Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Rob Kelley – Leg
Aaron Jones – MCL sprain
Ryan Grant – Concussion
DeShone Kizer – Ribs
Ty Montgomery – Ribs
Tyrod Taylor – Benched
Devonta Freeman – Concussion
Will Fuller – Ribs
Brett Hundley – Hamstring
Jacoby Brissett – Concussion
Marcus Mariota – Shoulder
Rob Kelley – Left the game on a cart with a leg/knee injury. Samaje Perine stepped in and ran for 35 yards on nine carries. He also added one catch for 25 yards. Chris Thompson still takes a healthy share of the workload but Perine is worth an add for desperation purposes. If Kelley remains out, Perine will play in New Orleans which does not sound enticing. But the Redskins then play the Giants and visit the Cowboys so there are a couple of good matchups on the horizon.
Packers Backfield – Aaron Jones suffered what was initially diagnosed as a sprained MCL and then Ty Montgomery injured his ribs and could not play. This hurts my heart. Last summer, Jamaal Williams was one of my final draft picks in most leagues because I did not believe Montgomery could handle the heavy load (and Jones was just third-string depth). But Williams has been washed from most every league by now. He’s worth an add if you own either Jones or Montgomery. The Packers face the Ravens and Steelers next which won’t be very productive but then they face the Buccaneers and Browns.
Devonta Freeman – Suffered a concussion and that allowed Tevin Coleman to turn in a season-best 83 yards and a score on 20 carries. Should Freeman remain out, the Falcons play in Seattle and then host the Buccaneers. He would step up his role as a receiver in Seattle if he starts.
Drew Brees – His 184 passing yards was his worst passing game since Week 13 in 2013 and his second lowest since 2009. Brees ran for a touchdown just to make it all more surreal. The Saints, they are a’changing…
Kelvin Benjamin – The newest Bill caught just three passes for 42 yards in his first action. But that was a team-high. Finding out that his new quarterback was just benched doesn’t make his move any easier to accept.
Mitchell Trubisky – His four starts never topped 164 passing yards but against the Packers, the rookie threw for 297 yards and one score. More impressive was hitting seven different receivers including newly signed Dontrelle Inman (6-88) and the rookie tight end Adam Shaheen (2-29) who replaced Zach Miller. His next three games are against the Lions, at the Eagles and the 49ers. Inman is worth a deep stash as well.
Kenny Golladay – The rookie left in Week 3 with a hamstring injury that persisted until Sunday when he was active despite being listed as questionable on the injury report. He only caught two passes in his first game back but those were 14- and 50-yard receptions. Matt Stafford has been on a hot streak for the last month and Golladay gives him yet another weapon.
Chester Rogers – The Colts turned to Rogers for the first time this year and he responded with six catches for 104 yards and one touchdown. But Rogers never gained more than 21 yards in any other game this year and with a bye, the Titans and then the Jaguars next, there’s no reason to expect Week 10 to be more than just a one-game blip.
Austin Ekeler – Melvin Gordon was held to only 27 yards on 16 carries but Ekeler was the leading rusher (10-42) and the leading receiver (5-77, 2 TD). It was a career best for him and he’s scored four times this year including three times over the last three games. But he’s still too inconsistent to merit more than a desperation fantasy start. When Ekeler has a down game, it can be less than one fantasy point.
Stefon Diggs – He started the year with four touchdowns over the first three weeks but left in Week 5 with groin and ankle injuries. When he returned in Week 8, he only managed 27 yards on four catches. On Sunday, even while being covered by Josh Norman, Diggs caught four passes for 78 yards and one touchdown. He’s safe to start again with upcoming games versus the Rams, Lions and Falcons.
Dak Prescott – He only passed for 176 yards and no scores in a game the Cowboys lost by 20 points. With left tackle Tyron Smith out with a groin injury, Prescott was sacked seven times. With Ezekiel Elliott out, play action passes were not respected. Smith may be back as early as this week but Prescott faces the Eagles, Chargers and Redskins next.
