Taking a quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
WAS 34, ATL 30
Washington scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes to steal this win from the Falcons. Taylor Heinicke threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns, but the biggest chunk came late in the game. Terry McLaurin (6-123, TD) led the team as always, and J.D. McKissic (5-44, TD) was the only other receiver with more than 24 yards, thanks to his 30-yard touchdown catch and run that proved the game-winner with 33 seconds left to play. Logan Thomas was lost to a hamstring injury. Antonio Gibson scored once on his 14 rushes for 63 yards and added two catches for 12 yards, but Heinicke won this game. The 2-2 Football Team host the Saints in Week 5.
The Falcons came close, but the defense couldn’t stop Washington when it counted the most. Matt Ryan cranked out 283 passing yards and four touchdowns which all went to running backs Cordarrelle Patterson (5-82, 3 TD) and Mike Davis (2-12, TD). Patterson ran for 34 yards on six rushes while Davis only gained 14 yards on 13 runs. Calvin Ridley (7-80) and Kyle Pitts (4-50) couldn’t find the endzone and the rookie still waits for his first big game. Patterson continues to surprise as he breaks out at the age of 30. The 1-3 Falcons host the Jets this week.
HOU 0, BUF 40
That’s going to leave a mark. Rookie quarterbacks are not faring well, and Davis Mills was the worst of the day. He only completed 11-of-21 for 87 yards and four interceptions, with Brandin Cooks still as the primary receiver but with only 47 yards on five catches because the Bills were unwilling to give up any trash time yards. The offense wisely mixed all three running backs in equal proportions to total up 15 rushes for 44 yards. This loss was disheartening on a team that already is winless. Nothing worked, and the Bills never let up. The 1-4 Texans slink back home to face the Patriots on Sunday.
The Bills didn’t mail in the win, but they played conservatively throughout. Josh Allen passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 41 yards on six rushes. Stefon Diggs (7-114) and Emmanuel Sanders (5-74) turned in solid stats, while Dawson Knox (5-37, 2 TD) turned in both receiving scores. Devin Singletary (14-79) and Zach Moss (14-61, TD) split the carries but did nothing as receivers. It was an easy win, and the Texans were never really in this one. The Bills scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter as they showed how to close a game properly. The 4-1 Bills play in Kansas City for Week 5.
DET 14, CHI 24
The Lions stumbled their way through the first half and fell behind 21-0. They outscored the Bears 14-3 in the second half, but it was too little, too late. Jared Goff ended with 299 passing yards and two scores that went to Kalif Raymond (3-46, 2 TD). Quintez Cephus (4-83) and the rookie Amon St. Brown (6-70) led the receivers. D’Andre Swift was held to just 16 yards on eight rushes and four receptions for 33 yards. Jamaal Williams (14-66) was the more productive runner. The 0-4 Lions play at the Vikings for Week 5.
Justin Fields was much better than he was in Week 3. He only ran for nine yards on three rushes, but he passed for 209 yards and just one interception. Darnell Mooney broke out for the year with 125 yards on five receptions, while Allen Robinson was limited to three receptions for 63 yards. David Montgomery (23-106, 2 TD) had a great performance but left with a knee injury. Damien Williams (8-55, TD) also left injured but returned. The Bears’ defense held the Lions in check in the first half, and that was enough thanks to the rookie Fields playing well again. The 2-2 Bears head to Las Vegas this weekend.
CAR 28, DAL 36
The Panthers came in with the No. 1 defense thanks to a cakewalk schedule to open the year. It didn’t play out nearly so well this week. Sam Darnold threw for 301 yards and two scores and ran in two more touchdowns for a great fantasy showing. DJ Moore (8-113, 2 TD) was the only notable Panther receiver. Robby Anderson (5-46) still lags last year. Chuba Hubbard replaced Christian McCaffrey and ran for 57 yards on 13 carries and added two receptions for 14 yards. The Panthers’ offense remains solid, but their defense couldn’t handle all the weaponry of the Cowboys. The first loss for the Panthers sends them back home to face the Eagles on Sunday.
