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NFL Matchups - Week 9 Recap

Oakland Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ers

Venue: Levi's Stadium(Santa Clara)Thu. 11-1 @ 8:20 pm EDTOver/Under: 44.5

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San Francisco 49ers 34 Oakland Raiders 3 

The Thursday Night game was a matchup of two teams that had just two combined wins coming into the matchup…so it was appointment television clearly. Oh yeah and did we mention that a third-string QB without a throw in the NFL previously was starting for the Niners?

San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco was expecting to start C.J. Beathard , until he couldn’t go, and they had to turn to Nick Mullens instead. The undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss was unknown to most fans and possibly even league personnel until he had a coming out party that finished with a phone call from Brett Favre, the guy who’s records Mullens broke at Southern Miss, on national TV. What got him that call was a performance that saw him go 16-for-22 for 263 yards and three touchdowns and posting one of the best debuts for a UDFA in recent memory.

The main beneficiary of the passing attack was none other than George Kittle as he hauled in all four of his targets for 108 yards and a score as it’s not uncommon for a young QB to rely on the TE a lot. However leading the team in passing targets was Pierre Garcon as he saw five balls thrown his way, hauling in three of them for 56 yards and a score. Marquise Goodwin saw four targets as well but only caught one of them for 11 yards on the night while the third score through the air came from Kendrick Bourne and his two catches for six yards and a score.

The running game was led by Raheem Mostert in terms of yards and a score with him going 7-86-1 for a whopping 12.3 YPC average. The most touches went to Matt Breida who had 12 carries for 44 yards along with a catch for three yards on one target. Alfred Morris saw as many carries as Mostert but only managed 13 yards on his chances for a sub-2.0 YPC average.

Oakland Raiders

A lot had been made over the past week about the trade the Raiders made to ship Amari Cooper out of town for a first-round pick and what that would mean for the passing game in Oakland. Well in the first game since not having Cooper on the field, Derek Carr came up small once again and failed to hit 200 yards for the second time in three games and he hasn’t hit 300 yards passing since the calendar turned from September to October. He went 16-of-21 for 171 yards without any touchdowns or picks in this one. While his completion rate was high again, he’s got it at 72.3% on the season, there wasn’t a lot of production.

With the lack of passing yards it’s not a shock that the receiving stats are lacking across the board. The most targets and most production goes to Jalen Richard who caught all four of his targets for 45 yards through the air while adding two carries for four yards on the ground. Two guys saw three targets a piece in Brandon LaFell (3-20-0) and Jordy Nelson (2-16-0) with five other receivers seeing two targets each including Martavis Bryant and Jared Cook . If Carr can’t produce it might render everyone except Cook a questionable play from week-to-week.

Running didn’t exactly go much better either as Doug Martin stacked up the most carries with 11 for 49 yards with DeAndre Washington carrying the rock five times for 27 yards behind him. It wasn’t a great performance from a team that usually averages 95.0 yards per game rushing this season.

Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills

Venue: Ralph Wilson Stadium(Orchard Park)Sun. 11-4 @ 1:00 pm ESTOver/Under: 37.5

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Chicago Bears 41 Bills 9

Many expected this game not to be close given the sheer lack of offense the Bills possess but not sure many expected it to get this out of hand quite as quickly as it did. It was mainly due to the special teams and defensive units for the Bears as the new iteration of the Monsters of the Midway put on s a show with four sacks, three interceptions, two touchdowns, and a fumble recovery on the day. With that much help, there wasn’t much need for the offense to ball out to secure the win.

Chicago Bears

It might have been the second-most points the Bears have put up in a game this season, but it was the least amount of passing yards they have posted all year. Mitchell Trubisky was mostly along for the ride as he posted a 12-of-20 for 135 yards, one score, and one interception stat line for the day. It was the first time since Week 3 that he has thrown for less than two touchdowns in a game but with that being said, the Bills pass defense is actually one of the better units in the league.

Jordan Howard has clearly been a disappointment this season for most fantasy owners, but he is starting to show signs of life with three-straight weeks of at least one score. This week he had 14 carries for 47 yards (his fourth time under 50 yards this year) but did punch it in for two scores during the game. Tarik Cohen , who has been a thorn in the side of Howard owners, had a down week in Week 9 with just 13 total yards on seven total touches.

Anthony Miller was the highest target getter in the receiving corps with six passes coming his way while he brought in five of them for 49 yards while also adding a carry for nine yards on the ground. With Allen Robinson out for the game, Taylor Gabriel took the second WR spot and came up with three grabs on five targets for 45 yards. The lone passing touchdown of the game went to Trey Burton to give him two grabs for 28 yards and the score on three targets.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills once more ran Nathan Peterman out as their quarterback this week but that didn’t really show dividends much better than in weeks past. He went 31-of-49 for 189 yards and three picks in the losing effort but was the team’s leading rusher with eight carries for 46 yards and the long touchdown the Bills managed to punch in.

