Running down Sunday’s fantasy movers, shakers and heartbreakers:
Texans 45, Titans 14
NRG Stadium, Houston
So you were starting Ryan Fitzpatrick, right? Re-inserted as the Texans’ starter with Ryan Mallett’s season-ending injury, the bearded wonder was only 24-of-33 for 358 yards and a career-high six touchdown passes. Well, hey, at least you probably weren’t playing against him, either.
Extra points: Actually, give DeAndre Hopkins a big assist in Fitz’s big day, as the second-year wideout caught all nine of his targets for a career-best 238 yards and two scores. Fellow WR Andre Johnson (7-53 on a team-most 11 targets) even caught a TD pass – his second in the last 19 games – as did Arian Foster (5-26), TE Ryan Griffin (1-8) and, naturally, J.J. Watt (1-1) – the defensive lineman’s fifth total TD of the season. … Speaking of Foster, he paced the team with 79 rushing yards on 19 carries in his return from a two-game injury absence. Alfred Blue, meanwhile, rushed seven times for 6 yards. … For Tennessee, rookie starter Zach Mettenberger (13-of-19, 184 yards, TD, interception) left in the third quarter after having his shoulder driven into the turf by Watt. Jake Locker – remember him? – came in and completed 6-of-12 passes for 91 yards, a TD and two picks. … Kendall Wright (7-132) and Nate Washington (5-61) had the TD receptions while fellow WR Justin Hunter caught only one pass for 18 yards and reportedly suffered a partially lacerated spleen. … Bishop Sankey (10-42) and Dexter McCluster (9-33) paced the Titans’ lackluster ground game.
Rams 52, Raiders 0
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
Tre Mason came into the game with only one career TD, but the third-round rookie tripled that total and piled up a career-high 164 total yards – including 117 on 14 rushes – in a rout of the Silver & Black. Zac Stacy even got seven carries for 24 yards, but it’s hard to read much into that given the lopsided score.
Extra points: Shaun Hill threw for 183 yards and two TDs and ran for another, while WR Tavon Austin (2-24-1 rushing; 2-11 receiving) continues to be more productive taking handoffs than catching passes. … WR Stedman Bailey led St. Louis with five catches for 100 yards on a team-high six targets. … For the Raiders, Derek Carr threw for 173 yards and two interceptions and FB Marcel Reece (6-48) and WR James Jones (6-33) led the team in receiving on eight targets apiece. Even Matt Schaub got some late work and, of course, threw a pick. … Week 12 stud Latavius Murray didn’t pass late-week concussion tests, leaving the ground attack to Darren McFadden (11-27) and Maurice Jones-Drew (5-21). … The surging Rams’ defense figured to be a strong start and most definitely delivered with six sacks, five forced turnovers, a return TD and, of course, the shutout.
Chargers 34, Ravens 33
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
Philip Rivers hadn’t had a 300-yard passing game since Week 6 and had thrown only two scoring passes in the last three weeks, but that changed Sunday as he finished 34-of-45 for 383 yards and three TDs in rallying the Bolts to the improbable road win.
Extra points: Resurgent WR Keenan Allen (11-121 on 15 targets) had two of the TD catches while Eddie Royal (9-81) had the other – the 1-yard game-winner with 38 seconds remaining – to make up for his earlier fumble. … Malcom Floyd (3-85) and Antonio Gates (7-83) also got involved while Ryan Mathews (13-38 rushing, 1-6) made his fantasy day with a 14-yard fourth-quarter scoring run. … For the hosts, Justin Forsett (24-106, 2-17) topped 100 rushing yards for the third straight game but this time failed to find his way into the end zone. … Joe Flacco threw for 225 yards and two scores – both to Torrey Smith (6-65 on 8 targets), leaving little for Steve Smith (1-2 on 4 targets) and TE Owen Daniels (2-30 on 3 targets)
Bills 26, Browns 10
Ralph Wilson Stadium; Orchard Park, N.Y.
The Bills got a big home win, and the D deserves the fantasy headlines with two sacks, three forced turnovers and a TD on Jerry Hughes’ fumble return.
Extra points: Offensively, Kyle Orton was a lackluster 17-of-31 for 190 yards, a TD and two picks through the air, while Fred Jackson (21-70, 3-27) was a workhorse with a season-high 24 touches. … WR Robert Woods led the Bills in receptions (4) and receiving yards (71), but it was Chris Hogan (2-8) snaring the TD pass. … Sammy Watkins (3-11) didn’t do much with a team-high nine targets. … For the Browns, Brian Hoyer (18-of-30 for 192 yards, 2 interceptions) struggled and was replaced by Johnny Manziel (5-of-8 63 yards) who ran for 13 yards and a TD – the team’s lone score. Cue the starting speculation for Week 14. … Terrance West led Cleveland in rushing with 32 yards on seven carries but lost the fumble that was returned for the TD. Isaiah Crowell got 18 touches but they only amounted to 29 rushing yards and a 15-yard reception. … Josh Gordon (7-75) was targeted a team-high 13 times, but Miles Austin (7-86 on 9 targets) led the team in receiving yards while Andrew Hawkins (2-24) had a quiet afternoon. Austin, though, suffered a kidney injury and spent the night in a Buffalo hospital.