The Cowboys mostly relied on Ezekiel Elliott (20-143, TD) and Tony Pollard (10-67) the keep the sticks moving. Dak Prescott only passed for 188 yards but notched four touchdowns among four different receivers. Amari Cooper (3-69, TD) and Dalton Schultz (6-58, TD) were the top receivers, while CeeDee Lamb was finally limited to only two catches for 13 yards. The offense played a well-balanced game with almost everyone contributing. The 3-1 Cowboys host the Giants for Week 5.
IND 27, MIA 17
The Colts logged their first win behind the rushing of Jonathan Taylor (16-103, TD). Carson Wentz threw for 228 yards and two scores that both ended up with tight end Mo Alie-Cox (3-42 2 TD), while Michael Pittman (6-59) and Zach Pascal (4-44) were the top receivers. Marlon Mack (10-22) did little to sell himself if he hopes to be traded to another team. The 1-3 Colts try to find their next win in Baltimore this week.
The Dolphins didn’t reach the endzone until the fourth quarter but lodged two scores to make the score respectable. Jacoby Brissett ended with 199 passing yards and two touchdowns, but it all came too late to matter. DeVante Parker (4-77, TD) and Mike Gesicki (5-57, TD) handled the scoring, while Jaylen Waddle (3-33) turned in his worst performance so far. The running game was all but nonexistent, with a total of just 32 yards on 13 carries between three different running backs. Brissett hasn’t been able to get the offense on track to start the games. The 1-3 Dolphins head to Tampa Bay for Week 5.
CLE 14, MIN 7
What a disappointment, though more for the Vikings. Nick Chubb (21-100) and Kareem Hunt (14-69, TD) did most of the damage since Baker Mayfield was limited to only 155 yards and no touchdowns. Odell Beckham (2-27) and Rashard Higgins (4-63) didn’t do much as the leading receivers. The Browns defense got the job done and the offense was afforded 35 rushes to kill the clock. The 3-1 Browns play at the Chargers this week.
Dalvin Cook (9-34) was not 100% healthy, and Alexander Mattison (10-20) shared the workload. Kirk Cousins only threw for 203 yards and one score to Justin Jefferson (6-83, TD), while Adam Thielen (3-46) was held in check. The Vikings were unable to into gear other than a few passes to Jefferson. The loss drops the Vikings to 1-3, and they host the Lions for Week 5.
NYG 27, NO 21 OT
You have to put an opponent away for good. The Saints led 21-10 in the fourth quarter but allowed the Giants to score on a 54-yard catch by Saquon Barkley, with a two-point conversion, and then kick a field goal with 31 seconds left to tie the game. In overtime, the Giants drove the field from their 25-yard line and scored a touchdown to win on the first series after regulation play was over. Barkley ran for 52 yards and a score and caught five passes for 74 yards and a second touchdown. Daniel Jones passed for 402 yards and two scores between John Ross (3-77, TD) and Barkley. Kenny Golladay (6-116) was very effective versus a normally much better Saints secondary. Even Kadarius Toney (6-78) ended with his best game. The 1-3 Giants head to Dallas for Week 5.
The Saints led this and then let the Giants get back into the game, bring it into overtime, and drive the field for the win. Taysom Hill ran for two touchdowns which only denied them to Alvin Kamara (26-120), who inexplicably had zero targets. Jameis Winston threw for 226 yards and one score, but the only notable receiver was Marquez Callaway (2-74), who left injured. It’s hard to believe that this was the first time that the Saints passed for more than 200 yards. All of the fantasy value is stripped from the offense other than Kamara who failed to be thrown a pass for the first time in his career. He had a game without a catch in 2020, but never one where he wasn’t thrown a pass. The Saints already look like a team that needs rebuilding. They bring their 2-2 record to Washington on Sunday.
