A chaotic fantasy football season continued Sunday, but we actually got to see some quality games.
Of the 14 games played on Sunday, eight of them finished with a margin of victory within 10 points. Seven of those games finished with a margin of victory within six points. Even Monday’s game was close until late as the Cowboys topped the Cardinals 28-17.
Sunday didn’t start out with a quality game, however. The Jacksonville Jaguars must have felt at home as they trounced the Baltimore Ravens 44-7 in London, England early.
Blake Bortles made you think he’s still a viable fantasy option as he threw four touchdowns on the day. Three of those scores went to Marcedes Lewis, the Jaguars’ tight end who hadn’t caught three touchdowns in a game ever. In fact, he hadn’t scored that many TDs in a whole season since 2013 when he had four.
The Ravens skill players were non-existent in terms of fantasy. It’s hard to trust the results of this game, given the unique circumstances. Suffice it to say Bortles may have some viability left while the Ravens running backs aren’t actually as bad as they appeared. One thing is undeniable, though, and that’s that the Jags’ defense is a real option to start for you.
Speaking of what looked like a good start, turns out Trevor Siemian isn’t John Elway just yet. He feasted on a poor Cowboys secondary last week but didn’t find such success against the Bills. Though he turned the ball over twice, he managed to provide enough for Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to avoid turning in dud games.
One thing to keep an eye on from this game was the use of Jamaal Charles. C.J. Anderson was great in the first two weeks, but Charles had the same amount of touches as Anderson and scored. Charles also outgained Anderson 57 to 43.
Another running back tandem that had better success was the one in Chicago. Jordan Howard, though banged up, had his best game of the season with 138 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including the game winner against the Steelers in overtime. Tarik Cohen nearly scored the winning touchdown but was ruled out of bounds, negating an electrifying play. He finished with 102 yards of offense.
On the other side of the ball, Antonio Brown was reliable as always with over 100 yards and a score. Le’Veon Bell had his best fantasy game of the season as he finally got into the end zone.
The best running back performance of the week came from Todd Gurley on Thursday night. He scored three times and totaled 149 yards.
Another back that came through was the ultra-efficient Chris Thompson of Washington. I didn’t think he would be able to keep making the most of his few touches like he did in the first two weeks. Well, the Redskins gave him 18 touches for 188 yards and a touchdown. Shut me up.
A running back that has to have few doubters left is rookie Kareem Hunt. He scored once again, this time from 69 yards in the fourth quarter. Hunt became the first player ever to score a touchdown from beyond 50 yards in each of his first three career games.
Dalvin Cook, another rookie, Devonta Freeman and DeMarco Murray all had big days. Murray surprised with a 115-yard performance, highlighted by a 75-yard score. Cook totaled 169 yards and scored while Freeman rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown.
On the flip side, Terrance West, Jay Ajayi and Marshawn Lynch were terrible in what looked to be decent matchups.
In a far cry from last week, 13 wide receivers caught passes for over 100 yards. The best performance of the week came from Stefon Diggs, who caught eight passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. It was quite the surprise given that Case Keenum was his quarterback Sunday. Even Adam Thielen had a serviceable five catch-98 yard game.
T.Y. Hilton had a surprisingly good game with Jacoby Brissett at the helm. Hilton caught seven passes for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Brandin Cooks had his best game as a Patriot, catching five passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner in the final minute.
Larry Fitzgerald had a huge game for the Cardinals, like I thought he would, taking advantage of a banged up Cowboys secondary. He caught 13 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.
Fitzgerald’s counterpart nearly had a terrible game, but Dez Bryant was able to turn a short pass into a highlight score as he dragged four defenders into the end zone with the help of his teammates. The Cowboys’ best receiver of the night turned out to be Brice Butler. He caught just two passes but gained 90 yards and scored.
Sammy Watkins had his best game as a Ram on Thursday. He scored twice and gained 106 yards.
Chris Hogan, Jordy Nelson and Odell Beckham Jr. each scored twice as well. Beckham Jr. made another one-handed highlight catch for his second score of the day.
The worst receiving performance of the day was put up by Kelvin Benjamin, though it was mostly due to his leg injury. With him and Greg Olsen already out, Cam Newton was terrible.
The only worse performance from a quarterback was by Joe Flacco, who scored negative fantasy points.
It’s important to mention that Russell Wilson finally looked like he did in the second half of last season. He threw for a career-high 373 yards and four touchdowns. If you bought him low after his first two weeks, good for you. Wilson even hooked up with Jimmy Graham well. The tight end caught seven passes for 72 yards.
It’s been a tough two years for tight ends. Fifteen of them caught touchdowns this week, though. Vernon Davis was a big factor in the Redskins’ win on Sunday night. If Jordan Reed stays sidelined, Davis can be a nice pickup.
Top waiver wire picks
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants: 7 rec., 133 yards, TD.
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons: 5 rec., 79 yards, TD.
Case Keenum, QB, Vikings: A great streaming option for as long as Sam Bradford is out.
Robert Woods, WR, Rams: 6 rec., 108 yards.
Brice Butler, WR, Cowboys: 2 rec., 90 yards, TD. If he can continue to stretch the field and catch jump balls, things could open up for the passing game.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Broncos: He’s owned in just 33 percent of Yahoo leagues. Stow him away if you have room.
D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texans: 10 touches, 90 yards.
Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles: Darren Sproles is out with a broken arm and Smallwood stepped up.
Robby Anderson, WR, Jets: 3 rec., 95 yards, TD
Vernon Davis, TE, Redskins: 5 rec., 58 yards, TD