For the third straight game, the Ravens used the strength of their defense and the running ability of rookie QB Lamar Jackson to get the win, keeping them in the playoff hunt. The Ravens Defense scored on a strip/sack of Falcons QB Matt Ryan and held the quarterback to only 131 passing yards for the game. The Falcons running game wasn’t any better as RBs Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith combined to rush 13 times for 30 yards. Falcons WR Julio Jones caught only two passes for 18 yards, his lowest yardage in a game since Week Three of the 2016 season. Given the limited offensive output, it is no surprise that WRs Calvin Ridley (3/22) and Mohamed Sanu (3/37) also disappointed. TE Austin Hooper led the team with 44 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
Jackson showed his limitations in the passing game, throwing for 125 scoreless yards but he also added 75 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Jackson left the game for a time in the second half to be checked for a concussion but was cleared to return. Rookie RB Gus Edwards couldn’t continue his 100-yard game streak but did lead the team with 82 rushing yards. RB Kenneth Dixon returned to the field from the injured reserve list and totaled 43 yards while the team played without RB Alex Collins, who was placed on the IR list. With Jackson in the field, it is impossible to trust any Baltimore pass-catchers but rookie TE Mark Andrews (3/47) did lead the team in receiving for the second straight week. With Jackson making plays and the team winning, the Ravens' coaching staff has a huge decision to make this week as veteran QB Joe Flacco is expected to be healthy enough to play.
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Things went from bad to worse for the Cincinnati Bengals, who lost QB Andy Dalton last week with a thumb injury. In this game, the Bengals welcomed WR A.J. Green back after a three-game absence only to see him go down again with a foot injury. Green needed to be carted off the field and was spotted with his head in his hands in despair. Last week, Cincy was quick to send Dalton to the season-ending injured reserve list and we could see the same for Green as the Bengals clearly know the season is all but over. Pre-game rumors put HC Marvin Lewis on the hot seat, which should be no surprise given he was nearly fired following last season.
The Broncos leaned heavily on rookie RB Phillip Lindsay, who set a new career-high with 157 rushing yards and scored twice, including a 65-yarder. WR Emmanuel Sanders flopped with only 19 yards on four catches while rookie WR Courtland Sutton posted a 4/85/1 line.
QB Jeff Driskel made his first start for the Bengals and passed for 236 yards and a touchdown, often looking for WR Tyler Boyd, who caught six passes for 97 yards. RB Joe Mixon totaled 95 scoreless yards.
Los Angeles Rams- 30
The Rams got off to a sluggish start in this game, facing the Lions in Detroit. By the end though, they had a comfortable win and became the first team to clinch their division. The Rams passing game was held in check early and never truly hit their stride but did enough to get the win, thanks in part to mistakes by the Lions. QB Jared Goff passed for a modest 207 yards and one touchdown while WR Brandin Cooks became the first player in NFL history to record three 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career with three separate franchises. Cooks caught four passes for 62 yards while WR Robert Woods (5/67/1) led the team. RB Todd Gurley finished with 165 total yards and two scores. He almost settled for one touchdown though as Gurley gave himself up near the goal line late in the game instead of taking it in for the easy touchdown. A couple of plays later, Gurley was in and the Rams had a comfortable lead.
The Lions played without RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) as well as recently IRed WR Marvin Jones (knee) and their offense struggled. QB Matthew Stafford was viewed as a solid fantasy option this week as he’d likely be forced to throw the ball a ton to keep up with the Rams. Stafford ended with 245 passing yards and one touchdown, yet another game outside of the top 12 fantasy QBs for the week. WR Kenny Golladay caught only three passes for 50 yards while TE Levine Toilolo actually led the team with 90 yards on four grabs.
