New England Patriots 27, Houston Texans 0
It was good to see Gronk back on the field Thursday night, unfortunately, he didn’t return any production in his limited snaps finishing the night with zero catches. However, his return, coupled with the extended week, should allow Gronk to return to nearly the full compliment of snaps next weekend against the Bills. With the thumb injury to Jacoby Brissett, I expect another heavy dose of LeGarrette Blount next week.
Lamar Miller has 84 touches in three games, unfortunately, he hasn’t reached the end zone yet. However, I believe this has created a small buy-low window for Miller. Chase the volume, the production will come. If you know an owner that’s worried or impatient, see if you can get him.
Green Bay Packers 34, Detroit Lions 27
Aaron Rodgers looked like his old self throwing four touchdowns in the first half of Sunday’s game. Jordy Nelson was the prime beneficiary with six catches, 101 yards and two touchdowns (he nearly had a third). Nelson is an elite WR1 as long as both are healthy. Eddie Lacy had 103 yards rushing, but no touchdowns. He’s looked great this year and I believe the touchdowns are coming. He’s a guy to target in trades as his schedule is about to soften up in a couple weeks.
According to Detroit Lions senior writer, Tim Twentyman, Marvin Jones is the only Lions WR to ever have 400 yards receiving (408) in the first three games of the season. That’s right, not even Calvin Johnson did that. Jones leads the league in receiving yards and there’s no signs of him slowing down right now. He’s a WR1 going forward. Dwayne Washington only had 10 carries for 38 yards but he sparked the run game when he finally got an opportunity in the second quarter. There’s belief around the team that he’s earned a larger role next week and was the RB when they were inside the 5. Pick him up while you still can.
Buffalo Bills 33, Arizona Cardinals 18
LeSean McCoy had a big game with 17 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. McCoy should continue to receive heavy volume while the passing game finds their footing. Sammy Watkins didn’t play Sunday and hopefully the extended time off will help his foot. It appears he’ll be week-to-week going forward. He’ll be a tough to trust option until we see him start to produce.
David Johnson continues to produce as he rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. He’s the favorite, in my opinion, to finish as the top scorer for the RB position. John Brown saw a season-high 11 targets and turned that into six catches for 70 yards. While that’s encouraging, he only played 47-of-82 snaps. With the concerns about his role, he’ll be a tough to trust option until we see him play more snaps.
Oakland Raiders 17, Tennessee Titans 10
Latavius Murray scored his third touchdown of the season but only saw 10 carries and split carries with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, who both saw six carries. For me, he’s a sell-high while his value is still solid because of the diminished volume. I’m a bit concerned we haven’t seen a ton of production from Amari Cooper yet. That said, he’s received at least nine targets in all three games. Should be only a matter of time before we see an explosion.
While Derrick Henry only saw six less carries than DeMarco Murray, but Murray continues to be the more productive back and remains heavily involved in the passing game. Henry is a hold for the time being but it appears his breakout may not be coming for awhile, Murray is in RB1 territory when healthy. Tajae Sharpe received another seven targets but didn’t do much with them with only three receptions for 48 yards in a nice matchup. Outside of Delanie Walker, the Titans receivers are tough to play until proven otherwise.
Baltimore Ravens 19, Jacksonville Jaguars 17
Dennis Pitta saw eight targets and produced six catches for 42 yards. He has shown to have a solid PPR floor and will be a TE1 going forward as long as he remains healthy. There’s some talk that Kenneth Dixon may be targeting next week against the Raiders as his first game back from his knee injury. He’s a guy I’d target as a waiver target if you’re in need of a RB. I wouldn’t play him until we see him play so we can determine what his role will be.
It was good to see Allen Robinson return to form with seven receptions for 57 yards and two touchdowns. He remains a solid WR1 going forward. Chris Ivory made his debut today but struggled to get anything going with 12 carries for 14 yards. However, he did have twice as many carries as T.J. Yeldon (12-to-6) and is slated to be their goal line back. He’ll be an intriguing flex play against the Colts in London next week.
Miami Dolphins 30, Cleveland Browns 24 (OT)
Kenyan Drake led the Dolphins backfield in snaps, however he only played 27-of-67 while rotating with Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams and Isaiah Pead. In a short week, it’s likely Arian Foster will sit again but I’d avoid this backfield situation as none of the four will receive reliable volume. DaVante Parker didn’t receive the same amount of targets as he did in Week 2 but he did score a first quarter touchdown. He’s a viable WR3/flex option with WR2 upside going forward.
