What a crazy damn week in the NFL. Every time you think you have something figured out, you quickly learn you don’t. Let’s get into it:
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
The studs: Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, and Saquon Barkley
The duds: Odell Beckham, Jr. and Eli Manning
The Giants offense is terrible, aside from Saquon Barkley. Saquon is quickly establishing himself as an elite NFL running back. He had 130 rushing yards and a touchdown to go along with 99 receiving yards on 9 receptions– a 41-point fantasy performance in most PPR leagues.
He had 12(!) targets. Aside from just the numbers, he looks to be everything the Giants thought he would be as the number 2 overall pick. He’s explosive–elite speed, vision, and he cuts on a dime.
Now, the bad news. Fantasy owners who were banking on a big game from OBJ were let down on Thursday night. Odell is notorious for letting his frustrations be known, and this game was no different. He went to the locker room before the half was over. Fantasy owners share his frustration because he had a HUGE game last week. He still managed an okay game, but not by top-receiver standards.
The problem is Eli Manning. He was missing open receivers all night, even some of the checkdowns. The NYG probably need to start looking for other options at quarterback.
If you had any Eagles in your lineup, it was probably a good day! Carson Wentz did his thing–278 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Alshon Jeffery went for 8 catches, 74 yards, & 2 TDs. Zach Ertz found the end zone, and Corey Clement had a touchdown and was a worthy start in standard and especially PPR leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
The studs: Jameis Winston, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones
The duds: Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans
Well, this game was pretty much the shootout that everybody expected. The two quarterbacks combined for 749 yards and 7 touchdowns against these weak pass defenses. In his first full game back, Jameis Winston had nearly 400 yards passing and 4 TDs. He did have a couple of interceptions, also. Matt Ryan continues to look like “2016 MVP Matt Ryan” as he completed 75% of his passes with 3 TDs and no picks.
Julio Jones continues to be a dominant force between the 20s, but he just cannot buy a touchdown this year. His TD struggles from 2017 have carried over. I don’t think many fantasy owners are going to complain, though, about 10 catches and 143 yards.
Mike Evans and Calvin Ridley were relatively quiet from a fantasy perspective in such a high-scoring game.
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans
The studs: DeAndre Hopkins, the defenses
The duds: basically everyone else
As a fantasy football player, the only way that you’re happy about this game is if you started DeAndre Hopkins, either one of the defenses, or if your opponent had one of the other big-name players in his/her lineup.
Josh Allen went down for the Bills in this game, so that means Buffalo was forced to put in Nathan Peterman. If there’s one thing Peterman is good at, that’s throwing interceptions…and he didn’t disappoint. He completed 2 passes to the other team–one of which went back to the house. LeSean McCoy was serviceable. If you’re starting him at this point, your expectations are fairly low anyway. No Bills receiver has been startable this year, and that remains the case to infinity and beyond.
On the Texans side, Deshaun Watson has been less-than-impressive this year, coming off his injury. His accuracy has just been off. 177 yards and 2 interceptions is not what fantasy owners signed up for this year. Luckily, he has some pretty good receivers, led by, of course, DeAndre Hopkins, who can catch anything within 78 yards of his body.
Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns
The studs: Melvin frickin Gordon, Ty WIlliams
The duds: Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde
Just when everyone thinks the Browns are back, they remind us who they are. This team is still not used to winning yet. The Chargers came into Cleveland’s backyard and smacked them in the mouth.
Melvin Gordon was an absolute monster in this game. 132 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging over 7 yards per carry. Ridiculous. He continues to be a touchdown machine that is paying off for everyone who used an early draft pick on him. Philip Rivers had a decent game, but he really didn’t need to throw much because of the ground game. He did have one drive where he threw two bombs to Tyrell Williams, and then he threw another long touchdown pass to Williams a few minutes later.
This was a pretty ugly game for Cleveland. Baker Mayfield didn’t have much time to throw the ball, and when he did, he still held on to the ball too long and took sacks. Most likely, if you were starting a Browns’ running back, it was Carlos Hyde, and he had a bad game, only mustering a few fantasy points. Duke Johnson had a decent PPR game, and David Njoku had a garbage-time touchdown.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
The studs: most of the people you started + Tyler Boyd
The duds: none, really
Oh, Cincy. If you can’t beat Pittsburgh at home when they are missing Le’Veon Bell, when are you going to do so? They couldn’t get the W. So close, but we all know a loss is a loss. Yes, it looked like the Steelers benefited from a missed call on the go-ahead touchdown, but there are missed calls every game.
Big Ben threw for a big chunk of yards–369 to be exact, with one touchdown and no interceptions. James Conner leaves people wondering if the Steelers even need Bell back or not. He had 111 yards on the ground plus 4 catches. He had two touchdowns, but it would have been three if Mike Tomlin would have thrown his challenge flag late in the game. No doubt, Le’Veon Bell fantasy owners hate the name James Conner. We are still waiting to see how the Bell situation plays out. We think he’ll be back with Pittsburgh after the bye, but who knows? My advice: try to trade James Conner right now if you own him. Sell high, baby!