Bengals 14, Buccaneers 13
Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.
Some bad quarterbacking was on display here as Andy Dalton (19-of-27, 176 yards) and Josh McCown (15-of-29, 190 yards) combined to throw one TD and four interceptions – with three of the picks and the TD belonging to the QB with the stripes on his helmet.
Extra points: Dalton’s scoring toss went to A.J. Green (4-57), but unheralded wideout James Wright (3-59) paced the team in receiving yards. Meanwhile, Mohamed Sanu (2-19) finished with fewer than 25 receiving yards for third time in the last four games. … Jeremy Hill (13-40 rushing, 4-12 receiving) had more touches than Giovanni Bernard (10-49, 1-4), but Dalton (3-7) had the team’s lone rushing score. … For the Bucs’ unreliable backfield, it was welcome back Doug Martin (18-58, 1-3) as he scored his second TD of the season. Charles Sims (5-6, 4-49) and Bobby Rainey (1-11, 2-41) were much more effective as pass catchers. … Just about every T.B. TE fantasy GMs have heard of was injured and inactive, while WRs Mike Evans (4-49 on 9 targets) and Vincent Jackson (2-24 on 4) couldn’t find many creases in the Cincy secondary.
Colts 49, Redskins 27
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Andrew Luck started slow with an early fumble and interception but rebounded quite nicely with his first career five-TD game and 370 yards. He added 20 yards on four rushes.
Extra points: Dan Herron (8-88, 2-8) outperformed Trent Richardson (8-12, 0-0) for the second straight game and this time got the TD to go along with the yardage, courtesy of a 49-yard second-quarter scoring burst. He also coughed up a fumble for the second straight week. … TE Coby Fleener (4-127 on a team-most 7 targets) and rookie WR Donte Moncrief (3-134) hauled in two touchdowns apiece, while the reliable T.Y. Hilton (5-62) had the other. … For D.C., Colt McCoy came up huge for those fantasy owners who rolled with him, finishing 31-of-47 for a career-high 392 yards and three TDs. He fumbled four times, but lost only one while rushing for 12 yards on three carries. … TE Jordan Reed (9-123) had his best day of the season on a team-high 11 targets, while DeSean Jackson (5-84) was in and out of the game with health issues. … RB Roy Helu (4-61) and Logan Paulsen (1-16) had the team’s other two TD grabs, while Alfred Morris (17-67) set the rushing pace as usual.
Jaguars 25, Giants 24
EverBank Field, Jacksonville
Those who started the Jacksonville D against the mistake-prone Giants were discouraged early but handsomely rewarded in the end with four sacks and three fumble recoveries – two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Extra points: N.Y. RB Rashad Jennings (26-91, 3-3) started fast with a pair of second-quarter rushing scores but was unable to finish the game on a gimpy ankle. Rookie Andre Williams (8-21, 2-16) wasn’t able to do much in relief. … Odell Beckham Jr. (7-90) and TE Larry Donnell (5-55) led the Giants in targets with eight and seven, respectively, but Preston Parker (2-6) had the lone TD grab. Donnell also lost his fourth fumble of the season. … Eli Manning (247 yards, TD) didn’t throw an interception but fumbled twice. … For the Jags, they needed only one offensive TD, and that came on Blakes Bortles’ 30-yard toss to Marqise Lee (6-75 on 8 targets). Allen Hurns (4-42) and Cecil Shorts (4-35) were also targeted eight times apiece by Bortles, who threw for only 194 yards but didn’t turn the ball over and led the team in rushing (5-68). … Speaking of the J’ville ground game, Denard Robinson had 11 carries for 44 yards and added 10 yards on a trio of catches in falling short of 75 total yards for the third straight game.
Vikings 31, Panthers 13
TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Another game, another team defense/special teams hogging the fantasy headlines as the Vikes recorded four sacks, an interception and returned a pair of first-half blocked punts for touchdowns.
Extra points: Teddy Bridgewater only threw 21 passes for 138 yards but had two scoring tosses among his 15 completions. … Greg Jennings (5-45) and TE Kyle Rudolph (2-7) had those TD catches, while Matt Asiata (14-52) and Ben Tate (5-15) paced the Purple in rushing in Jerick McKinnon’s injury absence. … The Panthers’ lone TD came on a 32-yard third-quarter pass from Cam Newton (18-of-35, 194 yards, interception; 9-49 rushing) to rookie Philly Brown (2-34). Fellow first-year wideout Kelvin Benjamin was targeted a team-high 12 times but finished with only five catches for 56 yards – strikingly similar to the final numbers of TE Greg Olsen (5-59 on 9 targets). … Jonathan Stewart had a season-high 85 rushing yards on 12 carries to pace the Panthers while adding 25 on a pair of catches.
