Tue Sep 21 5:40pm ET
By DAVE HOGG
Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell looks down at his hat during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 35-17. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers celebrates a touchdown run by Aaron Jones during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Jones runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
DETROIT (AP) Two games into the season, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell is still trying to find a foundation for his struggling defense.
After giving up 41 points in a season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Lions allowed 35 in an 18-point loss on Monday night. Only the Atlanta Falcons (80) have allowed more points in their first two games than Detroit.
''We're looking for guys who are going to challenge the perimeter and we're looking for guys who are going to rally to the football,'' Campbell said. ''If you watched Alex Anzalone, he was all over the field last night. Was he perfect? No, but he was in on almost every tackle. That's the kind of guy we're looking for.''
While Anzalone was making a lot of plays, he and fellow linebacker Jamie Collins struggled in coverage. Green Bay running back Aaron Jones scored three of his four touchdowns receiving, and Aaron Rodgers had nearly as many touchdown passes (four) as incompletions (five).
''We've got to get to the quarterback,'' Campbell said. ''I didn't feel like our rush was there when it needed to be, especially on early downs.''
Jared Goff, given the tough task of replacing Matthew Stafford, has completed 68.8% of his passes and thrown for five scores in the first two games. He does need to limit the turnovers, as a pick-6 against the 49ers and a fumbled snap against Green Bay were turning points in the two losses.
''That was a game that was going back and forth offensively, which you kind of assumed with Aaron Rodgers,'' Campbell said of the Green Bay game. ''When you get into that type of game, your offense just has to find a way to score more points than they do. That doesn't leave room for many mistakes.''
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Detroit was already struggling to cover receivers before rookie cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu went down with a thigh injury. Campbell confirmed Melifonwu will miss ''a significant amount of time'', which means the Lions will have to find a replacement on the practice squad or the free-agent wire.
Campbell said the coaching staff would be discussing ways to get rookie linebacker Derrick Barnes onto the field - snaps that would probably come at the expense of Collins or in a pass-rush role since Anzalone is Detroit's play-caller on defense.
When a team is 0-2 and allowing 38 points a game, the defense is clearly struggling. After all, the reason Campbell put the blame on the offense for the loss was that it was clear Green Bay was going to score almost at will, leaving Goff no margin for error.
Melifonwu was the only significant injury Monday night, but it will be a tough one to overcome. Detroit finished the game with Bobby Price, a converted safety, playing at cornerback. They do have veteran Daryl Worley on the practice squad - he has played 66 games over the past five seasons with the Panthers and Ravens.
9.4: The average yards the Lions are allowing per passing attempt. That's tied for last place in the league with the Kansas City Chiefs, and they don't have Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to make up for it on offense.
HE'S SEEN WORSE
The 0-2 start isn't what Campbell wanted, but he's had some experience with bad seasons in Detroit. In his three years as a player with the Lions, the team went 10-38, including the first 0-16 season in league history.
The Lions have a short week to figure out a way to stop Lamar Jackson and the Ravens before Sunday's home game. Jackson is averaging 237 yards passing and 96.5 yards rushing in his first two games, although he has turned the ball over four times in Baltimore's 1-1 start.
Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King (shoulder) has been ruled out in Week 6 against the Chicago Bears because of a shoulder injury he suffered in last week's win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Green Bay will also be without starting corner Jaire Alexander (shoulder) after he went on Injured Reserve last week. It may not matter, though, as Chicago has the fewest passing yards (566) in the league and the second-fewest pass attempts (122) through five games. The Packers will only have one of their top three corners available on Sunday in first-rounder Eric Stokes. Stokes and Yiadom will likely start on the outside, with Chandon Sullivan in the slot in nickel packages. Green Bay will obviously be more vulnerable in the secondary this weekend, but they'll still be worth streaming consideration in Week 6 against rookie quarterback Justin Fields.
Former New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is now fully vaccinated and is still looking to find a team in 2021, according to sources. The topic of Newton not being vaccinated was a big topic of discussion in the preseason when he was still a member of the Patriots after he was forced to miss five days due to the league's COVID-19 testing protocols. Some wonder whether the Patriots decision to cut Newton had anything to do with the fact that he was not vaccinated at the time. It's questionable how much the 32-year-old has left in the tank, but he could latch on with another team as an experienced backup or emergency starter. It remains to be seen if Newton will find another team in 2021, but the fact that he's now vaccinated should make him more attractive to interested teams.
