The 3M Report: Week Five

Mo Brewington

Welcome to the 3M report for week five. A look back on all the magic, mayhem, and mishaps from the weekend’s games.

Cardinals @ 49ers

Week five kicked off with two coaches who are typically associated with potent offensive attacks. Instead of coming out with both guns blazing, Bruce Arians and Chip Kelly tried to set football back eight decades. Their quarterbacks put on a repulsive passing exhibition in a game where the wide receivers looked more like defensive backs and the d-backs looked like wideouts. Still, the first half featured a touchdown pass by both, Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert and the teams went into the locker room tied 7-7.

In the second half, after most of viewers retreated to their beds, the fireworks began. Both teams got wise and turned to their running games to move the football. The Cards rode David Johnson, who finished with 157 yards on the ground and another 28 through the air. Carlos Hyde had 114 combined yards with a one yard touchdown to draw the Niners within seven points of a tie, but the Cards pulled away, winning the game 33-21.

Johnson’s rushing total marked the league’s best single game effort this season. He has quieted the doubters with one of the most consistently dominant performances of any runner in fantasy football. For the Niners, there are rumors that the locker room is calling for Christian Ponder to take the reins at quarterback. If true, it might be time for the league to drug test the entire team.

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Patriots @ Browns

Fantasy owners and Patriots fans alike were, eh-em, pumped up to see number 12 back under center for New England. With fantasy stalwarts like Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Martellus Bennett living exile for the first month of the season, Tom Brady’s return signaled a restart to the season for many owners whose scoring output has been in the dumps. Making this reunion even more joyous, the Pats were up against the lowly Browns. Let the track meet begin.

Brady and Company did not disappoint. The QB’s 406 passing yards were spread amongst seven Patriots’ pass catchers. The Patriots’ deadly “dual tight end” scheme was back in effect as Bennett hauled in three TDs and Gronk rumbled for 107 yards. The player fantasy owners need to get behind quickly is Chris Hogan. It didn’t take a genius to realize Hogan’s size advantage over Edelman and Danny Amendola, as well as his sure hands, would make him a favorite target of Brady’s. Hogan accounted 114 of the QB’s yards on a mere four receptions. This will be a theme all year long.

The Browns lost another QB, as Cody Kessler sustained an injury to his chest/rib area in the first quarter. Kessler went 5 of 8 with a TD to Andrew Hawkins before heading off to the x-ray room. Isaiah Crowell was held to 22 yards on 13 rushes, while Gary Barnidge went for 5-76 receiving. The Browns now turn to turn to “Clipboard Jesus”, a.k.a. Charlie Whitehurst to shepherd them into the desert, (better known as Nashville,) until Kessler can return to action.

Texans @ Vikings

The Texans opened with one of their linebackers booting the game’s opening kickoff to the
Vikings. If things continue on their current trajectory, they may try ask him to try his hand at quarterback next. Brock Osweiler broke his promise to stop throwing interceptions and was completely taken out of his game by the Vikings’ defense. The “Purple People Eaters” dominated another opponent in all phases of the game. Houston’s leading receiver was tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz with four grabs for 61 yards. Lamar Miller was held to a paltry 20 yards rushing.

The name that will be leaping off the waiver wire this week is receiver Adam Thielen. The special teams ace saw a bump in targets due to Stefon Diggs inactive status and turned in a 7/127/1 stat line. Thielen’s rise had been rumored this preseason and this showing may have put him on the flex radar. Despite sharing snaps with Matt “The TD Vulture” Asiata, Jerick McKinnon still managed 20 carries on the day, with his first two carries going for seven and eight yards, respectively. That was the good news. McKinnon’s next 18 carries went for a measly 21 yards…total. How hard would you have laughed if someone told you the Vikings would lose Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson, Matt Kalil, Andre Smith, and Sheriff Floyd and still head into week seven unbeaten? By the way, there was a report that Laquon Treadwell, who’s been in witness protection since mid-summer, was spotted at a “Meat Raffle” outside of Fergus Falls. Vikings officials couldn’t be reached for confirmation.

staffordEagles @ Lions

The undefeated Eagles went to Motown and fell promptly into a Lion trap. Coming off of their week four bye, the Birds allowed Matt Stafford and Theo Riddick to get off to torrid start. Philly was down 21-10 at the half after Riddick scored two TDs in the first 30 minutes of play. Marvin Jones also continued his scoring ways with a one yard TD catch. Stafford finished with 180 yards passing and three TDs.

The Eagles played well in the second half, leveraging three Caleb Sturgis field goals and a one yard TD from Josh Huff into a two-point fourth quarter lead. Strangely enough, there were four one yard touchdown passes in this game, two of which were caught by running backs, which lessened the blow to fantasy owners who hate getting snaked by teams passing inside the two-yard line. Ryan Matthews coughed up the ball in Eagles’ territory, on a third down run, in the final three minutes. Detroit capitalized with a Matt Prater field goal to reclaim the lead. Carson Wentz had a chance to pull of his first fourth quarter comeback. Instead, he threw his first interception, while trying to get the Birds into field goal range. Wentz’s 60 yard bomb to Nelson Agholor was picked off by the Lions’ Darius Slay to end the game and the Birds’ hopes of remaining undefeated.

