Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Aaron Rodgers – Collarbone
Golden Tate – Shoulder
Breshad Perriman – Concussion
Maxx Williams – Ankle
Jameis Winston – Shoulder
Charcandrick West – Concussion
Leonard Fournette – Ankle
Brian Hoyer – Benched
Chris Hogan – Ribs
Emmanuel Sanders – Ankle
Trevor Siemian – Shoulder
Tyreek Hill – Concussion
Benny Cunningham – Hamstring
The green and gold mushroom cloud
The unthinkable happened, at least to Packers fans and one guy in every league. Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone that may end his season. But the impact hardly ends there. Losing Rodgers devalues every other Packers offensive player and even their defense.
Brett Hundley was drafted in 2015 in the fifth round but only played in 2016 when he completed two passes for 17 yards. His hurried introduction to playing only produced 19 of 34 for 157 yards and one score with three interceptions. It was a terrible venue in Minnesota.
The next opponent is the Saints visiting Green Bay so there is a sizable swing in the quality of opposing defenses that work in his favor. Hundley was the fifth of seven quarterbacks drafted in 2015 – ahead of Trevor Siemian. He set records at UCLA and was expected to be drafted earlier.
But some scouts thought he would never be a starter and that he couldn’t read coverages well enough. But at least Hundley has seasoned on the bench for two years which many said he would need.
When Rodgers went down, it reminded me of when I went to an elaborate wedding. There was a band, a champagne fountain, sound system, and plans to party deep into the night. And then the power went out and we all stood there asking, “Now what do we do?” The answer is head home because the party is over, amigo.
On the plus side, Hundley may prove to be average. But that’s a major step down from what everyone thought when they drafted Jordy Nelson, Davante Adam, Randall Cobb, Martellus Bennett and even Mason Crosby.
There’s nothing worse than losing a player to injury. There is nothing better than having a productive backup.
Jameis Winston – Injured his throwing shoulder but said later that he thought he could play in the Week 7 matchup with the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick was great in relief, throwing for 290 yards and three scores at Arizona. Playing in Buffalo is not likely to be very productive. But the next games are against the Panthers and Saints. Worth keeping an eye on Winston since Fitzgerald was very productive when called.
Emmanuel Sanders – He left the field after getting hit low by the Giants safety and it appeared more serious than just a one-game injury. If Sanders remains out, Bennie Fowler steps up. Coincidentally, the Broncos next opponent is the Chargers who they faced in the season opener when Fowler caught three passes for 21 yards and two touchdowns. He is more of a cheap play in Daily Fantasy and the Broncos next three opponents are all on the road – Chargers, Chiefs, and Eagles.
Golden Tate – He injured his shoulder and left the loss to the Saints in the third quarter but already led the team in receiving. But the Lions are on a bye this week and then return to a lighter schedule against the Steelers, Packers, and Browns. Kenny Golladay would see more work but there are two weeks for Tate to heal up.
Leonard Fournette – He caught his leg awkwardly and hyperextended against the Rams. He also rolled his ankle but it does not appear that he tore anything. He could be back this week and would benefit from the matchup with the Colts. Chris Ivory only ran twice in that game for three yards but he caught nine passes for 74 yards and a score meaning he leaves the waiver wire. The scare on Sunday should at least prompt Fournette owners to grab Ivory for insurance.
Cameron Brate – Scored a touchdown for the fourth game in a row and is tied for the scoring lead among all tight ends – something he shared with Hunter Henry in 2016. While O.J. Howard got all the hype last summer, Brate still gets all the touchdowns.
Evan Engram – Now that the Giants lost all their wideouts, the rookie Engram is getting plenty of work. His seven targets were more than double that of any other receiver in the win over the Broncos. He gained 82 yards on five catches and produced the only offensive touchdown. Since Eli Manning only passed for 128 yards, Engram supplied about two-thirds of all passing production.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – His yardage remains pedestrian but he scored in each of the last two games. His 19 targets over the last two weeks were tops for the Jets. And next up are the Dolphins and Falcons.
