Another week mostly in the books, filled with stars who stepped up and stars who flopped. As I sit here hoping that A.J. Green is held to a certain total tonight, no thanks to a rough game from Zach Ertz, I try to remind myself that these games are way more important to the people out there risking their health and livelihood than to me sitting at my laptop. It calms me a little. 'Tis the season for forgiveness. Hope you're OK, Zach.
Viking at Falcons: Sat Matt Ryan and glad, obviously. Vikings defense is really good. Falcons not bad either, with the result being not a lot of production from the big names started in most leagues. Matchups matter. Sometimes you get the touchdowns and it's OK (Jerick McKinnon, Kyle Rudolph), sometimes you just wish you'd started someone else. Not really sure how anybody could have benched Julio Jones, but in retrospect, we all should have. Next time someone yells don't bench your studs at you, remember this game.
Lions at Ravens: So the Ravens defense is really good. Shut out the Lions for a half; shut out Marvin Jones for a while too. Lions came back to make things interesting, but Baltimore pulled away and knocked Stafford out of the game with a hand injury. Joe Flacco and Mike Wallace played well, so did Alex Collins, definitely earning the team's trust of late. One-dimensional on offense seems to only take the Lions so far. Tion Green filled in at running back with some production, so maybe he's worth an add this week; will see what the team has to say about Abdullah.
Patriots at Bills: Bills were pretty competitive in this one, at times. Marched down the field to start the game, only to throw an end-zone pick. Both quarterbacks got knocked around some in this game (and Tom Brady yelling at Josh McDaniels for something or other, I think we know who will win that disagreement). Big game for Burkhead, as anticipated, not as big for New England's passing game. Tyrod Taylor knocked out late with a knee injury. Nice game for Stephen Gostkowski, kickers are people too. Bizarre cheap shot late by Rob Gronkowski. Definitely a fine coming. Suspension? Who ever really knows with the league.
49ers at Bears: Hey, Robbie Gould comes back to haunt the Bears. I guess that's what they get for dumping him (also not having good kickers ever since). Solid game for Jimmy Garoppolo, who I guess will start the rest of the season. Lousy game for Jordan Howard, in part because San Francisco ran twice as many plays and Howard got only 13 carries. Awesome punt return score by Tarik Cohen, one of those plays where you're like "what is he doing...what is he ....oh, nice return." Nice games from the only receivers anyone should have been using: Goodwin, Inman, Taylor.
Bucs at Packers: Another good game. Surprising in that Aaron Jones ended up scoring the game-winning touchdown, but Jamaal Williams had a big game anyway. Downside, Brett Hundley and the passing game did zip. Packers 6-6 and in Cleveland next week. Too bad Minnesota is running away with the NFC North, but Green Bay still on outskirts of playoff chase. Very good game from Jameis Winston, though, and Cameron Brate back to life with Winston playing. Not so good from the wideouts. Peyton Barber the best running back performance from a Buc all season. Gotta think he keeps that job next week. Maybe?
Colts at Jaguars: About as expected. Good numbers from Jaguars you should have been starting, Lee and Fournette and the defense. Lambo and DeDe Westbrook in PPR, too. If you were bold or crazy enough to start T.Y. Hilton, he got you a fourth-down touchdown, so there's the counter-argument for the don't bench your studs crowd I guess.
Broncos at Dolphins: Dolphins controlled this one with big defensive plays and a big game from Kenyan Drake, who I believe I dropped in dynasty a while back, ugh. Broncos have pretty much fallen apart in every which way, and I saw speculation yesterday that maybe it'd be just one year for Vance Joseph. Decent game for C.J. Anderson, surprisingly. Julius Thomas scoring against his former team. And a weird moment where Adam Gase called for an onside kick with his team up 33-9 in the fourth quarter. Not interested enough to find out what his beef is with his former employer, but man, that's kind of uncool.
