Running down Sunday’s fantasy movers, shakers and heartbreakers:
Browns 26, Falcons 24
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Hey, Josh Gordon was back, and he was anything but eased into the Browns’ game-plan with a Sunday-high-matching 16 targets and eight catches for 120 yards. The only thing missing was a TD, but if there was still any lingering doubt, No. 12 has immediately picked up where he left off in elite WR territory.
Extra points: As for the Cleveland RBs, Terrance West got more carries (14-12) and touches (15-12), but Isaiah Crowell had more yardage (88-71) and scored both of the team’s touchdowns. … Brian Hoyer (23-of-40, 322 yards) became the first Browns’ QB to throw for 300-plus yards in consecutive games since Brian Sipe in 1983, but he tossed a trio of interceptions here and has thrown four picks and only one TD over the last three games. … Despite Gordon’s return, Andrew Hawkins (5-93 on 5 targets) and Miles Austin (6-64 on 8) were still very much involved in the passing game. … For the Falcons, Julio Jones’ TD-less streak ended at seven games as he finished with a 6-58-1 line but he still was only able to reel in less than 50 percent of his team-high 13 targets. Fellow wideout Roddy White, meanwhile, continues to be productive, catching nine of his 10 targets for 96 yards. … RBs Steven Jackson (15 touches-51 yards) and Jacquizz Rodgers (6-27) had Atlanta’s other two scores, while Matt Ryan threw for 273 yards and two TDs but turned it over twice with a pick and a fumble.
Eagles 43, Titans 23
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
LeSean McCoy got his third 100-yard rushing game (21-130) and, more importantly, scored his third touchdown of the season, but strangely still isn’t involved in the passing game (1-1 on 1 target) and has only 24 receptions in 11 games.
Extra points: Rookie WR Jordan Matthews, meanwhile, is the exact opposite, matching Jeremy Maclin with a team-high eight targets and six receptions and leading the squad with 77 receiving yards. Maclin’s six grabs resulted in 59 yards. … Philly TEs Brent Celek (5-48 on 7) and Zach Ertz (4-30 on 6) were targeted a combined 13 times, but it was third TE James Casey (1-14 on 1) who caught the lone TD pass from Mark Sanchez (30-of-43, 307 yards, 2 interceptions) who has gone over 300 yards in all three of his starts. … The Titans, meanwhile, may be 2-9 and anonymous but don’t dismiss rookie QB Zach Mettenberger who had his first 300-yard game, finishing 20-of-39 for 345 yards and throwing a pair of scoring passes for the third time in the last four games. … WRs Justin Hunter (4-64 on a team-most 10 targets) and Dexter McCluster (3-15) had the TD grabs, while TE Delanie Walker – back from a Week 11 concussion absence – led the squad with a career-high 155 yards on five receptions. WR Kendall Wright, though, had only a 28-yard catch to show for his six targets. … Shonn Greene (6-15) ran for a score and Bishop Sankey (10-37) led the team in rushing, but the Tennessee ground game continues to go nowhere. … Finally, the Philly defense/special teams continues to come through with rookie Josh Huff getting the Eagles off and soaring with his team-record 107-yard TD return of the opening kickoff.
Patriots 34, Lions 9
Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Mass.
Week 11 fantasy darling Jonas Gray was nowhere to be found on the Week 12 stat sheet, failing to get a touch Sunday after oversleeping and missing a late-week practice. Newly re-signed LeGarrette Blount, meanwhile, is the latest Patriot reclamation project, getting 12 of the team’s 20 rushes and finishing with 78 yards and a pair of scores. Bill Belichick: Take that, fantasy GMs.
Extra points: Tom Brady threw for 345 yards, two TDs and a pick, connecting with TE Timothy Wright (5-36) – and not Rob Gronkowski (5-78) – for both scores. … In the meantime, WRs Brandon LaFell (9-98 on 12 targets) and Julian Edelman (11-89 on 15) were the focal points of the passing attack. … Shane Vereen caught a season-high eight passes for 48 yards and carried eight times for 12. … For the Lions, it was a second straight week without finding the end zone as Matthew Stafford (18-of-46 264 yards, interception), Calvin Johnson (4-58 on 10 targets) and Joique Bell (19-48 rushing) all underwhelmed. … Even WR Golden Tate, who led the team with 97 receiving yards and added a 13-yard run, barely caught a third (4) of his team-most 11 targets.
Packers 24, Vikings 21
TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
In the shocking development of the day, the Pack scored three TDs and none of them belonged to Jordy Nelson (8-68) or Randall Cobb (4-58), who entered the contest with a combined 19 scores. Instead, Eddie Lacy (25-125, 2-13) had two TDs – one each via the ground and air – while rookie TE Richard Rodgers (1-1) had the other.