Austin Hooper – He opened the year with a monster game (128 yards, TD) but then offered minimal production for two weeks. But Hooper caught five passes for 50 yards in Week 4 and then seven receptions for 48 yards in the loss to the Dolphins. As the Falcons seek to improve their passing game, they are including Hooper more.
Kenny Stills – With Devante Parker out, Stills caught four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta. He’ll face the Jets next week if Parker remains sidelined.
Will Fuller – He only caught eight passes this year but scored five times to trail only DeAndre Hopkins and Jordy Nelson who both have six. He scored all the touchdowns starting in Week 4 when Fuller returned for this season.
Adrian Peterson – He only totaled 84 rushing yards over five weeks in New Orleans so rushing for 134 yards and two scores for the Cardinals was a surprise. He had no role yet as a receiver but ran strong and fast for a player that seemed to have hit the wall. How well he holds up will be key, but he ripped through the Buccaneers No. 17 ranked defense against running backs. Better yet, this week he faces the Rams who just gave up 130 rushing yards and a touchdown to Leonard Fournette.
Matt Forte – This probably does little more than ruin Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire’s fantasy value. Forte returned after missing two games and ran for 22 yards on nine carries and caught eight passes for 59 yards in the loss to the Patriots. Stay away – this backfield is just too divided to risk a start.
Orleans Darkwa – He just ran 21 times for 117 yards on the Broncos but that was a monster trap game and the Jets next opponents are the Dolphins, Falcons, and Bills. In his four-year career, Darkwa had never rushed more than 12 times in any game. He’s no new find. He is a guy that has been little used and often injured.
C.J. Beathard – The 49ers benched Brian Hoyer and turned to their third-round pick from this year. Granted, the rookie was at home against a team missing Josh Norman. But he threw for 245 yards and one score with one interception. And his success was using the wideouts Pierre Garcon (5-55) and Aldrick Robinson (2-66, TD), not just dump-offs to tight ends or running backs. He enters the starting conversation for two-quarterback leagues since they face the visiting Cowboys this week.
Josh McCown – It is not that he passed for 354 yards and two scores, it was that the Patriots defense could not even stop a Jets quarterback from breaking 300 passing yards. The Patriots have never allowed fewer than 301 passing yards and average 338 yards per game. And over two scores per week as well. The next quarterbacks to get a lift in their stats are Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers and Trevor Siemian.
MIA 20, ATL 17
Upset. The Falcons passing game bears very little resemblance to 2016, and Matt Ryan only threw for 248 yards and one score at home. Devonta Freeman (9-68) and Tevin Coleman (9-32, TD) split the workload despite Freeman’s advantage in yards per carry. Julio Jones was best with six catches for 72 yards. Jay Cutler was less bad with 151 passing yards and two scores though only Javis Landry (8-62, TD) was a decent fantasy receiver. Jay Ajayi roared to life with 130 rushing yards but did not score or catch a pass. Now the 3-2 Dolphins host the Jets and the 3-2 Falcons head to New England.
CHI 27, BAL 24 OT
Upset. Mitchell Trubisky only passed for 113 yards and one score but Jordan Howard ran for 167 yards including a 53-yard run that set up the winning field goal. No other Bear gained more than 42 yards. Joe Flacco passed for 180 yards and two interceptions and the offense did not score any touchdowns. They returned a punt and a kickoff for a score while the Bears returned a 90-yard interception touchdown. The score was greatly aided by three non-offensive touchdowns. Connor Barth kicked a 40-yard field goal in overtime to win. The 3-3 Ravens play in Minnesota this week while the 2-4 Bears host the Panthers.
