One more time around the horn? Why not. We were treated to a full slate of games in week six and if you missed any of it, we’ve got you covered!
Let’s dive right into the action with one of the most anticipated games of the week.
CLE 7 -38 PIT – Jack
The Browns came to Heinz Field riding on a wave of optimism from several top drawer offensive performances. OBJ looked like his old self, Hooper was beginning to play himself back to the form he showed in Atlanta and Kareem Hunt was providing RB1 numbers. After the final whistle in Pittsburgh, Browns fans can find solace that one of those statements held true. Austin Hooper looks pretty good.
- Hooper came down with five of six targets for 52 yards – the second consecutive week he has led the Browns in targets and the third with five catches. More redzone targets are the next progression for the 25-year-old, which may be hard to come by with the re-introduction of David Njoku to the offense. He’s become a regular and reliable target for an up and down attack, which provides a safe floor in fantasy for those who rostered Hooper. Not a huge amount more can be asked from a wildly inconsistent TE position.
- It’s still difficult to tell whether James Conner is simply rounding into form as the season goes on and he remains healthy, or if a more explosive back would be dropping 200 yards a game. Either way, the rushing attack is punishing opponents – ranking ninth in the league in total rushing yardage, with Conner himself hitting over 100 in three of their five games. He seems to relish the tough, one cut runs, but struggles to find the holes when they’re crowded. A nice piece of analysis below from @ThatBlitzGuy on Twitter:
- Rookie Kevin Dotson has still not allowed a sack in pass protection since he was forced into the lineup. That also means that Ben Roethlisberger is able to get the ball out quickly to his playmakers. Who cares if the ball isn’t going deep when you have the supporting cast the Steelers have put together. It seems like a rotating cast of weekly superstars in Pittsburgh at the moment, as this week James Washington stepped in to soak up targets (four catches from seven targets). At some point, defenses are going to have to remove some attention from JuJu Smith-Schuster and apply it across the receiving corps. When this happens, JuJu will boom once more.
- The good ship Optimism seems to have disappeared without a trace for Cleveland. Which is a shame, but understandable. However, the overreaction to losing to the Steelers does need to be tempered. The Browns are still in possession of one of the most dangerous rushing attacks in the league – even without Nick Chubb. There is plenty of time for the 4-2 Browns to steady the passing game – especially as their schedule lightens before the bye, facing the Bengals and the Raiders. Going into a bye week at 6-2/5-3 is not a bad position to restart from.
BAL 30 -28 PHI – Jack
- Despite looking like a desperate gunslinger on his last bullet with no expectation of surviving, Wentz managed to drop 213 yards, two TD’s, two two-point conversions, and a rushing TD to bring the Eagles within touching distance of a second win. It’s hard to tell on occasion whether he is scrambling because he can’t find a quick option, or because the pressure has no blocking to overcome. Whatever the case, without Wentz, we would be looking at the Eagles offense in much the same light as the Jets.
- Even with Wentz the Eagles managed to not get a first down on their first six drives (five punts and a fumble). Their offense played most of the game with only two of the offseason starters (Wentz and Kelce) and people seemed to be surprised with the struggles. This of course isn’t counting Greg Ward, who is fast becoming an essential part of the Eagles offense (see below). However, the fate of the Eagles rests solely on their QB and his drive-by-drive rollercoaster play and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Eagles turn over a far better team down the road. The Eagles are exciting to watch at this point, simply because they refuse to quit.
- Last week, Lamar Jackson was shut down on the ground, accounting for three yards. This week he returned to form, rumbling for 108 yards and a TD. He looked decisive on some designed QB runs and once he gets into the open field he is nearly impossible to catch. One other factor to note was his desire to stay in and around the pocket. Yes, his TD to Nick Boyle was a fantastic example of his freelancing ability, but one throw in particular, showed his other development. He felt pressure, stepped up into space and fired a dart to Hollywood Brown on the sideline. All features of his game that are perceived as weaknesses. The team isn’t the juggernaut rushing monster that rolled over opponents last year, but the miracle of miracles, the Ravens MVP star quarterback is still developing.
