Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, who missed Thursday practice as he became a father for the third time, made his weekly appearance with Middays with MFB on Friday to preview Sunday’s home opener against the Raiders.

The Raiders come in at 0-2, but Mayo said the Patriots aren’t overlooking them.

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, who missed Thursday practice as he became a father for the third time, made his weekly appearance with Middays with MFB on Friday to preview Sunday’s home opener against the Raiders.

The Raiders come in at 0-2, but Mayo said the Patriots aren’t overlooking them.

“This is the third game of the season. Some teams are 0-2, but it really doesn’t describe how a team is,” Mayo said. “This is a veteran-led team. They have a of older guys, a lot guys who know how to play football in this league and have won a lot of games. So we’re not overlooking Oakland at all. Obviously we’re excited to open up here at Gillette. Hopefully it’s a good game.”

Derek Carr is the only rookie quarterback starting this season, and the second-round pick from Fresno State has shown some promise.

Said Mayo: “He has a huge arm. He’s also very mobile. He’ll get outside the pocket. A lot of people don’t talk too much about his athleticism, but this guy can run. He can make all the throws. And he seems like he’s a smart guy. They’re obviously not trying to do too much with him, being a rookie, but at the same time, he can make all the throws and make all the plays. It will be a challenge for us up front trying to get pressure on him as well, and in the back covering these receivers.”

Fellow linebacker Dont’a Hightower is off to a strong start this season.

“Ever since I came into the league, he’s always been a student of the game. He’s always studying,” Mayo said.”I think it starts in the classroom. This guy’s asking questions, asking questions, asking the right questions. And it’s translating over to the field. He’s a very big, athletic guy that can run, and he can do a lot of different things for us. He’s a versatile player. Whatever the coaches ask him to do, he’s willing to do, and he’s been helping us these first couple of weeks.”

The Patriots defense dominated the Vikings on Sunday after allowing a touchdown on the first series, helping New England to a 30-7 victory.

“Obviously the score says it all. We were excited about that. We were able to get after him early in the game. I think it’s all about winning first down, getting those long-yardage situations — second-and-10, third-and-8 — and then letting those guys pin their ears back and get after the quarterback. It was exciting to see last week. We’re on to Oakland now, and we have to continue to build on that.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Adam Schefter joins MFB to talk about the latest with Roger Goodell and how he is going to handle his upcoming press conference.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about commissioner Roger Goodell, who is scheduled to break his silence and address the media in a press conference Friday afternoon. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about commissioner Roger Goodell, who is scheduled to break his silence and address the media in a press conference Friday afternoon. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“This is essentially him coming out to defend the league, to admit wrongdoing, because I think everybody would agree that the league just got this wrong along the way,” Schefter said. “There are so many layers to this and so many levels to it that the league just messed up. And they’re going to have to own it. And we’ve heard the owners say, ‘Oh, we want to make it right, we want to get it right.’ And I’m sure you’re going to hear Roger Goodell utter a similar message. But I would think and hope that you would expect more from Roger Goodell. He’s the leader of the NFL. He’s making $44 million a year. He’s the most important man arguably in all of sports. Somebody with that power, with that responsibility, should have an incredible message to deliver today. We’ll see what that is.”

Schefter said he isn’t sure what Goodell will be allowed to say based on the legality of the situation, but he’s hopeful the commissioner is forthcoming.

“I think Roger Goodell has to be as transparent as possible. Period,” Schefter said. “Now, there may be certain legal limits as to what he can say about Robert Mueller’s investigation or whatever it may be. But I think it’s in everyone’s best interests for Roger Goodell to be as transparent and as honest as possible.”

Regarding the possibility that Goodell punishes himself for the league’s mishandling of the recent issues, Schefter said that’s unlikely.

“I think there’s a disconnect between the public perception of Roger Goodell and the ownership’s feelings on Roger Goodell,” Schefter said. “I think the public, by and large, disapproves of the job he’s done, has lost respect for his leadership skills and abilities, questions his credibility, and has less faith in him than it’s ever had. I think we all could agree with that, that’s the universal public feeling — not universal, the majority of the public.

