This week’s NFL action started off with a thumping in Pittsburgh, and the Sunday afternoon action culminated with an exciting contest between NFC South foes. Between those two games were a number of others that weren’t particularly competitive. A whopping 10 of the 12 games discussed below were decided by double-digit point spreads.
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Byes: Ravens, Broncos, Texans, and Vikings
Panthers 21 at Steelers 52
Carolina opened the scoring with a touchdown reception from Christian McCaffrey on the opening drive, and then Pittsburgh reeled off 24 unanswered points. As a result, Carolina spent much of the game playing catch up. Cam Newton took a beating with five sacks, and he underwhelmed with 193 yards passing, two touchdowns, one interception, and 10 yards rushing. CMC was the only bright spot for the Panthers. He rushed for 77 yards and a score on 14 carries, and he rattled off a 5-61-2 line on five targets.
Ben Roethlisberger posted a perfect 158.3 Quarterback Rating by completing 22 of 25 passes for 328 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He added 27 yards rushing for giggles as well. The blowout allowed him to sit late. James Conner rushed for 65 yards and a score on 13 carries and hauled in his only target for eight yards. Antonio Brown led the way with a 6-96-1 line on six targets. JuJu Smith-Schuster added a 3-90-1 line, and Vance McDonald chipped in with a 4-44-1 line.
Bills 41 at Jets 10
The Bills scored 46 points in their last six games entering Week 10, and they nearly matched that total hanging 41 on the Jets. Logan Thomas completed a pass. The tight end who played quarterback in college joins Terrelle Pryor as non-quarterbacks who might be more talented passers than Nathan Peterman. In all, the Bills have five players — Josh Allen, Derek Anderson, Thomas, Pryor, and Sunday’s starter, Matt Barkley — who are more capable signal callers than Peterman. Anyway, let me get this train back on the tracks. Barkley played well passing for 232 yards and two touchdowns. LeSean McCoy was outstanding rushing for 113 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, and he added a reception for five yards. Zay Jones also showed the promise that made him a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by posting an 8-93-1 line on 11 targets. The Bills are on bye next week before hosting the Jaguars in Week 12. Even with their surprising outburst, they’re not a fantasy-friendly offense.
The Jets’ offense was a dumpster fire with Josh McCown starting. The backfield was a full-blown RBBC that included Isaiah Crowell, Elijah McGuire, and Trenton Cannon. Crowell salvaged his awful 37 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown, and McGuire led the group in yards from scrimmage with 57. The backfield is one that’s best avoided, but I’ll double down on last week’s assertion that I believe McGuire will be the fantasy scoring leader in the Jets’ backfield the rest of the season — at least in half or full PPR formats. That’s not saying much, though.
Cardinals 14 at Chiefs 26
Arizona’s offense remains underwhelming, but Byron Leftwich has done a hell of a lot more than his predecessor in terms of utilizing the offense’s best weapon, David Johnson. The do-it-all back erupted for 98 yards and a score on the ground and a 7-85-1 line on nine targets. Johnson’s big Week 10 showing comes on the heels of hitting 100 yards from scrimmage the week before, and he’s at least a high-end RB2 to fringe RB1 now that Mike McCoy is no longer employed by the Red Birds. Larry Fitzgerald was unable to duplicate his season-best showing in Week 9, but he was the team’s most targeted player (10) and caught six passes for 50 yards. With 22 targets over the last two weeks, Fitz is in the WR3/Flex mix.
Patrick Mahomes had a solid if unspectacular showing passing for 249 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions while adding 21 yards with his legs. Kareem Hunt disappointed in a juicy matchup rushing for 71 yards and catching two passes for 25 yards but failing to score a touchdown. Travis Kelce also disappointed with 6-46-0 on seven targets, but his showing and Hunt’s showing being deemed disappointing put into perspective just how good and reliable both have been. Tyreek Hill was the offensive star rushing once for 20 yards and shredding Arizona’s secondary for a 7-117-2 line. Sammy Watkins is notably absent from the box score after being inactive due to a foot injury.
