Fantasy Footnotes: Takeaways from Sunday's action


Every game day during the regular season, theScore's paint a masterpiece in a shortened fantasy season.

Another Week, Another Weapon

As if the Steelers weren't loaded enough after Le'Veon Bell rejoined the team last week, now they have one more threat for opposing defenses to scheme against.

In a perfect spot against a weak Jets secondary that was missing Darrelle Revis, second-year receiver Sammie Coates broke out with a six-catch, 139-yard, two-touchdown performance that included a 72-yard strike down the sidelines. Coates could have had a bigger day if not for a series of drops, showing just how vast his potential could be going forward.

Playing in an offense with stars like Antonio Brown (9 receptions, 78 yards, TD) and Le'Veon Bell (154 total yards) will mean taking a backseat some weeks, but with Ben Roethlisberger (380 yards, 4 TDs) putting up multiple-touchdown games almost at will, Coates is now a WR3 in fantasy with extremely high upside.

Instant Impressions

  • Julio Jones somehow sandwiched last week's 300-yard game between two highly disappointing outings, including two catches for 29 yards on Sunday. Why do you do this to us, Julio?
  • Fantasy owners may have been let down by Jones, but the Falcons weren't, as they still managed to upset the previously undefeated Broncos thanks to their two-headed backfield of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. The duo combined for 286 total yards of offense and a pair of scores. Their usage can vary from game to game, but both Freeman and Coleman are fantasy RB2s.
  • The Eagles' backfield wasn't as clearly defined going into Sunday, but we may have a better idea what to expect now. It turns out Ryan Mathews (11 carries, 42 yards; 5 receptions, 33 yards, TD) wasn't misleading us, he's the back to own in Philly after receiving the bulk of the touches against the Lions. Darren Sproles served his usual role as a pass catcher and change-of-pace runner, while rookie Wendell Smallwood returned to the bench. Savvy fantasy owners will immediately be trying to trade Mathews before he gets banged up again.
  • Lamar Miller (8 carries, 20 yards, 1 reception, 4 yards) was absolutely silenced by the Vikings' defense and held out of the end zone for the fifth straight game. Miller remains a buy-low candidate.
  • The entire Texans offense was swallowed up by Minnesota's imposing group of defenders. DeAndre Hopkins saved his afternoon with a garbage-time touchdown, but the real problem in Houston appears to be their new franchise quarterback Brock Osweiler who looks unqualified for the role.
  • Ezekiel Elliott continues to grow as a player and it keeps manifesting itself in the box score each Sunday. His most recent effort ended with a week-winning 171 total yards and two touchdowns, highlighted by an 8.9 yards per carry average. In Zeke we trust.
  • We also might need to start trusting Giovani Bernard (9 carries, 50 yards, 6 receptions, 46 yards) if the Bengals continue to start him like they did Sunday. Bernard didn't have the success Elliott enjoyed in the game, but he's a dynamic playmaker who can excel if given the opportunity. If Jeremy Hill (4 carries, 12 yards) continues to see limited usage, Bernard will be a recommended start each week.

Notable Performances

Jordan Howard, RB, Bears
16 carries,118 yards; 3 receptions, 45 yards, TD
The rookie is dominating touches and opponents.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
10 receptions, 171 yards; TD
Another big game for an underrated talent.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills
18 carries, 150 yards; 2 receptions, 8 yards
Shady looks fantastic and has helped spark the Bills' offense.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
19-of-25, 180 yards, 3 TDs; 6 carries, 16 yards
The Eagles' stout defense hadn't allowed a passing touchdown prior to Sunday. They held Stafford in check, but they couldn't keep his passes out of the end zone.

Terrance West, RB, Ravens
11 carries, 95 yards; 2 receptions, -6 yards
So much for Kenneth Dixon's debut. The rookie's usage will grow, but West has a firm hold on this backfield at the moment.

Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders
6 receptions, 138 yards, TD
Cooper is finally seeing red zone targets, though his conversion rate left a lot to be desired. Don't worry, Michael Crabtree still caught a touchdown and had 47 yards of his own.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans
27 carries, 121 yards; 5 receptions, 16 yards
Murray has been one of the best backs in the league this season. Derrick Henry is merely a handcuff at this point.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Jets
25-of-38, 255 yards, TD; 1 carry, 6 yards
His team didn't win, but after nine interceptions the last two weeks this is an improvement. Brandon Marshall did most of the work here with eight catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Theo Riddick, RB, Lions
11 carries, 49 yards; 6 receptions, 33 yards, 2 TDs
With Dwayne Washington sidelined and Zach Zenner typically unproductive, Riddick carried the load.

Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers
5 receptions, 117 yards, TD

Travis Benjamin, WR, Chargers
6 receptions, 117 yards
The Chargers may lose games in spectacular fashion, but Philip Rivers sure can generate fantasy stats for his receivers.

Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers
3 receptions,74 yards, TD
Even with Antonio Gates back, the rookie could remain a streaming option.

Injury Ward

Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
Lacy left the Sunday nighter with an ankle injury. James Starks would move into low-end RB2 consideration if Lacy were to miss time.

Steve Smith, WR, Ravens
The veteran wideout was forced out with an ankle injury in the first half and did not return.

Cody Kessler/Charlie Whitehurst, QB, Browns
We have to assume the Browns' quarterbacks are just cursed at this point or the fantasy Gods really want to see Terrelle Pryor as a starting quarterback once again.

Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns
Apparently the Browns' injuries aren't limited to the quarterback position. Barnidge left with an ankle injury.

Waiver Wire Targets

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills
Taylor hasn't reached the same highs as he did in 2015, but that may change at home against the 49ers next week.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans
Coming off a three-touchdown day in Miami, Mariota gets the Browns' defense in Week 6.

Brian Hoyer, QB, Bears
Hoyer appears to be the Bears' starter moving forward and should be in for another strong outing against the Jaguars next week.

Jalen Richard, RB, Raiders
While most people were focused on picking up Deandre Washington, Richard saw just as many touches (14) and was the more impressive player with 97 total yards.

Bilal Powell, RB, Jets
Matt Forte remains the starter, but he's splitting work far more evenly now with Powell, who is taking over in the receiving game.

Devontae Booker, RB, Broncos
The rookie continues to see more work at C.J. Anderson's expense. Booker is one of the best handcuffs available.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins
Ajayi is now the clear No. 2 in the Dolphins' backfield, which he should have been all along. Arian Foster is expected to return next week, but how long will he stay healthy for this time?

Sammie Coates, WR, Steelers
Somehow he's only owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues. Go get him!

Kenny Britt, WR, Rams
Britt has long been a fantasy tease, but he has at least 75 yards in three of his last four games.

Jeremy Kerley, WR, 49ers
His game was Thursday, but Kerley has back-to-back strong performances and is playing the highly productive slot role in Chip Kelly's offense.

Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots
With Brady back we got a glimpse of what Hogan can be.

Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts
Allen came back to life with six catches, 50 yards, and a touchdown this week.

Jesse James, TE, Steelers
James has touchdowns in three of his last four games. Roethlisberger looks for him and you should too as a bye week fill-in.

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