Let’s run down some of the big stories in week 10. Julian Edelman broke his foot. The Packers couldn’t score the ball at home against the Lions. The Bears put up 37 points with no help from Alshon Jeffery or Martellus Bennett. Adrian Peterson rushed for over 200 yards. The Redskins scored 47 points. Kirk Cousins had a perfect passer rating. Peyton Manning had a perfectly horrible passer rating. Literally, a 0.0 passer rating. The Cardinals dropped 39 in Seattle. These are just some of the headlines in week 10…
Bills 22, Jets 17
As expected, Thursday night’s matchup was a slugfest throughout. Both teams mostly traded three-and-outs for the first half, with the lone TD coming off a kickoff fumble recovery. The Bills led 12-3 at half – the missing point coming off a missed PAT by Bills kicker Dan Carpenter. The game picked up in the second half, as Karlos Williams capped off the Bills’ opening drive of the half with a 26-yard TD reception. That means Williams continued his now record-tying streak of six straight games with a TD. Though, it was LeSean McCoy who got the bulk of the work in the backfield. For the second straight week, McCoy put up 112 rushing yards, and he also added 47 receiving yards. Those couple of weeks he sat out to get his health right are paying dividends in the home stretch of the fantasy season. The Bill struggled to get much going in the air, as Tyrod Taylor only threw for 158 yards, with the lone TD that went to Williams. That’s partly due to Darrelle Revis blanketing Sammy Watkins all night, holding Watkins to a meager 3 catches for 14 yards. Charles Clay led the way for the Bills in the air, though he only had 52 yards.
Chris Ivory, who finished with 135 total yards, lost a fumble on the second drive of the second half, resulting in a field goal that put the Bills ahead 22-3 early in the third quarter. After pulling Ryan Fitzpatrick’s beard for good luck, Brandon Marshall punctuated the Jets’ next series with a 14-yard TD, off of a pick play in the red zone. That play wound up salvaging an otherwise disappointing night from Marshall, who only had three catches for 23 yards. Fitzpatrick struggled for much of the night, throwing two picks, but he still managed an okay final line, with 193 passing yards, 30 rushing yards, and two passing TDs. The only thing more inevitable than Karlos Williams scoring a TD is Eric Decker giving his typical solid yardage and a score. As usual, Decker gave reliable WR2 numbers . In eight games, Decker has 7 TDs. His touchdown cut the Bills lead to 22-17, but that proved to be the last score of the night.
Jaguars 22, Ravens 20
The first road win of Blake Bortles’ young career was underwhelming from a fantasy standpoint. His performance wasn’t so bad that it sabotaged your team, as he still cobbled together 16 fantasy points. But, considering that Ravens defense is currently conceding the second most points to fantasy QBs at 21.5 per game, most people were expecting a bigger day from Bortles. Making up those 16 fantasy points were 188 passing yards – his third lowest output of the year – as well as 2 TDs, an INT, and 25 rushing yards. The Allen Bros were responsible for most of the yards in the air. Allen Hurns, whose status was in doubt before the game because of a foot and thy injury, extended his TD streak to seven games. Since 2012, the only other WRs to do that are A.J. Green and Dez Bryant. There are few WRs more consistent and reliable than Hurns right now. Allen Robinson also scored, which gives him four TDs in his past five games. There is no better team receiving duo in fantasy. T.J. Yeldon, who had double digit standard points four straight weeks, snapped his streak, finishing with 67 total yards.
Facing a soft Jacksonville pass defense, Joe Flacco struggled, turning the ball over three times. It was his first game since Steve Smith tore his achilles, and Flacco still threw for 316 yards and 3 TDs. It was the tight ends who benefitted most, as Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams both scored. Their yardage totals were nearly identical, with Gilmore totaling 42 yards and Williams two yards fewer. The other TD for the Ravens came from WR Chris Givens, who is likely unowned except in deeper leagues. Though Kamar Aiken led the way for Ravens receivers with 73 yards, he suffered a knee sprain during the game. Most disappointing on the Ravens’ side was Justin Forsett, who only had 64 total yards. This offense is not explosive and fewer Ravens shares you own, the better.
