San Francisco 49ers @ Las Vegas Raiders
Jarrett Stidham was shockingly good, becoming the second QB to throw for 350+ yards and three TDs in his first career start and the only quarterback other than Patrick Mahomes to throw three touchdown passes against San Francisco this season. Stidham was incredibly confident while getting 10.7 YPA against the league’s best defense and suddenly becomes someone to watch moving forward … Brock Purdy is reportedly playing through fractured ribs and had some accuracy issues Sunday, but he has multiple TD passes and has been a top-15 fantasy QB in all four of his starts.
Davante Adams was the No. 2 fantasy WR this week and broke Tim Brown’s franchise record for season receiving yards during this crazy catch. Stidham to Adams was a real thing throughout Sunday against a San Francisco defense that entered allowing easily the fewest yards per play on the road.
Maybe Adams will be going from one Hall of Fame QB to another after all!
Christian McCaffrey recorded his 27th career game with 50+ rushing and 50+ receiving yards; the second-most ever (Marshall Faulk). McCaffrey now has 487 more yards than Miles Sanders, who made the Pro Bowl over CMC … It required a short missed field goal by Robbie Gould late, but Josh Jacobs became the first player to run for 60 yards against SF this year in overtime when he also broke 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Nick Bosa called Jacobs the best running back he’s played against during his career after the game.
Brandon Aiyuk went into beast mode late, recording four catches (all for first downs) during SF’s final fourth-quarter drive alone. Aiyuk had the second-highest target share in the league Sunday, but Deebo Samuel is expected to return next week ... The 49ers have won nine games in a row, and while SF improved its chances of getting two home games while moving to the No. 2 seed, a first-round matchup with the Packers sure looks tougher than one against the Giants.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Two defensive scores and an ugly Kirk Cousins performance led to a disastrous fantasy matchup. The Packers led 14-3 with -1 passing yards at the end of the first quarter, as Aaron Rodgers threw for just 159 yards and one TD in a game the Packers scored 41 points. Cousins started 1-of-9 for eight yards with a pick-six and has already taken more hits this season than any QB ever since the stat has been recorded … Aaron Jones became the first 100-yard rusher against the Vikings all season, while Christian Watson played — but fantasy managers wish he hadn’t … Meanwhile, Justin Jefferson was DFS’ highest salaried player, yet recorded just one catch for 15 scoreless yards, as Jaire Alexander frustrated the star wide receiver throughout. It was a painful no-show in the finals from fantasy’s best player this season, but Jefferson will likely rebound with a massive Week 18. Remarkably, Jefferson is younger than Watson.
Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons
Desmond Ridder benefitted from his first home start, while David Blough wasn’t as bad as feared. Greg Dortch had been highly productive when given the opportunity this season but managed 15 scoreless yards on 10 targets, while Trey McBride jumped off the screen. The rookie tight end had the type of performance that should suddenly put him on 2023 draft target lists … Tyler Allgeier was banged up early, had a long run in the first quarter called back and lost a touchdown and eight targets to Cordarrelle Patterson but finished as a top-12 RB this week anyway. Allgeier has been one of the most impressive backs in football down the stretch.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
Justin Fields had 100+ rushing yards in the first 10 minutes, including this 60-yard run but was quiet afterward and finished with a modest fantasy game in a highly favorable matchup. Fields’ running is a fantasy goldmine, and his WRs are among the worst in the league, but his -28 completion percentage over expectation was in the first percentile Sunday; this occurred indoors against a defense allowing the most YPA. Fields also committed his 16th fumble of the season Sunday, although it was just his second fumble lost… Jared Goff now sports a 23:3 TD:INT ratio at home this season and a 14:0 rate over his last six games. He’s become a fantasy must-start when playing in Detroit … Aidan Hutchinson had an interception, a fumble recovery and a half sack before halftime … Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift were both top-five RBs this week, with Swift needing just 15 opportunities in a performance that makes you seriously question his previous usage (injuries aside) … The Lions had more than 500 yards on offense and now travel to Green Bay in a huge NFC matchup next week.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
A lopsided score in a meaningless game led to Trevor Lawrence’s early exit, and Jacksonville did most of its damage running the ball before the QB departed. Travis Etienne was fantastic and finished as a top-five RB this week despite seeing fewer than 10 carries and losing touchdowns to both JaMychal Hasty and Snoop Conner. Hopefully, a lack of targets keeps ETN’s ADP down a bit in 2023, because he has the upside to finish as the top fantasy back next year playing alongside a quarterback who’s about to become one of the best players in the league … The Texans badly need to hit on whichever QB they pick at the top of next year’s draft (poor Detective!).
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots
Teddy Bridgewater got 8.5 YPA and threw a pick-six before leaving with a broken finger, as Miami continues to deal with QB injuries. The Dolphins have followed a five-game winning streak with five straight losses and might be starting Skylar Thompson in the season finale … Rhamondre Stevenson saw fewer carries and catches than the returning Damien Harris, losing some goal-line work as well. After averaging 6.5 catches in Weeks 7-13, Stevenson doesn’t have more than two receptions in any of the past four games … Miami’s quarterback changes led to Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson combining for 15 targets, which certainly helped their fantasy values … Mac Jones could remain a problem, but Tyquan Thornton looks like a potentially special player worth targeting in 2023 fantasy drafts.
