Taking a quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
PIT 28, BAL 24
And the Steelers keep marching along. James Conner ran for 47 yards and one touchdown plus just 13 yards on three catches. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 182 yards and two scores between Eric Ebron (4-48, TD) and Chase Claypool (5-42, TD). JuJu Smith-Schuster led the team with seven receptions for 67 yards in this mostly defensive game. The Steelers also returned an interception for a 33-yard touchdown to open the game. This was a huge win for the Steelers and sets up the rematch on Thanksgiving.
Lamar Jackson ran for 65 yards on 16 rushes and threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns but his two interceptions were costly. Willie Snead (5-105) was the only receiver with more than 39 yards. Mark Andrews was held to only 32 yards on three catches and Marquise Brown scored but on his only catch in the game. With Mark Ingram sidelined, Gus Edwards (16-87, TD) and J.K. Dobbins (15-113) both ran effectively in this close loss. The 7-0 Steelers now take a two-game lead over the Ravens for the AFC North and play in Dallas this week. The Ravens are at the Colts.
NE 21, BUF 24
The Patriots scored more points in this one but not quite enough. Cam Newton only lost one fumble and threw for 174 yards with his best receivers down to only Jakobi Meyers (6-58) and Damiere Byrd (3-39). Damien Harris ran for 102 yards and a touchdown while Newton also added a score on his nine rushes for 54 yards. The Pats were competitive until Newton lost that fumble with 36 seconds left at the BUF-19 yard line.
The Bills only passed for 154 yards and no scores but Josh Allen ran in a touchdown on his ten carries for 23 yards. Stefon Diggs (6-92) was the only receiver with more than 24 yards and the backfield took care of business with Devin Singletary (14-86) and Zack Moss (14-81, 2 TD) doing most of the damage. The 6-2 Bills had trouble putting the Patriots away even with the home venue but maintain their lead in the AFC East where the Patriots fall to a hard to imagine 2-5 on the season. The Bills host the Seahawks this week and the Patriots play at the Jets.
TEN 20, CIN 31
The Bengals may not have a winning record but they cannot be taken lightly. Derrick Henry ran for 112 yards and one score on 18 carries while Jeremy McNichols (4-49) and Donte Foreman (5-37) split up the relief work. Ryan Tannehill threw for 233 yards and two scores but Corey Davis (8-128, 2 TD) was the only receiver with more than 36 yards. A.J. Brown settled for 24 yards on four catches but caught the other touchdown.
Joe Burrow passed for 249 yards and two scores with Tee Higgins (6-78) and Tyler Boyd (6-67, TD) leading the team. With Joe Mixon out, Giovani Bernard started and ran for 62 yards and a score plus added a second touchdown on his three receptions for 16 yards. Samaje Perine also chipped in a score on his ten rushes for 32 yards. The win sends the 2-5-1 Bengals onto the bye and the 5-2 Titans host the Bears this week.
LV 16, CLE 6
This was the game that points forgot. Derek Carr threw for just 112 yards and one score to Hunter Renfrow (4-26, TD) and Darren Waller was the lead receiver with just five catches for 28 yards. Josh Jacobs ran for 128 yards on 31 carries and even Carr gained 41 yards as a rusher. This was a cold, defensive matchup that just never caught fire.
Baker Mayfield only passed for 122 yards with Jarvis Landry (4-52) as the best receiver. He caught a touchdown that was overturned but nothing else happened for this offense despite playing at home. No other receiver gained more than 25 yards. Nick Chubb is due back in Week 10 but this offense has been in decline and the absence of Odell Beckham didn’t help, but nothing in this effort suggested that any individual player would have mattered. The 5-3 Browns head onto the bye to figure out where it all went wrong and the 4-3 Raiders travels to play the Chargers.
IND 41, DET 21
The Colts took this one handily and yet none of the right players had a big game. Jonathan Taylor only gained 22 yards on 11 carries while Jordan Wilkins took over and turned in 89 yards and a score on 20 rushes, plus caught a 24-yard pass. Philip Rivers showed up for the second time this year with three touchdowns and 262 passing yards. Nyheim Hines (3-54, 2 TD) and Jack Doyle (2-18, TD) caught the scores while T.Y. Hilton was knocked out of the game. The Colts won, easily, and produced nearly no fantasy points for starters.
