Sun Aug 18 10:48pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
Players: Sam Darnold
In this July 25, 2019, file photo, New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell participates during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Florham Park, N.J. Bell's debut with the New York Jets will not come until the regular season after Adam Gase announced the star running back will be held out of the final two preseason games. Gase says Sunday, Aug. 18, he was leaning toward that decision, but a season-ending knee injury to linebacker Avery Williamson in the Jets' preseason loss at Atlanta on Thursday night sealed it. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Le'Veon Bell will have to wait a little longer for his debut with the New York Jets.
Coach Adam Gase announced Sunday night that the star running back will be held out of the team's final two preseason games.
''I was about 99% sure heading into the preseason,'' Gase said after the Jets' practice at MetLife Stadium. ''It was all based off of how he practiced, conditioning and all those types of things.''
Gase and Bell spoke about the plan when training camp started, and Bell's snaps increased in practiced last week.
Bell has been practicing fully and looked good in training camp after sitting out all last season in a contract dispute with Pittsburgh. Gase and the Jets don't want to take any unnecessary risks with Bell.
''We'll just get him as game ready as possible,'' Gase said. ''He's not really going to know until we get into a real game, but I feel like he's in great shape and he's been contacting about as good as anybody on the practice field.
''So, I feel confident he'll be ready to go (in) Week 1.''
That would be the regular-season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 8. It will mark the first time Bell will play in a game since the Steelers' playoff loss to Jacksonville on Jan. 14, 2018 - a span of nearly 20 months.
''I'll see y'all in September,'' Bell wrote on Twitter about an hour after Gase's announcement.
Gase acknowledged that a season-ending knee injury to linebacker Avery Williamson in the Jets' preseason loss at Atlanta on Thursday night sealed his decision to sit Bell until the regular season.
''Like I said, I was about 99.9% sure what we were going to do,'' Gase said. ''That probably made it 100.''
Williamson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee with 3:52 left in the first half with mostly backups playing. Cornerback Tevaughn Campbell dived to defend a pass in the end zone and hit into the linebacker's knee.
An MRI on Friday revealed the severity of the injury, and Williamson was placed on injured reserve Saturday.
Gase took the blame for leaving Williamson in the game as late as he did, and said he regretted doing so.
Williamson was playing a new position with the starters at weakside linebacker this season instead of middle linebacker with the arrival of C.J. Mosley. Williamson remained in the game with the second-team defense because backup Neville Hewitt is also playing a new spot, and Hewitt would benefit from the veteran's presence on the field.
''Just looking back on it and hindsight's 20/20, but I wish would've gotten him out of there a series earlier,'' Gase said. ''But, I've talked with him, and it's on me.''
CENTER OF ATTENTION
Recently unretired center Ryan Kalil practiced in team drills for the first time since signing with the Jets nearly three weeks ago.
The 34-year-old Kalil had retired after last season, his 12th with the Carolina Panthers. He has been working to get into football shape, and took the snaps with the first-team offense Sunday night.
''I'm feeling good,'' Kalil said. ''It was exciting. Obviously, I'm a little rusty - not rusty, but just playing slow, you know?''
Kalil said he is still getting used to quarterback Sam Darnold's cadence, which led to a couple of bad snaps, and doesn't quite have the offensive playbook down yet.
''They don't have a Rosetta Stone for this, so it's like learning a new language,'' Kalil said.
Gase said he's hoping to play Kalil in a series in the Jets' next preseason game Saturday night against New Orleans.
''I love football, I just do,'' he said. ''We all do. It took me walking away to know that it was done, that I really wanted it to not be done just quite yet. I'm so fired up.''
S Marcus Maye (shoulder) has shed the red no-contact pinnie and is a full participant at practice. ... LB Jamey Mosley (knee) didn't practice. ... LB Harvey Langi (knee) is set to return this week. ... RT Brandon Shell sat out the game at Atlanta after injuring a knee in practice, but should be OK. ''It was probably more of a scare than anything,'' Gase said.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is off to a slow start in the 2019 season. Mayfield has 610 passing yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions through two games. Cleveland will take on the Los Angeles Rams at home on Sunday night in Week 3. Fantasy owners who start Mayfield will surely be hoping this game develops into a shootout, although neither team has been as explosive on offense as expected. Mayfield has plenty of upside but his floor is much lower than fantasy owners hoped when they drafted him as their QB1. Treat him as a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 for Week 3.
