Week Seven’s Sunday action featured some of the worst offense we’ve seen all season, including three teams being shut out and three others failing to score an offensive touchdown. Injuries and poor play from the quarterback positon might be the chief concern and that’s not something that is likely to change in the upcoming weeks.
LA Rams- 33
The latest “London game” was a one-sided affair and got even worse when Cardinals veteran QB Carson Palmer was forced from the game with an arm injury. Following the game, HC Bruce Arians announced his quarterback had suffered a broken arm that will require surgery and keep Palmer out of the lineup for an estimated eight weeks. This leaves the Cardinals to rely on backup QB Drew Stanton, who struggled mightily in his relief duty. As you could presume by the score, the Cardinals didn’t really even put up a fight and none of their stars managed useful stat lines for fantasy players. Palmer totaled 122 passing yards before leaving the game, RB Adrian Peterson, coming off his surprising breakout game in Week Six, rushed 11 times for 21 yards and the WRs didn’t fare any better. John Brown (2/37), J.J. Nelson (2/35) and Larry Fitzgerald (3/29) were all shut down. Fantasy players can expect more of this with Palmer out of the lineup.
The story for the Rams was very similar to most of their games this season as they found a variety of ways to score points, often aided by their strong defense. QB Jared Goff tossed one touchdown and 235 yards, primarily looking for rookie WR Cooper Kupp, who saw ten targets, catching four balls for 51 yards and a touchdown. The Rams once again got RB Todd Gurley (4/48) involved in the passing game and he also rushed for over 100 yards for the fourth time this season. WR Sammy Watkins was again a disappointment, catching three passes for 42 yards.
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New Orleans- 26
Green Bay- 17
After taking over for an injured QB Aaron Rodgers a week ago, QB Brett Hundley entered the game against the Saints soft pass-defense looking like a solid fantasy option and he delivered, sort of. Hundley rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown and it was that production as a runner that boosted his fantasy day. Beyond that though, Hundley played poorly and his teammates didn’t help him. Hundley threw for just 87 yards and an interception, obviously limiting the production of all of his highly-valued pass-catchers. WRs Jordy Nelson (1/13), Davante Adams (2/12), Randall Cobb (2/15) and TE Martellus Bennett (2/17) will be tough weekly starts moving forward until we see improvement from Hundley. Some good news for the Packers offense came from rookie RB Aaron Jones, who posted his second 100-yard rushing game over the past three weeks and has evidently moved ahead of Ty Montgomery on the depth chart. While Jones rushed 17 times for 131 yards and a touchdown, Montgomery carried only four times for six yards. Montgomery can’t be used in fantasy lineups going forward.
The game didn’t start as many expected with Saints QB Drew Brees throwing a pair of interceptions in the early going to keep the game close. After that though, it was all New Orleans as Brees finished with 331 passing yards and a touchdown. The Saints RB duo of Mark Ingram (110 total yards, TD) and Alvin Kamara (107 total yards) continued to prove they are both weekly fantasy starters. With WR Willie Snead a surprise scratch, veteran Ted Ginn enjoyed his first big game as a Saint, catching all seven of his targets for 141 yards. Meanwhile, sure and steady WR Michael Thomas had seven grabs for 82 yards. TE Coby Fleener continues to show he shouldn’t even be a fantasy consideration, catching a pair of passes for 22 yards.
The Jaguars were missing the center of the offense in rookie RB Leonard Fournette (ankle) and lost OT Cam Robinson (ankle) early in the game, but they didn’t miss a beat and dominated the Colts in all aspects of the game. Forced to rely on the passing game, QB Blake Bortles was efficient, throwing for 330 yards and a score. His top two WRs Allen Hurns (5/101) and Marqise Lee (4/72) both played well and were rarely slowed by Colts’ defenders. RB Chris Ivory was a popular fantasy choice with Fournette out, but he managed only 47 rushing yards and didn’t see a single target a week after catching nine passes. The surprise star of the running game was T.J. Yeldon, who rushed for 122 yards on just nine carries, highlighted by a 58-yard touchdown scamper.
