Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Carson Palmer – Arm fracture
Jay Cutler – Cracked ribs
Mike Wallace – Concussion
Dan Bailey – Groin
Delanie Walker – Ankle
C.J. Prosise – Ankle
Chris Hogan – Shoulder
Light week for once. That’s a welcome development.
Injuries mix up depth charts and grant new opportunities. Some create new star players while others have a far-reaching negative impact.
Carson Palmer – He’ll miss eight weeks or more and 37 years old, what is he coming back to in the optimistic Week 15 return? Drew Stanton is the replacement and he completed five of 14 passes for 62 yards and an interception and a QB rating of 20.5. It was a London game which can be very hard to call or draw firm conclusions.
Like we saw in Green Bay this week, losing the starting quarterback can knock a lot of dominoes over. The only consistent fantasy player is Larry Fitzgerald who faded badly last year. Adrian Peterson blew up in his first game with the Cards but held to 21 rush yards in London.
There is nothing positive here. Peterson will likely see more focus from the defense and Fitzgerald and company have to be downgraded. Worse yet, after the bye this week, the upcoming schedule is @SF, SEA, @HOU and JAC. The only opponent without a great defense is on the road.
Jay Cutler – Early reports are cracked ribs and the Dolphins play on Thursday in Baltimore. He’ll be out at least that game and potentially more. Matt Moore will start but the 33-year-old career backup was already on the team when they lured Jay Cutler out of retirement.
The Dolphins have already disappointed with Cutler there so the step down may not be dramatic. Playing on Thursday is going to complicate matters and the Ravens have one of the better secondaries in the NFL. There is no real downgrade switching to Moore for a week or two because Cutler would have struggled anyway.
C.J. Beathard – First start and he threw for 235 yards and rushed for 30 more on five runs. He scored a rushing touchdown but it all came at home against one of the worst secondaries. He will not improve with @PHI, ARI and NYG up next.
Brett Hundley – This was a disaster. He passed for only 87 yards and rushed for 44 yards with one rushing touchdown. Against the Saints. There were no receivers with more than 20 yards. Randall Cobb (2-15), Jordy Nelson (1-13) and Davante Adams (2-12) will be very hard to start until anything positive happens with Hundley. The Packers take their bye but up next is DET, @CHI and BAL. And the Packers without Rodgers is like blood in the water for defenses.
T.J. Yeldon – With Leonard Fournette out, both Chris Ivory and Yeldon were called on to replace him. Ivory was no surprise with 47 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown. But Yeldon ran for 122 yards and a score on just nine rushing attempts and added 15 more yards on two catches. Yeldon ran for a 58-yard touchdown as the final game score in the third quarter. He was used in a 1:2 ratio with Ivory throughout the game. That was the highest total yardage in Yeldon’s three-year career. He’s a decent add for the Fournette owner who didn’t get Ivory.
The Jaguars go into their bye and Fournette already thought he would play yesterday. He’ll be back for the Bengals matchup in Week 9. No need to spend big on Yeldon.
Latavius Murray – In Week 6, Jerrick McKinnon totaled 99 yards and two scores while Murray only gained 43 yards versus the Packers. In Week 7, Murray ran for 113 yards and one score while McKinnon only rang up 50 yards versus the Ravens. And that’s likely to flip-flop for the rest of the year. Murray owners were rewarded if they started him, but he’s unlikely to repeat that often with @CLE, @WAS, LAR and @DET coming up next.
DeAndre Washington – Ran for 33 yards on nine carries and scored once in the win over the Chiefs. That’s notable since Marshawn Lynch will be suspended this week for the game in Buffalo. But Jalen Richard will split the workload and the Bills haven’t allowed any back to rush for more than 56 yards as a visitor. There are games in the future that could be profitable but this week is less enticing.
Derrick Henry – After posting 131 yards and a score in Week 6, the expectation was for better stats this weekend with DeMarco Murray banged up. But Henry only gained 13 yards on 13 carries while Murray gained 59 yards on 18 runs despite a less-than-healthy hamstring. The Titans are on bye this week and Murray should be healed up for the Ravens in Week 9.
Amari Cooper – It happened last Thursday but it bears bringing up again. After struggling since Week 8 of 2016, Cooper finally blew up in the win over the Chiefs. He gained 210 yards on 11 catches with two scores. He’ll play @BUF and @MIA next and he has to be started. But one game versus the previous 13 games still doesn’t produce much confidence. Why would the Chiefs have prepared to cover him?
