Sat Aug 17 6:30pm ET
By PAT GRAHAM
AP Sports Writer
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo throws a pass during a combined NFL training camp with the Denver Broncos Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, at the Broncos' headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Retired NFL head coach Mike Shanahan, center, talks to reporters during a combined NFL training camp at which the Denver Broncos hosted the San Francisco 49ers Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, at the Broncos' headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, back, tosses a ball as defensive backs coach Joe Woods looks on during a combined NFL training camp with the Denver Broncos Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, at the Broncos' headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, left, chats with San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan during a combined NFL training camp Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, at the Broncos' headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Mike Shanahan patrolled the sideline with his familiar stare as he watched his son's team practice against his former one.
No way could the former head coach stay away from the Denver Broncos headquarters this weekend.
For a decade, Shanahan avoided the facility where he won two Super Bowl titles before getting fired after the 2008 season.
Time, though, has thawed any hard feelings. And so has golf with Broncos boss John Elway, who made it clear that Shanahan was always welcome around team headquarters.
Shanahan certainly had good reason to drop by the past two days with Denver holding joint practices with the San Francisco 49ers coached by his son, Kyle.
''It's great to be back,'' said the elder Shanahan, who won back-to-back Super Bowl titles with Elway under center in the late 1990s. ''I haven't been here in 10 years and to see all the changes, a lot of people you were here before working with - it's great to see.''
Shanahan been a frequent guest of the 49ers since his son was hired by San Francisco in 2017. He mentored Jimmy Garoppolo after the QB suffered a torn ACL three games into the 2018 season. The two talked schemes and blitzes with Garoppolo's year finished.
''It was a chance for him to relax and have some fun and at the same time get to study some football together,'' Shanahan said.
Shanahan does miss coaching. A lot. Shanahan hasn't been a head coach since going 3-13 with Washington in 2013. He had conversations with Elway and nearly got another shot with the Broncos, who have turned things over to 60-year-old first-time head coach Vic Fangio.
''It didn't work out and sometimes it works out for the right reasons,'' said Shanahan, who also attended a Broncos practice last month. ''I made a decision a long time ago, right when I got fired, I said if I didn't get the right job right away that gave us a chance to win a Super Bowl, that I was going to do what I'm doing - be a dad, follow your son and the organization and be a part of that.''
Kyle Shanahan didn't get a chance to spend much time with his dad Saturday.
He had a practice to run.
Still, it was a surreal experience to be on the same turf where his father guided all those Broncos teams. Although the facilities have been updated, it's still the familiar place where he used to spend a bulk of his teen years.
''I've got a lot of memories here,'' Kyle Shanahan said. ''It's a very special place for me.''
Same goes for Mike Shanahan, who has a standing invitation to return anytime he wants - with one exception.
''Unless we're playing the 49ers in a real game,'' cracked Fangio, whose team faces the 49ers in a preseason matchup Monday night.
Shanahan has long been friends with Fangio, forged by years and years of matching wits. That helped pave the way for Shanahan's return. So did rounds of golf with Elway.
''It's always good to see him out here because I enjoy talking football with him,'' Elway said. ''As you all know, he's very knowledgeable in the game, so I'm glad that he's able to come back and know that this is home for him.''
One question that makes Shanahan sheepish is the notion that he belongs in the Broncos' Ring of Fame or even in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
''When people just mention you about those things, you go, `Wait a minute,''' said Shanahan, who amassed 170 wins with the Raiders, Broncos and Washington. ''You think Hall of Fame and you just say, `what a great honor,' when people talk to you about it. ... But I never even think about things you can't control.''
Shanahan does think the Broncos made the right move in hiring Fangio, who's trying to turn around a franchise that hasn't been to the postseason since winning the Super Bowl following the 2015 season in Peyton Manning's final game.
''No-nonsense guy, that understands the game,'' Shanahan said of Fangio. ''I think players will follow him very quickly.''
Naturally, Shanahan's a big fan of the coach in San Francisco, too. He believes the 49ers have put the pieces around his son to be competitive.
''All you want to have is the opportunity to have success,'' the father said. ''Kyle has been given that opportunity.''