The Miami Dolphins officially activated quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (ribs) off Injured Reserve on Saturday, and he is on track to start in Week 6 against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The Dolphins also elevated wide receivers Isaiah Ford and Kirk Merritt from the practice squad to the active roster for this weekend's game. Tagovailoa returned to practice this week and avoided any setbacks, so the 23-year-old second-year signal-caller will take over as the starter after fracturing his ribs in Week 2. His return is good news for the offense, but the dual-threat QB has largely underwhelmed since becoming the starter in Week 7 last year. Tagovailoa was 16-for-27 for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the season-opening loss to the New England Patriots. The Jags are a nice matchup to return to, but Tagovailoa will remain a low-end QB2 until further notice.
New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith hasn't been able to make much of an impact with his new team. Through five games, Smith has 15 receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown. Smith has failed to surpass 28 yards in each of the last four games, which is certainly frustrating considering the amount of upside he possess. Fellow tight end Hunter Henry has scored in each of the last two games. He appears to be the much better option between the two. Smith will be a deep league TE2 for their Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson (neck) hasn't had any setbacks in his recovery from a neck injury, according to a source, but he's still not 100 percent symptom-free. The Seahawks wanted to give him more time to heal, which is why they placed him on the short-term Injured Reserve on Friday, which will keep him out for at least the next three games. Carson also missed last Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and the earliest he'll be able to return is Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers. The 27-year-old should be stashed in the majority of formats while he heals. In the meantime, Alex Collins should continue to operate as the primary back, with DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer serving as change-of-pace backs. Collins has a low ceiling as an RB3/flex with quarterback Geno Smith taking over for Russell Wilson (finger), who is also on IR.
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry has scored a touchdown in each of the last two games. He appears to be finally getting into a groove after a slow start to the season. Now, he'll get a matchup against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has struggled to contain tight ends. This could be a pass-heavy type of game for New England, which should be good for Henry. Quarterback Mac Jones is beginning to build chemistry with his teammates. Fantasy managers should consider Henry a low-end TE1 for their Week 6 matchup with Dallas.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has done his job whenever he is called upon. Sadly for him, the Patriots have a handful of other options and don't look his way often. Last week, Bourne hauled in all three of his targets for 26 yards in the win. He usually makes the play when targeted, but has only been thrown the ball 22 times through five games. There could be an uptick in value for Bourne heading into the Week 6 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. It'll likely be a pass-heavy gameplan, which means possibly more chances for Bourne. However, he won't be anything more than a desperation PPR option while everyone is healthy in the receiving game.
New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor hasn't been able to make much noise since the season opener. In fact, he has three receptions or less in every game since Week 1. That's unlikely to change against a Cowboys defense that ranks ninth in pass DVOA so far in 2021. The Patriots brought in Agholor to be their deep threat, but they don't take too many risks with the ball. Quarterback Mac Jones tends to lean on short passes, which cuts Agholor out of the gameplan. He'll be a desperation flex option against the Cowboys in Week 6.
New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers has not scored a touchdown this season, which continues to hinder his value. Despite that, he has been able to hold his own because he appears to be rookie Mac Jones favorite target. Meyers has seen double digit targets twice in five games this season. He might see another with Damien Harris (ribs) questionable for the Week 6 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. The Patriots will likely go pass-heavy, assuming Harris is sidelined. That means, Meyers should be a fine WR3 for this game against a surprisingly decent Cowboys defense.
