons this week and can be a No. 1 quarterback in all fantasy leagues.
Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett (non-injury) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Lockett has posted at least 50 yards in each of the last six games and has been targeted 12 times over the last two weeks. He should have a favorable matchup in Week 8 and can be a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in all leagues.
Seattle Seahawks S Lano Hill (elbow), DE Quinton Jefferson (oblique) and S Bradley McDougald (back) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23. OT Duane Brown (biceps), OT George Fant (shoulder), CB Tre Flowers (neck), DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle) and S Quandre Diggs (hamstring) were limited during practice. OG D.J. Fluker (hamstring) fully participated in practice.
Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson (non-injury) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Carson has received at least 20 carries in each of the last four games and has posted three 100-yard games in that span. He will continue to be the focal point in the running game for the Seahawks and is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.
Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson, arguably this week's hottest waiver wire pickup after Kerryon Johnson was put on IR Tuesday, has a real chance to establish himself as the Lions lead back against a porous New York Giants squad in Week 8. Johnson should see most of the action out of the Lions backfield Sunday and can be expected to be involved in the passing game even with J.D. McKissic likely suiting up as the Lions passing-down back. Johnson's small stature does put into question whether he can be an every-down back, but with the Giants nonexistent run defense standing in his way this week fantasy owners should get some clarity as to whether Johnson can truly take over this backfield. Johnson will be considered a mid-range RB2 this week in a matchup where the game script should work to his benefit.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (knee) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert appears to have a chance to play in Week 8, but fantasy players will know more about his status later in the week. He will see a handful of touches if he is active for the game but can be avoided in most leagues.
San Francisco 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk (knee), OT Mike McGlinchey (knee) and CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23. DE Dee Ford (quadriceps), DT D.J. Jones (hamstring) and OT Joe Staley (leg) were limited during practice.
Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Kirk has been limited during practice over the last two weeks but has also been inactive for the last two games, so his status for Week 8 is uncertain. Fantasy players may want to look at other options since he would have a tough matchup if he plays in the game.
Arizona Cardinals DE Zach Allen (neck), RB D.J. Foster (hamstring), LB Jordan Hicks (calf), DT Corey Peters (non-injury) and LB Terrell Suggs (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23. LB Dennis Gardeck (ankle), LB Haason Reddick (knee), LB Zeke Turner (hamstring) and TE Maxx Williams (ankle) were limited during practice. DT Zachariah Kerr (ankle) and S Charles Washington (shoulder) fully participated in practice.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Kittle has been on the injury for the last few weeks but is in no danger of missing the Week 8 game. He should continue to be a weekly starting option in all fantasy leagues.
Green Bay Packers OT Bryan Bulaga (non-injury), TE Marcedes Lewis (non-injury) and CB Tramon Williams (knee) were limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23. S Adrian Amos (shoulder), CB Tony M. Brown (hamstring), LB Oren Burks (chest), DT Kenny Clark (shin), LB B.J. Goodson (shoulder), LB Blake Martinez (wrist), S Will Redmond (ankle), S Darnell Savage (ankle) and TE Robert Tonyan (hip) fully participated in practice.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Fitzgerald is coming off a disappointing Week 7 performance but has still be targeted at least seven times in five of the seven games this season. He will be facing one of the better defenses this week but still has a chance to be a flex option in leagues.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) put in a full practice on Wednesday after being questionable for Week 7 against the Raiders. MVS ultimately played, albeit limited snaps, and finished with over 100 yards and a touchdown with No. 1 wideout Davante Adams (toe) sidelined again. Adams missed practice on Wednesday and could very well sit out again this Sunday night against the Chiefs. Against a porous secondary, Valdes-Scantling would be a boom/bust WR3/flex. Geronimo Allison, Jake Kumerow and Allen Lazard should all continue to see more run if Adams misses anymore time, but they're all hard to trust as anything more than low-ceiling flexes in deeper formats.