Running down Sunday’s fantasy movers, shakers and heartbreakers:
Panthers 31, Bears 24
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
Cam Newton had his best fantasy day of the season (255 passing yards, 2 TDs), but it still was nowhere near his top-five standards, failing to reach 10 rushing yards (6-9) for the third straight game.
Extra points: In case you haven’t caught on, TE Greg Olsen is having his best fantasy season, adding a 6-72-2 to his season totals which, if not for the Broncos’ Julius Thomas, would have him atop the fantasy TE rankings. … Meanwhile, WR Kelvin Benjamin was targeted a team-high 11 times but only managed a 3-38-0 and lost a fumble. … Darrin Reaves got the start at RB for banged-up Carolina and led the team’s backs in total yards (51 on 12 touches), but Chris Ogbonnaya (8-24 rushing) got the touchdown. … For the Bears, Jay Cutler finished with 289 passing yards, two TDs and 22 yards and a TD on the ground – his first since 2011 – but gave the ball away three times with two interceptions and a late fumble. … Matt Forte caught a career-high 12 passes for 105 yards and a TD and added 61 yards on 17 carries, but, he too, lost a crucial fourth-quarter fumble. … For the Bears’ other pass-catchers, TE Martellus Bennett (3-17) and WR Brandon Marshall (3-44) did little on five targets apiece, but Alshon Jeffery delivered a 6-97-1 performance.
Cowboys 20, Texans 17 (OT)
AT&T Stadium; Arlington, Texas
The Lone Star State showdown produced a fantasy RB feast with Arian Foster (172 total yards, 2 TDs) and league rushing leader DeMarco Murray (192 total yards) putting up big numbers. Murray did cough up his fourth fumble of the season, but topped the rushing century mark (31-136) for the fifth time in five games, joining Jim Brown (1958) and O.J. Simpson (’73 & ’75) as the only RBs to do that in each of the opening five contests of the season.
Extra points: Through the air, WRs Dez Bryant (9-85) and Terrance Williams (2-71) both caught TD passes, extending their scoring streaks to four games (Bryant) and three (Williams), respectively. … And while Tony Romo was throwing for a season-high 324 yards, two TDs, and an interception, counterpart Ryan Fitzpatrick was struggling through a 16-of-25, 154-yard, one-pick outing. … WR Andre Johnson (5-58) led the Texans’ pass-catchers with eight targets, but DeAndre Hopkins again paced the squad with six receptions and 63 yards, catching all six of his targets.
Bills 17, Lions 14 (OT)
Ford Field, Detroit
This Calvin Johnson business is getting scary, catching his only target for seven yards in the third quarter and reportedly reinjuring his ankle in the process. Early reports say he might miss the Lions’ Week 6 game in Minnesota, and actually that might be best for Megatron’s fantasy owners for the time being given his obviously curtailed current state.
Extra points: Kyle Orton made his Buffalo debut, and he overcame an ugly, second-quarter pick-6 to go 30-of-43 for 308 yards and a TD, becoming the first Buffalo QB to top 300 yards since Fitzpatrick in Week 10 of the 2012 season. … Fred Jackson (107 total yards on 17 touches) outgained backfield mate C.J. Spiller (33 on 13) for the fourth time in five games this season and also tacked on a 2-point conversion run. … TE Chris Gragg (1-2) had Buffalo’s lone scoring reception, while rookie Sammy Watkins led the team in targets (12), receptions (7) and receiving yards (87). … For the Lions, Megaton was far from the only disappointment as Matthew Stafford (221 yards, TD, pick), Reggie Bush (8 touches-43 yards) and TE Eric Ebron (2-8) all were underwhelming. … At the opposite end of the specturm is wideout Golden Tate (7-134 on a team-high 9 targets), who topped 100 receiving yards for the second straight game and found the end zone for the first time as a Lion.
Colts 20, Ravens 13
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
The Baltimore D looked as if it might derail the Andrew Luck Fantasy Express, keeping the league’s highest-scoring team of the end zone for the game’s first 34 minutes Sunday, but Luck wound up throwing for a TD and running for another, finishing with 312 passing yards and 12 on the ground to guide Indy to its third straight win.
