A quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
SF 17, BAL 20
This was the defensive battle that fantasy football did not want to see. Raheem Mostert ran for 146 yards and one touchdown while Tevin Coleman was held to only six yards on five carries. Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 165 yards and one touchdown to Deebo Samuel (2-41, TD) but none of the other receivers mattered. Aside from Mostert, none of the 49ers were able to do much on the slick field in Baltimore.
Lamar Jackson only threw for 105 yards and one score to Mark Andrews (3-50, TD) while none of the other receivers did anything. Marquise Brown caught one pass for one yard. But Jackson ran for 101 yards and a score on 16 rushes and Mark Ingram gained 59 yards on his 15 carries. Overall, a slow game with mostly rushing and neither team threw more than 23 passes. But the 49ers held on to the end and a rematch on neutral ground would be a coin flip.
WAS 29, CAR 21
Hello, upset! The Redskins only passed for 147 yards but won the game thanks to the rushing effort of Derrius Guice (19-129, 2 TD) and Adrian Peterson (13-99, TD). Dwayne Haskins struggles a bit more than he should but it doesn’t matter when the rushing offense can produce so well.
Kyle Allen passed for 278 yards and two scores between DJ Moore (6-75, TD) and Curtis Samuel (4-65, TD) and the quarterback even ran in one touchdown. Christian McCaffrey only ran for 44 yards on 14 carries but added seven catches for 58 yards to save his fantasy value. The Panthers looked like they planned on taking the afternoon off when they had the 14-0 lead in the first quarter. They never scored again until the final two minutes.
NYJ 6, CIN 22
It’s a Christmas Miracle! The Jets became the “it” team when they allowed the Bengals to win their first game of 2019. Is it still a trap game if the home team is 4-7? Apparently yes. Sam Darnold only threw for 239 yards with Robby Anderson (7-101) the only receiver of any note. Le’Veon Bell faced his best situation of the year and only ran for 32 yards on ten carries and caught four passes for 35 yards. The Jets were lethargic and were caught trying to mail it in.
Andy Dalton’s return to starting produced 243 passing yards and one score. Auden Tate (4-66) and Tyler Boyd (5-59, TD) were the top receivers and Joe Mixon ran for 44 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and added four receptions for 26 yards. The Bengals offense didn’t do anything special but their defense was more than the Jets could handle. When was the last time that happened? It wasn’t this year, to be sure.
TEN 31, IND 17
The Titans are not going away this season. Ryan Tannehill threw for 182 yards and two touchdowns although no receiver gained more than 45 yards and Adam Humphries scored on his only catch in the game. Kalif Raymond also scored on his only catch. Derrick Henry ran for 149 yards and a score on his 26 carries. The Titans controlled the ball with the run and played solid defense. They also blocked two kicks and returned one for a touchdown.
Jacoby Brissett ended with 319 passing yards and one score with two interceptions. Zach Pascal (7-109) and Jack Doyle (6-73, TD) were the primary receivers with T.Y. Hilton out. But Jonathan Williams short streak as a starting running back is over with only eight rushes for 14 yards while Jordan Wilkins gained 47 yards on 11 runs. Nyheim Hines only ran four times but gained 22 yards and scored once. The Colts killed themselves with two interceptions and one lost fumble. But they were also playing without Marlon Mack, T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron, and Parris Campbell.
TB 28, JAC 11
This was a head-scratcher. Nick Foles was at home against the worst secondary in the NFL and ended up benched when he was 7-of-14 for 93 yards and one interception at the half. Gardner Minshew didn’t fare much better with 147 yards and one touchdown to Dede Westbrook (5-60, TD). DJ Chark faced the worse cornerbacks in the league and only caught two passes for 47 yards. Leonard Fournette ran for 38 yards on 14 carries and added nine catches for 53 yards.
To add to the odd results, Jameis Winston passed for 268 yards and no touchdowns because Peyton Barber (17-44, 2 TD) was the preferred option instead of Ronald Jones (6-8). It gets better. The top receivers were not Mike Evans (4-53) or Chris Godwin (4-50), but instead were Brett Perriman (5-87) and O.J. Howard (5-61). It was like sitting for three hours and just listening to the “B” side of the record.
GB 31, NYG 13
The Packers took this game with ease but only led 17-13 to start the fourth quarter. Aaron Rodgers ended with 243 passing yards and four touchdowns. Alan Lazard (3-103, TD) and Davante Adams (6-64, 2 TD) were the only notable receivers. Aaron Jones only ran for 18 yards on 11 carries and added four catches for 13 yards for one of his worst showings this year. The Packers had no turnovers and Rodgers picked the secondary apart.
D.J. Jones threw for 240 yards and a score but had three interceptions. The best receiver was the second-string rookie tight end Kaden Smith (6-70) subbing for Evan Engram. Sterling Shepard caught three passes for 40 yards and the one touchdown. Saquon Barkley ran for 83 yards on 19 carries for one of his better recent efforts and he added 32 yards on three receptions. The Giants were overmatched and Jones kept losing the ball.
CLE 13, PIT 20
The Steelers got back at the Browns for that loss a couple of weeks ago though they changed quarterbacks to Devlin Hodges to remove the temptation for anyone to try to conk Mason Rudolph on the head again. Hodges threw for 212 yards and one score to James Washington (4-111, TD) who has warmed up to Hodges lately. No other receivers gained more than 28 yards. Benny Snell ran for 63 yards and one score while Jaylen Samuels turned in 32 yards on seven runs and caught two passes for 22 yards.
