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Football Daily Dose

Tua Time in Miami

by Ryan McDowell
Updated On: October 21, 2020, 12:35 am ET

The Miami Dolphins are on bye this week but they managed to steal the Tuesday spotlight thanks to a quarterback change. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported when the team returns from their Week Seven bye, rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa would be the new starting quarterback, replacing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

While the move was expected at some point this season, the timing is surprising. Fitzpatrick had the Dolphins off to a 3-3 start, good for second place and a game behind AFC East leader Buffalo. The bearded veteran had also been producing for fantasy managers, currently ranking as the QB8 and averaging 20 fantasy points per game.

Given the success of both the team and Fitzpatrick, this move feels planned. Teams often identify the bye week to turn things over to the rookie starter and this move could be one that was crafted before the season even began.

Last Sunday, Tagovailoa made his NFL debut, coming in late in the game for mop up duty as the Dolphins shut out the Jets. Tagovailoa completed both of his pass attempts for nine yards and returned to the field following the game to soak up the moment.

The Dolphins face the Rams in what will be Tagovailoa’s first NFL start and then travel to Arizona before matching up with the Chargers, Broncos and Jets to finish off the month of November. From a fantasy standpoint, it would be difficult to expect Tagovailoa to match the high-level of production we’ve seen from Fitzpatrick, but he is obviously worth a waiver wire pickup in most fantasy formats.


Trouble in Big D

There is no hiding from the struggles of the Dallas Cowboys this season. The recent injuries suffered by QB Dak Prescott and multiple offensive linemen will only serve as an excuse for things that were already happening, leading to the team’s 2-4 record through six games. Shockingly, that record is enough to lead the NFC East entering Week Seven.

Regardless of that shaky division lead, some Cowboys players have had enough. NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported Tuesday that multiple players have begun to criticize the coaching staff and the allegations do not paint a pretty picture. Among the comments, Slater reported the coaching staff being called “totally unprepared,” while another said the coaches “don’t teach” and “don’t have any sense of adjusting on the fly.” Finally, “they just aren’t good at their jobs.” Obviously, the Dallas defense is taking most of the blame for their poor record, allowing a league-high 218 points through six weeks. This coaching staff, led by former Packers HC Mike McCarthy, could be gone by the end of the season.

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Injury Updates

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin expects WR Diontae Johnson, who missed most of the past two games with a back injury, to practice this week. It is likely safe to assume Johnson will play in Week Seven against the Titans, though it was a surprise he was inactive last week. This will be a situation to watch closely moving forward. When Johnson is healthy, the Steelers will sport one of the top wide receiver trios in the league, along with rookie Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

On Tuesday, the NFL Network reported that Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, who has missed the past month due to a high ankle sprain, would sit out again in Week Seven as Carolina faces the Saints. Also, McCaffrey reportedly has a chance to play in Week Eight against Atlanta. The Panthers are surprisingly in contention for a playoff spot and backup RB Mike Davis has filled in admirably for McCaffrey.

When the Eagles face the New York Giants on Thursday night, they will be without RB Miles Sanders (knee) and TE Zach Ertz (ankle) who were both injured last week. The good news is Philadelphia is expected to have veteran WR DeSean Jackson back on the field for the first time since Week Three. Jackson has battled a hamstring injury and if fully healthy, should see a significant role. That’s a big “if” though. The Eagles also hope to have RT Lane Johnson in the lineup, which is good news for QB Carson Wentz and RB Boston Scott, who is expected to start in place of Sanders.

Bills HC Sean McDermott admitted WR John Brown was not fully healthy for the team’s Monday night game against the Chiefs. Brown drew four targets but failed to record a reception. He had missed the team’s Week Five game due to a knee injury and has also dealt with calf and foot issues this season.

The Raiders designated backup QB Marcus Mariota to return from injured reserve. This likely means the team will add Mariota to their active roster sometime within the next three weeks. Mariota was once thought to be competition for starting QB Derek Carr but that will not be the case.

The Giants designated WR Sterling Shepard to return from injured reserve. Shepard has been out since Week Two with a toe injury. The struggling Giants Offense could use any spark. Giants HC Joe Judge suggested Shepard is likely to be a game-time decision for the Thursday night tilt against the Eagles.

The Baltimore Ravens got some relatively good news on veteran RB Mark Ingram, who left last week’s game with an ankle injury. Ingram has been diagnosed with a “mid-to-high-ankle sprain” that is not considered severe. With the Ravens on bye coming up this week, Ingram has a chance to be in the lineup in Week Eight when Baltimore faces the Steelers. If Ingram were to miss time, the duo of Gus Edwards and rookie J.K. Dobbins would share backfield work.