Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Darren Sproles – Broken arm/ACL
Kelvin Benjamin – Knee
Matt Forte – Toe
Jesse James – Shoulder
Kamar Aiken – Concussion
Orleans Darkwa – Back
Charone Peake – Ankle
Melvin Gordon – Knee
Doug Baldwin – Groin
Michael Crabtree – Chest
And every journey ends with the final step
You have to make that last step with the ball in the end zone. In the Steelers-Bears game, the Chris Boswell 35-yard field goal attempt was blocked and picked up by CB Marcus Cooper. He ran 73 yards before he slowed down – on the one-yard line – and the ball was stripped.
It went out the back of the end zone but since it was a field goal attempt, there was no possession or point change. Close doesn’t count on field goals or blocked field goals. The Bears won in overtime but likely could have avoided the late game drama with the free touchdown.
Devin Funchess – The Panthers lost Kelvin Benjamin at the start of the loss to the Saints and turned mostly towards Funchess. He was thrown ten targets for four receptions that gained 58 yards. No other receiver aside from Christian McCaffrey was able to gain more than eight yards. The Panthers are looking weaker with each game but Funchess is already getting more attention in this receiver-starved offense. He faces @NE, @DET, PHI and @CHI next.
Wendell Smallwood – Darren Sproles is lost for the season and his replacement will be primarily Smallwood though Corey Clement will also receive playing time. Smallwood was bumped up to 12 carries last week and ran for 71 yards in the win over the Giants. The bigger Clement had his first six runs but only gained 22 yards. The rookie did score once.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – He came off suspension this week and was reported to not be in shape and possibly not active. He was started and while he only ended with five catches for 31 yards, he had six targets. That tied with Robby Anderson for a team-high in just his first game this year. He faces JAC, @CLE, NE and @MIA next.
Brandon Marshall – After single catches for the first two games, Marshall likely hit a few waiver wires. He finally showed up in the Giants loss to the Eagles when he caught eight passes for 66 yards and his 11 targets trailed only Odell Beckham (13). He faces @TB and LAC next but then @DEN and SEA.
Vernon Davis – Since Jordan Reed is out, yet again, with a variety of maladies, the Skins turned to Davis. He was the second best receiver in the win over the Raiders when he caught five passes for 58 yards and one score. The Jordan Reed owner should already have Davis on his roster, but if not he’s worth stashing in case Reed misses more games.
Joe Mixon – The much-hyped rookie back of the offseason fell in drafts when it was apparent that Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard were going nowhere and that he would be third in a rotation. Not so fast. Hill remains the same each week with around seven meaningless touches. Bernard scored on a catch but declined in touches from eight to seven to just five. But Mixon was finally given a primary role.
He responded with 18 carries for 62 yards in the loss to the Broncos. He added a backfield-high three catches for 39 yards. The home game against the Bills this week should allow better fantasy stats and a chance for Mixon to start to nail down a bigger workload.
Jamaal Charles – For the third straight week, Charles had ten touches and he topped the 52 yards last week with 57 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Bills. That’s notable since C. J. Anderson rushed 25 times in Week 2 but then only eight times on Sunday. Charles is still not reliable for a fantasy start but maintains his role in the offense each week. That’s at worse a bye week filler. And at best an Anderson value killer.
That kind of week
Chances are that the top ten quarterbacks in your league this week only contains a few that were actually fantasy starts.
Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers met expectations. But consider in standard performance scoring, the other best quarterbacks were Case Keenum, Brian Hoyer, DeShone Kizer, Jacoby Brissett, Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, and Deshaun Watson.
There’s already a movement about dropping kickers from fantasy rosters. Should quarterbacks next?
7 days on, 7 days off
LeGarrette Blount ran for 46 yards on 14 carries in the opener and scored on a one-yard catch. He was never given a carry in Week 2. Naturally, he was back on Sunday with 12 carries for 67 yards and one touchdown. What his role will be this week is a coin flip. More so considering that they also gave Wendell Smallwood 12 runs as well and he gained 71 yards.
In Week 1, Hunter Henry was never thrown a pass despite being on almost half of the play. In Week 2, all was well again when he caught seven passes for 80 yards as the uber-talented future for the Chargers. Against the Chiefs, once again he never had even one pass thrown to him.
