Week Six is nearly in the books and sadly, the trend of some of the game’s top players suffering serious injuries has continued. Early in Sunday’s action, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was slammed to the ground as the defender landed on his shoulder, resulting in a broken collarbone. The Packers wasted little time in announcing the injury along with the possibility that Rodgers’ season could be over. This unfortunate event was just the beginning of another wild day of NFL action.
It looked like the Bears were going to cruise to a win over the hometown Ravens before a pair of fourth-quarter field goals and a defensive touchdown pushed the game into overtime. Bears RB Jordan Howard broke off a 53-yard run, which led to the game-winning field goal as the Bears escaped with their second win of the season. QB Mitchell Trubisky game-managed his way to his first #QBwin, throwing for only 113 yards as he continued to pepper his tight ends with targets. TE Dion Sims caught two passes for 42 yards and a score, while TE Zach Miller had the Bears other receiving score in the game, although his was thrown by RB Tarik Cohen. Howard wore down the Ravens D before breaking them in overtime. He carried the ball a whopping 36 times for 167 scoreless yards. Cohen’s role in the passing game continues to dwindle, catching one pass for 14 yards.
The Ravens scored 24 points, though all scores came on either field goals or defensive scores as QB Joe Flacco continued to lower the bar for being “elite.” Flacco threw for 180 yards, no touchdowns and a pair of interceptions, one of which was returned for a Bears pick six. The Ravens continue to fiddle with the backfield rotation. In a game which looked to be a Buck Allen game, he was out-touched by Alex Collins, who rushed for 74 yards on 15 carries. Allen did manage 66 total yards, though he was not as involved in the passing game as he needs to be to pay off for fantasy players. WR bust Breshad Perriman failed to catch a pass before he suffered a concussion and left the game. He’s not worthy of a roster spot in seasonal leagues and is only a dynasty league stash. This entire Ravens offense is one to avoid.
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New Orleans- 52
Another week, another frenzied, fourth-quarter comeback from the Lions that once again fell short. The Saints held a 31-10 halftime lead which stretched to 45-10 before the Lions really started playing, scoring 28 unanswered points to put a scare in the host Saints. The game featured a large number of penalties and turnovers, including five from Lions QB Matthew Stafford alone. As usual, Stafford posted huge numbers inside the dome, throwing for 312 yards and three touchdowns, along with his three picks. Lions WRs Golden Tate and Marvin Jones tied for the team lead with 96 receiving yards and each also scored a touchdown, though Tate left the game early with a shoulder injury. The Lions will have a bye next week so hopefully Tate and Stafford, who was dealing with an ankle injury all week, can get healthy. Detroit’s running game was a non-factor in a game in which they trailed big early. Starter Ameer Abdullah rushed 14 times for 54 yards and remains a risky weekly flex option. TE Eric Ebron is not even a consideration for Stafford at this point, catching one of three targets, even though Stafford set a new season-high with 52 pass attempts.
The Saints’ backfield usage was going to be the story no matter what this week after they shipped veteran RB Adrian Peterson off to Arizona, but Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara reminded us why the Saints brass felt secure in that move. Ingram broke his scoreless streak, finding the end zone twice along with 150 total yards. The rookie Kamara totaled 87 scoreless yard as Ingram played the larger role, even in the passing game. It was a down game for the New Orleans passing game, with QB Drew Brees throwing for only 186 yards and two scores, a respectable, but below average game by his standards. Star WR Michael Thomas was held in check, catching three passes for only 11 yards and WR Willie Snead made his season debut after a suspension and injury kept him out of action. He matched Thomas’ 11 yards on just one reception. It was Ted Ginn’s game to shine, catching all four of his targets for 66 yards and a touchdown. TE Coby Fleener was a dud, failing to haul in his only opportunity from Brees.
San Francisco- 24
The Redskins pulled out the home victory in a closer than expected matchup against still winless San Francisco. In another example of a Sunday comeback, the Skins led 14-0 when 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan, facing off against his former employer, benched veteran QB Brian Hoyer and inserted rookie C.J. Beathard into the lineup. That was the spark the team needed as they eventually tied the game at 17 before Washington regained the lead for good in the final period. Beathard was impressive though, throwing for 245 yards and a touchdown, along with an interception. Shanahan announced after the game the QB switch would be permanent and that Beathard would be the team’s starter going forward. RB Carlos Hyde bounced back from what appeared to be a demotion in Week Five to lead the team in backfield touches with 13, compared to just four carries for rookie RB Matt Breida. Hyde rewarded fantasy owners with a pair of touchdowns, but managed just 28 rushing yards on 13 carries. Hyde was at the center of trade rumors over the past few days. Along with Shanahan, it was also a revenge game for former Redskins WR Pierre Garcon, who led the Niners with 12 targets, but only caught five for 55 yards. TE George Kittle once again looked like a solid contributor, posting a 4/46 line on eight looks.
