Tunnel vision of Week 4

Tunnel vision of Week 4

Game Analysis

Tunnel vision of Week 4


Bumps, Bruises and Blowouts

Quarterbacks Yards TD
 Deshaun Watson 307 5
 Cam Newton 360 4
 Andy Dalton 315 4
 Eli Manning 310 3
 Jameis Winston 344 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Le’Veon Bell 186 2
 Todd Giurley 215 1
 Ezekiel Elliott 139 2
 Lamar Miller 131 2
 Bilal Powell 190 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
 DeAndre Hopkins 107 1
 Devin Funchess 70 2
 Jordy Nelson 75 2
 Michael Thomas 89 1
 Tyrell Williams 115 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
 Tyler Kroft 68 2
 Cameron Brate 80 1
 A.J. Derby 75 1
 Charles Clay 112 0
 O.J. Howard 63 1
Placekickers XP FG
 Greg Zuerlein 2 7
 Ka’imi Fairbairn 7 3
 Robbie Gould 5 0
 Jake Elliott 2 4
 Stephen Gostkowski 3 3
Defense Sck-TO TD
 Bills 1-3 1
 Texans 2-5 1
 Jaguars 5-2 1
 Steelers 4-3 0
Seahawks 3-2 2

Dalvin Cook – ACL torn
Marcus Mariota – Hamstring
Mohamed Sanu – Hamstring
Julio Jones – Hip
Jordan Mathews – Thumb
Jerrick McKinnon – Ankle
Marquise Goodwin – Concussion
Derek Carr – Back
Paul Perkins – Ribs
Chris Carson – Leg

Chasing ambulances

There’s nothing worse than losing a player to injury. There is nothing better than having their replacement if they end up a fantasy surprise.

Chris Carson – The Seattle running back likely broke his leg which would end his season. Eddie Lacy came into the game and became the leading rusher with 52 yards on 11 carries. But he caught no passes and it was against the visiting Colts. He ran for 33 yards on ten runs plus had a 19-yard carry to boost his stats. Thomas Rawls was inactive for Week 4 but will be called up to help out if Carson is gone.

C.J. Prosise – The oft-injured Prosise is again injured and missed Week 4. In his place, second-year back J.D. McKissic entered the win over the Colts in the third quarter and ended with 38 yards and a touchdown on four carries, and he caught a 27-yard touchdown pass.  Coming in at the second half of a blowout win over the Colts will help any back. McKissic will get scraped from waiver wires and why not? Good players start somewhere. But reality says this is a bad offensive line and a backfield that hasn’t done much until the Colts came to town. McKissic can only be a part of a committee in the best case.

Dalvin Cook – An MRI will confirm the fear – torn ACL and done for the year.  That will leave Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon to take over.  Murray has done nothing to suggest he’ll be a difference maker but should end up with early down work. McKinnon injured his ankle but will step up work as the third-down back when he is healthy. The Vikings have a very nice schedule this year unlike in 2016. But the Vikes – and maybe your fantasy team – lost a lot when the rookie had his knee buckle while untouched.

Derek Carr – Went out with a back spasm but there is optimism that he won’t miss much time if any. The Raiders are coming to a three-game home stretch against BAL, LAC and KC. Without Carr, the fantasy fortunes of all Raiders take a big downturn. E.J. Manuel threw an interception and had a 57.5 quarterback rating in relief.

Marcus Mariota – He left with a hamstring strain and will get an MRI to determine the severity. Like Carr, any absence just downgrades everyone else. Matt Cassel would take over, but at least the schedule is very accommodating with @MIA, IND and @CLE up next.

Who? Where’s the game program?

There were several running backs that surprised and that will- right or wrong – be considered for a waiver wire pick-up in the deeper leagues.

Elijah McGuire – The sixth-round rookie was behind Matt Forte and Bilal Powell and limited to about six runs per week. But with Forte out with a toe injury – that may linger – McGuire ripped off ten carries for 93 yards that included a 69-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He also added two catches for 38 yards. He worth owning if only for next week in Cleveland if Forte remains out. But he’s still firmly behind Bilal Powell.

Andre Ellington – He’s limited to only five carries per game even with David Johnson gone. But Ellington the third-down back is becoming a significant part of the Cardinals passing game. He was the second-most targeted receiver in Week 3 when he caught five passes for 59 yards versus the Cowboys. On Sunday, he had the most targets (14) and produced nine receptions for 86 yards.