We saw a lot of Terrelle Pryor who saw 14 targets, had eight receptions for 144 yards. He also played some QB (3-for-5, 35 yards) and ran as well (four carries for 21 yards). Pryor should be used in similarly next week against Washington, making him someone to pick up and used as a flex play with bye weeks starting. However, Josh Gordon is returning Week 5 from suspension and it’s unknown what his volume will be afterwards.
Denver Broncos 29, Cincinnati Bengals 17
Trevor Siemian had a breakout game throwing for 312 yards and four touchdowns Sunday. This was big for owners of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas as each had 100 yards receiving and both reached the end zone (Sanders scored twice). While I don’t expect this to become a trend, I think the good showing helped renew our faith in both WRs that they’ll be able to produce with Siemian under center. I see both as low-end WR2s with WR1 upside most weeks as games like this are always possible with their talent.
Jeremy Hill also broke out Sunday with 17 carries for 97 yards and two touchdowns in a very tough matchup (I benched him in one league, sigh). Most of his yardage came on a 50 yard run in the first quarter but he showed once again, he’s the guy when they get down close. His schedule is going to be softening up in the coming weeks putting him back firmly in RB2 territory starting this Thursday against Miami.
Minnesota Vikings 22, Carolina Panthers 10
The Vikings defense has put themselves in matchup proof territory with another big week. Pick them up if they’re still available. Jerick McKinnon out-carried Matt Asiata (16-6) and received the 65% of the snaps many were projecting after news of the Peterson injury. I expect similar carries and snap counts going forward for each player. This was a tough matchup but there will be more production down the road. McKinnon is a low-end RB2 with a slight bump in PPR leagues. Asiata is more of a RB3 but gets a bump in standard leagues as he’s always a threat to score a touchdown being the goal line back.
Cameron Artis-Payne was the lead back for Carolina finishing with 12 carries for 47 yards, while Fozzy Whittaker only received five carries for 22 yards. However, as he does often, Cam Newton scored on a touchdown run when they got close. A similar split should remain as long as Jonathan Stewart is out. If Stewart misses another game, Artis-Payne is a potential flex play in a good matchup next weekend against Atlanta.
Washington Redskins 29, New York Giants 27
Kirk Cousins played better this week and had a nice game with 296 yards and two touchdowns against an improved Giants defense. Next up, he gets nice matchup against the Browns defense that just gave up 319 yards and three touchdowns to Ryan Tannehill. Jamison Crowder turned in another nice game with four receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown. He continues to be a major factor in the passing game. He should be owned in all 12-team or larger leagues.
Odell Beckham Jr. is averaging 10 targets and 93.3 yards per game through three games this year. He averaged 10.8 targets and 96.7 yards per game last year. I believe the touchdowns are coming and I'm not concerned about him. Rashad Jennings surprisingly missed the game due to a thumb injury despite practicing all week. Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa saw an even split with carries (11-10) and both scored a touchdown. Vereen has been placed on IR with a torn tricep which makes Darkwa an interesting waiver add with Jennings injured. However, the next six games are tough making him tough for me to recommend unless you're desperate. Rookie Paul Perkins is a player to watch in the event they increase his role with Vereen out.
Los Angeles Rams 37, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32
Todd Gurley received a 27 carries for 82 yards and scored his first two touchdowns of the year. While the YPC is still low for the season, the volume will remain all season as the offense goes through him. I still view him as a buy if an owner is looking to deal him. Tavon Austin scored on a 43-yard touchdown reception for his first of the season. Despite his 29 targets through three games, his sporadic touchdowns make him tough to project week to week.
Charles Sims received 19 touches for 126 total yards and a touchdown in his first start of the year. He’s a reliable RB2 for as long as Doug Martin is out but does have a tough matchup with Denver next week. Cameron Brate had five receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. With the release of Austin Sefarian-Jenkins on Saturday, Brate will continue to be the main TE going forward. With the struggles to find productive TEs so far this season, Brate is worth a pick up if you need someone.
Seattle Seahawks 37, San Francisco 49ers 18
Russell Wilson left the game with left knee/ankle injury after being tackled awkwardly. Early reports indicate a sprained MCL but Wilson believes he’ll be able to play next week. He’s someone to monitor throughout the week. Christine Michael looked great Sunday with 20 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns. He’s a RB1 if Thomas Rawls misses another game. It’ll be interesting to see if his performance makes him the lead back going forward even when Rawls returns. Jimmy Graham looked like his old self yesterday with six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. He’s worth a pick up.