There is very little to discuss when it comes to the Colts offense. After falling behind early, the running game was a non-factor with RB Frank Gore finishing with 34 yards on nine carries and rookie Marlon Mack rushing five times for 26 yards. Mack did add four catches for 40 yards as a receiver. TE Jack Doyle (6/44), WR Donte Moncrief (2/30) and WR T.Y. Hilton (2/27) were shut down, as expected, by the potent Jags defense. As if things weren’t bad enough for the Colts, talented rookie S Malik Hooker suffered a torn ACL and MCL and his season is over.
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Tampa Bay- 27
Only three teams entered Week Seven without allowing a top 12 (QB1) weekly performance. We can now cross the Buffalo Bills off that list as QB Jameis Winston carved them up for 384 yards and three touchdowns. The Bucs and Bills went back and forth and although Tampa carried most of the fourth-quarter momentum, it was the Bills with a late field goal that pulled out the win. Buffalo had also been tough against pass-catchers, but rookie TE O.J. Howard (6/98/2) and WR Mike Evans (7/88/1) dominated. Per Footballguys writer Adam Harstad, Howard is just the second rookie TE in the past 40 years with 90+ yards and two receiving scores in a game, joining Owen Daniels. I’ll be interested to see if Howard’s increased role carries forward in upcoming weeks. WR DeSean Jackson (5/73) and TE Cameron Brate (6/60) also supplied fantasy players with useful stat lines. RB Doug Martin totaled 80 yards for the Bucs.
It was expected to be a big day for Bills QB Tyrod Taylor and he set a new season-high with 268 passing yards, also adding 53 rushing yards. The Bills continue to somehow manufacture a passing offense despite a lack of “name” WRs and injuries to their starters. WR Jordan Matthews returned to the lineup, but only caught two balls for ten yards. WR Deonte Thompson, signed last week after being dumped by the Bears, caught all four of his targets for 107 yards and was crucial in the late-game drive that led to the game-winning field goal. Rookie WR Zay Jones continues his disappointing season, catching two of nine targets for 17 yards. RB LeSean McCoy handled a heavy workload, rushing 23 times for 91 yards and a pair of scores and adding five receptions for 31 yards.
The Vikings were once again without WR Stefon Diggs and QB Sam Bradford and their passing game continued to be a weakness. Backup QB Case Keenum threw for just 188 yards and no scores as the running game carried the offense. TE Kyle Rudolph (5/43) and WR Adam Thielen (5/41) performed below expectations. RB Jerick McKinnon has been a fantasy force in the past two games, but this time, he took a backseat to former Raiders RB Latavius Murray, who rushed for 113 yards and his first touchdown as a Viking. McKinnon totaled 57 yards on 15 touches.
The Ravens started the game without WRs Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman and lost veteran WR Mike Wallace to an apparent concussion early in the contest, leaving QB Joe Flacco with few options. The Ravens were led in receiving by TE Ben Watson, who caught all five targets for only 38 yards and the running game was none better. RB Alex Collins led the team with 30 yards on ten carries. If you needed RB Buck Allen for some fantasy production, he backdoored a nice PPR performance, catching eight passes and totaling 49 yards. Nothing to see here.
Sunday was an ugly day for NFL offenses and there was no game worse than the Bears/Panthers matchup. Although there were a pair of touchdowns in the game, both were first-half defensive scores at the hands of rookie Eddie Jackson. There were no points for either team in the second-half. Panthers QB Cam Newton committed three turnovers and threw for 211 yards. He did add a bit of fantasy goodness with 50 rushing yards, which was enough to lead the team. As expected considering his limited passing yardage, WRs Kelvin Benjamin (3/65) and Devin Funchess (4/41) and RB Christian McCaffrey (7/36) failed to post big numbers.
If this is possible, the Bears offense was even worse. Rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky completed only four passes for 107 yards, including a 70-yarder to rookie RB Tarik Cohen. TE Zach Miller (2/29) and WR Tanner Gentry (1/8) completed the Bears receiving stats. RB Jordan Howard carried the ball 21 times for a scoreless 65 yards in a painful game to watch.
