The matchup of the week lived up to the hype, going to overtime and producing fantasy’s top two scoring quarterbacks. Despite Buffalo scoring three points midway through the third quarter, Josh Allen easily scored the most fantasy points of the week, marking just the fourth time in NFL history a player threw for 300+ yards and ran for 100+. The Bills had zero handoffs at halftime, as Allen is the entire Buffalo offense, making him a fantasy goldmine (even during a disappointing passing year). The Bills were on a short week having played through that monsoon Monday night and down big against a Tampa Bay team that's much tougher at home, so Buffalo deserves credit for the comeback.
Tom Brady became the first 300-yard passer against the Bills this season, and he now has a decent 53:0 TD:INT ratio in the red zone since joining the Bucs. Brady and Allen are QBs No. 2 and No. 3 in points per game this season, while Leonard Fournette was a top-five fantasy back yet again this week … Breshad Perriman’s walk-off game-winner was the 700th career touchdown pass of Brady’s career. Perriman has emerged as Tampa Bay’s (seldom-used) third WR who should be stashed on fantasy benches in case injuries strike.
It was Mike Evans’ turn to score Sunday, but Chris Godwin saw another 15 targets, giving him 32 over the last two weeks. The Buccaneers get a couple of tougher matchups (NO, @Car) before an almost unfair fantasy championship Week 17 game against the Jets’ league-worst defense.
Las Vegas was down 35-3 at halftime.
Patrick Mahomes has surpassed 7.0 YPA in two of the last seven games and both have come against these Raiders. Mahomes was somehow a top-10 QB this week despite KC needing the fewest passes (24) from him all season and having three top-20 RBs in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore … Josh Gordon scored a touchdown.
Foster Moreau had a drop turned into a pick and flopped again while Hunter Renfrow finished as the No. 2 PPR receiver this week. His fantasy managers aren’t hoping Darren Waller rushes back … The Raiders are 6-0 when Derek Carr throws for 300+ yards and 0-7 when he hasn’t.
New Orleans Saints @ New York Jets
Taysom Hill struggled at times while playing through his finger injury, but the longest rush of his career while just trying to run out the clock late was a fantasy difference-maker … Alvin Kamara was a true workhorse during his return (and with no Mark Ingram or Ty Montgomery) and looked like his usual self in a highly favorable matchup. It was just the fifth 100-yard rushing game of Kamara’s career … Ty Johnson committed multiple drops, and the Jets got zero from their rushing attack, but Zach Wilson (-21 CPOE!) was wildly inaccurate. He really missed Elijah Moore.
Tennessee’s backfield looks like a three-headed committee as feared, while Julio Jones looks droppable … James Robinson had four yards on six carries but wasn’t as bad as Trevor Lawrence, who tossed four interceptions during the shutout. Lawrence was already having a historically bad season before Sunday’s bomb. Since their bye, the Jaguars have averaged 9.1 points over seven games.
The big news was Lamar Jackson getting carted off with an ankle injury (with the Ravens struggling down 10-0 at the time), which would have obvious ramifications should it force him to miss additional time. Tyler Huntley (8.9 CPOE) was competent enough as a replacement, albeit with two lost fumbles. Baltimore didn’t change its offense with Huntley, who had a highly impressive run Sunday and would become a must-add in Superflex leagues if Jackson is sidelined … Huntley did miss a wide-open Marquise Brown late, but he gave life to Rashod Bateman’s fantasy value likely on benches (or waiver wires).
The Ravens recorded their first interception over the last six games thanks to an ugly pick from Baker Mayfield, who also managed just 5.9 YPA against a pass-funnel Ravens defense decimated by injuries in their secondary. It appears offseason surgery (and not just their bye week) will be required to make Mayfield right … Donovan Peoples-Jones has potential and would’ve had a much bigger box score should Sunday’s game script have been different (Baltimore’s backdoor cover involved a successful onside kick, and DPJ also drew multiple PI flags) … After back-to-back games against a tough Ravens run defense, Nick Chubb will be happy to see a Raiders defense that just allowed three top-20 fantasy RBs this week. The rest of his fantasy playoffs include Green Bay (27th run defense DVOA) and Pittsburgh (no one has looked worse against the run in recent memory).
Here’s Myles Garrett doing Defensive Player of the Year things:
And with this sack, Myles Garrett breaks the Browns’ single-season franchise record 😳
Is Garrett a 🔒 for DPOY?
— Yahoo Sportsbook (@YahooSportsbook) December 12, 2021
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
Matt Ryan entered with a 1:5 TD:INT ratio over the last four games and on the road against a loaded Carolina secondary (and down early), but he played well (8.2 CPOE) in Atlanta’s win. The Falcons are somehow 6-7 with a -108 point differential … Cam Newton was benched for P.J. Walker in both the second and fourth quarter in a home matchup coming off a bye against DVOA’s 29th ranked pass defense. Even with his rushing, Newton can’t be trusted in the fantasy playoffs … I can’t wait to draft Kyle Pitts next year.
