Leonard Williams stood up, ferociously clapped his hands and stomped both his feet.
He did not slap or step on any of his critics in the making of his celebration.
It took three quarters into the season opener for the highest-paid player on the Giants to register his first sack of the season and surpass his much-scrutinized total of a half-sack over 15 games last season.
“Getting a sack always feels good, regardless of the circumstances,” Williams said, taking the high road three days after the Giants’ 26-16 loss to the Steelers. “It’s one of the best plays we want to get as defensive linemen. At the same time, it’s only the first week of the season. I’m not satisfied. I’m ready to keep working with the rest of my team to keep getting home [to the quarterback].”
The story of Williams’ first five seasons, split between the Jets and Giants, is he generates pressure in the backfield but is a step away from finishing the play. But his first solo sack since Dec. 30, 2018, was included in three pressures against the Steelers, as counted by Pro Football Focus.
“He had a really good camp for us,” coach Joe Judge said. “This guy is playing with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. He’s fun to be around, and you can tell he really loves the game. He was obviously productive the other night, and we’re going to keep working to see if we can’t help him out a little bit more.”
The entire first-year coaching staff has been impressed behind the scenes by Williams’ inquisitiveness. There is optimism he is on the verge of a long-awaited breakthrough where he is more savvy and less reliant on athleticism.
Williams played 69 percent of the defensive snaps — by far the most along the rotating line — and combined with fellow nose tackle Dexter Lawrence (who also had a sack) to create push up the middle. The Steelers’ longest runs (141 rushing yards) came when bouncing outside against a poorly set edge.
Williams and Lawrence flip-flopped which side of the ball they lined up on to create another wrinkle for the offensive line to think about.
“It’s hard to play against a defense when you can’t single out one person,” Williams said. “If they slide protection to one guy, then the other guy is open. We say to each other, ‘If you are on the right side feeling better than you are on the left, let me know and I’ll work the right.’”
The Bears allowed just one sack and four hurries of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky against the Lions in Week 1. He is a more mobile threat than Ben Roethlisberger, so fresh legs will come into play.
“I felt like every time I was in I was feeling really fresh,” Williams said. “It’s attributed to the way we worked in camp and how much we focused on conditioning. I think it showed.”
Hamstrings are the early-season thorn in the side of the Giants training staff.
Wide receiver Golden Tate was limited during Wednesday’s walk-through practice, as he has been since Aug. 31. Outside linebacker Carter Coughlin was held out. Inside linebacker Tae Crowder returned to practice.
All are dealing with hamstring injuries. Same applied to now-recovered tight end Levine Toilolo last week.
Why you should bet Milwaukee
Much was expected of the Cincinnati Reds in 2020, and it is going to take a good final week of the regular season for them to have a chance of reaching expectations. They will have to fend off Monday’s opponent, the Milwaukee Brewers, for a playoff spot.
Anthony DeSclafani will get the start for the Reds as he tries to recapture his early-season form, when he gave up no runs in his first two starts, going at least five innings in each. He has not made it five innings in any of his past five starts and has an 11.57 ERA with 14 walks and seven home runs allowed in 18²/₃ innings.
Things have been much better for Milwaukee’s Brett Anderson, who has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his eight starts while issuing just five walks in his last five starts, all at least five innings.
The Reds entered Sunday last in MLB in batting average, but are fifth in percentage of at-bats that result in a home run. The Brewers have also had issues at the plate, tied for 24rd in batting average, but are hitting better on the road with a .234 average compared to .221 at home.
With the Reds’ bullpen entering into this game in the bottom 10 in ERA and likely needing to be utilized for a lot of innings, the Brewers should get the win.
The play: Brewers, +110.
Week 3 Fantasy WR PPR Rankings: Must-starts, sleepers, potential busts
We’d love it for Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, and the many other big-name WRs nursing injuries to return to the field and resume their normal fantasy stardom, but it’s been a weird year and so far, the fantasy gods aren’t sparing anyone. As we put together our Week 3 fantasy WR PPR rankings, we’re hoping for good health while also planning ahead for the potential impact of more inactives.