The Eagles’ offensive weapons will frustrate fantasy owners all year long. The distribution of the football has been so equitable among their top players that the only chance they have of posting a worthy fantasy point total is to add a touchdown to their stats. Aside from Riddick and Jones, the Lions weapons were mostly silent. Golden Tate and Zach Zenner continued their woeful 2016 campaigns.

Jets @ Steelers

The Steelers are rounding into form with 19 point win over the Jets. Sammie Coates had his best game as a pro, posting a 6/132/2 stat line. The bullies, as usual, were Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, who reeled in nine passes each. Bell failed to reach the endzone, but tallied 154 total yards. Vince Williams continued to impress in place of the injured Ryan Shazier. Williams had a sack and eight tackles, continuing to make a case for extended playing time once Shazier returns to action.

The Jets’ only fantasy star was Brandon Marshall, who went for 8/114/1. Ryan Fitzpatrick managed not to connect with any Steelers’ defenders, after throwing nine picks in his last two games. Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson did little to help replace Eric Decker. Austin Seferian-Jenkins saw his first action for New York, but had just two catches for 17 yards.

Bears @ Colts

Brian Hoyer is taking control in his audition for the Bear’s QB job. Hoyer went 33 of 43, for 397 yards and 2 TDs in a performance that may have locked him in as Chicago’s starter for the remainder of 2016. Cameron Meredith erased much of the excitement from his 9/130/1 receiving day with a late fumble to give the Colts the ball and eventually the win.

Indy got another monster day from T.Y. Hilton. The receiver put up 170 yards through the air, including a 35 yard TD pass from Andrew Luck to give Indy the victory with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Colts’ Dwayne Allen was Indy’s tight end of record Sunday, with a six catch 50 yard effort, topped off with a  one yard touchdown.

The player who keeps turning heads is Jordan Howard. Howard continued his rise from third stringer to RB1 as he perforated the Colts’ defense for 118 rushing yards, with another 45 yards as a receiver. Howard, in his second straight 100 yard rushing day, would also score a TD, further distancing himself from the injured Jeremy Langford.

Falcons @ Broncos

Realizing that sitting Julio Jones is a fool’s errand, how many of us were tempted to do just that this week? After seeing Julio’s woeful two catch, 29 yard receiving day, how many of us wish we had? Facing Denver’s Aqib Talib, many owners feared shooting themselves in the foot by starting Julio against one of the NFL’s true lockdown corners. Let this be a lesson in following thine instincts!

On the flip side of the coin, how many also thought Tevin Coleman was best left on the bench in light of facing the Broncos’ defense while battling complications from his Sickle Cell disorder? Shame on those of us, (me) who sat Coleman and missed out on an uber-efficient four catch, 132 receiving yard gem, with a TD to boot.

Atlanta surprised many with how easily they handled the Trevor Siemian-less Broncos. Devonta Freeman got it done on the ground, pounding out 88 yards and a score. While Vic Beasley went berserk (3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and seven tackles) for the Falcons defense, which was playing without it’s its entire starting linebacker corp. Siemian is expected back for the Broncos’ Thursday night tilt with the Chargers, which is a good sign for owners of all Denver offensive weapons.

Bengals @ Cowboys

You’ll hear plenty of praise and accolades for the Cowboys this week, so we’ll give you break in this post. Yes, the showing of Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott has certainly been impressive, but the story here is the fall of the Cincinnati Bengals. This game was massacre. The Cowboys went up 28-0 before the Bengals could find the endzone. A.J. Green got a heaping helping of Morris Claiborne, who is suddenly playing out of his mind. The star wideout was held to four catches for 50 yards. Reports of a chest injury to Jeremy Hill were written off all week long, until the Bengals lined up for their first drive of the day with Gio Bernard in the backfield. Gio padded his 50 yards on the ground with another 46 through the air on six catches. Hill aggravated his injury early in the third quarter and did not return. He will be on the practice watchlist this week.

Cincinnati has dug themselves a 1-4 hole to climb out of, in a division where the Steelers are primed to run away with the prize. The organization has shown so much patience with both Andy Dalton and head coach Marvin Lewis, you wonder when they finally say enough is enough and call up A.J. McCarron just to try and swing the mojo.

Chargers @ Raiderscooper

All four of the Chargers losses have been by less than a touchdown this season. Philip Rivers has played admirably as he tries to will this team to victory, despite three of his top four receiving targets being lost for the year. This week, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin tied for the team lead with 117 receiving yards, but Williams got the edge by pulling down a touchdown. Hunter Henry had another impressive outing with his 3/74/1 stat line. Last week’s waiver wire wonder, Dontrelle Inman, fell off the map, catching a single pass for three yards and frustrating owners who hoped Inman might help them survive the bye.