CIN 27 – 31 IND – Jack
Another week, another forced watch of Philip Rivers. Zach Pascal made him look great with an acrobatic grab of a badly placed ball and he certainly put up a stat line that should convince the casual watcher. But still, I hesitate. On the other hand, Joe Burrow is still being smacked around, Tee Higgins had a huge breakout game and A.J. Green nearly put up 100 yards – but no-one seems to be mentioning it…
- Burrow has been beaten up in his first NFL season. But somehow he’s still dealing to his much better than their record receiving corps. Tee Higgins racked up 125 yards, AJ Green caught eight passes for 96 yards and Boyd grabbed five for 54. Give it some time and some tweaks (namely on the offensive line), but the Bengals are one or two players away from contending.
- Julian Blackmon earned his own review last week and his play was exceptional again – grabbing a game-sealing interception for the Colts. The defense is solid at worst and a brick wall at best; something for Rivers to lean on down the stretch.
- I’m particularly harsh on Rivers and I’m very aware of it. But holy gaddumit did he catch fire in the second quarter. He dropped 371 yards and three TD’s (he also threw a typical ugly INT) and torched the comfortable 21 point lead the Bengals sped out to. Rivers has attempted over 40 passes twice this year, and both times has thrown for over 350 yards. The Colts seem to be fixated on a running game that simply isn’t producing and as much as it pains me, maybe it’s time to let Rivers rip it.
HOU 36 – 42 TEN – Jack
Very early on in this game, I texted one of my friends saying “this is a Superbowl team”. He told me to hold my horses until they faced some stiffer competition, but Deshaun Watson seemed determined to provide that this week. This was a great watch AND rewatch, but Houston should not have been allowed to hang this many points on a Tennessee team that should have closed out the game early. In the meantime, let’s all bow to King Henry.
- Tennessee still seem to be clawing their way back from the weeks of missed practice and some of the rust shows in certain drives. Watson took advantage of the inexperience at cornerback and ripped off four TD’s and 335 yards – tossing scores to his trio of veteran receivers. The Titans need Adoree Jackson back as soon as possible to sure up their secondary.
- The Tannehill MVP buzz is loud. As it should be. The highlight of this exceptional performance was the final second TD toss to AJ Brown to take it to overtime. Tannehill hurried to the line to spike the ball, saw his elite WR one on one on the outside vs Bradley Roby, and floated a dime to the back corner of the endzone. Was AJ out of bounds? Yes. But the throw and awareness to pick him out was an elite-level play from the former Dolphin.
- Watson made this game a lot closer than it should have been, but it was obvious from the first few series that Houston couldn’t/shouldn’t be able to hang with this Tennessee team. Offensively, the Titans were pushed into higher gear on a couple of occasions and easily outraced the overmatched Texans defense – see Derrick Henry’s 94-yard waltz to the endzone. The Steelers’ defense should provide a true test of the Titans’ higher gears.
DET 34 – 16 JAX – Pride
Someone had to get their second win this season and the lucky recipients were the Detroit Lions thanks to having star players. Ever since week two, Jacksonville has looked pretty much like many expected. They’ve lost their last four games by an average of 15 points and have allowed at least 30 points in each of their last five. The defense hasn’t been doing their part and Gardner Minshew has definitely not been able to make up for it.
- Speaking of Minshew, Doug Marrone has gone on record saying that he might sit him. Now, these may be empty words, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t put it past Marrone to actually follow through, not that Minshew deserves it. He definitely doesn’t because, despite the team not doing well overall, the stats would suggest that Minshew has been at least average. Minshew has really simmered down after a great week one, but not to a point where he is hurting the offense. He has thrown the ball on target on 78.3% of his throws, 11th among starting QBs, and has completed the second-most passes in the NFL though he has had the fourth-most pass attempts. Minshew also provides the ability run as shown by his first TD run of the season, as well as run a scramble drill as he was able to find Keelan Cole and other receivers multiple times after creating time in just this past game. I guess what I’m trying to say is, Mike Glennon can’t do any of that, so if Marrone wants to even have a chance at winning games, he should let his comment come to pass.
- The main culprit for the lopsided games should be the Jacksonville defense. Along with the point spread stated above, they have given up the second-most yards per play and the second-most first downs. Speaking of which they allowed 25 first downs to Detroit. When you have an average offense and an unmistakeably bad defense, then it is not going to be a good time in Duval. Even the IDP players in fantasy aren’t having a good time. Despite all the first downs giving player surplus chances at racking up tackles, it’s a real shame.
- Speaking about the victors though. De’Andre Swift was the biggest factor in their victory. The passing game had Kenny Golladay doing Kenny Golladay things as usual, but it was just usual other than one well-read reception by Golladay. The rookie Swift though came away with his first 100+ yard game as a pro. I expect him to start really taking over that starting role for the Lions. Especially with Adrian Peterson showing his age over the past few games.