Fortunately, this can be tracked since the Eagles and Chargers play each other on Sunday. When Blount and Henry will either rule the box score or be completely absent.
Where’s my 3-wood?
The Giants finally were playing better on offense and had gone up on the Eagles 24-21 with 3:11 left to play. The Eagles responded with a 53-yard drive that tied the score with a 46-yard field by the rookie Jake Elliott with only 56 seconds left to play.
The Giants only burned 37 seconds off the clock before the Eagles received the punt on their own 38-yard line. After an incomplete, Alshon Jeffery caught 19-yard pass that went out of bounds on the Giants 43-yard line.
Rather than try a Hail Mary pass, the Eagles opted for a 61-yard field goal attempt that Elliott nailed. The Eagles won the game. Elliott set the all-time record for longest field goal by a rookie. And the Giants finally caught everything but a break.
Seventh round. What about it?
Chris Carson was a near afterthought when he was taken in the final round of the draft this year. But he showed up with 20 carries for 93 yards in the win over the 49ers. By this week, the committee that long seemed to start with Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawks used neither. Chris Carson ran for 34 yards on 11 carries in the loss to the Titans but added two catches and a touchdown. Aside from third-down back C.J. Prosise, Carson is getting every early down carry for the Seahawks.
Sure, the offensive line is bad. And some game situations may limit his use. But he faces the visiting Colts for another big game this week.
Get in the cart… Why? … you’ll be dead soon… but I’m getting better!… don’t be a baby… but I feel fine!
Through two weeks, DeMarco Murray had only rushed for 21-69 and a 3.3 yard-per-carry average. Derrick Henry totaled 20-117 yards for a touchdown and a 5.9 YPC. Nursing a bad hamstring meant Murray was no lock to be active and this should be Henry’s chance to take over.
Not so fast, Mr. Bring-out-your-dead.
Murray ran for 115 yards on 14 carries with a 75-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Derrick Henry would gain 54 yards on 13 runs. That was disappointing for the Henry owners looking to cash in. More so for the Murray owners who left him on their bench. Imagine if he practiced more than one day.
NYG 24, PHI 27
The Eagles took this one with the final second field goal. Eli Manning finally woke up with 366 yards and three scores and the wideouts all were good – Sterling Shepard (7-133, TD), Odell Beckham (9-72, 2 TD) and even Brandon Marshall (8-66). Carson Wentz had a down game with only 176 yards and one score and no receivers were better than 55 yards. But LeGarrette Blount (12-67, TD) was back to work again. The 0-3 Giants head to Tampa Bay this week while the 2-1 Eagles visit the Chargers.
MIA 6, NYJ 20
Low scoring as expected but the Dolphins were extra ineffective. Jay Ajayi (11-16) never got running. DeVante Parker (8-76, TD) did almost all his work in the final five minutes of trash time. Robby Anderson (3-95, TD) caught a 69-yard touchdown but no other Jet had more than 42 yards. The Jets defense won that game. Now the 1-1 Dolphins host the Saints and the 1-2 Jets welcome the Jaguars.
HOU 33, NE 36
Com’on Tom. This could work out. The Pats defense is surprisingly bad but that means Tom Brady has to throw for 378 yards and five touchdowns. Brandin Cooks (5-131, 2 TD), Chris Hogan (4-68, 2 TD) and Rob Gronkowski (8-89, TD) all produced while the running offense only had 53 yards. DeShaun Watson passed for 301 yards and two scores and DeAndre Hopkins (7-76) was the best receiver. Nice points in this one though no Texans had a very big game. Now the 1-2 Texans host the Titans and the 2-1 Patriots host the Panthers.
TB 17, MIN 34
Maybe Sam Bradford is not that important. He was inactive but Case Keenum passed for 369 yards and three touchdowns. Stefon Diggs (8-173, 2 TD) and Adam Thielen (5-98) led the crew while Dalvin Cook racked up 169 total yards and one score. Jameis Winston threw for 328 yards and two scores but had three interceptions. DeSean Jackson (4-84, TD) was as good as it got. The Buccaneers rushed for 26 yards on nine carries. The 1-1 Buccaneers host the Giants this week while the 2-1 Vikings host the Lions.