Chris Ivory and LeSean McCoy combined for 17 carries for 46 yards and no scores. That’s not great production though it was against a fairly stout Bears rush defense. On the receiving side of things Kelvin Benjamin led the corps in targets with nine though he only caught four of them for 40 yards while Logan Thomas was more efficient with seven catches on eight targets for 40 yards. Newly signed Terrelle Pryor had five targets for two catches and 17 yards.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns

Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium(Cleveland)Sun. 11-4 @ 1:00 pm ESTOver/Under: 52

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Kansas City Chiefs 37  Cleveland Browns 21

The Browns were freshly off firing the Head Coach and the Offensive Coordinator coming into the game and were tasked with stopping the explosive offense of the Chiefs…that didn’t exactly go to plan. The last time Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes played each other it was in college and an historic number of yards and points were put up in that one. It wasn’t quite that explosive this time.

Kansas City Chiefs

For the eighth straight game Patrick Mahomes put up 300+ passing yards in a game and this was his biggest yardage total of the year. Overall he went 23-of-32 for 375 yards and three scores with a pick thrown in as well. He also ran for 18 yards on two carries. At this point it’s immensely clear that he is matchup proof and should be played every week he’s playing.

The bulk of the rushing attack came through Kareem Hunt with his 17 carries for 91 yards with two rushing touchdowns while he also nabbed a 50-yard catch for a touchdown through the air on two targets. Spencer Ware , who is considered Hunt’s key handcuff, rushed twice for 12 yards and caught four balls for 69 on five targets. Tyreek Hill actually had similar stats to Ware with two rushes for 16 yards and four catches for 69 yards, also on five targets.

The rest of the air raid attack was led by Travis Kelce and his 7-99-2 stat line on nine targets as the Ohio boy put on a show in a pseudo homecoming of sorts. Sammy Watkins was the third receiver to see five targets on the day, aside from Ware and Hill, and his targets amounted to a 5-62-0 line.

Cleveland Browns

A new coaching staff was in place for this one and it was unclear exactly what we’d see from the Browns, but in general they put up a pretty good fight offensively led by Baker Mayfield ’s 29-of-42 for 297 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception day. It was the fourth time this season that the first overall pick has thrown the ball more than 40 times in a game but overall this was his best performance to date this season.

The running game was in full effect on the afternoon with Nick Chubb totting the rock 22 times for 85 yards and a score while both Breshad Perriman and Duke Johnson combined for three total carries and 17 yards on the day. They moved Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago now and since then, Chubb has average 19 carries and 75 yards with two scores in those three games.

A name that hasn’t been heard from much this season after being a Pro Bowler a year ago is Duke Johnson who made a return to his pass catching role this week with nine grabs for 78 yards and both passing touchdowns from Mayfield. The next closest in targets to Johnson’s nine was Jarvis Landry and seven of which he caught six for 50 yards. Antonio Callaway did wind up playing in this game and saw five targets with three catches for 51 yards just behind David Njoku ’s five-target, four-catch, 53-yard afternoon.

The defense just wasn’t good enough this weekend to keep the Chiefs off the board enough to give their offense a fighting chance even with Mayfield and company putting up their fifth 21-plus point outing of the season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers

Venue: Bank of America Stadium(Charlotte)Sun. 11-4 @ 1:00 pm ESTOver/Under: 55

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Carolina Panthers - 42   Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 28

While the score was within two touchdowns, this game wasn’t close whatsoever . The Panthers put up a franchise record 35 points in the first half of this one and put it in cruise control for the rest of the contest. Tampa Bay was predictably bad in the secondary and the Panthers took advantage. Admittedly, Carolina looked so good in this one, that they started to give off 2015 vibes – a season in which they boasted one of the best teams in the history of the league. As it stands now, they are currently 6-2 and while all of the talk in the NFC this season has been about the Rams and the Saints, Carolina is currently only one game behind the Saints for the NFC South division lead. We need to start talking more about the Panthers, they may be better than we are giving them credit for.

Panthers

In a game that the Panthers dominated, it was surprising to see that Cam Newton was rather underwhelming statistically. Sure he completed over 76% of his passes and didn’t turn the ball over, but his mere 247 passing yards, 33 rushing yards, and just two passing touchdowns surprised fantasy owners everywhere.

Cam’s statistical mediocrity can largely be attributed to the fact that his talents weren’t exactly necessary after half time. The Panthers really got the ground game going instead, which saw Christian McCaffrey , Curtis Samuel , and Alex Armah all score rushing touchdowns. McCaffrey scored two on the ground, to go along with 79 rushing yards and 78 receiving yards.

