The Jets almost did it, right? I mean, they choked a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, but they were this close to beating the Patriots. Meanwhile the Cowboys almost upset the Steelers, the Chiefs pulled off a tremendous comeback and the Chargers failed to close a game. It was a wild week even by 2020 standards in the NFL.
Game of the week
Seattle Seahawks @ Buffalo Bills (34-44)
Russell Wilson can only do so much. Seattle lost its second game of the season, largely thanks to a defense that is allowing 30.4 points per game, third worst in the league. D.K. Metcalf got the job done again in a stellar outing, determined to make all preseason doubters (me) feel as stupid as possible. He certainly benefits from having a deep-ball expert like Wilson under center, but you cannot deny the threat he poses to defenses over the top.
The rushing attack misses Chris Carson. A hodgepodge of DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer and Alex Collins (yes, THAT Alex Collins) combined for 15 carries, 52 yards rushing and a score. The lack of volume could be attributed to the quick lead the Bills established. But forcing Wilson to cook rather than letting him cook is a good way to become over reliant on a singular piece.
The Bills took care of a contender and helped poke Josh Allen back into the MVP conversation. It was a stellar showing from the Bills quarterback who, while still inconsistent, has been more productive on route to a 7-2 record. Stefon Diggs was again a dominating force, cutting apart the Seahawks who played man coverage far too often against one of the best route-runners in football. John Brown also had a good day against a hapless secondary. Brown’s been productive while healthy, though that has not come too often. He is a FLEX option in a potential shootout with Arizona next week who could thrive with Patrick Peterson covering Diggs.
Player of the week
Jakobi Meyers (12 receptions, 14 targets, 169 yards)
It seemed like every throw Cam Newton made was going to Meyers who had a field day against the Jets secondary. Granted, it’s the Jets secondary that is allowing the fourth-most passing yards in the league. Meyers now has back-to-back games with 10 or more targets, both of which came with Julian Edelman out. As long as the veteran receiver continues to miss time Meyers appears to be a beneficiary, especially in PPR formats. Hopefully he was in any Monday DFS lineups you had.
Bust of the week
Melvin Gordon (six carries, 18 yards)
Game script and a complete inability to run the ball efficiently led to a dud for Gordon. Hey, you can extend this to Phillip Lindsay who dropped my DFS hopes into a cauldron of fire. The offensive line couldn’t get any push against a defensive front headed by Grady Jarrett that might deserve more credit. The Falcons secondary is a sieve, but the defensive front is quietly allowing the seventh-fewest rushing yards per game. Take note going further.
Storyline to watch
Can Jake Luton be the answer in Jacksonville?
Probably not. But for his first career start, he was pretty impressive.
It was far from a formidable opponent, but the sixth-round rookie threw some beautiful passes against Houston. His touchdown pass to D.J. Chark was a beauty. With Gardner Minshew still unable to throw (thumb) Luton will make another start on the road in Green Bay next week. That will be a true test for the rookie signal caller and certainly something to watch.
Baker Mayfield (COVID-19)
The Browns quarterback was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list during the team’s Week 9 bye. He should still be good to go for Sunday given the timeline, but if he actually contracted the virus rather than being a close contact, it’s possible he misses. Stay on top of this; Case Keenum would be a downgrade for everyone involved.
Ben Roethlisberger (COVID-19)
Roethlisberger was deemed a close contact with Vance McDonald whose locker is right next to the Steelers quarterback. He tested negative and is eligible to get off the list on Saturday should he continue to test negative. Roethlisberger was also dealing with a knee injury after being hit low in the first half against the Cowboys. He is still expected to play in spite of it, but the game plan should revolve around quick throws. If Roethlisberger misses time, the floor of all fantasy options in Pittsburgh totally bottoms out.
Christian McCaffrey (shoulder)
The Panthers running back had a terrific return from his ankle injury, racking up 37.1 fantasy points in PPR formats. It wasn’t the most efficient day, rushing for 3.8 yards-per-carry (ypc), but it was a welcome sight to see McCaffrey on the field.
But this is an injury roundtable for a reason. Sadly, the star running back hurt his shoulder and his status is now in doubt for Week 10. He will undergo further testing this week. Meanwhile, Mike Davis is right back in the RB1 talk.