CLE 17, HOU 33
The Browns were down by 33-3 in the fourth so don’t think this was anything other than a thorough beatdown. Opting for Kevin Hogan instead of DeShone the Kizer, the Browns still had the same sort of results with just 140 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Even Duke Johnson only totaled 39 yards. Deshaun Watson passed for 225 yards and only three touchdowns which makes the rookie the leading scorer (15) in the NFL and #1 fantasy quarterback in many leagues. No other Texan gained more than 62 yards in the game. The 0-6 Browns lose to the visiting Titans this week while the 3-3 Texans are on their bye.
GB 10, MIN 23
Upset. Jerick McKinnon totaled 99 yards and scored both touchdowns for the win and the only great fantasy start in the game. Adam Thielen (9-97) led the Vikings but Case Keenum was limited to 239 yards and one score. Brett Hundley threw for 157 yards and one score with three interceptions and did get thrown into a fire against the homebound Vikings. Jordy Nelson (6-60) and Davante Adams (5-54, TD) did almost all their work after Rodgers left. The 4-2 Vikings host the Ravens while Hundley gets to open at home against the Saints.
NE 24, NYJ 17
It isn’t that the Pats won. It is that the Jets led 14-0 in the first half and Josh McCown passed for 354 yards and two scores against a set of mannequins masquerading as a secondary for the Patriots. The three Jets wideouts combined for 226 yards and one score. The same players only gained 94 yards against the Browns the prior week. Tom Brady threw for 257 yards and scores to both Rob Gronkowski (6-83) and Brandin Cooks (6-93). Next week Matt Ryan throws for 300+ yards in New England while the Jets head to Miami.
SF 24, WAS 26
The 49ers have perfected the ability to lose close games. They always beat the spread. They never beat their opponent. Brian Hoyer was benched and third-round rookie C.J. Beathard passed for 245 yards and one score. Carlos Hyde scored twice but only gained 28 yards on 13 carries. He added 47 yards as a receiver. Kirk Cousins passed for 330 yards and rushed for a score. The only other fantasy star was Chris Thompson who was the leading rusher (16-33) and receiver (4-105). The 0-6 49ers host the Cowboys and the 3-2 Redskins head to Philadelphia.
TB 33, ARZ 38
Upset. Contender for game of the week. Jameis Winston left with a shoulder injury and Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 290 yards and three scores just to make it hurt worse for the Winston owners. Mike Evans still gained 95 yards and a touchdown on three catches. Doug Martin scored and gained 64 total yards while Cameron Brate (6-76, TD) once again is taking over the fantasy tight end rankings. Carson Palmer passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns with Larry Fitzgerald (10-138, TD) providing most of the production. Adrian Peterson dropped more than a few jaws when he ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns. The 2-3 Buccaneers head to Buffalo while the 3-3 Cardinals visit the Rams.
LAR 27, JAC 17
Upset. The Rams won, but not because of offense. They scored on a blocked punt and a kickoff return that started the game. Todd Gurley ran for 116 yards but Jared Goff only passed for 124 yards and one score. Blake Bortles passed for 241 yards and a score to Chris Ivory (9-74) while Marqise Lee (5-83) had one of his better games. Leonard Fournette opened the game with a 75-yard touchdown run and ended with 130 yards on 21 carries before leaving with an ankle injury at the end of the game. The 4-2 Rams host the Cardinals this week while the 3-3 Jaguars head to Indianapolis.
PIT 19, KC 13
Upset. The Steelers – shock! – won by using two players. Le’Veon Bell (32-179, TD) and Antonio Brown (8-155, TD). No other Steelers gained more than 32 yards or scored. Kareem Hunt rushed for 21 yards on nine carries but caught five passes for 89 yards to save his day. Not much else happened for the Chiefs and Alex Smith was held to only 246 yards and one score. This is the same Steelers team that lost 9-30 when the Jags visited them last week. And with that, the NFL has no undefeated teams. The 5-1 Chiefs head to Oakland for this week while the 4-2 Steelers host the Bengals.