While Curtis Samuel scored a 33-yard rushing touchdown on his only carry of the game, he also took one of his two receptions to the house for his second touchdown of the game. On the day he finished with a combined 58 yards and two touchdowns on just three touches. Other notable receivers include tight end Greg Olsen , who caught six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, and Devin Funchess , who caught four passes for 44 yards.

Injuries of note include only safety Eric Reid , who suffered a shoulder injury but managed to return to action before the game was over.

Buccaneers

Even with the change, the Buccaneers were again not good at the quarterback position. Ryan Fitzpatrick may have finished with solid fantasy numbers (243 yards and four touchdowns) but most of the production came in garbage time when the Bucs were already out of it. Fitz also threw two costly interceptions, while he was also sacked three times, and fumbled once.

It was also another week of ineffectiveness from the Buccaneers ground game. Peyton Barber “led” the team with 31 yards on 11 carries, while the team collectively scored zero rushing touchdowns.

On the receiving side of things, Adam Humphries and O.J. Howard were the stars for Tampa Bay. They each caught two touchdowns, while Humphries had eight catches for 82 yards and Howard had four for 53. Mike Evans inexplicably only had one catch for 16 yards on the day.

On a day that was filled with disappointment for Tampa, at least they sustained no significant injuries in the Sunday contest. Gotta find a silver lining in everything.

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins

Venue: Sun Life Stadium(Miami Gardens)Sun. 11-4 @ 1:00 pm ESTOver/Under: 41.5

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Miami Dolphins - 13    New York Jets - 6

As a fantasy analyst, this was a tough one to watch. A total of 19 points were scored, while eight sacks were allowed and four interceptions were thrown. Sure the Dolphins defense had a great day, but they were the game’s highest fantasy scorer by a wide margin. In a matchup of two desperate divisional opponents, it isn’t uncommon for this type of defensive struggle to occur. After a sloppily fought battle, it might be time to put a fork in the Jets and give the Dolphins some CPR in the AFC Wild Card race.

Dolphins

In a winning effort, Brock Osweiler was inexcusably awful on Sunday. He managed just 139 passing yards, completed just 15 passes, and was sacked four times. Considering his track record and this particular performance, it makes sense why coach Adam Gase went off on reporters suggesting that Brock would be the Dolphins long term answer at quarterback, even over Ryan Tannehill .

Just as the Dolphins passing game struggled, they didn’t fare much better on the ground. 179-year-old running back Frank Gore paced the backfield with 20 carries for a mere 57 yards. Kenyan Drake was held to just three carries for nine yards.

Drake at least managed to supplement his work on the ground with four catches and 27 yards through the air, but even so, his efforts were weak on Sunday. Danny Amendola and his 47 yards on five catches, somehow managed to lead the Dolphins in the receiving department. It may have been a win, but the Dolphins were terrible on offense this Sunday.

As for injuries, left tackle Laremy Tunsil left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury, right tackle Ja'Wuan James also suffered a knee injury, but departed in the first half and later returned. Cornerback Bobby McCain was evaluated for a concussion and defensive end Robert Quinn limped off in the field in the closing minutes.

Jets

To a casual fan, Sam Darnold s’ stat line would appear as the reason for the Jets demise on Sunday. Yes he threw four picks, but circumstance is certainly more important than black and white numbers. Of the four picks, two of them were on fourth down desperation plays. If he didn’t make forced throws to untalented receivers seemingly incapable of getting open, he would have given his team no chance at a potential comeback. Yes, his first two picks were bad, but I’m not willing to give up on a 20-year-old rookie QB who has flashed immense potential just because he is struggling with decision making while playing with one of the most talented offensive rosters in the league. Darnold is here to stay, however no one else involved in the organization is safe throughout the rest of this season… On the day, Darnold finished 21-of-39, 229 yards, and those four aforementioned picks.

Playing behind an offensive line that is really starting to struggle, Isaiah Crowell hasn’t had an effective fantasy day in nearly a month. On Sunday he managed just 49 yards rushing on 13 carries. Elijah McGuire made his much anticipated season debut and also struggled, but not nearly as much as Crowell did. McGuire tallied 30 yards on seven carries, while he added another 37 yards on three receptions. Neither player got into the end zone on Sunday.

Chris Herndon led the Jets in the receiving department on Sunday, as he picked up 62 yards on four catches. Jermaine Kearse led the team in targets with nine, however managed only three catches for 20 yards on the day.

