Taking a quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
NYJ 20, ATL 27
Not bad for a London game, and as usual, one team came out flat, and that was the Jets. But they rallied in the second half and made a game of it, thanks mostly to fortuitous fumble recoveries that robbed the Jets of two scoring opportunities. Zach Wilson ended with 192 yards and an interception but was horrible in the first half. Corey Davis (4-45) was the leading receiver and the backfield only totaled 17 carries that split three ways. Michael Carter (10-38, TD) and Ty Johnson (4-12, TD) both scored to salvage a little fantasy value. The 1-4 Jets head onto their bye this week.
The Falcons were without Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage, but Matt Ryan still passed for 342 yards and two touchdowns. Kyle Pitts (9-119, TD) had his breakout game, while Cordarrelle Patterson (7-60) also rushed for 54 yards on 14 carries. Mike Davis rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. The Jets defense couldn’t cover the Falcons regardless of missing receivers, but Ryan looked very comfortable and in control for the entire game. Patterson left to be examined for a concussion but returned shortly after. The 2-3 Falcons head onto their bye.
PHI 21, CAR 18
The Eagles handled this upset with little more than Jalen Hurts rushing (9-30, TD) since he only threw for 198 yards and one interception. Devonta Smith (7-77) and Quez Watkins (3-48) were the top receivers, and Miles Sanders (11-45) handled most of the rushing. Kenneth Gainwell only ran twice but gained 165 yards and only caught one pass as he returned to a complementary role. The 2-3 Eagles host the Buccaneers this week, and scoring 21 points won’t be enough to get a win.
Sam Darnold only passed for 177 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions. He didn’t score any rushing touchdowns, and no receiver was any better than D.J. Moore (5-42). Chuba Hubbard did a great job replacing Christian McCaffrey when he ran for 101 yards on 24 carries and added five receptions for 33 yards. The Panthers led 15-6 at halftime and had shut down the Eagles. But the Eagles outscored them 15-3 in the second half when the Panthers went cold. The 3-2 Panthers host the Vikings this week.
GB 25, CIN 22 OT
This was a cringe-worthy matchup considering the kicking. The Bengals attempted two field goals and made none. The Packers attempted seven and only made four. With 26 seconds left, Evan McPherson missed a 57-yarder that could have won the game but hit the crossbar. With three seconds left, Mason Crosby missed a 51-yarder that could have won the game.
In overtime, Crosby missed a 40-yard attempt. Then McPherson missed a 49-yarder. Finally, Mason nailed the 49-yarder to win the game. Both kickers had two chances on kicks that would have ended the game.
Aaron Rodgers passed for 344 yards and two scores between Davante Adams (11-206, TD) and AJ Dillon (4-49, TD), but no other receiver gained more than 34 yards or scored. Aaron Jones ran for 103 yards on 14 carries and added six more yards on four receptions. Once again, the Packers were little more than Jones running and Adams catching. The 4-1 Packers head to Chicago for a divisional matchup this week.
Joe Burrow threw for 281 yards and two scores. Ja’Marr Chase (6-159, 2 TD) did nearly all the damage, and Tee Higgins (5-32) was the next best receiver. Joe Mixon was active and ran ten times for 33 yards and a score, while Samaje Perrine gained 59 yards on his 11 rushes while he split carries with the gimpy Mixon. The 3-2 Bengals could have taken this game with better kicking and heads to Detroit for the Week 6 matchup.
NE 25, HOU 22
The Texans led 22-9 in the third quarter but gave up 16 unanswered points that ended with a game-winning 21-yard field goal by the Pats. Mac Jones threw for 231 yards and one score to Hunter Henry (6-75, TD). Jakobi Meyers (4-56) was the next best receiver, but no one else gained more than 32 yards as a receiver. Damien Harris (14-58, TD) injured his ribs, and Rhamondre Stevenson (11-23) was finally given playing time. There weren’t any special runs as he had in the preseason, but simply getting 11 carries should send each league back to the waiver wire to reclaim him. The 2-3 Patriots host the Cowboys for Week 6.