DEN 18 – 12 NE – Pride
“Oh boy, poor Broncos they have to go to Massachusetts and face a Belichick whose going to take out his anger about their embarrassing loss to Kansas City on Denver’s returning starters”. That was what I was thinking Sunday. But I soon found myself mistaken in the best way possible.
- First things first though, this was an ugly game, one may have even called it putrid. Drew Lock and Cam Newton threw two interceptions each and had QBRs that topped out at 20. The teams only made it to the red zone in four out of their 22 possessions and only combined to convert on one of those four red zone opportunities. If you liked good offensive drives and quarterback play, you would have had better luck watching other games.
- Unlike Drew Lock, Phillip Lindsay had a great return to the gridiron. He racked up 101 yards on the ground in the absence of Melvin Gordon. Lindsay has shown ever since he joined the Broncos roster that he can be the lead-back. Lindsay has been a very underrated commodity, As Broncos fans have liked pointing out. Every game Lindsay has rushed for at least 100 yards, they’ve won, making them a perfect 6-0 when those requirements are met. That shows in those games and in this one, even when the passing game can’t do anything, Phillip Lindsay can drag them down the field. Not scoring them any points, but putting them in position for field goals.
- Now onto the main reason I wanted to recap the game this week, Brandon McManus was terrific. He really carried the offense on his back. In total, he went six-for-six on field goals including two of 50+ yards. McManus was then deservedly named AFC special teams player of the week. Some other quick fun facts about McManus, this was also McManus’ 100th game in the NFL. So, props to him for showing out. He also now has made five 50+ yard field goals this season which ties his career-high in a season. This game went a long way in setting McManus on pace to have the best season of his career.
KC 26 – 17 BUF – Pride
This game was supposed to be the first entertaining Thursday night matchup in a couple of weeks. Instead the game was audibled to Monday. Thanks to covid there was no Thursday night football and thanks to the Bills there was no entertaining Monday night football either.
- Josh Allen did not look like that early season MVP that some were hyping him up to be against KC’s defense. He only threw for 122 yards. That is partially because his 27 passing attempts were the fewest he’s had in a game so far this season. However, with those passing attempts he put up his worst completion percentage (51.85%) and average yards per completion (8.71 yards). Allen looked like he was back in his rookie season.
- It didn’t help that he was the teams leading rusher as Devin Singletary and Zack Moss once again proved ineffective. This has gotten really worrying as the Chiefs defense is third in the league for most rushing yards allowed. Before the game, Kansas City had allowed about 5.02 yards per carry on the season. Singletary and Moss combined to average 2.8 yards per carry. If this becomes a recurring problem and other teams start to figure out Buffalo’s passing game and they’re forced to run the ball more. It could turn into a long season for Bills fans.
- Patrick Mahomes did what he usually does what else needs to be said about KC’s offense? Well, I guess with the ink still being fresh on Le’Veon Bell‘s contract with the Chiefs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire put on a performance reminiscent of his debut. He ran for 161 yards and basically told the Chiefs that they’ve already got an RB1 on their roster. Even so, with Bell presumably able to play next game, this may have been the last ‘wow’ game from CEH for a while. Oh, for your team to be spoiled with talent.
ARI 38- DAL 10 – Scott
The Cowboys‘ third straight home game was a test against the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams were fresh off a week five win and looking to continue the success. The Cowboys especially needed this week to learn what their team would look like in the post-Dak era.
- This game was not as close as the score indicates. The Cardinals delivered an absolutely humiliating defeat to the Cowboys on national television. However, despite this undeniable fact the Cardinals still looked to struggle in certain phases of the game. Kyler Murray completed only 9 of 24 passing attempts on the day for a season low 37.5% completion percentage. His two biggest plays through the air came on blown coverages by the Dallas secondary, including an 80 yard touchdown to Christian Kirk. Outside of those plays, it didn’t feel like Murray and his receivers were on the same page most of the night.
- Kenyan Drake owners got a huge confidence boost after he posted an encouraging 164 yards and two touchdowns. His biggest play of the night was a 69 yard touchdown scamper near the end of the fourth to pile on even more points into what was already a sound beatdown. However, a word of caution: don’t forget that the Dallas run defense is the second worst in the league, giving up an abysmal 173.5 yards through their first six games and allowing 10 touchdowns on the ground. As good as Drake may have looked, there’s a good chance that’s as good as he looks all season. Don’t be afraid to sell if you get an enticing enough offer.
