Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans
In a rematch of 2020’s AFC title game, the Titans got some revenge in a 27-3 dominant win.
The Chiefs somehow entered leading the league in points per drive and turnovers per drive this season, and the latter continued to be a problem. In fact, Kansas City had already matched last season’s turnover total by halftime of Week 7 …. Patrick Mahomes faced the biggest deficit of his career during an off game but all that matters is his health moving forward. Assuming he’s fine — he got checked for a concussion after taking a big hit Sunday — expect a monster bounce-back performance from Mahomes next Monday night. There’s no question KC played poorly against a shaky defense Sunday, but the turnovers have been mostly fluky (and have occurred at an incredibly high and unsustainable rate), so this offense is going to light up the scoreboard over the second half.
Buy low across the board if possible (five of KC’s next six games come at home).
Ryan Tannehill (10.0 YPA) benefitted from having both Julio Jones and A.J. Brown active as well as Kansas City’s defense crowding the line of scrimmage trying to
stop contain Derrick Henry. King Henry was targeted in the screen game a couple of times and had nearly 30 carries but only recorded a touchdown via the pass Sunday ... Brown looked terrific (even his story won’t deter me from ordering the delicious carnitas from Chipotle) and was within a foot from scoring two first-half touchdowns. Now if he can only stay healthy … Kansas City continues to allow the most yards per play in the NFL.
Byron Pringle led the Chiefs in receiving, while Mecole Hardman fittingly lost a fumble during garbage time for good measure, mercifully ending KC’s day … Down 24 points (three scores!) at the end of the third quarter, Kansas City elected to attempt a 57-yard field goal (it missed). If only they had a QB who was good at picking up 3rd/4th-and-longs … That wasn’t the only questionable Andy Reid decision of the day, as Tyreek Hill remained in a 27-3 game late in the fourth quarter with Chad Henne at QB despite the WR battling a persistent quad/knee injury.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
Joe Burrow continues to make the leap, getting 10.9 YPA in Baltimore while showing terrific chemistry with Ja’Marr Chase, who erupted for 200+ yards and has the most receiving yards by a player through his first seven games in NFL history. Chase is going to be a member of many winning fantasy teams in 2021. Congratulations if you drafted him … Joe Mixon had a nice TD run, but it was C.J. Uzomah who truly shined with two touchdowns during National Tight Ends Day ... Tee Higgins saw a whopping 15 targets; much better fantasy days are ahead … Rashod Bateman continues to look good, while no Baltimore running back can be used in fantasy leagues right now … What a touchdown catch by Hollywood Brown.
Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants
What a barnburner.
Daniel Jones played well enough considering the circumstances, and it was nice to see him run so much after suffering the scary-looking concussion a couple of weeks ago. Speaking of which, Jones took another big hit Sunday while securing a sick one-handed grab … Robby Anderson has turned 20 targets into 25 yards over the last two weeks … Sam Darnold threw an awful pick to James Bradberry and took 3+ sacks for the fifth straight game despite being benched in the fourth quarter. Darnold didn’t even add any rushing yards, so his day was a true fantasy disaster during a week with six byes.
Darius Slayton will be plenty fantasy valuable if New York’s receivers don’t get healthy.
Washington Football Team @ Green Bay Packers
Aaron Jones somehow finished with six carries for 19 scoreless yards in a highly favorable matchup. It wasn’t because of AJ Dillon (who lost a fumble late), as Green Bay just leaned on the pass Sunday … Taylor Heinicke was the NFL's fifth leading rusher Sunday (QB Lamar Jackson was No. 6), as his legs got it done for fantasy managers (although a rushing TD was bogusly overturned thanks to him “giving himself up” an inch before the goal line) against a banged-up Packers defense while also making sure to target Terry McLaurin plenty. Scary Terry dropped a TD in the third quarter but would be an easy first-round fantasy pick should he ever play with the right QB … Antonio Gibson played through his shin injury (hairline fracture?) but was again an afterthought as a receiver; he hasn’t seen more than three targets in a game since Week 1 … Green Bay’s red-zone defense has been a problem.
Atlanta Falcons @ Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa threw a couple of shaky picks but otherwise played well, tossing four touchdowns despite missing DeVante Parker and Will Fuller, although in hindsight Miami maybe should’ve taken the bye following the London trip. But I wouldn’t write Tua off just yet … Mike Davis was a complete non-factor before limping off the field during the fourth quarter; Cordarrelle Patterson’s already sky-high fantasy value would increase even further should Davis miss time. C-Patt has marked career-highs with 14 carries in each of the last two games … Calvin Ridley turned 10 targets into just 26 yards against a Miami secondary that got healthier with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones both returning, but Kyle Pitts exploded for 163 yards (eight targets), including this ridiculous catch.
