Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Elijah McGuire – Ankle
Kelvin Benjamin – Knee
Nathan Peterman – Concussion
Amari Cooper – Ankle
Tom Savage – Concussion
Byron Marshall – Hamstring
Josh McCown – Broken hand
Carson Wentz – Knee
Lance Kendricks – Jaw
Samaje Perine – Stomach
Clive Walford – Concussion
Marcus Mariota – Knee
Free agency is usually closed by now but a few leagues extend it and there really is no reason to stop. But no matter, injuries impact much more than one player.
Carson Wentz – This could be Deshaun Watson all over again (and for the record, I own both on my dynasty team). The concern is that he tore his left ACL when he dove into the end zone and was sandwiched between defenders. Without Wentz, the powerhouse of the NFC suddenly may be far less dominating.
Nick Foles is an adequate back-up but Wentz was a league-leading starter. His absence would change everything. The downgrades to all receivers would be immediate and while Foles would have fantasy value, he’d be useful only in two-QB leagues. The Eagles next opponents are the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys. All would be ripe for taking advantage with a healthy Wentz.
The Eagles have already won the NFC East but their one-game lead over the Vikings for the No. 1 seed is at risk. Pending later information, Foles becomes a worthy pick-up but the rest of the Eagles players will take a hit or at least be less reliable.
Tom Savage – Seemed to be concussed as well only his absence was more than compensated for with T.J. Yates who they debated about even before the injury to Savage. Yates came in and gave DeAndre Hopkins a league-leading 11 catches for 149 yards and two scores. Yates is no more appealing than Savage but at least he knows who to target. The Texans play in Jacksonville, then host the Steelers so the next two weeks likely won’t be good for Hopkins anyway.
Josh McCown – Reported to have broken his non-throwing hand but quarterbacks need both. The 38-year-old veteran is one of the oldest in the NFL and has lifted the Jets passing offense above expectations. He made Robby Anderson into a surprise star. Bryce Petty is next up but all that does is downgrade Anderson and Jermaine Kearse who had become fantasy starters against the odds. The Jets next play the Saints and Chargers so the outlook would have already been depressed. Anderson likely ends his surprising run for 2017.
Greg Olsen – Only had one target and no catch in the win over the Vikings. He has home games against the Packers and Buccaneers which should be fertile ground for fantasy points but he’s untouchable until he proves he is remotely healthy and productive.
Giovani Bernard – Replacing Joe Mixon against the Bears, Bernard ran for 62 yards on 11 carries and became the leading receiver with six catches for 68 yards. Mixon never had more than four receptions this year, so Bernard was used as a true full-time back – even more so than Mixon. The Bengals play in Minnesota this week and that role as a receiver will likely be needed again should Mixon remain out.
Jamaal Williams – He’s making the case to hold the starting job next year too. The rookie ran for 113 yards and a score in Week 13 versus the Buccaneers. He comes off a 15-carry, 49-yard effort in Cleveland where he ran for a touchdown and caught another score during his team-high seven receptions for 69 yards. Over the last three weeks, he’s averaged 126 total yards per game and scored five times. Aaron Jones rushed four times and totaled a two-yard loss.
Josh Gordon – He was gone since 2014 and debuted by catching four of 11 targets for 85 yards in Week 13. On Sunday, he caught three of six passes for 69 yards and his first touchdown since Week 15 of 2013. Even Corey Coleman caught five passes for 62 yards and a score in the loss to the Packers. That bodes well for 2018. Unfortunately, not quite good enough for a 2017 win.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Umm… He’s 2-0 as the 49ers starter and averages passing 314 yards per game. He left Houston with 334 yards and one score and Marquise Goodwin averages 103 yards when he plays with him. The 49ers season was over long ago but he couldn’t have done much better in his first starts. Next up are home games against the Titans and Jaguars. Maybe it is too much to ask for another win but then again he’s never played in a home game.
Kareem Hunt – He’s back. If only for one week. Hunt ran for 116 yards and a score on 25 carries against the Raiders. That was his first touchdown since Week 3 and first 100-yard game since Week 5. He hadn’t topped 77 total yards in the five previous games. Next up are home games against the Chargers and Dolphins.
David Carr – His best game of the year was Week 7 when he threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns on the Chiefs. This week, he was only good for 211 yards and one score with two interceptions in Kansas City. And Amari Cooper just reinjured his ankle without making a catch. Hosting the Cowboys this week should help but then playing in Philadelphia and at the Chargers won’t help Carr bounce back.