CLE 28, IND 31
What’s better than two bad teams with struggling offenses posting 59 points? The only important Brown was Duke Johnson with 104 total yards and one score. DeShone Kizer passed for 242 yards and two scores but had three interceptions. He ran for a third score. Jacoby Brissett passed for 259 yards and one score while rushing in two more. T.Y. Hilton (7-153, TD) was the only Colt with more than 44 receiving yards. Sadly both teams go back to their lower-scoring ways. Now the 0-3 Browns host the Bengals and the 1-2 Colts head to Seattle.
PIT 17, CHI 23 OT
Upset. Ben Roethlisberger only threw for 235 yards and one score but it went to Antonio Brown (10-110, TD). Le’veon Bell totaled 98 yards and one score as he slowly gets back to his high-scoring ways. No other Steelers remotely mattered or gained more than 39 yards. The Bears only passed for 101 yards and no receiver had more than 26 yards. But Jordan Howard totaled 164 yards and two scores just when you thought he was being overtaken by Tarik Cohen (102 yards) who almost had a 73-yard touchdown run but stepped out after 37 yards. The Bears completed just one pass to their wide receivers. Now the 2-1 Steelers play in Baltimore and the 1-2 Bears head to Green Bay.
NO 34, CAR 13
Upset. But in fairness, the sore-shoulder Cam Newton already did not have Greg Olsen and now lost Kelvin Benjamin for at least this game. Newton only managed 167 passing yards and three interceptions though he ran for the only touchdown. The only notable player was Christian McCaffrey who caught nine passes for 101 yards. The Saints only passed for 220 yards and three touchdowns with Michael Thomas (7-87, TD) the only star. The rushing offense remains a three-way trip to mediocrity. The Panthers 2017 season is trending towards major disappointment. The 1-2 Saints head to Miami this week and the 2-1 Panthers go to New England.
DEN 16, BUF 26
The Broncos don’t travel well because the Bills are not this good. After C.J. Anderson’s hot start to the year, Jamaal Charles (9-56, TD) was the top rusher and Anderson limited to eight runs for 36 yards.There were no passing scores but Demaryius Thomas (6-98) and Emmanuel Sanders (7-75) had decent stat lines. The Bills had no fantasy stars. LeSean McCoy was much better as a receiver (7-48) than he was a rusher (14-21). The Bills won mostly by the defense and not turning over the ball. The 2-1 Broncos host the Raiders this week while the 2-1 Bills head to Atlanta.
ATL 30, DET 26
For the want of about six inches, the Lions would have won. They thought they did when Golden Tate reached out on the final play. But review said he was short. Matt Stafford cooled off with only 264 yards and one score and no receiver gained more than 63 yards. The rushing game was M.I.A. as usual. Matt Ryan threw for 294 yards and two scores but had three interceptions. Devonta Freeman was the main weapon with 138 total yards and one score. This was a good game that came down to the last second (and final six inches). The 3-0 Falcons host the Bills this week while the 2-1 Lions travel to Minnesota.
SEA 27, TEN 33
Great game that did not have defenses get in the way. Russell Wilson threw for a career-best 373 yards and four scores while Doug Baldwin (10-105, TD) and Jimmy Graham (7-72) were tops. Chris Carson (11-34) took the start but didn’t get much done. Marcus Mariota threw for 225 yards and two scores but only Rishard Matthews (6-87, TD) mattered. Derrick Henry (13-54) didn’t have the big game some expected because DeMarco Murray (14-115, TD) had it instead. Now the 1-2 Seahawks host the Colts for a much-needed win and the 2-1 Titans head to Houston.
CIN 24, GB 27 OT
Moral victories don’t mean much when you are 0-3. But the Bengals played better offense and scored touchdowns. Andy Dalton passed for 212 yards and two scores though only A.J. Green (10-111, TD) had more than 39 yards. They rushed for 112 yards with Mixon turning in 101 total yards. The Packers had the standard 313 passing yards and three touchdowns. Geronimo Allison (6-122) caught a 72-yard pass to set up the winning field goal while Jordy Nelson (6-52, 2 TD) supplied most of the scoring. The 0-3 Bengals head to Cleveland this week while the 2-1 Packers host the Bears.
