Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Davante Adams – Concussion
Kyle Rudolph – Ankle
Jeremy Maclin – Knee
Marqise Lee – Ankle
Austin Ekeler – Broken hand
Antonio Brown – Torn calf
Rex Burkhead – Knee
James Conner – Knee
Tavarres King – Concussion
Jarius Wright – Foot
Aldrick Robinson – Concussion
Marqise Lee – Injured his right ankle without a catch in the win over the Texans. X-rays were negative but it initially looks serious and possibly a high-ankle sprain. Keelan Cole was already replacing Allen Hurns and the Jags turned to UDFA rookie Jaydon Mickens who entered the game with just one NFL catch. Mickens caught four of five targets for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Granted – the visiting Texans are as good as it gets for any receiver this year. Mickens would play at San Francisco and at Tennessee if Lee remains out which initially looks likely.
Austin Ekeler – Broke his hand and will miss the rest of the season. Branden Oliver is his replacement but there’s not much to like there. Ekeler was never more than a deep flex play in a reception-points league. Oliver is a decent receiver but likely won’t get enough work to matter. The Chargers end the season with a road game against the Jets and a homestand versus the Raiders.
Antonio Brown – Early reports are a partially torn calf. He’s done for the regular season but may be available in January. He is irreplaceable but the final two games are still important. Martavis Bryant gets the biggest bump in playing time though JuJu Smith-Schuster will also see more action. Both wideouts were thrown six targets as a team high on Sunday. Eli Rogers remains in the slot with no more work likely. The Steelers end the season playing in Houston and then hosting the Browns. Bryant is a new consideration for the Texans matchup this week.
Rex Burkhead – Injured his knee but initial reports are that he did not tear anything and should be back at least eventually. If he is absent for the next two weeks, it would prove a major boost for Dion Lewis. It would also result in Mike Gillislee being active. With the Bills and Jets visiting the Patriots the final two weeks, having the primary back should be very profitable.
C.J. Anderson – Ran for career-highs in carries (30) and yards (158) in the win over the Colts. He’s been mostly a slug all year and his monster game is like when you sink a 60-foot putt on the 18th hole. That’s all you can remember until the next time you play golf regardless that you shot 100. On nine holes. He plays in Washington next week.
Kendall Wright – The lead wideout for the Bears caught ten passes for 107 yards in Week 14 against the Bengals and turned in a team-high seven receptions for 81 yards in Detroit on Sunday. The 28-year-old was signed to a one-year contract and is making the case to be re-signed or at least catching on with another team in 2018.
Kareem Hunt – He’s back in top form with 155 yards and score on 24 carries in the win over the Chargers. He added seven catches for 51 yards and scored another touchdown. He’s apparently a Charger-killer since his best game of the year was when he ran for 172 yards in the first meeting with the Bolts. Must just be one of those matchups. They were the worst two allowed by the Chargers defense.
Kenyan Drake – The third game in a row with over 100 total yards and his 78 rushing yards and one score were supplemented with a season-high six catches for 35 yards in the loss to the Bills. He faces the Chiefs next week which should help keep his string alive.
Jordy Nelson – Nope. Guess it wasn’t just Hundley. Aaron Rodgers returned and passed for 290 yards and three touchdowns but Nelson was still held to only 28 yards on three receptions. Randal Cobb, Davante Adams, and even Richard Rogers all scored with more yards and catches than the one-time No. 1 wideout Nelson. He even had two fewer targets than Geronimo Allison.
Greg Olsen – He’s back and with a vengeance. He returned in Week 12 but only managed one catch until the Packers matchup this week. Olsen received 12 targets and caught nine for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Damiere Byrd – The second-year UFDA with the Panthers is getting playing time with the injuries to the Carolina wideouts. He caught one pass as a rookie but came up with five catches for 37 yards in Week 14 versus the Vikings. He followed that up with three catches for 25 yards and two scores in the win over the Packers. He’s an obviously risky consideration but plays against the visiting Buccaneers next week. Devin Funchess did not miss any time last week but is still nursing a shoulder injury and was banged up again.
