Taking a quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
DET 23, ATL 22
The Falcons defense will preserve a lead, but it’s not going to happen this year. They took the lead with 1:04 left to play when Todd Gurley couldn’t stop himself in time to down the ball at the one-yard line so that the Falcons could bleed the clock to zero and kick the winning field goal 17-16. Instead, he scored and they added a two-point play to make it 22-16. But these are the Falcons 2020. They allowed the Lions to complete four passes to the ATL-11 with spiking the ball every time since they had no time outs. With two seconds left to play – TWO SECONDS – Matt Stafford hit T.J. Hockenson with the 11-yard touchdown for the win.
Matt Stafford threw for 340 yards and one score with Kenny Golladay (6-114) and Marvin Jones (5-80) led the receivers and Hockenson (5-59, TD) had the game-winning catch. Adrian Peterson (11-29) remained the primary rusher but De’Andre Swift (9-27, TD) scored and caught four passes for 21 yards.
Matt Ryan passed for 338 yards and one score. Julio Jones (8-97) and Calvin Ridley (5-69, TD) led the receivers but Hayden Hurst (6-68) turned in one of his best performances as well. Todd Gurley ran for 63 yards and two touchdowns which ironically lost the game because he could not stop at 62 yards and one score and then kick the game-winning field goal. It was yet another heartbreaking loss for the 1-6 Falcons, who play at the Panthers this week. The 3-3 Lions host the Colts.
CLE 37, CIN 34
Two months ago, could anyone guess that the highest-scoring game of the week would be the Browns at the Bengals? This was the Game-o-the-Week until the Seahawks-Cardinals overtime game.
Joe Burrow is learning what life is like when you don’t have a great defense. The Bengals led 34-31 with only 1:05 left to play but Baker Mayfield became Superman once Odell Beckham was lost to a knee injury. He threw for 51 yards with three completions to reach the CIN-24 yard line and then with 15 seconds left, hit Donovan Peoples-Jones with a 24-yard touchdown for the win.
Mayfield passed for 297 yards and five touchdowns. Rashard Higgins (6-110) and rookie tight end Harrison Bryant (4-56, 2 TD) led the team but Peoples-Jones (3-56, TD), Kareem Hunt (3-26, TD) and David Njoku (2-20, TD) also scored. Hunt rushed for 76 yards on 18 carries.
Joe Burrow did his part throwing for 406 yards and three touchdowns, plus ran in a score on his six runs for 34 yards. Tyler Boyd (11-101, TD), A.J. Green (7-82), and Tee Higgins (5-59, TD) were the best receivers and Giovani Bernard replaced Joe Mixon and rushed for 37 yards while adding five receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. The 5-2 Browns host the Raiders this week while the 1-5-1 will probably lose to the visiting Titans on the last play of their game.
GB 35, HOU 20
This game was never in doubt and the Packers led 21-0 at halftime. Aaron Rodgers passed for 283 yards and four touchdowns but Davante Adams (13-196, 2 TD) did almost all the damage and no other receiver gained more than 32 yards. Aaron Jones was out, so Jamaal Williams ran for 77 yards and one score and caught four passes for 37 yards. The offense is finally back to normal – the primary running back does well and Adams dominates the game.
Deshaun Watson threw for 309 yards and two scores and ran for 38 yards. Randall Cobb (8-95) was the best receiver facing his original team and yet not facing either of the Packer’s cornerbacks. Brandin Cooks (7-60) was busy just not very far down the field. David Johnson ran for only 42 yards but added four catches for 42 yards and one touchdown. The 5-1 Packers host the Vikings this week while the 1-6 Texans head onto their bye.
CAR 24, NO 27
Yet another great game. Drew Brees passed for 287 yards and two scores plus ran in a touchdown as well. Alvin Kamara ran for 83 yards and added eight receptions for 65 yards. Marquez Callaway (8-75) replaced Michael “The Ghost” Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith (4-54) was the best of the rest. Jared Cook also scored on his three catches for 32 yards. By this point, it’s hard to remember what the Saints were like when Michael Thomas played. Oh yes, like what Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers did on Sunday.
Teddy Bridgewater threw for 254 yards and two scores with D.J. Moore (4-93, 2 TD) and Robby Anderson (6-74) handled most of the workload as usual. The Panthers only rushed for 37 yards from six runners combined. This has all been fun, but it is time for Christian McCaffrey to return. The 3-4 Panthers host the Falcons this week so there’s a last-second win on the way. The 4-2 Saints head to Chicago for a bigger test.
BUF 18, NYJ 10
Someone thought they could mail in a game and still win. And someone was right. Josh Allen ended with 307 passing yards but no scores, and he added 61 yards on 11 runs as their leading rusher. Devin Singletary only gained 29 yards on eight carries with two catches for 18 yards. Zack Moss was more productive with 47 yards on seven runs and 25 yards on three receptions. Cole Beasley (11-112), Tyler Kroft (4-64), and Stefon Diggs (6-48) were the only notable receivers.