QB Kirk Cousins and his Redskins teammates did just enough to get the victory. Cousins tossed a pair of touchdowns, finding WR Josh Doctson and RB Samaje Perine, and ran in another score. With starting RB Rob Kelley out once again, it was Chris Thompson who took charge, leading the team in rushing (16/33) and receiving (4/105), while Perine rushed nine times for only 23 yards. He looks like a fantasy bust at this early point of his career. The supposed stars of the Redskins passing game continued to disappoint. WRs Terrelle Pryor (3/23) and Jamison Crowder (3/15) and TE Jordan Reed (4/27) are risky fantasy starts moving forward, though Reed’s is mostly injury-related as he recently admitted that he is not 100% healthy. Despite all of his key weapons struggling, outside of pass-catching RB Thompson, Cousins continues to score among the top ten fantasy signal callers.
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New England- 24
NY Jets- 17
The New York Jets continue to overachieve after the team was gutted this past off-season. It says a lot for HC Todd Bowles and the players on this team, but in the end, the defending Super Bowl champions came out victorious. After falling behind 14-0 in the first half, the Patriots came storming back and tied the game by halftime, allowing only three more points the remainder of the game. QB Tom Brady had modest numbers by his standard, posting a 257/2/1 stat line, with both scores going to TE Rob Gronkowski, returning from his one-week absence. Gronk caught six of his team-high ten targets for 83 yards, while WR Brandin Cooks posted a 6/93 line on nine targets from Brady. WR Chris Hogan had a quiet game and missed a few plays after taking a shot to the chest. He caught one pass for 19 yards.
The Jets continue to piece together an offense and produce fantasy-relevant numbers. Veteran QB Josh McCown threw for 354 yards and two scores. The Jets running game was of little consequence as veteran RB Matt Forte and rookie RB Elijah McGuire tied for the team-lead with 22 rushing yards. The Jets pass-catchers made a lot of noise as they tried to upset the Pats. WRs Jermaine Kearse (4/79), Robby Anderson (4/76), Jeremy Kerley (2/61/1), RB Matt Forte (8/59) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (8/46/1) all produced useable fantasy numbers. Outside of ASJ, this group will continue to cancel each other out, making them difficult to use on a weekly basis.
The Jekyll and Hyde Dolphins surprised the Falcons in Atlanta and stole a win after once trailing by 17 points. A comeback of this sort, or really any semblance of offense, was a surprise from the Jay Cutler-led Dolphins, but was aided by the collapse of the Falcons, which is all too familiar. Scoring all 20 points in the second-half, Cutler threw for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns, finding WRs Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills for scores. RB Jay Ajayi also looked more like what we all expected, rushing for 130 yards on 26 carries. With WR DeVante Parker (ankle) out of the lineup, Landry was peppered with 14 targets, catching eight for 62 yards.
The Falcons offense was a total disappointment, scoring all 17 points in the first-half, and then shutting things down. QB Matt Ryan totaled 248 passing yards and a touchdown to practice squad call up WR Marvin Hall. RBs Devonta Freeman (68 yards) and Tevin Coleman (32 yards, one TD) each rushed nine times, so you might think that the pass-catchers carried the team. That wasn’t really the case. With WR Mohamed Sanu out, star WR Julio Jones still totaled just six catches for 72 yards and was out-targeted by TE Austin Hooper (7/48) and WR Taylor Gabriel (4/39). Jones has yet to find the end zone this season and he’s currently the WR30 on the season, pending the completion of Week Six games.
Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson has done it again. For the third consecutive game, Watson threw for three or more touchdowns (the first rookie to ever accomplish this) as Houston cruised to a win over the Browns that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate. Along with those three scores, Watson racked up 225 passing yards and 23 rushing yards as he continues to be one of the huge surprises and top stories of the early season. As expected against a Cleveland defense that focuses on stopping the run, RBs Lamar Miller (15/41) and D’Onta Foreman (12/59) couldn’t get much going. Star WR DeAndre Hopkins once again hooked up with Watson for a touchdown, but other than that, Nuk was checked, catching just two balls for 19 yards. For the third consecutive game, WR Will Fuller found the end zone, totaling two grabs for 62 yards and his fifth touchdown of the season.
