Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Brandon Marshall – Ankle/Achilles
Sterling Shepard – Ankle
Dwayne Harris – Foot
Odell Beckham – Ankle
Tyler Boyd – Knee
Devante Parker – Ankle
Bilal Powell – Calf
Charles Clay – Knee
Terrance West – Calf
Eli Manning – Neck
Travis Kelce – Concussion
Albert Wilson – Leg
Chris Conley – Achilles
There’s nothing worse than losing a player to injury. There is nothing better than having a productive backup.
NYG Wideouts – The Giants suited up five wideouts and four of them left injured. Odell Beckham is feared to have a broken fibula and possible ligament damage so he’s gone “for awhile” and very probably the season. Brandon Marshall injured his ankle and possibly Achilles which at his age would also be “awhile” and could be season-ending. Sterling Shepard injured his ankle and may miss next week but isn’t thought to have anything long-term. That wipes out the starters.
Dwayne Harris also left with a foot injury. So all that is left is Roger Lewis who is a second-year undrafted free agent that has 15 career receptions. Harris is a 30-year-old returner with one catch in the last two years. Tavarres King is a fifth-round pick from 2013 that totals four career catches.
Don’t bother here. Evan Engram is more interesting but had no catches in Week 5 despite the departure of the rest of the receivers. The upcoming schedule is @DEN, SEA, and then the bye. An early speculation is the Giants losing Marshall and Beckham. Look at the first weeks of the season to see what not having Beckham was like. This downgrades the entire team.
Charles Clay – Second only to LeSean McCoy for team receptions (20), Clay has been the most productive receiver with 258 yards and two touchdowns. But he suffered a knee injury that had him carted off the field. It is not so much that Clay is an elite tight end but that the Bills receivers were already bad before Sammy Watkins left. Clay would be replaced by Nick O’Leary who came in and led the Bills with 54 yards on five catches in the loss to the Bengals. He’s a low-end consideration to be sure but would see more receptions and yardage if Clay remains out.
Marlon Mack – The rookie scored in the season opener when he split carries with Frank Gore (10 each) though neither were productive in that blowout loss to the Rams. Mack suffered a shoulder injury in Week 2 and was held out of the next two games. Mack returned for the homestand against the 49ers. Gore rushed for 48 yards on 14 carries versus his old team while Mack gained 91 yards and a score on nine rushes. At the least, Gore needs to share the load to stay fresh and healthy. At the most – Mack should see an increase in workload as he’s more effective and the future for the position.
Andre Ellington – The third-down back for the Cardinals is fulfilling the void left behind by David Johnson. He has no role as a rusher but caught nine passes in each of the last two games. Ellington’s 28 catches are second only to James White (29) for the NFL lead for running backs.
Orleans Darkwa/Wayne Gallman – The seeming demise of the Giants passing game suggests that the running backs will be needed more. And both backs performed well in the absence of Paul Perkins. Darkwa ran for 69 yards and one score on eight carries while Gallman finished with 11 runs for 57 yards. Darkwa is a fourth-year back with the G-Men and nothing new. Gallman handled 11 rushes in each of the last two games and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Darkwa sports a career 3.5 yard average and ran seven times in the first quarter before ceding more work to Gallman for the rest of the game. Both players should remain busier than Perkins when he returns but both will be used in this committee backfield.
Chris Hogan – He’s no surprise by this point, but it bears mention that he’s scored in each of the last four games and remained between 60 and 80 yards. That’s remarkable consistency from a receiver thought to be no better than No. 3 or No. 4 in the pecking order to start the season.
Mike Wallace – He caught one short pass in each of the first three games but then turned in six receptions for 55 yards in Week 4 versus the Steelers. And in Oakland, he ended with 133 yards on three catches of 57, 54 and 27 yards. Still – it feels like he’ll turn in a clunker if you dare start him but at least he’s getting closer to his 2016 form.
Nelson Agholor – His three touchdowns leads the Eagle receivers and he’s had a nice progression in recent weeks. He comes off a four-catch, 93-yard game against the Cardinals with one score and has the Panthers, Redskins, and 49ers up next.