Juju Smith-Schuster is one of the best young players in the game. He’s always making big plays when the Steelers need him. Another 100+ yard game for him. Antonio Brown’s invisibility potion wore off in the 4th quarter, as he had two big plays and the go-ahead TD to put him over 100 yards, which allowed a collective sigh of relief from fantasy owners everywhere.
Andy Dalton had a decent game. If you started him, you’re not terribly disappointed nor thrilled. Many gurus were saying “put him in your lineup!” so hopefully you didn’t start him over Matt Ryan or something crazy like that.
AJ Green had a solid game, but no touchdowns. Joe Mixon did have a touchdown and continues to look like a breakout fantasy star in 2018. Tyler Boyd had a couple of touchdown catches and has put together a nice year so far. He should continue to get a good bit of targets since Eifert is done for the year.
Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets
The studs: Andrew Luck (sort of), Eric Ebron, Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor
The duds: Jets running backs, both defenses
I certainly didn’t expect a shootout at MetLife. I was thinking it would be a 20-17, ugly kind of game. Don’t get me wrong, there were some nasty offensive moments. Colts’ receivers letting passes bounce right off their hands. Luck ended up with 3 interceptions, which cost Indy the game.
Luck hasn’t deviated much from in Stanford days in the way he loves the damn tight end. Ebron continues to be a go-to target in the red zone. He got another touchdown today, as did fellow tight end Erik Swoope. Once TY Hilton and Jack Doyle come back, Andrew Luck will have more weapons, but that will make the fantasy picture a little bit muddier. Marlon Mack is back, which helps the Colts’ ground game. He had a pretty good outing, but he’s not someone you want to rely on.
Great team win for the Jets. Sam Darnold was pretty sharp. He had a couple of touchdowns and only 6 incompletions on 30 passes. Impressive! The running backs had a good game, collectively, but if you started either one in fantasy, you weren’t thrilled with their performances. Terrelle Pryor caught a touchdown to remind everyone that he exists and Kearse had 9 catdhes on 10 targets.
Chicago Bears at Miami Dolphins
The studs: Brock Osweiler, Mitch Trubisky, Frank Gore, Tarik Cohen, Albert Wilson, Taylor Gabriel
The duds: Jordan Howard, Kenny Stills
It’s officially BROCKTOBER. What the hell is happening? News broke early that Ryan Tannehill would miss the game and everyone who owns the Bears defense started salivating. Hell, I even made a meme about it. Osweiler threw for 380 yards and 3 touchdowns against the elite Bears defense! You can’t make this stuff up. If you started Osweiler, screenshot it and send it to me, and i will dub you a fantasy genius.
Albert Wilson was catching bombs. He had 2 touchdowns and 155 yards. Frank Gore, who I’m pretty sure is the same age as Al Gore, had a 100-yard game. Kenyan Drake had a nearly-catastrophic fumble on OT. He was almost in the end zone for the win and coughed it up. Luckily for him, the Dolphins got the win despite that.
On the other side, Trubisky continues to play well, throwing for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. Taylor Gabriel is a speedy deep threat, always capable of chunk plays. He had a couple in this game. Allen Robinson got another TD grab. He’s looking more like the Robinson who caught 14 touchdowns in Jacksonville a few years ago.
As for the Chicago running backs, Jordan Howard is frustrating to own. He is completely touchdown-dependent and may be riding benches everywhere from now on. Tarik Cohen is much more explosive and definitely a better option in PPR leagues.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
The studs: Latavius Murray, Adam Thielen
The duds: Kirk Cousins, Larry Fitzgerald
The Vikings have been nowhere near as dominant as we thought they would be this year, but they did get the win over Arizona. That’s kind of like bragging about being able to beat up your younger sibling, though.
One bright spot all year for Minnesota has been Adam Thielen. The guy is on a tear! He is getting 10 catches and 100 yards basically every game. This one is no different. Stat line 11/123/1 on 15 targets! He is a PPR team’s dream. Latavius Murray got the start at RB since Dalvin Cook was unable to play once again. Murray had a phenomenal game with 155 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Keep starting him if you were lucky enough to pick him up. This offense wants to run the ball.
The Cardinals aren’t a great team from a real-life or fantasy perspective. Rosen is meh. David Johnson has been a major disappointment, although, he did have a touchdown Sunday. Christian Kirk has emerged as the number one target for Josh Rosen. Larry Fitzgerald has been a non-factor all year. Bench him until further notice.