The Texans had the game but couldn’t close out the game and then their offense went cold. Davis Mills had a career-day, easily, when he passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns. He threw scores of 11, 67, and 37 yards. Ex-Raven Chris Moore not only saw his first playing time, he caught a team-high five passes for 109 yards and one score for a career-best game. Chris Conley (3-84, TD) also had a big game out of nowhere. Brandin Cooks was held to only 23 yards on three catches and never had the benefit of any garbage time. The backfield had their typical 23 carries for 65 yards and no scores that were split up three ways. The 1-4 Texans travel to play the Colts this week.
TEN 37, JAC 19
This game was actually close until midway in the second quarter when it turned into a whole lot of Titans and just a dash of Jaguars. Derrick Henry ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns on 29 rushes but never had a target. Ryan Tannehill threw for just 197 yards and one score while Marcus Johnson (3-52) led the team in his first game action of the year. A.J. Brown (3-38) was next best, but it was the same old all-Henry, all-the-time. The 3-2 Titans get back to a winning record and host the Bills in Week 6. So probably a short-lived winning record.
James Robinson gained 149 yards and a score on 18 carries that was boosted by a 58-yard run. Trevor Lawrence threw for 273 yards and one touchdown and scored on his seven rushes for 28 yards. Dan Arnold (6-64) led the receivers while Laviska Shenault saved his game with just one catch that covered 58 yards. The Jaguars’ defense was the biggest limitation and this offense isn’t good enough to keep up with what they are giving opponents. The 0-5 Jags host the Dolphins this week and look for their first win.
DET 17, MIN 19
Not a lot of points here, but there were a few fantasy performances that helped. Jared Goff was limited to 203 yards and one interception. Amon-Ra St. Brown (7-65) had one of his better efforts in leading the receivers on this low-yardage matchup. Jamaal Williams (13-57) and D’Andre Swift (11-51, TD) were banged up coming into the game but played well. Swift also added six catches for 53 yards. As usual, the Lions led 17-16 with 37 seconds to play when Swift ran in his touchdown, and they went for the two-point conversion to take the lead instead of a tie. But Cousins completed three passes in 27 seconds to reach the DET 36-yard line where they kicked the winning field goal as time expired.
Kirk Cousins passed for 275 yards and one score, with Justin Jefferson (7-124) as the top receiver and Adam Thielen was held to only 40 yards on two receptions. Dalvin Cook was inactive again, and Alexander Mattison (25-113) once again proved to be a more than capable backup. He also caught seven passes for 40 yards and the lone Vikings touchdown. The win lifts the Vikings to 2-3, and they head to Carolina for Week 6.
DEN 19, PIT 27
Teddy Bridgewater was active and effective in throwing for 288 yards and one score to Courtland Sutton (7-120, TD). Tim Patrick (7-89) was the only other receiver with more than 25 yards, and Noah Fant was held to only 20 yards on three catches. The backfield split left both Javonte Williams (8-61) and Melvin Gordon (9-34) with mediocre stats. Williams added 25 yards on three receptions. The Broncos trailed 24-13 in the fourth quarter and mounted a comeback that fell short. They drop to 2-3 and host the Seahawks this weekend.
The Steelers enjoyed a solid effort, with Najee Harris rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown, while Ben Roethlisberger passed for 253 yards and two scores. Chase Claypool (5-130, TD) and Diontae Johnson (2-72, TD) were the only Steelers with more than 20 receiving yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster left with a shoulder injury. Roethlisberger completed two passes for more than 50 yards, so the game went better than expected. The win keeps the 2-3 Steelers at home to face the Seahawks this week.
MIA 17, TB 45
The Dolphins led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, but then the wheels fell off, and the expected rout ensued. Jacoby Brissett threw for 275 yards and two scores but Myles Gaskin (10-74, 2 TD) was the only notable receiver and only gained 25 yards on five rushes. Jaylen Waddle (2-31) and Mike Gesicki (4-43) were nonfactors, and DeVante Parker was inactive. The 1-4 Dolphins head to Jacksonville this week for a much better chance for a win.
