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Washington Redskins 26, Dallas Cowboys 31
We’ll kick this week off with a tough divisional matchup from Thanksgiving. The Cowboys managed to pull another one out raising their record to 10-1, while the Redskins fell to 6-4 and all but out of the NFC East picture. Despite winning yet another game and owning the best record in NFL, the Cowboys continued to show massive flaws, most noticeably on defense that could come back to haunt them when it matters most.
The Redskins Fantasy players in the passing attack went nuts on Thursday. QB Kirk Cousins threw for 449 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He completely picked apart a porous Cowboys secondary. Jordan Reed was the leading Fantasy option Cousins targeted grabbing ten receptions for 95 yards and two TDs. DeSean Jackson also piled up 118 yards and a touchdown. Jamison Crowder chipped in with eight receptions for 88 yards, while Vernon Davis posted 68 yards. Pierre Garcon got in on the action with 43 yards. The only downside was the rushing attack. Robert Kelley led the team in rushing with just 37 yards.
Dak Prescott continued to do his job well and manage the game while making minimal mistakes. Prescott threw for 195 yards, one TD, and no interceptions. He also chipped in with a rushing touchdown. This is what you can typically expect from him, give or take. Ezekiel Elliott was once again the star of the show. He carried the ball 20 times for 97 yards and two TDs. He is carrying this offense on his back behind a dominant offensive line. Dez Bryant led the team with 72 receiving yards with Cole Beasley behind him with 56. It wasn't a big day for the Cowboys’ pass-catchers.
Tennessee Titans 27, Chicago Bears 21
We got our first look at the Bears' offense with Matt Barkley under center in this one, and it wasn't nearly as awful as most anticipated. Barkley wasn't good. Nonetheless, the offense didn't look nearly as bad as I had expected. Chicago was able to hang in there and make a game out of this despite losing arguably their three most important offensive weapons in Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery and Zach Miller to injury and suspension leading up to this game.
Marcus Mariota continued to be a strong and versatile Fantasy contributor. He threw for 226 yards and two TDs and added 49 yards on the ground. Derrick Henry was far superior to DeMarco Murray in this one. Henry carried the ball eight times for 60 yards and a TD, while Murray managed just 43 yards on 17 carries. However, Murray did contribute in the passing attack with five catches for 41 yards as well. Rishard Matthews continued his tear catching yet another touchdown. He now has seven TDs in his past eight games, and he's also topped at least 60 yards in each of the past four games. He led the team this week with 64 yards. Harry Douglas was right behind him with 60. Delanie Walker keeps showing why he's an elite tight end with another three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown. He deserves more love than he gets.
Barkley had his downs, but he had way more ups than expected. He completed 28-of-54 passes for 316 yards, three TDs, and two INTs. This was more than Fantasy owners could have hoped. Rookie running back Jordan Howard was the heart of this offense rushing for 84 yards and adding 43 yards through the air. Marquess Wilson was the bright star in the passing game with eight receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Deonte Thompson and Daniel Brown caught the other two TDs. This may be a sign of things to come with Wilson in Chicago over the next three weeks.
Cincinnati Bengals 14, Baltimore Ravens 19
We got to see the Bengals offense without A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard this week, and it wasn't pretty. It's not fair to fully judge them on just this game since the Ravens' defense is one of the best in the league. However, there is a strong chance this offense struggles mightily until or if Green returns.
Andy Dalton had a decent game throwing for 289 yards and a touchdown. The pecking order in pass-catchers became abundantly clear quickly, and I fully believe this is a trend which will continue. Tyler Eifert is the top option and holds the most value thanks to his red zone abilities. Eifert has five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Tyler Boyd is clearly the WR1 now too. He caught five passes for 62 yards. Like I said, what separates him and Eifert is the red zone targets. Jeremy Hill stepped up in a big way as a pass-catcher with Gio out. He caught six passes for 61 yards. It’s unclear if that will continue or if they’ll find more of a go-to option at running back. Perhaps Cedric Peerman who they just activated from injured reserve. Hill wasn’t quite as good in the rushing game carrying the ball 12 times for just 21 yards. Rex Burkhead led the team in rushing with 29 yards on five carries. The Ravens defense played a big part in his struggles.