Ricardo Louis – Kenny Britt was inactive and is an overall disappointment for the Browns. But second-year wideout Ricardo Louis caught five passes in each of the last two games along with around 70 yards. The last thing anyone should do is chase reception points on the Browns team but Louis is doing what pricey Kenny Britt hasn’t.
Ed Dickson – Speaking of chasing points, Ed Dickson blew up for 175 yards on five catches against the Lions. And that followed Week 4 when he gained 62 yards on three receptions. Both came in road games. But this eight-year veteran has never been more than a blocker and his 271 yards for 2017 beats all but one season in his career.
George Kittle – He left the loss in Indianapolis with seven catches for 83 yards and one score. Consider that just one game by a rookie against a very bad team that still beat them. Kittle never gained more than 27 yards in any other game so far.
Darren Fells – He scored on both catches this week and Eric Ebron dropped his touchdown. But nothing is developing here other than an aberration for Fells who remains behind Ebron even if he shouldn’t.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Everybody’s sleeper for the week scored once in the win over the Browns. But they’re bottom-ranked against the position and it was disappointing that Seferian-Jenkins only gained 29 yards on his six receptions. The upcoming schedule is not bad – NE, @MIA, and ATL. But the Jets passing remains very short for all the receivers.
Tyler Higbee – Caught four passes for 98 yards but the Rams tight end is just a placeholder for the rookie Gerald Everett. But Higbee deserves to be watched to see if the offense is working him into the weekly game plan. Higbee turned in three catches for 47 yards in Week 4.
It’s… It’s… It’s just wrong
Four teams won their games on Sunday and yet their quarterbacks failed to throw for more than 200 yards. It was tough enough to watch Russell Wilson (198 yards, TD) beat the Rams and Josh McCown (194 yards, 2 TDs) beat the Browns. But Jay Cutler (92 yards, TD) beat the Titans and Blake Bortles (95 yards, 0 TD) defeated the Steelers.
At least Bortles had Leonard Fournette blow up for 184 yards and two scores. And Cutler had some help from Jay Ajayi (25-77). But neither Wilson nor McCown had any running back with more than 20 rushing yards.
BUF 16, CIN 20
Andy Dalton threw for 328 yards and a score that almost entirely went to A.J. Green (7-189, TD). Joe Mixon (15-51, TD) was the only other notable Bengals. Tyrod Taylor and the rest of the Bills maintained their pledge to remain mediocre on offense. Even LeSean McCoy (19-63) refused to play like last year though he added six catches for 26 yards. The 3-2 Bills and the 2-3 Bengals head into their bye.
NYJ 17, CLE 14
Disappointing point total in this one. Both quarterbacks threw for exactly 194 yards and two touchdowns. Ricardo Louis (5-71) was the top receiver and Duke Johnson rolled up 83 total yards and one score. But the Jets had almost no rushing game and that was the main difference. But neither team is serving up any fantasy stars. The 3-2 Jets host the Patriots this week while the 0-5 Browns head to Houston.
CAR 27, DET 24
Apparently, the Panthers are insistent on being better than most expect except when most exp… never mind. Cam Newton passed for 355 yards and three touchdowns and Ed Dickson (5-175) becomes a fantasy starter that disappoints next week. The Panthers rushed for only 28 yards on 21 runs. The Lions only ran for 50 yards on 15 carries. Matt Stafford threw for 229 yards and two scores but both touchdowns were caught by Daniel Fells. Just two more teams you can never be quite sure what they will do. The 4-1 Panthers host the Eagles this week and the 3-2 Lions head to New Orleans.
SF 23, IND 26 OT
With 49 points, hard to complain about either offense. Brian Hoyer ended with 353 yards and two scores while Marquise Goodwin (5-116) and Pierre Garcon (8-94) had rare success together and even George Kittle (7-83, TD) will become a waiver wire target. Jacoby Brissett threw for 314 yards and ran for one score. T.Y. Hilton was the only notable receiver and caught seven passes for 177 yards. Marlon Mack (9-91, TD) was the biggest difference maker in the win. The 0-5 49ers visit the Redskins this week while the 2-3 Colts travel to face the Titans.