TEN 24, NYJ 27 OT
There were plenty of upsets this week, and this may have been the biggest. The Titans led 17-10 in the fourth quarter, but Zach Wilson threw for two scores over a three-minute span to get the lead that the Titans matched with 16 seconds left in regulation. But the Jets kicked a field goal on the first possession of overtime, and the Titans missed their 49-yard attempt to force the game to end in a tie.
Derrick Henry ran for 157 yards and a touchdown, plus caught two passes for 20 yards. Ryan Tannehill threw for 298 yards and a score, but the Titans were without A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. It made a difference. Running back Jeremy McNichols (8-74) was pressed into duty as a receiver, and Chester Rogers (5-63) also helped. This was the debut for Josh Reynolds (6-59), but when the Titans had to throw, they couldn’t compensate for the difference that Brown and Jones make. The 2-2 Titans play at the Jaguars this week and hope they don’t give yet another team their first win.
ARI 37, LAR 20
Just when the Rams seem unbeatable, they get whooped. At home, in a divisional matchup, no less. Kyler Murray was effective and efficient when he passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns, plus he ran for 39 yards. A.J. Green (5-67, TD) and DeAndre Hopkins (4-67) were the top receivers against the Rams’ great secondary. Chase Edmonds ran for 120 yards on 12 carries thanks to a 54-yard gain, and he added four receptions for 19 yards. James Conner ran 18 yards for just 50 yards but took both short-yardage touchdowns. The Cardinals just plain looked better than the Rams on both sides of the ball. They take their 4-0 record back home to host the 49ers for Week 5.
The Rams could not keep up. Matt Stafford threw for 280 yards and two scores, with Van Jefferson (6-90, TD) as the top receiver and Cooper Kupp (5-64) finally held in check. Robert Woods only caught four passes for 48 yards but scored once. Darrell Henderson returned after missing last week and rushed for 89 yards on 14 carries, plus caught five passes for 27 yards. The Cardinals are the first opponent that was able to shut down Kupp, and that made a difference. The 3-1 Rams have no time to regroup since they travel to Seattle on Thursday for yet another big divisional matchup.
SEA 28, SF 21
The Seahawks stopped their two-game losing streak at an opportune time. Chris Carson only gained 30 yards on 13 rushes, but Alex Collins replaced Rashaad Penny and gained 44 yards and a touchdown on his ten carries. He also caught two passes for 34 yards as the second-best receiver. Russell Wilson ran in a touchdown and passed for two more but with only 149 passing yards. The Seahawks led 21-7 near the end of the third quarter and then relied on the run to kill the clock. DK Metcalf (4-65, TD) was the best receiver, but Tyler Lockett only managed four receptions for 24 yards. The win lifts the Seahawks to 2-2, and they host the Rams on Thursday for a chance to crawl back into contention.
The 49ers lost Jimmy Garoppolo for the second half, and Trey Lance saw his first significant playing time. Over the second half, the rookie completed 9-of-18 for 157 yards and two scores, plus ran for 41 yards on seven rushes. That made Deebo Samuel (8-156, 2 TD) the top receiver, and both touchdowns were thrown by Lance. George Kittle settled for four catches for 40 yards. Trey Sermon ran for 89 yards but never had a pass. Losing their quarterback at halftime wasn’t the problem since Lance threw for almost the same as Russell Wilson in half as much playing time. The 2-2 49ers play in Arizona this week.
BAL 23, DEN 7
The Broncos started the scoring, but the Ravens took over for the rest of the game. Ty’Son Williams was inactive so that Le’Veon Bell could run for 11 yards on four carries and fail to catch his only pass. Latavius Murray gained 59 yards on 18 rushes with one score. Lamar Jackson only ran for 28 yards on seven runs but passed for 316 yards and one score. Marquise Brown (4-91, TD) bounced back from last week, and Mark Andrews (5-67) was also involved. The Ravens defense did the work, and the offense took their opportunities where they could. It was a solid win on the road against a very good defense. Plus, knocking the Denver quarterback out of the game also helped. The 3-1 Ravens host the Colts this week.
