Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs
RB Devontae Booker – Shoulder
WR Ty Montgomery – Illness
WR Will Fuller – Leg
WR Brandon Tate – Concussion
QB Alex Smith – Concussion
RB Spencer Ware – Concussion
WR T.Y. Hilton – Hamstring
WR DeSean Jackson – Arm
WR Jaelen Strong – Ankle
RB Jacquizz Rodgers – Foot
TE Jacob Tamme – Shoulder
Week 9 in the NFL sends six more teams to their bye and all those associated fantasy starters will need to be replaced. Fortunately, even this late in the season there are several players to at least help you get by if not offer offer ongoing value.
New on the Menu
WR J.J. Nelson (Cardinals) – While he won’t help this week since the Cards are on bye, Nelson is worth a deeper stash for future weeks. Michael Floyd continues to battle a hamstring strain but hasn’t been much of a factor in any game this year. He was held without a catch in the loss to the Panthers while Nelson stepped up with a team high 12 targets that resulted in eight receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson turned in three catches for 84 yards during Week 7 and has chemistry with Carson Palmer. Jaron Brown was already placed on injured reserve and John Brown has his own hamstring problems. Week 10 sees the Cardinals host the 49ers and Nelson could again have a bigger role.
WR Brian Quick (Rams) – There is uncertainty with the quarterback position but at least Quick has developed into a receiver that has gained at least 50 yards in each of the last five games. He comes off a season best 92 yards on four receptions against the Giants before the Week 8 bye. He’s scored three touchdowns this season and next up are the Panthers, Jets and Dolphins.
WR Tyreek Hill (Chiefs) – While it is hard to rely on any Kansas City wide receiver much less a rookie, the speedy Hill is already making a name for himself and comes off a season best 98 yards and one score on five catches in the win over the Colts. He’s lighter on yardage so far but notched a touchdown in three of the last four games. The Chiefs next face the Jaguars, Panthers and Buccaneers. Hill is more of a project but his four receiving touchdowns lead the team.
RB Charcandrick West (Chiefs) – Jamaal Charles is still out indefinitely and Spencer Ware suffered a concussion last week and is not certain to return for the Week 9 matchup with the visiting Jaguars. West stepped in last Sunday and ran 14 times for 52 yards and added two catches for eight yards. West would receive a heavy workload for as long as Ware remained out and already proved to be an effective rusher and receiver when he produced 848 total yards and five touchdowns in 2015 while substituting for Charles.
RB Antone Smith (Buccaneers) – Doug Martin remains out and Jacquizz Rodgers was unable to finish the loss to the Raiders because of a foot injury. Smith was given four rushes and gained 16 yards plus caught a nine yard pass. Peyton Barber was only used on one rush.
If Rodgers is unable to play – or even if he just plays at least than 100% and needs help – Smith would come into play for Week 9 with a special incentive. The Buccaneers host the Falcons that Smith spent six years with as a back-up noted for scoring long touchdowns when given the opportunity. At the least, the Rodgers owner needs him for insurance since the meeting is on Thursday with less time for Rodgers to heal up.
RB Darren Sproles (Eagles) – The diminutive running back may be 33 years of age. And he may have landed back on waiver wires after two weeks of never producing more than 49 yards or two catches. But Sproles became the feature back on Sunday night when he turned 15 rushes into 86 yards and caught five passes for 17 more yards.
That was his best rushing total since 2011 and is certain to buy him more work this week in New York against the Giants and again in Week 10 when the Falcons visit. He tends to have more work as a receiver during tough match-ups but just laid down 5.7 yards per carry on the road against a tough Cowboys defense.
RB Theo Riddick (Lions) – The Detroit backfield remains a committee but Riddick returned on Sunday after missing two games with an ankle sprain. Playing in Houston against a solid defense, Riddick turned in a season best 56 yards on 11 runs and eight receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown while Zach Zenner only rushed three times for two yards. He had a team-high number of catches and carries. The next six weeks contains two meetings with the Vikings and a bye, but he also faces the Jaguars, Saints and Bears.
WR Donte Moncrief (Colts) – The Colts starting split end was out since Week 2 with a shoulder injury but returned to post four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Chiefs. T.Y. Hilton played despite a hamstring issue and Philip Dorsett was banged up on the final play. Moncrief still led the receivers on a meager production day and could be the healthiest of the bunch this week in Green Bay when the Colts are certain to be playing from behind.
WR Mohamed Sanu (Falcons) – The free agent signee that was to replace Roddy White opened the year with 80 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Buccaneers but then spent six weeks struggling with groin and shoulder injuries.
Now healthy, Sanu led the Falcons receivers with nine receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown in the close win over the Packers. With Julio Jones commanding so much coverage, Sanu’s ten targets were twice that of any other receiver and he caught what was the winning touchdown. This week the Falcons travel to Tampa Bay where they just gave up 281 yards to the two starting wideouts of the Raiders.
