Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Niles Paul – Concussion
Jordan Reed – Hamstring
Zach Miller – Dislocated knee
Pierre Garcon – Neck
Chris Hogan – Shoulder
Cole Beasley – Concussion
This was a very light week for injuries – one of the lightest I can ever remember and I’ve written this column for 21 years. Chris Hogan was hurt on the final play and needed a sling after the game but has a bye to heal up.
Garcon injured his neck before halftime and still played the rest of the game though not very well. Jordan Reed getting injured is hardly newsworthy.
Zach Miller badly dislocated his knee and is out for the rest of the season. Dion Sims will replace him but Miller wasn’t a fantasy starter anyway.
The only other injury was Cole Beasley getting a concussion. The only interesting possible outcome is that if he cannot play next week, we should get a glimpse of 2018 when the rookie Ryan Switzer likely takes over the slot role from Beasley. The 5-10, 183-pound fourth-round pick is a clone of Beasley only younger and more talented.
DeAndre Washington – With Marshawn Lynch suspended, Washington got the call to replace him. He only rushed 26 yards on six carries as he split the meager workload with Jalen Richard. But the Raiders were overmatched by the Bills and Washington caught a team-high eight passes for 62 yards and one score. That makes two weeks in a row that he had a touchdown. Lynch returns but Washington is becoming more productive than Jalen Richard as the No. 2 back.
LeSean McCoy – Ran for 151 yards in the win over the Raiders. Over the last five years, McCoy has topped 150 rush yards in eight games. No other player had more than four in that time span,
Zay Jones – He only caught three passes for 32 yards but that was a career high. The supposedly talented yet unproductive rookie struggled in every game so it is a positive to at least see him catch three of five passes.
Jack Doyle – Caught 12 of 14 for 121 yards and one touchdown in the close loss to the Bengals. That made it two scores over the last three games and both on the road.
Joe Mixon – He only ran for 18 yards on 11 carries but he caught three passes for 91 yards that included a 67-yard reception. That gives Mixon at least three catches in four of the last five games but his rushing totals did not change much despite his public complaints about his workload.
Hunter Henry – After being a solid to great fantasy start for four straight weeks, facing the Patriots and their No. 27 defense vs. tight ends seemed ripe for a big day. Not so – Henry was limited to only two passes that he caught and gained just 11 yards. The Chargers still won’t commit to him being a big part of the game plan every week. Even Antonio Gates had two catches and gained 25 yards.
James White – He only ran once but caught five passes for 85 yards. White totals 43 catches on the year – ten more than any other Patriot. He’s averaging five catches for 45 yards per game.
Mohamed Sanu – Since he returned in Week 7 from a hamstring injury, the Falcons No. 2 wideout turned in two straight six-catch games including Sunday’s 74 yards and one touchdown. The Falcons offense is not hitting on all cylinders but they involved Sanu more in recent weeks.
Zach Ertz – He comes off his worst game of the season with four catches for 34 yards and one touchdown. That was his fourth-straight week with a score and he totals six over his last six games. Ertz is currently the new Gronk even though the old one is still doing well too.
Matt Breida – The rookie C.J. Beathard is looking feverishly for receivers and Breida led the team with four receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown. Carlos Hyde also caught four passes but Breida is making the backfield become a timeshare and gaining Beathard’s trust.
Christian McCaffrey – The plan to use Cameron Artis-Payne more was in part to lower the usage of McCaffrey. HC Ron Rivera said Artis-Payne would see more work on passing downs to relieve the rookie. Artis-Payne only caught one pass and ran four times for 48 yards. McCaffrey caught five passes for 49 yards and still led the team in both categories. His seven targets tied with Kelvin Benjamin for the team lead.
Jameis Winston – He injured his throwing shoulder but still blew up for a monster game in Week 7 when he threw for 384 yards and three scores in Buffalo. But he reaggravated his shoulder in that game and then only managed 210 passing yards with two interceptions in the loss to the Panthers. He was said to be good to go but was clearly not. Winston won’t get his Week 11 bye thanks to the hurricane and his ongoing status will be tougher to gauge since he is not going to allow himself the time to heal up.
Will Fuller – After three straight games with a score – twice catching two touchdowns – it would be easy enough to be down on him when he had to face the Seahawks in Seattle. He is no secret. He must be covered. So naturally, he caught five passes for a career-best 125 yards and two more touchdowns. His seven touchdowns tie for the NFL lead with his teammate DeAndre Hopkins.
Paul Richardson – The fourth-year wideout is finally getting his chance to start and he comes off a career-best 105 yards and two scores on six catches in the win over the Texans. That was after recording 61 yards and a touchdown in New York against the Giants secondary. And he is still on many waiver wires.
Jamison Crowder – His role was greatly reduced in the new offense this year but Crowder ended the loss to the Cowboys with nine catches for 123 yards. Next week he has to play in Seattle but that may not be quite as scary as it once was.