Austin Ekeler – Yes. Who indeed. Ekeler is an undrafted running back from Western State University in Colorado. He played against teams like Dixie State, Adams State and Colorado Mines (where he ran for 316 yards and three scores once). He’s another vastly productive back from a school and conference that most people do not know. At all. His lone claim to fame so far was that he ran 35 yards for a touchdown on his only NFL carry for the Chargers in their loss to the Eagles.  He could be worth a deep stash to see if he develops into anything more, especially with Gordon banged up.

Wayne Gallman – The Giants have never produced much fantasy value from their backfield in recent years and the committee approach is always followed. But at least it is notable that the 2017 fourth-round pick of Wayne Gallman saw his first NFL action in the loss to the Buccaneers and he ran for 42 yards on 11 carries and caught two passes for eight yards and a touchdown. The ex-Clemson back saw duty once Paul Perkins left before he could finish his fourth-straight fantasy-irrelevant game. The schedule is not great with LAC, @DEN and SEA up next.

 JuJu Smith-Schuster – The Steelers are not exactly the offensive juggernaut of years past. At least not yet. But at least notable is that the ex-USC wideout that the Steelers tabbed with their second-round pick already has two touchdowns on the season and took the slot role from Eli Rogers. He comes off his best game so far with three catches for 47 yards and the score in the win over the Ravens.


Bilal Powell – He was the better back last season when he closed out the season with three 100+ yard efforts and a total of three touchdowns over the final four games. He said to be the new starter for the Jets since the  32-year-old Matt Forte was ineffective. But the Jets still featured Forte until he injured his knee and toe in Week 3. Powell took the start for Week 4 and ran for 163 yards and one score on the Jaguars plus caught four passes for 27 yards. Powell has a nice schedule up next – @CLE, NE, @MIA, ATL, and BUF. His blowout performance on Sunday should at least reward him with a bigger share of the backfield work. It should re-install him as the primary but the Jets don’t always do what seems logical.

Will Fuller – He broke his collarbone on August 2 and was active for the first time this year in the win over the Titans. He turned in four catches for 35 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll always be No. 2 to DeAndre Hopkins, but the speedy Fuller is already looking improved for his second NFL season.

Devin Funchess – Since Greg Olsen left in Week 2, Funchess stepped up with around 70 yards in each of the last three games. Better yet, he had at least nine targets in each of the last two games and scored twice in the win over the Patriots on Sunday. That’s  two more scores than Kelvin Benjamin has this year.

Mike Wallace – Thanks for dropping him.  The Ravens passing offense has been pathetic this year and is not likely to see any dramatic improvement. But at least Wallace went from one meaningless catch per game to six receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown in the loss to the Steelers.  He’s still not reliable but at least worth tracking.

Sunday Snippets

NO 20, MIA 0

Never start a player in an international game. You just cannot be sure what they will do. The Saints defense pitched a shutout. A shutout. Saints defense. Jay Cutler only passed for 264 yards and no score. Alvin Kamar ended with 96 yards and a score despite having only 15 of the 32 running back touches. Michael Thomas was the best with 89 yards and a touchdown on eight catches. But some teams travel well and some don’t seem to make the trip at all. The Dolphins offense is sputtering badly and chances are some changes are going to be made by HC Adam Gase. The 2-2 Saints go on their bye this week and the 1-2 Dolphins host the Titans.

A shutout by Saints. It’s like when you go to a different city and read the High School sports page and you don’t know the teams.

BUF 23, ATL 17

Road team upset. This was hard to see coming. Losing Julio Jones apparently really matters.  No Atlanta wideout gained more than 30 yards. Matt Ryan mostly threw to running backs and tight ends.  Devonta Freeman only gained 78 total yards but scored once.  Bills only had one offensive touchdown and a returned fumble for a score plus field goals to win.   Kind of a trap game. Jones has a hip flexor but gets a bye in Week 5 to heal up so maybe well timed to be injured. The loss drops the Falcons to 3-1  while the 3-1 Bills travel to Cincinnati this week.

PIT 26, BAL 9
This was a great game since Le’Veon Bell finally got on track with 186 total yards and two touchdowns. But  Antonio Brown somehow only caught four passes for 34 yards. Alex Collins (9-82) will be the Ravens flavor-of-the-week for waiver wire pickups (hopefully not by the Jarious Allen owners). Mike Wallace was finally thrown away by every single fantasy owner after three straight weeks with one short catch. Naturally,  he was best in the game with six catches for 55 yards and a score. The 3-1 Steelers host the Jaguars this week while the 2-2 Ravens travel to Oakland.