DeAndre Hopkins – The Texans star ended with four catches for 80 yards and one touchdown playing with a bad toe, in Jacksonville with T.J. Yates at quarterback. How was it that Brock Osweiler could not connect with him? All anyone has to do is just throw it near him.
Keelan Cole – The UFDA rookie scored in each of the last three games including catching a career-best seven passes for 186 yards and one touchdown in the win over the Texans. He’s making the case to remain a starter next season.
Jaydon Mickens – The UFDA rookie joined Cole in terrorizing the Texans. He caught four of five targets for 61 yards and two touchdowns. He totaled just one catch this year and isn’t likely to do more than a slot or No. 4 receiver work when everyone is healthy. The 5-11, 170-pounder from Washington could show up in the box score in San Francisco next week if Marqise Lee remains out.
Jaguars Backfield – Leonard Fournette was out and that sent his owners (and more than a few daily fantasy players) scurrying to add Chris Ivory to their lineup. And he ran 17 times for 42 yards and no catches. Corey Grant had no touches since Week 10 but ran ten times for 69 yards and one touchdown. Tommy Bohanon only totaled three carries for three yards this year and added two more runs for two yards – both touchdowns. Sometimes a matchup is just too good.
Bryce Petty – His first start went as expected. He threw for 179 yards and one score with two interceptions in New Orleans. The touchdown came with under two minutes left to play in the already-decided game. The Jets trailed throughout but Petty had little success with Robby Anderson (5-40) or Jermaine Kearse (3-28). Notable was that he threw 12 targets at Anderson. Hosting the wounded Chargers may not be any better this week.
Nick Foles – All is well without Carson Wentz as long as the Eagles are facing weaker defenses. Foles passed for 237 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions in the win over the Giants. He’ll get nearly as nice a matchup this week hosting the Raiders. He threw scores to Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, and Alshon Jeffery so he was paying attention.
Kapri Bibbs – Promoted to the 53-man roster less than a week ago, Bibbs helped replace Byron Marshall as the third-down back. He only ran for six yards on two catches in the win over the Cardinals but added four receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. Bibbs will play the Broncos next week and his receiving ability should come into play with the wide receivers likely held in check.
Jimmy Garopollo – Third start, third win. The 49ers hope for the future just threw for 381 yards in the win over the Titans. For the context of how well he has done playing on a below-average offense, consider that over the last three games, Ben Roethlisberger totals a league-leading 1,077 passing yards thanks to his 506 yards in Week 14. In second place is Garoppolo with 1,008. Matt Stafford is in third and 98 yards back. And for the record, Marquise Goodwin ranks No. 4 among all NFL wideouts with 319 yards totaled from those three games. He is only 29 yards short of No. 1 Tyreek Hill (348).
CHI 10, DET 20
On the plus, Mitchell Trubisky threw for 314 yards and one score. But he also tossed three interceptions. Kendall Wright (7-81) and Josh Bellamy (5-70) were the top receivers so it is good to see Trubisky connecting with wide receivers. But no one rushed for more than 50 yards in this game. Matt Stafford ended with 237 yards and two scores but Marvin Jones (3-85) was the top receiver while Eric Ebron (5-33, TD) had one of his rare touchdown games. The 4-10 Bears host the Browns this week and the 8-6 Lions head to Cincinnati.
LAC 13, KC 30
The Chiefs put an end to the streak of the Chargers and reasserted themselves as the AFC West kingpin. Alex Smith threw for 231 yards and two scores but most came from the 64-yard touchdown catch by Tyreek Hill (5-88, TD). Kareem Hunt made it straight big games when he ran for 155 yards and one score on 24 carries and caught seven passes for 51 yards and a second touchdown. Philip Rivers was held to only 227 yards and one score with three interceptions. The only good fantasy play was Melvin Gordon who ran for 78 yards and a score plus added a team-high six receptions for 91 yards. Keenan Allen finally flopped with only five catches for 54 yards. The Chiefs turned the division around with this game. Now the 8-6 Chiefs host the Dolphins and the 7-7 Chargers hit the road to face the Jets.