Matt Stafford passed for 336 yards and three touchdowns but Kenny Golladay was also knocked out of the game. Marvin Hall (4-113) and T.J. Hockenson (7-65) were the top receivers while Marvin Jones scored twice on his three receptions for 39 yards. The Lions only gained a total of 29 yards on 13 carries and ten of those were Stafford. Adrian Peterson (5-7) and D’Andre Swift (6-1) did well enough to get past the line of scrimmage. Swift only added three catches for 22 yards in this beatdown. The 5-2 Colts host the Ravens this week and the 3-4 Lions head to Minnesota.
MIN 28, GB 22
The Packers won this matchup 43-34 in the season opener so playing at home is always easier. So goes the theory, anyway. Dalvin Cook was unstoppable with 163 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries plus he was the lead receiver with two receptions for 63 yards and one score. Kirk Cousins only threw 14 passes with no receiver gaining more than 27 yards other than Cook who owned the Packers. In their stadium.
Aaron Rodgers passed for 291 yards and three touchdowns that all went to Davante Adams (7-53, 3 TD). Robert Tonyan (5-79) was the only other receiver with more than 50 yards in the game though Rodgers connected with ten different receivers. Aaron Jones was inactive so Jamaal Williams ran for 75 yards on 16 rushes and AJ Dillon added five runs for 21 yards. The entire game came down to the Packers’ inability to slow down Dalvin Cook. The loss drops the Packers to 5-2 and then head to San Francisco this week. The 2-5 Vikings host the Lions.
NYJ 9, KC 35
The beauty in this matchup is that the Chiefs didn’t mail in their effort and win 9-17. Patrick Mahomes threw for 416 yards and five touchdowns like every quarterback should when they play the Jets. Travis Kelce (8-109, TD), Tyreek Hill (4-98, 2 TD), Mecole Hardman (7-96), and even Demarcus Robinson (4-63, TD) all scored with big fantasy games. The backfield was surprisingly ineffective with Clyde Edwards-Helaire (6-21) and Le’Veon Bell (6-7) doing little. Bell added three catches for 31 yards but was expected to do more facing his previous employer. Four of the touchdowns were long – 30, 36, 26, and 41 yards.
The Jets struggled
as always in this one. Sam Darnell trailed badly for the entire game and yet only passed for 133 yards and no scores. Denzel Mims (2-42) was the top receiver and gives some hope to 2021. Frank Gore ran for 30 yards on ten carries and La’Mical Perine gained 27 yards on eight carries. For once, this was a blowout win that did not fall short in expectations, other than the Chiefs’ rushing effort. The 7-1 Chiefs host the Panthers this week and the 0-8 Jets look to keep their perfect record hosting the Patriots.
LA 17, MIA 28
Don’t look now, but the Dolphins are on a three-game winning streak. And not just against weak opponents. Jared Goff threw for 355 yards and one score with two interceptions and two lost fumbles in the first half. The Rams trailed 7-28 in the first half, giving up scores on a 78-yard fumble return and an 88-yard punt return. Cooper Kupp ended with 11 receptions for 110 yards on 21 targets. Robert Woods (7-85, TD) caught the only touchdown and ran in the only rushing score as well. Darrell Henderson (8-47) left the game and Malcolm Brown (10-40) and even Cam Akers (9-35) finished out the game. Goff could not get on track until the second half and the Fins held on for the win.
Tua Tagovailoa only passed for 93 yards and one score in his debut but mostly just handed off the ball to Myles Gaskin (18-47, TD). No receiver gained over 16 yards though the rookie connected with eight different receivers all for short gains. Devante Parker scored but only had one catch for three yards. It was a bizarre win but no team is going to take the Dolphins lightly again this year. The 4-3 Dolphins head to Arizona this week while the 5-3 Rams go onto their bye.
NO 26, CHI 23 OT
The Bears almost pulled this off despite an offense that continually sputtered but occasionally worked. David Montgomery ran for 89 yards on 21 carries while Nick Foles passed for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Allen Robinson (6-87, TD) led the receivers but Anthony Miller (8-73) and Darnell Mooney (5-69, TD) both had better performances than usual. Carlos Santos kicked three field goals to keep them in the game and his 51-yarder with 10 seconds left to play sent the game into overtime.