Falcons 16 at Browns 28
Atlanta entered yesterday winners of three straight, evening their win-loss ledger at four apiece. They’re now on the wrong side of .500 after losing. Matt Ryan was brilliant again, though. He passed for 330 yards and two touchdowns, but he lost a fumble. No. 1 receiver Julio Jones scored a touchdown for the second week in a row and totaled a 7-107-1 line on 11 targets. His 11 targets were matched by Austin Hooper’s for a team-high. The tight end caught 10 passes for 56 yards and a score. Tevin Coleman had a ho-hum showing with 63 yards from scrimmage on 11 carries and three receptions.
Through two games as Cleveland’s head coach, Gregg Williams is one-third of the way to Hue Jackson’s win total in 40 games. Baker Mayfield needed to attempt only 20 passes in the victory, but he made them count passing for 216 yards and three touchdowns. He also avoided any turnovers and sacks, and he rushed for 20 yards. Speaking of rushing, Nick Chubb did plenty of that rumbling for 176 yards and a score on 20 carries while securing all three of his targets for 20 yards and another score. Backfield complement Duke Johnson rushed for 15 yards on three carries and caught all four of his targets for 31 yards and a score. Gamers who used him as a Flex after his big showing in Week 9 were likely a bit disappointed, but his touchdown to open the second half saved his fantasy day. Jarvis Landry is mired in a slump after catching only two passes for 22 yards. Ditto for David Njoku. The second-year tight end caught his only target for 18 yards, and it represented his second sub-20 yard effort in his last three games.
Jaguars 26 at Colts 29
Not even Leonard Fournette’s return could right the ship for the Jaguars. The second-year back rushed for 53 yards and a score on 24 carries, and he beat up on the Colts through the air with five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Donte Moncrief burned his former employer for a 3-98-1 line on four targets with the bulk of the damage coming on an 80-yard touchdown grab in the first quarter.
Andrew Luck avoided a sack for a fourth straight game and carved up Jacksonville’s defense for 285 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Marlon Mack came crashing back to Earth with 29 yards rushing on 12 carries and two receptions for nine yards, but one bad showing isn’t enough to knock him out of the RB2 mix. T.Y. Hilton led the team with 77 yards receiving on three receptions, but Eric Ebron was the headline grabber. The former Lion caught three passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed for a two-yard touchdown, too. He wasn’t the only tight end on the Colts to reach the end zone, but the other wasn’t Jack Doyle (3-36-0). Basketball convert Mo Allie-Cox caught a touchdown for the second week in a row. The former VCU basketball player is an intriguing dynasty option who could be a touchdown-or-bust desperation play at tight end in re-draft leagues, too.
Lions 22 at Bears 34
Detroit got smoked on the road by the Bears, and that’s even after scoring 12 points in garbage time. Matthew Stafford was sacked six times after being sacked 10 times in Week 10. He passed for 274 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Receiver Marvin Jones Jr. (3-55-0) left early with an injury. Second-year wideout Kenny Golladay totaled a 6-78-1 line on 13 targets and was targeted on a pair of failed two-point conversions. He should continue to be force fed the ball, especially if Jones Jr.’s injury forces him to miss time. Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson had a strong day with 51 yards and a score on 14 carries and 38 yards and a score on six receptions. He did lose a fumble, but with the Lions now at 3-6 on the season and having already waved the white flag by dealing receiver Golden Tate, it stands to reason he should be more of a true feature back the rest of the way. However, just because that’s what should happen doesn’t mean that’s what will happen.
Mitchell Trubisky passed for 355 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His work with his arm is always just a part of the story. The second-year quarterback also rushed for 18 yards and a touchdown. He’s playing like a weekly QB1. Allen Robinson returned from injury and waxed the Lions for a 6-133-2 line on eight targets. Rookie receiver Anthony Miller joined him in the 100-plus yard club with a 5-122-1 line. Taylor Gabriel failed to corral any of his three targets and has fallen short of 50 yards in three of his last four games and fallen short of 55 yards in four straight. Tarik Cohen’s 44 yards from scrimmage don’t get the juices flowing, but he did reel in six receptions and punch in a rushing touchdown. He’s far and away the best fantasy back for the Bears. Jordan Howard‘s little more than a touchdown-or-bust option who failed to reach pay dirt in Week 10.