Kansas City at Jets: At the risk of talking about my own team, I was facing Alex Smith and Travis Kelce in a league championship game. So tough to watch them connect on a couple of touchdowns in the first 7 minutes of the game. Smith had what would have been the game of his life (including a 70-yard run, of all things) had it not been for the first few games of the season. But he played great and the Jets, with no pass rush and some coverage issues on Kelce and Tyreek Hill, were huge. Kareem Hunt: disappointing again! Sorry, hope he didn't cost you big. Changing play callers not a boon to Hunt.
Texans at Titans: The Titans are 8-4, but is there a less helpful team to fantasy teams? They never do quite as much as it seems they should. But the defense did OK, and then Derrick Henry broke a long touchdown run late. Not enough from Murray or the passing game, natch, just a Delanie Walker TD. Most noteworthy item from the Texans was Bruce Ellington, in line for a good game against a soft pass defense, getting hurt on his first catch of the game and being sidelined, freeing up the team's other receiver after DeAndre Hopkins to get some useless production because nobody started them.
Browns at Chargers: Scary moment early where a Browns linemen dove on the back of Philip Rivers' ankle. Scary for the Chargers, their fans, everyone who started Rivers in every single league, like me. Rivers looked to be in pain but shook it off, and although he only threw the 1 TD, yards and a solid fantasy game were there, both for him and Keenan Allen. The other story in this game was Josh Gordon, who didn't look like he missed any time at all while catching 4 balls for 85 yards against a really tough secondary. Negative for Corey Coleman, of course, who got shut out. Start Gordon with confidence against Green Bay next week.
Panthers at Saints: You kind of have to love watching the Saints play. Not only are there fantasy stars all over the place, but it's just kind of amazing what Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are doing for the Saints right now. Kamara is a terror; defenses look incapable of tackling him and every time he touches it you think he can score. Ingram is a step back but he looks great most of the time, too. That was a good Panthers run defense they were all over, too. For three quarters if you had Devin Funchess you were cursing, but he finally made an impact late. Saints look like they're going to clobber the Falcons next week.
Rams at Cardinals: Ho hum, Rams win again. Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp didn't score, but put up decent production. Larry Fitzgerald had another huge game, sadly he's about the only reason to watch the Cardinals right now. This year the Rams scoring 32 points is workmanlike. What a turnaround.
Giants at Raiders: The big thing with Geno Smith, year after year and game after game, is a lack of pocket awareness. Now granted, the guy hasn't played for a while. But that kind of thing isn't going to change, probably because it hasn't. But it probably really isn't about Smith, I just don't care for the Eli Manning benching. Evan Engram had a big game, Sterling Shepard basically one big play. Once we find out who the quarterback is next week, it will be easier to figure out which receiver should be better. With the Raiders, I guess I have to give Derek Carr a pass because he didn't have either of his starting wideouts. But Oakland doesn't look good. Jared Cook disappointed, unsurprisingly.
Eagles at Seahawks: Looked like the Eagles got a little cute in this game and it cost them. Seattle missing half its secondary but Philadelphia came out trying to run it. Carson Wentz finished with big yardage numbers thanks to a few sick throws, but it took a long time to get going and it was too late. Frustrating, lengthy review that (correctly, I guess) took a touchdown away from Doug Baldwin, although I still think the officials messed up the spot. Russell Wilson was great, Wentz was good ultimately, Ertz disappointed before leaving with a concussion. Seahawks being a 5-6 point underdog at home looked crazy from the get-go.
Monday, Monday: So tonight I've got one league that needs a not-big game from A.J. Green against me, and one that needs a not-big game from Antonio Brown against me. The Brown league might be over quickly if he's inactive; my opponent left himself with no one to sub in. I'm thinking/fearing Green might have a big game, with Pittsburgh's secondary vulnerable these days. As for wins and losses, even though Pittsburgh isn't as good on the road it's tough for me to bet on the Bengals winning an important game over the Steelers. Steelers 24, Bengals 23.