JuJu Smith-Schuster – The rookie had overtaken Martavis Bryant as the No. 2 wideout and the malcontent veteran publicly complained about his lack of involvement. And how he was the better receiver. So Smith -Schuster caught seven passes for 193 yards and one score in the win in Detroit. For the record, Bryant never had a 193-yard game. And the rookie just became the only 20-year-old receiver to catch four touchdowns before the age of 21. At least Tom Savage knew enough to step aside for Deshaun Watson and shut up about it.
CAR 17, TB 3
You look at this game. The offensive stars. Some questionable defense. And you should expect a lot more than 20 total, miserable points. Christian McCaffrey (5-49), a running back, was the leading receiver. Cam Newton (11-44), a quarterback, was the leading rusher. Both Jonathan Stewart (11-34, TD) and Kelvin Benjamin (3-39, TD) scored without doing anything with yardage. Jameis Winston only passed for 210 yards and two interceptions. The Buccaneers played even worse than the Panthers. The 5-3 Panthers are a half game out in the NFC South and host the Falcons. The 2-5 Buccaneers bring their four-game losing streak to New Orleans.
SF 10, PHI 33
This was pretty much what everyone expected. It was a wet game and that left Carson Wentz with just 211 yards and two scores. Alshon Jeffrey (2-62, TD) and Zach Ertz (4-34, TD) were the only decent fantasy plays. LeGarrette Blount (16-48, TD) scored to save his stat line. Nothing much happened for the 49ers and the lone touchdown was on a pass to Matt Breida. That means the 0-8 49ers kick the futility can down the street to host the Cardinals. The 7-1 Eagles welcome the Broncos to Philly.
ATL 25, NYJ 20
This was a very watchable game although the Falcons offensive malaise continues even in a win. Matt Ryan only passed for 254 yards and two scores and Julio Jones (3-74) made a 53-yard catch to prevent a total flop. Tevin Coleman (14-82) ran better than Devonte Freeman (12-41). Josh McCown threw for 257 yards and two scores while Robby Anderson (6-104, TD) was the only player of any note. The Jets only totaled 42 rushing yards on the 19 carries by three running backs. The 4-3 Falcons head to Carolina this week while the 3-5 Jets host the Bills.
CHI 12, NO 20
Remember when playing the Saints meant inflated fantasy points for everyone? I miss those too. Jordan Howard totaled 111 yards but never scored while Tarik Cohen (4-2, TD) scored but gained no yards. Matt Trubisky is up to 14 completions in one game but his 164 yards only came with one interception. The Bears traded for Dontrelle Inman. They brought in Markus Wheaton.
But the only receiver to have any connection with Trubisky so far was Tre McBride III who doubled his three-year career totals for receptions when he caught three passes for 92 yards. He was cut in September. Added to the practice squad. Brought up on the active roster. With only three catches for 22 yards since he entered the league in 2015, Sunday was a career day. The Saints had scores from both Mark Ingram (18-75, TD) and Alvin Kamara (8-28, TD) but Drew Brees was held to no scores and 299 passing yards. The 5-2 Saints now host the Buccaneers while the 3-5 Bears go into their bye.
LAC 13, NE 21
So much wasted potential. Philip Rivers only passed for 212 yards and one score like this wasn’t the worst secondary in the NFL (anymore). Travis Benjamin (5-64, TD) was the only fantasy play for receivers but Melvin Gordon ran for 132 yards on 14 carries that included the 87-yard touchdown that opened the game. Tom Brady passed for 333 yards but just one score to Rob Gronkowski (5-57, TD). Dion Lewis (15-44) is still the leading rusher but three other backs shared 16 runs. James White led the Pats with 85 yards on five receptions. The 3-5 Chargers and the 6-2 Patriots both go onto their byes.
IND 23, CIN 24
So close but that is mostly a statement about how bad the Bengals are than how good the Colts played. Jacoby Brissett threw for 233 yards and scores to Jack Doyle (12-121, TD) and Marlon Mack (3-36) while Frank Gore ran for 82 yards. Andy Dalton only threw for 243 yards and two scores against one of the most exploited secondaries. A.J. Green scored but only gained 27 yards. Joe Mixon was held to just 18 yards on 11 runs but led the team with 91 yards on three catches. This was a highly competitive contest even though both teams normally are not. The 2-6 Colts head to Houston while the 3-4 Bengals travel to Jacksonville.
OAK 14, BUF 34
Yeah, so much for beating the Chiefs last week. David Carr passed for 313 yards and one score to DeAndre Washington (8-62) while four other players had at least four catches. Without Marshawn Lynch (and probably with him too) the Raiders only ran for 47 yards on 11 carries. Tyrod Taylor only passed for 165 yards and a touchdown to Andre Holmes (3-51, TD) but he ran for a score as well. LeSean McCoy was all the game needed with 151 rushing yards and a score. The 3-5 Raiders travel to Miami this week and the 5-2 Bills play the Jets in New York.
