Hello again and thanks for tuning in. My name is Sam and I watch a lot of football each week. Read on and see what I saw in each of these games. As always, remember that this is just one more tool for your toolbox. Feel free to leave comments or constructive feedback!
Jets vs. Buccaneers
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick started off looking pretty good, and was able to break free at least a couple times to avoid sacks. Things seemed like they were moving pretty well until the Jets Defense closed in and held the Jets to just a field goal in the first half. Fits started to struggle mightily as the game wore on, and should have been intercepted more than the one time, but got lucky- very lucky as one of those was intercepted but the play was negated by a penalty. Really, this was just a defensive slugfest for most of the game, although penalties from both sides did play a bit of role. Josh McCown also looked a little shaky in the first half as the Bucs’ pass rush seemed like they were doing pretty well, evidenced by 6 sacks. However, the pass rush can’t be blamed for McCown way overthrowing a deep ball to Robby Anderson that was instead intercepted by Brent Grimes. Thankfully for the Jets, Fitz was then immediately intercepted back so I guess it was a wash. Methinks that McCown’s down game was due to the Bucs finally pulling it together on defense. They were pressuring McCown, covering receivers, and stopping the run. Hopefully, the Jets can get it together over the bye, because on both sides of the ball they are looking pretty good of late. It’s worth noting that the Bucs defense is looking much better now. Maybe they’ll be worth a stream against mediocre offenses?
RB: The good news for Doug Martin owners is that he is the clear leader in the backfield for Tampa Bay. The bad news is that he plays for Tampa Bay. This game may have been further hampered by the absence of Mike Evans and the presence of Fitzcraptrick. The Jets played well defensively and the Bucs’ OLine was playing like they all had birthdays this week and no one remembered- why should they block if no one can even get them a cake? Matt Forte was out with a knee injury, but for as well as each team’s defense was playing, maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Elijah McGuire and Bilal Powell got about as many carries as each other, but neither could get much going. Powell out-carried McGuire but coughed up a fumble. It was a bad day for most of the Jets offensively, but I can’t quite figure out why the Jets are trying to make McGuire happen. If you’re badly in need of an RB, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up McGuire as the Jets coaching staff seems to think he’s got some potential.
WR: DeSean Jackson had the first quarter all to himself for Tampa Bay. That might be in part because no one else wiped the butter off their hands after the pre-game lobster bar. Cameron Brate dropped the ball, Adam Humphries dropped the ball, everyone dropped the ball! Even Jackson had a couple drops, but he was by far the best receiver in the absence of Mike Evans. The Bucs will need to improve their pass blocking quite a bit for next week or it will likely be more of the same. Jermaine Kearse had a couple of really bad drops, which helped to kill a lot of the Jets offense in the first half. He just doesn’t look good at all and I don’t know why he’s getting so many targets. The Jets really need a real receiver to run opposite Robby Anderson, who has a string of TD’s and double-digit fantasy weeks to go with them.
TE: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins finally broke 50 yards. He was the only other Jet who looked like he was there to play ball. I continue to not expect much from him ROS, but his targets were way up. Brate had a dismal performance, but so did all the Buccaneers. I doubt anyone other than Mike Evans and only maybe Doug Martin will be worth holding at this point, so if you have Brate I recommend trying to land any other team’s TE.
Browns vs. Lions
QB: Things started out rough for Detroit, losing 5 yards, 5 yards, 2 yards, then punting away. Matt Stafford was then intercepted and suddenly the Lions were down by 10 points. It might have been a terrible game, but then the Lions remembered they were playing the Browns so Stafford then threw for just nigh of 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. Whew, that was close for a second there! DeShone Kizer finally looked like an NFL QB this game. He threw for over 200 yards for the first time in 6 weeks, and even managed to throw a touchdown and run one in! Kizer was told after the game that he could have ice cream with the rest of the team at the big boy table now, but that he would have to keep it up if he wanted to stay. I’ll want to see more from Kizer before considering him as worth a pickup, but if you’re struggling at QB and have room on the bench, maybe pick Kizer up to see how he does next week. Who knows, maybe he’ll stop throwing easy interceptions into the end zone on the last drive of the game?