Green Bay- 17
Many fantasy players and NFL fans questioned the betting line in this game, which saw the home team Packers favored by as much as two touchdowns against the Cardinals. The Cardinals have struggled this season, were on the road and are still working through the kinks of a new offensive play caller. All of those things make Arizona’s win even more impressive. Prior to the game, reports suggested the Cardinals could be playing with HC Steve Wilks’ job on the line. Instead, on QB Aaron Rodgers’ birthday, it was longtime Packers HC Mike McCarthy who is now out of a job. Green Bay had a chance to send the game to overtime, but K Mason Crosby missed a 49-yard field goal as time expired. Most had assumed even before this game that McCarthy would be out of a job but the timing, axing a Super Bowl-winning head coach with a month left in the season, was a shocker. The Packers named OC Joe Philbin as the interim head coach.
The Packers Offense was an overall disappointment in this game with Rodgers throwing for 233 yards and a touchdown while RB Aaron Jones saw his recent hot streak come crashing to a halt. He finished with 52 total yards and a touchdown and basically split snaps down the middle with backup RB Jamaal Williams. Jones’ usage has been a point of frustration from fans and fantasy players when it comes to McCarthy. His departure could signal good things to come for Jones. WR Davante Adams led the team with 93 yards on eight catches, along with a touchdown. TE Jimmy Graham caught eight balls for 50 yards and WR Randall Cobb (3/25) returned to the field after missing multiple games with a hamstring injury.
The Cardinals rookies led the way in this game with WR Christian Kirk caught three passes for 54 yards and RB Chase Edmonds rushed for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie QB Josh Rosen continued to struggle to post big numbers, passing for a scoreless 149 yards. RB David Johnson totaled 72 yards from scrimmage while WR Larry Fitzgerald posted a 3/48 line.
One of the hottest teams in the NFL stayed that way as the Texans won their ninth straight game, cruising over the Jekyll and Hyde Browns. The Texans Defense carried them early as Browns QB Baker Mayfield tossed three first-half interceptions and Houston built a 23-0 halftime lead. Even as the Browns attempted a second-half comeback, the mistakes continued. WR Antonio Callaway had a long touchdown pass called back due to a holding penalty and then a couple plays later, Callaway was walking into the end zone when he had the ball stripped from his hands. It was recovered by the Texans.
This was yet another team effort by the Texans, who lost three straight to open the season before beginning their current winning streak. QB Deshaun Watson threw for 224 passing yards and one touchdown and RB Lamar Miller rushed for 103 yards, the fifth time in his past six games he’s eclipsed 100 yards from scrimmage. WR DeAndre Hopkins caught seven passes for 91 yards while veteran WR Demaryius Thomas flopped with a 3/32 line.
Along with his trio of picks, Mayfield ended with 397 passing yards and a touchdown as Cleveland was in catch up mode all game long. WR Jarvis Landry had his best statistical performance in weeks, catching six of nine targets for 103 yards. RB Nick Chubb only saw nine carries but ended with a respectable 72 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. TE David Njoku had a disappointing eight yards on three receptions.
No one expected this. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who benched QB Blake Bortles in favor of QB Cody Kessler after another frustrating loss last week, shut out the high-powered Colts and came away with a 6-0 win, ending their nearly two month long losing streak. Of course, the Jags became known for their defense, but it has struggled this season.
As you can tell from the score, there was little to see here for fantasy players. Kessler passed for 150 scoreless yards while RB Carlos Hyde totaled 37 yards. The Jags played without starting RB Leonard Fournette, who was suspended for one game after last week’s scuffle with the Bills. RB T.J. Yeldon totaled 65 yards from scrimmage, leading the team in receiving.
QB Andrew Luck threw for 248 yards and no touchdowns, the first time he hasn’t thrown a scoring pass in a game since Week 15 of the 2014 season. As expected with TE Jack Doyle done for the year, TE Eric Ebron was targeted early and often, ending with 16 looks, catching 10 of those for 81 yards. WR T.Y. Hilton caught eight balls for 77 yards while rookie RB Nyheim Hines posted a 9/50 line as a receiver. RB Marlon Mack got nothing going, rushing for only 27 yards.