In terms of injuries, center Spencer Long aggravated an injury to the middle finger of his right hand. He subsequently caused a handful of off-target snaps and was forced to leave the game. Also, backup linebacker Tarell Basham left the game in the second half with a knee injury.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins

Venue: FedEx Field(Landover)Sun. 11-4 @ 1:00 pm ESTOver/Under: 47.5

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Atlanta Falcons - 38    Washington Redskins - 14

Winners of three straight, division leaders, at home, against a getable Falcons defense; the Redskins have to be better than they were on Sunday afternoon if they plan on making the playoffs. The tragedy of the matchup however, was that the best part of the Redskins over the season thus far has been their offensive line, and with a chance to make an even bigger conference statement in this game, two of their starters were injured and knocked out of the game early on. At some points in the game, Washington was playing without three of their five starting offensive linemen. From that moment, the Falcons managed to apply pressure on the Redskins offense, while Washington could no longer run the football effectively. With a less effective offense, the Redskins tough defense was no longer as fearsome. Give the Falcons credit though, as they managed to go on the road and take care of business handily. It’s just sad to see that it can all be attributed to a handful of early game injuries. Such is life in the NFL.

Falcons

While much should be made about the Redskins devastating offensive line injuries, let’s not understate the rebound that the Falcons have made over the last month. After losing four of their first five games of the season, the Falcons have reeled off three straight wins, while Matt Ryan is making a serious case for the MVP award. As it stands, Ryan is on pace to set the single-season passing yardage record with 5370. He had 350 more yards on Sunday afternoon. To that stat line, he added four touchdowns to just two sacks and one interception. He was balling out there.

On the ground, both Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith combined for a very effective 148 yards and a rushing touchdown. Coleman also added five receptions for 68 yards and two additional touchdowns.

Speaking of receiving touchdowns, Julio Jones finally got one! Stop the presses! It was Julio’s first touchdown of the season and his first in 13 games. Along with the touchdown, Julio had seven catches for 121 yards. Calvin Ridley chipped in with six catches of his own, while he managed to rack up 71 yards. Mohamed Sanu caught four balls for 45 yards.

On the injury front, no significant injuries were sustained by the Falcons in this one, however Calvin Ridley did miss a bit of time during the contest after taking a huge hit to the head. He was back out there before the game was over.

Redskins

This was the first time in a month that Alex Smith eclipsed the 200 passing yard barrier. On Sunday he registered 306 yards on 30-of-46 passing, as well as a touchdown and an interception.

Adrian Peterson , who had been red hot running behind this stout offensive line, was greatly affected by the trifecta of injuries along the front this Sunday. He was clearly game planned for and managed just 17 yards on nine carries. To top off the fantasy disappointment, Peterson was outrushed by both Kapri Bibbs – who scored the team’s only rushing touchdown – and Samaje Perine , while quarterback Alex Smith led the team with 22 rushing yards.

On the receiving side of things, little known slot fill in Maurice Harris seemingly came out of nowhere and caught 10 balls for 124 yards. Tight ends Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed caught five and four balls respectively, while Josh Doctson was the only receiver to get into the end zone.

In terms of injuries, I have already explained ad nauseam about the offensive line struggles on Sunday. Right tackle Morgan Moses was injured early on but managed to return, while Shawn Lauvao suffered a potentially season ending knee injury. The Redskins fear that starting guard Brandon Scherff tore his pectoral and may also miss the rest of the season. Finally, Paul Richardson will have surgery to repair an AC joint in his shoulder; his season is over as well. A very costly day for the Redskins offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Venue: M&T Bank Stadium(Baltimore)Sun. 11-4 @ 1:00 pm ESTOver/Under: 47

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Pittsburgh Steelers – 23       Baltimore Ravens – 16

Historically Ben Roethlisberger was notorious for struggling on the road in Baltimore. He put the naysayers to bed a little bit on Sunday afternoon after the Steelers came away with a 23-16 win against the Ravens in M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore has now dropped four of their last five games, while Pittsburgh has won five of their last six games including four in a row. Who needs Le’Veon Bell, right?

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

It wasn’t the most legendary of performances from Roethlisberger, but he completed 28-of-47 pass attempts for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns to go with a four-yard rushing touchdown. The uptick in pass attempts in such a low scoring affair is a welcoming sign to fantasy owners because this truly was a classic smashmouth AFC North matchup.

James Conner had quite the day finishing with 107 rushing yards on 24 carries to go with seven receptions on nine targets for 56 yards and a touchdown. Conner now has 922 all-purpose yards and ten total touchdowns on the year. Le’Veon Bell will likely make his return to the team within the next week or so and there’s a big discussion regarding how much usage they’ll get out of him. For now it’s hard to see them taking a significant chunk of work away from Conner when he’s proven that he can handle the load.

Three Steelers pass catchers finished with nine or more targets: Antonio Brown , JuJu Smith-Schuster , and the previously mentioned James Conner . JuJu finished with seven catches for 78 yards and Brown only brought in five catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Historically it’s been difficult for the Steelers to put up any sign of offensive production in Baltimore so you’ll take what you can get from this matchup.