RB: Isaiah Crowell is looking like he’s having himself a resurgence. He ran very well and even scored a touchdown. With Kizer finally playing better and Crowell running the way he is, if the Browns can keep it together they might even win a game this season! I mean, not next week. And not the week after. Probably not the week after that, but eventually they play the Bears. Duke Johnson, Jr also did OK. He’s looking pretty good in the open field and all in all the Browns offense was much more balanced this week than they have looked all season. Crow could be a pretty solid RB2, and The Duke might make a decent FLEX pretty soon here. I mean, not next week. And not the week after. Probably not the week after that, but eventually they play the Bears. Ameer Abdullah is probably the only one worth owning in the Lions backfield in Standard, Theo Riddick’s awesome name and TD notwithstanding. But Abdullah’s only getting about ½ the volume one would expect from the lead back in a potent offense. I guess when your QB is the highest paid player in the game, you don’t get to run much.
WR: The only thing I want to say about Golden Tate is watch this GIF. Dude’s a stud for sure. Amazingly, Marvin Jones was pretty quiet. He was looking pretty good the last couple weeks, but with Kenny Golladay back, his targets have dropped. Not that Golladay had many targets either. In fact, Jones Jr, Golladay, and even TJ Jones all had 3 targets, but Kenny G had the most yards out of it. I’m sure plenty of people will pick Golladay up after his 64-yard performance (most of which was from one really good catch and run), but Tate’s really the only one to trust right now. I’d bench Jones if you have him until there’s a little more clarity about how he and Golladay fit with each other. Josh Gordon will be back for the Browns week 13, so hopefully, you picked him up and stashed him, and Cory Coleman will be coming back soon as well. Those are probably the only Browns receivers that have a chance at value down the line.
TE: There was a truly sad moment for Seth DeValve on an otherwise OK day. He caught a ball, gained a few yards for a 1st down, and promptly fumbled for a recovered TD by the Lions. The game was tied up to that point, so he lost the Browns the lead. But for the Browns, that’s just another Sunday so they didn’t even blink and came right back down to the goal line on the next drive. There, the Browns attempted an ill-advised QB sneak with only seconds to spare and no timeouts. So the Lions just laid on the pile with Kizer underneath for long enough that the Browns didn’t get another shot at the TD. DeValve actually looked pretty good outside of his fumble, so if Kizer can keep developing, he’s worth a bench spot at least right now. David Njoku very nearly had a TD, but it was ruled out of bounds. So instead his 6 targets yielded just 1 catch for 3 yards. Eric Ebron had one of his better games thanks to a touchdown, but even he isn’t more than a dart throw bye week filler. Despite a pretty good move to shake his defender and catch an easy TD, he still just seems to plod slowly around the field. He only got 3 targets, so it’s hard to think of him as reliable.
Bears vs. Packers
QB: Brett Hundley made a leap this game if only a leap and no bound. He looked much better passing the ball than he has to this point. It’s a strange thing that it happened in this game because the Bears had been playing better on defense and I would expect the rain to slow the Pack down and the previous week’s bye to allow the Bears to adequately prepare. Apparently not. Hundley did sustain a hammy injury, so keep on eye on how that goes this week if you own any Packers players. Hundley still wouldn’t be worth a start on your fantasy teams, but if he can keep up the elevated play, that lifts the entire Packers offense. Mitch Trubisky also made a leap this game, probably mostly from playing behind. He threw more than 30 times for the second game in a row but looked much sharper. He could have had a bigger day, but the Bears’ receivers dropped a lot of balls. If the Bears can get Trubs some better receivers, I think he can be a much better QB. In the meantime, Jordan Howard is probably the only reliable member of the team.
RB: Speaking of Jordan Howard, he was surprisingly unreliable this game. Really, this was largely a case of great defense by the Packers. Jordan simply couldn’t get much going for the Bears, and then they were down most of the game so flow didn’t help. It’s worth noting that Benny Cunningham seems to be Howard’s handcuff. I will mention there was a controversial play involving Cunningham that you can read about here (it’s worth checking out). I personally believe that it should have been a dead ball when Benny touched the football while out of bounds inches from the goal line and that this was an example of some pretty bad officiating. For the Packers’ RB’s, it was a pretty rough day. Aaron Jones was injured early (probably an MCL injury with possibly 3-6 weeks out), and Ty Monty had a pretty nice rushing TD before he was also injured. Montgomery has sickle-cell trait and his injuries tend to linger, so that leaves Jamaal Williams and Devante Mays as the Packers’ only current RB’s. If Monty is out for long, Williams will have the most opportunity and he did rush 20 times against the Bears so the Packers are definitely willing to use him.
WR: Dontrelle Inman is the Bears’ receiver to note. He tied the team in the lead for targets, but Kendall Wright, who also had 8 targets was less effective and is more limited generally as the slot receiver. Inman is worth a stash at least, or a desperation play at most. Welcome to my team, Inman! The Packers’ Devante Adams seems to be the most valuable receiver now. He has supplanted Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb has more or less faded for several weeks now. However, since Hundley is starting to play better, Nelson and/or Cobb owners do have hope for the future.