MIA 16, BUF 24
No big performances here but a few players did well. Jay Cutler’s revival closed up their tents with 274 yards and three interceptions. Both Jarvis Landry (10-99) and DeVante Parker (6-89) did well but failed to score. Kenyan Drake totaled 113 yards and one touchdown. Tyrod Taylor only threw for 224 yards and one score to LeSean McCoy who totaled 96 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Taylor also ran for 42 yards and rushed in a score as well. The loss sends the 6-8 Dolphins to Kansas City while the 8-6 Bills visit the Patriots.
BAL 27, CLE 10
The only surprise is that the Browns scored points. Joe Flacco passed for 288 yards and one score plus rushed in a touchdown. Mike Wallace (6-89) and Ben Watson (4-74, TD) were the best receivers but Alex Collins only ran for 19 yards while Javorius Allen gained 70. DeShone Kizer passed for 146 yards and only two interceptions. Josh Gordon still led the team only with just 47 yards on five catches. Isaiah Crowell totaled only 65 yards despite having a 59-yard run. The sad thought is what if the Browns are not a gift to every opposing defense next year? Yeah, I was just kidding. The 8-6 Ravens move to 9-7 after hosting the Colts this week while the 0-14 Browns are found under the Bears Christmas tree this week.
CIN 7, MIN 34
Nothing surprising here. Andy Dalton threw for only 113 yards and two interceptions while A.J. Green (2-30) had one of those games. Giovani Bernard was the only marginally good fantasy start with 43 yards and one touchdown. Case Keenum threw for 236 yards and two scores, though Jerick McKinnon (7-114) was the only receiver with more than 30 yards. Latavius Murray totaled 104 yards and one touchdown. The Bengals scored late in the fourth quarter to avoid the shutout. Hey. It’s something. The 5-9 Bengals host the Lions this week and the 11-3 Vikings head to Green Bay for a game that ends up not nearly as interesting as it could have been.
ARI 15, WAS 20
It is not good when your kicker is your highest scorer. And worse when he is your only scorer. Phil Dawson kicked five field goals to make many fantasy owners happy though they all were 40-yards or closer so no “distance points” involved. Blaine Gabbert did himself no favors with only 189 passing yards and Larry Fitzgerald (5-60) was as good as it got for receivers (Part XIV). Kerwynn Williams ran for 61 yards on 17 carries but had no catches. Kirk Cousins passed for 196 yards and scores for Jamison Crowder (5-55, TD) and Kapri Bibbs (4-47, TD) who has just added a week ago. Samaje Perine only gained 37 yards on 14 runs but added 29 yards as a receiver. The 6-8 Cardinals host the Giants with dreams of a .500 season still alive and the 6-8 Redskins host the Broncos.
GB 24, CAR 31
Maybe he was rusty. But Aaron Rodgers first game back resulted in 290 yard and three touchdowns but also three interceptions. His last game with three interceptions was nine years ago in his first season as a starter. Randall Cobb (7-84, TD), Richard Rodgers (4-77, TD) and Davante Adams (5-57, TD) were the best receivers while Jordy Nelson (3-28) still doesn’t get it (the ball that is). Jamaal Williams (10-30) had a bad game. Cam Newton blew up for four touchdowns on his 242 passing yards and ran for 58 yards. Greg Olsen tripled his entire 2017 season production when he caught nine passes for 116 yards and one score. Christian McCaffrey totaled 133 yards and scored once on his six catches. Devin Funchess was banged up and only caught one pass. Now the 7-7 Packers are a long shot to make the playoffs and that’s probably formally over when they travel to Minnesota this week. The 10-4 Panthers host the Buccaneers.