The Steelers forced just two sacks and no turnovers, but they owned time of possession 36:29 to 23:31 and the Ravens could only collect 268 yards of offense.

 

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens couldn’t get much going on offense. Perhaps it had something to do with the aforementioned lack of possession time, but the offense was awful on Sunday. Joe Flacco finished the game completing 23-of-37 pass attempts for just 209 yards with no touchdowns. In Flacco’s first seven games he was averaging 295 passing yards per game, which put him on pace for a career high in passing yards. However, over his last two games he’s totaled 401 yards and the Ravens now sit at 4-5 and in third place in the AFC North.

Alex Collins had a modest day on the ground. He had just nine carries for 35 yards and a rushing touchdown to go with a catch for four yards so he had some PPR flex value. Willie Snead led the Baltimore pass catchers with seven catches on eight targets for 58 yards. Mark Andrews finished with three catches for 50 yards and no other Baltimore receiver finished with over 40 receiving yards. Hilariously enough Javorius Allen managed to bring in five catches, but for only nine receiving yards. His value certainly takes a hit with the addition of Ty Montgomery .

Baltimore was without offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and James Hurst so the offensive line was in trouble from the start. Defensive back Tavon Young left in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.

Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings

Venue: U.S. Bank Stadium(Minneapolis)Sun. 11-4 @ 1:00 pm ESTOver/Under: 49.5

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Detroit Lions – 9       Minnesota Vikings – 24

This game was a disappointment from so many angles. The good news is that for you gamblers out there the Vikings managed to cover the spread. And for those of you that pounded the under down from 51 to 47 you also made out like bandits since the game totaled 33 points. From a fantasy perspective this was absolute trash. But the Vikings now have four wins in their last five games and the Lions fell to 3-5 with an uphill battle to take over the NFC North.

 

Detroit Lions

This probably wasn’t what Lions fans or Stafford owners expected once they heard Xavier Rhodes was dealing with a mild injury on Saturday afternoon. On top of that, Stafford managed to shell out 36 pass attempts, but finished with only 199 yards and no touchdowns. It was his second performance in four games with fewer than 200 passing yards. Stafford and Co. face a tough battle on the road next week against one of the best defenses in the league in the Chicago Bears.

The running game was abysmal on Sunday for Detroit. Kerryon Johnson finished with 12 carries for just 37 yards. His longest rushing attempt was only six yards so he definitely struggled under the Vikings defensive front. It’s at least a good sign that Johnson led the team in rushing attempts. LeGarrette Blount finished with five carries for eight yards.

Despite the departure of Golden Tate over last week, the Lions failed to present new opportunities for anybody in the passing game. Marvin Jones Jr. led the team with 66 yards on six receptions while Theo Riddick caught seven passes for 36 yards out of the backfield. Kenny Golladay disappointed with just three catches for 46 yards.

 

Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins surely disappointed on Sunday. He threw the ball just 22 times for 164 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Fortunately for Cousins, the defense put the offense in position to take their foot off the gas and cruise to a victory. But owners will still be frustrated with 22 pass attempts. Prior to Sunday’s start his fewest pass attempts in a game was 34 just three weeks ago against Arizona. Cousins has just seven touchdown passes to go with three interceptions over his last five games. He’ll need to be better going forward.

Dalvin Cook made the absolute most of his “limited snap count” and to be fair he didn’t have a big workload. Most of Cook’s progress was from a 70-yard run late in the second quarter to set Adam Thielen up for a short two-yard touchdown pass. Alas, Cook finished with just ten carries for 89 yards to go with four catches for 20 yards. So if you managed to start him in PPR formats he gave you some value. Latavius Murray wasn’t great, but at least he gave you something. He finished with ten carries for 31 yards and a touchdown to go with a catch for 16 yards. Perhaps with Cook back we’ve run out of usage for Murray, but he’s worth a stash especially if you own Cook.

You’d think that on a week where the Vikings were without one of their best receivers there would be targets to go around for everybody. Especially Adam Thielen ! However, when Cousins only throws the ball 22 times everybody suffers. Thielen, for the second straight week, saw just seven targets, which are his fewest on the season. Luckily for his fantasy owners he has a touchdown in six straight games. No other Vikings receiver saw five targets. Dalvin Cook caught all four of his targets while Laquon Treadwell , Kyle Rudolph , Aldrick Robinson , and Chad Beebe saw three of fewer targets.

