Taking a quick look at each game for fantasy football value and notables.
San Francisco 14, Atlanta 28
No arguing that the Falcons are better this year in their second season with HC Arthur Smith. Playing at home always helps and the defense is the biggest improvement from 2021. Marcus Mariota only threw 14 passes but completed 13 for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Kyle Pitts (3-19, TD) had a minimal stats game but the touchdown made it feel huge. The backfield remains split between Caleb Huntley (16-59) and Tyler Allgeier (15-51) though they had no role as receivers. Olamide Zaccheaus (4-58) and Drake London (3-40) were the lead receivers during the low-passing game. The 3-3 Falcons head to Cincinnati for Week 7.
The 49ers were not in sync for this matchup and never scored in the second half. The rushing effort was anemic with Jeff Wilson (7-25) who lost a fumble that Atlanta recovered in the end zone. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns but also had two interceptions. George Kittle (8-83) didn’t score but produced about twice as much as in any other game this year, so call that a victory. Brandon Aiyuk (8-83, 2 TD) did all of their scoring in the second quarter. Deebo Samuel (7-79) helped his stat line in the second half but only ran for 11 yards on two carries. Turnovers and the inability to run the ball killed the 49ers in this one. They drop to 3-3 and host the Chiefs in Week 7.
New England 38, Cleveland 15
The Patriots played solid, error-free football with great defense to take this road game in Cleveland. Bailey Zappe (309 yards, 2 TD) did nothing to dispel the rumor that he’s “Tom Brady II” that they found in the seventh round of the draft (Mac Jones and friends are less convinced). Four different receivers gained over 60 yards – DeVante Parker (4-64), Hunter Henry (4-61, TD), Jonnu Smith (2-61), and Jakobi Meyers (4-60). It was the second game with 50+ yards for Henry and his first touchdown of the year. Damien Harris was out, so Rhamondre Stevenson ran 19 times for 76 yards and two scores along with four catches for 15 yards. The rookie Tyquan Thornton had a breakout game of sorts with three runs for 16 yards and a score, plus four catches for 37 yards and another touchdown. Zappe was impressive and the New England defense was far too much for the Browns to handle. The 3-3 Patriots host the Bears next Monday.
The Browns never led and drew to within 24-15 before allowing two more Patriot touchdowns. Nick Chubb, in a home game, only gained 56 yards on 12 rushes and added just one catch for 14 yards. Jacoby Brissett passed for 266 yards and one score but tossed two interceptions. Donovan Peoples-Jones (4-74) and David Njoku (3-58) were the top receivers though Amari Cooper (4-44, TD) caught the only Browns’ touchdown. The offense was sluggish against the Pats who maintained control for the entire game. As usual, when Chubb was held in check, the Cleveland offense couldn’t compete with their passing game. They drop to 2-4 and head to Baltimore for Week 7.
NY Jets 27, Green Bay 10
So… are the Jets that good, or the Packers that bad? Green Bay was favored by eight points but lost by 17, so maybe both are true. Zach Wilson only threw for 110 yards and Corey Davis was the only receiver with more than 17 yards. Breece Hall kept his rookie of the year hopes alive with 116 yards and a touchdown on 20 rushes and two catches for five yards. The Jets also returned a blocked punt for a score. They also had no turnovers and was sacked just once. The Packers drew to within 10-17 but the Jets scored an unanswered ten points in the fourth quarter. The win boosts the Jets to 4-2 and they play in Denver on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers looked uncomfortable and even, dare it be said, kinda old in the loss to the Jets. The Packers backfield was ineffective and underused with AJ Dillon (10-41) and Aaron Jones (9-19) combining for 19 carries for 60 yards and no score. Aaron Rodgers passed for 246 yards and one score to Allen Lazard (4-76, TD) but most of his passes went to Robert Tonyan (10-90) and no other receivers caught more than three passes or gained more than 25 yards. In a home game. Against the Jets. Aaron Rodgers looked oddly resigned to what was happening. The Packers drop to 3-3 and play at the Commanders on Sunday.
Jacksonville 27, Indianapolis 34
The Colts made up for the 24-0 shutout back in Week 3. This was a back-and-forth matchup that finally saw the Colts’ passing offense take off thanks in part to relying on their third-string running back. Matt Ryan passed for 389 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. He connected with all his receivers – Michael Pittman (13-134), Deon Jackson (10-79), Parris Campbell (7-57, TD) and Alec Pierce (3-49, TD). For once he did not rely heavily on his tight ends, though Jelani Woods (2-27, TD) scored. Deon Jackson took the start and scored on his twelve runs for 42 yards along with the ten catches. The rushing effort was minimal with both Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines out and yet the passing effort never looked better. The 3-2-1 Colts crawl above .500 and play the Saints on Thursday.