Kenny Stills – He not only caught six passes for 85 yards and two scores last week. Stills caught one of three passes from Jay Cutler for seven yards and then five of six targets from Matt Moore for 78 yards and both touchdowns. He draws a tougher challenge this week with a Thursday game in Baltimore.
DeMarcus Robinson – Replacing Curtis Conley led to five catches for 69 yards in Oakland last week. Robinson’s eight targets were tied with Tyreek Hill for the team lead. He’s no fantasy starter but worth watching in an offense that decided it could pass this year.
O.J. Howard – The rookie tight end was the tops for his position when he caught six passes for 98 yards and two scores. Cameron Brate also caught six passes that netted 60 yards and his nine targets were three more than Howard’s. But Howard only caught one pass over the last two games and Brate will continue to be the primary receiving tight end. The rookie turned in a very nice performance but he had 63 yards and a score in Week 4 before disappearing. Too early to rely on but worth holding.
A.J. Derby – He was held to just one catch in the freakish loss to the Giants in Week 6. But Derby accounted for 75 yards and a score in the previous game and comes off a six-catch, 66-yard effort visiting the Chargers. For a position that rarely produces more than five or six players with 60 yards in a week, Derby was there twice over the last three games. And with @KC, @PHI and NE coming up next, he’ll need to contribute.
Tyler Kroft – He’s been held below 40 yards in all but one game but since becoming the primary tight end, Kroft is catching at least four passes per game. He scored twice in Cleveland with 68 yards on six catches during Week 4 and after a 38-yard effort against the Bills, he scored again. Kroft ended with four receptions for 23 yards and the touchdown against the Steelers. Notable is where his next opponents rank versus tight ends – IND (25), @JAC (20), @TEN (26), @DEN (28) and CLE (31).
BAL 16, MIN 24
The Ravens lost Mike Wallace so they played with no wide receivers. Ben Watson (5-38) was their best receiver and Alex Collins (10-30) was the best runner. Latavius Murray blew up with 113 yards and one score but nothing else happened in the game. The teams combined for only two touchdowns and nine field goals. Kai Forbath kicked six field goals and two were over 50 yards. The 3-4 Ravens host the Dolphins this week and the 5-2 Vikings play in Cleveland.
ARI 0, LAR 33
London game. Therefore, odd results. The Cardinals could generate nothing. Adrian Peterson (11-21) was already bad before Carson Palmer left the game. No receiver had more than 37 yards for the Cardinals who just went completely flat. Jared Goff (235 yards, TD) passed for a score and ran in a second. Cooper Kupp (4-51, TD) was the only fantasy play other than Todd Gurley (22-106, TD) who also added 48 yards on four receptions. Like most London games, only one team showed up. Both the 3-4 Cardinals and 5-2 Rams go onto their byes.
JAX 27, IND 0
Oh boy, another shutout. Yeah, I bet Andrew Luck is just champing at the bit to return to this mess. No Colt had more than 44 yards of offense. Jacoby Brissett threw for 200 yards and no scores. Blake Bortles threw for 330 yards and a score which alone says this was a big Jacksonville win. Allen Hurns (5-101) and Marqise Lee (4-72) had actual fantasy relevant stats. With Leonard Fournette a scratch, Chris Ivory (17-74, TD) and T.J. Yeldon (9-122, TD) enjoyed their playing time. The 4-3 Jaguars head onto their bye while the 2-5 Colts head to Cincinnati.
NO 26, GB 17
It is only one game, but it is already a fair statement to say the Packers miss Aaron Rodgers. Brett Hundley faced the Saints but only passed for 87 yards and one interception though he rushed for one score. Aaron Jones (17-131, TD) was the only decent fantasy start and 103 yards came in the first half including the 46-yard touchdown run. Drew Brees threw for 331 yards and one score but had two interceptions. Ted Ginn (7-141) and Michael Thomas (7-82) were the top receivers and Mark Ingram (22-105, TD) turned in a solid day. Brees also became the fourth player in NFL history to throw for 500 touchdowns. The 4-2 Saints host the Bears this week and the 4-3 Packers take their bye.