Fortunately for the Vikings defense they forced ten sacks on Matthew Stafford to go with 17 total quarterback hits. Tom Johnson and Danielle Hunter combined for six of those sacks.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Seattle Seahawks

Venue: CenturyLink Field(Seattle)Sun. 11-4 @ 4:05 pm ESTOver/Under: 48

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Los Angeles Chargers - 25    Seattle Seahawks - 17

After Sunday (former) Chargers kicker Caleb Sturgis had missed a field goal and an extra point in three consecutive games. In today’s NFL, that is inexcusable and is certainly not a stat that will help you keep your job. He was given his packing orders on Monday. With how good the Chargers are playing at the moment, it seems like kicking issues are the only thing that can keep them from the playoffs. On Sunday they went into Seattle – arguably the NFL’s most difficult venue for a road victory – and they took care of business. Sure it came down to a last second throw that nearly gave the Seahawks the tie, but that is just about the best you are gonna do when having to take on Seattle in Seattle. This was perhaps the best win that the Chargers have had in the past decade and I don’t say that lightly. They made a statement are are in hot pursuit of the Chiefs for the division.

Chargers

Not because of his stat line, but because of circumstance and the grit he showed; this was one of the more impressive victories of Philip Rivers ’ career. In fantasy terms, he finished with 228 yards and two touchdowns to no turnovers, but in football terms this performance was much bigger.

The real fantasy star of Sunday afternoon was Melvin Gordon and the Chargers running game. Gordon averaged a stunning 7.1 yards per carry, while he gained 113 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler also averaged over 7.0 yards per carry, making this an incredibly effective day on the ground for Los Angeles.

Through the air for the Chargers, Keenan Allen was finally the story once again. He hauled in six passes for 124 yards on 10 targets. Tyrell Williams made it three straight games with a touchdown catch, his fourth in as many weeks, and fifth on the season. He finished the day with two catches for 23 yards on three targets.

In terms of injuries, the Chargers luckily didn’t have any. They not only got the hard-fought win, but also left the game healthy.

Seahawks

In a season of underwhelming yardage totals for Russell Wilson , he struggled once again on Sunday against the Chargers. He finished the game with 235 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He at least added 41 rushing yards to the ledger, making his fantasy day more respectable.

Speaking of running the football, the Seahawks did it rather well on Sunday. Chris Carson started out the game and was successful running the football in the first quarter. He managed 40 yards on eight carries, but didn’t play much after the first due to a preexisting injury. picked up the slack for the other three quarters, as he carried 15 times for 62 yards.

Through the air, Doug Baldwin led the team in yards with 77, however he was only targeted four times. Running back led the team in receptions with seven, while Nick Vannett had the best all-around performance for the receivers with six catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Jaron Brown caught Russell Wilson ’s other touchdown pass. That was his only catch of the day and it went for 10 yards.

Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos

Venue: Sports Authority Field at Mile High(Denver)Sun. 11-4 @ 4:05 pm ESTOver/Under: 46

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Houston Texans – 19       Denver Broncos – 17

Fans of both teams probably expected a big game from Courtland Sutton as much as they expected a revenge performance from Demaryius Thomas . Unfortunately both players failed to meet expectations. This game was an offensive struggle in the second half as both team combined for just ten points. Alas, the Texans came away with their sixth straight win on a missed field goal as time expired by Brandon McManus .

 

Houston Texans

For the second straight week Deshaun Watson failed to reach 25 pass attempts. But unlike his last performance he wasn’t as efficient this time around with just 213 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. He did salvage some of his performance with 38 rushing yards and he also hasn’t thrown an interception over his last three games. Watson previously had a stretch of four straight games with 300+ passing yards from Weeks 2-5, but over his last four contests he’s failed to reach 240 passing yards.

Lamar Miller was in line for a big game. Or so we thought. The narrative and matchup were there. It was perfect for him and yet Alfred Blue touched the ball more than Miller did. Miller finished with 12 carries for 21 yards, which anybody can do as long as they reach the line of scrimmage and fall forward 12 times. Blue finished with 15 carries for 39 yards.

The passing game was alive for DeAndre Hopkins at least. Hopkins finished with 12 targets while the other Houston pass catchers combined for 11. Nuk totaled ten catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. In his Texans debut, Demaryius Thomas finished with three catches for 61 yards. No other pass catcher finished with 30 receiving yards. The only injury of note for the Texans was to outside linebacker Duke Ejiofor who left in the first half with a shoulder injury.

 

Denver Broncos

While most quarterbacks didn’t air it out too much, Case Keenum certainly did. Keenum completed 26-of-42 pass attempts for 290 passing yards and a touchdown. The Denver offensive line did a fine job holding off the Texans pass rush as Keenum was sacked just twice and hit seven total times.

Phillip Lindsay finished with 17 carries for 60 yards with two catches for 24 yards. It was his first disappointing performance in quite some time, but he’s still averaging 5.37 yards per carry in his rookie year. Devontae Booker had a rushing touchdown even after losing a fumble early in the first half. All in all he finished with five touches for 24 yards.