The Jaguars must have thought that the previous shutout still mattered. Travis Etienne (10-86) ran well, breaking off a 48-yard run in the first quarter. He also caught two passes for 22 yards. The backfield still remains split with James Robinson (12-54) handling half of the runs but only one short catch. The Colts shut down the Jags’ passing, and Trevor Lawrence only threw for 165 yards and one score to Christian Kirk (4-24, TD). Lawrence also rushed two scores to salvage his fantasy value and lower everyone else. JaMychal Hasty only ran the ball three times but one went for a 61-yard touchdown. The loss drops the Jaguars to 2-4 and they host the Giants for Week 6.
Minnesota 24, Miami 16
This game was only 10-3 entering the fourth quarter, but both teams scored two more touchdowns. The Vikings had almost no rushing with Dalton Cook gaining 77 yards on 13 runs but 53 yards came on a rushing touchdown with three minutes left to play. Kirk Cousins passed for 175 yards and two scores between Adam Thielen (4-36, TD) and Irv Smith (4-7, TD) while Justin Jefferson (6-107) had his standard 100-yard game. The Vikings played offense just well enough to win, but the yardage was down other than Jefferson. Cook would have gained only 24 yards on 12 carries other than the one long breakaway. The win sends the 5-1 Vikings onto their bye to enjoy their place in the standings.
The Dolphins’ offense couldn’t find the endzone until the final ten minutes in the game. Skylar Thompson was the starter and then left in the second quarter with an injured thumb. Teddy Bridgewater took over and threw for 329 yards and two scores over less than three quarters. But he also tossed two interceptions. Tyreek Hill (12-177) and Jaylen Waddle (6-129) led the receivers as usual, while Mike Gesicki (6-69, 2 TD) was the surprise of the game. The rushing effort was of little effect with Raheem Mostert (14-49) accounting for all but five yards from the backfield. The turnovers hurt and when the offense started clicking, it was too late. The 3-3 Dolphins host the Steelers on Sunday.
Baltimore 20, NY Giants 24
It’s getting tougher every week to explain how a bad team like the Giants win. At 5-1, they are a good team even it if is hard to explain. Daniel Jones passed for 173 yards and two touchdowns between Daniel Bellinger (5-38, TD) and Wan’Dale Robinson (3-37, TD) with no other receiver gaining more than 25 yards. Saquon Barkley ran for 83 yards and a score on 22 carries but only added 12 yards on three catches. The Giants trailed 20-10 with six minutes left and scored two touchdowns to secure the win. The 5-1 Giants play in Jacksonville Sunday.
The Ravens never trailed until the final six minutes when they responded to the Giants’ touchdown by throwing an interception, letting them score again, then losing a fumble to end the game. Lamar Jackson ran for 77 yards and threw for 210 yards and one score to Mark Andrews (7-106, TD) but no other receivers gained more than 30 yards. Kenyan Drake was a surprise, going from four runs for 26 yards in Week 5, to 119 yards and a score on ten carries. J.K. Dobbins was held to only seven runs for 15 yards and couldn’t play in the second half when his knee stiffened up. The Ravens ran well enough but couldn’t pass to catch up at the end of the game. They fall to 3-3 and host the Browns on Sunday.
Tampa Bay 18, Pittsburgh 20
Another upset. Not only was it expected that a healthy Buccaneers team would feast on the weaker Steelers, but Kenny Pickett was knocked out of the game and Mitchell Trubisky too over. Both Pittsburgh quarterbacks threw a touchdown but only totaled 211 passing yards. Chase Claypool (7-96, TD) was the only notable receiver and Diontae Johnson was limited to only 28 yards despite catching five passes. Najee Harris ran for 42 yards on 14 carries and added a touchdown on his two receptions for seven yards. There were eight different players that recorded at least one carry. The win lifts the Steelers to 2-4 and they head to Miami for this Sunday.
These are the Steelers that just lost 38-3 to the Bills. So it was surprising when Tom Brady was limited to only 243 yards and one score. Chris Godwin (6-95) and Mike Evans (4-42) were the top receivers. Leonard Fournette was the best player, rushing for 63 yards on 21 carries and catching six passes for 38 yards and the lone Bucs touchdown. The situation looked like a slam-dunk win for the Buccaneers, and even more so knocking the Steelers’ starting quarterback out of the game. The difference in the game came down to a missed two-point conversion for Tampa Bay. They drop to 3-3 and they play in Carolina where they should win. Just like this week.
Carolina 10, LA Rams 24
The Panthers’ first game with interim head coach Steve Wilks went about as well as could be for the floundering franchise. They lost P.J. Walker to a potential concussion, so Jacob Eason finished the game. They combined for 119 passing yards and one interception. The only touchdown scored by the Panthers was an interception return. Christian McCaffrey, still a Panther for now, ran for 69 yards on 13 carries and caught seven passes for 89 yards. McCaffrey accounted for 158 total yards. The rest of the offense combined for just 54 yards. That’s 75% of all yardage. Trading away McCaffrey doesn’t say they are looking to next year, it says they won’t settle for less than the No. 1 overall pick. The 1-5 Panthers host the Bucs on Sunday.
The Rams take their much-needed win. And yet there were no notable fantasy players. Matt Stafford passed for 253 yards and one score to Allen Robinson (5-63, TD) who no one would dare give a fantasy start. Cooper Kupp was limited to seven catches for 80 yards but Tyler Higbee only managed one catch for seven yards. Eight different players handled at least one carry and Darrell Henderson (12-43, TD) was the only rusher with more than 17 yards. The Panthers actually led 10-7 at the half but the Rams scored 17 unanswered points in the second half. The win prevents a disastrous start for the 3-3 Rams who go onto their bye on a higher note.
Arizona 9, Seattle 19
The Cardinals dropped their second-straight game with an offense that shrunk to little more than Kyler Murray. He passed for 222 yards and rushed ten times for 100 yards. Eno Benjamin (15-37) replaced James Conner and added three catches for 28 yards. Zach Ertz (7-70) and Marquise Brown (5-68) led the receivers though Brown left with a foot injury. Ronald Moore continues to build momentum with six receptions for 49 yards. The 2-4 Cardinals play on Thursday when they host the Saints and should have DeAndre Hopkins back.
The Seahawks didn’t do that much other than kick field goals (4) and get a solid first start from Kenneth Walker (21-97, TD). Geno Smith passed for 197 yards and no scores, with Noah Fant (6-45) and Dee Eskridge (3-39) which alone says this wasn’t a very productive offense. DK Metcalf (2-34) and Tyler Lockett (2-17) were little used. The important takeaway is that the 3-3 Seahawks got the win and that Walker doesn’t look like a step down from Rashaad Penny.
Buffalo 24, Kansas City 20
We were hoping for more than 44 total points, but the right players raked in the fantasy points, so it is hard to argue with the results. Josh Allen threw for 329 yards and three scores, plus ran for 32 yards. Stefon Diggs (10-148, TD) and Gabe Davis (3-74, TD) led the receivers and Dawson Knox (3-37, TD) finally scored just when you gave up on him. Devin Singletary ran for 85 yards on 17 carries and added four catches for 22 yards. All the most likely fantasy starters delivered for fantasy managers. The 5-1 Bills head onto their bye and strip many fantasy teams of their best players.
The Chiefs were only slightly less productive. Patrick Mahomes threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns between JuJu Smith-Schuster (5-113, TD) and Mecole Hardman (3-42, TD) while Travis Kelce (8-108) had double the targets and more catches than any other receiver. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (9-33) found the rushing tougher this week and failed to catch any passes. The loss drops the Chiefs to 4-2 and they play in San Francisco on Sunday.
Dallas 17, Philadelphia 26
The Cowboys rallied from a 20-0 deficit in the first half to score 17 straight points, but the Eagles scored once more to put it out of reach. The Cowboys ran surprisingly well with Ezekiel Elliott (13-81, TD) and Tony Pollard (11-44) both productive when used. But the four-game run of Cooper Rush being present when the Cowboys won games didn’t last when he needed to be the main weapon. Rush passed for 181 yards and one score with three interceptions, and most of the yardage came late in the game. CeeDee Lamb (5-68) and Jake Ferguson (4-40, TD) were the only receivers with more than 22 yards. Rush played well for four games, but they needed more than a game manager. Dak Prescott is expected back when the 4-2 Cowboys host the Lions. Can’t say that Prescott doesn’t have nice timing.
The Eagles took the win with a balanced offense that made no mistakes. Jalen Hurts only passed for 155 yards and two scores between A.J. Brown (5-67, TD) and DeVonta Smith (5-44) but no one else gained more than 22 yards. Miles Sanders (18-71, TD) was effective rushing but only caught a one-yard pass. The four main fantasy players all managed moderate production thanks to their scores, but there was no big game by any Eagle facing the Cowboys defense. Philly rises to a perfect 6-0 and onto their bye.
GAME-O-THE-WEEK: Cincinnati 30, New Orleans 26
The Saints entered this contest without their top three wide receivers, so expectations were lower. But the Saints played well regardless and led 26-21 with 11 minutes to play before the Bengals scored the final ten points that included a 52-yard field goal and a 60-yard touchdown catch by Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Burrow threw for a season-high 300 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. Ja’Marr Chase (7-132, TD), Tyler Boyd (6-66) and Tee Higgins (6-47) led the receivers. Joe Mixon only ran eight times for 45 yards but added four catches for 23 yards and a touchdown. It was the best performance by Chase and an encouraging result for this week when the 3-3 Bengals host the Falcons.
The Saints were in this until late in the fourth quarter even though Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and even Chris Olave were inactive. Alvin Kamara ran for 99 yards on 19 carries and caught six passes for 25 yards. Andy Dalton was held to only 162 yards and one score to Tre’Quan Smith (3-43, TD). Taysom Hill threw two completions for 16 yards and ran for 39 yards on five rushes but had no catches because he is a tight end… no wait. What? The challenge is that the 2-4 Saints play in Arizona on Thursday with their lengthy list of injured receivers. But at least Alvin Kamara turned in his second high-yardage game in a row.