For a while, it looked like the Browns would earn their first victory of the season as they forced overtime with a late drive and game-tying field goal, but they fell short in overtime as the Titans nailed a field goal late in the fifth period. Things went so poorly for the Browns in the first half that they once again benched rookie QB DeShone Kizer, this time in favor of backup Cody Kessler. It is clear the Browns are not happy with any of their QB options and will almost certainly be using one of their early picks on the position. Kizer threw for 114 yards and two interceptions in the first half, while Kessler followed up with 121 yards and one pick. Neither threw a touchdown. The Titans have been one of the most-WR friendly defenses around, but shut down WRs Ricardo Louis (3/21) and Kenny Britt (2/7) who made his return after missing multiple games. RBs Duke Johnson (6/45) and Isaiah Crowell (4/36) were actually the most-targeted players in the Browns passing game. TE David Njoku (2/58) continued to show promise, but is an inconsistent fantasy option.
Much of the attention of the past week surrounding the Titans went to the backfield situation, where it appeared we were primed for young RB Derrick Henry to take over for veteran RB DeMarco Murray, but that didn’t happen. Murray totaled 76 yards, while Henry struggled on the ground, rushing 13 times for 13 yards. TE Delanie Walker led the team in receiving, but suffered an ankle injury in overtime that left him on crutches. Walker caught seven passes for 63 yards. WRs Rishard Matthews (3/40) and Taywan Taylor (3/45) also contributed to the Titans’ day, while veteran WR Eric Decker was shut out.
NY Jets- 28
This was another tight game between division foes as the Dolphins edged the Jets, who continue to outperform expectations. While the Dolphins got the win, they also suffered a loss in this game as starting QB Jay Cutler was forced to the locker room after a rib injury. Backup QB Matt Moore entered the game and finished with 188 yards and two touchdowns. Cutler was on his way to his best game of the season, throwing for 138 yards and a pair of scores before exiting. With WR DeVante Parker once again out of the lineup, his teammates WRs Jarvis Landry (7/93/1) and Kenny Stills (6/85/2) took over. RB Jay Ajayi, coming off his best game of the season last week, totaled 77 yards on an inefficient 26 touches.
The Jets have been winning ugly and on Sunday, they nearly pulled off another win. QB Josh McCown kept his hot streak going, throwing for 209 yards and a trio of passing scores. RB Bilal Powell was back in the lineup and totaled 83 yards. Veteran RB Matt Forte led the team in receiving with 41 yards and matched that same output on the ground as well. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins was bound to hit a wall at some point and he caught just three passes for 21 yards, but one went for a touchdown.
San Francisco- 10
The game was a beat down from start to finish as the 49ers had no answer for Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, who totaled 219 yards and three scores. With the off-field drama surrounding Elliott, no one knows if this could be his last game played before serving his six-game suspension, or if that suspension might be reduced. Regardless, Zeke made it count on Sunday! QB Dak Prescott was also once again impressive, throwing for 234 yards and three touchdowns, and rushing for 26 yards and another score. WR Dez Bryant was overshadowed by his teammates, but he dominated too, catching seven passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. TE Jason Witten scored his first touchdown since Week Two, along with a 4/54 line.
Rookie QB C.J. Beathard made his first career start and it was certainly in a tough spot. He did throw for 235 yards, forced to pass nearly 40 times as his team trailed from the start. RB Carlos Hyde was again serving as the lead back, touching the ball 18 times for 88 yards, while rookie RB Matt Breida carried just three times for five yards. WRs Marquise Goodwin (4/80), Pierre Garcon (5/49) and Trent Taylor (5/39) all took advantage of the Niners’ high passing volume with solid performances, though fantasy owners were likely hoping for more than just seven targets for Garcon. The Iowa connection didn’t come through this week as former Hawkeyes QB Beathard targeted former Hawkeyes TE George Kittle only twice.