Carolina Panthers at Washington
The studs: Devin Funchess, Cam Newton
The duds: DJ Moore
Calling anyone from this game a fantasy “stud” is a bit of a stretch. Cam had a couple of touchdowns and 43 rushing yards, but he also had a pick. Alex Smith had a couple of touchdowns, but he only had 163 yards passing. Christian McCaffrey had 7 receptions but didn’t have many receiving or rushing yards. Funchess had a pretty good day, capped with a TD. Adrian Peterson almost had 100 yards on the ground, but he didn’t have any TDs or receptions to add to that.
The one dud that stuck out in this game is DJ Moore. His first 2 catches resulted in 2 fumbles lost. Yikes.
Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders
The studs: Russell Wilson, Seahawks defense
The duds: Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper
Jon Gruden never should have left the MNF booth. The Raiders are horrible! They can’t blame this one on jet lag because the Seahawks surely didn’t seem affected by it.
Russell Wilson had an efficient game against Oakland, throwing for 3 touchdowns and 222 yards. He only threw 23 passes because Seattle had the game in hand early. Just when you thought it was safe to start Chris Carson, the Hawks split carries between 3 running backs, so that is frustrating. Doug Baldwin had 6 catches for 91 yards and Tyler Lockett saved his low-yardage day by getting a touchdown.
I hope you didn’t start any Raiders. That’s all I can say. Derek Carr completed 23 passes but only for 142 yards and no TDs. Marshawn Lynch only got 45 yards on 13 carries, and Amari Cooper got knocked out early and never had a catch.
Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos
The studs: Todd Gurley (was it ever a question?), Robert Woods, Emmanuel Sanders
The duds: Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, Denver RBs
Todd Gurley is a man. My god. He had 225 total yards, 208 of which were on the ground. Two touchdowns. Pure dominance from the best RB in the league. Not much else to say.
The only other Rams player who satisfied was Robert Woods, posting 7 catches for 109 yards. Cooper Kupp was pulled down via horse collar and may be out for a while. Jared Goff had zero touchdowns and only 201 yards passing.
Case Keenum had to throw a ton in this game, so he was a pretty good fantasy option with 322 yards and 2 TDs. His main target was Emmanuel Sanders, as it has been all year. They connected 7 times for 115 times and a touchdown. Denver couldn’t get the running game going at all. Freeman and Lindsay only had 40 combined yards, although Lindsay did have 6 catches for 48 yards.
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans
The studs: Alex Collins, Michael Crabtree, Ravens defense
The duds: everyone else
We’re still waiting for the Titans to show up in Nashville. This was a beatdown by Baltimore. Tennessee’s offensive woes continue.
Alex Collins has looked good all season, and today was no different. He found the end zone twice. Michael Crabtree finally got into the end zone for the first time in a Ravens uniform. Maybe he can build on that in the weeks to come. The Ravens defense played lights-out, plus they got to go up against one of the most uninspiring offenses in football. The Titans’ running backs only ran the ball 12 times. How does a team expect to win that way. Derrick Henry is droppable in fantasy, and I wouldn’t recommend starting Dion Lewis unless you have no other options. Mariota only threw 15 passes and completed 10. No receiver is going to be fantasy relevant in that scenario.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys
The studs: Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley
The duds: The Jags
Wow, the Jags/Cowboys game was a 40-7 blowout? I can’t believe how far Dallas has fallen. Wait, who won?!
Dallas dominated this game from beginning to end. Jacksonville had no answer for Dak Prescott. He was running at will. He had 82 yards and a TD on the ground to go with his 2 passing touchdowns. I’m sure everyone started him against the Jaguars’ defense, right???
Zeke did his thing with 106 yards rushing and a TD.
Cole Beasley had a monster game– 9/101/2
No one on Jacksonville stepped up. Dede Westbrook caught the lone touchdown from Bortles, who will forever be both Jekyll and Hyde.
Not much confidence in this offense without Fournette right now.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
The studs: Tom Brady, Sony Michel, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt
The duds: Sammy Watkins (but you didn’t have him in your lineup anyway)
The football gods blessed us with a shootout for the ages. Weird fact: It was the only NFL game that’s ever had a final score of 43-40.
The Patriots got off to a great start in the running game. Sony Michel was fantastic in the first half. New England didn’t really need to throw it much, and Kansas City was unable to really get anything going. The second half was a totallllly different story.
Mahomes connected with Kareem Hunt on a long touchdown, and the whole game changed. Neither defense could stop the other team, and there’s was actually only one punt in the game. Tyreek Hill showed why he is such a great fantasy asset. He can go from 0 to 30 fantasy points in no time, which is kind of what he did, totaling 142 yards and 3 TDs. Mahomes was doing what he did best, rolling out and throwing on the run. He ended up with 352 yards and 4 touchdowns after struggling in the first half.
Sony Michel had 106 yards and 2 TDs. Gronk had a couple of huge plays in the 4th quarter and finished just short of 100 yards receiving. Brady threw for 340 and a touchdown.
Two explosive offenses showed their firepower, and if you have many players from either team on your fantasy roster, you will probably make a run at the playoffs and your league championship.
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