HOU 7, JAC 45
This did not go well for the Texans. T.J. Yates flopped with 128 yards but he actually threw a touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins (4-80, TD) who may be the greatest wideout to have ever played the game considering what he accomplishes in this offense. No one else mattered for the Texans nor were they expected to matter. Blake Bortles threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns before he got bored. His 143.8 QB Rating was a career high. Marqise Lee left injured but Keenan Cole (7-186, TD) stepped up along with Jaydon Mickens (4-61, 2 TD) who only had one career catch. Leonard Fournette missed out on 140 rushing yards and three touchdowns by the backfield committee. The 4-10 Texans next delight the visiting Steelers while the 10-4 Jaguars head to San Francisco.
NYJ 19, NO 31
This was more of a game than expected and Mark Ingram ran for a 50-yard touchdown with 1:43 left to play to spread out the score. Bilal Powell was the best running back for the Jets with just 44 total yards and one score. The Bryce Petty era started with 179 yards and a score plus two interceptions. Elijah McGuire (3-48, TD) was the best receiver and Robby Anderson was left with just five catches for 40 yards. Drew Brees passed for 285 yards and two scores and Mike Thomas (9-93, TD) caught three touchdowns but only one counted. Mark Ingram totaled 151 yards and two scores while Alvin Kamara ended with 89 yards and one touchdown. The 5-9 Jets host the Chargers this week and the 10-4 Saints welcome the Falcons.
LAR 42, SEA 7
Someone just pumped up their chance for Coach of the Year. The Rams led 40-0 in the third quarter before the Seahawks finally got their score. Jared Goff only passed for 120 yards and two scores and Robert Woods was the best receiver with only six catches for 45 yards and a score. Todd Gurley ran for 152 yards and three touchdowns and added three receptions for 28 yards and a fourth score. The Seahawks missed several defenders thanks to injury and just had no answer for Gurley. Russell Wilson tried to carry the team on his back but had no help. He only passed for 142 yards and one score and ran for a team-high 39 yards. This was a beat-down. In their stadium no less. The Seahawks losses on defense showed up with a vengeance. Now the 8-6 Seahawks travel to Dallas and the 10-4 Rams visit the Titans.
NE 27, PIT 24
Game-of-the-week contender. The Steelers compensated for the loss of Antonio Brown but fell short. After the Pats went up 27-24 with 56 seconds left, the Steelers completed a 69-yard pass to JuJu Smith Schuster (6-114) and then threw a score to Jesse James that was reversed. The next pass was intercepted. Tom Brady ended with 298 yards and one score while Rob Gronkowski (9-168) and Brandin Cooks (4-60, TD) led the team. Rex Burkhead scored before leaving injured and Dion Lewis (13-67, TD) took over. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 281 yards and two scores and Martavis Bryant (4-59, TD) had a better game but the loss of Antonio Brown naturally made a difference. Le’Veon Bell totaled 165 yards and a score. Now the 11-3 Pats have the tiebreaker and host the Bills. The 11-3 Steelers travel to Houston where Antonio Bro… What? Antonio Brown versus the Texans in Week 16 and he is out? Oh… the pain…
TEN 23, SF 25
San Franoppolo just won their third-straight game. Jimmy Garoppolo is approaching 49er Sainthood. Three straight wins! They only won two all last year. Garoppolo passed for 381 yards and one score with Marquise Goodwin (10-114) once again turning in a big day. No 49er back gained more than 25 yards. The Titans only rushed for 78 yards on 25 carries and Marcus Mariota passed for 241 yards and two scores. Ryan Matthews (6-95, TD) was the best receiver. The Titans went up 23-22 with only 51 seconds left but Garoppolo went from his 25-yard line to the Titans 30-yard line in three plays and ended up with a 45-yard field goal to win as time expired. The 8-6 Titans host the Rams this week and the 4-10 49ers face the Jaguars.