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden could be in line for a bigger workload heading into the Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Lead back Damien Harris (ribs) is questionable to suit up in this game. That means, Bolden and a committee of others could see increased roles. Last week, Bolden rushed the ball twice, but also hauled in four receptions through the air. No one should compare Bolden to James White, but it seems New England wants Bolden to be their receiving back. There isn't a ton of upside here and Bolden should be considered a low-end streaming option in PPR formats.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson finally was able to get into some action last week. Coming into Week 5, Stevenson had one carry on the season, but that changed versus Texans. Sadly, there wasn't much success as Stevenson carried the ball 11 times for 23 yards in the win. Lead back Damien Harris (ribs) is questionable heading into their Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. That means, Stevenson could be asked to carry the ball 10 or so times again. There isn't much upside here with Stevenson, so he should be considered a desperation deep league option. He wasn't able to move the ball versus Houston, so that's unlikely to change this week.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has failed to impress over the first five games of the season. He has posted one multi-touchdown game, but has only surpassed the 280-yard mark once through five contests. The rookie quarterback will now head into a tough matchup against the Dallas Cowboys defense. Normally, the Cowboys defense wouldn't be intimidating, but they rank ninth in pass DVOA so far in 2021. It wouldn't be surprising to see Jones struggle to move the ball in this one. He'll be a desperation streaming option, but should be avoided in most formats.
Cleveland Browns running back Demetric Felton could have an expanded role in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. Browns star RB Nick Chubb (calf) was ruled out ahead of Sunday's game, and RB Kareem Hunt (wrist, knee) is questionable with a knee/wrist injury. Felton will have a complementary role and should see an uptick in carries along with D'Ernest Johnson as the backups to Hunt. The 23-year-old logged three snaps on offense and returned two punts for 17 yards in Sunday's Week 47-42 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. While Hunt is expected to suit up, the Browns have a game scheduled for Thursday next week; Felton and Johnson could see additional touches in Week 6. The UCLA product is worth stashing in deep-league formats while Chubb is sidelined and Hunt is banged up.
Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson could have a vital role in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. Browns star RB Nick Chubb (calf) was ruled out ahead of Sunday's game, and RB Kareem Hunt (knee, wrist) is questionable with a wrist/knee injury. Johnson will have a complementary role on Sunday and is the only other running back on the Browns to see carries this season besides Hunt and Chubb. While Hunt is expected to suit up, the Browns have a game scheduled for Thursday next week; Johnson, along with Demetric Felton, could see additional touches in Week 6. The 25-year-old is worth stashing in deep-league formats while Chubb is sidelined and Hunt is banged up.
The Miami Dolphins elevated WRs Isaiah Ford and Kirk Merritt from their practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Oct. 16, for Week 6's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb will try to bounce back in Week 6 against the Chicago Bears after reeling in 2-of-3 targets for 30 yards in Sunday's 25-22 overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The 31-year-old averages 10.6 air yards per target and owns 9% of the team's target share, ranked 92nd among all wideouts. Cobb will continue to have an expanded role while Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) remains on the injured reserve. This season, the Bears have been obliterated by WR1s (30th in DVOA) but have been solid against the opposing team's WR2s, which ranks 10th in DVOA versus the opponent's secondary receiver. Cobb is considered a flex play in deep-league formats and is a dart throw at best in Week 6.
Green Bay Packers' tight end Robert Tonyan (knee) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's Week 6 game against the Chicago Bears. He was a limited participant in practice throughout the week but is all systems go in Week 6. The 27-year-old has caught just 9-of-17 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown over five games in 2021. He averages 8.9 air yards per target (9th in position rank) and 10% of the team's target share, 26th among all tight ends. The Bears are ranked ninth in DVOA against tight ends this year, and a bounce-back week for Tonyan most likely won't happen this Sunday. Fantasy managers can search the waiver wire for a streaming tight end as Tonyan is a mid-range TE2 at best in Week 6.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (ankle) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's Week 6 game against the Chicago Bears. He was a limited participant in practice throughout the week but is all systems go for Week 6. The 26-year-old has rushed for 309 yards on 70 attempts and two touchdowns while catching 17-of-19 targets for 132 yards and three scores over five games in 2021. The Bears have been tough against the run this season and rank fourth in rush DVOA. Despite the tough matchup, Jones is a low-end RB1, and fantasy managers can start the Packers running back with confidence in Week 6.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is coming off his best game of the season in last Sunday's Week 5 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He hauled in 11-of-16 targets for 206 yards and a touchdown. The Packers star receiver gets the Chicago Bears in Week 6, has been dreadful against WR1s, and is ranked 30th against the opposing team's top targets. Adams has dominated the Bears in the past, reeling in 67 catches for 814 yards and eight touchdowns over 14 games against Chicago in his career. The 28-year-old should have success again versus the Bears, and a is a surefire WR1 in Week 6.