TEN 10, MIA 15
The score alone says all you need to know about this game. DeMarco Murray turned in 69 total yards and Jay Ajayi totaled 79 yards. No one else remotely mattered. Jay Cutler won the game with only 92 passing yards and one score to Jarvis Landry (5-44). The box score looked like when you check after the first quarter to see how your player is doing. Life without Mariota is not worth living apparently. The 2-3 Titans host the Colts (whew) and the 2-2 Dolphins visit the Falcons.
LAC 27, NYG 22
When the Chargers win a close game on the road, you can be sure something is not normal. Eli Manning lost all his wideouts by the end of the game and did well enough to pass for 225 yards and two scores. Wayne Gallman was to get his shot at playing time and ended with 57 yards on 11 carries and caught five passes for 25 yards but Orleans Darkwa started and gained 69 yards on eight runs and scored once. Melvin Gordon ran for 105 yards on 20 carries and added six catches for 58 yards and two scores as the star of the Chargers effort. Even Philip Rivers passed for 258 yards and three touchdowns. The 1-4 Chargers finally got their first win and visit the Raiders this week. The 0-5 Giants offense was like an airplane with engine trouble trying to maintain altitude. Now it seems they have lost a wing. You don’t come back from losing a wing. Just to make this analogy even worse, they play in Denver this week so expect the oxygen masks any moment now.
ARZ 7, PHI 34
On the plus side, Carson Palmer was only sacked twice. That’s about all for the good part. Palmer passed for 291 yards and one score but the best receiver was Andre Ellington (9-65) and there was no best rusher with 17 rushing yards from the backfield. Carson Wentz let up later in the game and only ended with 304 yards and four touchdowns. No Eagle has a big game but almost no Eagle had a bad one. Nelson Agholor (4-93, TD) was the top receiver and LeGarrette Blount (14-74) was the best runner. The 2-3 Cardinals host the Buccaneers this week and the 4-1 Eagles head to Carolina.
JAC 30, PIT 9
Really Pittsburgh? The Steelers offense has devolved into being not all about Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, but instead about being only about Bell and Brown. Bell only rushed for 47 yards but caught ten passes for 46 yards. Brown ended with ten catches for 157 yards. There were almost no other Steelers in the game. One small difference – Ben Roethlisberger throwing for five interceptions for a personal
best worst. His previous high was four interceptions in 2006. The Jaguars won with Leonard Fournette gaining 181 rushing yards and two scores and only turning the ball over once. The 3-2 Jaguars play the Rams this week and the 3-2 Steelers visit the Chiefs.
SEA 16, LA 10
Just when you finally accept the Rams have an offense, this happens. The only Rams touchdown was a run by Tavon Austin. Todd Gurley took the week off with only 50 total yards and the best receiver was Tyler Higbee with 98 yards on four catches. The Seahawks were no better with no runner gaining more than 20 yards and Wilson throwing for only 198 yards and one score. Doug Baldwin led with only 37 yards on four catches. So much for that whole “highest scoring team” thing.” The 3-2 Seahawks take their bye this week while the 3-2 Rams visit the Jaguars.
BAL 30, OAK 17
Apparently, Derek Carr is also responsible for the Raiders defense because both he and that defense never played. The Ravens saw Mike Wallace (3-133) have an actual productive game and the rushing offense totaled 147 yards and two touchdowns. EJ Manuel (159 yards, TD) was as bad as feared though Michael Crabtree not only played but gained 82 yards and a score on six catches. Amari Cooper (1-8) is not only going in reverse; he also has the pedal to the metal. Marshawn Lynch (12-43, TD) was expected to have a much bigger day. Now the 3-2 Ravens host the Bears and the 2-3 Raiders host the Chargers.
GB 35, DAL 31
Somewhere in Aaron Rodgers pocket, there is a keychain. And on this keychain is the key to the city of Dallas. It was not given to him. He stole it. Twice in a row now. The Cowboys had the standard 116 rushing yards by Ezekiel Elliott. Dak Prescott threw for three first-half touchdowns and then ran in one during the fourth quarter. But no receiver was better than Jason Witten (8-61). And in the end, Aaron Rodgers played for the Packers which meant yet again the Cowboys defense took a knee on the final drive despite leading. Rodgers passed for 221 yards and three scores and Davante Adams (7-66, 2 TD) somehow came back from that devastating hit last week. And Aaron Jones ran for 125 yards and a score. Now the 4-1 Packers visit the Vikings while the 2-3 Cowboys lick their wounds on their bye.
