Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots
With an over/under approaching 60 points, Sunday night’s game lived up to shootout expectations during the Patriots’ 43-40 win. Tom Brady threw for 340 yards and a TD, adding a four-yard rushing score as well. It was a plus matchup, but with Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and a healthy Sony Michel now around, this New England team is far more explosive than early season’s version, so Brady’s once again locked in as a top-five fantasy QB moving forward. The hot Patriots offense (they didn’t punt Sunday night) gets a tough test in Chicago next week…Josh Gordon just started sprinting fully in practice last week, played far more snaps Sunday night when he led New England in Air Yards and is likely to soon explode, so trade for him now…Sony Michel has averaged 105.3 rushing yards and scored four touchdowns over the last three games, as he continues to go down as one of draft day’s biggest steals. Michel entered top-five in Yards Created per carry (2.04) and should continue to benefit from a top-five game script as well in this powerful offense that’s only getting better, so there are just a small handful of backs I’d rather own.
Patrick Mahomes lived up to his end of the bargain Sunday night, throwing four more touchdowns and passing for 300 yards for the fifth straight game. He was intercepted twice after not throwing a pick over the first four games, but fantasy owners will have to find it in their hearts to forgive him…Tyreek Hill hauled in seven catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns (all in the second half) in an electrifying performance (he’s now up to 27 touchdowns over 37 career games), while Kareem Hunt totaled 185 yards and recorded a 67-yard TD catch. Hunt saw a season-high six targets, and if he continues to see more work in the pass game in this offense, can be a top-three fantasy back down the stretch.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston combined to throw for 749 yards and seven touchdowns, although Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson finished with zero scores. Jones is on pace to record 117 catches for 1,885 yards and no touchdowns this season, as he failed to hit paydirt yet again despite Ridley and Mohamed Sanu leaving with injuries…Peyton Barber remains firmly ahead of Ronald Jones on the depth chart, while Judge Ito Smith has a TD in three straight games.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Ben Roethlisberger outplayed Andy Dalton in a big road win, and Antonio Brown had a season-high 105 yards with a score despite seeing the fifth-most targets in Pittsburgh…James Conner impressed and enters his bye having totaled 314 yards and four touchdowns over the last two weeks, so it’s going to be interesting to see how touches are divvied once Le’Veon Bell returns…Tyler Boyd doubled his season TD total with two scores and continues to be one of this year’s biggest breakouts at receiver…Joe Mixon was held to just 64 rushing yards but scored, got 5.8 YPC, and has two highly favorable upcoming matchups ahead (@KC, TB).
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns
Philip Rivers entered with an NFL-high Passer Rating both under pressure (121.2) and on play action (153.5) and got 10.4 YPA while putting up 38 points on the road against a Browns defense that entered with the No. 2 ranked DVOA. Rivers owns a 15:3 TD:INT ratio this season and is right in the MVP race…Melvin Gordon entered getting more yards per route run than Alvin Kamara and ran for 132 yards with three more scores, putting him on pace to total 24 touchdowns this year…Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway combined for 20 yards on 19 targets, while Tyrell Williams turned four targets into 118 yards and two TDs, including this amazing grab over three defenders…The Chargers’ only losses this season came against the two lone remaining undefeated teams.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Oakland Raiders
Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant and Jared Cook somehow totaled just 34 receiving yards, although the former left early after suffering a concussion (and is apparently on the trade block). Derek Carr managed 4.6 YPA, took six sacks and lost two fumbles. The Raiders kicked a field goal down 27-0 midway through the fourth quarter seemingly just to avoid a shutout in London. It’s going to be a long 9.5 years left on Jon Gruden’s contract…Tyler Lockett is up to five touchdowns on 23 catches, which will be tough to sustain, especially with Doug Baldwin rounding back closer to form.
Chicago Bears vs. Miami Dolphins
Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards (8.6 YPA) and three touchdowns against the No. 1 ranked defense in DVOA with limited passing weapons, while 35-year-old Frank Gore ran for 101 yards (6.7 YPC). The Bears’ defense also recorded zero sacks over five quarters and truly hit Brock-bottom during Sunday’s overtime loss…This Albert Wilson 75-yard TD catch-and-run was nice…Jordan Howard owners may be panicking, but he still dominated the team’s carries, and it’s ultimately a plus that the offense has been improving lately. With Chicago’s bye behind them, now might be the time to trade for Howard…That said, Tarik Cohen is now locked in an RB2 role many expected him to be in from the start.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings
Latavius Murray took advantage of Dalvin Cook’s absence in a prime home matchup, running for 155 yards and Minnesota’s first rushing TD of the year. He can continue to be a difference maker as long as Cook is out; the sophomore back’s hamstring seemingly can’t get right…Adam Thielen has remarkably surpassed 100 yards in all six games this season…Josh Rosen to Christian Kirk looks like a future dominant connection, while David Johnson keeps saving his fantasy day with short scores.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets
Sam Darnold played well for the second straight game, while Jason Myers went 10-for-10 on kicks, including seven field goals. Jermaine Kearse would become a strong PPR pickup if Quincy Enunwa’s injury proves serious…Chester Rogers scored but got just 5.5 yards per targets against a team vulnerable to the slot, while Eric Ebron got 71 yards and a score against a Jets D that entered allowing the fewest fantasy points to tight ends…Marlon Mack returned and took over as Indy’s lead back, giving him potential moving forward.
Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins
Alex Smith got just 4.5 YPA working with a depleted receiving corps, with Jordan Reed (36 scoreless yards on nine targets) failing to capitalize on the situation…D.J. Moore lost two fumbles, and Cam Newton had more carries (nine) than Christian McCaffrey (eight). CMC will be fine, but he remains more reliant on receiving than other top fantasy backs, and Greg Olsen’s return is of some concern.
Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson didn’t look totally healthy, but it was also a tough matchup given Houston’s offensive line and Buffalo’s ability to bring pressure. Nathan Peterman saved some Survivor entries, while unfortunately these types of games are the new norm for both Lamar Miller and LeSean McCoy…With Will Fuller appearing to aggravate his hamstring at one point, Keke Coutee could soon be viable.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Denver Broncos
Todd Gurley followed up his three-TD game with another two scores, finishing with more rushing yards (208) than Jared Goff did passing (201). Gurley ran possessed and is now on pace to end the year with 2,320 yards from scrimmage and 29 touchdowns. He gets @SF, GB and @NO up next…Cooper Kupp somehow returned after leaving with what looked like surely a season-ending knee injury, but his status needs to be monitored…Those in 2QB leagues should be picking up Chad Kelly if he’s somehow still available.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys receivers against Jacksonville’s secondary looked like a mismatch on paper, but Dak Prescott played well and Cole Beasley couldn’t be contained as Dallas won in a blowout. Meanwhile, Blake Bortles was brutal for the second straight week, only this time it also translated to fantasy. He gets a couple of home games (Hou, Phi) up next to bounce back, but it’s frustrating no WR has emerged for the Jaguars…Ezekiel Elliott saw a season-low one target but continues to run great. The Cowboys are 3-0 at home and 0-3 on the road.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota threw for 117 yards and lost 66 yards by way of a whopping 11 sacks in an ugly shutout home loss. It’s extremely rough going against the Ravens right now…Michael Crabtree took advantage of a matchup with Malcolm Butler and turned in his best performance of the season, while Alex Collins scored twice, including a late one from the goal-line, which could be huge for his value moving forward.
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