LAC 17, OAK 16
Upset. Both of the hometown fans for the Chargers could not be at this first win. There wasn’t much offense – obviously – but Melvin Gordon ran for 83 yards and a score plus added a second touchdown on his nine catches for 67 yards. Hunter Henry came to life later in the game and ended with 90 yards on five catches. Derek Carr played but only threw for 171 yards and one score with two interceptions. Michael Crabtree (6-52) caught the touchdown, of course. Amani Cooper (5-28) had a bad game, of course. The Raiders drop to 2-4 and host the Chiefs this week. The 2-4 Chargers host the Broncos.
NYG 23, DEN 10
Upset. This should be the game of the week since it represents all that is confusing and nonsensical about the NFL. The Giants were winless and played in Denver where Ezekiel Elliott rushed for only 8 yards. LeSean McCoy only gained 21 yards on 14 carries there. And Orleans Darkwa gained 117 yards on 21 carries. Eli Manning only threw for 128 yards which mostly went to Evan Engram (5-82, TD). Trevor Siemian passed for 376 yards and one score with two interceptions.
The Broncos only rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries. Demaryius Thomas (10-133) was a surprise sinceJanoris Jenkins covered him but the star cornerback scored on an interception return. The Giants had dissension in the secondary with a suspended Dominique Cromartie. They lost all three starting wideouts last week and faced the No. 1 pass defense. This was a tremendously uninspired attempt to mail in a win while being dominated by one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Broncos were favored by 12 and lost by 13.
Huddle player of the week
Saints Defense – It is possible that the Saints team defense is on every fantasy waiver wire across the land. Facing the Lions, all the Saints did was to produce five sacks, three interceptions, two recovered fumbles, and scored on two interceptions and a fumble return. For those rare leagues with 32 fantasy teams, one guy was real happy. And surprised.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
|QB||Ryan Fitzpatrick||300||3||QB||Aaron Rodgers||18||0|
|RB||Adrian Peterson||134||2||RB||Aaron Jones||42||0|
|RB||Chris Ivory||77||1||RB||Marshawn Lynch||63||0|
|WR||Ted Ginn||66||1||WR||Randall Cobb||28||0|
|WR||De’Anthony Thomas||61||1||WR||Keenan Allen||45||0|
|WR||Aldrick Robinson||61||1||WR||Amari Cooper||28||0|
|TE||Dion Sims||42||1||TE||Jordan Reed||37||0|
|PK||Kai Forbath||2 XP 3 FG||PK||Mason Crosby||1 FG 1 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 125||Huddle Fantasy Points = 25|
Lions 38, Saints 52
90 points in one game? Yeah, I’ll take it.
The amazing fact was that despite the 52 points, Drew Brees only threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns. That’s all. Their best wideout was Ted Ginn with four catches for 66 yards and one score. The next best was Mark Ingram with only 36 yards on five receptions.
But Ingram ran for 114 yards and two scores while Alvin Kamara totaled 87 yards. The Saints defense blew up with three scores from their defense and special teams. The final two scores were both interception returns while the Lions were mounting a comeback.
The Saints led 45-10 in the third quarter but then gave up four touchdowns to the Lions who drew as close as 38-45. A final interception return sealed the Lions fate.
Matt Stafford passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns with both Marvin Jones (6-96, TD) and Golden Tate (7-96, TD) providing most of the production. Ameer Abdullah was limited to only 54 rushing yards. The Lions also scored on a punt return and interception return in the fourth quarter.
There were only two field goals and 12 touchdowns. And yet Michael Thomas only managed three catches for 11 yards.
It was a great game and a very good week. Plenty of upsets with some just as head-scratching as any. The Giants faced their worst venue, with their newly injury-decimated offense and got their first win. Adrian Peterson not only lives, but broke many hearts of those who had let him slip back onto the waiver wire.
But it could be worse. Just ask anyone who spent an early pick on the first quarterback drafted in their league.
No get back to work…