TE Eric Ebron (Lions) – The former first-round pick in 2014 was finally showing consistency with up to 69 yards per game over the first three weeks of the season. But he suffered knee and ankle injuries that sidelined him for the last three games. He returned last Sunday to post seven catches for 79 yards in the loss to the Texans as the Lions top receiver. The Lions face a Vikings defense this week that regularly shuts down wide receivers. He’s worth a shot this week from a position that is quickly losing production from all but the elite tight ends.
Well it Still Counts
Back in the Thursday game, the Jaguars lost 22-36 to the Titans in a game nowhere near as close as the score suggests. But two notables came out of their fifth loss. It was the first time that Blake Bortles followed the script from 2015 by throwing for just 64 yards in the first half but then coming to life in the second half with three touchdown passes.
He ended with a season-high 337 passing yards and for the first time all year, both Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson produced solid fantasy points in the same game. Hurns would catch seven passes for 98 yards and one score while Robinson received a team high 15 targets that resulted in six receptions for 70 yards.
The offensive coordinator Greg Olson was released after the game and quarterbacks coach Nathaniel Hackett was promoted as the interim coach. That won’t make a terrible offensive line any better and the rushing effort has long been a lost cause. But it will at least bring a fresh direction for an offense that scored 35 passing touchdowns just last year using the same set of receivers.
WAS 27, CIN 27
So we have the first time with ties in consecutive weeks since 1997 when The Huddle was in its first year. This was a great fantasy game with Kirk Cousins throwing for 458 yards and two scores for Jamison Crowder (9-107) and Jordan Reed (9-99). Robert Kelley (21-87) even rushed in a score. A.J. Green (9-121) and Tyler Eifert (9-102, TD) were the only Bengals with more than 38 receiving yards. Both Jeremy Hill (20-76) and Giovanni Bernard (11-52) rushed in a score. All the right players did the fantasy scoring – what’s not to like? Both the 4-3-1 Redskins and the 3-4-1 Bengals go onto their bye.
ARI 20, CAR 30
For one game – if only for one game – the Panthers looked like it was 2015 again. The Cardinals were coming off their short week and exhausting overtime game and while the Panthers were fresh from their bye. Cam Newton had his worst game with no touchdowns while Jonathan Stewart ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Their best receiver was Kelvin Benjamin with only two catches for 73 yards but the defense scored once. Carson Palmer threw for 363 yards and three scores and J.J. Nelson (8-79, 2 TD) had a career day while David Johnson totaled only 108 yards. The 3-4-1 Cardinals get to go rest on their bye while the 2-5 Panthers head to Los Angeles.
NYJ 31, CLE 28
The Browns led 20-7 at the half but you had to know this would happen. This always happens. Josh McCown passed for 341 yards and two touchdowns that both went to Andrew Hawkins (5-31) while Terrelle Pryor topped out at six catches for 101 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick did a face plant on the sideline after his helmet was knocked off but still played and yet only threw for 228 yards and a score to Quincy Enunwa (4-93). Matt Forte (25-82, 2 TD) had a predictably good game and even Bilal Powell ran for 76 yards and a score. The 0-8 Browns host the Cowboys this week while the 3-5 Jets head to Miami.
DET 13, HOU 20
This game was just as exciting as the score indicates. No runner gained more than 56 yards. No receiver had more than 79 yards that Eric Ebron gathered. the only player of any fantasy note was Theo Riddick who totaled 133 yards with eight receptions and a touchdown. On the plus side, DeAndre Hopkins led the Texans but on the other hand it was only four catches for 44 yards. Brock (186 yards, TD), I need to see you in my office. Bring your playbook and a checkbook because you cannot keep that money in good conscience. The 5-3 Texans go onto their bye while the 4-4 Lions head to Minnesota.
KC 30, IND 14
The Chiefs didn’t need Jamaal Charles, Spencer Ware or even Alex Smith in this one. Nick Foles stepped in and the Chiefs ended with 350 passing yards and three touchdowns that mostly favored Travis Kelce (7-101, TD) and Tyreek Hill (5-98, TD) just like the Chiefs suddenly found a passing offense. Charcandrick West will be a hot item this week though he only rushed for 52 yards on 14 carries. Andrew Luck only passed for 210 yards and two scores and no Colts receiver did better than Donte Moncrief (4-41, TD). The Colts cannot compete against a upper tier defense. Now the 5-2 Chiefs will host the Jaguars and the 3-5 Colts head to Green Bay.
SEA 20, NO 25
Like the Cardinals, the Seahawks seemed to have a hangover from their tiring overtime game down in Arizona only six days before. The offense only scored on one run by Christine Michael (10-4) and C.J. Prosise ended up with 103 total yards for his career best. Drew Brees only passed for 265 yards and one score while Tim Hightower was the surprise rusher with 102 yards on 26 carries after Mark Ingram lost a fumble and only carried three times. This game was mostly field goals and a defensive TD for the Seahawks. The 3-4 Saints head to San Francisco with a .500 record looming in the balance and the 4-2-1 Seahawks will host the Bills.
