Welcome to the week seven 3M report; a recap of all the magic, mayhem, and mishaps of the weekend games.
Thursday Night Football gave us another divisional game, this time an NFC North battle between the Bears and Packers. The Packers offense was actually fun to watch in this game as Ty Montgomery continued his role in the backfield. He excelled with 60 yards rushing to go with ten catches and another 66 yards. In a game where Aaron Rodgers threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, you would probably think Jordy Nelson had a nice game. Nope. Thanks for the 1.9 PPR points, Jordy. Instead, it was left-for-dead Davante Adams who exploded for 13 receptions, 132 yards, and two touchdowns. This from a guy who sustained a concussion four days prior and wasn’t even supposed to be in the game. Randall Cobb also had double-digit receptions with 11 for 95 yards and a touchdown, giving the Packers three receivers with at least ten receptions. As someone who recently traded for Jordy, I hope Adams getting four times as many targets as Nelson isn’t a trend going forward.
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Nothing really went right for Chicago in this game, but that’s due in large part to Brian Hoyer breaking his arm and Matt Barkley actually getting into an NFL game. No one who started a Bear in fantasy was happy this week. Jordan Howard was out-touched by Ka’Deem Carey. Alshon Jeffery caught just three of 11 targets for 33 yards.
I was up early on the west coast to catch the 6:30am kickoff for the London game. Believe it or not, I actually still got to sleep in a bit since I am normally up at 4:40am for my day job. I was worried about a letdown game for Eli Manning and Odell Beckham this week after a huge performance in week six. For fantasy that fear became reality when Eli threw for zero touchdowns, but it didn’t affect the outcome of the game as the Giants took this one 17-10. For the Rams, Tavon Austin showed up for one of his few games he is unpredictably startable in each season. This guy is a best ball format only kind of player in my opinion. Todd Gurley continues to keep his value afloat with involvement in the passing game despite a disappointing season on the ground.
New Orleans and Kansas City provided plenty of fantasy goodness in a very uneven and sloppy game for the Saints. Drew Brees threw three touchdowns to three different receivers including one to Brandin Cooks. Rookie Michael Thomas led the team with 13 targets, hauling in ten of them for 130 yards. Spencer Ware continues to own the Chiefs’ backfield despite Jamaal Charles being “healthy”. Ware was the leading rusher and receiver for KC with 131 total yards and a touchdown, while Charles had just one carry for zero yards. Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce owners are once again left wondering why their players can’t get more than five targets from Alex Smith.
Andrew Luck connected with fantasy private eye Jack Doyle in the end zone late in the fourth quarter to put the Titans away 34-26. Luck also tossed touchdowns to Frank Gore and TY Hilton. Hilton is such an underrated fantasy WR. He had a second long touchdown pass reversed on a holding penalty or his seven catch, 133-yard, one touchdown day would have been even bigger. All off-season Donte Moncrief’s ADP continued to rise until it was essentially equal to Hilton’s, yet Hilton is a target monster every week and Moncrief is still on the bench with an injury.
Marcus Mariota played okay most of the game, but turned the ball over when trying to rally his team. Robert Mathis picked up the fumble and rumbled in for the recovery touchdown. DeMarco Murray continues to look great with another 100-yard game and a touchdown. Derrick Henry owners watched forlornly as their guy received just one touch the entire game. Just to rub salt in that wound, left tackle Taylor Lewan scored a touchdown on a tackle-eligible play.
The 1972 Miami Dolphins cracked open the champagne early in 2016 as the final undefeated team took a loss when the Vikings were defeated in Philadelphia 21-10. The Eagles defense welcomed Sam Bradford back to Philadelphia with six sacks and his first three turnovers of the season. Anyone start Cordarrelle Patterson or Dorial Green-Beckham? If not, then none of your skill players from this game got you a touchdown. The most entertaining play of this game was a Josh Huff 98-yard kickoff return touchdown. Kicker Blair Walsh made one of the most feeble attempts at a touchdown-saving arm tackle that I have ever seen.
I thought maybe Hue Jackson had something special in store for his first trip back to Cincinnati, but there is only so much you can do when forced to play your fifth quarterback in seven games. Cody Kessler left the game with a possible concussion which forced Kevin Hogan into the lineup. I’ll give Hogan some credit for showing off more athleticism than perhaps anyone thought he had, though. He actually led the team in rushing and ran for more yards than he passed (104 – 100). AJ Green’s one-handed concentration catch where he tipped it to himself in the end zone was the play of the game. In the middle of five defenders, three hanging on him, Green managed to corral the ball and get the score. Jeremy Hill had a huge day with 168 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries but unfortunately left the game with an apparent injury to his left arm. Brandon LaFell somehow continues to maintain fantasy relevance with another touchdown reception
The red hot Redskins came into Sunday’s game off a four-game win streak but despite an efficient game from Kirk Cousins they fell 20-17 to the Detroit Lions on the road. Jamison Crowder led the way with seven receptions for 107 yards, but Rob Kelley caught Cousins’ only touchdown pass of the day on a one-yard goal line reception. Cousins also had a rushing touchdown. Matthew Stafford was inaccurate most of the day but hit Anquan Boldin for the game-winning touchdown with 16 seconds left on the clock. After being invisible for the first five weeks of the season, Golden Tate led the team in targets for the second straight week, pulling in six for 93 yards.