Indianapolis Colts @ New York Giants
Daniel Jones was easily the best player on the field, getting 12.2 CPOE and running for a game-high 91 yards while finishing as the top fantasy QB this week (depending on your scoring, he might’ve been just behind Tom Brady). With his running ability, a surely upgraded NY WR group and in Year 2 of Brian Daboll’s offense, Danny Dimes should be drafted as an easy top-10 QB next year … Michael Pittman caught a touchdown after Nick Foles left injured, while Saquon Barkley picked a poor time to have his second-worst fantasy week of the season, somehow in a game the Giants won 38-10.
New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles hadn’t gone three-and-out on three consecutive possessions during any game this season but started Sunday with four straight, losing the time of possession, 23 minutes to 7, at halftime. Gardner Minshew struggled mightily, and some would argue even bolstered Jalen Hurts’ MVP case. The Eagles allowed the highest pressure rate (47%!) in the NFL with Lane Johnson off the field last season and promptly gave up six sacks at home Sunday without their star tackle … DeVonta Smith led all receivers in target share this week, while AJ Brown completely turned his fantasy day around with a long score late in the third quarter … The first interception by a Saints cornerback all season was a pick-six.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady and Sam Darnold combined to throw for 773 yards and seven total touchdowns. Darnold continued to impress and dropped a dime to DJ Moore, while Brady had by far his best game of the season … Mike Evans entered averaging more yards, catches and targets this season compared to either 2020 or 2021 but hadn’t scored in 11 games. He erupted for 200+ yards and three touchdowns Sunday, scoring easily the most fantasy points by a wide receiver in any game this season … Tampa Bay had one of the greatest punts of all time.
Cleveland Browns @ Washington Commanders
Carson Wentz torpedoed Washington’s offense, getting just 5.1 YPA and tossing three ugly interceptions. While Curtis Samuel (two targets, no carries) didn’t see the expected boost with Wentz at QB and Antonio Gibson out, Terry McLaurin saw fewer targets as feared (both Logan Thomas and Jahan Dotson saw more) … With the Commanders loss, teams are now 0-15 the week after facing the 49ers this season … It looked as if Randy Watson would’ve been a better option in the first half, but Deshaun bounced back with a big second half and finished as a top-12 QB for the first week since returning to play. Cleveland’s first completion to a wide receiver didn’t come until the second half, but Amari Cooper made it count thanks to some seriously poor tackling.
New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has a good secondary — the Seahawks haven’t allowed a 100-yard receiver since Week 1 — but Mike White was awful (-15.5 CPOE, eye test) and now has a 0:4 TD:INT ratio when not facing Chicago this season … Garrett Wilson had been the No. 3 PPR WR when sharing the field with White this year but was held to just 18 yards on 11 targets. Zonovan Knight also suddenly split carries evenly with Ty Johnson … Ken Walker had an early 60-yard run and finished with by far the most rushing yards (133) against the Jets this season. K9 has proven to be a boom-or-bust runner during his rookie campaign, and he hasn’t scored in four straight games, but he’ll likely be a second-round fantasy pick next year.
Los Angeles Rams @ Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekeler needed only 10 carries (and 14 touches) to finish as fantasy’s top-scoring back this week, as he shook off a knee injury to record the longest run of his career. Game script hurt Justin Herbert, who sat most of the fourth quarter. The Rams now have the most losses by a defending Super Bowl champ ever … Don’t worry about Keenan Allen’s quiet game; no team has shut down the slot more than the Rams since Cobie Durant’s return to LA’s lineup … Cam Akers lost a TD to Malcolm Brown (on his only carry) but totaled 130+ yards. Akers couldn’t secure a would-be 65-yard touchdown catch early but had one of the best blitz pickups of the year and continued to impress while frequently making multiple defenders miss. He turned his season completely around after being nearly released, and Akers looks like the favorite to enter 2023 as LA’s feature back. He will be an intriguing fantasy target.
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes missed a wide-open Marquez Valdes-Scantling for an 80-yard touchdown but still finished with his 10th 300-yard game of the season, completing passes to 11 different receivers (including himself!). He’s the obvious MVP this year … Jerick McKinnon has a receiving touchdown in five straight games, pulling down seven over that span … Russell Wilson managed just 5.8 YPA but posted top-five QB stats thanks to two rushing scores. He also now has more TD passes this season than bathrooms in his house. Wilson is reportedly going to “reevaluate everything” during the offseason, including possibly getting his body ready to run more.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
Both teams tried hiding their quarterbacks, producing the highest run rate in the first half of any game this season. No Ravens WR reached 10 yards, while no Pittsburgh wideout eclipsed 35 … Najee Harris and J.K. Dobbins, however, both impressed while getting at least 5.0 YPC facing tough run defenses. That said, this game didn’t total 30 points and wasn’t much help to fantasy managers aside from Harris … Baltimore hadn’t allowed a touchdown at home in a league-high 15 quarters (the longest streak in the NFL since 2006) before surrendering a late score that cost them Sunday night’s game … NFL referees are so aggressively bad at spotting the football it almost seems intentional at this point; why is the league not using the same technology we all just saw in the World Cup? Make it make sense!