Volume isn’t as predictable as we’d like to think, though. With Godwin (concussion) out in Week 2, Scotty Miller looked like an obvious play in PPR formats. Instead, he had two catches and surely let some of you down. The worst part is that Miller could bounce back for another six-catch game in Week 3, but he’ll likely be back on your bench. At least in Tampa, we know there’s a quarterback and scheme worth betting on.
WEEK 3 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
That’s not the only crowded WR situation to stress over. CeeDee Lamb had six catches for 106 yards in Week 2, but he’s just as likely to disappear in Week 3 as he is to repeat it. Diontae Johnson has been one of our favorite PPR players early on — he runs so many crossing routes for Pittsburgh — but his Week 1 showed he’s as likely to disappoint as he is to succeed like he did in Week 2.
WEEK 3 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
How about some good news? Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios both entered themselves into the streamer conversation. They’re both worth considering as possession receivers for you PPR owners that might’ve had Jamison Crowder (hamstring) or Breshad Perriman (ankle). D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson were both heavily involved for the Panthers on Sunday, too, with Moore catching eight passes and Anderson going against his brand to catch nine for 109. It’s good to remember they’ll likely matter to that extent in games where Carolina is the heavy underdog.
Plenty of other players took advangage of injuries in Week 2, from Adam Humphries in Tennessee to Golden Tate in New York. A few other players have popped up on the PPR radar, like Damaire Byrd in New England and Isaiah Ford in Miami. It’s tough to count on consistency from these types of players, but given all of the injuries, you might need to dig deep for these types of sleepers this week.
Note: We’ll be updating our WR PPR rankings all week based on the latest injuries and news, so be sure to check back for our latest rankings. For individual analysis of key WRs, check out our WR standard rankings.
Week 3 Fantasy WR PPR Rankings
These rankings are for full-point PPR leagues
|1||DeAndre Hopkins, ARZ vs. DET|
|2||Michael Thomas, NO vs. GB|
|3||Davante Adams, GB @ NO|
|4||Chris Godwin, TB @ DEN|
|5||Amari Cooper, DAL @ SEA|
|6||Allen Robinson, CHI @ ATL|
|7||Julio Jones, ATL vs. CHI|
|8||JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT vs. HOU|
|9||Calvin Ridley, ATL vs. CHI|
|10||A.J. Brown, TEN @ MIN|
|11||Odell Beckham Jr., CLE vs. WAS|
|12||Tyreek Hill, KC @ BAL|
|13||Keenan Allen, LAC vs. CAR|
|14||Tyler Lockett, SEA vs. DAL|
|15||Kenny Golladay, DET @ ARZ|
|16||DJ Chark, JAX vs. MIA|
|17||Mike Evans, TB @ DEN|
|18||Adam Thielen, MIN vs. TEN|
|19||DeVante Parker, MIA @ JAX|
|20||Terry McLaurin, WAS @ CLE|
|21||Robert Woods, LAR @ BUF|
|22||Diontae Johnson, PIT vs. HOU|
|23||Cooper Kupp, LAR @ BUF|
|24||Stefon Diggs, BUF vs. LAR|
|25||T.Y. Hilton, IND vs. NYJ|
|26||DK Metcalf, SEA vs. DAL|
|27||D.J. Moore, CAR @ LAC|
|28||Julian Edelman, NE vs. LV|
|29||Emmanuel Sanders, NO vs. GB|
|30||Marquise Brown, BAL vs. KC|
|31||Courtland Sutton, DEN vs. TB|
|32||Tyler Boyd, CIN @ PHI|
|33||Jarvis Landry, CLE vs. WAS|
|34||Will Fuller V, HOU @ PIT|