A pair of commonly disrespected quarterbacks had big statistical games as the Dolphins came from behind to defeat the Bills. The two teams traded scores throughout the game until the Bills fell just short late in the game. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill tossed three touchdown passes, the second time he’s done that this season. WRs Kenny Stills (4/37/1) and DeVante Parker (4/43/1) have each struggled through most of the season but came up big in this game and RB Kenyan Drake continues to be featured as the team’s primary offensive weapons anytime Tannehill is on the field. Drake only totaled 44 yards from scrimmage in the game but that was enough to lead the team in rushing and he also caught a scoring pass from Tannehill.
Fantasy players have gotten caught up in the rushing ability of Ravens rookie QB Lamar Jackson and might not have noticed what fellow rookie QB Josh Allen has done. A week after he led the team with 99 rushing yards, which helped make him a top-five fantasy quarterback for the week, Allen bested that with 135 rushing yards on just nine carries. Entering Monday Night Football, Allen is the QB2 for the week. It is time to start taking Allen seriously as a fantasy option.
A lot of Allen’s rushing upside comes thanks to the continued struggles of veteran RB LeSean McCoy, who rushed 15 times for only 52 yards. That gives McCoy 478 rushing yards on the season compared to 234 in the past two weeks for his quarterback. WR Zay Jones has shown a massive ceiling along with a low-level floor when it comes to his fantasy numbers. Jones was the WR7 overall in Week 10 only to fail to even record a catch last week. He was back to “good Zay” this week, catching four passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns. He nearly added a third late in the game.
New York Giants- 30
In a week in which reports suggested Giants veteran QB Eli Manning could return as the team’s 2019 starter, the team also made rookie QB Kyle Lauletta active for the first time this season. That sparked rumors that Manning could be on a short leash in this game. The Giants got out to an early lead thanks to their defense and we never saw the rookie. The teams traded scores much of the game but it looked like the victory was safe when the Giants took a 10-point lead with under two minutes. It was not. The Bears accomplished what so many teams try when they kicked the field goal, recovered their own onside kick and then scored to the touchdown to send it to overtime. A Giants field goal in overtime held up and New York won their third game over the past four.
The Giants and Bears each made good use of their best playmaker in multiple ways. Bears RB Tarik Cohen was set new career-highs with 14 targets, 12 receptions and 156 receiving yards. He also added 30 rushing yards and most importantly, the game-tying touchdown as he threw the ball to WR Anthony Miller. The Giants also let their best player throw the ball when WR Odell Beckham threw his second touchdown pass of the season, a 49-yarder to WR Russell Shepard. Both OBJ TD passes have traveled at least 49 yards, making him one of 17 “passers” to do that this season. Beckham also caught three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown, though he needed nine targets to hit these numbers.
Manning finished with 170 passing yards and one touchdown, along with an interception. RB Saquon Barkley had another huge game, which we’ve already come to expect. He rushed for 125 yards and add three grabs for 21 yards but didn’t find the end zone for the first time in three weeks. The Giants played without TE Evan Engram, who sat out after injuring his hamstring in Week 12 pre-game warmups.
The Bears were missing their QB Mitchell Trubisky once again but the play of backup QB Chase Daniel really shined a light on the offensive game plan and mind of HC Matt Nagy. Daniel passed for 285 yards and a touchdown but did throw two picks. The Bears tried to establish the run, giving RB Jordan Howard 16 carries, which he turned into 76 scoreless yards. WR Allen Robinson caught five passes for 79 yards while TE Trey Burton failed to haul in his only target of the game, giving fantasy players an untimely goose egg.
