Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Tyrod Taylor – Leg
Braxton Miller – Concussion
C.J. Fiedorowicz – Concussion
Bruce Ellington – Hamstring
Matt Stafford – Cleated Hand
Zach Ertz – Concussion
Fortunately, there were not many injuries this week which is not unusual later in the season. As they say, pretty much everyone is a little injured and the big injuries have already happened.
Tyrod Taylor – Injured his knee but initial reports are that it isn’t as serious as it looked. But if he misses next week hosting the Colts, then Nathan Peterman gets a chance to redeem himself after his catastrophic debut included five interceptions. But when he came in on Sunday, he only completed six of 15 passes for 50 yards. Everyone gets downgraded even facing the Colts.
Matt Stafford – His hand is only thought to be bruised and if so he’ll play against the Buccaneers in what should be a profitable game. Jake Rudock would get the start if needed but his only playing time was this week when he completed three of five passes for 24 yards and one interception. Stafford should be back and anyone owning a Lion fantasy player should cross their fingers.
Alfred Morris – He’s been effective as a rusher but lacked the volume. He ran 27 times for 127 yards and one score against the Redskins last Thursday and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He’ll play on the road at the Giants and Raiders next.
Devonta Freeman – His first game back from his concussion had him gain 74 yards on just 12 carries. He’s healthy again and that was his best rushing total since Week 3 though Tevin Coleman caught three passes when he rarely has more than one. Freeman faces the Saints twice and the Buccaneers over the next three games.
Tion Green – The undrafted rookie back that played for Cincinnati was active this week for the first time while covering for the absent Ameer Abdullah. He gained 33 yards on his first run and ended with 11 carries for 51 yards and one score as the leading rusher for the Lions. He’s 6-0, 230 pounds and was dinged for being slow and not having explosiveness which led to no invitation to the NFL Combine or getting drafted. He was never expected to do more than special teams. If Abdullah remains out, Green could get playing time in Tampa Bay but he was just one 33- yard run and then ten carries for 18 yards.
Keenan Allen – It’s not that he caught ten passes for 105 yards and a score in the win over the Browns. He just became the first player in NFL history with 10+ receptions for 100+ yards and a touchdown in three straight games. Never done before. Allen was stuck at 40 to 60 yards and no score for the five weeks prior to that but for the last three weeks – no one’s been better.
Rob Gronkowski – He was the leading receiver with nine catches for 147 yards in the win over the Bills. But Gronk also decided to plow into the already down CB Tre’Davious White who intercepted the pass intended for him. He led with a forearm and laid the smaller cornerback out. He was flagged for unnecessary roughness but more importantly, he may be suspended for one game because of the flagrant foul. That would mean he would miss the trip to Miami next week right when fantasy leaguers need him most to make or remain in their playoffs. Gronk just played the Dolphins in Week 12 when he caught five passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
Jimmy Garoppolo – His first start resulted in the second win of the year for the 49ers. Garoppollo threw for 293 yards and one interception in a game that they won thanks to five field goals. Even more impressive than the yardage was that he connected the most with his starting wideouts – Marquise Goodwin (8-99) and Trent Taylor (6-92). It was encouraging for a first game and next up are the Texans.
Peyton Barber – Took the start with Doug Martin out and ran for 102 yards on 23 carries and caught four passes for 41 yards. That’s 143 total yards on a team that never had a 100-yard rusher this year. It isn’t that second-year Barber is a sudden find. This is more about the lack of consistency in the backfield and will only serve to make it even more muddled when Martin returns.
Cameron Brate – Four straight games with a single catch left Brate on the bench if not the waiver wire. He only caught two passes for 39 yards this week but scored twice. And also important – it was the first full game that Jameis Winston played since his Week 9 shoulder injury. He’s been money when Winston plays. And almost nothing with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Brett Hundley – Just when he throws for 245 yards and three scores in Week 12, you figure he is safe to start. Not so. Facing a Buccaneers team unwilling to play down to the Packers, Hundley was held to only 84 passing yards and one interception. He ran for 66 yards but at this rate, they’ll let Aaron Rodgers play even if he cannot throw.
Dede Westbrook – The Jaguars are trying to involve the rookie wideout as much as they can. After catching six of ten targets for 41 yards in Arizona in Week 12, he ended with six of nine targets for 78 yards against the Colts. The Jaguars host the Seahawks this week but then face the Texans and 49ers in the final two weeks of fantasy playoffs.
C.J. Anderson – Just when it seemed he was phased out, he runs 15 times for 67 yards and adds four catches for 43 yards in the loss at Miami. No other back ran more than three times. Anderson was the leading receiver as well. Finishing out against the Jets, Colts, and Redskins should give more success but the backfield – nay, the entire offense – is unreliable.
