A quick fantasy football take on the Sunday games from Week 2.
NY Jets 31, Cleveland 30
Go figure – teams often surprise at the start of the season but 61 total points from the Jets and Browns? And the Jets win by scoring 14 points over the final 1:22 in the game? Joe Flacco passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns, relying mostly on the rookie Garrett Wilson (8-102, 2 TD) and Corey Davis (2-83, TD). Elijah Moore (3-41) has taken a lesser role after being the primary receiver last season. Notable was that Michael Carter (7-23) and Breece Hall (7-50) had equal carries, but Hall was better. Carter caught five passes for 27 yards, while Hall only managed one reception. They could be headed for a rusher vs. third-down back sort of split if Hall continues to run better. Garrett Wilson was the player of the game though, showing just why he was the second wideout drafted back in the NFL draft.
The Browns had a 30-17 lead but couldn’t hold on. Nick Chubb did the most damage with 17 rushes for 87 yards and three touchdowns. Kareem Hunt (13-58) shared the carries and caught two passes for 16 yards while Chubb snared three for 26 yards. Jacoby Brissett threw for only 229 yards and one score but the Browns led until the final 22 seconds and ran the ball 31 times. Amari Cooper (9-101, TD) had his breakout game as a Brown, but no other Browns receiver gained more than 45 yards or caught more than three passes. The Jets just would not go away and the Browns’ secondary let them take the win.
Washington 27, Detroit 36
Hard to argue with a game that had 63 total points. The Lions took a 22-0 lead into halftime and then hung to win. Jared Goff threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns with Amon-Ra St. Brown (9-116, 2 TD) dominating the targets and catches. Josh Reynolds (3-38, TD) and D’Andre Swift (2-31, TD) accounted for the other two passing scores. St. Brown was also the leading rusher with 68 yards on two carries thanks to a 58-yard gainer. Swift ran for 56 yards on five rushes while Jamaal Williams gained 53 yards on 12 carries. The Lions’ offense hit on all cylinders to secure the win that their defense tried to give away.
The Commanders fell behind with a bumbling offense that came out from halftime on fire. Carson Wentz passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns between Curtis Samuel (7-78, TD), Jahan Dotson (4-59, TD), and Logan Thomas (3-37). Terry McLaurin did not score but ended with four receptions for 75 yards – almost all of in later in the game. Antonio Gibson scored once but only gained 28 yards on 14 rushes while J.D. McKissic turned in seven catches for 54 yards. The rushing offense was not successful but Wentz got on a roll in the second half and made a game of it.
Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans 10
Brutally low scoring and that’s factoring in the 68-yard interception return for a score by the Buccaneers. Tom Brady passed for 190 yards and one score while missing Chris Godwin and Julio Jones. And eventually, Mike Evans (3-61) was ejected from the game. Breshad Perriman (3-45, TD) caught their lone offensive score. Leonard Fournette only gained 65 yards on 24 carries, and added just two receptions for nine yards. The Buccaneers’ offense misses too many players to maintain their previous scoring levels, but the defense responded and prevented the Saints from mounting any consistent offense.
Jameis Winston threw for 236 yards and one score, but his three interceptions were instrumental in the loss. Chris Olave (5-80) and Michael Thomas (6-65, TD) were the top receivers while Jarvis Landry (4-25) cooled significantly from his red-hot Week 1. The Saints were without Alvin Kamara and relied on Mark Ingram (10-60) who only added two catches for three yards. The entire offense seemed out of sync and turnovers ended five drives. Winston’s interception problem roared back and is a cause for a concern in an offense that struggled for the entire game.
Carolina 16, NY Giants 19
It was a low-scoring affair, but at least it helped the Panthers produce more familiar fantasy stats. Christian McCaffrey ran for 102 yards on 15 rushes plus caught four passes for 26 yards for solid yardage though he never scored. D.J. Moore (3-43, TD) did get the lone touchdown to prevent a second down game in a row, but Robbie Anderson (3-32) failed to catch the long pass this week. Barker Mayfield only passed for 145 yards and one score, and only completed 14 of 29 passes.