Lions 18, Packers 16
Easily the upset of the day, the Lions had lost 24 straight games at Lambeau Field – a losing streak spanning back to 1991. The Lions, in their return from bye and second game under interim offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, struggled offensively. Matthew Stafford threw for 242 yards, 2 TDs, and a pick, with the scores going to Lance Moore and Brandon Pettigrew. Not the usual suspects. Actually, Moore is a usual suspect! He has scored in four of his past five games, and while his yardage has not supplanted that of Golden Tate, he has received more red zone work than Tate. Calvin Johnson, who was questionable for most of the week with an ankle injury sustained two weeks ago in London, led the way for the Lions with 6 catches for 81 yards. It was a characteristic day for Megatron, as this was his third straight game with yardage in the 80s.
Holding this offense back, along with it having arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL, is its nonexistent run game. That continued this week, with Joique Bell’s putrid 14 carry, 16 yard day leading the Lions on the ground. It’s worth noting that rookie Ameer Abdullah had a 104 yard kickoff return, but was stopped on the one yard line. And one more note: when the Packers kicked an onside kick at the end of the game, Calvin Johnson touched the ball, but was unable to secure it. Whether he will receive credit for a fumble or not is unclear.
Surely if I told you Aaron Rodgers threw the ball 61 times, you’d assume someone finished with over 100 receiving yards. Right? Wrong. Something’s up with the Packers, and they’re dealing with a three-game losing streak. Rodgers, (who, by the way, made headlines for non-football related reasons Sunday) put up 333 yards and 2 TDs. Not a bad performance by any means, but disappointing from last year’s MVP, when you consider the Lions are giving up the most points in the NFL. Davante Adams paced the Packers with 10 catches for 79 yards, but what was most eye-opening was that Adams had 21 (yes, twenty-one!) targets. It was an inefficient day for Adams. He is looking like a breakout candidate for the end of the season though, assuming the Packers offense gets back on track. Randall Cobb continued his disappointing season on Sunday, only catching for 53 yards. That is, believe it or not, his fourth highest yardage total of the year. Four Packers had more receiving yards than Cobb: Adams, James Starks, Justin Perillo, and Jared Abbrederis. It’s okay if you don’t know the latter two, and hopefully they are unowned in your league. Speaking of Starks, the Packers run game was only marginally better than the Lions’. Starks had 42 rushing yards and 54 receiving yards, as Eddie Lacy was inactive with the groin injury he sustained last week. For all of the Lacy jokes, if you are a Lacy owner, sitting Sunday out was probably the best case scenario. All you can hope for at this point is that he regains his health, and that he regains the team’s trust.
Dolphins 20, Eagles 19
Despite being out-gained by nearly 150 yards, the Dolphins eked out the win against the Eagles on Sunday. Ryan Tannehill tossed 2 TDs, though he was responsible for a safety. That is now three straight weeks the Dolphins have given up a safety. Lamar Miller caught the first TD off a screen pass, extending his TD streak to 5 games. Although, it’s frustrating for Miller owners that rookie Jay Ajayi out-rushed Miller with 48 yards to Miller’s 43. Dan Campbell said Ajayi would receive more touches, and he did. It is not a cause for panic if you are a Miller owner, but it is definitely frustrating to see anyone eat into Miller’s touches, given how productive he has been. And it has most Millers feeling like this (Watch 2:05-2:20. Warning: NSFW language) – here, just substitute “Mr. Jay Ajayi” for “Mr. Peter Cole.” Jarvis Landry caught the other TD, to go along with 52 receiving yards. Landry had one of the flukier touchdowns of the day, with Tannehill’s pass getting batted by a defensive lineman, and then Landry boxing his man out, like a rebounder in basketball, and catching the ball. Rishard Matthews continues to prove his worth in fantasy. He added 93 yards through the air. While he still doesn’t have the name recognition in many league, he has played consistently well all year long.