Kenyan Drake – Ran for 120 yards and a score on 23 carries in the win over the Broncos plus added three catches for 21 yards as the lone back with Damien Williams out. Drake will fave the Patriots this week but then the Bills and Chiefs if Williams shoulder injury persists. Williams never practiced last week so there is a chance that Kenyan continues.
Stephen Anderson – The second-year undrafted tight end out of California comes off his career best 79 yards and a score on five catches. He had 12 targets – second only to DeAndre Hopkins (14). Anderson scored once as a rookie but had minimal playing time until this season. That was double the number of targets he has ever received and it has to be considered just an oddly productive one-time event. He did gain 63 yards in a game back in Week 5 but rarely has more than one or two catches in any week.
Josh Gordon – His first game back was no “easing back in.” Gordon led in all receiving categories when he caught four of 11 targets for 85 yards. Kenny Britt (2-10) and Corey Coleman (zero catches on four targets) took a big back seat to what became little more than throw at Gordon where ever he was. But with DeShone Kizer completing just 15 of 32 passes for 215 yards, Gordon will be limited by the passing as have all Browns receivers.
Kerwynn Williams – The Cardinals left Adrian Peterson inactive after he missed all practices with a neck injury. The replacement was to be a committee between Williams and D.J. Foster but Williams was the hot hand and handled all but for carries for the Cardinals. He gained 97 yards on 16 runs in the loss to the Rams. The Cardinals face the visiting Titans this week should Peterson remain out.
Johnny Holton – With both starting wideouts out last week, Cordarrelle Patterson and Holton became starters. Patterson ended with four catches for 97 yards replacing Michael Crabtree who returns after his one-game suspension this week. Holton had a team-high seven targets and caught three for 39 yards and one touchdown. If Amari Cooper remains out with his concussion – and he never practiced last week – then Holton should be the call again while facing the Chiefs.
MIN 14, ATL 9
Yep, 23 total points. Case Keenum thre2w for 227 yards and two scored but Adam Thielen (4-51) was the top receiver and Latavius Murray rushed for 76 yards on 16 carries. Matt Ryan was held to only 174 yards and no scores while Julio Jones was held to just 24 yards on two catches. Devonta Freeman ran for 74 yards on 12 carries in his return. This was no way to start the day. The 10-2 Vikings head to Carolina this week and the 7-5 Falcons host the Saints. We can only hope more points await both teams.
DET 20, BLT 44
The Ravens can be scary good when their defense cranks it up enough that their mediocre offense looks good. Joe Flacco passed for 269 yards and two scores for his best performance of the year. Mike Wallace gained 116 yards on five catches as the only notable receiver while Alex Collins ran 15 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Have to wonder what the Seahawks think about letting him go. The Lions went with undrafted free agent Tion Green to replace Ameer Abdullah and he gained 51 yards and one score on 11 carries in his debut. Theo Riddick (9-21, TD) also rushed for a score. Matt Stafford threw for 292 yards and one touchdown with Marvin Jones (4-90) coming to life after CB Jimmy Smith left the game. Now the 6-6 Lions visit the Buccaneers and the 7-5 Ravens head to Pittsburgh.
NE 23, BUF 3
Just a minimum of points. Not much offense on either side. Tom Brady passed for 258 yards and no touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski (9-147) was the only Patriot with more than 34 yards. Dion Lewis ran for 92 yards on 15 carries but Rex Burkhead scored twice on his 12 runs for 78 yards. The Patriots combined for 193 rushing yards from their backfield. Tyrod Taylor was knocked out of the game and Nathan Peterman did nothing to add to or change his legacy so far. LeSean McCoy managed 102 total yards but no other Bills player gained more than 32 yards in the game. The 10-2 Patriots travel to Miami this week and the 6-6 Bills host the Colts.
SF 15, CHI 14
There were even fewer points scored in this ho-hum snoozefest. It was a terrible waste of an opportunity that Jordan Howard ran for only 38 yards on 13 carries while Mitchell Trubisky only threw for 102 yards and one score though he completed 12 of his 15 passes. The Bears were devoid of any fantasy value. The debut of Jimmy Garoppolo went well with 293 yards even though the 49ers won thanks to five Robbie Gould field goals. Marquise Goodwin (8-99) was the top receiver while Carlos Hyde (17-54) and Matt Breida (12-45) split carries and prevent either from turning in a decent game. The 2-10 49ers travel to Houston this week while the 3-9 Bears head to Cincinnati.