There’s not much to say about the Browns offense at this point. They did make a change, giving QB Kevin Hogan his first career start and benching rookie DeShone Kizer. Hogan’s play had fans calling for another QB change, potentially even Cody Kessler, who was among the team’s inactives on Sunday. Hogan threw for 140 yards and a score, along with three interceptions. He did add 36 rushing yards. RB Isaiah Crowell continues to disappoint fantasy players, but quietly had one of his better games this season, rushing for 58 yards on just 12 carries. RB Duke Johnson had been hot of late, but totaled just 39 yards on eight touches.
Green Bay- 10
The story of the day, as mentioned earlier, was the collarbone injury to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who was forced from the game early in the first quarter after what Rodgers appeared to think was a late hit from Vikings defender Anthony Barr. The Packers quickly announced the injury and the likelihood that Rodgers’ season is over. If that is the case, they are left with backup QB Brett Hundley, who understandably struggled in his first shot at extended regular season action. The UCLA product ended the game with 157 passing yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. It is not surprising that the loss of Rodgers impacted the entire offense as the Pack managed just ten points and couldn’t put up a fight against division rival Minnesota. RB Ty Montgomery was back and expected to share carries with rookie RB Aaron Jones. The pair combined for 69 yards on 23 carries. The team’s talented WR trio posted subpar numbers with Rodgers out of the lineup and this is likely what we can expect moving forward. WR Jordy Nelson (6/60) led the team, while WR Davante Adams (5/54/1) caught Hundley’s lone touchdown pass. WR Randall Cobb continues to struggle, catching three passes for 28 yards. We have to wonder how competitive the Pack will be without their leader going forward.
The Vikings cruised on the back of their defense and the continued high-level of play for RB Dalvin Cook’s replacement, Jerick McKinnon, who totaled 99 yards and a pair of scores, despite splitting carries with average at best RB Latavius Murray. QB Sam Bradford once again sat out, as did star WR Stefon Diggs. WR Adam Thielen played the role of top target, catching nine of 13 for 97 scoreless yards. You might not believe this, but WR Laquon Treadwell was a contributor, catching all three targets for 51 yards after WR Michael Floyd left the game with a calf injury.
LA Rams- 27
The Rams traveled across the country and got the win against the Jaguars, doing much of their damage on special teams. RB Todd Gurley got back on track against the Jags, rushing for 116 yards, though it was his involvement in the passing game that made him an elite fantasy asset early in the season. On Sunday, Gurley caught just one pass for four yards. QB Jared Goff and the entire passing game was shut down by the strong Jacksonville defense, totaling just 124 passing yards, 70 of which went to WR Robert Woods. WR Sammy Watkins once again was stopped, catching one ball for 11 yards. You can make a case that Watkins no longer deserves a roster spot in seasonal leagues.
As has been the case all season, the Jags entire offense centered around rookie RB Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 130 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown, before leaving with an ankle injury. Fantasy players feared the worst when Fournette left the game after the non-contact injury, which first appear to be knee-related, but the rookie was soon cleared the return to the game. While the team made the decision to hold him out for the remainder of the game, he appears to be fine for next week’s game against the Colts. QB Blake Bortles was forced to get more involved this week as the Jags tried to hang with the Rams, throwing for 241 yards, one touchdown and one interception. WR Marqise Lee (5/83) and RB Chris Ivory (9/74/1) both saw ten targets on the day.
Tampa Bay- 33
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers visited Arizona Sunday in yet another game that included a huge lead being chipped down to almost nothing. A 24-0 halftime lead for the home team grew to 31-0 before the Bucs scored 20 straight points. The teams the exchanged blows until the Cardinals were finally able to run out the clock and seal the victory. It was a big day for the Arizona offense, headlined by their new RB, veteran Adrian Peterson. The Cardinals acquired AP via trade with New Orleans earlier in the week and the move immediately paid off. Peterson gashed the Bucs defense and ended the game with 134 rushing yards and two scores. AP wasn’t the only “old man” who went off for the Cardinals. QB Carson Palmer had 283 passing yards with three touchdowns and WR Larry Fitzgerald caught 10 of 11 targets for 138 yards and a touchdown. RB Andre Ellington had been a key piece of the pass offense in recent weeks, but with AP playing 48 snaps (more than he’d played all season in New Orleans) the pass-catching back saw just one target, which he failed to catch.