Surprisingly Jeff Heuerman led the team in targets with 11, ten of which he caught for 83 yards and a score. Emmanuel Sanders finished with six catches on nine targets for 47 yards and the previously mentioned Courtland Sutton had three catches on just five targets, but he did collect 57 receiving yards. Matt LaCosse managed to bring in a 44-yard catch, but no other Denver pass catcher had more than two catches or 25 yards through the air.

The Broncos may have lost Matt Paradis to a serious ankle injury. Case Keenum rolled up on his leg in the first half and Paradis missed the rest of the game. Connor McGovern moved over from right guard to center and Elijah Wilkinson took over McGovern’s post. The loss of Paradis could be problematic for Denver as they’ve now lost six of their last seven games.

Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Superdome(New Orleans)Sun. 11-4 @ 4:25 pm ESTOver/Under: 57.5

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Los Angeles Rams – 35       New Orleans Saints – 45

This was the shootout fans were hoping for. 80 total points and 970 yards of offense. This was a fantasy football gem that saw Drew Brees & Co. get a win at home. With the Rams loss there are now zero unbeaten teams remaining so the members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins can get exhale for another year. A big shoutout has to go to the offensive lines in this game. Neither quarterback was taken down for a sack.

 

Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff had another great day as did everybody in the Rams offense really. Goff completed 70% of his passes on 40 attempts for 391 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Goff is now on pace to just barely eclipse the 5,000-yard passing mark. It’s unlikely he’ll reach this milestone especially if the Rams take their foot off the gas in December.

Todd Gurley II finished with 13 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown to go with six catches for 11 yards. In PPR formats that’s 19 points, but by Gurley’s standards that’s a disappointing outing especially in a game where the Rams posted 35 points. The targets were spread out pretty evenly. Brandin Cooks saw six catches on eight targets for 114 yards and a touchdown. Cooper Kupp has rebounded nicely from his injury with five catches on six targets for 89 yards and a score and Robert Woods had five catches on nine targets for 71 yards. Gurley, Cooks, Kupp, and Woods saw 75% of Goff’s targets.

It was a very forgetful performance from a defense that couldn’t get to Drew Brees despite Aaron Donald ’s four quarterback hits. The lone highlight for the Rams defense was a fumble recovery for Donald. Edge rusher Matt Longacre had to be evaluated for a concussion, which was the extent of the Rams injuries. The Rams return home next Sunday to play the division rival Seattle Seahawks.

 

New Orleans Saints

The Saints came away with a big win, but not after allowing the Rams to claw back into the game. New Orleans led 35-17 at halftime and actually allowed the Rams to tie the game up before the Saints regained control and took back the lead. Brees completed 25-of-36 pass attempts for 346 yards and four touchdowns. Despite Brees’ “big arm” pedigree it was just his fourth 300+ yard performance this year.

Alvin Kamara had a big day. Mark Ingram did not. Kamara had 19 carries for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns to go with four catches for 34 yards and another touchdown through the air. Ingram finished with nine carries for 33 yards and just one catch for three yards. Ingram did have to come out of the game after losing a fumble and suffering a slight arm injury. He did return, but he clearly wasn’t very useful or involved in the offense really.

Michael Thomas led all New Orleans pass catchers with 12 catches on 15 targets for a whopping 211 yards and a touchdown. He even channeled his inner Joe Horn during his touchdown celebration by pulling out a hidden cell phone, which resulted in an unsportsmanlike penalty. No other Saints pass catcher saw more than five catches or five targets. Benjamin Watson and Tre’Quan Smith joined Thomas and Kamara as beneficiaries of touchdown catches from Brees. But even for Smith, two catches on three catches is a disappointment. He is lucky that he found the end zone. New Orleans travels to Cincinnati for a road tilt against the Bengals next week.

Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots

Venue: Gillette Stadium(Foxborough)Sun. 11-4 @ 8:20 pm ESTOver/Under: 56.5

   Weather

New England Patriots - 31    Green Bay Packers - 17

The buildup to this game was as big as I can remember for a regular season game. The game had no playoff implications and no one was about to set a record, yet the media swooned over the thought of a Brady and Rodgers matchup like it was the last play of the Super Bowl. In all honesty, there is no blame or complaint coming from my end, as I was very excited to see two of the greatest to ever throw a football matchup on Sunday Night Football. Having said all of that, I was not surprised to have been incredibly let down by the 1v1 quarterback matchup. We built it up way too big for guy who knew that in the grand scheme of things, this was not a playoff game and it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. Instead of a quarterback duel, the Patriots came out with an incredibly fast-paced offensive game plan and allowed their offensive play calling and defense to do the talking. At home against a questionable Packers roster, there was really never any doubt that the Pats would take this one handily.