Patriots 10 at Titans 34
New England got smacked around on the road and spent the entire game playing from behind. How bad did it get? Brian Hoyer entered the game halfway through the fourth quarter. Tom Brady barely completed more than half of his passes (21 for 41) for 254 yards, zero scores, and zero turnovers. Sony Michel returned and rushed for only 31 yards on 11 carries. James Develin vultured New England’s only touchdown on a one-yard dive. Josh Gordon had another solid showing with four receptions for 81 yards, but it wasn’t terribly efficient coming on a dozen targets. Julian Edelman caught nine of 12 targets for 104 yards and completed a six-yard pass to Brady, but he left early with an ankle injury.
Don’t look now, but Marcus Mariota’s strung together back-to-back decent games out of the team’s Week 8 bye. He completed 16 of 24 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 21 yards on two carries and caught a pass for 21 yards. Derrick Henry awakened from his season-long slumber and rushed for 58 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Dion Lewis wasn’t efficient, but he carried the ball 20 times for 57 yards and caught both of his targets for 11 yards. Tight end Jonnu Smith (3-45-1) reached the end zone for the second week in a row, but he’s not yet a trustworthy option in most formats. Corey Davis typically teases, but he delivered the goods in this one with a 7-125-1 line. Tajae Sharpe has faded back into fantasy irrelevance after his second-straight zero-yard showing.
Redskins 16 at Buccaneers 3
Washington won an ugly, low-scoring affair. Adrian Peterson rushed for 68 scoreless yards on 19 carries and caught two passes for one yard. Jordan Reed had what could be considered a good game for him this season with four receptions for 51 yards in a cushy matchup. Josh Doctson’s emerging as a touchdown-or-bust Flex play after scoring a touchdown for the second week in a row as part of a 4-46-1 line.
Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 406 yards, but he didn’t throw any touchdowns and tossed a pair of interceptions while losing a back-breaking fumble in the red zone late. He’s still probably the best option to lead Tampa Bay’s offense (an offense that head coach Dirk Koetter strangely took over play calling for yesterday despite the offense’s success with offensive coordinator Todd Monken calling plays through the first eight games), but the risk of an in-game benching will hang over the head of whoever starts at quarterback for the Buccaneers. Koetter wouldn’t reveal if the team will make a quarterback change. Peyton Barber rushed for 61 yards on 13 carries and caught his only target for five yards. Jacquizz Rodgers shared backfield duties and caught all eight of his targets for 102 yards but lost a fumble. Chris Godwin was perfect catching all seven of his targets for 103 yards. DeSean Jackson wasn’t awful, but his five receptions for 67 yards weren’t anything special. However, his showing was better than that of Mike Evans (3-51-0 on six targets). O.J. Howard was looking up at both D-Jax and Evans catching only one pass for 15 yards.
Saints 51 at Bengals 14
Entering this game, some pundits voiced concerns about a letdown spot for the Saints. So much for a letdown. Drew Brees was nearly perfect completing 22 of 25 passes for 265 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He also scored a rushing touchdown. Mark Ingram rumbled for 104 yards on 13 carries and caught all three of his targets for 58 yards and a touchdown. Alvin Kamara caught four of five targets for 46 yards, and he rushed for a pair of scores and 56 yards on 12 carries. Michael Thomas joined in the fun with a 8-70-2 line.
The A.J. Green-less Bengals looked more like the Bungles in this blowout loss. Joe Mixon rushed for 61 yards on 11 carries and caught two balls for 24 yards. Tyler Boyd caught three of four targets for 65 yards. John Ross scored one of the team’s two touchdowns as part of a 2-39-1 line on a team-high six targets. Ross is a viable addition in deep leagues to see if he can gain any traction in Green’s absence, but Mixon and Boyd are the only truly reliable options in Cincinnati’s offense.