Yawn. Tom Brady passed for 411 yards and five touchdowns and then left early so that Blaine Gabbert could mop up the end of the game. Antonio Brown (7-124, 2 TD) included a 62-yard scoring catch. Mike Evans (6-113, 2 TD) also turned in a big game, while Chris Godwin (7-70) was relatively quiet in comparison. Leonard Fournette (12-67, TD) added 43 yards on four catches, and Giovani Bernard was back and scored on his two short catches. It all worked. The 4-1 Buccaneers play in Philly this weekend.
NO 33, WAS 22
The Saints brought more offense to the matchup, but that’s probably more about the Washington defense that has inexplicably declined from last year. Alvin Kamara ran for 71 yards on 16 carries for one touchdown, plus caught five passes for 51 yards and another score. Jameis Winston continued his up-and-down trend with a season-best 279 passing yards and four touchdowns. Marquez Callaway (4-85, 2 TD) was the top receiver, and while Deonte Harris only caught one pass, it went for a 72-yard touchdown. The 3-2 Saints offense looked the most balanced and productive since the season-opening win over the Packers. They have their bye this week.
Taylor Heinicke threw for 248 yards and two interceptions, while Terry McLaurin received a team-high 11 passes but only caught four for 46 yards. Adam Humphries (3-73) and DeAndre Carter (4-62) were the most productive receivers. Antonio Gibson is playing with a shin injury but still ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns on his 20 rushes. The Football Team was without Logan Thomas, and the Saints covered McLaurin, so the offense stalled. The 2-3 Washington Football Team hosts the Chiefs for Week 6.
CHI 20, LV 9
This score wouldn’t be that surprising if you had never seen any games in 2021. The Raiders played like they were still shell-shocked from losing to the Chargers last week, or maybe because their head coach just learned about the power of emails. But Derek Carr only passed for 206 yards and one interception. Hunter Renfro (6-56) and Henry Ruggs (3-51) were the best receivers, and Josh Jacobs ran in the only score on his 15 carries for 48 yards. This was about the opposite of how the Raiders played for the first few weeks. Even Darren Waller was held to only 45 yards on four receptions. The 3-2 Raiders head to Denver for a critical divisional matchup this week.
Justin Fields only completed 12-of-20 for 111 yards and one score but had no turnovers. He also only rushed three times for four yards, and his lack of production using his legs seems like a misuse of the rookie – but they won the game anyway. Damien Williams (16-64, TD) and Khalil Herbert (18-75) dominated the game and left little reason to throw the ball. Darnell Mooney (3-35) and Allen Robinson (4-32) were the most productive receivers. This was a solid win for the 3-2 Bears who host the Packers this week.
SF 10, ARI 17
Both teams brought their defenses. Trey Lance took his first NFL start and completed 15-of-29 for 192 yards and one interception. He also ran for a team-high 16 rushes for 89 yards as was hoped. But that gutted the 49ers backfield’s production that saw Elijah Mitchell (9-43) get the most work, and Trey Sermon was limited to just one carry for seven yards. Mitchell added two catches for 19 yards. Deebo Samuels (3-58) was still the top receiver, but no one else gained more than 35 yards. Lance brings the expected boost as a runner, but at the expense of every other fantasy player on the team. The 2-3 49ers take their bye while waiting for Jimmy Garoppolo to get healthy again.
Credit the 49ers – they slowed this offense better than anyone else has so far. Kyler Murray only passed for 239 yards and one score and only gained one net yard on his seven runs. DeAndre Hopkins (6-87, TD) was the top receiver while the inconsistent Ronald Moore ran for a team-high 38 yards on three rushes and caught five passes for 59 yards. Chase Edmonds was limited to only 15 yards on six carries while James Conner (10-29, TD) continues to take that all-important goal-line role. The 5-0 Cardinals take their perfect record to Cleveland for Week 6.