Joe Flacco was very average throwing for 234 yards, a TD, and a pick. The pass-catchers were relatively quiet with Mike Wallace leading the way with three catches and 57 yards. He has been an incredible value pick this year and had to be in the running for bounce back player of the year. The running back situation is what's interesting. This is a full on split-back system. Rookie Kenneth Dixon carried the ball 13 times for 49 yards and Terrance West 13 times for 48. Dixon caught four passes for 31 yards and West three for 16. Clearly, this is going to be a nightmare committee for Fantasy owners relying on Ravens running backs down the stretch.
San Francisco 49ers 24, Miami Dolphins 31
The Dolphins pulled out another heart-wrenching victory coming up with huge fourth quarter plays to hold on and win. Even if the Niners are god awful, it was a big win for a team missing their top three offensive linemen. They also struggle mightily against running quarterbacks. Despite all that, they continued their winning streak, which is now an AFC-high six in row. They currently hold the second Wild Card for the playoffs with a huge matchup with the Ravens on deck.
As many expected the Dolphins struggled to contain Colin Kaepernick. He threw for 296 yards, three TDs and one interception, which wasn’t his fault. The pass-catcher had it knocked out of his hands in what could have easily also been called a fumble. Kap also rushed for an additional 113 yards. While it wasn't enough to pull out the win, it was enough to please his Fantasy owners. Carlos Hyde totaled 95 yards from scrimmage and a TD. Tight end Vance McDonald was the team's leading receiver with 60 yards with running back Shaun Draughn behind him with 49 yards and a team-high six receptions. Rod Streater was the leading wide receiver in yards with 46, and Torrey Smith punched one into the end zone. This offense was the Kaepernick show with his legs, fakes, and short passes.
Ryan Tannehill had a big day as I expected. As bad as the Dolphins’ backup lineman are when it comes to protecting the quarterback, they are much more of a downgrade in the rushing attack. They gave Tannehill a ton of time in the pocket in this one, and he was sacked just twice. He threw for 285 yards with three TDs and no interceptions while rushing for another 34 yards. Jay Ajayi came back down to earth rushing for 45 yards and a touchdown. Kenny Stills led all receivers with 72 yards with DeVante Parker behind him with 64. Dion Sims and Jarvis Landry both led the team with four receptions. Sims posted 53 yards and a nice TD, with Juice going for 47 yards. Rookie Leonte Carroo got involved catching a big 15-yard TD pass as well. This was a very strong showing for this offense without their offensive line. Yes, it's just the 49ers, but this offense was anemic early in the season when the line was beaten up like this.
Carolina Panthers 32, Oakland Raiders 35
This was a fun game to watch. The Raiders pulled out a shootout much in part to Khalil Mack. For all my IDP owners, Mack went nuts and was the difference in this game with his intense pressure on Cam Newton and a defensive touchdown.
Newton performed well by passing for 246 yards, two TDs, and an interception. He also ran for a touchdown, although, he only rushed for six yards in this one. Jonathan Stewart had a big day rushing for 97 yards and two TDs on 17 carries. Ted Ginn led the pass-catchers with 115 yards and a TD. Most of his value coming on an 88-yard catch and run. Kelvin Benjamin also caught a TD to go along with his 53 yards. However, Stewart was clearly the star in this one.
Derek Carr put together a decent game with 315 yards, two TDs, and an INT. Big, but not quite big a game as Fantasy owners anticipated Amari Cooper was a massive disappointment with just 22 yards. Michael Crabtree was the star of the passing attack with eight receptions for 110 yards. Clive Walford is finally starting to play to his potential as well. The former Miami Hurricane caught three passes for 43 yards and a TD. Seth Roberts also grabbed yet another TD frustrating the owners of all the other Raiders weapons. That's now five touchdowns for him matching his career high. Latavius Murray has clearly secured the featured role in Oakland. He carried the ball 19 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Richard was given just seven carries as the No. 2 running back.