Saquon Barkley only ran for 72 yards on 21 carries to bring him back to earth after the Week 1 explosion. He added three catches for 16 yards so it was still better than most outings last year. Daniel Jones was limited to only 176 yards and one score and looked very much like last year. Richie James (5-51) once again was surprisingly effective unlike the others. Sterling Shepard caught six passes but only gained 34 yards. It was a sloppy passing game much like last year and the new offense that looked improved in Week 1 took a step backward even with this win.
New England 17, Pittsburgh 14
Here’s another road win where two good defenses all but negated their opponents’ offense. Damien Harris ran for 71 yards and a score on 15 rushes as the clear primary back and left Rhamondre Stevenson with nine rushes for 47 yards. Harris added 16 yards on two catches as well. Mac Jones came into the game with a bad back and threw for 252 yards and one score. Nelson Agholor (6-110, TD) was the top receiver though Jakobi Meyers (9-95) was a major contributor. No other receivers had more than two catches or 16 yards, so Jones ran the passing effort almost solely through the two starting wideouts. The Patriots’ defense was more to credit for the win.
Mitchell Trubisky was held to only 168 passing yards and one score. Diontae Johnson (6-57) was the top receiver though the passing game remains surprisingly short. Chase Claypool (4-26) wasn’t used as a rusher this week. Najee Harris ran for only 49 yards on 15 carries but added 40 yards on five receptions. The Steelers never scored a touchdown until the fourth quarter and struggled to maintain drives. They faced a solid defense, but were at home. The rookie George Pickens was held to just one score. If the offense continues to look as lethargic, it is likely that Kenny Pickett will get a shot at recharging the offense.
Indianapolis 0, Jacksonville 24
I’m sorry, what did you say? What? The Jaguars played the Colts well in the past, as one of those odd matchup situations. But having the Colts shut out while the Jags throw 24 points on the scoreboard was not exactly expected. Not even by the Jaguars. This was the “any given Sunday” game. Jonathan Taylor ran for only 54 yards on nine carries and caught just one nine-yard pass. Matt Ryan cratered, throwing for 195 yards and three interceptions. In fairness, he was missing both Alec Pierce and Michael Pittman, but the only receiver that remotely stepped up was Ashton Dulin (5-79). The Colts are stumbling into the season and have yet to win a game.
The Jaguars had a balanced attack that the Colts could not handle. James Robinson gained 64 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown that came on a 37-yard jaunt once he cleared the line of scrimmage. Travis Etienne still has yet to show up as expected, running for only 20 yards on nine rushes and catching three passes for 33 yards. Christian Kirk was considered over-priced as a free agent acquisition, but he followed up his big performance in Week 1 with a six-catch, 78-yard effort with both receiving touchdowns. Even Evan Engram (7-46) was a big contributor. The win was thorough and even the Jaguars have to wonder how it all went so well.
Atlanta 27, LA Rams 31
The Rams were yet another team that enjoyed a big lead – 31-10 in the fourth quarter – but then had to hang on when the Falcons drew to within 27-31 to end the game. There was a lot that went right for the offense after a lackluster Week 1. Matt Stafford threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns but still tossed two interceptions. Cooper Kupp (11-108, 2 TD) had another monster performance and Allen Robinson (4-53, TD) finally showed up as a Ram and even had a second score called back on a penalty. Tyler Higbee (7-71) is much more productive than expected for the second week. Cam Akers was improved with 15 runs for 44 yards and two catches for 18 more, though his longest gain was only eight yards. Darrell Henderson (10-47, TD) was still a better fantasy play. But the important takeaway is that the passing offense is finding its groove again.