NYG 20, DAL 44
This matchup happened almost exactly a year ago when Dak Prescott was injured and lost for the season. It went full circle now, since Saquon Barkley injured his ankle and missed almost the entire game. And Daniel Jones was lost to a concussion. Devontae Booker (16-42, TD) did a credible job filling in, and he’ll step up for however long Barkley is out. The only notable for the Giants was how the rookie wideout Kadarius Toney took over the offense. He dominated the passing with ten catches for 196 yards and the lone receiving touchdown. He’ll be a popular waiver wire pick this week. The 1-4 Giants host the Rams, and this is not an ideal time to face one of the best defenses.
The Cowboys scored 27 points in the second half when the Giants’ offense started sputtering and throwing interceptions. Ezekiel Elliott (21-110, TD) and Tony Pollard (14-75) both ran well, and while Pollard added four catches for 28 yards, Elliott added a second touchdown on his two catches for two yards. Dak Prescott ended with 302 yards and three scores, and CeeDee Lamb (4-84, TD) opened the scoring. Amari Cooper (3-60, TD) also added a touchdown. It all went so well for Dallas that they also returned an interception for their final score. The 4-1 Cowboys play at the Patriots this week.
BUF 38, KC 20
A bit of revenge for the AFC Championship last year. The Bills took the lead midway through the second quarter and never looked back. Josh Allen threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns, plus rushed for 59 yards and a score on 11 runs. Dawson Knox (3-117, TD) continues to the the “IT” tight end like Robert Tonyan last year. Stefon Diggs (2-69) still lags last year but Emmanuel Sanders (3-54, 2 TD) is settling in nicely. Zach Moss totaled 92 yards on the night. The Chiefs’ lack of a defense made passing productive even despite the rain. The 4-1 Bills play in Tennessee this week before reaching their bye.
Patrick Mahomes is losing his mojo. He threw for 272 yards and two scores on the Bills, but also had two interceptions and lost a fumble. His 70.9 QB rating was almost exactly half that of Josh Allen in the same game. Mecole Hardman (9-76) was the top receiver, while Tyreek Hill (7-63) and Travis Kelce (6-57, TD) could never catch a deep pass. Clyde Edwards-Helaire likely was seriously injured, and that would drop the offense another notch. The 2-3 Chiefs look to get back on track in Washington this week.
CLE 42, LAC 47
How could this not be the best game of the weekend? The Chargers trailed 27-13 midway through the third quarter, and these teams combined for 49 points over the final 21 minutes of the game. The Chargers led 28-27 with 11 minutes left to play, and the Browns threw a 71-yard touchdown to David Njoku. The Chargers tied it 35-35 with seven minutes left. Then Kareem Hunt ran in a touchdown for a 42-35 lead with only 4:45 left to play. But the Chargers scored with two Austin Ekeler touchdowns in the final three minutes to get the winning lead.
Baker Mayfield passed for 305 yards and two scores, and David Njoku (7-149, TD) was the top receiver. Odell Beckham (2-20) was little help, but Donovan Peoples-Jones (5-70) had one of his better efforts. Nick Chubb (21-161, TD) and Hunt (12-61, 2 TD) both turned in monster performances. The offense was far more prolific than usual, just not quite enough since the Browns defense shockingly gave up 47 points. The 3-2 Browns host the Cardinals for Week 6.
Justin Herbert threw for 398 yards and four touchdowns and even ran in a score as well. Mike Williams (8-165, 2 TD) and Keenan Allen (6-75) led the receivers while Austin Ekeler was quiet for most of the game and then went nuclear, scoring three fourth-quarter touchdowns while rushing for 66 yards and catching five passes for 53 yards. All four of the typical fantasy starters on this offense all turned in monster stats. The 4-1 Chargers play in Baltimore this week.
This game made history. The Browns became the first team in NFL history to lose a game where they scored over 40 points and committed no turnovers. They are also the first team to ever top 40 points, 500 yards, and zero turnovers in the history of the NFL. Baker Mayfield became the first quarterback to every lose more than one game where his team scored 42 or more points. This was the third in Mayfield’s career dating back to his very first start in 2018 against the Raiders, when the Brown’s lost 45-42. It also happened in a 47-42 loss to Baltimore last season.