Extra points: TE Dwayne Allen (4-59) was on the receiving end of Luck’s TD pass and now has a scoring grab in five of the last six games he’s played dating back to last season. … WRs T.Y. Hilton (9-90) and Reggie Wayne (7-77) each were targeted 12 times, while Ahmad Bradshaw (85 yards on 19 touches) continues to be the Indy fantasy back you want to own. … Steve Smith Sr.’s roll was slowed as he lost an early fumble and finished with five catches for 34 yards. … Baltimore’s other WR Smith, Torrey, tied for the team lead in targets with eight but had only three grabs for 38 yards, while TE Owen Daniels (5-70) led the Ravens in receiving yards. … In the backfield, Justin Forsett (6-42-1 rushing, 7-55 receiving) easily produced the best fantasy figures as Lorenzo Taliaferro (5-18 rushing) and Bernard Pierce (4-30) had four fewer touches combined.
Steelers 17, Jaguars 9
EverBank Field, Jacksonville
Steelers wideout Antonio Brown extended his record five-catch streak to 21 games, but was quiet by his lofty standards, finishing with five grabs for 84 yards and no TDs on 12 targets.
Extra points: With TE Heath Miller (3-46) and WR Markus Wheaton (1-17) also quiet, it figured to be a slow day for Ben Roethlisberger, and it was as he wound up with 273 passing yards, a TD, minus-2 rushing yards and a lost fumble. … And in case you’re wondering, it was reserve TE Michael Palmer (1-1) scoring the team’s lone offensive TD. … Le’Veon Bell failed to score for the fourth straight game, but he led the team in rushing (15-82) and caught five passes for 36 yards – his 10th game with at least 98 total yards in his last 11 outings. … As the score indicates, there was little fantasy production to be found in the Jags’ stat columns with rookies Blake Bortles (191 passing yards, 2 picks), Storm Johnson (4-27 rushing) and Allen Robinson (5-51 receiving) leading the way. … Toby Gerhart, if you’re somehow still care, ran for all of 9 yards on 4 carries and added a 20-yard reception.
Saints 37, Buccaneers 31
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
Jimmy Graham caused the fantasy seismograph to move when it was announced that his second-quarter shoulder sprain would end his day after two catches for 36 yards. But it later was reported that it isn’t believed to be serious and shouldn’t keep the TE from starting in Week 7 following the team’s bye next weekend.
Extra points: Drew Brees threw an un-Brees-like three interceptions – his most since a five-pick performance in Atlanta in Week 14 of the 2012 season – and one was even taken back for a Tampa touchdown, but he was far from a fantasy detriment, throwing for 371 yards and a pair of TDs. … All three of New Orleans’ top RBs, Pierre Thomas (12 touches-112 total yards-2 TDs), Khiry Robinson (22-97-1) and Travaris Cadet (3-19-1) found their way into the end zone, with Robinson’s 18-yard TD run ending the game in OT. … Brandin Cooks was targeted a team-most 11 times and caught nine passes but gained only 56 yards and didn’t score, while fellow wideout Marques Colston was ho-hum 3-63 on six targets. … For the Mike Evans-less Bucs, Doug Martin (14-45) and Vincent Jackson (8-144) led the team in rushing and receiving, respectively, but the less-heralded Bobby Rainey (6-21 rushing), Louis Murphy (3-35 receiving) and Robert Herron (1-9 receiving) accounted for the Bucs’ offensive scores.
Giants 30, Falcons 20
MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J.
First-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. caught four passes for 44 yards and a TD in his long-awaited NFL debut, and that further divvied up Manning’s WR targets with Preston Parker 3-61 on 3 targets), Rueben Randle (4-33-1 on 10) and Victor Cruz (3-22 on 6) all getting in on the act. TE Larry Donnell entered the contest with 25 receptions, 236 yards and four TDs on a team-leading 31 targets but was shockingly shut out here on only one target.