Baker Mayfield was limited to 196 passing yards and one score to Kareem Hunt (5-19, TD) who also ran for 46 yards on seven carries. Jarvis Landry (6-76) and Odell Beckham (3-29) were the top receivers. Nick Chubb ran for 58 yards on 16 carries but only caught one pass for 21 yards. The offense was lethargic and this was just another 33 total-point game where both teams struggled to produce points.
LAR 34, ARI 7
The Cardinals were never in this. Their lone score was the final one in the game and prevented a 34-0 shutout. Kyler Murray passed for 163 yards and one interception and no receiver gained more than Larry Fitzgerald (6-56). Kenyan Johnson finally had a quiet game with only 31 yards on 13 carries and two catches for 20 yards. David Johnson showed up for four rushes that gained 15 yards. Despite playing at home, the Cardinals have never looked more outmatched than this game.
Jared Goff held off his critics this week with 424 passing yards and two touchdowns. Robert Woods (13-172) and Tyler Higbee (7-107, TD) led the offense while Cooper Kupp (6-65, TD) still managed to score. Todd Gurley ran for 95 yards and a score but only caught one pass for 20 yards. Goff look great and was in synch with his receivers while not focusing on just Kupp. Woods fielded a ridiculous 19 targets so he is back from his personal issue with a vengeance.
LAC 20, DEN 23
This was a close, last-second loss just like the Chargers often do. The Chargers tied the game with only 14 seconds left to play. Drew Lock had one play and threw an incompletion to Courtland Sutton who was interfered with by Casey Hayward and that placed the ball at the LAC 35-yard line where the 53-yard field goal was good to end the game. That’s a bitter way to lose. Philip Rivers passed for 265 yards and two touchdowns between Keenan Allen (6-68, TD) and Austin Ekeler (4-51, TD). Mike Williams (5-117) led the crew. Melvin Gordon ran for 99 yards and added 11 more on two catches.
Drew Lock’s debut ended with 134 passing yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Courtland Sutton (4-74, 2 TD) caught both scores in the first quarter and no other receiver gained more than 15 yards. Phillip Lindsay ran for 58 yards on 17 carries. This was a defensive game and Lock didn’t do much after the first quarter. The defense kept the Broncos in the game and the loss was stinging for the Chargers to battle back, tie the game and in one play, let a 37-yard penalty spot them a winning field goal to Denver.
OAK 9, KC 40
The Raiders never scored until it was 31-0 in the fourth quarter. Derek Carr ended with 222 passing yards and one score but threw two interceptions. Darren Waller (7-100) and DeAndre Washington (3-44) were the lead receivers and no other receivers gained over 15 yards. The wide receivers combined for only six catches for 47 yards Josh Jacobs ran for 104 yards on 17 carries but never had a pass. The Raider’s inability to throw to more than the tight end and a running back doomed them in this matchup.
Patrick Mahomes only threw for 175 yards and one touchdown in the blustery conditions and Travis Kelce (5-90) turned in half of that yardage. Darrel Williams (6-13) was ineffective and left injured. LeSean McCoy (5-10, TD) scored but did little else. Darwin Thompson (11-44, TD) was the best running back but the overall results were mediocre like most games for the Chiefs. The defense scored on an interception return and even scored two points when they blocked the extra point and returned it.
NE 22, HOU 28
That just happened. The vaunted Patriot defense that had only allowed four passing touchdowns this year just gave up four more. Deshaun Watson not only passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns, DeAndre Hopkins even threw one as well – to Watson! Hopkins ended with 64 yards on five catches while Watson focused more on the rest of the roster. Kenny Stills (3-61, TD), Duke Johnson (5-54, TD), and Darren Fells (2-23, TD) all scored. The backfield was limited to just 53 yards on 19 carries but the Texans led by as much as 21-3. It was a feel-good game for the hometown crowd.
Tom Brady passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns – most of it in the second half. Julian Edelman (6-106, TD) and James White (8-98, 2 TD) were the top receivers and White even ran for 79 yards on 14 carries to lead the offense. Sony Michel was held to 45 yards on ten rushes. At halftime, Brady only had 82 passing yards and Edelman only caught two passes for 23 yards. The Texans dropped back once they got the big lead and let the Patriots draw closer.
PHI 31, MIA 37
I’m sorry, what did you say? What?
The Eagles have joined with the Cowboys to make the NFL East the division that no one wanted (or at least deserved). The Eagles led 28-14 in the third quarter and then the Dolphins laid down 23 straight points to lead 37-28 with only 3:37 left to play. The Eagles drove to the MIA-19 but settled for a field goal with 1:55 left to play. After an unsuccessful onside kick, the Fins went three and out and punted to the PHI-31 with only eight seconds left. The game ended on an interception.
Carson Wentz passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns and Alshon Jeffery (9-137, TD) finally had a monster game this year. Dallas Goedert (6-66) and Nelson Agholor (3-41) were better than usual. Miles Sanders was given almost every touch for the running backs and ended with 83 yards on 17 carries and caught five passes for 22 yards and one touchdown. It was a nice showing by the rookie and a reminder of what can happen when a team ditches the committee approach.
Ryan Fitzpatrick led all fantasy quarterbacks with 365 yards and three touchdowns. DeVante Parker turned in a career-best seven catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Gesicki (5-79, TD) was the other top receiver. There was no rushing production of note like every week since they ended with 15 runs for 25 yards all combined.
The play of the game, and perhaps the winning margin, was a trick play on a field goal attempt when the punter (holder) dropped into a quarterback position with all others spread out to either side. He threw a touchdown to the kicker. How great is that?
The Dolphins are 3-9 and won three of their last four games. The Eagles fall to 5-7 but are still, amazingly, in the race for the NFC East.