Taking a quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
CHI 23, CAR 16
The Bears are proof that a team can win without any offense as long as the defense shows up. Nick Foles passed for only 198 yards and one score with a 70.2 QB rating. David Montgomery only gained 58 yards on 198 carries but added four catches for 39 yards. Allen Robinson, of course, was the leading receiver with only five catches for 53 yards. The lone rushing touchdown was scored by Foles and the only receiving score went to Cole Kmet.
Teddy Bridgewater passed for only 216 yards and two interceptions and an even worse 50.4 QB rating. But DJ Moore (5-93) and Robby Anderson (4-77) turned in moderate yardage and Mike Davis ran for 52 yards on 18 carries with one score and caught a couple of short passes. This was the defensive battle that was expected and and it ruins the 3-2 Panthers three-game winning streak and sends them to New Orleans this week. The 5-1 Bears hope their defense will be enough again next week at the Rams.
CIN 27, IND 31
When the Bengals led 21-0, they had to know that this pending close loss would hurt more than usual. It did. The Colts finally got the lead in the fourth quarter and the Bengals only managed one field goal in the second half. Joe Burrow threw for 313 yards with Tee Higgins (8-125) and A.J. Green (8-96) the top receivers though all scores were on the ground. Joe Mixon ran for 54 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries with 15 receiving yards thrown in. Giovani Bernard stole the first rushing score and Burrow ran in the other. It was yet another winnable game that got away from the Bengals.
Philip Rivers rightfully landed on many waiver wires after a horrible start to the season. Got get him back. Rivers passed for 371 yards and three touchdowns with Marcus Johnson (5-108) the lead receiver and somehow T.Y. Hilton ending with only one catch for 11 yards. He scored a touchdown, but it was called back on an unrelated penalty. Jonathan Taylor only ran 12 times for 60 yards since they fell behind early but he added four catches for 55 yards. Trey Burton ran for a touchdown and caught one on his four catches for 58 yards. The 4-2 Colts squeaked this one past and go onto their bye. The 1-4-1 Bengals host the Browns next week, and will hang in for three quarterbacks before the Browns pull away in the closing minutes.
DET 34, JAX 16
The Lions took this road win with very little trouble. Matthew Stafford was expected to have a big day but only passed for 223 yards and one score. Kenny Golladay (4-105) was the only receiver with more than two catches or 21 yards. Adrian Peterson ran for 40 yards and one score but D’Andre Swift finally had his breakout game with 116 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. That’s very good news for the Lions who need a payoff on their 2.03 pick and bad news for every Peterson owner .
Gardner Minshew only managed 243 passing yards and one score to James Robinson who totaled only 53 yards in the game. Keelan Cole (6-143) had his best game of the year while D.J. Chark was active but settled for only seven catches for 45 yards despite being thrown 14 targets. The Jaguars Week 1 heroics are long gone and the 1-5 team is on a four-game losing streak and heading out to play the Chargers in Los Angeles. The 2-3 Lions head to Atlanta where the Falcons may have discovered a defense.
ATL 40, MIN 23
The surprises just keep coming. Matt Ryan hadn’t thrown a touchdown since Week 3 but then passed for 371 yards and four scores at the Vikings. Julio Jones (8-137, 2 TD) and Calvin Ridley (6-61, TD) both gave solid fantasy performances and even Hayden Hurst (4-57, TD) was better than usual. Todd Gurley totaled 67 yards and was much less effective than in recent games. The Falcons led 33-7 in the fourth quarter with a defense that played lights out for three quarters.
Alexander Mattison took the start, at home, against the No. 26 rush defense and could only manage 26 yards on ten carries and one catch for four yards. Kirk Cousins struggled early but finally came to life in the second half and ended with 343 yards and three touchdowns along with three interceptions. Justin Jefferson (9-166, 2 TD) and Adam Thielen (3-51, TD) did the scoring but this was mostly Justin Jefferson and not nearly enough anything else. The 1-5 Falcons get their first win and host the Lions this week while the 1-5 Vikings go onto their bye to figure out how to turn around a season gone very bad.