LA Chargers- 21
The Broncos were without WR Emmanuel Sanders, who was injured in last week’s embarrassing loss to the Giants and this week was not any better as the team was shut out for the first time since 1992. QB Trevor Siemian once again showed that his early season performances were a fluke. Since a pair of top-four fantasy finishes to open the season, Siemian has finishes as the QB28, QB20, QB9 and QB24, pending the completion of this week’s games. This looked like a sweep spot for Broncos RB C.J. Anderson and WR Demaryius Thomas, but both flopped. Anderson totaled 61 yards, while Thomas caught two passes for nine yards. He did have an 81-yard reception called back on his own offensive pass interference call.
The Chargers offense did not look crisp, getting stuffed at the goal line early in the game. Two of their three touchdowns came from WR Travis Benjamin, one on a 42-yard connection with QB Philip Rivers and the other on a 65-yard punt return. Rivers ended with 183 yards and two touchdowns, while RB Melvin Gordon was held in check, totaling 44 scoreless yards. Second-year TE Hunter Henry continues his methodical breakout, leading the team with 73 yards on four receptions. A hobbled WR Keenan Allen caught three passes for 41 yards.
NY Giants- 7
The Giants continued their offensive ineptitude and it is to be somewhat understood, considering their injury woes. The Giants struck first as QB Eli Manning hit rookie TE Evan Engram for a short touchdown, but the G Men wouldn’t score again as the Seahawks went on a second half run. Engram finished with six catches for 60 yards on a team-high 12 targets. No other Giants player made an impact on offense, including RB Orleans Darkwa, who ended his hot streak with 35 yards on nine carries. It was reported that WR Sterling Shepard would play in this game, but instead he showed up on the inactive list. He is expected to return after the Giants’ bye next week.
The Seahawks managed only a field goal in the first-half before finding the end zone three times after halftime. QB Russell Wilson was responsible for all three scores, hitting WR Doug Baldwin (9/92/1), WR Paul Richardson (2/61/1) and TE Jimmy Graham (3/51/1) for touchdowns. The Seattle running game remains a disaster. RB C.J. Prosise was active for the first time since Week Three, but left with an ankle injury before he could even touch the ball. RB Thomas Rawls led the team with 36 yards rushing, while Eddie Lacy chipped in with 34 yards. Avoid all of these guys.
A back-and-forth matchup turned into a second-half run away as the Steelers shut out the Bengals after halftime and cruised to a win. QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for 224 yards and a pair of scores, while RB Le’Veon Bell beasted his way to 192 total yards, though he failed to reach the end zone. WR Antonio Brown did hit pay dirt among his four catches for 65 yards. Pre-game reports suggested slumping WR Martavis Bryant might be force fed the ball, but he had just one catch for three yards while rookie WR Juju Smith-Schuster third touchdown of the season and celebrated with a game of hide and seek with his teammate Bell.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton threw a pair of scores, but couldn’t find WR. A.J. Green for more than his 3/41 line. Instead, the scores went to WR Brandon LaFell and TE Tyler Kroft. Rookie RB Joe Mixon carried just seven times for 48 yards and added three grabs for 20 yards.
New England- 23
The long day of NFL action concluded with the much-anticipated Super Bowl rematch, but this version wasn’t nearly as exciting. The Patriots dominated and the ever-present fog was an obvious metaphor for the Falcons offense, which was held scoreless until late in the game. QB Matt Ryan became the first opposing quarterback facing New England to not accrue 300 passing yards, throwing for 233 and one score, thanks to WR Julio Jones wrestling the ball away from the Patriots defender in the end zone. Jones finished with a 9/99/1 line on a team-high 13 targets, catching his first touchdown of the season. RB Devonta Freeman totaled 90 yards on 15 touches, but his backfieldmate, Tevin Coleman was held to 16 total yards.
As usual, the Patriots put on a show and spread the ball around. QB Tom Brady threw for 249 yards and two scores, hitting WR Brandin Cooks early in the game and RB James White late in the first-half, before the team cruised to a win. WR Chris Hogan (4/71) and TE Rob Gronkowski (3/51) posted respectable, but below average games. The Patriots backfield was as confusing as ever with Dion Lewis leading the way with 76 yards on 13 carries. Mike Gillislee (8/31) and Rex Burkhead (6/31) and James White (4/31) also saw carries and, as always, White chipped in as a receiver, catching five balls for 28 yards.
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