Rod Smith – The No. 2 back for the Cowboys blew up against the Giants. While Alfred Morris was the lead back with 62 yards on 19 carries, Smith ran six times and gained 47 yards plus scored on a 15-yard run. He was also the leading receiver with five receptions for 113 yards thanks to an 81-yard touchdown catch and run. Next week in Oakland, Smith is going to be hard to keep on the bench while relying on Morris. Both of Smith’s scores came in the fourth quarter.
Theo Riddick/Tion Green – The undrafted rookie Green was a surprise when he ran for 51 yards and a touchdown in Week 13 versus the Ravens. But he only accounted for 15 yards on five runs in Tampa Bay this week. Ameer Abdullah was inactive this week and reported to be more performance than health reasons. But Theo Riddick was the primary back. He ran for 29 yards on ten carries while rushing in two touchdowns. He added a season-high six catches for 64 yards. Hosting the Bears next week should bring more opportunities.
Samaje Perine – He was limited to only 45 yards on 17 carries and added four catches for seven yards in the loss to the Chargers. He was ailing during the game and was reported to have stomach issues plus he limped for part of the afternoon. He was less effective in the last two games – both on the road – but rushed for 100 yards in his last home game. Perine is worth tracking this week since he’ll be playing at home again but next up are the Cardinals and Broncos.
Tyrell Williams – Keenan Allen rightfully takes the headlines, but Williams scored in two of the last three games and gained a season-best 132 yards on four catches in the win over the Redskins. He’s a risky fantasy start that only recently showed up with relevant stats. But he also plays against the Chiefs, Jets and Raiders next.
Mike Davis – Worth at least daily fantasy consideration, he ran for 64 yards on 16 carries last week along with 37 receiving yards. In Jacksonville, he ran 15 times for 66 yards and added one catch. The Seahawks have finally settled on a primary back although the next games are against the Rams, Cowboys and Cardinals.
Jaguar wideouts – Marquise Lee has been the most consistent and productive wide receiver this year and almost always ends up with five catches or more. But the two youngsters of the unit are showing up and getting better. Keelan Cole scored in the last two games and ended with a career-best 99 yards on three catches in the win over the Seahawks. Dede Westbrook ended with 81 yards and his first NFL touchdown and turned in at least five receptions in each of the last three games. Next up are the Texans, 49ers and Titans. The schedule is only getting better.
Alex Collins – He’s been gold since midseason and scored in each of the last four games. Playing in Pittsburgh, Collins ran for a career-best 120 yards on 18 runs and scored once. He also added 46 yards on two catches. The Ravens still allow Javorius Allen to carry the ball and he hawked two touchdowns away from Collins. But Collins has been a revelation for the Ravens and his next opponents are the Browns, Colts and Bengals.
IND 7, BUF 13 OT
What a great game – driving snow for almost the entire time. This was football like it was played 50 years ago. Passing? Why? Jacoby Brissett threw for only 69 yards and one score to Jack Doyle while Nathan Peterman totaled 57 passing yards for one score to Kelvin Benjamin (3-38, TD). But Frank Gore ran for 130 yards on 36 carries and LeSean McCoy gained 156 yards on 32 runs with the winning overtime score on a 21-yard run. Outside of the running backs, there were almost no fantasy points but a snowy game between two teams that weren’t going to pass much anyway is always fun. The 3-10 Colts host the Broncos this week and the 7-6 Bills welcome the Dolphins.
MIN 24, CAR 31
Bit of a surprise. The Vikings held Cam Newton to only 137 passing yards and one score to Devin Funchess (3-59) but the damage was done with Jonathan Stewart running for 106 yards and three touchdowns to a defense that had only allowed three rushing scores to running backs from all previous games this season combined. Newton also ran for 70 yards to salvage some fantasy value. Case Keenum passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns with Adam Thielen (6-105, TD) the best. The Viking backs only rushed for 60 yards. The Vikings drop to 10-3 in this surprise loss when they could not stop the run. They host the Bengals this week while the 9-4 Panthers host the Packers.
CHI 33, CIN 7
The Bengals took the day off though Giovani Bernard ran for 62 yards and caught six passes for 68 yards as the leading receiver. But A.J. Green ended with five catches for 64 yards and no score so safe bet the Bengals did not fare well. Mitchell Trubisky passed for 271 yards and one score and ran in a touchdown as well. Jordan Howard ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Kendall Wright (10-107) had his season-best game by a big margin. While the Bengals may be this bad, the Bears are not this good. Now the 4-9 Bears head to Detroit while the 5-8 Bengals travel to Minnesota.