Alfred Morris – All those free-agent dollars you spent only netted 53 yards on 11 carries and no catches for Ezekiel Elliott’s replacement. Rod Smith became one of the league’s biggest passing-down backs with four catches for 15 yards last week. Darren McFadden only ran once and lost a yard. After ten weeks of speculation on what would happen without Elliott in the lineup, the answer was “not much.”
Sterling Shepard – The second-year wideout is the only talent left for the wideouts and after missing two games with an ankle sprain, he caught five passes for 70 yards in Week 9 against the Rams. At San Francisco this week, Shepard caught 11 of 13 targets for 142 yards in the loss to the 49ers. The Giants have the look of a team imploding but at least Shepard is still performing. This week’s game against the Chiefs should be another opportunity for a big week.
Keep it in your pants
Benny Cunningham caught a swing pass and scampered 23 yards down near the Packers goal line where he stretched out the ball and just missed the pylon according to the ref. All Jordan Howard owners rejoiced, envisioning the 1-yard touchdown run to follow. But HC John Fox threw the red flag just in case Cunningham had actually scored. Ends up that he did not. In fact, he lost control of the ball and since it hit the ground just outside the end zone, the referee corrected the call and the Bears were dinged with a safety. Losing by seven points made it even worse.
The Titan’s rookie Corey Davis also scored his first NFL touchdown but upon review, his attempt to stretch out the ball also resulted in losing control. So he’s still without a touchdown but was responsible for a safety.
GB 23, CHI 16
This was a head-scratcher since Mitchell Trubisky threw for 297 yards and a touchdown while Brett Hundley was held to 212 yards and one score. But Ty Montgomery (6-54, TD) scored before he left and joined Aaron Jones in the locker room. Davante Adams (5-90, TD) was the only big performance and Jordy Nelson (3-20) is just dead in the water without Aaron Rodgers. Recently acquired Dontrelle Inman (6-88) was the best Bears receiver. At least both quarterbacks are improving. The 5-4 Packers host the Ravens this week and the 3-6 Bears welcome the Lions.
CLE 24, DET 38
This was a game where none was expected but the Browns de-inspire teams to play down to their level. Matt Stafford passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns but Golden Tate (6-97, TD) was the only notable receivers. Ameer Abdullah (11-52, TD) had the rare good game. DeShone Kizer passes for 232 yards and one score while rushing for 57 yards and another touchdown. Isaiah Crowell ran for 90 yards and one score for a season high. At least there were more points than expected here, even if there were no monster games by anyone. The Browns led this game 10-0. Now the 5-4 Lions head to Chicago and the 0-9 Browns host the Jaguars.
PIT 20, IND 17
This is another instance of playing down to the opponent. It almost ended up as an embarrassing loss.The Colts led 17-3 before the Steelers finally admitted they were playing a game and kicked the winning field goal as time expired. Antonio Brown (3-47) took the day off despite the attractive matchup. JuJu Smith-Schuster (5-97, TD) keeps getting better but at least Martavis Bryant (3-42) caught a two-point conversion. Le’Veon Bell ended with 112 total yards but the Steelers were disappointing across the board. Jacoby Brissett threw for 222 yards and two scores between Chester Rogers (6-104) and Donte Moncrief (1-60) because the Steelers were covering just T.Y. Hilton (2-23). The 7-2 Steelers host the Titans this week and the 3-7 Colts take their bye.
LAC 17, JAX 20 OT
This would be the game of the week if it contained twice the yards and points. The only working part for the Chargers was Austin Ekeler who ran for a team-high 42 yards and was the leading receiver with five catches for 77 yards and both touchdowns. Melvin Gordon (16-27) and Leonard Fournette (17-33) were both held in check. Blake Bortles passed for 273 yards and one score to Marqise Lee (6-55, TD). Corey Grant ran just once but scored a 56-yard touchdown. Yes, I know. I had to take a minute to remember who he was. Philip Rivers passed for 235 yards and the two scores but the wideouts were all quiet. The 3-6 Chargers host the Bills this week and the 6-3 Jaguars head to Cleveland.
