Taking a quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
NO 7, CAR 26
How the tables turn! The only rational conclusion is that the Panthers can beat the Packers 63-10. The Saints were everything that the Packers were last week. Jameis Winston only threw for 111 yards and two interceptions (now, I remember him). He ran in a touchdown just to ensure there would be zero fantasy value from anyone, even Alvin Kamara, who rushed for five yards on eight carries and caught four passes for 25 yards. Just a dead effort and no way yet to know who these Saints really are. They travel to New England this week.
Sam Darnold threw for 305 yards and two scores, so scratch the Saints’ secondary as impenetrable. DJ Moore (8-79, TD) was the only standout receiver while Christian McCaffrey ran for 72 yards and a touchdown, plus caught five passes for 65 yards. Robby Anderson hasn’t fared as well with Darnold, but the Panthers are now 2-0 and heading to Houston.
CIN 17, CHI 20
The Bears led this 20-3 until the final four minutes when the Bengals finally moved the ball. Joe Mixon ran for 69 yards on 20 rushes but only caught a two-yard pass. Joe Burrow passed for 207 yards and two touchdowns, but both came at the end of the game, and he had three interceptions. Ja’Marr Chase (2-54, TD) saved his day with a 42-yard score with four minutes left. Tee Higgins (6-60, TD) caught his score with three minutes left to play, and Tyler Boyd led the group with seven catches for 70 yards.
The Bears won thanks mainly to a first-quarter score to Allen Robinson (2-24, TD) and a returned interception for a touchdown. Andy Dalton left with a knee injury, and Justin Fields only completed six of 13 passes for 60 yards and one interception. He also ran for 31 yards but didn’t look nearly as impressive in his first extensive action. David Montgomery ran for 61 yards and caught three passes for 18 yards, but the offense sputtered no matter which quarterback was under center. Playing in Cleveland next week means figuring out the offense in a hurry.
HOU 21, CLE 31
The Texans lost by ten, but they led 14-7 in the second quarter and looked like they were about to have their second upset of the year. Tyrod Taylor ran for a touchdown but pulled a hamstring. The rookie Davis Mills took over with marginal success completing 8-of-18 for 102 yards and a score to Brandin Cooks (9-78, TD). No other Texans’ receiver gained more than 25 yards or had more than two catches. Mark Ingram (14-41) was still the leading rusher only it did not matter this week. The Texans host the surprising Panthers this week in a game where anything can happen.
The Browns struggled early against the Texans, and Baker Mayfield was injured but returned the next series. He only threw for 213 yards and a score with rookie Demetric Felton (2-51, TD) leading the receivers after Jarvis Landry left injured. Nick Chubb ran for 95 yards and a 26-yard touchdown while Kareem Hunt gained 51 yards on his 13 rushes. The Browns already have Odell Beckham every week and now Landry is out. The offense prefers to run, but starting wideouts are still a need. The Browns host the Bears this week.
LAR 27, IND 24
Close game with the Colts never giving up. Matt Stafford threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns, but much of that came late, and almost all of it went to Cooper Kupp (9-163, 2 TD). Robert Woods settled for 64 yards on five catches. The backfield was split between Darrell Henderson (13-53, TD) and Sony Michel (10-46), who did almost all of his damage in the second half. The Rams defense didn’t look nearly as dominating as Week 1, but in the end – good enough. The Rams host the Buccaneers on Sunday.
The Colts had the lead in the fourth quarter but could not hang on. Carson Wentz threw for 247 yards and another score to Zack Pascal (5-38, TD) this week. Michael Pittman faced a great secondary and still turned in eight catches for 123 yards. Jonathan Taylor only gained 51 yards on 15 rushes. The only notable was that Jack Doyle accounted for five catches for 64 yards. The Colts faced a great Rams team and nearly beat them. The Colts travel to the Titans this week.
DEN 23, JAC 13
The Jaguars scored a touchdown pass on their opening series but never again until a 102-yard kickoff return touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Trevor Lawrence only threw for 118 yards and the one early score with two interceptions while looking more like just a rookie than a rookie phenom. James Robinson reasserted his dominance in the backfield with 11 runs for 37 yards over Carlos Hyde’s two carries for seven yards. Marvin Jones (6-55, TD) was the only wideout of any note. The Jaguars host the Cardinals this week, so it may still be a while before the offense kicks in.
Teddy Bridgewater passed for 328 yards and two scores between Noah Fant (4-33, TD) and Tim Patrick (3-37, TD). Courtland Sutton blew up with nine receptions for 159 yards as the only receiver with more than 38 yards. The backfield continues to be a split affair between Javonte Williams (13-64) and Melvin Gordon (13-31). This win was brought to you by Sutton, who the Jags just had no answer for this week. The Broncos host the Jets this week, so everything is looking up.