Huddle player of the week
Deshaun Watson – A rookie quarterback? The Texans lost their game but no denying that Watson was throwing lasers and making DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V into weekly fantasy studs. Watson threw for 261 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 31 yards. Against the defense of the only undefeated team in the NFL. Watson just tied the NFL record with five touchdown passes in a game as a rookie.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
|QB||Brian Hoyer||355||2||QB||Ben Roethlisberger||312||0|
|RB||Javorius Allen||85||1||RB||Carlos Hyde||12||0|
|RB||Orleans Darkwa||72||1||RB||Todd Gurley||50||0|
|WR||Nelson Agholor||93||1||WR||Sammy Watkins||0||0|
|WR||Cole Beasley||23||2||WR||Alshon Jeffery||31||0|
|WR||Marquise Goodwin||116||0||WR||Doug Baldwin||37||0|
|TE||Ed Dickson||175||0||TE||Delanie Walker||25||0|
|PK||Adam Vinatieri||2 XP 4 FG||PK||Greg Zuerlein||1 XP 1 FG|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 138||Huddle Fantasy Points = 30|
Sunday’s couch commentary
There were five games on Sunday where neither team scored more than 20 points. That makes it hard to post big fantasy points when defenses are ruling the day and that happens every week. It looks like the Giants are already done and that Ben Roethlisberger maybe stayed on for one too many years. The Patriots are winning even when they do not deserve it. Of the 13 games so far this week, nine were won by the road team.
The Jaguars have a winning record thanks to a great defense and exactly one offensive player. There are no losing records in the AFC East. The Colts, Giants, and 49ers are the only winless teams. The Colts will get Andrew Luck back in a month or so. The 49ers never had the personnel to compete anyway. But the Giants were considered Super Bowl contenders last summer with a high-powered passing game and a dominating defense. About all the only superlative they are looking at anymore is one heck of a high draft slot.
The 49ers never had the personnel to compete anyway. But the Giants were considered Super Bowl contenders last summer with a high-powered passing game and a dominating defense. About all the only superlative they are looking at anymore is one heck of a high draft slot.
Chiefs 42, Texans 34
Have to love a game with 76 points.
The oddity was that only Kareem Hunt broke 100 yards when he ran 29 times for 107 and only caught three passes for nine yards. While most players would be ecstatic with 116 yards and no scores, the Hunt owners may have needed to rely on other fantasy starters to secure their win for once.
Alex Smith passed for 324 yards and three scores even though he lost Travis Kelce, Chris Conley and Albert Wilson along the way. Charcandrick West scored on both of his only catches in the game. Travis Kelce was having a big performance with eight catches for 98 yards but left with a concussion.
The Texans had no receivers with more than 63 yards. But Will Fuller V (2-57, 2 TD) and DeAndre Hopkins (4-52, 3 TD) both had monster games and came up big during the 41-point explosion in the fourth quarter between these two teams. Watson ended with 261 yards and five touchdowns and looked every bit like the elite, mature veteran quarterback moving his team down the field. He came up short if only because the Chiefs returned a punt for an 82-yard touchdown and Kareem Hunt finally wore them down late in the game.
The Texans lost J.J. Watt for the rest of the season and OLB Whitney Mercilus is gone for at least a few weeks. And while the Texans lost, only the Chiefs and the Packers scored more points this week. For a team that only passed for 15 touchdowns in 2016 and never more than two in any game, Deshaun Watson is bringing a profound change to the organization.
We’re finally able to embrace the changes that the 2017 season brings. We’re getting comfortable now with the fact that the Chiefs are the only powerhouse team in the AFC where no other franchise is better than 3-2. The Packers, Eagles, and Panthers are all 4-1 and in a tie for the best of the NFC.
And even that the Rams are going to churn out 30+ points every week as the highest-scoring offense. Oh, wait. What?
Now get back to work…