CIN 31, CLE 7
Ends up that the Bengals may be bad this year, but at least they are not Browns bad. It’s something when you are 0-3.  Andy Dalton threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns but the best receiver in the game was Tyler Kroft (6-68, 2 TD). DeShone Kizer is looking more “in over his head” and no running back from either team gained more than 29 yards. Giovani Bernard scored on a 61-yard catch but only gained 24 yards on his other five touches. The 1-3 Bengals host the Bills next while the 0-4 Browns allow the visiting Jets to get a win.

TEN 14, HOU 57
I’m sorry, what did you just say?  The Texans? What?  In our new world of vastly inconsistent teams, the Texans took their head-scratching turn with DeShaun Watson passing for 283 yards and four scores and yet only DeAndre Hopkins (10-107, TD) was a reasonable fantasy start. Will Fuller caught two touchdowns.  Watson ran for one score and so did Lamar Miller (19-75, TD) who also caught a touchdown (4-56, TD). As usual,  recent news that D’Onta Foreman (13-45) was going to do more was premature. The Titans did nothing in the game other than having Marcus Mariota run in two touchdowns, throw two interceptions and then get hurt. Matt Cassel also threw two interceptions.  The 2-2 Titans are not that bad and head to Miami this week. The 2-2 Texans are not that good and host the Chiefs this week as a reminder.

DET 14, MIN 7
Sad to see any player injured, let alone a hot rookie running back that likely blew out a knee. The Case Keenum Experience wasn’t nearly so fun this week with only 219 passing yards and no score. Stefon Diggs (5-98) was still good but no one else was for the Vikes. The Lions were little better and only Ameer Abdullah (20-94, TD) had notable production for the Lions.  That loss of Cook put an entirely different slant on the rest of the season and it is not a positive one. The 3-1 Lions host the Panthers this week while the 2-2 Vikings are hoping that 2016 isn’t starting to happen all over again.  They travel to Chicago this week.

CAR 33, NE 30
Road team upset. Rather surprising and even more so for hometown fans in attendance. The Patriots now have won just one of their three home games and that was by three points against the Texans.  The lack of defense is making the Patriots a fantasy darling. It’s like a getting a $500 pre-paid VISA as a gift from your stingy uncle. I mean you accept it but it is just hard to believe. Me? Really? Awesome! Cam Newton threw for 316 yards and three scores that mostly rewarded Devin Funchess (7-70, 2 TD) and that ensures his stay on the waiver wire just ended. Tom Brady finished with 307 yards and two scores but couldn’t bring the team back. We’re all winners here as long as we are not New Englan fans. The 2-2 Pats head to Tampa Bay this week while the 3-1 Panthers go to Detroit.

JAC 20, NYJ 23 OT
The Jaguars have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. Unfortunately, stopping the run wasn’t as successful this week. Bilal Powell (21-163, TD) and Elijah McGuire (10-93, TD) kept the Jets in the game since their passing offense was unable to score. The Jaguars received 145 yards and a score from Leonard Fournette but not more than 42 yards or a touchdown from anyone else. The good news is that the Jets suddenly seem to have two viable options at running back and they get to bring their 2-2 record to Cleveland this week. The bad news is that Powell was  their best runner last year and somehow they forgot. The 2-2 Jaguars head to Pittsburgh.

SF 15, ARI 18
If you think the game score suggests that this was a boring game to watch, realize that ten of the points and the only touchdown came in overtime.  Carlos Hyde is not that hurt since he had 21 touches for 95 yards. But Brian Hoyer threw for 234 yards and no receiver gained more than 52 yards. Carson Palmer threw for 357 yards and the only touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald (4-32, TD) though Jaron Brown (8-105) and Andre Ellington (9-86) exceeded expectations.  Chris Johnson (13-32) is still not David Johnson. Now the 0-4 49ers head to Indianapolis while the 2-2 Cardinals play in Philadelphia.

PHI  26, LAC  24
A fourth-quarter comeback fell short, and yet the Eagles didn’t have any big performances aside from LeGarrette Blount (16-136). Zach Ertz (5-81) is still the best receiver but Alshon Jeffery (3-29) caught the one passing score.  Philip Rivers passed for 347 yards and two touchdowns. They lost despite both Keenan Allen (5-138) and Tyrell Williams (5-115, TD) turning in a big game. Melvin Gordon wasn’t healthy and only gained 22 yards on ten rushes.  Weirder still was undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler getting his first carry in the NFL and he ran 35 yards for a touchdown. Now the 3-1 Eagles host the Cardinals and the 0-4 travel to New York to play the Giants and carry the tag as the best winless team in the NFL.