NYJ 10, TB 15
Well, wasn’t this one, big, fat disappointment. 25 total points.Neither team could even tough Matt Forte was out and Bilal Powell (10-30) should have had more opportunity. Josh McCown passed for 262 yards and one score to Robbie Anderson (4-85, TD). Austin Seferian-Jenkins was the only other notable Jets receiver. Ryan Fitzpatrick only managed 187 passing yards and one score. DeSean Jackson (6-82) made the most out of Mike Evans being gone. But the Jets being unable to take advantage of the Bucs bend-then-break secondary. The 4-6 Jets and the 3-6 Buccaneers both go onto their bye.
CIN 20, TEN 24
The Titans won this with 36 seconds left to play. Delanie Walker (6-63) was the top receiver for the Titans but the offense ran through DeMarco Murray who ran for 42 yards and two touchdowns and added four catches for 30 yards and a third score. Andy Dalton threw for 265 yards and two scores for a better-than-usual effort. A.J. Green (5-115, TD) and Brandon LaFell (6-95, TD) were the only receivers that mattered while Joe Mixon ran for a touchdown on his nine carries for 37 yards. The 3-6 Bengals head to Denver this week and the 6-3 Titans visit the Steelers.
MIN 38, WAS 30
Game of the week contender. What a great game. While Teddy Bridgewater is back on the sidelines in uniform, Case Keenum is not making any transition of power make sense. He’s led the Vikings to 7-2 and just passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns. Adam Thielen (8-166, TD) and Stefon Diggs (4-78, TD) both had big games. Latavius Murray (17-68, TD) was the best back since Jerick McKinnon (10-32) was the popular start. Kirk Cousins threw for 327 yards and a touchdown to Maurice Harris in his first playing time of the year. Cousins also stole two short touchdowns from Samaje Perine (9-35) who became the primary back with Rob Kelley out. Even with all the passing yards, the best receiver was only Vernon Davis (7-76). The 7-2 Vikings host the Rams this week and the 4-5 Redskins head to New Orleans where it is no longer the Big Easy.
NYG 21, SF 31
And then there was one. The 49ers got into the win column by facing the imploding Giants who don’t even have a secondary anymore. C.J. Beathard threw for 288 yards and two scores split between Marquise Goodwin (1-83, TD) and Garrett Celek (4-67, TD). Imagine that last summer. The Giants losing to Beathard, Goodwin and Celek. Carlos Hyde ran for 98 yards but Matt Breida came in to steal the touchdown run. Eli Manning passed for 173 yards and two scores but Sterling Shepard (11-142) was the only notable fantasy play. The 1-8 Giants host the
winners Chiefs this week and the 1-9 49ers take their bye where they can enjoy their one-game winning streak.
DAL 7, ATL 27
The Cowboys were without their best running back, left tackle and best defender and played like it. Ends up that Alfred Morris (11-53) isn’t Ezekiel Elliott. Dak Prescott ran in a score but only passed for 176 yards. The Cowboys offense just never got into gear. They failed to score for the last three quarters. DE Adrian Clayborn sacked Prescott six times – one short of the NFL record. The Falcons lost Devonta Freeman but Tevin Coleman (20-83, TD) filled in nicely and Matt Ryan only had to pass for 215 yards and two scores. Julio Jones only gained 57 yards on six catches. The 5-4 Cowboys have to host the Eagles which may be bad timing. The 5-4 Falcons head to Seattle.
HOU 7, LAR 33
No real surprises here. Tom Savage passed for just 221 yards and one score while DeAndre Hopkins (7-111) is still the only player that still excels after Deshaun Watson left. Lamar Miller (11-60) doesn’t get enough work to do much. Jared Goff threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns with Robert Woods (8-171, 2 TD) the best player. Todd Gurley totaled 136 yards but did not score. Sammy Watkins (2-41, TD) caught the other touchdown but he and Woods just took advantage of a bad Texans secondary. The 3-6 Texans host the Cardinals this week while the 7-2 Rams head to Minnesota.
