Kind of a weird day in the NFL. A number of favored, juggernaut-looking teams the first couple of weeks, like Kansas City and Buffalo, repeatedly shot themselves in the foot in losses. Then there were the low-scoring slogs that were painful to watch, resulting in some lower-scoring fantasy matchups, too. Sometimes people say defenses are ahead of offenses; right now more accurate to say offenses are behind defenses.
Saints at Panthers: A 100-yard rushing performance from Christian McCaffrey. More catches and touchdowns would be nice, but a good game and a convincing win for Carolina. Not sure exactly what's up with the Saints but having key guys like Jameis Winston and Alvin Kamara playing through injury is probably part of it. Winston did throw for 353 and Chris Olave had a big game, but most of it late. Panthers wideouts did nothing, unless you count a long TD off a short throw by Laviska Shenault. Speaking of unexpected wide receiver good games, TreQuan Smith went over 100 yards and Marquez Callaway scored, although I'm only half-certain Callaway was even the intended target, there were like eight players in the area.
Texans at Bears: Hey nice game for Dameon Pierce. Best player for the Bears was Khalil Herbert, who no one started, scoring 2 TDs after David Montgomery left due to injury. Another goofy 8 for 17 stat line for Justin Fields, wide receivers on both team were dreadful. Of course, Bears receivers can only do so much with their quarterback completing 7-8 passes per game. Nice to see Cole Kmet (2 for 40) join the 2022 season, at least.
Kansas City at Colts: So shocking it almost wasn't surprising. Colts, with their season on the brink, got a few breaks late and stole a win. Good game for Michael Pittman, clutch for the Colts defense and some key throws by Matt Ryan. A couple of touchdowns for rookie tight end Jelani Woods, pretty sure nobody started him, one of those kinds of weeks. Knocked out about half my Survivor Pool, probably half of almost every Survivor Pool I'd say. One that Kansas City let get away with some uncharacteristic miscues (including Travis Kelce dropping a ball in the end zone he normally catches).
Bills at Dolphins: One of the day's better games, and another one where Buffalo has to be scratching its head about how they lost. Tyler Bass missed a field goal, while Josh Allen threw for 400 yards and a couple of touchdowns, but it's the missed opportunities (like a ball at his open receiver's feet in the end zone, an end-zone drop by a possibly limited by ankle injury Gabe Davis, and another series that really should have ended in a touchdown but didn't) that they'll be fretting about this week. Devin Singletary had a huge receiving game, while James Cook and Zack Moss were also involved in that regard, but it wasn't enough. Bills let this one get away. Tua Tagovailoa did enough to win, despite missing some time to injury (some question as to whether concussion protocols were being followed properly, as Tua was distinctly shaken up at one point), while Jaylen Waddle did more of the receiving. It's not like Tyreek never had quiet games in Kansas City. Chase Edmonds 2 TDs on benches everywhere. Some wild plays late, including the Dolphins blocking their own punt for a safety and the Bills not getting out of bounds late to try a long field goal. Bills also messed up in field goal range right before the half, letting time expire. Ugly.
Lions at Vikings: Another gut-punch type of loss for the Lions, who really dominated this one for much of the way and just needed to a couple of late conversions to win, but didn't get them. Worst was when the blocking was there for a Jamaal Williams 4th and 1 carry that would have all but iced the game, but he didn't follow it and got stuffed. 2nd-worst from a fantasy perspective was Williams scoring 2 TDs and D'Andre Swift disappointing, kind of annoying. Dalvin Cook scored and left with injury after, then Alexander Mattison turned in one of the cooler touchdown runs of the young season. Both of these teams are going to be involved in a lot of high-scoring games this season, not a lot of defense being played in the midwest M states.
Ravens at Patriots: Unexpectedly high-scoring, at least it was unexpected to me. Patriots aren't looking quite as tough defensively all of a sudden, Lamar keeps the contract push going, J.K. Dobbins showed why not to start J.K. Dobbins yet. Huge game for Mark Andrews. Mac Jones made a couple of careless throws, but more importantly got hurt late, early report a high ankle sprain. Big game for Rhamondre Stevenson, making his case to take over the backfield. Jakobi Meyers' absence resulted in a big game for DeVante Parker, pretty much invisible the first two weeks, not Nelson Agholor (who lost a very costly fumble late on a really good defensive play). Sloppy game, but Ravens played well enough.
Bengals at Jets: Thought the Bengals would win this game, regrettably didn't believe enough to pick it. A big game by Joe Burrow and his receiving corps, all three of them. Joe Mixon picked up an ankle injury, we’ll see. Quiet game by Hayden Hurst, just when we started to believe, although at least there was the injury concern during the week to make him a little less appealing. For the Jets, dud game for Michael Carter, while Breece Hall had the big receiving game at the position. And Tyler Conklin stepped up big again with 8 catches for Joe Flacco (who did not strengthen his grip on the starting job here). Garrett Wilson missed some time due to injury, but I believe he's OK.