Carlos Hyde had a nice game in a tough matchup with 21 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns. He continued to receive touches even when they were behind, which was a concern of mine going into the season. As long as the volume is there, he’s a RB2. Vance McDonald left the game with a hip injury. Not sure the extent of the injury as of this writing but if he’s your TE, keep an eye out for other options in case the injury proves to be serious.
Kansas City Chiefs 24, New York Jets 3
Spencer Ware received 20 carries for 75 yards and nearly had a touchdown but was ruled to have lost control of the ball before reaching the end zone. He’s a RB1 whenever Jamaal Charles doesn’t play, however, it seems that Charles return is imminent. Ware is a hold as he may have a role regardless going forward. Jeremy Maclin didn't have a great stat line but he just missed out on a couple long receptions that would’ve drastically changed how it looked if they were completed. He’s a nice buy-low right now.
Brandon Marshall was believed to be on a snap count going into the game but ended up not missing much time. His knee looked fine and nearly scored a touchdown in the 4th quarter. I’m starting him with faith even in a tough matchup against Seattle next weekend. Quincy Enunwa’s numbers came back down a bit with only four receptions for 38 yards. However, he received a team-high 11 targets. He’s a still a hold for me as I believe he’ll remain a factor all season.
Indianapolis Colts 26, San Diego Chargers 22
Frank Gore received 21 carries for 82 yards and scored a touchdown for the second consecutive week. His volume remains consistent and is the guy when they get down close. He’s a low-end RB2 going forward. Phillip Dorsett received the start with Donte Moncrief out with a shoulder injury. He only had three catches for 27 yards but did play the majority of snaps. It was tough matchup against San Diego where the passing game didn’t do much until T.Y. Hilton’s explosion in the 4th quarter. I expect better days for Dorsett starting next week against Jacksonville.
While Melvin Gordon didn’t have the huge day most were anticipating, he was the only player to receive carry out of the backfield. He also caught four passes and scored another touchdown. He’s a top-12 option the rest of the season. Rookie Hunter Henry received his first start and showed why they chose him in the second round. He finished the day five catches for 76 yards with an unfortunate fumble. If Antonio Gates were to miss another game, Henry would be a TE1 for me.
Philadelphia Eagles 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 3
Carson Wentz continues to prove he’s the real deal with 301 yards passing and two touchdowns. The Eagles are on a bye next week but Wentz will be a viable QB option when they return to play the Lions in Week 5. Ryan Mathews only played eight snaps yesterday after his ankle “stiffened” up on him. The week off should do him some good but it looks like rookie Wendall Smallwood could be the guy if he misses any time after receiving 17 carries Sunday. Zach Ertz is expected to return from his rib injury after the bye week.
Le’Veon Bell suspension is now over and he’ll return back to being an elite RB1 next weekend. If you have DeAngelo Williams, I believe he’s a hold and would not drop him because he’s an elite handcuff. If you’re a Bell owner and weren’t able to draft Williams, I’d see if you can swing a deal to cover your bases the rest of the season. You might be able to get him at a discount as that owner may be desperate for viable RBs. Markus Wheaton returned and nearly scored a touchdown in the first quarter. He’s a player to monitor as I expect his usage to go up as he gets further away from his injury.
Dallas Cowboys 31, Chicago Bears 17
Ezekiel Elliott showed why he was picked so early in drafts with 30 carries for 140 yards. Unfortunately, he was vulture by Alfred Morris and Lance Dunbar on short touchdown runs. Regardless, Elliott is a RB1. Cole Beasley had seven receptions for 76 yards. He remains a viable option in PPR leagues and will be someone to target as the bye weeks role along. Dak Prescott threw his first career touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. He’s a viable streaming QB option next week against the 49ers if you’re an Aaron Rodgers owner dealing with a bye.
Jeremy Langford was carted off Sunday night with an ankle injury. While the severity of the injury is unknown, Jordan Howard will be one of the top waiver additions this week. It appeared he was taking over as the lead back as the game went along and if Langford is out multiple weeks, Howard will get the first opportunity to be the lead back. Zach Miller had a nice game with eight catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Hoyer appeared to trust Miller often and is back to being a viable TE option. Kevin White received a game-high 14 targets, unfortunately it resulted in only six catches for 62 yards. That said, White appears to be trending up with Hoyer under center, he remains a bench stash.
Follow Stephen on Twitter @HeHateSteve