“I think ownership still believes that Roger Goodell has done a great job. He procured a tremendous CBA for the owners. He’s got television contracts that are lucrative beyond words. He got labor peace. He brought stability and profitability to the NFL. And so the owners, by and large, are very happy with Roger Goodell. Now, I think, and I’ve spoken to some who are curious to see what Robert Mueller’s investigation turns up. And should it turn up that he lied, which is going to be difficult to prove, I think, but should it somehow be proven, then he’s going to be out of office.

“But it’s one thing to say that he’s going to be out of office and it’s going to be proven that way, and it’s another thing to actually go do it. I am skeptical that they’ll be able to find that evidence or prove it, that he blatantly lied. Now, in the bylaws of the NFL constitution it talks about having the best interests of the league at heart and reflecting positively, and I think we all could debate whether or not that’s happened over the last few months.

“But I don’t see Roger Goodell saying, ‘And because we missed the Ray Rice decision I’m going to find me four game checks,’ or, ‘suspend me for two weeks,’ or whatever it may be, because ownership believes in him.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On if the league has been manipulating information to the media: “It has not been the league’s finest time. As a reporter, I can only speak to me. … And I can say that during the time I’ve covered the NFL for over 25 years, there are few if any incidents that I can ever remember where you look at the league and you say, ‘What is the league doing there? What is the league thinking there? Why are doing this this way?’ To me, the league always had an answer for everything.

“This is the one time you looked at the decisions that the league made and you said, ‘What are they doing?’ Like, Greg Hardy was convicted and he’s appealing it to court, and I know there’s a due process, but you’re letting this guy on the field? And I know the Panthers made that decision, but you’re allowing them to do that? I don’t get that. And the Ray Rice thing in hindsight — in hindsight, when everybody stepped back and took a look at it and evaluated it — how did you come to two games? How did that happen?

“And again, it’s very easy for all of us to second-guess it now. We’re doing that. We’re doing that, because the league deserves it. But they’ve misfired on a number of elements here. A number of elements. The Adrian Peterson situation — deactivated, activated, on the commissioner-exempt list. What is that? That’s from the strongest, best sports league in the world?”

On Goodell’s legacy: “I think it’s a case where this is always going to follow Roger. He could go on to become the greatest commissioner the NFL has ever seen, but people will say, ‘Remember back in 2014 when he didn’t get the Rice thing right and then the league tried to explain it away and went soft on domestic violence? And to me, that’s the biggest fault here all along. And again, it’s easy for all of us to say now, when we’re seeing a cultural shift, which is a great thing, and increased awareness, which is a great thing.

“But the league, when you go back and look, under Roger Goodell, and under Paul Tagliabue, has taken a typically soft stance on domestic violence. It just has. There have been any number of players who have been arrested, charged with domestic violence, very few — very few — got more than a one- or two-game suspension. The thing is, we never saw the video of those. If we had seen the video of one of those incidents, I can assure you that the outrage would have been a lot greater than it has been.

“But it came to be accepted where the NFL had given out these penalties, nobody questioned the league, nobody criticized the league, the league followed the judicial system — and while we’re at it, by the way, on a side note, what was the prosecutor thinking? We’re all over the NFL; how about our legal system and the prosecutor in New Jersey. They saw this videotape. They saw this videotape. Where are they on this? So with their lead, the NFL followed them, and they’re both wrong. They’re both wrong. OK? And we’ve directed our fury at the NFL, and that’s fine. But it should be equal. Rip the NFL all you want, and rip the prosecutor. I mean, that’s a joke. That’s a joke.”

On if Ray Rice will get interest from a team if and when he returns to the NFL: “I think that with Ray Rice it would surprise me to see him play this year. It would really surprise me. I just think that right now he’s toxic. But next year? … It’s not like teams are going to be clamoring over Ray Rice, but would there be a team next year who loses a couple of running backs in camp and looks down its roster, needs a running back, surveying the options and you see that Ray Rice is out there. You know what? With the right team, the right coaching staff, the right owners, you say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what? Let’s go give this guy a shot.’ ”

On Raiders coach Dennis Allen’s job being in jeopardy: “I think everybody could agree that Dennis Allen right now is in trouble, that if it doesn’t turn around — and nobody thinks in Oakland it will — that trouble is not going away. So, would it surprise me if he was the first head coach fired? Absolutely not. But I say that, in this league, things, they change quick sometimes. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I were him.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Bill Belichick, the teacher and coach, is now armed with a tablet on the sidelines. (Getty Images)FOXBORO -- Just imagine Bill Belichick with an ice pick.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

BIO | ARCHIVE


For a second straight day, the Patriots had perfect attendance at practice Friday.