- To all those who said that the Cowboys offense “wouldn’t miss a beat” with Andy Dalton under center: really? I understand hoping that the offensive weapons would be enough to help him through games, but to say it with such certainty is nonsense as was shown on Monday night. Dalton and the entire offense were simply outmatched. It doesn’t help that Ezekiel Elliot seems to have developed a case of the yips, losing two fumbles in back to back possessions. He’s now fumbled more this season than he has in any previous full season. The Cowboys’ four total turnovers put even more pressure on their defense, who could barely keep them in the game against the winless Giants in week five. This team is just a disaster right now. However, for fantasy purposes Elliot will remain a top 5 back, and CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper will still have good games for your team. Just don’t trust them to be the weekly starters they once were, not until they show consistency with Dalton under center.
LAR 16- SF 24 – Scott
This pivotal divisional matchup proved to be more of a defensive slugfest than originally thought. The Los Angeles Rams had a chance to improve to a 5-1 record and place themselves solidly in first in an extremely tough division this year. San Francisco, coming off a huge loss to the Miami Dolphins, needed this game badly to keep pace with their division rivals.
- The 49ers jumped out to an early lead, putting up 21 points in the first half to the Rams’ 6. The key to the 49ers’ game plan was to utilize the running game and give Jimmy Garoppolo quick, easy throws to get him in rhythm and keep the ball moving down the field. This strategy worked to their favor the whole game as they recorded almost 38 minutes of possession as opposed to the Rams’ 22. The key play in the game was a 44 yard touchdown pass to George Kittle on fourth down that made the score 14-0 in the second quarter. The Rams’ couldn’t keep the 49ers off the field long enough afterwards to mount a comeback.
- Jarod Goff struggled all game. He started the contest just one for seven, with a few of those incompletions just being bad throws to open receivers. When he had chances to keep the Rams in the game, he couldn’t deliver. The Rams were driving late in the third quarter down 21-9 to try and bring themselves within one score of the 49ers. Goff’s pass into the endzone on fourth down was floated right into the waiting hands of Jason Verrett, ending the Rams’ chance to score and all but sealing the game. It’s not time to panic on the Rams’ offense yet, but this game wasn’t encouraging for any of their players on that side of the ball.
- The 49er’s coaching staff showed out in this game. Kyle Shanahan drew up a beautiful game plan to account for Aaron Donald. The ball was out of Garoppolo’s hands quickly all night, which didn’t allow Donald to get involved at all in the passing game. Shanahan’s wide zone running scheme allowed the 49ers backs to run away from Donald all game. This was a beautifully designed scheme in what was an early must win game for the 49ers.
- Unfortunately, the win did come at a price. Starting running back Raheem Mostert suffered a high ankle sprain, a nagging injury that should see him sidelined for multiple weeks. Jerick McKinnon and Jamychal Hasty will look to fill in for Mostert in the meantime. McKinnon has looked up to the task when asked to fill in this season, and Hasty added some juice to the running game on Sunday night. Both could be in consideration for flex roles in fantasy until Mostert returns.
MIA 24- NYJ 0 – Scott
This matchup featured teams with two very different trajectories. The Miami Dolphins seem to be on the rise with young talent and good coaching. The Jets, meanwhile, are almost certainly hoping to secure the number one pick this coming draft, and are ensuring that by keeping Adam Gase on as head coach despite his clear failure.
- Ladies and gentleman, your Miami Dolphins have pitched the first shutout of the 2020 NFL season! They held the Jets to 0 points on the day and just 263 yards of total offense. That is back to back excellent performances by the Dolphins defense, who allowed just 259 yards of offense to the 49ers last week. After having one of the worst defenses in the league last year, they are now solidly middle-of-the-pack, 18th overall in defense and sixth overall in scoring defense (having given up just 113 points through six weeks). The bend-don’t break style is working for the Dolphins right now. They’re in sole possession of second place in the AFC East, just one game behind the Buffalo Bills.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick had himself a nice day, throwing for three touchdowns against the porous Jets’ defense. However, his play was not enough to hold off the future. The Dolphins announced that Tua Tagovailoa will take the helm starting after their week seven bye. One wonders if it was always the plan to yank Fitzpatrick after six weeks to give Tua an extra week to prepare for his first NFL game as a starter. Regardless, he’ll have his hands full against a Rams defense that was frustrated on Sunday night football.