Well, it was inevitable that Sam Bradford would suffer an injury at some point this year. Bradford left the game in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion and shoulder sprain, after taking a big hit. To that point, Bradford had been playing well with 236 yards and a TD to his name. He was replaced by Mark Sanchez, whose interception at the end of the game clinched the loss for the Eagles. Though Sanchez is not a good QB, it’s difficult to see him being that much different than Bradford, who’s been having a very mediocre year. It was the tight ends that spearheaded the Eagles’ passing game. Brent Celek, who had 71 yards this year coming into the game, finished with 134 yards, including one 60 yard reception. And Zach Ertz had the most catches of his season, tallying 68 yards off 7 catches. After having his biggest game of the year last week, Jordan Matthews had a quiet day with 21 yards. The Eagles run game was largely inefficient. Ryan Matthews punched in a TD to go with 18 yards, and DeMarco Murray had 119 total yards. In four of his last five games, Murray has topped 100 total yards.
Steelers 30, Browns 9
Only four minutes into the game, Landry Jones went down with a foot injury, forcing Ben Roethlisberger to come in the game off the bench for the first time since he did so for Tommy Maddox, back in the second game of Roethlisberger’s career. It was the most Browns thing ever, because Roethlisberger, who probably would not have played if not for the injury to Jones, came in and proceeded to torch the Browns. By halftime, Big Ben had 286 yards. He finished with 379 yards, 3 TDs, and an INT. And we all know what it means when Ben plays. Well, Antonio Brown goes absolutely wild. He had 10 catches for 139 yards and 2 TDs. With Ben back, in the last two games, Brown has 27 catches, 423 yards, and 2 TDs. Among his two TDs was this insane front flip that capped off the second one. Martavis Bryant also had his way with the Browns, somehow outdoing Brown in yards with 6 catches for 178 yards and a TD, though he lost a fumble as well. Bryant should be an every-week starter for the rest of the year. Heath Miller added 40 yards, but more importantly was perhaps the most underwhelming performance of the day, DeAngelo Williams. He had 17 carries for 54 yards, and one catch for 15 yards. The Browns have one of the league’s worst run defenses, and after Williams’ insane game last week, he looked like a sure bet to have a big day.
Most people thought Johnny Manziel getting the start was going to torpedo the rest of the offense on Sunday, but that was not the case. I mean, yes, the offense only found the end zone once, but Travis Benjamin had 113 yards, Gary Barnidge had 65 yards and a TD, and Manziel survived a decapitation! Manziel had a decent fantasy outing, actually. He threw for 372 yards, a TD, pick, and fumble. And he had one of the most exciting plays of the day, looking like he did in college. It’s worth mentioning that Manziel also led the Browns in rushing… With 17 yards. If there’s some way you own a Browns RB, stop doing that and trim that fat off your roster. Unless, it’s Duke Johnson, who’s having a nice PPR season. I am mostly referring to those who still own Isaiah Crowell.
Bears 37, Rams 13
Let’s get right to it: The Bears scored 37 points and Alshon Jeffery had 23 yards and no TDs, and Martellus Bennett had yards and no scores. I know, I know, WHAT IS GOING ON? Well, the tight end you may not have heard of (no shame here), Zach Miller, had 107 yards and 2 TDs, including an 87 yarder, where he did all the work. And then,
Matt Forte Jeremy Langford had his second straight monster game. Langford rushed for 73 yards and a TD and caught for 109 yards and a TD, with an 83 yard TD reception. Quick though experiment for a moment… Matt Forte is in the last year of his deal, Jeremy Langford looks like the real deal, so I’m not saying Langford will remain the starter, but Langford will probably remain the starter. Seriously, at worst, if you’re a Langford owner, that is a timeshare. He’s been too great to just stick back on the bench. For those of who are keeping track at home, yes, the Bears did have scoring plays of 83 and 87 yards, giving Jay Cutler owners the best feeling of all. Cutler finished the day with 258 yards, 5 incompletions, 3 TDs, no picks, and a partridge in a pear tree. Quick recap of Cutler’s last six fantasy outings: 17, 17, 19, 19, 17, 23.