KC 24, LAC 10
Not that much happened here aside from the obligatory jaw-dropping performance by Kareem Hunt (17-172, TD) who now has three straight games with 50+-yard touchdowns. Alex Smith only passed for 155 yards and two scores while Tyreek Hill (5-77, TD) was the top receiver. Philip Rivers only threw for 237 yards and three interceptions though Travis Benjamin (5-105) was able to have a good game. Melvin Gordon (17-79, TD) was effective until he left injured. The 3-0 Chiefs host the Redskins this week and the 0-3 Chargers face the visiting Eagles.
OAK 27, WAS 33
Yet another instance of a bad offense coming to life while the good offense almost completely disappeared. Derek Carr was held to only 118 passing yards and one score with two interceptions. The wideouts were shut down and Jared Cook (4-43, TD) caught the lone touchdown. The rushing offense gained 32 yards on 13 runs. Kirk Cousins finally showed up with 365 yards and three scores. Most of the offense went through Chris Thompson who totaled 188 yards and one score. Cousins QB rating was 150.7. Carr had 52.9. It was a thorough beatdown that resets expectations for both teams. The Raiders head to Denver this week and the Redskins visit Kansas City.
Huddle player of the week
Todd Gurley – He suffered through a nightmare season in 2016 when it was easy to lose faith in him. Gurley’s not only scored in every game this year, he comes off a three-touchdown effort over the 49ers. Gurley ran for 113 yards and caught five passes for 36 more yards. He’s everything that we expected (last year).
Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
|QB||Case Keenum||399||4||QB||Philip Rivers||237||0|
|RB||Alvin Kamara||42||1||RB||Jay Ajayi||25||0|
|RB||Joe Mixon||101||0||RB||C.J. Anderson||39||0|
|WR||Sammy Watkins||106||2||WR||Kelvin Benjamin||8||0|
|WR||Sterling Shepard||133||1||WR||Amari Cooper||7||0|
|WR||Geronimo Allison||122||0||WR||Michael Crabtree||7||0|
|TE||Marcedes Lewis||62||3||TE||Travis Kelce||1||0|
|PK||Ka’imi Fairnbairn||3 XP 4 FG||PK||Justin Tucker||1 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 151||Huddle Fantasy Points = 17|
Sunday’s couch commentary
There are five teams that are 0-3. There are only two that are 3-0 – Kansas City and Atlanta. Just two after three weeks. The 1972 Dolphins should just pop the champagne bottles, assuming they are still allowed to drink alcohol.
This should be a week that helps determine how good teams really are. There have been three games so far and at least two of them had to be good or bad. But most teams are still in that great undistinguished middle of the pack.
What teams are really good? The Ravens, Broncos, Panthers, Steelers, Lions, and Dolphins just lost their first game and most lost badly. The Rams, Bills, Bears, Colts and Jets exceeded expectations in their wins.
The failure for many highly drafted fantasy players to perform well combines with the several injuries to make it all one big, hard-to-guess dynamic year. We’ll finally get comfortable with which players are good or not. But that may not happen until Week 17 when it is too late.
Ravens 7, Jaguars 44
This was such a perfect representative of the week and the state of the NFL. The game was played in London which meant most of you missed it entirely or did not discover Yahoo’s free streaming until it was too late.
International games often are hard to call because some teams travel well and others do not. Apparently, the Jaguars went first class on a private jet. And the Ravens were jammed into “Pets Welcomed” economy flight that made 14 stops.
Blake Bortles threw one score in each game prior to Sunday. He averaged around 175 passing yards per game. Naturally, he passed for 244 yards and four touchdowns despite only completing eight passes to his wide receivers. Allen Hurn scored on his three catches for 20 yards. But Marcedes Lewis ended with four receptions for 62 yards and three touchdowns. That was the same number of scores he totaled from the three previous years combined.
Leonard Fournette only gained 59 yards on 17 carries but scored once. He added three catches for 21 yards.
Now the Jaguars defense is quite good. But not usually good enough to hold their opposing quarterback to only 28 passing yards and a QB rating of 12.0.
Alex Collins (9-82) was the lone bright spot on a very, very dim game. The Ravens were undefeated coming into the game and the Jaguars had not lost a game by fewer than 21 points.
It was a big reset button. For both teams – at least for this week.
We’re heading into Week 4 as the final stop before the bye weeks begin. Don’t get comfortable yet. But don’t get discouraged either. There’s plenty of football left to play and lots more changes ready to happen.
If you are winning your league so far, congrats! Just don’t celebrate too early. Ask the Bears’ Marcus Cooper how that feels…