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Football Team
Dak Prescott is no longer a threat to run and has just four TD passes over the last four games. The team’s RB situation and a healthy WR group help, but Dallas’ fantasy playoffs schedule (@NYG, Ari, Was) isn’t overly favorable either. Prescott had a bad fourth quarter pick-six to help Washington back into the game, as Dallas won Sunday thanks to a strong defensive performance and in spite of Prescott (-10.4 EPA, -12 CPOE) … Antonio Gibson went from DFS chalk after J.D. McKissic was ruled out Sunday morning to being benched after losing a fumble in a game that also included his quarterback finishing in the third percentile in EPA/play (in other words, it was hardly the RB’s fault) … Cam Sims “Mossed” Trevon Diggs, while Taylor Heinicke’s biggest contribution Sunday was finding a pair of scissors on the field.
The Cowboys are the NFC version of the Chiefs — sneakily sporting a better defense than their more talked-about offense.
Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans
Rashaad Penny was the story of the game, running for 137 yards (8.6 YPC) and two touchdowns while finishing as fantasy’s RB2 this week. The talented Penny is fully capable of being a major fantasy difference-maker (dare I say “league winner”) during the playoffs (including Chi, Det in Weeks 15/16), especially in a wide-open Seattle backfield. He’s also capable of leaving injured at any moment (his 16 carries were a career-high Sunday for a reason) … Russell Wilson looked much better, helping Tyler Lockett become fantasy’s WR3 this week ... DK Metcalf lost two separate touchdowns to penalties and missed another TD thanks to a bad Wilson throw, while Ka’imi Fairbairn nailed a 61-yard field goal … It took a Rex Burkhead injury to get Royce Freeman (1.4 YPC) touches … Detective Davis Mills has a 7:1 TD:INT ratio at home and a 1:7 on the road this season.
Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos
Given all the injuries and COVID issues (and coming off an emotional first win of the season), it was impressive Detroit fought back from an early 14-0 deficit to make it a highly competitive first half. The answer to Godwin Igwebuike (nearly two lost fumbles) or Jermar Jefferson (finished with zero touches while not seeing his first snap until nine minutes left in the fourth quarter) was Craig Reynolds? Reynolds is the pride of Kutztown (no, really), and his expert consensus rank was the RB67 this week.
Both Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams were top-eight fantasy backs this week, with Gordon labeled questionable with a hand injury at one point before quickly returning in a big way Sunday. Denver’s backfield will remain a fantasy headache rest-of-season while not playing in ideal matchups like they did this week, but Williams has top-three overall draft pick upside in 2022 if things go right during the offseason.
New York Giants @ Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert was terrific despite no Keenan Allen and became the first player in NFL history with 30+ TD passes in each of his first two seasons. Mike Williams wasn’t a bust, but it’s fitting he was outscored by both Jalen Guyton (what a throw!) and Josh Palmer with Allen sidelined (and Austin Ekeler banged up). Hopefully, the team was being cautious with Ekeler in a lopsided game and with a short turnaround facing Kansas City on Thursday night … It’s hard to imagine Jake Fromm being much worse than Mike Glennon was Sunday (whose ugly numbers would look even uglier if not for a short screen to Kyle Rudolph that went 60 yards).
San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals
There were four fumbles in the first eight minutes (and six fumbles total) in this wacky overtime game that also featured multiple missed kicks and a whopping 10 combined sacks. Both quarterbacks played well, and Joe Burrow’s finger was not a problem … Ja’Marr Chase had another bad drop early and had a touchdown overturned on replay but totally redeemed himself by scoring two other times. Joe Mixon’s nine-game TD streak came to an end, but Tee Higgins has surpassed 100 yards in three straight games now …
Jeff Wilson is SF’s clear early-down back when Elijah Mitchell is out, but he’s also a clear downgrade (and loses passing down work to JaMycal Hasty) … Deebo Samuel said he was at less than full strength but looked good during his return, which included eight carries (and some inside the 10).
George Kittle was fantasy’s top-scoring pass catcher for the second straight week in PPR (tying Davante Adams) and has now recorded the most 150-yard+TD receiving games by a tight end in NFL history ... Brandon Aiyuk with the walk-off TD catch in overtime.
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers was fantastic while finishing as fantasy’s QB3 this week, while Davante Adams went from looking hobbled to finishing as the WR1. Aaron Jones somehow finished as the RB7 this week despite totaling eight touches, as AJ Dillon is going to be a major part of this backfield down the stretch. He might even be the leader … It was Allen Lazard and not Marquez Valdes-Scantling who benefitted from Randall Cobb’s absence, while Justin Fields led all rushers in a wild game that totaled 75 points … The move to Fields is a big downgrade for Darnell Mooney … Jakeem Grant had a memorable night, turning his only catch into a 46-yard score and also returning the first punt for a touchdown in the NFL this season (and top-10 longest in NFL history).