Sam Darnold returned as the starter and passed for 120 yards and two interceptions, so he’s healthy again. The rookie Denzel Mims debuted with a team-high 42 yards on four catches since Jamison Crowder wasn’t active. Frank Gore ran for 60 yards on 11 carries while the rookie La’Mical Perine gained 39 yards and a touchdown on his 11 rushes. Good to see Mims finally play, but this game was a yawner with few fantasy points. The 5-2 Bills get back on a winning track and host the Patriots this weekend while the 0-7 Jets take their perfect record to Kansas City where we’ll likely see another successful mail-in winner versus the Jets.
PIT 27, TEN 24
Lots of close games this week. The Steelers led 27-7 in the third quarter and barely held off the comeback attempt by the Titans. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns with Diontae Johnson (9-80, 2 TD) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (9-85) leading the receivers. James Conner ran for 82 yards and caught three passes for 29 yards. The Steelers led 24-7 at halftime and mostly ran the ball in the second half.
Ryan Tannehill passed for 220 yards and two touchdowns between AJ Brown (6-153, TD) and Corey Davis (6-35, TD) but no other receiver gained more than 19 yards. Derrick Henry scored once but only gained 74 yards on 20 carries and was stuffed for most of the game. This matchup leaves the Steelers as the lone unbeaten team in the AFC and the Titans missed a 45-yard field goal in the final seconds which could have sent this into overtime. Kickers matter. The 6-0 Steelers head to Baltimore this week for maybe their biggest and toughest challenge of the season while the 5-1 Titans play in Cincinnati.
DAL 3, WAS 25
This was a week with close, hard fought games. Except one. The teetering Cowboys were thoroughly humbled by a nameless football team. Ezekiel Elliott only gained 45 yards on 12 carries and caught one pass for six yards. Amari Cooper ended with 80 yards on seven catches but no other receivers gained more than 22 yards. Andy Dalton completed just 9-of-19 for 75 yards and an interception before losing his helmet on a brutal head-shot from LB Jon Bostic who was ejected from the game because of the hit. The Cowboys went to the rookie Ben DiNucci who debuted with only 2-of-3 for 39 yards and three sacks.
Kyle Allen passed for 194 yards and two scores almost entirely in the first half of the beatdown. Terry McLaurin (7-90, TD) and Logan Thomas (4-60, TD) did all the damage in the passing game that really wasn’t needed. Antonio Gibson rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while J.D. McKissic added 35 yards on five runs and two catches for 16 yards. The Football Team barely broke a sweat in this game where the Cowboys looked even worse than last week. The 2-5 Football Team heads onto their bye while the 2-5 Cowboys head to Philadelphia, where mercy may be in very short supply.
TB 45, LV 20
For the first quarter, this was a competitive game with the Raiders leading 10-7. It was downhill from there onward. Tom Brady passed for 369 yards and four touchdowns with Scotty Miller (6-109, TD), Chris Godwin (9-88, TD) and Rob Gronkowski (5-62, TD) leading the way. Mike Evans, unfortunately, was limited to only two catches for 37 yards. Most notable was that Ronald Jones (13-34, TD) started the game but Leonard Fournette (11-50) looked better and added six catches for 47 yards. Not what the RoJo owners were hoping to see. Or the Evans owners for that matter.
Derek Carr passed for 284 yards and two scores between Nelson Agholor (5-107, TD) and Darren Waller (6-50, TD) but no other receivers did much including Henry Ruggs (2-35). Josh Jacobs was limited to only 17 yards on ten carries and added just three catches for 14 yards in one of his worst performances. The Buccaneers looked scary good in a road game while the Raiders just erased whatever spark they had from beating the Chiefs before the bye week. The 5-2 Buccaneers head to New York to face the Giants while the 3-3 Raiders go against the Browns in Cleveland.
KC 43, DEN 16
The only surprise here was that the Chiefs defense was the best fantasy play. Patrick Mahomes only passed for 200 yards and one touchdown, and he was replaced by Chad Henne who ran in a touchdown at the end of the game. Tyreek Hill (6-55) and Mecole Hardman (2-57) was as good as it got for receivers in the easy win. Travis Kelce only caught three passes for 31 yards. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had to share his backfield this week and only gained 46 yards and a score on eight carries with one catch for 17 yards. Le’Veon Bell debuted with 39 yards on six rushes. This was the sort of game that fantasy hates since the defense scored twice and the Chiefs offense barely broke a sweat.