Derek Carr committed the cardinal sin of throwing an INT to a defensive lineman on the game’s first drive, but  went on toss Amari Cooper his first TD of 2016. Cooper had his best game of the year, adding 138 receiving yards and 6 catches to his total. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard failed to have the breakout game many had hoped for with Latavius Murray on the bench, suffering from turf toe. With 14 touches a piece, the edge went to Richard, who caught six balls, for 66 yards and finished with the higher output of the pair.

Titans @ Dolphins

The second year swoon of Marcus Mariota was put on hold this Sunday, as the sophomore put forth his best fantasy effort to date, breaking the pocket on a number of occasions and using his legs to keep the Titans marching downfield. This is one of the best developments for Mariota’s dynasty owners, who’ve found him completely unstartable of late. The four touchdowns Mariota scored in Sunday’s game doubled his touchdown total for the season.

With none of his receivers gaining more than 32 yards through the air, Mariota has to run more often to stop drives from stalling out. DeMarco Murray continued his rushing resurgence with a 121 yard day. It remains to be seen if one can qualify for “Comeback Player of the Year” if your absence the previous season was due to your coach being a rockhead?   

As for the Dolphins, all of the off-season talk and hope that Ryan Tannehill would turn the corner appears to be just talk. Tannehill was ineffective against a Tennessee defense that’s better than advertised. Jay Ajayi’s consolidation of the rushing duties materialized as just 13 carries which Ajayi parlayed into 42 yards and a score. DeVante Parker took over for Kenny Stills as this week’s recipient of a meaningless, statistic inflating 50 yard bomb. Take that pass off of the Tannehill’s passing total and he’s left with a 141 yard day. Most troubling in recent weeks has been the disappearance of Jarvis Landry.  The sticky-handed wideout caught just three balls for 28 yards against the Titans.

Washington @ Ravens

The Battle for Maryland ended one step short of a Ravens win. Breshad Perriman caught a beautiful Joe Flacco pass for what would have been the game-winner and his first professional touchdown. But Perriman failed to drag a second foot inbounds, helping the Redskins hang on for the victory. While dynasty owners wait for Perriman to find his footing in the NFL, they can take solace knowing that his two catches on Sunday gave him one more reception in the game than the Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins…yup.

Washington continued to give it up on the ground, as Terrance West turned 11 carries into 95 yards. Kenneth Dixon’s debut yielded an uneventful three carries, for -1 yard. Still, any opportunity you get to start a number one back against the Skins’ defense is a green light this season. The Ravens lost two big time players to injury in this game. Steve Smith rolled an ankle twice and C.J. Mosley injured his thigh. Neither player returned to the field, however, only Mosley appears to be in danger of missing week six.  

The Redskins couldn’t generate a running game in this match. Matt Jones totalled just 31 yards on 14 carries. Jordan Reed’s fantasy day was saved by volume. He led the team in catches with eight for 53 yards. Pierre Garcon led in production, going 5/56/1.

Bills @ Rams

Lesean McCoy outran the Rams’ defense and Todd Gurley on the way to a 150 yard rushing day. This was a good thing, because the only Bill to catch more than two passes or 30 yards on the day was tight end Charles Clay. Justin Hunter caught a rare touchdown from Tyrod Taylor which will certainly fool some desperate schlub in your league to make a transaction for him this week. The Bills’ Lorenzo Alexander had a great IDP day with six tackles and three sacks of Case Keenum.

Speaking of Keenum, he continued to push the ball downfield, but yielded two interceptions, while failing to get the team in the end zone through the air. The pain continues to mount for Todd Gurley owners, who must watch this all-world talent struggle in such a pedestrian offense. There are a number of favorable starts left on the schedule for Gurley, including games against the Lions, Giants, Dolphins, Saints, Falcons, and 49ers.

Giants @ Packers

The night cap featured Odell Beckham and the Giants in Lambeau, trying to stop their season from going into a tailspin. The Packers pulled out the win, in what was largely a field goal dual, by scoring one more touchdown than Big Blue. Green Bay survived two Aaron Rodgers interceptions to the Giants’ Janoris Jenkins. New York’s struggles to mount a ground game continued, as each of their three tailbacks failing to accrue more than 22 rushing yards.

Eddie Lacy was forced from the game after an 81 yard night. His status for the Pack’s week six match with the Cowboys will depend on how well his ankle heals between now and next Sunday afternoon. Randall Cobb will join Lacy on the practice watchlist after sustaining a neck injury late in the contest. Cobb played one of his best games in recent memory posting nine catches for 108 yards. For his part, the embattled Odell Beckham Jr. caught a late TD to pull the G-Men within a touchdown. He then hugged-it-out with the field goal net he assaulted two weeks prior. Somewhere, Tom Coughlin likely cringed and muttered something scornful to his poodle, as the two ate Lorna Doones.

A big thank you goes out to Matt Price for allowing me to house-sit while he was away on business. I may have also borrowed a pair of underwear, and drove your car to Tijuana. Just make sure you get it vacuumed real good and don’t look in the trunk. I’ll come by to get that next week. Thanks Matt!


mo brewington
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