NE 41, DEN 16
Well, this wasn’t much of a game. Tom Brady threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns but only Brandin Cooks (6-74) and Rob Gronkowski (4-74) totaled more than 40 yards. The backfield remains a mess to decode but at least Dion Lewis (14-55, TD) is usually the top producer. Brock Osweiler only passed for 221 yards and one score to Demaryius Thomas (5-44, TD) and Emanuel Sanders (6-137) surprised since he was listed as questionable. The 7-2 Patriots play in Oakland this week and the 3-6 Broncos host the Bengals.
Huddle player of the week
Robert Woods – Certainly Mark Ingram is just as deserving after gaining 131 yards and three touchdowns. But Woods led all wideouts with eight catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns including a 94-yard “Wow, look at him go” score. The yardage was the highest of his career and it made two straight weeks that he scored twice. After four mediocre years with the Bills, Woods is redefining himself.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh; somebody has to cry
|QB||Case Keenum||303||4||QB||Drew Brees||190||1|
|RB||Austin Ekeler||119||2||RB||Devonta Freeman||3||0|
|RB||Isaiah Crowell||95||1||RB||Leonard Fournette||46||0|
|WR||Chester Rogers||104||1||WR||T.Y. Hilton||23||0|
|WR||Marquise Goodwin||101||1||WR||Jordy Nelson||20||0|
|WR||Bruce Ellington||41||1||WR||Antonio Brown||47||0|
|TE||Jermaine Gresham||64||1||TE||Cameron Brate||10||0|
|PK||Nick Rose||3 FG 3 XP||PK||Mike Nugent||1 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 140||Huddle Fantasy Points = 27|
Sunday’s couch commentary
Have to like a week where the 49ers score 31 points and five others have more than 30. The 49ers finally get their first win thanks to the even worse Giants who are 1-8 only because the Broncos allowed them one of the biggest trap games of the century. The Browns are now the only winless team and they have won once in the last 28 games. Their 20-17 win over the Chargers in 2016 was even more impressive considering this year.
For all the talk about parity, the NFL currently holds seven teams on winning streaks of at least four games. The Saints and Eagles have both won seven in a row.
Saints 47, Bills 10
This was obviously not a close game but it was one that posted the most offensive points by any team and was a wonderful reminder of just how dynamic and evolving the NFL can be.
Drew Brees turned in one of the worst games of his career as a passer – just 184 yards and no score. But he ran for one touchdown. Michael Thomas still caught nine passes for 117 yards but nothing else happened for the receivers. The Saints are now the premier rushing offense. That alone boggles the mind. That they have one of the top defenses suggest some pro-wrestling quality shenanigans are going on.
Mark Ingram rushed for 131 yards on 21 carries and scored three times. Alvin Kamara ran for 106 yards on 12 carries with one score plus added five catches for 12 yards. The notion that the Saints would have two “must-start” running backs that rank in the top ten is mind-blowing.
The Saints held the Bills to only 135 passing yards and one score. Tyrod Taylor was benched. LeSean McCoy ran for only 49 yards on eight carries. Newly acquired Kelvin Benjamin only caught three passes for 42 yards but his six targets were a team high.
This is the new NFL. It always changes but in the case of the Saints, it changes dramatically to become the opposite of what we’ve known and loved for a decade.
The running back position is making a comeback and the Saints are leading the way. Let them win a Superbowl and the copycat league may return to the golden age of backfields a decade ago.
Hopefully, your teams are still in the playoff hunt. Injuries continue to take down players and build up others. The waiver wire is still a resource for competing and if you’ve already burned through your salary cap, you likely regret it.
The weather should be getting worse. Each fantasy game becomes more important. But no matter what, don’t let go of the ball when you stretch out for a touchdown.
Now get back to work.