DEN 18, NE 12
Maybe the biggest upset of the weekend. Drew Lock passed for only 189 yards and two interceptions with a 34.9 QB rating. Tim Patrick (4-101) was the only receiver with more than 45 yards. But at least Phillip Lindsay ran for 101 yards on 23 rushes replacing the ill Melvin Gordon. The Broncos won thanks to six Brandon McManus field goals and two were over 50 yards.
Cam Newton had a very forgettable game as well. He ran for 76 yards and a touchdown though it was the only one by the Patriots and it came halfway through the fourth quarter when they trailed 18-3. Newton passed for just 157 yards and two interceptions while all receivers all were held below 38 yards except for James White (8-65). The Patriots trailed for the entire game, so having a running back as the lead receiver with just 65 yards signals just how bad the Patriots receivers are and how much Newton struggles against a good secondary. Julian Edelman ended with only two catches for eight yards. The 2-3 Broncos host the Chiefs this week while the 2-3 Patriots host the broken-down 49ers.
WAS 19, NYG 20
Game-o-the-week contender only for the way that it ended. The Washington Generics could have tied the game with 36 seconds left when they scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Cam Sims. But instead of the extra point to make it 20-20, “Riverboat Ron” gambled on the two-point conversion for the win and lost when an option run was immediately swallowed up by the Giants defense. Kyle Allen passed for 280 yards and two scores that should keep Dwayne Haskins on the outside looking in for a while. Terry McLaurin (7-74) was the only receiver with more than 45 yards and Antonio Gibson only ran for 30 yards and caught four passes for 25 more. J.D. McKissic was the better fantasy play with 41 yards on eight rushes and six receptions for 43 yards.
The Giants win this thanks to a few field goals and a returned fumble for a score in the fourth quarter. Daniel Jones only passed for 112 yards and one touchdown but ran for 74 yards as well. Darius Slayton (2-41, TD) scored the only offensive touchdown but injured himself on that first-quarter play. The loss sends the 1-5 Bad Football Team back home to host the Cowboys while the 1-5 Giants get their first win of the year and play in Philly this weekend.
BAL 30, PHI 28
The Eagles trailed for the entire game and was behind 30-14 with only seven minutes remaining. But they made a game of it and pumped up their stats in the process. Miles Sanders ran for 118 yards on nine rushes thanks to a 74-yard gain but left injured. Carson Wentz passed for 213 yards and two scores while running for 49 yards and a touchdown. Travis Fulgham rewarded those waiver wire scrapers with six catches for 75 yards and one touchdown. No other receiver topped 50 yards. This was the standard beatdown that was expected but hats off to the Eagles who mounted a big comeback and failed on the two-point conversion that could have tied the game 30-30 with 1:55 left to play.
Mark Ingram left injured after only five carries and that split the workload between Gus Edwards (14-26, TD) and J.K. Dobbins (9-28). Lamar Jackson was the leading rusher with 108 yards and one score on nine runs. He also threw for 186 yards and one score to Nick Boyle (3-33, TD) instead of Mark Andrews (2-21). Marquise Brown led the pack with 57 yards on four receptions. The Ravens controlled this game and let up in the fourth quarter when they gave up three scores to the Eagles. The 1-4-1 Eagles host the Giants this week while the 5-1 Ravens go onto their bye.
CLE 7, PIT 38
Yet another team that was reminded – maybe they’re not as good as they thought. The only score by the Browns was a second-quarter pass and otherwise, the Steelers were in control from the first to the last play. Baker Mayfield threw for 119 yards and two touchdowns, though one of the scores was to the Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Kareem Hunt only totaled 57 yards and the best receiver was Austin Hooper (5-52). This was a thorough beatdown and erased all the apparent gains by the passing game.
The Steelers’ offense didn’t do much considering the 38 points. Ben Roethlisberger passed for only 162 yards and one score to James Washington (4-68, TD). Week 5 superstar Chase Claypool led the receivers with four catches for 74 yards and ran in a touchdown. James Conner (20-101, TD) could have been bigger, but Benny Snell used six runs for 17 yards to also score a touchdown at the end of the game. The 5-0 Steelers remain the only undefeated team in the AFC and head to Tennessee while the 4-2 wounded Browns play in Cincinnati this weekend.