BUF 35, MIA 0
The Dolphins lost Tua Tagovailoa in the first four minutes, and he took the keys to the offense with him. Jacoby Brissett only threw for 169 yards and one interception in this shutout. Jalen Waddle (6-48) and DeVante Parker (5-42) were the top receivers in a game that they needed to throw badly (and did). Miles Gaskin only ran for 25 yards but caught four passes for 21 yards. If Tagovailoa remains out, the Dolphins fortunes take a major hit judging by this home loss. They travel to Las Vegas this week.
The Bills didn’t have any offensive explosion as the score might suggest. Devin Singletary (13-82, TD) opened the game with a 46-yard touchdown run. Zack Moss was active and ran eight times for 26 yards with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter when both sides just wanted to go home. Stefon Diggs was the only notable receiver with 60 yards and a score on four catches, but the Bills had a light day once Tagovailoa left. The Bills host Washington this week.
NE 25, NYJ 6
The rookie Zach Wilson was the difference-maker here but only because he threw for 210 yards and four interceptions. Jamison Crowder was a game-time scratch, and the Patriots realized they needed to shut down Corey Davis (2-8) to stop the passing game. The rookie Michael Carter had a better game with 59 yards on 11 carries and two receptions for 29 yards. Ty Johnson ran 12 times for 50 yards and even Tevin Coleman had five rushes for 24 yards. In the end, nothing really matters when the quarterback throws four interceptions. The Jets head to Denver this week.
The Patriots didn’t do much other than field interceptions. Damien Harris ran for 62 yards and a score on 16 carries, while James White (5-20, TD) also was the lead receiver with 45 yards on six catches. Mac Jones settled for 186 yards and no scores but also no turnovers. The Jets couldn’t get their offense into gear, and the Pats coasted to an easy victory, and no receivers mattered. The Pats host the Saints this week for what could be a tougher matchup, depending on which Saints show up.
SF 17, PHI 11
The 49ers’ defense played a solid game, even if the offense struggled to do much. Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 189 yards and one score without sharing anything with Trey Lance. Elijah Mitchell ran for 42 yards on 17 carries and added two runs for 11 yards for a more sedate outing than last week. James Hasty ran for 38 yards on five catches and caught four passes for 21 yards that all diminished what Mitchell did. Jimmy Garoppolo also ran in a touchdown to further impact the backfield. Trey Sermon finally saw the field and ran for eight yards, got hit, lost a fumble and then left injured. Deebo Samuel (6-93) remains the top receiver while Brandon Aiyuk (1-6) proved that 2020 is definitely over. George Kittle was limited to only 17 yards on four catches. The 49ers host the Packers on Sunday.
The Eagles’ offense sputtered badly. Miles Sanders only ran 13 times for 55 yards plus a four-yard catch. Jalen Hurts ran for 82 yards and one score, but only passed for 190 yards. And 91 yards came on a completion to Quez Watkins (2-117). No other receiver gained over 24 yards. The Eagles looked sharp last week but ineffective on offense for Week 2. They head to Dallas for their first divisional meeting of the year.
LV 26, PIT 17
The Raiders are a surprise team this year. They played without Josh Jacobs and relied mostly on Peyton Barber (13-32) while Kenyan Drake ran for just nine yards and caught five passes for 46 yards. Derek Carr is enjoying the best start to a season in his career. He threw for 382 yards and two scores. Henry Ruggs (5-113, TD) is finally living up to expectations, and Darren Waller (5-65) had a “down game” after a slow start. The Raiders have already beaten the Ravens and Steelers, and now host the Dolphins.
Najee Harris scored his first NFL touchdown when he caught five passes for 43 yards, but he still only rushed for 38 yards on ten carries. And JuJu Smith-Schuster ran in the three-yard touchdown while also catching six passes for 41 yards. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 295 yards and just the one touchdown. Diontae Johnson (9-105) and Chase Claypool (3-70) were the top receivers, and Johnson was injured on the final play. The offensive line is a glaring weakness that undermines the offense. The Steelers host the Bengals
ATL 25, TB 48
The Falcons lost again, but at least the offense showed up. The rushing effort remains anemic, and Cordarrelle Patterson (7-11, TD) took away the lone rushing score from Mike Davis (9-38), who added seven catches for only 25 yards. The best development was Matt Ryan throwing for 300 yards and two scores. Kyle Pitts still has not scored, but he led the Falcons with five catches for 73 yards. Calvin Ridley (7-63, TD) showed life again while Patterson turned five receptions into 58 yards and another touchdown. No other receivers gained more than 28 yards. The Falcons head to New York to face the Giants still searching for that first win.
The Buccaneers were only ahead 28-25 entering the fourth quarter but had no problem closing the game out when safety Mike Edwards returned two interceptions for a touchdown over the final eight minutes. The backfield is still a mess with Ronald Jones (6-27) and Leonard Fournette (11-52) splitting the work, but Fournette added four catches for 24 yards while Giovani Bernard was limited to just two short receptions. Tom Brady once again enjoyed a stellar outing at home versus a bad secondary. He pasted the Falcons for 276 yards and five touchdowns. Mike Evans (5-75, 2 TD) and Rob Gronkowski (4-39, 2 TD) both doubled up on scores, while Chris Godwin (4-62, TD) settled for just one. The Buccaneers opened the year against two of the weakest secondaries while at home. Now they have to travel to play a road game against the Rams.