Extra points: Aaron Rodgers was fairly quiet by Rodgers standards, throwing for 209 yards and two scores and picking up 34 on the ground. … For the Vikes, Teddy Bridgewater (21-of-37, 210 yards 2 TDs, interception; 5-32) had a decent outing and, for the second straight week, his leading receiver was WR Charles Johnson (3-52 on a team-high 11 targets). Fellow wideout Greg Jennings (4-38) had the other scoring grab, while Cordarrelle Patterson (2-18) garnered only two targets. … With Matt Asiata (concussion) out and newly-signed Ben Tate not playing, Jerick McKinnon got 18 touches (15 rushing & 3 catches) but produced only 63 total yards.
Colts 23, Jaguars 3
Lucas Oil Stadium
QB Andrew Luck helped the Colts bounce back in the win column, but he didn’t deliver the big numbers his fantasy owners have become accustomed to, throwing for 253 yards and a single TD, snapping his run of 300-yard passing games at eight. He did rush for a season-high 49 yards but fumbled four times, losing two.
Extra points: Almost half of Luck’s passing yards went to WR T.Y. Hilton (4-122-1), who did most of his damage by hauling in a 73-yard scoring bomb in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Reggie Wayne (3-10) and TE Coby Fleener (2-28) weren’t able to do much with their 13 combined targets, a team-high nine of which were directed at Wayne. … In the first game without the injured Ahmad Bradshaw, Dan Herron (12-65) led the team in rushing and added 31 yards on five catches. Trent Richardson (13-42, 0-0) had four fewer catches and 54 fewer yards but had Indy’s lone rushing score. … The Jags? Denard Robinson had 72 total yards on 18 touches, but lost a fumble while Toby Gerhart (4-31, 3-19) – remember him? – and Marqise Lee (3-52) led the way in rushing and receiving, respectively. Blake Bortles was only 15-of-27 for a season-low 146 yards and tossed his league-leading 15th interception – predictably making the Colts’ D a decent fantasy start.
Bengals 22, Texans 13
NRG Stadium, Houston
Giovanni Bernard was back for the first time in a month, but rookie Jeremy Hill had the far better fantasy day with 42 more rushing yards (87-45), 29 more total yards (96-67) and one more TD (1-0) on an equal number of touches (18 apiece).
Extra points: Almost half (16) of Andy Dalton’s 35 targets went to A.J. Green who had a career-high 12 receptions for 121 yards. Still, it was Mohamed Sanu (5-48) who caught Dalton’s lone scoring toss. … For the hosts, Arian Foster missed a second straight start, and Alfred Blue (16-46, 3-20) was unable to come close to replicating his Week 11 numbers. … Speaking of sub-par follow-ups, Ryan Mallett’s second start didn’t go near as well as his first as he completed 21 of 45 passes for 189 yards and an interception. … Wideouts Andre Johnson (12) and DeAndre Hopkins were targeted a combined 21 times but they finished with only eight receptions for 75 yards). TE Garrett Graham (4-41) led the Texans in receiving yards on seven targets.
Bears 21, Buccaneers 13
Soldier Field, Chicago
The hosts managed only 204 total yards of offense, and Matt Forte accounted for 112 on 23 rushes and a team-high five catches while also scoring two of the squad’s three TDs.
Extra points: Jay Cutler was 17-of-27 for a season-low 130 yards and lost a fumble but did manage to hook up with Alshon Jeffery (3-22) on a 2-yard scoring pass. TE Martellus Bennett and WR Brandon Marshall were targeted a combined 12 times but wound up with seven total catches for 69 yards. … For the Bucs, Mike Evans had a TD catch for the fourth straight outing but only caught three of his team-leading 11 targets for 47 yards – a number that paled in comparison to fellow WRs Vincent Jackson (5-117, fumble) and Louis Murphy (6-113) – as Josh McCown threw for a season-high 341 yards and two picks against his former team. … Doug Martin (11-27) and Charles Sims (6-22) paced another lackluster T.B. rushing effort.
Seahawks 19, Cardinals 3
CenturyLink Field, Seattle
The Seahawks mustered a vintage defensive performance when they needed it most, limiting the division-leading Cards to 204 total yards and a field goal while sacking Drew Stanton (14-of-26, 149 yards) three times and intercepting him once.
Extra points: Speaking of sacks, Arizona dropped Russell Wilson seven times, but the Seattle QB still finished 17-of-22 for 211 yards and a score while rushing for a game-high 73 yards on 10 carries. … Marshawn Lynch, meanwhile, had one of his worst rushing outings (15-39) of the season and failed to score, but did salvage some fantasy points with 43 receiving yards on three catches. … WR Ricardo Lockette paced the ‘Hawks in receiving yards on one 48-yard catch. … For the Cards, Andre Ellington continues to struggle on the ground (10-24) but did catch a team-high five passes for 39 yards. … Rookie John Brown paced the visitors with 61 yards on three receptions in Larry Fitzgerald’s injury absence, while Michael Floyd (0-0 on 2 targets) faded back to total obscurity.