|35||John Brown, BUF vs. LAR|
|36||A.J. Green, CIN @ PHI|
|37||CeeDee Lamb, DAL @ SEA|
|38||Jamison Crowder, NYJ @ IND|
|39||Marvin Jones, DET @ ARZ|
|40||Corey Davis, TEN @ MIN|
|41||Darius Slayton, NYG vs. SF|
|42||Russell Gage, ATL vs. CHI|
|43||Henry Ruggs III, LV @ NE|
|44||DeSean Jackson, PHI vs. CIN|
|45||Brandin Cooks, HOU @ PIT|
|46||Parris Campbell, IND vs. NYJ|
|47||Laviska Shenault Jr., JAX vs. MIA|
|48||Preston Williams, MIA @ JAX|
|49||Michael Gallup, DAL @ SEA|
|50||Christian Kirk, ARZ vs. DET|
|51||Larry Fitzgerald, ARZ vs. DET|
|52||Anthony Miller, CHI @ ATL|
|53||Mike Williams, LAC vs. CAR|
|54||Sammy Watkins, KC @ BAL|
|55||Allen Lazard, GB @ NO|
|56||Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB @ NO|
|57||Golden Tate, NYG vs. SF|
|58||Robby Anderson, CAR @ LAC|
|59||N’Keal Harry, NE vs. LV|
|60||Cole Beasley, BUF vs. LAR|
|61||Scotty Miller, TB @ DEN|
|62||Sterling Shepard, NYG vs. SF|
|63||Tre’Quan Smith, NO vs. GB|
|64||Jerry Jeudy, DEN vs. TB|
|65||Kendrick Bourne, SF @ NYG|
|66||Danny Amendola, DET @ ARZ|
|67||Isaiah Ford, MIA @ JAX|
|68||Breshad Perriman, NYJ @ IND|
|69||Jalen Reagor PHI vs. CIN|
|70||Curtis Samuel, CAR @ LAC|
|71||Chase Claypool, PIT vs. HOU|
|72||Mecole Hardman, KC @ BAL|
|73||James Washington, PIT vs. HOU|
|74||KJ Hamler, DEN vs. TB|
|75||Damaire Byrd, NE vs. LV|
|76||Van Jefferson, LAR @ BUF|
|77||Adam Humphries, TEN @ MIN|
|78||Quintez Cephus, DET @ ARZ|
|79||Michael Pittman Jr., IND vs. NYJ|
|80||Justin Jefferson, MIN vs. TEN|
|81||Hunter Renfrow, LV @ NE|
|82||Randall Cobb, HOU @ PIT|
|83||Demarcus Robinson, KC @ BAL|
|84||Bryan Edwards, LV @ NE|
|85||Brandon Aiyuk, SF @ NYG|
|86||John Ross III, CIN @ PHI|
|87||Josh Reynolds, LAR @ BUF|
|88||Jalen Guyton, LAC vs. CAR|
|89||Steven Sims, WAS @ CLE|
|90||Kenny Stills, HOU @ PIT|
|91||Miles Boykin, BAL vs. KC|
Christian McCaffrey to miss multiple weeks with ankle injury
The Panthers suffered a massive blow on Sunday, and it wasn’t solely their 31-17 blowout loss to the Buccaneers.
First-team All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss four to six weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 2, as reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
McCaffrey was one of numerous players injured during Sunday’s slate of games. He exited the contest during the fourth quarter after scoring his second touchdown of the day. He finished the 18 attempts for 59 yards and four catches for 19 yards and was replaced by Mike Davis, a sixth-year veteran claimed off waivers from the Bears.
The crushing news comes in spite of earlier optimism that the injury may not have been serious. McCaffrey, who became the league’s highest-paid running back this offseason by way of a four-year, $64 million mega deal, insisted he was “fine” after the game before the MRI had been conducted.
The 24-year-old pass-catching running back has been a dominant force since entering the league as a 2017 first-round pick from Stanford. He has a career 2,920 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns, as well as 303 catches for 2,523 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns.
The Panthers Week 3 contest will take place in Los Angeles against the Chargers on Sep. 27 at 4:05 p.m. EST.
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