Saints 35, Steelers 32
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
So let’s get this straight: Drew Brees throws for 257 yards and five TDs and none of them found their way into Jimmy Graham’s grasp? Graham, in fact, wasn’t even targeted as WR Kenny Stills (5-162), Nick Toon (2-17), Marques Colston (3-16), backup TE Ben Watson (1-15) and FB Erik Lorig (1-4) caught the scoring passes. Simply brutal at a bad time for Graham owners.
Extra points: Mark Ingram (23-122) was back over the century mark after struggling in his last two outings, while Stills was targeted a team-high six times as he hit a career high in receiving yards. … For the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger was 32-of-58 for 435 yards and two TDs but was intercepted twice – his first pick(s) at home since the season opener. … Le’Veon Bell added to his monster season with 95 yards and a TD on 21 rushes and a career-high 159 receiving yards on eight receptions. … Antonio Brown (8-97-2) and TE Heath Miller (8-82 on a team-leading 14 targets) joined Bell with eight receptions while rookie wideout Martavis Bryant (1-23 on 4 targets) has only had 3 catches for 34 yards since his four-game run of breakout success in Weeks 7-10.
Falcons 29, Cardinals 18
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
No Roddy White (ankle) translated into a career day for Julio Jones, who caught 10 of his 12 targets for a career-high 189 yards and a TD – Patrick Peterson be darned. Wideout Harry Douglas also received 12 targets and caught a season-high 9 passes for 116 yards.
Extra points: The big WR numbers resulted in Matt Ryan’s second-best passing-yardage total (361, 2 TDs and an interception on 30-of-41) of the season and only his second 300-yard game since Week 1. … Not to be overshadowed, Steven Jackson ran for a season-high 101 yards on 18 carries – thanks largely to one 55-yard burst – against the league’s third-ranked rushing D entering the game. … For the Cards, it was an ugly offensive outing with Larry Fitzgerald (knee) missing a second straight start and Andre Ellington (5-12) leaving in the second quarter with a hip pointer. … John Brown (7-75) led the team in receiving, Michael Floyd (5-53) had a team-high 10 targets but lost a fumble, Marion Grice (5-16) led the way in rushing and Stepfan Taylor scored the lone offensive TD on a 3-yard reception and his lone touch of the game. … Drew Stanton threw for 294 yards and the score but tossed a pair of ugly interceptions. … Arizona’s other TD came on Rashad Johnson’s 88-yard interception return in the second quarter.
Packers 26, Patriots 21
Lambeau Field; Green Bay, Wis.
Aaron Rodgers (24-of-38, 368 yards, 2 TDs; 5-22) and Tom Brady (22-of-35, 245 yards, 2 TDs) generally lived up to the Super Bowl-preview hype but only the former produced fantasy-starter numbers in 10- and 12-team leagues.
Extra points: Eddie Lacy (21-98, 2-17) delivered some yardage points even if he didn’t find his way into the end zone, while the Pats’ RB situation remains a fantasy nightmare with Brandon Bolden (3-17) – he of the 17 touches on the season entering Sunday – accounting for the contingent’s lone TD while LeGarrette Blount (10-58) led the team in rushing. Shane Vereen (3-6, 1-26) had only four touches, and Jonas Gray (1-4) had but one. … G.B. WRs Devante Adams (6-121) – surprise! — and Randall Cobb (7-85) were each targeted a team-most 11 times, while Jordy Nelson (2-53 on 6 targets) and TE Richard Rodgers (2-35) had the scoring receptions. … As for the Pats’ pass-catchers, Brandon LaFell (5-38 on 7 targets) caught both of Brady’s TD tosses, while Rob Gronkowski (7-78) and Julian Edelman (7-48) led the team in targets with 12 and 10, respectively. A week after catching a pair of TD passes, TE Tim Wright had one catch for 12 yards on one targets. Pure Pats – again.
Broncos 29, Chiefs 16
Arrowhead Stadium; Kansas City, Mo.
Move over, Manning and step aside Thomases, C.J. Anderson is the Broncos’ current fantasy headliner as the undrafted second-year RB ran for a career-high 168 yards – one more than last week – and added 17 more and a TD on two receptions. That’s now four straight games with 115-plus total yards and three of four with a TD.
Extra points: Peyton Manning (17-of-34, 179 yards, 2 TDs) finished with fewer than 200 passing yards for only the second game as a Bronco and lost his first fumble of season. … With TE Julius (ankle) inactive, only one Thomas played for the second straight week and Demaryius (6-63) had the team’s other TD catch on 13 targets. Emmanuel Sanders (6-73 on 11 targets) led the team in receiving yards but failed to hit 100 for only the second time in the last six games. … K.C.’s Alex Smith (15-of-23, 153 yards) did throw a pair of TD passes, but for the 12th time in 12 games neither went to a WR as Jamaal Charles (10-35, 4-24 on team-most 6 targets) and TE Anthony Fasano (1-20) had the honors. … TE Travis Kelce (3-36) led the Chiefs in receiving yards but both he and Dwayne Bowe (2-18) continue to fall below fantasy-starter quality with their lack of usage, garnering three and five targets, respectively.