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Week 8: Beyond The Box Scores

Every week after Sunday's slate of games, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith recaps some of the most interesting stats and situations from some NFL games with a Fantasy twist.

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Chicago Bears 10, Green Bay Packers 26

Fantasy owners carried by the sudden surge in Fantasy value possessed by the Bears suffered a massive blow on Thursday Night Football. Chicago’s shockingly productive quarterback Brian Hoyer suffered a broken arm. He’s going to miss a significant amount of time and on top of losing Hoyer himself, you almost have to bench every player on the Bears until Jay Cutler proves he is ready to return from his thumb injury and be productive. Matt Barkley is horrendous and did absolutely nothing until garbage time. The good news is Cutler should be back Week 8, even so, we don’t know he’ll look either. The red hot Cameron Meredith caught just one pass for 12 yards; Zach Miller caught two passes, and Alshon Jeffery managed just 33 yards. With no respect for the passing attack, the running backs couldn’t get anything going either. To make matters worse Ka’Deem Carey out touched and outgained Jordan Howard. No matter who the quarterback is it looks like they're heading for a full-blown committee in Chicago and Jeremy Langford’s return will only further complicate things. Avoid all Bears until further notice.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense finally started to get back on track Thursday night, although, he still didn’t look like his old self on many missed throws. Rodgers still went 39-of-56 for 326 yards and three touchdowns. The biggest revelation was Ty Montgomery. With the RB corps decimated he carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and caught ten passes for 66 yards. Until James Starke returns, Montgomery has a ton of value. Davante Adams and Randall Cobb both had huge days combining for 24 receptions, 227 yards and three TDs on 31 targets, but one man was noticeably absent. Jordy Nelson caught just one of his four targets for nine yards. It’s not the time to panic with Nelson yet. However, the pack may have caught up with him hurting his status as a top wideout.

Minnesota Vikings 10, Philadelphia Eagles 21

It turns out Sam Bradford MVP talk may have been a tad premature. This Sunday he looked a lot more like Sam Bradford than an MVP candidate. He went 24-of-41 for 224 yards with a TD and a pick as the Vikings fell to the Eagles 21-10. No one was all that great in Minnesota Week 7. Stefon Diggs returned from injury catching two passes for 18 yards; Kyle Rudolph posted solid TE numbers with five catches for 55 yards, and Cordarrelle Patterson led the way catching seven passes for 67 yards and the team’s only touchdown. The running backs continued to cannibalize each other’s value splitting carries.

Remember what I said about Bradford? That goes double for Carson Wentz. The rookie managed just 138 yards, one TD, and two INTs. There was one standout “player” in Philly, and it was the DEF/ST causing six sacks, four turnovers and 98-yard kick return to the house. The Eagles’ DEF/ST is now a legitimate streaming option against many most matchups. No one on the offense did much of substance. Ryan Mathews led the team with 14 carries compared to Darren Sproles three carries and Wendell Smallwood’s four. Josh Huff led the Eagles in receptions and yards catching all four of his targets for 39 yards, while Nelson Agholor was targeted six times catching only two passes for 10 yards. Dorial Green-Beckham only totaled eight yards but did catch the team’s only offensive TD.

Cleveland Browns 17, Cincinnati Bengals 31

The big story in Cleveland was rookie quarterback Cody Kessler getting injured again. This time going down with a concussion. Rookie Kevin Hogan had the most intriguing stat line in this game. He played about half the game throwing for just 100 yards and two interceptions, however, he also ran for 104 yards and a touchdown. He could be very Fantasy relevant if his passing numbers can get to just slightly below average if he continues to run like this. Speaking of running, Isaiah Crowell carried the ball 12 times for 63 yards and a TD to go along with three receptions for 16 yards. Duke Johnson carried the ball six times and caught four passes for a total of 33 yards. Tight end Gary Barnidge caught six passes 66 yards with a team-high seven targets. None of the wide receivers did anything worth noting.

The Bengals Fantasy stars had a huge day. Andy Dalton completed an impressive 19-of-28 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns. Jeremy Hill averaged a whopping 18.7 yards per carry going off for 168 yards and a TD. His backfield mate Giovani Bernard rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown. A.J. Green had two of the best catches you’ll see this season including a one-handed juggling 48-yard Hail Mary at the half. He finished the game with eight receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown. Brandon LaFell also had another strong outing catching for passes for 83 yards and fourth TD in three weeks.

Buffalo Bills 25, Miami Dolphins 28

The Bills weren’t overly impressive, choosing this game was really about the Dolphins. There is only one thing of not from Buffalo except head coach Rex Ryan’s god awful decision to allow LeSean McCoy to play through a hamstring injury. Not only was Shady useless averaging just 1.4 yards per carry, but he also reinjured the hamstring. The one thing worth mentioning is that with Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins out, Marquise Goodwin stepped up as the WR1 catching four of his team-high seven targets for 93 yards and a touchdown. Goodwin should have value with big play upside until their wide receivers get healthy.

The Dolphins’ offensive line has been dominant the past two weeks since finally getting their starting five healthy for the first time this season. Ryan Tannehill threw for 206 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he was only sacked one time and did not turn the ball over. Continuing with this theme of improved offensive line play, Jay Ajayi made history Week 6 becoming the fourth player in NFL history to rush for over 200 yards in back to back games. He topped his 204 yard performance Week 6 with a 214 yards Week 7. He also tacked on his third TD in the past two weeks. He has suddenly become a Fantasy giant bringing back memories of Ricky Williams to Miami. The former deadlocked back was one of the three former players to go over 200 yards in consecutive games. Kenny Stills had a high game catching five passes for 100 yards and a TD, while Jarvis Landry caught another five passes for 78 yards. It’s worth mentioning the Dolphins didn’t target a tight end once on Sunday.

Backs to Rush for 200 Yards in Back to Back Games

Player

Year

Two-Game Totals

O.J. Simpson

1973/1976

419 & 476

Earl Campbell

1980

405

Ricky Williams

2002

444

Jay Ajayi

2016

418

New England Patriots 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 16

The Patriots continued to roll Week 7. Tom Brady had a lackluster game by his standards, still throwing for 222 yards, two TDs, and no turnovers. LeGarrette Blount rolled with 127 yards and two TDs. Julian Edelman bounced back with nine receptions for 60 yards. Rob Gronkowski and James White continued to thrive with Brady back. Gronk caught four passes for 93 yards and a TD, while White caught two more passes for 32 yards and a TD. Things are as they should be in New England.

The real intrigue here is with how Landry Jones would impact the Steelers skill-position player. Jones threw the ball 47 times for 281 yards a TD and a pick. Le’Veon Bell went off for 81 rushing yards, ten receptions, and 68 receiving yards. It appears Bell is still a Fantasy star as expected. Panicking Antonio Brown experts can breathe easy as well. AB was targeted 11 times and caught seven passes for 106 yards. Sammie Coates exited early due to injury and did not return. It looks like touches and yards will not be a problem for Bell and Brown. Their touchdown totals may take a hit simply because the offense will not score as many touchdowns with Ben Roethlisberger out of the lineup.


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