- What needs to be said about the Jets? They’re just not good. Redeeming qualities, in real life or fantasy, are hard to find. Jameson Crowder is having himself a nice season as the main target of the Jets passing “attack”. He’s posted at least seven catches in every game that he’s played, giving him an absurdly high floor in PPR leagues. Outside of him, there’s no players worth rostering unless you’re in a super deep league. The sad part in that the Jets are now past their easiest part of the schedule. They will now have to face the Bills, Chiefs, and Patriots in the next three weeks.
GB 10 – TB 38 – Tones
Coming off a TNF upset at Chicago, many people knew Tom Brady would be fired up. However, the defense was the force that ultimately dictated this outcome, as defensive backs Mike Edwards and Jamel Dean both intercepted Aaron Rodgers. Deans was even returned to the house, and the Bucs ended up scoring 38 unanswered.
- Green Bay Packers are still one of the best teams in football, even after losing the battle of the bays. This was an NFC heavyweight battle, with either losing team still very much so inline for the playoffs. Aaron Jones found the end zone per usual, as Rodgers & company have a much easier chance of getting back on track week 7 in Houston.
- Tampa Bay – what team will we get? Well – we know they’re getting Antonio Brown. It was late breaking news Friday that Brown planned on signing with the Buccaneers, and he plans to make it official today. Buccaneers also added Jets captain DT Steve Mclendon.
ATL 40 – MIN 23 – Tones
The battle of the disappointments – disappointed to no ones surprise. Actually, Atlanta exploded on the scene under new head coach Raheem Morris. Will this be a trend moving forward in Atlanta, or will it be a 1 game burst of energy? How will head coach Mike Zimmer respond to some underwhelming comments from Vikings highly paid QB Kirk Cousins this past week?
- After the game, Kirk Cousins said, maybe he’s the problem. Wait, what? Cousins is taking blame for a poor Vikings collective team effort? I guess it does show he is a good leader, after all. Besides star-studded RB Dalvin Cook, this is a team hurting for star-studded players. Maybe getting rid of Diggs was not the answer to making this team better after all?
- Teams do 1 of 2 things when their coaches get axed: they step up & play better or they continue to dissolve into the bottom half of the league. It looks like Falcons players warmed up to playing for Morris, as they came into the game with zero wins, but stepped up in a big-time blow out against Minnesota. Atlanta will look to keep the momentum going & perhaps make Raheem a mainstay in the NFL again.
CHI 23 – CAR 16 – Tones
This was a good defensive game amongst two good football teams. The Bears continue to struggle offensively, although new QB Nick Foles continues to lead them to wins. The Panthers looked to lean on Mike Davis, but he was bottled up in the passing game, a rarity. The Bears are now tied for 1st in the NFC North, and every week, seemingly increase their chances of coming out atop of the NFC.
- ‘Defense wins championships’. Remember that saying? This may be the case for the Bears in 2020. Week after week, their defense shows up and continues to keep them in a championship hunt. Mack & Quinn also only have a combined 4.5 sacks this season, so perhaps their play may even increase over the coming weeks.
- Carolina is now back to 500 and perhaps this is the last share of the division lead in the South they may of seen this season. Their team continues to struggle late in ballgames, raising the question if Teddy Bridgewater is actually the long term answer at the QB position.
NYG 20 – WAS 19 – Tones
This was about as ugly as the NFC East has displayed all year. Penalties, turnovers, and bad QB play sums up to a 20-19 ballgame. The kicker? It should of been an OT thriller, perhaps. Washington head coach Ron Rivera elected to go for two, however, and fell just short. With momentum late in the game, you must wonder, did this cost Washington a chance at the division?
- The Giants were able to land their first victory, which many people did not see happening. However, they quickly came crashing back to earth on TNF with a loss at the Eagles. They may be last place-bound, and it could get ugly, quick. They may of just broken COVID-19 rules with a new surfaced tweet this weekend.
- Washington? Really? You play for OT here, especially in this division. I guess Dwayne Haskins was not the problem for this team, after all. They continue to struggle, and QB play continues to be in the middle of those struggles.
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Jack is an NFL nerd with a passion for player stories and watching too much draft coverage. He's a DB coach with the Exeter Demons University team in the UK and a Steelers fan.