Five Cold Plays: Week 2
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is coming off a Week 1 win which saw him lead his team with 10 targets. The second-year wideout will look to build upon that performance in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos. Johnson has been dealing with a toe injury for the past couple of weeks but he was able to practice fully on Friday ahead of his Week 2 tilt. The Broncos coughed up a 100-yard receiving game to Corey Davis in Week 1 and placed top cornerback A.J. Bouye on injured reserve earlier in the week. Fantasy gamers can trust Johnson as a rock-solid WR3 in Week 2.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Benny Snell Jr. burst on the scene with 19 carries for 113 yards in a Week 1 win over the New York Giants. Snell saw extra work after starter James Conner went down with an ankle injury. He was a popular waiver add earlier in the week while Conner's status for Week 2's matchup against the Denver Broncos was still unknown. Conner returned to full practice on Friday and is without an injury designation for this weekend, casting some uncertainty on the Pittsburgh running back situation. Fantasy gamers who were planning on starting Snell should consider the possibility that Conner takes the majority of the running back touches in Week 2, leaving Snell as a shaky flex at best.
Tennessee Titans star running back Derrick Henry will face a Jaguars Defense against which he accumulated 203 rushing yards and three rushing scores in two matchups last season. That Jaguars have allowed an average of 31.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs over the past eight games. This forecast seems to bode quite well for Henry who should once again see a large volume of carries. He's undoubtedly a high-end RB1 in all formats heading into week two.
Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith gets a plus matchup this week against a Jaguars Defense that allowed 363 yards through the air in week one. A.J. Brown (knee) is set to miss multiple weeks so the Titans will look upon Smith and Corey Davis more frequently. Smith hauled in four of seven targets for 36 yards and a touchdown during week one's 16-14 win against Denver. He's likely to see an uptick in targets and should be viewed as a high-end TE2 in week two against Jacksonville.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis (hamstring) who was listed as limited on Thursday, practiced full on Friday. He looks ready to go Sunday and should be in line for more targets with fellow receiver A.J. Brown (knee) ruled out. Davis will look to build upon the momentum from week one in which he hauled in seven of eight targets for 101 yards. The receiver is entering his fourth NFL season having yet to emerge as a go-to target after being drafted with the fifth overall pick of the 2017 draft. He should produce numbers worthy of a flex start in all league formats against the Jaguars Defense who gave up 363 yards through the air in week one. He could see double digit targets from Ryan Tannehill.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Sheppard was a big part of the Giants offense in Week 1 and will look to carry that momentum into a road game vs the Bears. Shepard caught all six of his targets for 47 yards as he was the primary short-area target for Daniel Jones. If Golden Tate (hamstring) suits up that could cut into Shepard's target share, but he is still a solid WR3/flex play for fantasy managers, especially in PPR. Shepard would get a big boost in his fantasy appeal if Tate sits.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton had a huge game in Week 1 going for 100-plus yards and two touchdowns on six catches. Slayton tied with Saquon Barkley for the team lead with nine targets and will look to stay hot in a favorable matchup with the Bears in Week 2. Slayton had a nose for the end zone last season with eight scores on just 48 catches and, while that touchdown rate is unsustainable, he clearly has the trust of QB Daniel Jones in the red zone. Slayton is a startable WR3 in fantasy this week.
The New York Giants Defense is not a strong unit for fantasy and managers should look elsewhere for a D/ST in Week 2. The Giants had just two sacks in Week 1 and only forced one turnover from a forced fumble. New York was gashed on the ground by Benny Snell Jr last week so expect the Bears to keep the ball on the ground, limiting fantasy-point-opportunities for Big Blue's defense. Fantasy managers streaming D/ST should look elsewhere in Week 2.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones struggled somewhat in Week 1 as he turned the ball over twice, but he also had some encouraging throws and will face an easier matchup in Week 2 at Chicago. The Bears secondary was carved-up by Matthew Stafford last week despite missing his top wide receiver so expect a better output from Jones this week. Jones threw for over 3,000 yards as a rookie with a completion percentage over 60-percent with several weeks as a QB1 in fantasy. He has the talent to put up numbers in this matchup and is a low-end QB1 for Week 2.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram was a massive letdown for fantasy managers on Monday night as he caught just two passes for nine yards vs Pittsburgh. He'll have an easier matchup in Week 2 vs the Bears and should still be considered a starting tight end for fantasy. Engram struggled in Week 1 but was still targeted seven times so he has a role in the passing game. If he turns a few of those targets into catches Engram has the athleticism to be a top-5 tight end in fantasy. Start the Giants tight end with confidence Week 2 at the Bears.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley left fantasy managers out in the cold on Monday night as he ran for just six yards on 15 carries vs a stout Steelers Defense. He'll look to atone for that performance in Week 2 with a much more favorable matchup in Chicago. The Bears allowed the ageless Adrian Peterson to rush for 93 yards on 14 carries (6.6 YPC) last week so there should be more running lanes for Barkley in the Windy City. Barkley did have 6 catches for 60 yards last week so he should be involved in both the passing game and rushing game this week making him a top-RB option in fantasy.
Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas led the offense in targets last week and will look to carry that success into a road matchup with the Cardinals. Thomas caught four of eight targets for 37 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 and now gets to face an Arizona defense that allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends in 2019. Thomas should see plenty of targets as Washington is in a position to throw the ball 35-plus times as road underdogs. Fire him up as a sneaky-good start in seasonal leagues or as a cheap option in DFS.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Steven Sims Jr only saw three targets last week, but should be more involved in Week 2 vs Arizona. Sims caught all three targets and turned them into 50 yards in a game where Washington only threw the ball 31 times. The Football Team will likely need to throw more this week as road-underdogs in a game with a higher over/under. Sims Jr should see plenty of targets with top-WR Terry McLaurin seeing coverage from All-Pro corner Patrick Peterson making him an intriguing sleeper for fantasy and a strong DFS play.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin had a tough matchup in Week 1 vs Darius Slay and will face another top-flight cornerback in Week 2 at Arizona. Cornerback Patrick Peterson allowed just one catch on three targets last week and will undoubtedly be tasked with covering the one, true receiving threat on the Washington offense. Despite the tough matchup, fantasy managers shouldn't shy away from McLaurin in seasonal leagues. Washington should be in a position to throw the ball 35-plus times and there simply aren't enough weapons in this offense to take targets away from the second-year wideout. McLaurin is not a good DFS play this week, but he has one of the highest floors thanks to his target share making him a low-end WR2 for fantasy.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson was overshadowed by Peyton Barber in Week 1, but the rookie should be in a better position to score fantasy points this week at Arizona. Gibson only handled nine carries last week, but most of that was due to the team having a lead in the fourth quarter and leaning on the veteran Barber. Despite handling eight more carries than Gibson, the rookie still out-rushed Barber, albeit with only 36 yards. Expect Gibson to be more involved this week, especially in the passing game, making him a strong RB3 or flex option for fantasy.
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins played a solid game vs Philadelphia in Week 1 and will look to build on that performance in his first road test of 2020. Haskins didn't break any passing records last week, but he was effective in throwing for 178 yards and a touchdown and, most importantly, no turnovers. Now he'll face a Cardinals Defense that didn't force a turnover in Week 1 and allowed QB Kyler Murray to rush for 91 of the team's 180 rushing yards. Haskins should have some opportunities to make plays in what is projected to be a high-scoring game making him a low-end starter in 2QB leagues.
Washington Football Team running back Peyton Barber scored two touchdowns in Week 1, but remains a risky fantasy option ahead of a date with the Cardinals. Arizona's defense limited Raheem Mostert to 56 yards on 15 carries last week and Barber wasn't exactly effective despite the two touchdown performance. Barber had just 29 yards on 17 carries as most of his production came in the fourth quarter while Washington was trying to kill the clock. This game figures to be a higher-scoring affair making Antonio Gibson a more attractive fantasy option in the Washington backfield.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman was on the field for five of the 27 offensive snaps played with two receivers against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. From 2017 to 2019, he was on the field for 41 percent of the snaps in two-receiver sets.
Fantasy Spin: One game isn't a big sample, and Edelman was still New England's most productive receiver in the opener. Fewer snaps would lead to less consistency, but Edelman is going to have WR3 potential regardless.
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews played a career-high 71 percent of the offensive snaps against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, topping his previous high of 55 percent of the snaps.
Fantasy Spin: Andrews emerged as an elite fantasy tight end last year despite playing about half the snaps. If his increased usage from Week 1 becomes the norm, he should be a lock for top-five production.
Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett (back) is expected to play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, according to head coach Sean McVay. 'We put him as questionable, but he ended up going today,' McVay said. 'He felt good. I fully expect him to be ready to go.'