Patriots

While Brady played well, his 294 yards and single touchdown barely won anyone their fantasy matchup. Instead of putting the team on his back, he ran an effective up-tempo game plan to perfection and took what the Packers defense gave him.

With a slew of injuries at the running back position, in true Patriots fashion, it was next man up in the ground game. Lifetime wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was tabbed as the emergency spell back for James White and he came through like gangbusters. On the day he picked up 61 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while at one point he sustained a drive with nothing less than at least seven yard runs. He was explosive and effective, turning the WR-turned-RB narrative – the Ty Montgomery fortune of a few years ago if you will – right back on the Packers. Eerie to see, especially considering this was just one week removed from the Packers trading Ty Montgomery to the Ravens. As for James White , he ran 12 times for 31 yards and he scored twice. He also caught six passes for 72 yards.

Speaking of catching the football, Josh Gordon caught five balls for 132 yards and a score on Sunday night. Julian Edelman had six catches himself for 71 yards.

On the injury front, the Patriots didn’t sustain much of anything significant. Josh Gordon mentioned dislocating his finger on an early-game reception, however he managed to play through the pain.

Packers

As I said, the quarterback battle was underwhelming and Aaron Rodgers played the biggest part in it. He threw for just 259 yards and two touchdowns on the night.

Aaron Jones was once again, inexplicably limited in his workload, despite racking up 76 yards and a 5.4 yards per carry average. Even despite his costly fumble, Jones has been too effective this season to continue seeing so few touches per game. His usage rate must increase if the Packers plan on getting any better. Jamaal Williams also ran the ball seven times for 34 yards.

In the receiving game, Marquez Valdes-Scantling led the team with 101 yards on three catches. Davante Adams led the team with six grabs and nine targets. He added 40 yards and a score as well. Jimmy Graham caught a touchdown and had four catches for 55 yards.

As for injuries, starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga left the game in the first half with a knee injury and did not return. Corner Kevin King left the game with a hamstring injury and also did not return. Safety Kentrell Brice left in the third quarter with a knee injury… he too did not return.

Tennessee Titans vs. Dallas Cowboys

Venue: AT&T Stadium(Arlington)Mon. 11-5 @ 8:15 pm ESTOver/Under: 40

   Weather

Tennessee Titans 28  Dallas Cowboys 14

In a game that was mocked all week for being one of the worst Monday Night Football selections of the year, the beginning didn’t quiet the critics much. The opening six drives of the game resulted in a missed field goal, a fumble, a touchdown, a fumble, an interceptions, and a touchdown. Not a great look to start a primetime game. When it was all said and done though, the Titans strolled out of Big D with their fourth win of the season in reasonably convincing fashion.

Tennessee Titans

The yardage total put up by Marcus Mariota on Monday Night was his second-most on the season at 240 passing yards with 32 rushing yards for three total touchdowns with two coming through the air. The 21-of-29 gave him a 72.4% completion rate which was also the second-best of the season. It came at the right time for the Titans as they hang in the division race with the streaking Houston Texans.

Dion Lewis wasn’t just the rushing star of the night for the Titans with 19 carries for 62 yards on the ground, but he also led the receivers with four catches for 60 yards and a score on four targets. Meanwhile his backfield mate of Derrick Henry logged just six carries for 27 yards but did have a score to save his night from a fantasy perspective. Mariota was actually more productive on the ground than Henry was.

Corey Davis actually led the team in targets and catches with 10 and six respectively for 56 yards and no scores. If he could catch more of the targets his overall fantasy value would improve going forward. The other passing touchdown from Mariota went the way of Jonnu Smith who saw just two targets but made the most of them with two catches for 33 yards and a score.

Dallas Cowboys

During the bye week the Cowboys brought in a new weapon for Dak Prescott to utilize in the passing game and that weapon did help a bit on Monday Night but not quite enough. Prescott went 21-for-31 for 243 yards, two scores, and a pick as that was just the third time with two touchdowns this season and he has still yet to crack the 300-yard mark this season through the air.

The focal point of the offense all year has been Ezekiel Elliott and on Monday he was again the workhorse in the backfield but he did fail to reach 20 carries for the fifth time this season while logging just 61 yards on the ground and no scores. Though he did manage four catches for 51 yards which were his second highest totals in both categories on the year.

Amari Cooper was the aforementioned new weapon for Dak to use and he made his presence known with a five-catch, 58-yard, and a touchdown game on eight targets. He was already the favorite target of Prescott with Michael Gallup garnering six balls his way which he turned into a 3-51-0 line. The second passing score of the game went to Allen Hurns who, for the first time all season, saw a single target though he made it work with one catch for 23 yards and the score.

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