Tampa Bay- 24
The Panthers struggles continued against NFC South foe Tampa Bay and although Carolina and QB Cam Newton had multiple chances to tie the game, they squandered them all, committing multiple turnovers. The Bucs were in command all game long but could never put the Panthers away. Carolina even had a Hail Mary chance to tie the game as time expired. Interestingly, the team sent in backup QB Taylor Heinicke to throw that 50+ yard pass that ultimately fell incomplete. That could be a bad sign for Newton’s shoulder. Ultimately, Newton tossed four interceptions and was sacked a matching four times and that was the difference in the game.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston once again protected the ball, throwing no picks, two touchdowns and 249 yards. The quarterback also led the team with 48 rushing yards, while RB Peyton Barber managed just 48 yards but did score a short touchdown. Tampa Bay played without veteran WR DeSean Jackson, offering more snaps and targets for WR Chris Godwin (5/101/1) and slot man Adam Humphries (7/61/1) and both responded well. WR Mike Evans was somewhat quiet, catching four passes for 48 yards.
Although Newton played poorly and took the blame for the loss, his fantasy numbers ended up in a good place. He threw for 300 yards and two scores and also added 33 rushing yards. RB Christian McCaffrey totaled 161 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown and that somehow felt like a letdown after his unreal Week 12 performance.
Carolina continues to shift their wideout responsibilities with WR Curtis Samuel (6/88) leading the team with 11 targets. Rookie WR D.J. Moore caught four passes for 44 yards while WR Devin Funchess returned to the lineup but only managed one catch for 10 yards.
Perhaps worse than the loss, the team’s fourth straight, was the injury suffered by veteran TE Greg Olsen. He was spotted limping from the field with an apparent foot injury after catching just one pass and it was later confirmed that Olsen would miss the remainder of the year. Considering Olsen’s reported considerations regarding retirement, there is a real chance we’ve seen the last of Olsen in an NFL uniform. Playing in his place, rookie TE Ian Thomas caught all five targets for 46 yards.
San Francisco- 16
This was a blowout from the start though it did feature some interesting passing numbers from Seattle QB Russell Wilson as he picked apart the 49ers defense. In the first half, Wilson only completed four passes but three of those went for touchdowns and his team had a 20-3 lead. That trend continued after the break and Wilson ended with 185 passing yards and four scores, completing just 11 passes. Wilson got all of his receivers in on the fun. WR Tyler Lockett only caught one pass but it went for a 52-yard score. It’s a similar story for WR Doug Baldwin, catching two balls for 22 yards and a touchdown. WR Jaron Brown (3/67/2) led the team.
Both teams dealt with injuries in the backfield. Seattle RB Chris Carson totaled 108 yards before leaving with a hand injury. 49ers RB Matt Breida has dealt with various injuries all year and it finally seemed to catch up to him. He played sparingly as the Niners used RB Jeff Wilson extensively. He totaled 134 yards and becomes one of the top waiver wire adds of the week. Rookie WR Dante Pettis continued his hot streak from last week, catching five passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. QB Nick Mullens passed for 414 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort. TE George Kittle finished with a 6/70/0 line.
New England- 24
One of the marquee games of the day was a bit more one-sided than many expected as the Patriots controlled this home game from the start and got a big win to stay in the race for a playoff bye. The Pats took a 10-7 lead into halftime and then extended that lead with a pair of second-half touchdowns, while the Vikings Offense sputtered.
Patriots QB Tom Brady eclipsed 1,000 career rushing yards and posted one of his better fantasy stat lines of the season, throwing for 311 yards and a touchdown. New England focused on establishing their running game, leaning on rookie RB Sony Michel, who gained 63 yards on 17 carries. Three others, including WR Julian Edelman and recently-activated RB Rex Burkhead, rushed for 20 yards or more. RB James White bounced back after a pair of poor games and led the team in receiving, totaling 118 yards from scrimmage. WR Josh Gordon caught three passes for 58 yards and a score but TE Rob Gronkowski’s 3/26 was a letdown.
QB Kirk Cousins of the Vikings passed for 201 yards and a touchdown, along with a pair of picks. RB Dalvin Cook posted 106 yards from scrimmage and WR Stefon Diggs caught all five of his targets for 49 yards. WR Adam Thielen caught five passes as well, good for 28 yards and a touchdown and he even got into a shouting match with Patriots HC Bill Belichick before the two were separated by officials.