TE: Packers’ TEs are not worth mentioning at this moment. Adam Shaheen caught both of his targets. He’s not worth an add yet, but if Trubs can keep playing well and the Bears start throwing some more, maybe he’ll see an uptick in usage. Just something to note in the back of your mind.
Saints vs. Bills
QB: Drew Brees didn’t throw for a lot of yards or any touchdowns because Drew Brees didn’t have to. This was a terribly lopsided game where the NO defense just completely dominated the Bills after the first quarter, and Ingram and Kamara took care of business on offense. Taylor had a terrible game. After a pretty nice opening drive where it looked like the Bills were going to actually compete, nothing happened for the Bills. The Bills were trounced so heartily that Taylor was benched in the 4th for backup Nathan Peterman, who promptly threw more yards, more TD’s, and fewer interceptions than Taylor. Taylor is very unlikely to be benched next week and I do expect him to bounce back, but NO is simply playing lights out on Defense.
RB: I don’t know what happened to the Bills defense because this year they are terrible. They gave up a whopping 6 rushing TD’s, 3 of which went to Mark Ingram another of which went to surprise stud of the season, Alvin Kamara, and one more each to Brees and Trey Edmunds. Ingram and Kamara also each had over 100 yards rushing, looking more and more like Freeman/Coleman from last season than Freeman and Coleman. Even some guy named Trey Edmunds, who is a dual eligible (on Yahoo, at least) RB/TE, rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown. Like.. what the hell, Buffalo? I get the feeling some defensive coordinator will soon be jobless. McCoy was pretty heavily involved until yet again, game flow impeded his usage and he was left holding 8 carries and just 49 yards.
WR: I’m not sure there’s much to learn about the receivers this game because the defense just shut everything down, but it is worth noting that Taylor is immediately involving Kelvin Benjamin. KBenj even got a couple RZ targets. I think if Zay Jones can make it back from injury next week, things will go much better for Buffalo against the Chargers. Certainly, it can’t be as bad as this week. Michael Thomas continues to be the only Saints receiver worth a spot on your roster. He booked himself over 100 yards on a day where Brees only threw for 184.
TE: Charles Clay is back, but that didn’t seem to matter. Look for a better performance next week, instead. The Saints’ Coby Fleener received 1 target which is 1 target too many in my opinion and didn’t even catch it. Trey Edmunds is somehow TE eligible and had quite a game, but he is unlikely to repeat anything near what he did again.
Texans vs. Rams
QB: I really feel for the Texans, and especially for Texans fans. They went from having one of the most exciting QB’s in football in a long time to Tom Savage. If the Texans could bench Savage for someone better, they would. Our thoughts and prayers are with Watson as I’m sure no one has more pain watching the Texans play than he does. Jared Goff is continuing to look amazing. If you decided to hold Tyrod Taylor instead of picking up Goff instead,
I deserve the loss it got me you deserve any losses it gets you. The Rams are playing at an incredibly high level, and together with the Eagles, the Saints, and a few other teams, the playoffs are starting to look like we’ll get some great games.
RB: Todd Gurley continues to be matchup proof. While he didn’t do as much damage as usual on the ground, he took to the air as well gaining 68 yards both ways. For Lamar Miller, though, his limiting factor is now Tom Savage. He did pretty well in the first half, but the second half fell quite apart for Miller as with all the Texans as the Rams took care of bidness.
WR: Robert Woods is finally happening. He now has back-to-back 2-TD games and a ton of yards. He’s looking pretty legit and will probably be worth starting every game until unless he regresses. Sammy Watkins, on the other hand, has not been getting targets to make him worth starting, although he’s also not a bad play per se since his offense is humming. He seems to have the talent so it’s a bit curious why he isn’t featured more, but his last two weeks have been buoyed by touchdowns or they would have been disappointing. Cooper Kupp out-targeted Watkins pretty handily just as he did last week, but hasn’t been getting the TDs. Hard to say if one is better than the other as they are both capable, at least, of big plays.
TE: C.J. Fiedorowicz was supposedly going to be featured heavily this game. That sort of happened with 6 targets, but just like everyone else on the Texans, it’s going to be hard going until Savage learns how to be a better QB if he even can learn.