New York Jets running back Ty Montgomery has been a non-factor in the offense through two weeks. Montgomery became a hot name early last week when starter Le'Veon Bell was listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, but Bell wound up playing Monday and out-touched Montgomery 31-6. Through two weeks, Montgomery has only five carries and three catches and has played less than 30 snaps so far this season. It's possible Montgomery earns more work as the season moves on if the Jets try and rest Bell, but for fantasy purposes, Montgomery has almost no value except as a handcuff to Bell.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell will face a tough test on Sunday against a Patriots Defense that is second in the league allowing only 37 rushing yards per game and has only allowed three points through two weeks. The Jets have had a hard time getting the running game going as Bell has only 128 yards through two games and is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. Where Bell has thrived, however, is the passing game as he's made 16 catches on 19 targets so far this season and should continue to be heavily targeted with third-string QB Luke Falk making his first career start Sunday. Despite the tough matchup, Bell has a high floor thanks to his role in the passing game and is as sure a bet as any running back to see 20-plus touches making him a must-start option.
New York Jets quarterback Luke Falk is confident heading into his first NFL start despite facing one of the worst matchups possible, an away game at New England. Falk served as a backup in Miami last year so he knows Adam Gase's offense and Gase said they are prepared to let Falk throw downfield more after being conservative with him Monday night when Falk was forced into action a day after being on the practice squad. Falk was serviceable on Monday completing 20 of 25 passes for 198 yards but faces long odds on Sunday behind an offensive line that's given up eight sacks already this year and facing a defense that's given up only three points total. Falk has no fantasy value and the other Jets should be downgraded as well with Falk starting.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard will serve as the backup to Joe Mixon on Sunday. As a result, don't expect much from the veteran when the Bengals face an effective Bills Defense. After almost starting for an injured Mixon against the 49ers, the 27-year-old was relegated to the No. 2 option and managed to finish with just six yards (six attempts) and one reception for seven yards. With Mixon likely to get the majority of touches against Buffalo in Week 3, Bernard should be benched in virtually all fantasy formats under 14 teams.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is still a sufficient option for those in need. Eifert pulled in just three passes during the Week 2 loss to the 49ers, but still managed to come up with a touchdown. The veteran was once one of the most productive tight ends in the league before a couple of injury-plagued seasons derailed his productivity. Nonetheless, he remains capable scorer as he has established a proven rapport with quarterback Andy Dalton throughout the years. Keep him rolling on Sunday, even against a tough Bills Defense in Buffalo.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd has a tough matchup ahead in Week 3 against a solid Bills Defense. Despite taking a back seat to John Ross after everyone was expecting Boyd to be the leading man, he has still been productive, nonetheless. The 24-year-old remains one of quarterback Andy Dalton's favorite targets in 2019 despite the emergence of Ross and has racked up 18 receptions (22 targets) for 182 yards. Though he hasn't scored a touchdown yet this season, his ability to make plays while accumulating yards still makes him a must-start on Sunday.
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is in line for a tough matchup Sunday in New England against the Patriots. Anderson has been disappointing through two weeks with only seven catches for 104 yards and no touchdowns. Now he'll have to match up against a Patriots Defense that has owned Anderson in his career. In six career games vs New England, Anderson has 12 catches on 33 targets for 158 yards and no touchdowns. In addition to averaging only 26 yards per game against New England, Anderson will see plenty of Patriots All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore and catch passes from third-string QB Luke Falk. Wherever possible, fantasy owners should look to sit Anderson this week.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross looks to finally be on track this season after a few years that were filled with injuries and conduct issues. Ross, who went undrafted in a good majority of leagues this season, currently leads all receivers with 270 yards on the year to go along with 11 receptions (20 targets) and three touchdowns. Despite the difficult matchup against the Bills Defense in Week 3, the 23-year-old has been playing too well to sit. Keep him rolling on Sunday.
Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis had another miserable performance, with his latest installment coming in the loss to Jacksonville on Thursday. With the Jaguars Defense rocking Marcus Mariota's world by coming up with nine sacks on the night, the offense had issues getting anything going. Lewis was no exception as he ran for just 13 yards on three attempts to go along with one reception for seven yards. Usually a semi-reliable PPR performer, Lewis has done little to appease those who picked him up this season. He has little fantasy value unless Derrick Henry gets injured, which is unlikely given his track record of remaining healthy over the years.
Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis will draw the start if Jordan Reed is once again inactive, and he's facing a decent matchup if so. The Bears have allowed 15 receptions to tight ends for 133 yards and a touchdown. The question any fantasy owner must ask themselves if considering Davis for Week 3 is simply: how lucky do I feel? Davis has been targeted just 11 times in two games as Washington's primary tight end, and if you take away his 48-yard touchdown in Week 1, he's got six catches for 40 yards. If you're among those who have been decimated by O.J. Howard's lack of production at the position and missed out on the marquee waiver-wire pickups, at least there's a matchup here for Davis in a game where the Redskins should have to throw a ton. Even so, banking on his minimal target share through two weeks to yield a big day is quite the Hail Mary this early in the season.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn has seen 13 targets through two games. His team's inability to run the ball suggests he could be looking at another relatively high target share on Monday night. The Bears allowed the fourth-most receptions to opposing wideouts last season, and just got carved up by Emmanuel Sanders last Sunday. Quinn could be looking at the volume to return a decent fantasy outing on Monday night, though he hasn't quite produced at a high enough level to consider him unless you play in a deep PPR league. For those in 10 or 12-team leagues, keep an eye on his involvement in a game the Redskins might be forced to air it out often.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson has seen just 10 targets in two weeks. Despite Case Keenum having attempted 81 passes, Richardson just hasn't seen enough volume to believe he's in line for a big night against the Bears on Monday. Terry McLaurin, Trey Quinn, and Chris Thompson have combined for a target share near 60%, making it clear (at least for the time being) that this pass offense runs through the three of them. Richardson is a touchdown-dependent receiver that allowed just 14 of those to wideouts in 2018.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin has impressed in his first two NFL games, hauling in 10 of 16 targets for 187 yards and two touchdowns. His Week 3 opponent is the Bears, who just allowed Emmanuel Sanders to have his way against them last Sunday: 11 catches, 98 yards, one touchdown. Assuming it's business as usual in terms of the Redskins failing to get going on the ground, it stands to reason that Washington will be forced to throw the ball often on Monday night. McLaurin appears to be Case Keenum's favorite target early on, so even against a tough secondary, there is hope for fantasy-friendly volume. For everything the Bears do right defensively, they've been middle-of-the-pack since the beginning of last season in production allowed to opposing wide receivers. I'd exhaust all other options before considering McLaurin in the flex spot, but the potential is there on Monday night.
Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson leads the entire team in targets with 18. He's caught 12 of them for 116 yards. Thompson might be Washington's only hope out of the backfield against the Bears, who have looked every bit like the run defense we expected coming into 2019. If Chicago has bent anywhere, it's been in the short passing game. They've allowed 12 receptions for 93 yards to opposing running backs. Considering Thompson's early involvement and the Redskins' near-total inability to establish the run in either of their first two games, Thompson could be in line for another big-time target share on Monday night. You're not going to feel ecstatic about any player on a below-average offense against Chicago, but Thompson does provide some promise in this matchup.
Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum has looked better than most thought he would as the new signal-caller, completing just under 70% of his passes for 601 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. Keenum could reasonably be expected to chuck it early and often on Monday night, considering the Redskins' nonexistent running game and the Bears' rush defense. Just keep in mind this is the same Chicago pass defense that held Aaron Rodgers to 18 completions on 30 attempts for 203 yards and a touchdown. Keenum's early production has certainly earned him some attention in the fantasy community, but let's wait until his team shows some offensive balance and/or they get past this tough early schedule before considering him in lineups.
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson had minimal success other than a short touchdown run against the Cowboys in Week 2. On Monday night, he'll face a Bears Defense that has permitted just 64.5 rushing yards per game to opposing backs and no rushing touchdowns. The Redskins have provided us with zero evidence that they have the ability to establish the run against defenses that excel at taking it away. Adrian Peterson does not belong in fantasy lineups for Week 3.
The Washington Redskins Defense has its softest matchup of the young season in the Chicago Bears on Monday night. In a perfect world, you could trust this unit to get the job done as a streamer in a week when a few of the better fantasy defenses in the league have tougher matchups (Chargers/Texans, Browns/Rams). If anything, this Monday night game looks less like Washington's first win and more like Chicago's first chance to break out on offense. Washington has been torched by the Eagles and Cowboys for six straight quarters. The Bears have the second-best OL/DL matchup in the league in terms of pass protection. If Mitch Trubisky is going to put a dreadful first two games behind him, Monday is the time to do it.
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end James O'Shaughnessy had two receptions for 18 yards during the win over the Titans on Thursday, pulling in a touchdown pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew II early in the first quarter. The 27-year-old still hasn't done enough to justify his presence in virtually all formats, however, but fantasy managers will want to keep an eye on his progress in the weeks ahead.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Chris Conley pulled in a season-low three receptions for 30 yards in the win over the Titans. Conley's performance has dwindled since Week 1 where he recorded six receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs. He isn't a reliable week-to-week option, but he still could have a place on fantasy rosters in deeper formats. Look for him to turn things around against the Broncos in Week 4, hopefully.