The Falcons had fallen behind 28-3 before finally scoring two offensive touchdowns and a third on a special teams play. Marcus Mariota only threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns between Drake London (8-86, TD) and Olamide Zaccheaus (2-21). Kyle Pitts was still invisible with just two catches for 19 yards. Since Damien Williams landed on injured reserve, the Falcons let Tyler Allgeier (10-30) be active and share the rushing load with Cordarrelle Patterson (10-41), who surprisingly was thrown just one pass. The Falcons drew close, but mostly thanks to returning a blocked punt for a score. Drake London’s eight catches were great to see in just his second NFL game, but the disappearance of Kyle Pitts will limit the offense more than they can handle.
Seattle 7, San Francisco 27
The Seahawks had a tougher time this week when everything didn’t go their way like last week. Geno Smith threw for just 197 yards and one interception though he managed to connect well with Tyler Lockett (9-107). DK Metcalf was the next-best receiver with just four catches for 35 yards. The debut of Kenneth Walker only produced four runs for 10 yards which was actually a bit more effective than Rashaad Penny (6-15). The run was never going to work at the 49ers. This was the lowkey production expected last week as well. But at least Lockett showed up in fantasy box scores.
The Trey Lance era didn’t make it two full games before he was lost for the season with a fractured ankle. Fortunately, Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t go anywhere and he stepped in like it was just 2021 all over again. His return helps all of the other fantasy players for the 49ers. Deebo Samuel ran for 53 yards and caught five passes for 44 more. Brandon Aiyuk (5-63) led the receivers that were without George Kittle again this week. The backfield was handled by Jeff Wilson (18-84) and the rookie Tyrion Davis-Price (14-33), while Jordan Mason never saw the field. Losing Lance just resets the 49ers to last year, but missing Kittle will become a bigger issue if he continues to miss games.
Cincinnati 17, Dallas 20
The AFC Champions are hitting that “next year malaise” with two losses to start the season. There are offensive line problems that deserve blamed and Joe Burrow was sacked six more times this week. He threw for only 199 yards and one score to Tee Higgins (6-71, TD) but Ja’Marr Chase was held to only 54 yards on five receptions. Joe Mixon ran for 57 yards on 19 carries and added three catches for 26 yards, but the offense was sluggish and Burrow under constant pressure. They need an immediate answer for their O-line issues or this season will get irretrievably away from them sooner than later.
The Cowboys led 17-3 but needed a last-second 50-yard field goal to escape overtime. Cooper Rush passed for 235 yards and one score in his first start and Noah Brown (5-91, TD) was the most productive receiver. CeeDee Lamb (7-75) was involved but Dalton Schultz (2-18) may not maintain his fantasy value without Dak Prescott. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 53 yards on 15 carries, but the better fantasy play was Tony Pollard who rushed for 43 yards and a score on nine carries, plus caught four passes for 55 yards. Winning at home helped soothe some of the fears that losing Dak promoted, but the offense wasn’t nearly as productive as it is under Prescott.
Houston 9, Denver 16
There wasn’t much offense in this matchup, other than for Courtland Sutton (7-122) who stepped up after Jerry Jeudy was injured. No other Denver receivers had more than 28 yards, and Russell Wilson ended with just 219 passing yards and one score. Fortunately, the Broncos won the game because the offense and Wilson, in particular, were getting booed. Wilson only completed 14-of-31 passes and had a QB rating of just 66.5. Javonte Williams ran for 75 yards on 15 carries and Melvin Gordon gained 47 yards on his ten rushes. The passing offense was surprisingly ineffective outside of Sutton. Losing Jerry Jeudy after one catch didn’t help, but the Texans were visitors and that’s historically been the sort of matchup that boosts the fantasy points.
The only real positive for the Texans, aside from a much improved defense, was that Dameon Pierce found more success and rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries while no other running back had a rush. He was only thrown one pass and Davis Mills was held to only 177 passing yards. Nico Collins (4-58) and Brandin Cooks (4-54) were the primary receivers, but the Denver secondary handled the Texans’ passing game. It follows the trend of last year when the Texans were always much better at home and when facing a weak defense. Not so on the road or versus an above-average defense.