Blake Bortles is a terrible NFL quarterback but almost always manages to scrounge up a decent fantasy day. At the end of the first half, he was eight of 18 for 90 yards and an interception. Allen Robinson owners are likely furious after seeing their first round startup pick put up another weak performance with just two catches for nine yards on eight targets. Latavius Murray returned with another sub four-yard-per-carry performance, but for fantasy, no one cares because he got two touchdowns. Michael Crabtree continues to be a thorn in the side of Amari Cooper owners. Cooper managed just four catches for 29 yards on five targets while Crabtree got 11 looks, catching eight for 96 and a touchdown. The Raiders romped 33-16.
Remember when Jay Ajayi couldn’t even get on the plane for the flight to Seattle in week one? Things are a bit different now for the second year back as he joined Ricky Williams, OJ Simpson and Earl Campbell as the only running backs in history to rush for 200+ yards in back to back games. In an NFL world of lies and false information, what a breath of fresh air it is to hear head coach Adam Gase admit he was wrong about Ajayi. His renewed faith has been rewarded by his running back who carried Miami to a 28-25 win over the division rival Buffalo Bills. The revolving door at receiver saw the return of Kenny Stills with a 100-yard one touchdown performance.
For Buffalo, track star Marquise Goodwin once again got behind the defense for a 67-yard touchdown, but it was easy to see that the Bills missed their workhorse LeSean McCoy who saw just eight carries and was clearly affected by the hamstring injury. Without McCoy and Sammy Watkins, this offense is in trouble going forward.
Joe Flacco’s sore shoulder was clearly affecting the quarterback in this game and he was outplayed by the Geno Smith/Ryan Fitzpatrick combination. Smith hit Quincy Enunwa on a short pass that Enunwa took to the house before exiting with a right knee injury sustained on a sack by Matthew Judon. After getting benched last week, Fitzpatrick was efficient, leading a go-ahead touchdown drive that was finished with a 13-yard reception by Matt Forte. After being heavily involved in previous weeks, Bilal Powell didn’t register a single target in this game. Forte was back to dominating carries, hitting the 30-carry mark for the second time this season. Mike Wallace was the lone bright spot for the Ravens, catching 10 passes for 120 yards.
Mike Evans might be the #1 overall asset in dynasty fantasy football right now. With Vincent Jackson out of the lineup, he is just target crushing market share. This week he saw 44.8% of all passing targets catching eight of 13 targets for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Evans has caught touchdowns in five of six games and has seen at least 11 targets in five straight. He hasn’t had a huge blow up game like Odell Beckham’s week six outburst, but there is one brewing. Jacquizz Rodgers continues to produce like an RB1 with both Doug Martin and Charles Sims out of the lineup but it was UDFA Peyton Barber that got the touchdown. Kicker Roberto Aguayo missed his fifth field goal of the season. Most kickers would have gotten the boot after his performance this season but the Bucs are stuck now. There’s zero chance of him getting cut because it would force the team to admit they made a mistake drafting Aguayo.
Colin Kaepernick had a sub 50% completion percentage but thanks to 84 yards rushing it didn’t matter for fantasy. He and Torrey Smith did not connect on any deep passes like in week six, in fact, Smith was only targeted twice. Without Carlos Hyde in the lineup this team has no heart and it certainly has no identity.
A team that does have some serious heart is the San Diego Chargers. After multiple fourth quarter collapses and heartbreaking losses, the Chargers have defeated Denver and Atlanta in back to back weeks. This time it was San Diego that mounted a comeback win after falling behind three scores. Philip Rivers rallied his team to a 33-30 overtime win. Melvin Gordon continues to be inefficient as a runner but lit up the fantasy scoreboard with 121 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns. Tyrell Williams had a breakout performance with seven receptions for 140 yards. Without Jason Verrett, the Chargers didn’t stand a chance against Julio Jones who posted nine catches for 174 yards. More concerning for the Falcons offense is the hamstring injury Tevin Coleman sustained after just eight carries.
The Patriots bludgeoned the Steelers defense 24 times with LeGarrette Blount w ho turned that into 124 yards and two touchdowns. Remember when people thought the return of Tom Brady meant going away from the increased workload Blount saw early in the season? Yeah, that’s not the case. If anything, his return means more scoring opportunities for Blount. Rob Gronkowski was back gronking up and down the field again. Ho hum. The Patriots are good, water is wet, the sky is blue. Landry Jones played better than expected against the crafty Belichick defensive scheme. He did enough to make Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell owners happy anyway.
The final game of the weekend looked like a snoozer at halftime with the Cardinals leading the Seahawks 3-0. David Johnson had a few nice runs and continues to make his fantasy owners feel and warm and cozy inside. The Seahawks were able to add a field goal in the second half sending the game to overtime where after both teams scored another field goal, Chandler Catanzaro missed the game winning chip shot. Seattle preceded to march downfield on a nice Doug Baldwin catch and run. With seconds on the clock, Steven Hauschka shanked his game-winning field goal attempt sending the game to a 6-6 tie. A fitting end to a physical, hard fought game between two bitter NFC West rivals.
Thanks for reading the week seven recap and have a great week!
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