New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings
Drew Brees threw for just 120 yards (attempting only two passes 10+ yards downfield) and was picked off for the first time this season. The Saints still dropped 30 points during a revenge win in Minnesota, thanks in part to turnovers. Taysom Hill completed a 44-yard pass, caught a ball and attempted another three carries. He’s a threat to be an unnecessary drain on many of the Saints’ fantasy values. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram both saw 13 carries, with the former adding a score through the air (while seeing eight targets) and another from the goal line. After a tough three-week stretch (bye, @Bal, @Min), New Orleans’ schedule really eases up now, so Kamara’s going to remain a borderline top-five fantasy back even with Ingram around. He was close to having a massive game Sunday night.
After averaging 13.3 targets over the first three games, Michael Thomas has seen just 6.0 over the last four, and Sunday night’s game script delayed Tre’Quan Smith’s forthcoming explosion…Adam Thielen secured all seven of his targets with a score and tied Calvin Johnson’s NFL record with his eighth straight 100-yard receiving game. He lost a crucial fumble but also pulled down this amazing catch. He has separated himself as fantasy football’s clear No. 1 wide receiver in 2018.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Carson Wentz threw for three touchdowns (9.4 YPA) and moved around well while looking back to 100 percent again…Blake Bortles managed to keep his job with competent play, outrushing Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon combined by 25 yards…Keelan Cole continues to be invisible aside from a lost fumble, while Josh Adams sure looks like Philadelphia’s best option as a ballcarrier.
New York Jets vs. Chicago Bears
Tarik Cohen made the most of his lone catch, taking it 70 yards to the house…Jermaine Kearse couldn’t do anything with 10 targets after three early catches, as all receivers in this game struggled through tough conditions. Kearse finished third in WOPR this week, but results beat process this time…Chris Herndon has now scored in three straight games and is a viable tight end option in deeper leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Despite a slow start, this turned into the expected shootout, but not before Jameis Winston was benched after throwing four more picks, including this awful one. Ryan Fitzpatrick lit it up (12.9 YPA) after replacing him. The Bucs might be trading a different quarterback than expected this week…Tyler Boyd was the latest receiver to abuse Tampa Bay in the slot, while C.J. Uzomah put up a goose egg against a defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends…O.J. Howard continues to dominate, securing all four targets for 68 yards and a score, while Mike Evans easily led Week 8 in air yards (212) and is somewhat quietly on pace for 105 catches, 1,760 yards and nine touchdowns…Meanwhile, the Bengals are on pace to allow the most yards in NFL history.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions
Russell Wilson was fantastic, getting 14.6 YPA while extending a bunch of plays, and I can’t break down Matthew Stafford’s game any better than Peyton Manning…The addition of Damon Harrison didn’t stop Chris Carson from running for 100 yards for the third time in four games, while Tyler Lockett managed another score despite being mostly covered by Darius Slay. Lockett is now up to six touchdowns on just 25 receptions this season, and it’s increasingly likely Doug Baldwin plays compromised going forward…Kenny Golladay somehow saw just one target compared to 12 for Golden Tate, which is a travesty, while Marvin Jones scored twice, drew another 54-yard PI and had the second most air yards this week.
Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are up to 15 sacks combined this season. Denver’s defense is playing hard, although Patrick Mahomes still managed a quiet 300-yard, four-TD performance. He entered averaging the most fantasy points all-time. Week 8 marked the last time I’ll be ranking Demaryius Thomas over Courtland Sutton, and I can’t wait to see the exciting sophomore wideout with a competent QB…Phillip Lindsay is a beast and needs to be given a full workload, while Kareem Hunt outdid himself with another sick hurdle during a TD run.
Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants
Alex Smith is now averaging 185 passing yards during Washington’s last four wins, while Eli Manning sports a 2:5 TD:TO ratio while getting 6.4 YPA at home this season; an abomination in today’s passing era. Saquon Barkley has been held to fewer than 50 rushing yards in four of the last five games as a result…Adrian Peterson looked rejuvenated yet again, revealing he still has enough speed for a 64-yard score…Evan Engram saved a terrible day (he had a horrendous drop on fourth down and got 2.8 YPT) with a very late garbage score, and it’s safe to question what’s happened to Jordan Reed.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Baker Mayfield got just 5.0 YPA and hasn’t looked the same since injuring his ankle during the Chargers game. Maybe it’s unrelated, but this was a discouraging performance, highlighted again by an inability to connect with Jarvis Landry (just 3.3 yards per target)…The Browns doubled their first quarter scoring this season with six points Sunday, Joe Haden had a revenge-game pick, and Chris Boswell made his first field goal from 40+ yards out this season…James Conner totaled 212 yards and two scores, and it’s going to be extremely interesting to see how Pittsburgh’s backfield shakes out once Le’Veon Bell returns likely later this week (Conner did commit his third fumble Sunday).
Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton totaled three touchdowns without a turnover or sack against arguably the NFL’s best defense, and made me feel dumb not ranking him as a QB1 this week. He controls games like few other quarterbacks…Lamar Jackson threw the first TD pass of his career, while Christian McCaffrey ran for his first touchdown this season.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Josh Rosen is playing like rookie quarterbacks used to, although he rebounded well in the fourth quarter in an epic battle for draft pick placement. The 49ers recorded their first takeaway since Week 4…Marquise Goodwin will be someone to target next year with Jimmy G back, while Larry Fitzgerald reached 80 yards for the first time in 2018…David Johnson looked good on the rare occasion he was in space, but it was more of the same with new OC Byron Leftwich, as the back saw a highly discouraging negative-13 air yards.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr got 8.7 YPA without any sacks or turnovers and totaled four touchdowns, including the first rushing score of his career. Doug Martin ran well before losing a costly late fumble. His role will be similar to what Marshawn Lynch’s was moving forward…Andrew Luck continues to look more and more like his old self, while Jack Doyle (rules!) and Eric Ebron can both be back-end TE1s given how much he throws to the position…I killed Kolton Miller during a podcast last week, but he played much better Sunday as did the entire Oakland O-line…What a TD catch by Mo Alie-Cox…Adam Vinatieri became the all-time points scored leader, while the Colts have rushed for 200 yards in back-to-back games. Marlon Mack is the real deal and is a must-start as long as his health cooperates.
Green Bay Packers vs. Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff dealt with a bunch of pressure (and seemingly a road crowd) and missed some throws but still finished with 295 yards and three scores. Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks disappointed in a favorable matchup, ceding two touchdowns to Josh Reynolds (who will remain WR3 worthy as long as Cooper Kupp is out)…Sean McVay had a strong fake punt call but curiously played it safe (and seemingly not trusting Goff) with late run calls, willingly giving the ball back to Aaron Rodgers up just two points with two minutes left (if not for an ensuing lost fumble on the kickoff). Todd Gurley then broke fantasy hearts by stopping at the goal line to seal the victory. He still totaled 195 YFS with a receiving TD in what’s now considered a ho-hum game for the invaluable back.
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