GB 10, TB 38
The Packers took the day off, apparently, when they were throttled by the Buccaneers in a game where they were never remotely competitive. Aaron Rodgers was held to only 160 yards and two interceptions for a 35.4 QB rating. Davante Adam’s return only produced six catches for 61 yards and no other receiver was better than 32 yards. Aaron Jones only gained 15 yards on ten runs but ran in the only touchdown of the game. He added three catches for 26 yards but nothing worked on this offense and the Packers suffered their first loss in a most painful manner.
The Buccaneers defense played a masterful game and was most responsible for the big win. Ronald Jones ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries while the Buccaneers reeled off 38 straight points. Tom Brady passed for 166 yards and two scores but only Rob Gronkowski (5-78, TD) had any notable performance and the return of Chris Godwin (5-48) was a non-event. Still better than Mike Evan’s ten yards on one catch. The Bucs made up for their Week 5 loss in Chicago with a vengeance. Now the 4-1 Packers trail the Bears by a half-game and play in Houston while the 4-2 Buccaneers head to Las Vegas to face the Raiders.
NYJ 0, MIA 24
The Jets pull into the lead for the first-overall draft pick in April as the only team without a win in the NFL. And losing 24-0 says they are not even remotely competitive. Joe Flacco threw for 186 yards and one interception and Jamison Crowder led the receivers with seven catches for 48 yards while Breshad Perriman was next with four catches for 62 yards. Frank Gore ran for 46 yards on 11 carries and even caught four passes for 24 yards. This offense has to rely on trash time to post any significant stats. Even HC Adam Gase has to wonder, “why am I still here?”
Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 191 yards and three touchdowns though no receiver topped 51 yards and there was no fantasy starter here other than Myles Gaskin who ran for 91 yards on 18 rushes and added 35 yards on four receptions. Davante Parker was limited to 35 yards on three catches. Beating the Jets is so easy now, that opponents are just using no-name players for touchdowns. The 0-6 Jets next loss is at home against the Bills while the 3-3 Dolphins head onto their bye.
LAR 16, SF 24
The 49ers looked dramatically different from the team that lost 43-17 to the visiting Dolphins last week. Jimmy Garoppolo was benched in that matchup but passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. George Kittle (7-109, TD) and Deebo Samuel (6-66, TD) were the top receivers and the backfield combined for 120 rushing yards between the injured Raheem Mostert (17-65), Jerick McKinnon (6-18), and new guy JaMycal Hasty (9-37). The 49ers offense was efficient and effective – the opposite of Week 5.
The Rams trailed throughout and only passed for 198 yards and two scores by Jared Goff. Tyler Higbee (3-56) and Josh Reynolds (2-45, TD) were the top receivers and Reynolds touchdown was for 40 yards in the final minutes of the game. Darrell Henderson ran for 88 yards on 14 carries while the rookie Cam Akins never played a down. The Rams were overmatched from the start against the motivated 49ers. This week the 4-2 Rams host the Bears while the 3-3 49ers head to New England.
HOU 36, TEN 42
What a great game! This matchup rewarded every reasonable fantasy starter from either team. The Titans even scored with only four seconds left to play to tie the game because they, unlike the Bad Football Team, just kicked the extra point to tie the game. And then rolled up more yardage and a touchdown in overtime.
David Johnson ran for 57 yards and one score while Deshaun Watson did all the heavy lifting by throwing for 335 yards and four touchdowns. Will Fuller (6-123, TD), Brandon Cooks (9-68, TD), and Randall Cobb (3-17, TD) made sure all starting wideouts scored. With Jordan Akins out, Darren Fells became the primary receiving tight end and finished with six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. Watson did a tremendous job keeping the Texans in the game against a very good defense. They just never got the ball in overtime.
The Texans offense exploded for 647 yards and six touchdowns. Derrick Henry ran for 212 yards and two scores plus caught two passes for 52 yards. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a wildcat play as the quarterback. Ryan Tannehill passed for 384 yards and four scores between Anthony Firkser (8-113, TD) Adam Humphries (6-64, TD), and AJ Brown (5-56, 2 TD). Jonnu Smith was injured in the game and that led to tight end Firkser having his career-day. The loss sends the 1-5 Texans home to host the Packers while the 5-0 Titans welcome the Steelers to Tennessee this week.