TEN 12, CLE 9 OT
This game could have been over in ten minutes if they just let the two kickers go at it (which is pretty much all that happened). Marcus Mariota threw for 203 yards and no scores while <insert tight end> was the top receiver with seven catches for 63 yards. DeMarco Murray ended with 77 yards while Derrick Henry only managed 24 yards despite weekly expectations that “this is the week.” Wait for 2018. Duke Johnson totaled 71 yards which easily made him the best fantasy play for the Browns. No-touchdown games just make me queasy. The 4-3 Titans head into their bye while the 0-7 Browns host the winning Vikings.
CAR 3, CHI 17
There were more points in the TEN-CLE game and they had no touchdowns. This game is like 60 minutes of sadness. The Bears only totaled 175 yards of offense and that was aided by the 70-yard catch by Tarik Cohen. But they won because they returned a fumble for a 75-yard touchdown and returned an interception for a 76-yard score. Cam Newton passed for 211 yards and two interceptions and he ran for 50 yards as the leading rusher. Mitchell Trubisky completed four-of-seven passes for 107 yards. It would have been just 37 yards was it not for the Cohen catch. And they won. Rookie safety Eddie Jackson became the first player in NFL history with more than one defensive touchdown of 75 or more yards. He ran back a 76-yard interception and a 75-yard fumble recovery, The 4-3 Panthers head to Tampa Bay this week and the 3-4 Bears play in New Orleans.
NYJ 28, MIA 31
A good game where none was expected. Josh McCown passed for 209 yards and three scores but no receiver gained more than 41 yards. No rusher gained than 43 yards and it is now a three-way committee since all the backs are healthy and ruining everything for each other. The Dolphins passed for four touchdowns and 326 yards but it was split down the middle between Jay Cutler and Matt Moore. Jarvis Landry (7-93, TD) and Kenny Stills (6-85, 2 TD) make no one miss Davante Parker. Jay Ajayi (23-51) added 26 yards on three catches to salvage his day. The 3-4 Jets Host the Falcons this week while 4-2 Dolphins head to Baltimore.
DAL 40, SF 10
The Cowboys ended their two-game losing streak and for once the 49ers did not lose by just three points. This was over by the first quarter. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 147 yards and two scores plus caught a 72-yard touchdown. Dak Prescott passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns plus ran for a score as well. Dez Bryant (7-63, TD) and Jason Witten (4-54, TD) joined in the beatdown. C.J. Beathard’s first start produced 235 passing yards and he ran for 30 yards and the only 49er touchdown. Carlos Hyde totaled 88 yards but there were minimal fantasy points on the 49ers side. The 3-3 Cowboys head to Washington this week while the 0-7 49ers play in Philadelphia.
DEN 0, LAC 21
Oh boy, shutout week. The Broncos rushed for 52 yards and Trevor Siemian threw for 207 yards and one interception in this snoozefest. Demaryius Thomas only caught two passes for nine yards. Philip Rivers only passed for 183 yards and two scores with Hunter Henry (4-73) leading the receivers. Melvin Gordon only ran for 39 yards on 18 carries. This was a divisional game but the Broncos dropped their second straight game while the Chargers have won three in a row. Travis Benjamin returned a punt for a score in the first quarter and then sealed the game for good with a 42-yard touchdown catch. The 3-3 Broncos lose their third in a row in Kansas City this week and the 3-4 Chargers play in New England.
SEA 24, NYG 7
Yeah. Not having any wide receivers makes a significant difference. Eli Manning passed for 134 yards and a score (somehow) to Evan Engram (6-60, TD) who should become the only rookie tight end to ever draw both the top cover corner and a safety every play because there is no one else to cover. The Giants at home rushed for 54 yards on 16 carries. Russell Wilson passed for 334 yards and three touchdowns. Doug Baldwin (9-92, TD), Paul Richardson (2-61, TD) and Jimmy Graham (3-51, TD) all joined in the fun. The Seahawks backfield is a mess with Thomas Rawls (11-36) and Eddie LAcy (11-34) making no difference between themselves or for the team. The 1-6 Giants go into their bye and the 4-2 Seahawks host the Texans.