The Broncos lost Teddy Bridgewater to a concussion, and Drew Lock finished the game. But no receiver was better than Courtland Sutton (3-47) or Noah Fant (6-46, TD). The backfield split between Melvin Gordon (9-56) and Javonte Williams (7-48) left two mediocre fantasy backs instead of just one with fantasy value. The offense was already struggling under Bridgewater, and Lock was little better when he played. The first loss by the 3-1 Broncos sends them to Pittsburgh for Week 5.
PIT 17, GB 27
The Steelers opened the game with a 45-yard touchdown catch by Diontae Johnson but did little else, and their final touchdown came deep in the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 232 yards and one touchdown, which was almost entirely short passes other than the touchdown. Johnson (9-92, TD) and James Washington (4-69) were the best receivers, while JuJu Smith-Schuster gained only 11 yards on two catches. Chase Claypool was inactive. Najee Harris rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown on his 15 carries, and he added six receptions for 29 more yards. The 1-3 Steelers couldn’t sustain drives and host the Broncos this week.
The Packers didn’t have any big performances, and nor did they need any. Aaron Rodgers passed for 248 yards and two scores while running in a touchdown as well. Randall Cobb (5-69, 2 TD) had his best game in years while helping to replace Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was placed on injured reserve. Davante Adams (6-64) had a relatively modest game, but they didn’t need much from him to get the win. Aaron Jones ran for 48 yards and added 51 yards on three catches. AJ Dillon (15-81) helped burn the clock later in the game. The 3-1 Packers travel to the Bengals in Week 5.
TB 19, NE 17
Well. The Patriot fans got to see a Tom Brady experience from the other side, complete with the fortuitous “doink” of the Pats’ final field goal attempt. They played in the driving rain that only worsened, and Tom Brady passed for 269 yards and no touchdowns. Mike Evans (7-75), Antonio Brown (7-63), and Chris Godwin (3-55) were the top receivers and while Leonard Fournette ran for 91 yards and caught three passes for 47 yards, they let Ronald Jones rush for the only touchdown. The 3-1 Buccaneers squeaked past the Patriots by the matter of about six inches on that final kick. They host the Dolphins this week.
The Patriots lost in the rain by the smallest of margin. But they played far better than expected. Mac Jones threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns and had a higher QB rating (101.6) than Tom Brady (70.8). Jakobi Meyers (8-70) and Kendrick Bourne (5-58) were the top receivers, and Jones did an impressive job spreading the passes around. Six different receivers had five or more targets. The backfield combined for a net four-yard loss on six rushes, so the Buccaneers rush defense ranking will only go higher. The 1-3 Patriots head to Houston this week for a chance to tuck that final field goal inside the goalposts.
KC 42, PHI 30
This was the game that fantasy football needed this week. Patrick Mahomes threw for 278 yards and five touchdowns, and that relied heavily on Tyreek Hill’s 11 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Travis Kelce only managed four catches for 23 yards, and no other receiver topped 20 yards. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 102 yards on 14 rushes, with two receptions for 12 yards and a touchdown. Even Darrell Williams scored on his ten carries for 42 yards. Kelce had the rare down game, but everyone else blew up. The 2-2 Chiefs no longer have a losing record and host the Bills for a shootout this week.
Jalen Hurts passed for 387 yards and two scores, plus was the leading rusher with 47 yards on eight runs. DeVonta Smith (7-122) and Zach Ertz (6-60) led the receivers though Dallas Goedert (5-56, TD) ended with a score. Miles Sanders was only given seven carries to gain 13 yards and added 34 yards on his three receptions. Kenneth Gainwell (3-31, TD) was given the short rushing score. Hurts did a credible job moving the offense but the lack of any rushing support places all everything on Hurts to stay in the game. The loss drops the Eagles to 1-4 and they play in Carolina on Sunday.