Pitts will be the No. 1 fantasy tight end on many draft boards next year.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
The Patriots put up a 50-burger and finally won at home this season, although they are still searching for their first victory against a non-rookie QB. Zach Wilson was struggling mightily before a couple of big hits knocked him out of Sunday’s game. Mike White not only created the best TV show of the year but also now looks like the Jets’ best quarterback ... Damien Harris had a monster game (100+ yards and two TDs) despite losing three touchdowns to other backs. It was encouraging to see Harris punch in a couple of goal-line scores after his previous fumbling issues … The Jets entered as one of only eight teams in NFL history to have not recorded an interception over their first five games; that continued on Sunday. New York has also been outscored 44-0 in the first quarter this season … Mac Jones continues to impress, but here’s a TD pass from WR Kendrick Bourne to Nelson Agholor (meanwhile, Jakobi Meyers still hasn’t scored a touchdown).
Detroit Lions @ Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff gave the heavily favored Rams a scare, but it was Matthew Stafford who ultimately got his revenge Sunday. Goff, who’s been to more Pro Bowls than Stafford (who has more passing yards through age 33 than any QB in NFL history other than Peyton Manning), still hasn’t won an NFL game without Sean McVay … D’Andre Swift has essentially become Detroit’s No. 1 receiver, but Darrell Henderson was a bust in a highly favorable matchup (and not even by getting hurt) … Detroit pulled out all the stops as big underdogs, executing three successful fake kicks (one surprise onside attempt and another two fake punts) while going for it on multiple fourth downs. The Lions had a 10-0 lead before Stafford even played a snap.
Cooper Kupp is making an awfully strong case to move ahead of Davante Adams as fantasy’s No. 1 receiver.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders again won easily in a game many projected Philadelphia to have significant advantages on both sides up front. Miles Sanders and Josh Jacobs both left with injuries in the first half, making Kenyan Drake and Kenneth Gainwell two of Sunday’s biggest fantasy risers. Maybe there’s something to the whole Jon-Gruden-not-screaming-at-everyone-on-the-sidelines thing … Foster Moreau is legit and will be fantasy viable as long as Darren Waller is out … Derek Carr was once again terrific and threw for 323 yards (9.5 YPA) without Waller and Henry Ruggs getting fewer than 25 receiving yards … Dallas Goedert is going to be a top-five fantasy tight end at worst moving forward with Zach Ertz gone … Las Vegas’ secondary has to be one of the most underrated units in football this season, as they’ve allowed the second-fewest YPA in the league. Casey Hayward has been phenomenal.
Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady has a 14:0 TD:INT ratio over his last three home games and became the first QB to throw for 600 touchdowns (he now has more than twice as many as John Elway threw in his career) on Sunday. The Bucs led 35-3 at halftime and could’ve easily scored 50+ points if they wanted to despite missing Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski … Leonard Fournette benefitted from Akiem Hicks being out and looks like a borderline top-five fantasy back moving forward. Seriously.
Khalil Herbert somehow rushed for 100 yards against the league’s stingiest run defense despite Damien Williams returning, his rookie QB committing five turnovers, and generally not having much success (to say the least). The most a running back had previously rushed for against the Bucs this season was 67 yards (and it took 20 carries). Herbert has really impressed.
Houston Texans @ Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals spread grew to -20.5 by game time in some places, yet Arizona was losing 2-0 after the first quarter. Arizona ultimately won easily, as DeAndre Hopkins scored during his revenge game (J.J. Watt was quiet during his, however) … Brandin Cooks had an awful drop on fourth down late in the game, but he’ll benefit greatly from Tyrod Taylor hopefully returning soon … Here’s the latest example of a brutal “roughing” the passer penalty completely changing a drive … The Cardinals remain the league’s only undefeated team and also have the NFL’s best point-differential (+111).
Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers
While rushing was expected to take center stage Sunday night during a game with crazy weather, the 49ers' defense entered having gone an NFL-high 25 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher, while the Colts came in with the NFL’s No. 1 ranked rush defense in DVOA.
Offense ultimately won, with Jonathan Taylor and Elijah Mitchell finishing with identical rushing lines (18 carries, 107 yards, one TD). Mitchell had the fourth-most rushing yards before halftime in a game this season but had a quiet second half. Still, he’s a top-15 fantasy RB moving forward as SF’s clear lead back. Trey Sermon wasn’t given a single touch coming out of the bye. Taylor, meanwhile, will continue to benefit from Quenton Nelson’s return …
Plays like this are unlikely to get Brandon Aiyuk out of the doghouse … A ton of PI penalty yards masks his box score, but Carson Wentz continued to play well … Michael Pittman has legit top-15 WR type fantasy upside moving forward, but T.Y. Hilton’s eventual return could prevent it … Jimmy Garoppolo has been really bad since beating up a shaky Lions defense in Week 1 and shouldn’t be starting much longer if Trey Lance is healthy.
The 49ers entered No. 10 in DVOA and likely better than their record indicated, but they were flat-out terrible Sunday night and are now 2-4 — and in trouble in the NFC. The silver lining for fantasy managers is that another lost SF season would theoretically accelerate the Lance era, but that would require Kyle Shanahan making the right decision, which hasn’t been happening much lately.