Extra points: N.Y. rookie RB Andre Williams wound up leading the squad with 65 yards and a TD on 20 carries after leading rusher Rashad Jennings (10-55) departed in third quarter with what was later deemed a left-knee sprain. … Atlanta QB Matt Ryan (316) topped the 300-yard mark for the first time since Week 1 but threw for only one score and was picked off once. … Rookie Devonta Freeman (4-38 rushing, 5-44 receiving) led the Falcons in rushing, and Steven Jackson (13-37, 5-37) and big-play Antone Smith (1-2, 3-83) both found the end zone. … Injured WR Harry Douglas was inactive and Roddy White (2-26) was ineffective, resulting in a team-high 16 targets for Julio Jones (11-105).
Eagles 34, Rams 28
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
LeSean McCoy, who had gained 39 total yards over the last two games, eclipsed that mark early and finished with a season-high 81 rushing yards, but he also lost a fumble, added only 5 yards on four catches and failed score a TD for the fourth time in five games.
Extra points: Jeremy Maclin (5-76) and Riley Cooper (4-33) had touchdown grabs, but it wasn’t exactly a banner day for Nick Foles who threw for only 207 yards, tossed a pick and lost a fumble. … RB Darren Sproles (7-51) and TE Zach Ertz (3-39) were middling at best once again. … For the visitors, QB Austin Davis last week was anointed the Rams’ starter for the rest of the season and responded with his second straight 300-yard (375) and three-TD performance, two of which went to WR Brian Quick (5-87). The only negatives, though, were his two lost fumbles. … Wideout Kenny Britt (3-68) caught Davis’ other TD toss, while TE Jared Cook (4-44) didn’t do much with his team-high 10 targets. … Starting RB Zac Stacy (11-42 rushing, 4-36 receiving) departed in the third quarter with a calf injury on a play in which he also coughed up a fumble, and Benny Cunningham wound up scoring and leading the team in rushing (7-47) while adding three catches for 24 yards. … Meanwhile, fantasy’s top defense now has a half-dozen TDs as the Eagles scored on a blocked-punt return and a fumble recovery in the end zone. They forced three turnovers and registered four sacks.
Browns 29, Titans 28
LP Field, Nashville
Brian Hoyer not only rallied the Browns to the biggest road comeback win in NFL history – they trailed 28-10 at halftime – but finished with one of the week’s top fantasy days in the process, throwing for 292 yards and three scores.
Extra points: Ben Tate made a triumphant return (22-123) as Cleveland starting RB, leaving a combined 13 carries and 50 yards for rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. … WR Travis Benjamin (4-48) hauled in a pair of TD catches, and backup TE Jim Dray (3-25) had the other while undrafted rookie wideout Taylor Gabriel (4-95) led the squad in receptions and receiving yards. That means TE Jordan Cameron (3-33) and WRs Miles Austin (2-54) and Andrew Hawkins (3-27) didn’t do much. … As for the Titans, QB Jake Locker was back after missing Week 4 and got off to a strong start (8-of-11, 79 yards, TD passing; 4-34, TD rushing) before injuring his hand in the second quarter and missing the rest of the game. Charlie Whitehurst (13-of-21, 194 yards) came in and fired two quick scoring passes, but couldn’t guide Tennessee to any second-half points. … Kendall Wright (6-47-2) had his first multi-TD-catch game, while Justin Hunter (3-99) also found the end zone. … Wright (2-43) also led the Titans in rushing as RBs Shonn Greene (11-36) and Bishop Sankey (8-27) were bottled up. … TE Delanie Walker (4-47) also had his worst outing of the season.
Broncos 41, Cardinals 20
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
Yeah, you might’ve called in sick today if you had given up on Demaryius Thomas, who lapped his season output (13-141-1) and set a single-game franchise record with 226 yards and two TDs on eight catches and 16 targets in 60 scintillating minutes Sunday.