MIN 33, ARI 34
This is a game that fantasy football loves. The Vikings put up a great fight and nearly took the upset. Dalvin Cook ran for 131 yards and added two catches for 17 yards. Kirk Cousins passed for 244 yards and three touchdowns between KJ Osborn (5-91, TD), Justin Jefferson (6-65, TD), and Adam Thielen (6-39, TD). The Vikings took the lead in the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite hold on. The Viking host the Seahawks on Sunday.
Yet another monster game for Kyler Murray who scored on his five rushes for 31 yards, and he passed for 400 yards and three touchdowns. Ronald Moore (7-114, TD) led the receivers, and tight end Maxx Williams (7-94) turned in a career-best game. DeAndre Hopkins (4-54, TD) and A.J. Green (3-44, TD) both scored with lesser yardage than Christian Kirk (3-65). The rushing effort was marginal again, but Edmonds added five catches for 29 yards to his 46 rushing yards. The Cardinals won the game, and the offense remains powerful so long as Kyler Murray is there. The defense took a step down this week. The Cards head to Jacksonville for Week 3.
DAL 20, LAC 17
The Cowboys won on the final play, but both teams managed better defense than expected. Dak Prescott was held to only 237 passing yards and no scores for a rare dud game. CeeDee Lamb (8-81) was the only receiver with more than 37 yards. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 71 yards on 16 carries and caught two passes for 26 yards, while Tony Pollard handled 13 rushes for 109 yards and a touchdown, plus three receptions for 31 yards as the better back this week. The Cowboys finally have their home opener this week versus the Eagles.
The Chargers’ bad luck with close games continues. Austin Ekeler was held to 54 yards on nine carries, but added a team-high nine catches for 61 yards. Justin Herbert passed for 338 yards and one score with two very costly interceptions. Keenan Allen (4-108) and Mike Williams (7-91, TD) both enjoyed the Cowboys’ lack of cornerbacks but no other receivers managed more than 21 yards. As has been the case in the last couple of seasons, the Chargers had it taken away at the end. They head to Kansas City this week, where keeping it close is harder to do.
TEN 33 , SEA 30 OT
This was the only overtime game of Week 2. Derrick Henry got rolling in the second half, and by the time the dust settled, he had gained 182 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries, plus a career-high six catches for 55 yards. Ryan Tannehill passed for 347 yards and no scores, thanks to Henry. Julio Jones (6-128) was the only notable receiver, while A.J. Brown finished with just three catches for 43 yards.
The Titans trailed 30-16 in the fourth quarter before Henry got on track, kicked off by his 60-yard touchdown run. His third touchdown of the second half tied the game in regulation. In overtime, the Titans won on their second series after the defense stuffed the Seahawks back to their one-yard line where they punted. The Titans are back, and King Henry continues to rule. They host the Colts this week.
The Seahawks seemed to have the game in hand before their offense went cold late in the game, and they could no longer stop Henry. Chris Carson only gained 31 yards on 13 carries but ran in two scores. Russell Wilson threw for 343 yards and two scores but only used five receivers. Tyler Lockett (8-178, TD) again starts the season on a torrid pace, while DK Metcalf (6-53) is still waiting for his normal big game. Fred Swaine (5-95, TD) turned in his first NFL touchdown and highest-career yardage. The Seahawks just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter while the Titans suddenly kept getting better. The Seahawks travel to Minnesota this week for another shootout.
KC 35, BAL 36
Almost all of the afternoon games and this Sunday night game were contenders for the best fantasy game. The Ravens went into overtime in Week 1 and lost, but showed grit in giving the Chiefs more than they could handle. The game was decided when Clyde Edwards-Helaire lost a fumble at the BAL-32 yard line with 1:26 left to play. The Ravens battled back from 17-28 to get the win.
Edwards-Helaire only ran for 46 yards on 13 carries and had no receptions. Damien Williams even came in to steal the 2-yard touchdown from him. Patrick Mahomes threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns, with Travis Kelce (7-109, TD) turning in another monster game. Tyreek Hill was held to only 14 yards on three catches by the Ravens though both Byron Pringle (2-63, TD) and Demarcus Robinson (3-46, TD) enjoyed better games than usual. It was a tight game and the Chiefs couldn’t stop the Ravens in the fourth quarter. They host the Chargers this week for their first divisional matchup.
Lamar Jackson put the team on his back and won the game. He ran for 107 yards on 16 rushes with two touchdowns, plus threw for 239 yards and a score as well. Ty’Son Williams was again the most effective back with 77 yards on 13 runs, plus 16 yards from two catches, but once again, Latavius Murray scored the rushing touchdown. Williams could have scored once but lost the fumble at the goal line that Devin DuVernay recovered for the score. Marquise Brown (6-113, TD) enjoyed one of his best games, and Mark Andrews pitched in five catches for 57 yards. But this win was all about Jackson. The Ravens travel to Detroit for Week 3.