Justin Jackson (knee)
One play. That’s all it took for Jackson to leave the game. He tried to return but was not able to, leaving a solid zero-point performance in everyone’s lineups. It didn’t feel good, but the past is the past; Jackson’s health is what matters now. Kalen Ballage (of all players) thrived in Jackson’s absence while rookie Joshua Kelley continued to plod along. With a series of promising matchups on the horizon (@MIA, vs. NYJ, @BUF) both are worth an exploratory pickup if Jackson misses time. Head coach Anthony Lynn said in the post-game press conference that Jackson is now wearing a knee brace and might have been able to return if needed. Given that the Chargers just barely lost, I imagine Jackson was unable to play.
Damien Harris (chest)
Harris was among the few Patriots who truly impressed against the Jets on Monday night. Averaging 5.1 ypc, the sophomore rusher exited the game with a chest injury. With Sony Michel (quad) almost ready to return, Harris’ opportunity might have ended. It’s worth noting that Michel has been incredibly inefficient as a Patriot. It won’t take much for Harris to earn a role if his health is stable, but it’s a crowded backfield featuring Michel, Harris, Rex Burkhead and James White.
David Montgomery (concussion)
Concussions are tricky. He should be assumed out for this week, but he can still be cleared prior to Sunday. Acting under the assumption that Montgomery will miss the next game, Ryan Nall and Cordarrelle Patterson will combine for an uninspiring duo against Minnesota.
David Johnson (concussion)
Like Montgomery, concussions can go either way. Expect him to miss a week, leaving Duke Johnson to take over this backfield. The workload alone makes him an attractive fantasy option. Duke Johnson received 21 touches on 82 percent of the snaps. A good showing from the scat back could earn him a permanent role with a good schedule on the horizon, though that’s likely wishful thinking.
Mike Williams (unknown)
Unknown seems like a cop out but there has been no injury update for Williams, who went down hard on an end zone fade at the end of the game. Given his injury history there’s reason to be concerned, though he was able to walk off under his own power. It’s a shame to see someone with so much talent be injured so often. It’s worth noting that Lynn said that Williams is “doing fine.”
Preston Williams (foot)
A cart brought Williams off the field, so the worst was assumed. Early reports have been promising, however, as x-rays came back negative. He is currently day-to-day. His absence would lead to a more secure target share for Mike Gesicki and DeVante Parker.
“He’s a tough kid. He’ll try to fight through things, and we’ll see how that one goes,” said Brian Flores, head coach of the Dolphins.
Laviska Shenault (hamstring)
The second-round rookie left the game early. Hamstring injuries are notoriously tricky and Shenault should be considered questionable for next week. On the bright side, head coach Doug Marrone was optimistic about his player.
“Laviska’s [injury] seemed to be better than what we expected. We will see how he progresses during the week. So that was encouraging,” Marrone said during a Monday media conference.
It would be a downgrade for the offense if Shenault misses, with no real benefactor outside of a higher floor for Chark.
Jack Doyle (concussion)
Playing on a short week, Doyle should be considered doubtful for Thursday’s game against Tennessee. He will be up against the clock to be cleared and it will likely be the Trey Burton show on primetime. With Mo Alie-Cox (knee) also questionable to play, Burton would be a smash play.
Noah Fant (ankle)
The Broncos tight end was able to return to the game after leaving early on with an ankle injury. The return would suggest that the injury isn’t serious, but he will likely still be limited in practice this week. I’d expect him to suit up for Sunday.
A final trio of quick hitters
- Justin Herbert vs. Joe Burrow will be one of the better Offensive Rookie of the Year races in recent years. Both franchises should be thrilled that they found their rock to build around.
- The Buccaneers got embarrassed by the Saints on Sunday night, spoiling Antonio Brown’s return to the NFL. One has to wonder if Brown shook this team up… although the pass protection was really why the Bucs lost.
- Drew Lock has played better than his stats indicate, especially given that he lost his most trusted target in Courtland Sutton (torn ACL) months ago while dealing with injuries to himself and tight end Noah Fant as well. It may be for naught come the offseason, but Lock deserves some credit.