We know the drill here, and I feel silly saying the same thing every week. Todd Gurley is a freak. He had 89 total yards and a TD, and this is his floor. He only had 12 rushes because of game flow, as Zach Miller was doing things he will probably never do ever again. Tavon Austin is a boom-or-bust play, who relies on scoring. On Sunday, he did not score, and was limited to 23 total yards. A couple of other interesting notes, though I don’t know think they are too fantasy relevant… Wes Welker made his Rams debut and had 32 yards. And we finally, FINALLY had a Brian Quick sighting, as he had a reception for 37 yards. I don’t think either development is that significant only because this is such a running-oriented offense. Among starting QBs who have not missed time due to injury, Nick Foles ranks last in passing attempts. You can make a chicken and the egg argument, and say that he has had so attempts because he didn’t have any WRs until now. If you say that, I will just choose to disagree.
Buccaneers 10, Cowboys 6
In the lowest scoring game of the day, the only TD came from a Jameis Winston run on the game-clinching score with under left in the game that gave the Bucs the win. Winston hadn’t thrown a pick in over a month, but he threw two INTs Sunday to go with 264 yards. Like last week, Mike Evans put up impressive numbers – 8 catches for 126 yards – despite some ugly drops. Doug Martin had 103 total yards, but didn’t score, extending his TD drought. Martin last scored in week 5. Charles Sims, who has made big plays all year, was quiet on Sunday with 31 total yards.
Sunday’s loss marks seven straight for the Cowboys. The loss likely ends any hope they have for making the playoffs, if you thought Tony Romo was going to save the sinking ship. That is important because Jerry Jones had previously said there was no doubt Romo would return next week. But if the season is already a lost cause, why rush Romo back? If he suffers even the slightest setback, it is conceivable that the Cowboys could just shut him down. Or at least that would make sense – I am only speculating and putting the idea out there, but what do I know? Anyway, we all know Romo’s return will have huge implications on Dez Bryant’s production. Dez doesn’t look 100% out there, and he only had 5 catches for 45 yards. Meanwhile, Jason Witten contributed 42 yards, and Darren McFadden, who was just proving himself reliable, had 17 carries for 32 yards, as well as 26 receiving yards.
Panthers 27, Titans 10
In four of his last five games, Jonathan Stewart has had a double digit fantasy effort. On Sunday, he had 91 yards and a TD. There are two other Panthers you want to own. Cam Newton double dipped, like usual. He threw for a TD and ran for one. Of his 217 passing yards, 80 went to top target Greg Olsen. If you’re in a deep league, it’s worth noting rookie Devin Funchess has had his two best games of the year in the last two weeks… finishing with 71 yards and 41 yards. Yeah, nothing to get excited about, but he’s getting a few more table scraps than earlier in the year. Who knows, maybe Funchess could add some broth and a potato and end up with a stew in a few weeks.
Take this as a reminder for just how bad the Saints’ defense is. Last week, the Titans dropped 34 on the Saints. But the Titans are who we thought they were. Marcus Mariota didn’t throw for any TDs and he only finished with 185 passing yards. It was Dexter McCluster who scored the lone Titans’ TD on Sunday. With Kendall Wright out, Delanie Walker is the only other viable fantasy option. He is the main target in the Titans’ passing game, and he had 52 yards on Sunday. It does suck though for Justin Hunter. He fractured his ankle and will miss the rest of the year. Last year, he suffered a lacerated kidney injury – the same injury that ended Keenan Allen’s season a few weeks ago.
Redskins 47, Saints 14
Actually, use this game as a reminder of how bad the Saints’ defense is. I mean, Kirk Cousins had 296 yards and 3 TDs… at halftime. GOOD GOD, the Saints defense is even worse than we thought! Seriously, if Cousins was laying around the waiver wire of your league, I’m automatically going to assume you are in a 6 team league or the league is filled with zombie owners. The Saints’ defense is conceding an average of 23.7 points to QBs. If you streamed the QB who was playing the Saints every week, you’d be getting QB2 numbers, only 1.8 points per game worse than Tom Brady.
Cousins finished the game with 4 TDs and 324 yards. Pretty cool, Cousins gave the game ball to his cancer-stricken father. Jordan Reed reeled in two of the TDs, while Jamison Crowder caught one to go with 60 yards. And the last receiving TD went to Matt Jones, whose scoring play was 78 yards long. Jones had his best fantasy outing since week 2. Considering how well – um, perfect actually, at least according to his QB rating – Cousins played, it was a bit surprising to see DeSean Jackson only have 44 yards. More shocking than Cousins’ career day was that we had AN ALFRED MORRIS SIGHTING. Morris has been lost in the shuffle this year, and it was nice to see him get 15 carries for 92 yards.
My first thought is Brandin Cooks has finally shed his bust label. After a rough first month, Cooks has played well, and if he’s been out of your lineup the past few weeks, that’s on you. This team’s defense is so inept, it usually works in the offense’s advantage. Sunday was an exception because the defense was exceptionally horrible, and the Saints had to waive the white flag early on. But I would target Cooks if his owner thinks these last few performances are fluky in any way, or if he is still wary of Cooks. Mark Ingram was well on his way to a monster performance with 9 touches for 98 yards, including a 70 yard run, before leaving the game with an unspecified injury. Willie Snead was questionable with a knee injury, and he gave fantasy owners a big fat doughnut. Ben Watson didn’t do much better with one catch on the day. Despite the poor all around performance from the Saints, Drew Brees is a great start every week. You don’t need me to tell you that. He throws a ton, and the defense is putrid. Money combo.
Vikings 30, Raiders 14
The last few weeks have reminded everyone why Adrian Peterson was a top 3 pick in most drafts. He had his sixth career 200+ yard rushing game on Sunday. He had 203 yards and a TD, including an 80 yard TD in the fourth quarter that sealed the game for the Vikings. Of course, with Peterson running so well, the opportunities were limited in the passing game. Teddy Bridgewater only had 22 pass attempts and 140 yards. Of which, 46 yards went to Stefon Diggs. Diggs has slowed down the last two weeks, partly due to AP’s resurgence and maybe teams game-planning for him more. Regardless, Diggs now has a catch longer than 20 yards in every game he has played in this year. He also does really cool handshakes with Cordarrelle Patterson, who had a 93 yard kickoff return TD. The worst play of the day came at the hands (or lack thereof) of Kyle Rudolph.
These guys! Whenever you hype the Raiders up, they do something like this! The Vikings are not an easy matchup, but the Raiders had been playing so well lately offensively. Just about everyone in the offense disappointed on Sunday. Derek Carr was over 300 yards, but had a pair of picks to go with two TDs. Neither Amari Cooper nor Michael Crabtree scored. Cooper led the way with 79 yards and Crabtree added 55. The only other Raiders player in most fantasy lineups was Latavius Murray, who had his lightest workload since the season opener. The Raiders were playing catchup for much of the game, so game flow may be what was responsible for his lack of carries.
Chiefs 29, Broncos 13
The Chiefs benefitted from many short fields, due to Peyton’s four picks.
Jamaal Charles Charcanderick West was an absolute monster again. He is a top 10 RB for the rest of the year. He had 69 rushing yards and a TD, and 92 receiving yards and a receiving TD (80 yard scoring play). West was the entire Chiefs’ offense on Sunday. Jeremy Maclin only had 17 yards, and Travis Kelce had 36. Well, Cairo Santos also won plenty of games this weekend. He had 20 fantasy points, making 5 field goals. In week 4, he had 27 points. I wonder how many kickers in fantasy history have ever had a season with two games with 20+ points. Lastly, Alex Smith had 204 yards and a TD. At this stage, I don’t think I would want any Chiefs player except for West.
The story of the day was Peyton Manning’s benching. He was 5/20 for 35 yards and four interceptions (QB Rating of zero point zero). It was brutal out there. This wasn’t high-pitched Peyton. This was some sort of alternate universe, pterodactyl-shrieking Peyton capable of inducing nightmares out of anyone who owned Broncos players. Literally anyone. Oh, you guys who own Broncos Defense think you’re safe? Nah, short fields all day equal points against that aren’t the defense’s fault but still count the same. Demaryius Thomas had 71 yards, but just about all of that came Brock Osweiler throwing the ball. The only other Broncos player with a solid fantasy outing was Ronnie Hillman, who scored a garbage time TD late in the game. On a serious note though, it is a sad sight when an athlete doesn’t know when to retire. The Broncos really shouldn’t be starting him, but they will.
Patriots 27, Giants 26
In the game of the day, the Patriots barely managed to keep their undefeated season in tact. The big news came when Julian Edelman suffered a broken foot. Edelman will be lost for the foreseeable future. To that point, Edelman had 4 catches for 53 yards. In his absence, Danny Amendola saw a massive uptick in usage, finishing with 10 catches for 79 yards. He also would have had a punt return TD, if not for his teammate tripping him. Also in line for more looks is Brandon Lafell. Though he only had two catches for 66 yards, he should have a monster second half of the year. Tom Brady wasn’t amazing on Sunday, though it was just another day at the office for him: 334 yards, 2 TDs, and a pick. With Edelman gone for much of the game, Rob Gronkowski tore apart the Giants. Gronk had 76 yard TD, and he had 113 yards on the day. So much for James White taking up the Dion Lewis role. Maybe he will get more looks with Edelman gone, but White only had 11 yards. LeGarrette Blount wasn’t particularly efficient but he had 66 yards and a TD off 19 carries. He had a second TD in the fourth quarter that was taken back for holding.
In the first quarter, Odell Beckham Jr. scored on highlight reel 87 yard TD. It was the longest pass play a Bill Belichick team has ever conceded. And Beckham had another TD in the fourth quarter that would’ve iced the game for the Giants, but it was overturned after a review. I don’t even know what a catch even is in the NFL anymore, but OBJ didn’t have both feet down with the ball, before it came out, so it was ruled incomplete. Malcolm Butler played about as well as he possibly could’ve and kept Beckham to 104 yards on the day. Eli Manning continues his solid fantasy season. He’s a clear top 10 QB. He had 361 yards and 2 TDs, though he did lose a fumble. The Giants run game continues to be a mess and should be avoided at all costs.
Cardinals 39, Seahawks 32
The Cardinals, Patriots, and Bengals. Those are the premier offenses in the NFL. How about hanging 39 in Seattle? Carson Palmer is a legitimate MVP candidate. He has been a top 3 fantasy QB all year long and he will continue to be. He had 363 yards and an INT. And in the fourth quarter, he also suffered back-to-back fumbles. The stars were Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. With John Brown still getting back up to speed with his hamstring injury – although he did play 61 snaps – Floyd feasted on Richard Sherman for 113 yards and 2 TDs. Although I don’t think Floyd excelled just because John Brown is returning from injury. It’s pretty clear that Floyd has taken his job back from Brown (that Brown took from Floyd). Meanwhile, Fitzgerald is as reliable as they come at WR this year. While he didn’t score, he had 10 catches for 130 yards. Not surprisingly, Chris Johnson struggled against Seattle’s run defense, only racking up 58 yards on 25 carries. It was Andre Ellington who burst for 48 yard TD that clinched the win for Arizona.
Seattle’s offense just isn’t good enough this year. Because the Cardinals jumped out to a 19-0 to begin the game, game flow kept the ball out of Marshawn Lynch’s hands. He only had 8 carries. He managed 42 yards and a TD. Russell Wilson has had a subpar season all year long behind a porous line and that continued on Sunday night, as Wilson threw for 240 yards, a TD and pick. He also ran for 52 yards, but still, considering the ‘Hawks put up 32 points, you would have expected more out of Wilson. Jimmy Graham isn’t an integral part of this offense. He had 41 yards, continuing his disappointing year. Doug Baldwin was the only real beneficiary of the Seattle passing attack. Baldwin had 7 catches for 134 yards and a score, but he is not reliable enough to start.