New York Jets- 22
The visiting New York Jets got off to a great start, at one point building a 16-0 lead over the host Titans but it would not stand. New York’s defense and special teams kept them in the game and in the lead for almost the entire time until there were 36 seconds left, that is. Titans QB Marcus Mariota found WR Corey Davis for an 11-yard go-ahead touchdown and the Titans’ comeback was complete.
The Jets were without rookie QB Sam Darnold, once again starting veteran QB Josh McCown, who threw for 128 yards and no scores. RB Isaiah Crowell had his best game in a while, totaling 107 yards while WR Robby Anderson led the Jets with 48 yards on four receptions.
The Titans had a bit more to be excited about on offense, but not much. Mariota threw for 282 yards and two scores and also led the team with 42 rushing yards. That’s obviously not good news for RBs Derrick Henry, who totaled 45 yards and a score, and RB Dion Lewis and his 34 yards from scrimmage. WR Corey Davis caught three of his seven opportunities for 42 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
Kansas City- 40
Obviously, this game was under the league’s microscope, not only because the Chiefs are one of the most exciting offenses we’ve seen in years but also due to the off-field issues culminating in the release of starting RB Kareem Hunt late last week. The offense didn’t really miss a beat, posting 40 points for the fifth time this season, though the running game was subpar for Kansas City. The Chiefs have to be worried about their defense, which gave up 33 points to the struggling Raiders and allowed the AFC West foe to stay in the game throughout. That defense did recover three fumbles by Oakland running backs in the game.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes put on a show, as usual, passing for 295 yards and four touchdowns. He even led the team with 52 rushing yards. While we’ve known Mahomes has the ability to help his team as a runner, he hasn’t needed to. This situation with Hunt could force Mahomes to run the ball even more, giving the quarterback even more fantasy upside on a weekly basis. It was a TE Travis Kelce game as he caught 12 of his 13 targets for 168 yards and two scores. Kelce nearly had a third touchdown, but it was reversed on a replay. WR Tyreek Hill had a down game, catching just one of six looks for 13 yards though he did add 37 rushing yards. As the Hunt news broke Friday night, fantasy players flocked to their league waiver wires to add new KC starting RB Spencer Ware, who rushed for over 900 yards in 2016. He struggled in his first start of the year, totaling 52 yards and a touchdown.
Oakland was led by veteran TE Jared Cook, who caught seven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. QB Derek Carr enjoyed his best game in weeks, throwing three touchdowns along with 285 passing yards and no interceptions. RB Jalen Richard totaled 126 yards from scrimmage and RB Doug Martin rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Los Angeles Chargers- 33
After building a comfortable 23-7 halftime lead, the Steelers seemed to be in control and on their way to a big Sunday night win. Chargers QB Philip Rivers and WR Keenan Allen had other plans. The Chargers roared back with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns before they got a game-winning kick with no time remaining on the clock. Almost to ensure the Chargers victory, the Steelers defenders committed multiple offsides penalties on the final kick attempt.
The Chargers played without star RB Melvin Gordon but the duo of rookie RB Justin Jackson and RB Austin Ekeler filled in well. Jackson totaled 82 yards and a touchdown while Ekeler added 43 yards. Ekeler saw the most carries but was unable to produce before the team turned to Jackson in the second half. Allen led the way with a monster 14/148/1 stat line on 19 targets. That ties multiple other receivers for the most targets in a game this year.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger had something going early with WR Antonio Brown but the Chargers adjusted at the break and Brown finished with a 10/154/1 line, most of that coming before the intermission. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster added six grabs for 49 yards. Perhaps even more costly than the loss in the standings was the departure of RB James Conner, who totaled 74 yards and two scores before leaving for the locker room late in the game. HC Mike Tomlin called the injury a contusion but Dr. David Chao says there is reason to be concerned that the injury is a high-ankle sprain, which could end Conner’s regular season.