Chargers 20 at Raiders 6
The Chargers won by 14 points, yet it still wasn’t a totally satisfying effort. Philip Rivers passed for 223 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Rivers has thrown multiple touchdown passes in all nine games this season, but he hasn’t had to attempt more than 27 passes in five straight games. He’s attempted 30 or more passes just three times, and the lack of volume hurts his weekly ceiling. Melvin Gordon’s awesome fourth NFL season continues, and he rushed for 93 yards while catching five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. Keenan Allen had a solid day with six receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown. Austin Ekeler was able to provide Flex value in a complementary role early in the season, but he carried the ball only three times for 19 yards and caught no passes Sunday. Over the last two weeks combined, he’s totaled just seven touches and 53 yards from scrimmage. Factor in that he totaled only 68 yards from scrimmage on 12 carries and five receptions in Week 7 when Gordon was out, and you have a mediocre at best Flex option when Gordon’s healthy whose ceiling might not actually be that high in the event Gordon misses time down the stretch. In standard leagues and shallow formats, cutting Ekeler is a defensible move depending on team needs and what’s available.
Jared Cook is basically the only useful fantasy option save for leagues using two quarterbacks or a super flex. Cook’s fantasy value has waned, but he had one of his better games in recent week with 52 yards on four receptions. The rest of Oakland’s offense is fantasy fodder in all but extremely deep or unique scoring formats. If there’s a fantasy football equivalent to the card game Razz, Oakland’s fantasy offense is a treasure trove of goodies in that format.
Dolphins 12 at Packers 31
Brocktober has given way to November, and Brock Osweiler’s play has completely deteriorated. He took six sacks, lost a fumble, and threw an interception while passing for 213 scoreless yards. Danny Amendola remained the backup quarerback’s best friend and reeled in seven of his 10 targets for 72 yards. Kenyan Drake suffered a shoulder injury in practice during the week, wasn’t on the injury report, but left briefly after aggravating the injury in the game. He finished the game with only 27 yards rushing and 11 yards receiving on two receptions. He’s been one of fantasy’s biggest busts this season. Ageless wonder Frank Gore rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries and caught two passes for 12 yards.
The Aaron Jones blowup game happened! He carried the ball 15 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught three of five targets for 27 yards. He’s an RB2 going forward with RB1 upside. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t asked to do much and completed 19 of 28 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns while adding 21 yards on six carries. Davante Adams posted a 4-57-2 line on seven targets. Jimmy Graham was really quiet with just one reception on his only target for 14 yards. The lack of passing volume also hurt Marquez Valdes-Scantling (6-44-0), but I love the rookie’s upside the rest of the year. He should be universally owned.
Seahawks 31 at Rams 36
The Seahawks gave the Rams all they could handle for the second time this year. They were able to keep the game close throughout after scoring the game’s opening touchdown, and it allowed them to lean heavily on their running attack. Rookie Rashaad Penny blew up for 108 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Mike Davis still provide gamers who started him value with 58 yards rushing on 11 carries and a 4-22-1 line on six targets. Russell Wilson had a huge game with 176 yards passing, three touchdowns, and 92 yards rushing. Tyler Lockett rushed once for 18 yards and led the way with a 5-67-1 line on six targets. Doug Baldwin turned in a dud with five receptions for 39 yards.
The Rams came out on the winning end of their third exciting Sunday afternoon contest in as many weeks. Not all came up roses, though. Cooper Kupp suffered a knee injury when making a cut on a route, and the team fears a torn ACL. Jared Goff picked the Seahawks apart for 318 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Todd Gurley was awesome rushing for 120 yards and a score on 16 carries and catching three passes for 40 yards. Brandin Cooks was the standout wideout of the talented trio with a 10-100-0 line and nine-yard rushing touchdown. Robert Woods was solid as well with three rushes for 17 yards and 89 yards on four receptions. Circling back to Kupp’s injury, Josh Reynolds becomes a must-add player. In Reynolds’ last start with Kupp out, he caught three of five targets for 42 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers in Week 8.
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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.