Raiders at Titans: Kind of got the sense the Titans, like the Bengals and Colts, would pull it together and sneak away with a pride-driven win. And so they did, with Derrick Henry having a nice game and the defense making a lot of stops early, and just enough late. Some costly mistakes by the Raiders, like Darren Waller letting a ball go off his hands for an interception in the end zone, most notably. Josh Jacobs was fine and productive, while the main beneficiary from Hunter Renfrow's absence was Mack Hollins with a huge game. Not much else doing from either offense, though Davante Adams scored again to have a decent day.
Eagles at Commanders: Eagles are a pretty good team. On both sides of the ball, and they showed it here for the second time in six days. Jalen Hurts is playing his best football, A.J. Brown is making the Titans look foolish, DeVonta Smith had his best game all year, Dallas Goedert scored (before getting hurt) and their defense is making veteran quarterbacks look bad. Carson Wentz, erratic of course, doesn't always need help to look bad, but a rough outing for the Washington offense. Good game for Terry McLaurin (late), touchdown for Antonio Gibson, while Curtis Samuel with that nice safe floor of catching short passes, had a good, relatively meaningless fantasy day. Washington bottled up Philadelphia's ground game, it was everything else they did poorly at.
Jaguars at Chargers: My ill-fated Survivor Pool pick. Turned out that Justin Herbert played (and fairly well, too), but the defense fell apart, a couple of key guys (Joey Bosa, Kenneth Murray) left due to injury, and the Jaguars basically controlled the line of scrimmage all day. Trevor Lawrence looking good, using all his receivers, James Robinson saying What Achilles injury and blowing through a monster hole in a short-yardage situation for a long touchdown. Bad pick, bad game for Los Angeles, not much good to say except keep on starting James Robinson and Christian Kirk, I guess. Good game for Zay, too; a rising Lawrence lifts all boats. Mike Williams caught 1 pass, a touchdown at least. Decent game for Josh Palmer, but Keenan Allen's absence was probably felt. Although again, defense getting smoked seemed like the biggest deal.
Rams at Cardinals: Rams defense shut down Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, again, at least as far as getting in the end zone. Lots of field goals, lots of Marquise Brown receptions, lots of yards for Murray. Rams let them hang around in large part because of missed opportunities -- Allen Robinson (I understand if you give up on him) let an easy touchdown go right through his hands, Cooper Kupp also couldn't reel in a catchable ball for a score. I'm not calling it a drop, quite, but maybe it was. More good numbers for Greg Dortch, too bad I benched him in a couple of leagues for (I believe) Robinson. Cam Akers with a touchdown, another decent day for another guy coming off an Achilles injury.
Falcons at Seahawks: Some internal debate while examining this game as to whether the bad offenses would or wouldn't be overshadowed by the bad defenses. Turned out the offenses won out, with Cordarrelle Patterson having a big game, Geno Smith and Marcus Mariota putting up multi-touchdown games, and Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Drake London all playing off in lineups. Best of all, Kyle Pitts emerged from fantasy milk cartons to catch 5 passes for 87 yards, looking a little more like what everyone was hoping for from him. Hope you bought low, although granted Atlanta will face some better defenses than Seattle.
Packers at Bucs: Can't say you weren't warned this one would be really, really low scoring. But Aaron Rodgers was fine, best guesses for his best two wide receivers (Lazard and Doubs) caught touchdowns, and the Bucs were more overmatched by their missing players -- feels like maybe Mike Evans would have made a difference. But a good game for Russell Gage, serviceable for Tom Brady, and I thought Leonard Fournette, as per usual, looked better than the final numbers suggested. But not much running on either side. Really good Bucs defense, I'm not as sure on Green Bay's (Bucs weren't doing much against anyone today).
49ers at Broncos: This was a painful one to watch, 60 minutes of football that featured one good drive per team. For the Broncos, it's excruciating -- Russell Wilson looks like he's playing in molasses, finally turning in a late drive where he looked like the guy who took Seattle to two Super Bowls: scrambling, making throws on the run and plays with his legs. Would be nice if the offense could continue to implement if every so often. Courtland Sutton looked great, Javonte Williams did at times....but Denver is not only using Melvin Gordon almost as much, but they're evening using Mike Boone as a passing downs back, which I don't really understand (but not much of what Denver is doing on offense is understandable). Hard to use any Broncos but Sutton at this point (nearly a long touchdown to Jerry Jeudy, at least, defender slightly deflected a pretty strong throw). With the 49ers, I think this was a pretty good example of the reality that some have way, way too much confidence in Jimmy Garoppolo. He was dreadful in this game, stumbling around missing throws, taking a safety out of the back of his own end zone -- fortunate to avoid a Pick Six on the same play -- and not looking like anyone's future franchise quarterback. I get he took San Fran to a Super Bowl and almost another, but he's a pretty limited quarterback lucky to have some great receivers and a great defense on his side. I needed a shower after watching this game.
Monday, Monday: What better way to cap a weekend of mostly lousy football than with Cooper Rush versus Daniel Jones? Both defenses look pretty good to me so I'm not expecting pretty or high-scoring. Arguably Saquon Barkley and CeeDee Lamb are the only player who should be and are in most lineups. The game's in New York (New Jersey), but I have a little more faith in the Cowboys defense. A little. Dallas 23, New York 20.