Drew Lock threw for 254 yards and two interceptions in this matchup that was never close and never in doubt. The rookie Albert Okwuegbunam (7-60) was the leading receiver, along with Tim Patrick (3-44) and Noah Fant (3-38) who played despite a sprained ankle. Melvin Gordon ran for 68 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries while Phillip Lindsay gained 79 yards on his nine rushes in this committee backfield. Both rookie receivers (KJ Hamler and Jerry Jeudy) were limited to only two short catches. The 6-1 Chiefs host the Jets this week and fantasy owners have to hope it doesn’t replicate what happened against the Broncos. The 2-4 Broncos host the Chargers this week.
JAC 29, LAC 39
Not often that two teams with a combined 2-9 record meet and produce 68 points. Gardner Minshew threw for 173 yards and two scores but the best receivers were Laviska Shenault (3-44) and James O’Shaughnessy (3-32). James Robinson ran for 119 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and added a second score during his four receptions for 18 yards. The Jaguars returned a blocked punt for a touchdown to lead 21-16 at the start of the third quarter but then only managed one more touchdown against 23 points scored by the Chargers starting in the middle of the third quarter.
Justin Herbert was the highest-scoring fantasy quarterback this week. He passed for 347 yards and three touchdowns plus ran for 66 yards and another score. Keenan Allen (10-125) and Jalen Guyton (2-84, TD) were the only receivers with more than 50 yards. Joshua Kelley ran for 29 yards on 23 rushes with five catches for 24 more yards. Justin Jackson ran for 12 yards on five runs and added five receptions for 43 yards. The rushing effort was mediocre but Herbert is not playing like a rookie. The 1-6 Jaguars head onto their bye while the 2-4 Chargers play in Denver this weekend.
SF 33, NE 6
The 49ers sometimes look like a team ravaged by injuries and that can barely compete. In others, they look like the reigning NFC Champs. In New England this week, they looked like the Champs. Jimmy Garoppolo passed 277 yards and two interceptions. Brandon Aiyuk (6-115), Deebo Samuel (5-65), and George Kittle (5-55) were the only receivers with more than 18 yards. The 49ers won the game by rushing the ball with shocking ease. And in a further surprise, they relied on Jeff Wilson (17-112, 3 TD) who only totaled 24 carries for 51 yards on the season.
Wilson injured his ankle near the end of the game, so that performance may need to last him for a while. JaMycal Hasty ended with 57 yards on nine runs and a 16-yard catch. Even the fullback Kyle Juszczyk rushed in a touchdown.
Cam Newton only threw for 98 yards and three interceptions before getting benched for Jared Stidham who was no better. Jakobi Meyers (4-60) was the only receiver with more than 35 yards. Damien Harris ran for 58 yards on ten carries but the offense was just flat and never showed any life. When the 49ers had the lead and the Patriots were forced into passing, the offense completely unraveled. The loss drops the Patriots to only 2-4 and they play in Buffalo this week. The 4-3 49ers head to Seattle for a critical NFC West showdown.
SEA 34, ARI 37 OT
This was an incredible game to watch, and one that the Cardinals never led until there was only 15 seconds left in overtime. This game featured 98 passes. The Seahawks led 34-24 with under three minutes to play and held the Cardinals to a field goal attempt on 4th-and-12 on the SEA-34 yard line and if they made it, they would still trail by seven points. But the Seahawks were called for unsportsmanlike conduct and that gave the Cards a first down at the SEA-19 yard line. Two passes later and Christian Kirk caught the touchdown to make it 34-31.
They held the Seahawks and got the ball back with only 52 seconds left but three completions and one run later and Zane Gonzalez kicked the tying field goal, 34-34.
In overtime, the Seahawks won the toss and then reached the 44-yard line before having to punt. The Cardinals drove the field and with 2:47 left to play, tried to kick a 41-yard field goal to win but missed wide left.
Seattle took over and reached the ARZ-48 yard line where Russell Wilson threw a touchdown to DK Metcalf but it was called back on a hold. On the next play, Wilson was intercepted. The Cards reached the SEA-30 yard line where they kicked the game-winning 48-yard field goal.
Russell Wilson passed for 388 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions. He also ran for 84 yards. Chris Carson was injured and Carlos Hyde filled in with 68 yards and a score on 15 carries.
Tyler Lockett caught 15-of-20 targets for 200 yards and all three touchdowns. No other receiver gained more than 54 yards or scored, including DK Metcalf (2-23).
Kyle Murray threw for 360 yards and three scores plus ran for 67 yards and one touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins ended with ten receptions for 103 yards and a score while Christian Kirk went for 37 yards and two touchdowns in his five catches. Kenyan Drake left injured and Chase Edmonds ran for 58 yards on five rushes and caught seven passes for 87 yards.
This was the first loss for the Seahawks and a game that both teams had several chances to win.