The story for the Bucs centered around the first-quarter shoulder injury suffered by QB Jameis Winston, who tried to stay in the game, but was eventually forced to leave, relieved by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Winston was eventually deemed doubtful to return, which essentially means the player won’t be back, but then he showed up on the sidelines attempting to warm up. Winston never made it back into the game, but this is a good sign of his availability in future weeks. Winston already suggested he expects to play next week against the Bills. Fitzpatrick put up big numbers as the team tried to play catch up, finishing with 290 yards and three scores, along with a pair of picks. The team’s stars all produced, even with Winston missing the majority of the game. WR Mike Evans (3/95/1), TE Cameron Brate (6/76/1) and WR DeSean Jackson (3/38/1) all caught scoring passes from Fitzmagic. The running game was limited due to the early deficit, by Doug Martin still managed 53 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
LA Chargers- 17
A Raiders missed extra point attempt in the fourth-quarter opened the door for the Chargers to win back-to-back games and they did just that, thanks to a game-winning field goal as time expired. The Chargers were once again led by RB Melvin Gordon, who ran 25 times for 83 yards and a touchdown, and also caught nine of his team-high 12 targets for 67 yards and another touchdown. TE Hunter Henry (5/90) led the Chargers in receiving, while WR Keenan Allen caught five passes for 45 yards. First-round pick WR Mike Williams made his NFL debut, catching his only target for 15 yards. I expect to see Williams’s role grow in the coming weeks, possibly at the expense of WR Tyrell Williams.
For the Raiders, QB Derek Carr returned from his one-game absence due to a back injury, throwing for 171 yards, one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. This looked like the ideal matchup for RB Marshawn Lynch, facing a weak Chargers run defense, but the Raiders coaching staff continued to limit Beast Mode’s touches, as he carried 13 times for 63 scoreless yards. It’s no surprise that veteran WR Michael Crabtree continued to serve as the go-to option for Carr, catching six passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Struggling WR Amari Cooper hauled in five of his six passes for 28 yards.
Kansas City- 13
This game was a reminder to expect the unexpected in the NFL. The Steelers, coming off an abysmal performance a week ago, which had QB Ben Roethlisberger doubting himself, traveled to the league’s lone remaining undefeated team. So, of course Big Ben and the Steelers would pounce on the Chiefs to give them their first loss of the year. There was little offensive production as Pittsburgh led 12-3 entering the fourth quarter, before both teams added scores. Roethlisberger, known to struggle on the road, threw for 252 yards and a touchdown and RB Le’Veon Bell was dominant, totaling 191 yards and a touchdown in his best game of the season. After missing all of training camp and pre-season action, Bell now looks like himself six weeks into the season. WR Antonio Brown made an amazing catch and run for a 51-yard score in the fourth quarter, sealing the game. AB posted a 8/155/1 line on the day. Rookie WR Juju Smith-Schuster (3/32) continued to outplay WR Martavis Bryant (3/27) and it was later reported that an unhappy Bryant has requested a trade out of Pittsburgh.
This was by far the worst rushing performance of the season for rookie RB Kareem Hunt, who managed just 21 yards on nine carries. Hunt continues to be an asset in the passing game though and that saved his fantasy day, grabbing five receptions for 89 yards to lead the Chiefs. WR Tyreek Hill (5/34) and TE Travis Kelce (4/37) were held in check for most of the game. Hill took a nasty shot near the sidelines at the end of a punt return and was unable to return for the team’s final possession. Although Hill reportedly did not suffer a concussion, this is still a situation to monitor as the Chiefs play on Thursday in Week Seven.
The day ended with another shocker in the Sunday Night matchup as the previously winless Giants went into Denver and got an easy win. Not only had the G-Men struggled all season, but they were now playing without WRs Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard. The Giants took an early lead on a first-quarter field goal, followed by a touchdown to rookie TE Evan Engram. From there, they leaned heavily on the running game, led by RB Orleans Darkwa, who set a new career-high with 117 rushing yards. The Giants replacement WRs combined for two receptions for 22 yards. The difference might have come on the sidelines as HC Ben McAdoo, riding the hot seat, gave up play-calling duties to his OC Mike Sullivan.
In what appeared to be a smash spot for the Broncos offense, especially RB C.J. Anderson, the entire team disappointed. QB Trevor Siemian ended the game with 376 passing yards and a touchdown, but his first-half performance had some wondering about Paxton Lynch’s injury status. Anderson rushed for only 17 yards on nine carries and things were even worse for the Broncos WRs. Demaryius Thomas was already in the locker room having his leg injury checked when Emmanuel Sanders took a nasty hit and immediately grasped his ankle. He was unable to put any weight on his foot and was quickly carted off for x-rays, which were negative. Sanders will undergo an MRI later today, but it won’t be a surprise if he misses time. The good news is Thomas was able to return and saw a heavy load of targets, catching ten of 14 looks for 133 yards. RB Devontae Booker also played a role in the passing game, which could be notable if Sanders is out. Booker caught four passes for 78 yards.
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