NE 41, BUF 25
No surprises here with the Patriots trying to serve up some revenge for that home shutout by the Bills. Tom Brady passed for 315 yards and four touchdowns with Rob Gronkowski (5-109, TD) and Chris Hogan (4-91, TD) as the stars. LeGarrette Blount scored but only ran for 43 yards. Tyrod Taylor ran in a score but only passed for 183 yards because the Bills are down to only cardboard cutouts of actual wide receivers. Mike Gillislee ran for 85 yards and one score as the only fantasy play for the Bills. The 7-1 Patriots head into their bye week and the 4-4 Bills travel to Seattle.
GB 32, ATL 33
Great game and a Game-of-the-week contender. The Falcons mounted a comeback that ended with Mohamed Sanu (9-84, TD) catching the game winning touchdown with only 36 seconds left t play. Matt Ryan ended with 288 yards and three touchdowns though Julio Jones was held to only 29 yards on three catches. Devonta Freeman only totaled 58 yards but scored both as a runner and a receiver. Aaron Rodgers posted four touchdowns with his 246 passing yards and Jordy Nelson (4-94, TD) finally got back into gear. Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb were both unexpected scratches. the 5-3 Packers host the Colts this week while the Falcons travel to Tampa Bay.
SD 19, DEN 27
The Broncos won mostly on the back of their defense that scored once and kept setting up the very short field for the offense. Philip Rivers passed for 267 yards and two scores but had three interceptions including a pick six. Melvin Gordon (23-111) becomes the first 100 yard rusher against the Broncos since last year. No Charger gained more receiving yards than Dontrelle Inman (4-72). Trevor Siemian threw for 276 yards and no scores while Demaryius Thomas was the lead receiver with just five catches for 79 yards. Devontae Booker (19-54, TD) added 30 yards as a receiver but lost a late fumble that could have put the Chargers away. The 3-5 Chargers host the Titans this week while the 6-2 broncos head to Oakland.
PHI 23, DAL 29
Yet another contender for Game-of-the-week. The ending was exciting (or gut-wrenching depending on your loyalties) when the Cowboys scored ten points to tie the game and then went 75 yards on the first series to score a touchdown and win the game without the Eagles getting to touch the ball. Carson Wentz threw for 202 yards and one score to Jordan Matthews (11-65) while Darren Sproles dominated the backfield workload with 15 runs for 86 yards and five receptions for 17 yards. Dak Prescott passed for 287 yards and two scores and ran in a third touchdown. Dez Bryan made an immediate impact with four catches for 113 yards and a touchdown that forced overtime. Ezekiel Elliott combined for 148 yards though he did not score. The 6-1 Cowboys head to Cleveland while the 4-3 Eagles travel to face the Giants.
Huddle Player of the Week
Derek Carr – Not a bad day. Rich Gannon, Jeff George, Jim Plunkett – heck, even Kenny Stabler never threw for 513 yards in a single game but Carr has. He ended with four scores and the Raiders record yardage in their defeat of the Buccaneers and the surprising 5-0 road mark. That’s his third 300+ yard game of the year and his second four-touchdown game.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to Laugh, Somebody has to Cry
|QB||Josh McCown||341/10||2||QB||Cam Newton||212/43||0|
|RB||Theo Riddick||133||1||RB||Mark Ingram||5||0|
|RB||Jonathan Stewart||120||2||RB||Spencer Ware||47||0|
|WR||J.J. Nelson||79||2||WR||T.Y. Hilton||20||0|
|WR||Tyreek Hill||98||1||WR||Julio Jones||29||0|
|WR||Andrew Hawkins||31||2||WR||DeAndre Hopkins||44||0|
|TE||Vernon Davis||93||0||TE||Greg Olsen||11||0|
|PK||Will Lutz||4 FG 1 XP||PK||Adam Vinatieri||2 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 149||Huddle Fantasy Points = 27|
Raiders 30, Buccaneers 24
This was a good game that saw the Raiders win their fifth straight road game this year and remain tied with the Broncos at 6-2 who they host this weekend. The Buccaneers led 17-24 with 3:53 left to play when Jacquizz Rodgers ran in a touchdown. But the Raiders drove the field and tied the game up with a pass to Mychal Rivera with 1:43 left to play and the game entered overtime after Sebastian Janikowski missed a 50-yard field to end regulation time.
Janikowski would miss another 52-yard attempt after the first drive of the Raiders that could have ended the game. After a few more series, Carr found Seth Roberts down the middle for a 41-yard touchdown to win in overtime with only 1:55 left to play.
Derek Carr set the Raider record with 513 yards and four touchdowns. Amari Cooper (12-173, TD) and Michael Crabtree (8-108) finally both had a great performance in the same game. Seth Roberts (3-69, TD) had the most important catch of all. Jameis Winston only passed for 180 yards and two scores and Mike Evans was held to only 50 yards on four catches. Jacquizz Rodgers ran for 69 yards and one score while the Buccaneers scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to temporarily take the lead.
Watch out for those kids on Monday and have a great Halloween!
Now get back to work…