Giants vs. 49ers
QB: I actually thought this was a pretty good game. Maybe it’s because the Giants and the 49ers are basically playing on the same level at this point, but it started out competitive with some decent plays on both sides. Eli Manning seems to show up to play every Sunday. Even though he has some bone-headed plays every game, I still think he’s putting in the effort. That being said, he’s not likely to score many fantasy points, so unless you’re truly desperate, he’s probably best left on the ww. CJ Beathard seems to have made a huge leap forward, throwing a couple touchdowns and running one in besides. It’s hard to say if the Niners were playing well or if the Giants defense just isn’t willing to put in the effort required to stop anyone.
RB: Carlos Hyde continues to look like the best RB for the Niners, and had a great day against the Giants. However, the 49’ers seem intent on working Matt Breida into the mix, and even Kyle Juszczych seemed to get quite a few touches. Juszczych started off getting Hyde’s usual dump-offs, but he’s not as good as Hyde so his 6 targets and 5 catches didn’t amount to much. He also fumbled and was injured in the 3rd quarter, so he probably won’t take much more away from Hyde for at least a couple weeks. Orleans Darkwa did his work, turning 14 carries into 70 yards and a TD. Of course, the 49’ers have been making a lot of running backs look good, so this is probably just Darkwa’s ceiling in the barely-there Giants offense.
WR: Marquise Goodwin may become a nice pickup if you hadn’t noticed. Starting in week 7 when he gained 80 yards against the Cowboys, I’ve been noticing that Goodwin is picking up steam. He had a great catch for a long touchdown, which was his only catch of the week, but he’s got big-play potential on a team that really needs it. While Beathard is not the most accurate passer in the league, he can throw it pretty far. Also, if Handsome Jimmy Garoppolo ever steps in for the Niners, that could be a big lift for Goodwin. Pick him up and at least stash him if you can. Sterling Shepard had a fantastic day, making a number of difficult catches. Tavarris King didn’t have much of an impact; he’s looking like a touchdown-dependent WR4 at this point.
TE: Evan Engram continues to be a focal point of the Giants’ offense. He had 9 targets and caught a pretty sweet looking touchdown pass in the first half. Garrett Celek played a pretty good game. He caught 4 of his 6 targets and his touchdown was a catch and run where he just couldn’t be stopped. He also made a great effort for a first down in the 2nd quarter, so it seems like he’s going to be earning his place in the offense. He was later quoted saying that he heard that he was expected to have a breakout week so he made an extra effort on behalf of his fantasy owners. It’s nice to hear that someone cares!
Panthers vs. Dolphins
QB: It’s kind of hard to draw anything truly meaningful from this kind of lopsided affair. The Panthers seemed to be playing above their level and the Dolphins were playing way below. Cam Newton made a bunch of great throws outside of a near interception in the 1st quarter, but he had so much time to throw that maybe that isn’t too surprising. Newton had a few of his characteristic just-off throws, but overall was looking dominant. It helps that he rushed for a season-high 95 yards, including 69 yards on just one play. Jay Cutler had a very up-and-down day. Sometimes he made some terrible decisions, including a short throw that was intercepted, but sometimes he made some really tight throws. In short, he played like Jay Cutler which is eerily similar to playing like Eli Manning.
RB: Boy, what a night for Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey. Stewart had the best night of his season ripping off huge gains over and over. McCaffrey, getting very few touches, managed 2 touchdowns and looked good doing it. I would guess he’ll continue to have weeks that are up and weeks that are down but at least he’s part of the Panthers’ game plan. Damien Williams seemed to be the starter for the Dolphins, but there were only about 16 rushes total for Miami and neither he nor Kenyan Drake could get much work in outside of a 66-yard TD run for Drake in the 3rd quarter.
WR: DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and even Kenny Stills aren’t terribly far apart in target totals and each seemed to be held back by solid defense from the Panthers. Landry did get a TD, which is nice, but I can’t say that any one of them is more valuable than the others. Curtis Samuel looked really good right up until his injury. He was moving freely about the field to the tune of 7 targets and could have had a touchdown. He wasn’t focused, or maybe a defender blocked his view, but it was a dropped TD pass that caused a different defender to try to grab the ball and subsequently land on Samuel’s ankle, taking him out for the remainder of the season. In his absence, Devin Funchess had a really strong performance for 98 yards and 2 TDs.
TE: Ed Dickson got a piece of the action in this blowout. He’s about a coin flip for a TD any given week, but again it’s hard to say what is real, given the blowout nature of the game. Julius Thomas also caught him a TD but seems to be unimportant enough to the Dolphins’ gameplan that he’s not reliable.