TB 20, GB 26 OT
The Packers may consider activating Aaron Rodgers even if he cannot pass. He’d at least look good not doing much unlike Brett Hundley who threw for only 84 yards and one interception. Jamaal Williams ran for 113 yards and one score while Aaron Jones came in during overtime to take his only carry 20 yards to the end zone to win the game. Jameis Winston passed for 270 yards and two touchdowns both to Cameron Brate (2-29). Mike Evans was held to only 33 yards on two catches. Peyton Barber (23-102) replaced Doug Martin and also was the leading receiver with just four catches for 41 yards. The 4-8 Buccaneers host the Lions this week while the 6-6 Packers head to Cleveland.
IND 10, JAC 30
Sadly the Colts will be better next year – maybe much better. But they just gave up 309 passing yards and two scores to Blake Bortles. Marqise Lee (7-86, TD) was the top receiver though Dede Westbrook (6-78) is growing into a bigger role. Leonard Fournette only totaled 79 yards but scored once. Jacoby Brissett passed for 174 yards and one score mostly all during trash time later in the game. T.Y. Hilton (3-51, TD) finally caught a touchdown that wasn’t against the Browns or Texans.
DEN 9, MIA 35
It is not unusual for a team to drop a notch while installing a new offense and dealing with new coaches. But the Broncos have fallen off the map with pretty much all the same players from last year when they were 9-7 and thought that was bad. Trevor Siemian passed for 200 yards and three interceptions. The wide receivers combined for only four catches and 38 yards. C.J. Anderson (15-67) had a better game and was also the leading receiver (4-43). Jay Cutler threw for 235 yards and two scores with Kenny Stills (5-98, TD) as the top receiver. Kenyan Drake exceeded all expectations when he carried 23 times for 120 yards and one score along with 21 yards on three catches. Now the 3-9 Broncos host the Jets while the 5-7 Dolphins face the Patriots.
HOU 13, TEN 24
This game was much closer and even lower scoring until Derrick Henry (11-109, TD) broke off a 75-yard touchdown run with only 46 seconds left to play. He split carries with DeMarco Murray (11-66). Marcus Mariota faced a non-existent secondary and yet only passed for 150 yards and one score to Delanie Walker (5-63, TD) who was the only Titan receiver with more than 27 yards. Against the Texans that were ranked No. 32 against quarterbacks at least until this week. Tom Savage threw for 365 yards and one score to tight end Stephen Anderson (5-79, TD). DeAndre Hopkins (8-80) was still the top receiver while Lamar Miller totaled 94 yards. The 4-8 Texans host the 49ers this week while the 8-4 Titans visit the Cardinals.
CLE 10, LAC 19
Oh boy, another game without points. Play down much, Chargers? Philip Rivers passed for 344 yards and one score to Keenan Allen (10-105, TD) and even Hunter Henry (7-81) came through. Melvin Gordon only ran for 77 yards on 19 carries in this surprisingly sluggish game. DeShone Kizer threw for 215 yards and one score to David Njoku (4-74, TD) though Josh Gordon (4-85) immediately became the primary receiver. Kizer, of course, was also the leading rusher with 46 yards on five runs. The Chargers did the standard mail-in and took it back for the win after trailing 7-6 in the second quarter. The 0-12 Browns head home to host the Packers in what may be their final chance to win. The 6-6 Chargers host the Redskins.
LAR 32, ARI 16
This game was tighter in the second half but then the Rams took over. Jared Goff passed for just 220 yards and two scores. Todd Gurley ran for 74 yards and was also the leading receiver with 84 yards on six receptions. Cooper Kupp (5-68) was the best wideout though Sammy Watkins (3-38, TD) scored. Blaine Gabbert passed for 221 yards and a score but had two interceptions. Larry Fitzgerald (10-98, TD) still defies aging and was the only Cardinal who gained more than 44 yards as a receiver. With Adrian Peterson out, Kerrwyn Williams had the hot hand with 97 yards on 16 carries while D.J. Foster only ran twice for five yards. The 9-3 Rams host the Eagles this week and the 5-7 Cardinals face the Titans.
CAR 21, NO 31
This was one of those games that just went according to script. Cam Newton only passed for 183 yards and two scores but was the leading rusher with 51 yards. Devin Funchess (4-60, TD) was the only notable receiver and while Jonathan Stewart (11-45, TD) scored as a rusher, Christian McCaffery (5-33) scored on a catch while adding just 16 yards as a rusher. Drew Brees threw for 269 yards and one score for Michael Thomas (5-70, TD). Mark Ingram totaled 122 yards and one score while Alvin Kamara had 126 yards and two touchdowns. The Saints backfield at home is just unstoppable. Mostly on the road lately as well. The 8-4 Panthers host the Vikings this week while the 9-3 Saints head to Atlanta.