Chargers 27, Rams 24
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
RB Ryan Mathews (12-105-1, 2-8) and WR Keenan Allen (6-104 on a team-high 9 targets) had their best fantasy days of the season, but Allen’s outing also included a pair of lost fumbles. Mathews left the game with a reported shoulder injury following his 32-yard, third-quarter scoring run but did return to action.
Extra points: Philip Rivers (29-of-35, 291 yards, TD, interception) notched his highest passing yardage outing since Week 6, but Antonio Gates (2-14) remains in a funk after his fast start to the season. … For the Rams, Shaun Hill (18-of-35, 198 yards, TD) channeled Austin Davis in turning the ball over three times, including the game-ending pick at the goal line with 56 seconds to play. … Hill’s top target this week was WR Stedman Bailey (7-89-1 on 9 targets), while Kenny Britt (2-37 on 6 targets) fell back off the fantasy map after his big Week 11. … Rookie Tre Mason (16-62, 1-26) easily led the St. Louis backs in touches and yardage but failed to score for the fifth straight game and saw WR Tavon Austin (3-27, 3-11) score the team’s lone rushing TD.
Broncos 39, Dolphins 36
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
A points-aplenty fantasy bonanza here as this game featured two of the day’s top three highest-scoring QBs in Peyton Manning (28-of-35, 257 yards, 4 TDs) and Ryan Tannehill (26-of-36, 228 yards, 3 TDs, interception; 4-15-1 rushing), two of the top four wideouts in Demaryius Thomas (10-87-3) and Jarvis Landry (7-50-2) and the No. 2 RB in rapidly emerging stud C.J. Anderson (27-167-1 rushing, 4-28 receiving). And, no, this list definitely doesn’t include either defense.
Extra points: TE Julius Thomas (ankle) didn’t play, but WR Emmanuel Sanders did and he finished with a game-high 125 receiving yards on nine receptions to notch his sixth straight game with double-digit fantasy points. … Lamar Miller (12-59, 1-8) led the Fins in rushing but Daniel Thomas (3-19) and Tannehill got the rushing scores. … WRs Mike Wallace (4-35) and Wes Welker (4-18) made their fantasy days with short receiving TDs.
49ers 17, Redskins 13
Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, Calif.
The Niners pulled out the much-needed home win over the sagging Skins, but other than ageless wideout Anquan Boldin (9-137-1 on 12 targets), the fantasy standouts were few and far between here.
Extra points: Carlos Hyde (7-16) scored San Fran’s other TD, while Frank Gore led the team with a lackluster 36 yards on 13 carries. Both backs also coughed up fumbles. … Colin Kaepernick also turned the ball over once on an interception while finishing a pedestrian 20-of-29 for 256 yards and 9-14 rushing. … Robert Griffin III, meanwhile, can only wish for those numbers these days after finishing 11-of-19 for 106 yards, 4-11 rushing and losing a fumble. … And for what it’s worth, DeSean Jackson (2-39) and Pierre Garcon (3-34) led the team in receiving. … We saved D.C.’s best for last, as Alfred Morris came through with his first 100-yard rushing outing (21-125-1) of the season.
Cowboys 31, Giants 28
MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J.
After finding himself in an early 14-3 hole on the road, Tony Romo responded with his best fantasy outing of the season, throwing for 275 yards and four scores – two to Dez Bryant (7-86) and one apiece to Cole Beasley (2-66) and Jason Witten (4-30).
Extra points: DeMarco Murray (24-121, 2-22) notched his 10th 100-yard rushing game of the season but, believe it or not, has now failed to find the end zone in four straight games. … Speaking of four-game droughts, WR Terrance Williams has nine catches for 106 yards since Week 7 after his 1-18 outing here. … At the other end of the fantasy spectrum is Giants’ rookie wideout Odell Beckham Jr. who caught 10 of his 11 targets for 146 yards and two scores – including a catch-of-the-decade candidate in his one-handed 43-yard grab to open the second quarter. He left with a fourth-quarter back injury but did return. … Rashad Jennings finished with eight catches for 68 yards and added a team-most 52 yards on 19 rushing attempts but saw rookie Andre Williams (10-35) score the team’s lone ground TD. … Three TEs caught passes for N.Y. with Daniel Fells (3-35) leading the way, Larry Donnell (2-24) finishing in the middle and Adrien Robinson (1-1) catching the trio’s lone scoring reception.