CIN 14, PIT 29
The Bengals forgot to come back to the field after halftime when they were still tied 14-14. Andy Dalton only passed for 140 yards and two scores with two interceptions. A.J. Green (3-41) was the most productive Bengals wideout. Joe Mixon totaled 48 yards but there was no good fantasy play for Cincinnati. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 224 yards and two scores while Antonio Brown was held to just four catches for 65 yards but scored once. Le’Veon Bell never scored but ran for 134 yards and gained 58 yards on three catches. The 2-4 Bengals host the Colts this week and the 5-2 Steelers travel to Detroit.
ATL 7, NE 23
Just when you get comfortable with the way of the world, the Patriots find a defense and Matt Ryan only passed for 233 yards and one score when everyone else had over 300 passing yards. Like Josh McCown just had 354 yards and two scores on them in Week 6. Julio Jones (9-99, TD) scored at the end but no other receivers did much. Devonta Freeman totaled 90 yards but never scored. Tom Brady only passed for 249 yards and two scores and Brandin Cooks (4-65, TD) had the only decent game. This was a major disappointment. 30 points? Should have been that per team. This was no way to end the day. This was almost a shutout. The 3-3 Falcons visit the Jets this week and the 5-2 Patriots host the Chargers.
Huddle player of the week
Ezekiel Elliott – Maybe he gets suspended. Maybe he doesn’t. The only certainty is that the 49ers had no answer for Elliott who rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns and added one catch for a 72-yard touchdown. That rolled up 40 points or so in most leagues and that will win your game.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
|QB||Josh McCown||212||4||QB||Carson Palmer||122||0|
|RB||T.J. Yeldon||137||1||RB||Melvin Gordon||44||0|
|RB||Latavius Murray||113||1||RB||Ty Montgomery||15||0|
|WR||Kenny Stills||85||2||WR||Jordy Nelson||13||0|
|WR||Travis Benjamin||42||2||WR||Demaryius Thomas||9||0|
|WR||Paul Richardson||61||1||WR||T.Y. Hilton||27||0|
|TE||O.J. Howard||98||2||TE||Kyle Rudolph||43||0|
|PK||Kai Forbath||6 FG||PK||Dan Bailey||2 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 165||Huddle Fantasy Points = 18|
Sunday’s couch commentary
There were three shutouts this weekend. The Broncos, Cardinals, and Colts all failed to record a single point. But there were six teams with more than 30 points. We’re at a point in the season where teams should be more predictable and offenses stable. That is not the case.
The Eagles play tonight and they are, at least for now, the only NFL team with a single loss. There are ten teams with just two losses. Odder still, there are only 11 of 32 teams that have a losing record. It is a year of parity and one where teams dominate only for a stretch of time before reversing towards the middle. There are a few genuinely bad teams, of course, but this is not a year where a team remains great throughout.
Buccaneers 27, Bills 30
Who knew? The Bills had never allowed more than 20 points in any game and were at home. And Jameis Winston sprained his AC joint and was no lock to be active until later in the week. Winston ended with 384 yards and three touchdowns. O.J. Howard (6-98, 2 TD) and Mike Evans (7-88, TD) kept the scoreboard close though Doug Martin (20-49) never got on track rushing.
Tyrod Taylor passed for 268 yards and a score for Deonte Thompson (4-107) despite signing with the team just five days prior. The castoff from the Bears was still better than anyone else for the Bills. Nick O’Leary was the replacement for Charles Clay and caught two passes for 58 yards.
LeSean McCoy ran for 91 yards and two scores with 31 more yards on five receptions just like it was 2016 again. It was the first time that McCoy had scored this year.
There were four lead changes and the Bills won despite trailing 20-27 With only three minutes left to play. The Buccaneers threw a 44-yard strike to Deonte Thompson, then nine-yards to Zay Jones and a McCoy 7-yard touchdown run tied the score in only three plays. With 2:28 left to play, Adam Humphries lost a fumble on the TB-33 yard line. They drained the clock and kicked the winning 30-yard field goal.
The Buccaneers final play was an impressive hot potato play that saw the ball change hands 11 times before the eventual tackle.
We’re losing quarterbacks again this week and that sends a major ripple throughout their teams. We saw three shutouts in one week. The Bears won with just defensive touchdowns from a rookie safety. Ezekiel Elliott was suspended, then he wasn’t, then he ran over the heart that everyone left in San Francisco. And through it all there was one question we all asked.
“What got into Amari Cooper?”
Now get back to work.