NYG 17, OAK 24
The Eli Bowl was just as odd as expected but at least had more points than many other games this week. Geno “Not Eli” Smith threw for 212 yards and a score to Evan Engram (7-99, TD) while Sterling Shepard (3-56) as the only other receiver of any note. No Giants back rushed for more than 32 yards. Marshawn Lynch (17-101, TD) opened the game with a 51-yard touchdown run and added 20 yards on two catches. Derek Carr passed for 287 yards but just one score to Johnny Holton (3-39, TD). Cordarrelle Patterson (4-97) had his best game in four years. Both teams missed their original starting wideouts but only one opted for Geno Smith. The 2-10 Giants host the Cowboys this week and the 6-6 Raiders travel to Kansas City.
PHI 10, SEA 24
The Eagles winning streak is over thanks to the Seattle defense that continues to shine even without their best cornerback and safety. Jay Ajayi was the best rusher with only 35 yards while Carson Wentz passed for 348 yards and one score while fumbling the ball at the one-yard line to kill a scoring drive. Nelson Agholor (7-141, TD) and Alshon Jeffery (4-61) were the top receivers. Russell Wilson threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns with Doug Baldwin (5-84) as the best wideout. Mike Davis ran for 64 yards on 16 runs and helped control the ball. The 10-2 Eagles visit the Rams this week and the 8-4 Seahawks travel to Jacksonville.
Huddle player of the week
Tyreek Hill – He has a big game about once every four or five weeks but it was time. Hill caught six passes for a career-high 185 yards and two scores. That was more yards and more scores than any other wideout this week.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
|QB||Blake Bortles||336||2||QB||Matt Ryan||173||0|
|RB||Peyton Barber||143||0||RB||Jordan Howard||33||0|
|RB||Tion Green||51||1||RB||Kareem Hunt||63||0|
|WR||Kenny Stills||98||1||WR||Mike Evans||33||0|
|WR||Ryan Grant||76||1||WR||Brandin Cooks||17||0|
|WR||Trent Taylor||92||0||WR||Julio Jones||24||0|
|TE||Stephen Anderson||79||1||TE||Jared Cook||9||0|
|PK||Robbie Gould||5 FG||PK||Matt Prater||2 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 115||Huddle Fantasy Points = 23|
Sunday’s couch commentary
This was a very important week for fantasy playoff implications if not actual games. And yet only Alex Smith, Josh McCown, and Russell Wilson threw for more than two touchdowns.
The top five running backs were exactly what we expected back last summer in our drafts. You know – Alfred Morris, Kenyan Drake, Jamaal Williams, Derrick Henry and Peyton Barber. The elite running backs.
You didn’t target them in your drafts? Surely you targeted the top ten wideouts. You know, Tyreek Hill, Jermaine Kearse, Nelson Agholor, Keenan Allen, Larry Fitzgerald, Marqise Lee, Kenny Stills, Robby Anderson, Ryan Grant and Marquise Goodwin. What? No?
The season has been rife with big injuries and not only big surprises, but so many players that get hot and cool off. There’s not been a lot of fantasy lineups that you can set and forget.
Chiefs 31, Jets 38
The Chiefs lost six of their last seven and after holding their last two opponents to no more than 16 points and yet losing, the offense seemed dead. After four games with marginal results, Alex Smith was left on many benches. But he roared back as the top fantasy quarterback of the week. He passed for 366 yards and four touchdowns plus ran for 70 yards on his only rushing attempt. Tyreek Hill (6-185, 2 TD) and Travis Kelce (4-94, 2 TD) did all the heavy lifting in the game. Kareem Hunt remains left outside with 40 yards on nine runs and only 23 yards on three catches.
Josh McCown also came to life. He passed for 331 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for 19 yards and scored twice on the ground. Matt Forte (91 total yards, TD) and Bilal Powell (50 total yards, TD) both contributed. But the Chiefs weak secondary only gets worse. Jermaine Kearse (9-157) and Robby Anderson (8-107) both turned in big games.
The Jets led 21-17 at halftime and 37-24 entering the fourth quarter. After two field goals brought the Jets to 30-24, the Chiefs finally had a 31-30 lead with 9 minutes left after Tyreek Hill caught his second touchdown.
The Jets drove from their 25-yard line and used up 17 plays to score on third-and-one from the 1-yard line. They kicked a 21-yard field goal with 3:58 left but the Chiefs had unnecessary roughness when they plowed over the center. Including a later defensive holding penalty, the Jets spent a total of 11 plays inside the Chiefs 10-yard line. They scored a touchdown with 2:20 left to play and made good on the two-point play.
The Chiefs would reach the Jets 19-yard line before throwing an incompletion on fourth down. The Chiefs are a study in the ups and downs of football.
Here’s hoping all the low scoring and motley crew of top players worked in your favor. We’re all in the final stretch and things are getting weird. And we are still learning things. Like when the Chiefs CB Marcus Peters threw a referee’s yellow flag into the stands, it is considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
Now get back to work…