GB 27, CLE 21 OT
The Browns came close. So very close. They led 21-7 entering the fourth quarter but could not stop the inevitable. In overtime, DeShone Kizer blew it when he threw a jump ball into the middle of about six players and the Packers intercepted it on the CLE-42 yard line. Fate took over from there. Brett Hundley ended with 265 yards and three touchdowns thanks almost entirely to the fourth quarter lay down by the Browns. Davante Adams (10-84, 2 TD) was the top receiver as usual while Jamaal Williams ran for 49 yards and one score plus caught seven passes for 69 yards and a second touchdown. DeShone Kizer passed for 214 yards and three scores with two costly interceptions. Josh Gordon (3-69, TD) and Corey Coleman (5-62, TD) had big games while Isaiah Crowell ran for 121 yards on just 19 carries. With the Ravens and then trips to Chicago and Pittsburgh left, the Browns probably just locked up 0-16. The 7-6 Packers head to Carolina with much speculation as to who the quarterback will be.
SF 26, HOU 16
Losing to the visiting 49ers is not a resume builder. Jimmy Garoppoloo passed for 334 yards and one score to Garrett Celek (2-67, TD) and Marquise Goodwin (6-106) is making his 2018 draft stock rise sharply. Carlos Hyde ran for 78 yards and one touchdown. The Texans lost Tom Savage and T.J. Yates came in and still threw two scores to DeAndre Hopkins (11-149, 2 TD) which begs the question how Brock Osweiler could not connect with Hopkins when every other no-name quarterback had no problem. And Hopkins was the only Texan with any fantasy value. The 3-10 49ers host the Titans this week and the 4-9 Texans head to Jacksonville.
OAK 15, KC 26
The game was not as close as the score may suggest. Derek Carr ended with 211 yards and one score to Jared Cook (5-75, TD) but Michael Crabtree (7-60) could not find the end zone and Amari Cooper re-injured his ankle and gained 210 yards less than the last time he faced them (no catches). Alex Smith threw for 268 yards but no touchdowns. The scoring was all field goals plus Kareem Hunt’s 138 total yards and a rushing touchdown plus Charcandrick West ran in a score as well. The 6-7 Chiefs looked like the early season version and this week face the Chargers. The 6-7 Raiders host the Cowboys.
DAL 30, NYG 10
Was 10-10 at halftime but the Giants never showed up in the second half and then it all went really bad in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys scored three touchdowns. Dak Prescott threw for a personal best 332 yards and three touchdowns. Dez Bryant (3-73, TD) scored on a 50-yard catch and Rod Smith (5-113, TD) had an 81-yard catch for a touchdown plus added 47 yards on six runs and a second score. Eli Manning passed for 228 yards and one score but Evan Engram (4-54) was the best receiver for the Giants. The emotional spark from Manning playing only lasted about two quarters and then the same dysfunctional offense showed up. The 7-6 Cowboys head to Oakland this week and the 2-11 Giants host the Eagles so 2-12 is coming up.
DET 24, TB 21
The Lions kicked a 46-yard field goal with 20 seconds left to ruin the two-touchdown fourth quarter by Jameis Winston (285 yards, 2 TD). O.J. Howard (4-54, TD) had a score while Cameron Brate (1-11) went back under his rock. The Buccaneers ran for 100 yards but used three backs in the process. Matt Stafford’s hand was good enough to throw for 381 yards and one score to Golden Tate (8-85, TD) while Eric Ebron (10-94) record career-highs with receptions (10) and yards (94). It was roughly three times his 2017 average. Now the 7-6 Lions host the Bears and the 4-9 Buccaneers host the Falcons.
TEN 7, ARI 12
This game was every bit as exciting as the score indicates. Marcus Mariota threw for only 159 yards and two interceptions and the best receiver was Eric Decker (3-56). The Titans backfield only ran for 54 yards on 19 carries though Derrick Henry (8-20, TD) scored. Blaine Gabbert was little better with 178 passing yards but no interceptions. No Cardinals receiver was better than Larry Fitzgerald (5-44). Kerwynn Williams totaled 88 yards as the best player in the game. The 8-4 Titans head to San Francisco this week and the 5-7 Cardinals visit the Redskins.
NYJ 0, DEN 23
This was a game largely devoid of any offense. The Jets rushed for only 49 yards and passed for 60 yards and one interception. Losing McCown hurt but the game was already over. Robby Anderson was still the leading receiver but with only 27 yards on three catches. The only player with any fantasy value was Demaryius Thomas (8-93, TD). The other touchdown was naturally scored by fullback Andy Janovich on his only carry in the game. The 5-8 Jets need to shake it off because they play in New Orleans this week. The 4-9 Broncos head to Indianapolis.