Drew Brees passed for 280 yards and two scores with Alvin Kamara as the leading rusher (12-67) and the top receiver (9-96). Jared Cook (5-51, TD) and Taysom Hill (2-30, TD) caught the touchdowns. The Saints pulled this one out in overtime on their second offensive series when they kicked the 35-yard field goal with 1:36 left to play. The 5-2 Saints play at Tampa Bay this week while the 5-3 Bears head to Tennessee.
SF 27, SEA 37
The Seahawks led this 30-7 in the fourth quarter before the 49ers took advantage of a relaxed Seahawks defense. Jimmy Garoppolo was hampered by his high-ankle sprain and gave way to Nick Mullens who passed for 238 yards and two scores in the second half (again – they trailed by 23 points). Brandon Aiyuk (8-91, TD) and Kendrick Bourne (8-81) were the only receivers with more than 40 yards. Tevin Coleman re-injured his knee and left after three carries so James Hasty ran 12 times for 29 yards and a score but the 49ers never had the luxury of just running the ball. During the contest, Coleman, Kittle and Garoppolo were all injured again.
Russell Wilson passed for 261 yards and four touchdowns, so just a standard day. DK Metcalf dominated with 12 catches for 161 yards and two scores while no other receiver gained more than 33 yards. DeeJay Dallas replaced Chris Carson and ran for 41 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, plus caught five passes for 17 yards and a second score. This game was more of the same – the Seahawks posting a bunch of touchdowns while the 49ers fought the good fight while losing players along the way.
DAL 9, PHI 23
The Cowboys led 9-7 at the half, so that’s already a leap forward from the last month. The former third-string Ben DiNucci debuted with 180 passing yards and no turnovers and he ran for 22 yards as well. Ezekiel Elliott ended with 63 yards on 19 carries but only caught one pass for ten yards. Michael Gallup led the receivers with seven receptions for 61 yards but CeeDee Lamb (4-27) and Amari Cooper (1-5) have lost all fantasy value for now.
The Eagles didn’t nearly as much offensive fun as most Cowboys’ opponents. Carson Wentz only passed for 123 yards and two touchdowns and even threw two interceptions. Travis Fulgham (6-78, TD) led the receivers and Jalen Reagor (3-16, TD) recorded his first NFL touchdown. Dallas Goedert was active but only caught one pass. Boston Scott took another start and ran for 70 yards on 15 carries but only caught two passes for nine yards. It was a ho-hum matchup where fantasy fans were at least hoping the Cowboys defense would be a no-show again.The 2-6 Cowboys host the unbeaten Steelers while the 3-4-1 Eagles head onto their bye.
LAC 30, DEN 31
Wouldn’t have guessed these teams would combine for 61 points though sadly, the Chargers are getting used to losing games they seem to have won. Justin Herbert turned in yet another great performance with 278 yards and three touchdowns. Mike Williams (5-99, TD) and Keenan Allen (9-67, TD) fielded almost half the targets and catches. The backfield is now a three-headed monster with Justin Jackson (17-89), Troymaine Pope (10-67), and Joshua Kelley (7-32) and Austin Ekeler will be returning soon to make it change again. The Chargers defense had been hit with injuries as well and usually cannot hold off their opponents despite a solid offensive performance.
The Broncos were down 24-3 in the third quarter but mounted a comeback with three passing scores from Drew Lock who ended with 248 passing yards. DaeSean Hamilton (4-82, TD), and Jerry Jeudy (4-73) led the receivers while Phillip Lindsay gained 83 yards on just six carries with 55-yard scoring run starting the third-quarter comeback. Melvin Gordon had a quiet performance with only eight runs for 26 yards but added six catches for 21 yards. The Chargers took a 30-24 lead with only 2:30 left to play.
Drew Lock led the Broncos on a 16-play drive that ended with the one-yard touchdown pass to KJ Hamler with one second left to play. The extra point secured the win with no time left on the clock. The 2-5 Chargers host the Raiders this week while the 3-4 Broncos head to Atlanta.