NYG 23, TB 25
Very good game despite only moderate points. The Buccaneers won on a 34-yard field goal as time expired.  Eli Manning threw for 288 yards and two scores and he even rushed for a touchdown. But Odell Beckham (7-90) was the only big performer. Jameis Winston threw for 332 yards and three scores on the Giants defense, but the tight ends and Adam Humphries were the top receivers. Jacquizz Rodgers (16-83) likely gets his last week of full-time work with Doug Martin returning. The 0-4 Giants host the Chargers this week so one of the two gets their first win of the year. The 2-1 Buccaneers host the Patriots.

OAK 10, DEN 16
Yes, it was this bad. Losing Derek Carr was no help against a great secondary that shut down the Raiders offense like they were the Dallas Cowboys circa Week 3. Marshawn Lynch was better than Week 3 Ezekiel Elliot by four yards (9-12). The only decent players for the Broncos were A.J. Derby (4-75, TD) and C.J. Anderson (20-95). The Broncos defense at home is dominating all facets of their opponent’s offense. But defense does not win fantasy football championships. The Raiders host the Ravens this week while the Broncos take their bye.

IND 18, SEA 46

Well, that ended poorly for the  Colts. Tied at 18-18 in the third quarter, the Seahawks reeled off 28 unanswered points for the win. Amazingly, no one scoring a touchdown gained more than 38 yards. Eddie Lacy (yeah, remember him?) was the top rusher with 52 yards on 11 carries. No receiver had more than 70 yards. The Colts stats were anemic other than Gore totaling 80 yards.  A home game against the Colts is about as good as it gets this year. Even so, the Seahawks were tied midway through the third quarter.  The 1-3 Colts host the 49ers this week and the 2-2 Seahawks travel to face the Rams.

Huddle player of the week

Le’Veon Bell  –  As any fantasy owner can tell you, Bell has not rewarded those teams that held the No. 2 draft pick in their league. Until now. Bell finally returned to his difference-making ways when he ran 35 times for 144 yards and caught four passes for 42 yards. He rushed for two touchdowns. Next week – the Jaguars that just gave up 266 rushing yards and two scores to the New York Jets backfield. See you next week…


Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Deshaun Watson 307 5 QB Matt Stafford 206 0
RB J.D. McKissic 65 2 RB Marshawn Lynch 12 0
RB  Elijah McGuire 141 1 RB  Melvin Gordon 29 0
WR  Devin Funchess 70 2 WR  Demaryius Thomas 11 0
WR  Will Fuller 35 2 WR  Amari Cooper 9 0
WR   Mike Wallace 138 0 WR  Julio Jones 30 0
TE  Tyler Kroft 68 2 TE  Kyle Rudolph 34 0
PK  Greg Zuerelein  2 XP 7 FG PK  Ryan Succop 2  XP
Huddle Fantasy Points = 179 Huddle Fantasy Points = 20

Sunday’s couch commentary

Let me say it. I hate international games. I hate everything about them. I hate getting up a few hours earlier. I hate that teams are almost impossible to forecast because some travel well and some just never show up. That the Saints could shut out an opponent while owning the worst defense in the league says all that needs to be said.

There is now just one undefeated team left – the Chiefs that play the Redskins tonight. The Browns, Chargers, Giants, and 49ers remain winless, but the Giants and Chargers play this week.

The Patriots and Falcons both lost. The representatives of the 2016 Super Bowl just lost at home in games where they were heavily favored. There is plenty of inconsistency still at play but at least eight teams scored over 30 points.

And yet there are the Dolphins that were shutout by the Saints. Final proof that all things are possible.

The Game-O-The-Week

Ram 35, Cowboys 30

The Rams are the highest scoring team in the NFL. That’s a mind-warper but it is something that apparently we are going to have to accept. After years of mediocrity under Jeff Fisher, it must be very good to be Sean McVay walking into the Rams headquarters.

The Cowboys had a solid offensive showing. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 85 yards and caught four passes for 54 yards with a total of two touchdowns. Dak Prescott threw for 252 yards and three scores and Dez Bryant gained 98 yards on five catches.

Jared Goff passed for 255 yards and two scores. Cooper Kupp returned to the top of the box score with 60 yards and a score on five catches. But Todd Gurley continues to dominate. He ran for 121 yards on 23 carries and had 94 yards and a score on seven catches. He was unstoppable in a road game against a good rush defense.

The Rams turnaround will get tested with games against SEA, @JAC and ARI up next. But there’s no question which player will lead the team. Gurley has even done what seemed impossible.

For one day, he got everyone to talk about a running back not named Kareem Hunt.

Now get back to work…


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