DAL 20, OAK 17
The game was mostly sloppy. Dak Prescott rushed for a score but only passed for 212 yards and two interceptions. No Cowboy receiver gained more than 59 yards and Rod Smith hawked the touchdown from Alfred Morris (16-61). Derek Carr threw for 171 yards and two scores on the Cowboys secondary and both scores went to Michael Crabtree who has long established himself as the only Oakland wideout capable of scoring. Marshawn Lynch ran for 76 yards on 16 carries but the game ended with the Raiders in position for the tying field goal. On third down, Carr tried to run in a winning score but lost control of the ball a foot before the goal line and it trickled out of the end zone for a touchback. The 8-6 Cowboys host the Seahawks this week while the 6-8 Raiders accept the season is over and travel to Philadelphia.
Huddle player of the week
Todd Gurley – Fantasy playoffs are in high gear and it was a great time to own Todd Gurley. He ran for 152 yards on 21 carries and scored three times. He also caught three passes for 28 yards and a fourth touchdown. And he sat out most of the fourth quarter. When you needed him most, he had one of the biggest individual performances in the league this year.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
|QB||Eli Manning||434||3||QB||Philip Rivers||227||1|
|RB||Elijah McGuire||72||1||RB||Jordan Howard||63||0|
|RB||C.J. Anderson||158||0||RB||Carlos Hyde||38||0|
|WR||Keelan Cole||186||1||WR||Doug Baldwin||6||0|
|WR||Jaydon Mickens||61||2||WR||A.J. Green||30||0|
|WR||Damiere Byrd||25||2||WR||Antonio Brown||24||0|
|TE||Richard Rogers||77||1||TE||Jimmy Graham||-1||0|
|PK||Robbie Gould||1 XP 5 FG||PK||Blair Walsh||1 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 139||Huddle Fantasy Points = 30|
Sunday’s couch commentary
The playoffs are coming into focus. The Patriots, Steelers, and Jaguars clinched the playoffs and the Jags win their division with one more win or a loss by the Titans. The AFC West currently belongs to the Chiefs who beat the Chargers. Barring highly unlikely upsets, the Pats, Steelers, Jags, and Chiefs will all host a playoff game as division winners. The two wild cards will come from the Bills, Ravens, Titans or Chargers most likely. Plenty of changes can happen in two weeks as they are all 8-6 except the Chargers are 7-7.
In the NFC, The Eagles and Vikings have clinched their divisions and are the No. 1 and 2 seeds. The Saints, Panthers and Rams are all 10-4 and should all make the playoffs. The NFC South is going to go down to the final week between the Saints and Panthers with the loser being the No. 5 seed. That final wildcard likely comes from one of the Cowboys, Lions, Falcons, or Seahawks.
PHI 34, NYG 29
This was not supposed to be a game. It ended up as the highest scoring of the weekend. The Eagles proved they could still beat one of the worst teams in the league even relying on Nick Foles. But barely.
Maybe the Eagles did not take them seriously and realistically, they won anyway. But Eli Manning passed for a season-best 434 yards and three touchdowns. Sterling Shepard (11-39, TD) and Evan Engram (8-87) were the top receivers because they are always the top receivers. But Roger Lewis (4-74) and Tavarres King (2-70, 2 TD) both had much better games than usual. The Giants backfield rushed for 71 yards on 22 carries split between three rushers. Orleans Darkwa (9-7, TD) was the least effective so he scored the only touchdown.
Nick Foles passed for 237 yards and four touchdowns. Nelson Agholor (7-59, TD), Zach Ertz (6-56, TD) and Alshon Jeffery (4-49, TD) all scored. Jay Ajayi ran for 49 yards on 12 carries but the Eagles leaned more on the pass.
The Giants were shockingly competitive for a team that didn’t fare as well in Week 3 when Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham were still playing. And they had a head coach back then as well. The Giants drew as close as 29-31 in the third quarter but then the Eagles put a stop to all the nonsense and took the win.
Next week is for all the marbles in most leagues. Hope you are still in it. And that you weren’t relying on Antonio Brown.
Now get back to work…