MIN 33, CLE 16
The London game was another beatdown but at least the loser scored more than seven points for the first time this year. Case Keenum threw for 288 yards and two scores no one saw because they were still asleep. Adam Thielen (5-98, TD) was the top receiver and Stefon Diggs was held to just 27 yards. Jerick McKinnon totaled 122 yards and one score. The only notable Browns were Isaiah Crowell with 11 carries for 64 yards and one score as the best rusher and then four catches for 54 yards as the best receiver. The 6-2 Vikings and the 0-8 Browns both head into their byes.
DAL 33, WAS 19
The Skins led this 13-7 at the half but never really did much afterward. In the rain, Dak Prescott had his worst game with only 143 passing yards and no scores but Ezekiel Elliott ran for 150 yards and two scores (and almost three). Along with the temporary Mike Nugent kicking four field goals was enough to win the game along with a pick-six to make it look worse than it was. Kirk Cousins passed for 263 yards and one score while Jamison Crowder surprisingly showed up big with 123 yards on nine catches and Chris Thompson catching eight passes for 76 yards. The 4-3 Cowboys host the Chiefs this week and the 3-4 Redskins head to Seattle.
PIT 20, DET 15
Hard to imagine that any game with 740 passing yards combined for only one passing touchdown. Matt Stafford (423 yards) ended as the third highest in NFL history without a score. Marvin Jones (6-128) was tops but both T.J. Jones (4-88) and Golden Tate (7-86) were productive as well. The Lions rushed for a combined 60 yards on 21 carries by three different backs. Ben Roethlisberger passes for 317 yards and a 97-yard touchdown catch by JuJu Smith-Schuster (7-193, TD). The Lions kicked five field goals and had zero touchdowns despite 18 plays inside the 10-yard line. The 6-2 Steelers take their bye while the 3-4 Lions head to Green Bay.
Huddle player of the week
Deshaun Watson – It was ridiculous. Watson went into Seattle and left with 402 passing yards and four touchdowns plus ran eight times for 67 yards. He’s thrown for more touchdowns (19) in his first seven games than anyone in NFL history. His 16 touchdowns over the last four games are the most by any rookie in a four-game span.
Watson isn’t a phenom, He’s a revelation.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
|QB||Jacoby Brissett||239||2||QB||Dak Prescott||159||0|
|RB||Alex Collins||143||0||RB||Carlos Hyde||49||0|
|RB||Matt Breida||56||1||RB||Jay Ajayi||41||0|
|WR||Paul Richardson||105||2||WR||Willie Snead||0||0|
|WR||Travis Benjamin||88||1||WR||T.Y. Hilton||15||0|
|WR||Andre Holmes||51||1||WR||Stefon Diggs||26||0|
|TE||Eric Tomlinson||20||1||TE||Jordan Reed||5||0|
|PK||Mike Nugent||4 FG 3 XP||PK||Nick Novak||1 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 128||Huddle Fantasy Points = 18|
Sunday’s couch commentary
As always, there were some low-scoring games with dire fantasy implications and six teams on bye already meant scrambling for replacement players. But seven teams scored over 40 points. There were six defensive touchdowns scored from a total of five teams.
Despite the reduced number of teams playing this week, there were six wideouts with over 120 receiving yards. It was the sort of week with many monster performances and yet a rapid decline after those top players. No doubt your league scores had several low scorers and just a few high point teams.
It was an odd week for quarterbacks since only two of them passed for more than two touchdowns. And both had four. And both were in the…
Texans 38, Seahawks 40
Oh, that every game could be so sweet.
It started out with a big question mark since the Houston owner managed to insult all NFL players with his comment about “prisoners running the prison.” The Texans may have lost but they played perhaps their best offensive game ever. Or at least until the next time that Deshaun Watson starts a game.
When a game produces the top two fantasy quarterbacks for the week, you can be sure it was worth watching. In this case, the No. 3 quarterback produced only half of what either Deshaun Watson of Russell Wilson did. And both were facing top defenses. At least they used to be.
Three of the top four fantasy wideouts came from this game. Both teams produced two wideouts with more than 100 yards and they combined for five touchdowns.
Deshaun Watson threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns and was the leading rusher with 67 yards on eight runs.
Russell Wilson passed for 452 yards and four touchdowns and was their leading rusher with 30 yards on four rushes.
Lamar Miller ran for 54 yards, caught three passes for 19 yards and scored both on a run and reception. DeAndre Hopkins ended with 224 yards and a touchdown on eight catches (but only his second best game of his career). Will Fuller V snared five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. That’s 349 yards and three touchdowns from just two wider receivers.
Tyler Lockett caught six passes for 121 yards while Paul Richardson turned his six catches into 105 yards and two touchdowns. Jimmy Graham only gained 39 yards on four catches but two went for touchdowns.
It was a fantasy bonanza and every player with a big game at least had a shot at being a fantasy starter last week. All the right players blew up and several for career highs.
It’s always good when teams settle down to relying on their best players and not throwing scores to No.2 tight ends or No. 5 wideouts. Were at the midpoint of the fantasy season and on the downhill towards fantasy playoffs.
And I’ll say it again. Deshaun Watson is a revelation. He’s not a rookie. Halfway through the season, he is the No. 1 fantasy quarterback.
Now get back to work.