For a second straight day, the Patriots had perfect attendance at practice Friday.

Three players were wearing black jerseys, signifying their achievement as practice players of the week. Practice squad running back Jonas Gray, practice squad linebacker Ja’Gared Davis and defensive lineman Joe Vellano were all wearing their black jerseys on Friday as the team worked out in sweats and shells.

Ten players were listed as limited from Thursday’s practice, including Don Jones, who is nursing a hamstring injury. Julian Edelman (back), Rob Gronkowski (knee) and Jamie Collins (thigh) were also listed as limited Thursday but were out on the field practicing again Friday.

The Patriots are continuing preparation for their home opener this weekend against the Raiders.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Christian breaks down what the Patriots need to do to beat the Raiders this Sunday

Welcome to the Week 3 starts and sits. Between injuries, suspensions, deactivations and the like, the average fantasy football GM’s head is spinning. I know mine is. As always, I will avoid the easy calls. I’m not here to tell you what to do with players you’d never consider benching.

I’ll be back Sunday morning with my partner in crime, Jim Hackett, for another Fantasy Football Hour. Check it out! We’re on air from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. on 93.7 FM. If you sleep in, you can listen right here on WEEI.com. In addition, I’ll be here, as always, with a chat on Sunday starting at 11 a.m. Head on over if you have any lineup questions.

If you are looking for info on players not listed in this article, go to Rotobahn and check out my full Lineup Rankings. I’ll be updating them over the weekend, as always. And, to keep track of all things fantasy football at both Rotobahn and WEEI, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I always tweet links to new articles.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. Broncos

He’ll shine in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl. Wilson’s an underrated fantasy QB and he’ll give you some touchdowns this week. He’s playable in all formats.

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers at Cardinals

Kaepernick’s always a solid play and should get it done this weekend in a tough divisional matchup. Yes, he has some injuries to his tight ends, but San Francisco has more offensive depth than in the past. Start Kaepernick if you normally would.

Kirk Cousins, Washington at Eagles

He’s not an ideal option because he’s got injuries to his tight ends and receivers, but he’ll also be playing in a high-scoring game and his team will not be in close-it-out mode at the end. Washington is far more likely to be throwing the football in the fourth quarter. Cousins can help you in deep formats.

Sit

Joe Flacco, Ravens at Browns

He’s playing decent football, but the Browns are looking tough at home and can take his receivers away for much of the game. Flacco is playable, but this is a week to look for other options if you can.

Derek Carr, Raiders at Patriots

It may be tempting to start him in a deep league because he’ll be throwing a lot and playing from behind, but I hate playing rookie quarterbacks against Bill Belichick defenses. I’d avoid doing so if possible.

RUNNING BACKS

Start

Zac Stacy, Rams vs. Cowboys

Stacy’s owners rightfully are concerned about Stacy and the Rams. Still, this is a get well matchup and you should have him active. Stacy’s struggles are more about his team than his game, but with talented rookie Tre Mason in reserve, the time for Stacy to get things going is now. He looks like a solid RB2 this week in all leagues.

Terrance West, Browns vs. Ravens

He’s looked good so far and he’ll start one more time in place of Ben Tate. It’s a medium matchup at home vs. the Ravens, but West will get plenty of volume and that should get him RB2 numbers by the close of business.

Khiry Robinson, Saints vs. Vikings

We like Khiry, and he’ll get a chance at meaningful playing time for the next few weeks as Mark Ingram recovers from a hand injury. He’s an RB2 option in big leagues if you need him or a strong flex play in this solid home matchup.