Arizona 29, Las Vegas 23 OT
Week 2 contained many instances of teams seemingly building an insurmountable lead only to see their opponent come roaring back. The Raiders led 20-0 at halftime. But the Cardinals did not go away. They tied the Raiders 23-23 as time expired and then returned a fumble 59 yards for the winning score. Kyler Murray threw for 277 yards and one score, plus ran for 28 yards and a touchdown on five runs. His three-yard scamper as time expired is how they tied the score, along with a two-point conversion he threw to A.J. Green. Zach Ertz (8-75) led the receivers, along with Marquise Brown (6-68) and, once again, Greg Dortch (4-55, TD). James Conner left with an ankle injury and Darrel Williams filled in with eight runs for 59 yards and one score, while Eno Benjamin (8-31) shared the workload.
The Raiders lacked any players that came up big in the matchup, but they still led 20-0 at halftime. Derek Carr passed for 252 yards and two scores, but the most productive receivers were Mack Hollins (5-66), Hunter Renfrow (7-59), and Darren Waller (6-50, TD). Davante Adams scored, but only totaled two receptions for 12 yards. The Raiders did rely on Josh Jacobs for all of their backfield needs with 19 carries for 69 yards and one catch for 12 yards. It was a bitter ending for a home opener and a surprise that an opponent could shut down Davante Adams.
Chicago 10, Green Bay 27
The Bears need to worry. They lost to the Packers, which was no surprise, but Justin Fields only passed for 70 yards and one interception, while he completed 7-of-11 passes for a 43.8 QB rating. They trailed for nearly the entire game but only threw 11 passes. Worst yet, Darnell Mooney caught just one pass for a net loss of four yards. He is clearly the best receiver and as such, has been cloaked for the first two games. Even Cole Kmet was only thrown one uncatchable pass. David Montgomery ran for 122 yards on 15 carries and Kahlil Herbert gained 38 yards on his four runs as the only working part of the offense. Justin Fields ran for 20 yards and the lone touchdown. Aaron Rodgers may own the Bears, but there was little in the loss that suggested the Bears can stay in games using the pass.
The Packers also found success running the ball, with AJ Dillon (18-61) and Aaron Jones (5-132, TD) combining to deadly effect. Jones also added three catches for 38 yards and a second score. Aaron Rodgers threw for 234 yards and two scores with Sammy Watkins (3-93) as the most productive receiver. That was thanks to a 55-yard reception. The reality through two games is that no only is there no true No. 1 receiver on this team, but there’s not really a No. 2 receiver. There were four players with three catches and three more with two receptions. All but Watkins fell below 40 yards. It’s like Rodgers is playing with six No. 3 receivers. Allen Lazard had his first start and turned in two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown.
Game-O-The-Week - Miami 42, Baltimore 38
Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
EIGHTY TOTAL POINTS!
And no overtime. So just in sixty minutes of play. The Ravens led this “comfortably” 28-7 at the half. Their only other touchdown in the second half was on a 79-yard run by Lamar Jackson. He threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns and gained 119 yards and a score on nine rushes. Jackson was on fire as a passer in the first half. He found Rashod Bateman (4-108, TD) and Mark Andrews (9-104, TD) while the rest of the receivers mostly watched. The Ravens were still without J.K. Dobbins and could generate nothing from the backfield that totaled 33 yards on 15 carries. The Ravens had it won and stopped passing in the second half. And their secondary is once again hit by injuries and so much the glory to fantasy football.
Tua Tagovailoa had thrown just one touchdown and two interceptions, with 150 passing yards at the half. He ended with a career-high 469 passing yards (over 100 yards better than his next best 361 yards) and six touchdowns to tie for the Miami record with Bob Griese and Dan Marino. Tyreek Hill (11-190, 2 TD) and Jaylen Waddle (11-171, 2 TD) both turned in monster games, and even Mike Gesicki (4-41, TD) was fantasy relevant. The Fins started Raheem Mostert (11-51) and Chase Edmonds had nearly no role until late in the game but ran for 28 yards in the fourth quarter to help out. The Dolphins had 22 catches for 361 yards and four touchdowns from just their two starting wideouts. And for this week at the least, Hill looked like he was worth every penny.