WAS 13, LAC 30
The Chargers late-season surge just gets better. Philip Rivers passed for 319 yards and two touchdowns. Tyrell Williams (4-132, TD) and Keenan Allen (6-111) came up with big yardage. Melvin Gordon ran for 78 yards and a score on 22 carries. Kirk Cousins only managed 151 yards and one score to Vernon Davis (2-26, TD) and Jamison Crowder (3-34) was the top Redskins receiver. Samaje Perine (17-45) never had a chance to get on track with the Chargers already up 13-0 in the first quarter. The 5-8 Redskins host the Cardinals this week and the 7-6 Chargers travel to Kansas City for a very big game.
SEA 24, JAC 30
Game of the week contender. Two great defenses that were both uncharacteristically generous. Russell Wilson passed for 271 yards and three touchdowns split out between Tyler Lockett (4-90, TD), Doug Baldwin (3-78, TD) and Paul Richardson (3-72, TD). Mike Davis ran for 66 yards on 15 carries. Blake Bortles even threw for 268 yards and two scores between Keelan Cole (3-99, TD) and Dede Westbrook (5-81, TD). Leonard Fournette ran for 101 yards and a score. There was far more offense than expected and it all went to the right players. Now the 8-5 Seahawks host the Rams and the 9-4 Jaguars welcome the Texans to town.
PHI 43, LAR 35
Another game of the week contender. The Eagles kicked two field goals in the final ten minutes to take the lead and then scored a touchdown on the final play when the “keep lateralling” play turned into a 16-yard fumble return for the score. Carson Wentz threw for 291 yards and four scores but left with what may be a season-ending ACL tear. Torrey Smith (6-100) and Trey Burton (5-71, 2 TD) were the top receivers and the three running backs mixed and matched for 114 yards on 28 carries. Jared Goff passed for 199 yards and two touchdowns with Cooper Kupp (5-118, TD) as the only notable receiver. Todd Gurley ended with 96 yards and two scores on 13 carries and 30 more yards on three catches. The 11-2 Eagles move on to visit the Giants. The 9-4 Rams travel to Seattle.
Huddle player of the week
Le’Veon Bell – It was close with DeAndre Hopkins also blowing up but Bell was instrumental in the victory over the Ravens on Sunday night. He ran 13 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns plus caught nine passes for 77 yards and a third touchdown. It was enough to help the Steelers win and enough to help any fantasy team take the “W.”
Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
|QB||Brett Hundley||296||3||QB||Cam Newton||207||1|
|RB||Rod Smith||160||2||RB||Latavius Murray||20||0|
|RB||Jonathan Stewart||103||3||RB||Alvin Kamara||27||0|
|WR||Tyrell Williams||132||1||WR||Mike Evans||25||0|
|WR||Keelan Cole||99||1||WR||Robbie Anderson||27||0|
|WR||Tyler Lockett||100||1||WR||Larry Fitzgerald||44||0|
|TE||Trey Burton||71||2||TE||Jimmy Graham||0||0|
|PK||Robbie Gould||2 XP 4 FG||PK||Chandler Catanzaro||Nope|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 168||Huddle Fantasy Points = 26|
Sunday’s couch commentary
The playoff picture is coming into focus. The Patriots and Steelers are battling for the top two seeds and the Jaguars and Titans will decide the AFC South. The AFC West is anyone’s guess other than it will not be the Broncos. The wild cards should be two of the Bills, Ravens or second place in the AFC South but it is too early to use ink on anything other than the Steelers clinched their division.
The Eagles own the NFC East even if Carson Wentz may be gone. The Vikes fell a game back with their loss but should still win the NFC North. The NFC South has three teams in contention and the NFC West will be the Seahawks or Rams.
BAL 38, PIT 39
What a finish to the weekend. At halftime, the Steelers led 20-14. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Ravens led 31-20. The Steelers reeled off 19 points to only seven for the Ravens to take the win on a Chris Bowell 46-yard field goal with 46 seconds left to play.
Ben Roethlisberger not only recorded the first performance over 300 yards on the Ravens this year, he also became the only person in NFL history with three games of 500 passing yards. He completed 44 of 66 passes for 506 yards and two scores. Antonio Brown (11-213) and Jesse James (10-97) were the leading receivers while Le’Veon Bell totaled 125 yards and three touchdowns.
Alex Collins rushed for 120 yards and one score while Joe Flacco passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Wallace (3-72) was the top receiver for the Ravens. Flacco connected with nine different receivers.
Now the 11-2 Steelers face the Patriots in a late afternoon game this week. The 7-6 Ravens head to Cleveland.
Fantasy playoffs are kicking into high gear this week and as we just saw in Buffalo, weather can be an issue. Quarterbacks are still dropping and right when you need them most. But this is the final stretch where every point matters. Hope your players touch the pylon.
Now get back to work…