Pierre Thomas, Saints vs. Vikings

He’s been a little disappointing so far, but that should change for the next couple of weeks with Mark Ingram on the shelf. In PPR formats, I am comfortable using Thomas as a RB2 or flex. He should have a bigger early down role and a bigger role in the red zone.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings at Saints

He’s a reach play in big leagues — not 10-team leagues. If you are hurting for an RB option in a big league, this kid has some upside. He’s getting worked in slowly, but he’s a big play waiting to happen and I like the possibilities that he and Cordarrelle Patterson present if they are on the field together. Remember, McKinnon is a player who thrived playing in a triple-option offense. If OC Norv Turner wants to get creative, he has the athletes to do it. I’ve added this kid in all leagues where I could, just for his potential.

Sit

Bernard Pierce, Ravens at Browns

I do not love the matchup for Pierce. The Ravens need more versatility, and that should mean more of Justin Forsett and less Pierce, who I see as more of a closer or ball-control option. I don’t see the Ravens trying to win time of possession and I don’t see them protecting a big lead, so be careful with Pierce this week, especially in PPR formats.

Darren McFadden, Raiders at Patriots

The Patriots can stop the run and the Raiders aren’t particularly good at blocking for it anyway. McFadden might get the most touches with Maurice Jones-Drew playing a smaller role as he comes back from a hand injury, but I’d avoid playing him. I’m thinking he’s worth less than 60 combined yards this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Start

Mike Wallace, Dolphins vs. Chiefs

He’s burned me a few times this year. First he posted good numbers on Revis and then he made plays in Week 2 despite a hamstring injury. This week I am getting with the program and starting Wallace at home against a Chiefs defense that has nobody capable of containing him.

Michael Floyd, Cardinals vs. 49ers

Don’t get scared off because of a bad week and a backup quarterback. Floyd should see some single coverage against San Francisco, which likes to play straight up, and that makes him a very solid WR3 option — even with all the concerns. Keep him active.

Brandin Cooks, Saints vs. Vikings

Don’t get scared off because of a bad week. Cooks is a core component in the Saints scheme and they’ll get him the football. And, once he gets it, he’s exceedingly dangerous. He’s got WR2 upside in all formats. Keep him active.

Brian Quick, Rams vs. Cowboys

He’s looked good as we thought he would, and this is a plus matchup. Quick makes a fine flex option or even WR3 in big leagues with 12 or more teams. His quarterback situation is somewhat limiting, but he’s the clear No. 2 target right now. He’s going to see the ball.

Sit

Victor Cruz, Giants vs. Texans

Maybe he could get enough volume to post good numbers and perhaps that could give him PPR appeal, but I am a bit scared in standard leagues. The Texans are going to be all over Eli Manning and they will be able to put extra defenders on Cruz with so many injuries to the other Giants receivers.

Eric Decker, Jets vs. Bears

His hamstring injury was not minor. When you can’t go, it’s more than a tweak, and Decker had to opt out in crunch time last week. The fact that he plays on Monday night complicates matters, and there are not a lot of available options to protect yourself with. Unless Decker practices and is announced as good to go, you might want to avoid the headache this week.

TIGHT ENDS

Start

Larry Donnell, Giants vs. Texans

The Texans give up points to tight ends, and Donnell has looked very good so far. He’s a big part of the offense, and that includes the goal-line offense. This guy can start for you in any league this week. He’s going to see the ball. They need him.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs at Dolphins

His playing time rose in Week 2, and we expect the trend to continue. The Chiefs are simply desperate for places to throw the football and Kelce is a potential white knight. Keep him active in larger formats for the upside potential.

Niles Paul, Washington at Eagles

He’ll start again for Jordan Reed, and he was very active last week. Paul should get plenty of action with all the injuries on the Washington offense. He can help you in large formats in a game that should be high-scoring.

Sit

Charles Clay, Dolphins vs. Chiefs

He’s working mostly the short passing game, and that’s something the Chiefs handle well. Clay may have some PPR appeal, but I’d avoid him and his sore knee in standard leagues this week.

Ladarius Green, Chargers at Bills

He’s just not involved enough right now. I’d complain about it, but since the Chargers just beat the Seahawks, it’d probably sound like sour grapes, which of course it is. Green is a potential breakout, but as long as the Chargers want to play Eddie Royal major snaps, Green will struggle to post meaningful fantasy numbers. I’d keep him rostered in big formats, but I’d also keep him benched.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson