COWBOYS 17 SAINTS 17
The Dallas Cowboys keep their stranglehold on the NFC East with a 27-17 road victory over the New Orleans Saints. Dak Prescott struggled as he completed 26 of 40 for 238 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. Buy-in on a bounce-back for Dak this week against Washington. Ezekiel Elliott needs to sit and rest his injured knee. Zeke is not the player that Tony Pollard is at this point. Zeke rushed for 45 yards on 13 carries, and Tony Pollard rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. It’s time for the Cowboys to shift their rushing focus to Pollard in the short term. Amari Cooper wasn’t himself coming back from Covid, so don’t take anything away from this game for his sake. CeeDee Lamb remains the most targeted option as he caught seven of thirteen targets for 89 yards and is a top 10 receiver option for the rest of the season. Michael Gallup showed his explosiveness as he caught five for 36 yards and a touchdown. Dalton Schultz caught all five of his targets for 43 yards–Schultz is still a top ten fantasy option at the tight end position. Taysom Hill was the entire Saints offense leading the team in passing and rushing. Hill completed only 18 of 41 for 264 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions while running for 101 yards. For fantasy purposes, Taysom Hill is phenomenal. Hill has a connection with Deonte Harris, who caught four of eight for 96 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown. I would not recommend Harris for fantasy purposes at this time.
BUCCANEERS 30 FALCONS 17
Tom Brady sliced and diced the Atlanta Falcons defense as the Buccaneers defeated their AFC South rivals 30-17. Brady completed 38 of 51 for 368 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception–consider Brady a top-five fantasy quarterback the rest of the way. Chris Godwin erupted for 15 catches on 17 targets for 143 yards. Mike Evans was consistent with seven catches on ten targets for 99 yards. Consider both Bucs wide receivers high-end WR2 moving forward. Rob Gronkowski showed that his chemistry with Brady has never been better. Gronk hauled in four of eight targets for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Leonard Fournette once again dominated the Bucs’ backfield works with 20 touches for 92 yards and a score. Fournette remains a weekly RB1. Matt Ryan completed 30 of 41 for 297 yards in an efficient effort. Russell Gage was the go-to receiver in this one as he hauled in 11 of 12 for 130 yards. Gage can be considered a weekly flex play moving forward. Kyle Pitts caught four of seven for 48 yards in another disappointing effort. Pitts is due some TD regression and can lead someone to a fantasy title. Cordarrelle Patterson continues to produce no matter the match-up. Patterson totaled 96 yards on 16 touches. We have been taking shots at him all year long, but let’s give Mike Davis credit in this one. Davis totaled 69 yards and a touchdown on eight touches.
CARDINALS 33 BEARS 22
Kyler Murray returned to action and continues to show MVP-form as he totaled 182 yards, two passing, and two rushing touchdowns. The Cardinals leaned on the run game in a nasty-weather situation as James Conner totaled 111 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Conner remains a low-end RB1 in one of the best offenses in football. The passing distribution was split so evenly in this one–no long-term takeaways here. David Montgomery was terrific in this one as he totaled 141 yards and a touchdown on 29 touches. Montgomery had eight catches in this one, but that number will predictably decrease when Justin Fields returns to the lineup. Darnell Mooney caught five of seven targets for 27 yards. Mooney’s numbers should rise with Fields returning.
CHARGERS 41 BENGALS 22
Justin Herbert and the Chargers came out white-hot and then pulled away late with a 41-22 road victory. Herbert cut up the Bengals’ defense as he completed 26 of 35 for 317 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Herbert has had an up and down season, but games like this remind you of his upside. Austin Ekeler performs every week, and this week was no different. Ekeler totaled 104 yards and a touchdown on 19 touches. Mike Williams stepped up with 110 yards receiving on five receptions. Keenan Allen made the most of his eight targets as he caught five passes for 34 yards and two touchdowns. Keep an eye on Joe Burrow this week as he left this one with a finger injury, and it is fair to wonder how much he will be limited this week. Joe Mixon struggled on Sunday but got it done in fantasy with 54 rushing yards and a touchdown. Tee Higgins continues to take off in the 2nd half of the season as Higgins caught nine of 14 targets for 138 yards and a touchdown. Ja’Marr Chase caught five of eight for 52 yards in another down performance. Tyler Boyd chimed in with five catches on seven targets for 85 yards.
LIONS 29 VIKINGS 27
Break up the Detroit Lions! The Lions get their first victory as they upset the Minnesota Vikings 29-27. Give him credit–Jared Goff played well as he completed 25 of 41 for 296 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Amon-Ra St. Brown played the hero as he caught ten of twelve targets for 86 yards, including the game-winning touchdown. T.J. Hockenson caught four of eight for 49 yards and a touchdown. Jamal Williams stepped into the lead role left behind from D’Andre Swift with 71 rushing yards on 17 carries. Adam Thielen left this game almost immediately and will likely miss one week. Justin Jefferson went bonkers in this game as he caught 11 of 14 targets for 182 yards and a touchdown. Jefferson is a top-five fantasy receiver, no questions asked. Alexander Mattison subbed in for an injured Dalvin Cook with 124 total yards and a touchdown on 25 touches–Mattison will produce as a high-end RB1 as long as Cook is out. Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his career as he completed 30 of 40 for 340 yards and two touchdowns.
DOLPHINS 20 GIANTS 9
Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins are in the thick of the playoff hunt as they defeated the New York Giants 20-9. Tagovailoa displayed accuracy all game long as he completed 30 of 41 for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Jaylen Waddle was the primary target again as he caught nine of eleven for 90 yards. Waddle is a bonafide WR2. Mike Gesicki caught seven of eleven for 46 yards and is a top ten tight end option. DeVante Parker was as involved as he has been all season as he hauled in all five of his targets for 62 yards. If you want to flex Parker in your fantasy playoffs, I won’t stop you. Saquon Barkley totaled 74 yards on 17 touches. The days of Barkley having a top-five upside may be behind us, but he can still produce as a low-end RB1. With Mike Glennon at quarterback, you cannot take anything away from this game for the Giants’ receivers.
EAGLES 33 JETS 18
Minshew Mania hit the Meadowlands as the Philadelphia Eagles grabbed a much-needed victory 33-18 over the New York Jets. Gardner Minshew completed 20 of 25 for 242 yards and two touchdowns. With the Eagles heading on to their bye week, some question marks abound whether the Eagles would be better with Minshew or Jalen Hurts under center. Miles Sanders led the Eagles backfield with 142 yards on 27 touches. Keep an eye on Sanders during the bye week. Sanders injured his ankle late in the game and didn’t return. The Eagles backfield could be at full strength in two weeks as Boston Scott and Jordan Howard potentially return to health. Dallas Goedert led the Eagles in receiving as he caught all six targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Zach Wilson showed signs of life in this one completing 23 of 38 for 226 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Elijah Moore was the offense again this week as he caught six of twelve for 77 yards and a touchdown. Moore needs to be considered an every-week WR2 from here on out. With Michael Carter out, Tevin Coleman handled the every-down duties for the Jets as he totaled 77 yards on 13 carries.
COLTS 31 TEXANS 0
I’m not sure what we can say about Jonathan Taylor at this point. Taylor continues to shine like the top back and possibly top player in all fantasy football with 143 yards and two touchdowns on 32 touches. Michael Pittman Jr. was the only other player to note as he totaled 110 total yards on eight touches. As for the Texans, they are turning from Tyrod Taylor to Davis Mills. None of this matters, and you cannot play any Texans player.
FRANCHISE TEAM 17 RAIDERS 15
Taylor Heinicke led the Washington Franchise Team on a game-winning drive to topple the Las Vegas Raiders 17-15. Heinicke completed 23 of 30 for 196 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. The catalyst for the Washington offense was Antonio Gibson, who totaled 111 yards and a touchdown on 28 touches. No other player on the team touched the ball more than four times. Derek Carr completed 28 of 38 for 249 yards. The Raiders offense without Darren Waller felt different. Hunter Renfrow has emerged as the Raiders’ top pass-catcher as he caught nine of ten for 102 yards. Josh Jacobs totaled 90 yards and a touchdown on 22 touches. Jacobs is noteworthy down the stretch because Kenyan Drake is out for the remainder of the season. Jacobs should handle all the running back duties he can handle the rest of the way.
RAMS 37 JAGUARS 7
The Los Angeles Rams destroyed the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 37-7 blowout victory. Matthew Stafford looked like his old self as he completed 26 of 38 for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Cooper Kupp dominated the receiving game with eight catches on ten targets for 129 yards and a touchdown–Kupp remains in the conversation for the top wide receiver in fantasy football. Van Jefferson performs as an every-week flex play with six catches on eight targets for 41 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Higbee was involved with five catches on six targets for 48 yards. With Darrell Henderson injured, Sony Michel handled the every-down workload with 121 yards rushing and a touchdown on 24 carries. I would expect Henderson back this week. The Jacksonville Jaguars organization is in a sad state of affairs. With rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence struggling and running back James Robinson injured, you cannot start any Jaguars at the moment.
STEELERS 20 RAVENS 19
Ben Roethlisberger regained his touch in the second half and led a desperate Pittsburgh Steelers team to a 20-19 victory over their bitter rival Baltimore Ravens. Big Ben completed 21 of 31 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Diontae Johnson reeled in much of the receiving work catching eight of eleven for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Najee Harris totaled 107 yards on 26 touches and is a volume-based top-ten running back. Lamar Jackson was shaky in this one again as he completed 23 of 37 for 253 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Most of Jackson’s damage in the passing game came on the final drive. DeVonta Freeman looked spy in this one as he totaled 97 yards and a touchdown on 19 touches. Freeman has bumped himself into the RB2 conversation for the remainder of the season. Mark Andrews led the team in targets with nine, converting four of them for 50 yards. Marquise Brown caught five of seven for 55 yards–Hollywood is still the most consistent receiver on the Ravens roster.
SEAHAWKS 30 49ERS 23
The Seattle Seahawks hung on for a 30-23 victory over their hated-rival 49ers. Russell Wilson looked another week removed from his finger injury as he completed 30 of 37 for 231 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Wilson spread the ball around evenly to his two primary targets: DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Metcalf hauled in five of eight for 60 yards, while Lockett hauled in seven targets for 68 yards and a touchdown. The Seahawks backfield is a jumbled mess–you cannot play anyone from the Seattle backfield. George Kittle was the star in this one as he caught nine of twelve targets for 181 yards and two touchdowns. If there was any doubt where Kittle stood in the TE hierarchy, Kittle put those to rest on Sunday. Elijah Mitchell is dominating the 49ers backfield with 84 yards and a touchdown on 25 touches. Mitchell is a solid high-end RB2 for the stretch run. We got the good and bad Jimmy Garoppolo in this one as he completed 20 of 30 for 299 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.
CHIEFS 22 BRONCOS 9
The Kansas City Chiefs leaned on their defense as they pulled away for a 22-9 victory over the Denver Broncos. Patrick Mahomes wasn’t great as he completed 15 of 29 for 184 yards and a rushing touchdown. Mahomes cut up the Raiders defense the last time out and draws Las Vegas again this week–expect a big bounce-back performance. When Darrel Williams leads the Chiefs in receiving, you know it’s an odd game. How often are Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce held in check? Rarely. For the Denver Broncos, this was all about Javonte Williams. It took a Melvin Gordon III injury to showcase the Broncos’ rookie back, but Williams ran with the opportunity as he totaled 178 yards and a touchdown on 29 touches. Williams should be the 1A to Gordon’s 1B, but time will tell if that is the case this week. Jerry Jeudy continues to be the best receiver on the Broncos as he hauled in four of six targets for 77 yards.
PATRIOTS 14 BILLS 10
Given the weather and the wind affecting this game, I’m not sure how many takeaways you can have from the Patriots’ 14-10 victory in Buffalo. Mac Jones threw the ball THREE times. The Patriots running game was the story as Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson dominated the action. Harris ran for 111 yards and a touchdown on ten carries before sustaining a groin injury (monitor this week). For the Bills, Josh Allen led the team in passing and rushing. Devin Singletary and Zach Moss combined for 57 yards on 18 carries, not an inspired effort. Stefon Diggs led the receiving efforts with four catches on seven targets for 51 yards. In better weather conditions, the Bills passing game will bounce back.
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