Extra points: Thomas’ explosive afternoon was a big part of another huge day for Peyton Manning who threw for a career-high 479 yards and four TDs to overshadow a pair of picks. … TE Julius Thomas (6-66) caught Manning’s other two scoring passes to increase his league-leading total to seven, while Emmanuel Sanders (7-101) had his third straight 100-yard receiving game after entering Week 2 without one in his career. … With C.J. Anderson a healthy scratch, Ronnie Hillman (15-64) led the Broncos in rushing after struggling starter Montee Ball (6-7) left with a third-quarter groin injury. … For the Cards, No. 2 QB Drew Stanton (11-26, 118 yards) suffered a concussion in the third quarter, pressing rookie Logan Thomas into action in with starter Carson Palmer inactive. Thomas completed one pass in eight attempts, but it was a downfield sideline dart to RB Andre Ellington, who raced 81 yards to the end zone. Ellington (16-32 rushing, 4-112 receiving) also ran for a score. … Arizona WRs Larry Fitzgerald (3-57), Michael Floyd (1-7) and John Brown (2-4) all were targeted seven times to little avail.
Chargers 31, Jets 0
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
The Bolts were down to fourth string RB Branden Oliver after Donald Brown (9-26) left with a concussion in the second quarter, but all the 5-foot-8 undrafted rookie did was produce the best fantasy RB performance of the day with 19-114-1 on the ground and 4-68-1 through the air.
Extra points: Meanwhile, Philip Rivers (288 yards, 3 TDs) continued his fantasy tear, with two of his three scores going to on-again, off-again TE Antonio Gates (4-60-2). … WRs Malcom Floyd (3-72) and Keenan Allen (3-25) were hampered by leg injuries, while Eddie Royal (3-40) also had a quiet afternoon after notching a pair of TD catches in each of his last two games. … WR Eric Decker (hamstring) was inactive for the Jets, and that was only the start of N.Y.’s myriad issues. Geno Smith was 4-of-12 for 27 yards and an interception in the first half before finally being yanked for Michael Vick at the start of the third quarter. The veteran, however, didn’t fare any better, going 8-of-19 for 47 yards and couldn’t prevent the Jets (151 total yards) from being the league’s first shutout victim of the season. … Chris Ivory (9-44) and Jeremy Kerley (3-24) led the squad in rushing and receiving, respectively.
49ers 22, Chiefs 17
Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, Calif.
Colin Kaepernick (201 yards, TD passing, 10-18 rushing) and Alex Smith (175, 2 TDs, interception passing, 1-6 rushing) basically played to a not-so-fantasy-beneficial draw in the meeting of the former San Fran teammates.
Extra points: For the Niners, Frank Gore (18-107) had his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game, but the lone San Fran TD was scored by WR Stevie Johnson (1-9). … TE Vernon Davis (back) missed his second game in the last three weeks, leaving WRs Brandon Lloyd (3-76) and Anquan Boldin (3-72) to pace the team in receiving. Michael Crabtree, meanwhile, was a 1-16 disappointment on four targets. … Jamaal Charles had 16 of the Chiefs’ 19 RB touches and totaled 84 yards without a score. Rookie back DeAnthony Thomas did find his way into the end zone for his first time as a pro, scoring on a 17-yard catch and run. … TE Travis Kelce (2-15) caught an early TD pass but oddly was only targeted three times in the game. … WR Junior Hemingway (4-50) led K.C. in receptions and receiving yards.
Patriots 43, Bengals 17
Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Mass.
Lesson here: Let’s not write the Patriots’ obits just yet. Displaying a fire and play-making prowess not seen all September, Tom Brady (23-of-35, 292 yards, 2 TDs), Stevan Ridley (27-113-1 rushing) and Co. knocked the league’s top-ranked defense and the rest of the Bengals off their undefeated perch.
Extra points: Nearly half (11) of Brady’s 23 completions and both of his TD tosses were reeled in by TEs Rob Gronkowski (6-100-1) and Timothy Wright (5-85-1). … In addition to Ridley, RB Shane Vereen (9-90 rushing, 3-18 receiving) also had his best yardage outing of the season. … Cincy’s Andy Dalton threw for 204 yards and pair of TDs, connecting with WRs A.J. Green (5-81) and Mohamed Sanu (5-70) for the scores. Green, though, lost a fumble, and got his TD when CB Darrelle Revis was briefly out the game. … Bengals RBs Giovanni Bernard (13-62 rushing, 2-10 receiving) and Jeremy Hill (2-1, 3-68) didn’t do as much damage as fantasy owners would’ve hoped against a New England D which forced three turnovers and scored on CB Kyle Arrington’s special-teams fumble return.