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Everything you need to know from Sunday’s fantasy football action



There are so many twists and turns to an NFL Sunday that it’s hard for fantasy football managers to keep up with everything. This column is designed to help, providing you with all of the storylines you need to know from Sunday’s action in order to kick-start your research for all of the Week 8 games that lie ahead.

All stats are courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info, except where noted.

  • In a win over the defending AFC champions, Ryan Tannehill put on a breathtaking performance. The quarterback completed 21 of 27 passes for 270 yards, a touchdown and an interception. In addition, he scored on a 2-yard run. Overall, the Chiefs defense had prioritized stopping the run, which ultimately benefited Tannehill. He has averaged 19.4 fantasy points per game this season and the Titans will face the Colts next week. While Tannehill can continue to be used as a QB2, Tennessee’s schedule does tighten up in the coming weeks with contests against the Rams, Saints and Patriots before their Week 13 bye.

  • Against the Chiefs, Derrick Henry displayed his versatility. He ran 29 times for 86 yards and caught two passes for 16 yards. More excitingly, he also threw a 5-yard TD pass. Henry joins LaDainian Tomlinson (2005) as the only players to have scored at least 10 rushing touchdowns and thrown a passing score during his team’s first seven games of a season since the start of the Super Bowl era. Henry is averaging 21.35 points per game this season and this trend should continue. He is a top-tier RB1 in fantasy leagues.

  • A game with a 57.5 projected point total saw A.J. Brown deliver for fantasy managers. He looked healthy and rewarded those who had either traded for him or were patient with his slow start. Patience is a virtue, and the rumors about Brown’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. On nine targets, Brown caught eight passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. The combination of his projected target volume, his rapport with Tannehill, and the Titans’ schedule for the rest of the season suggest Brown could finish as a top-five fantasy receiver.

  • This was Matt Ryan‘s best performance of the season. In the game against the Dolphins, he went 25 of 40 for 336 yards, two touchdowns and just one interception. In his last four games, Ryan has thrown for 1,204 yards and 10 touchdowns. There is no denying that he is a criminally underrated player and is effectively executing head coach Arthur Smith’s offense. Ryan is now tied for the 7th-most game-winning drives in NFL history (40) with John Elway. He’ll carry this momentum into a home game against a struggling Panthers team next week. Despite losing their top two receivers, the Panthers gave up 203 passing yards and a touchdown to Daniel Jones. You can just imagine what Ryan will do to them.

  • Despite a slow start to his rookie season, Kyle Pitts is really starting to shine. On Sunday, five of his seven receptions were for at least 20 yards. Overall, Pitts had 163 receiving yards on the day. Throw in the performance of a certain Bengals rookie (see below) and you get the first time two players under the age of 21 have had 150-plus receiving yards in the same week. Pitts should be a top-three fantasy tight end for Week 8.

  • Russell Gage‘s return to the Falcons after a long injury layoff was well worth the wait. After having been sidelined since Week 2, the receiver caught 4 of 6 targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. As of Sunday’s slate of NFL games, Gage was rostered in only 9.9% of ESPN leagues. That percentage is certain to increase this week.

  • Joe Burrow completed 23 of 38 passes for 416 yards, three touchdowns and an interception against the Ravens. He has now thrown 17 passing touchdowns, which is one behind Boomer Esiason’s 1988 total through the first seven games. Esiason won the Most Valuable Player award for that season. With the Jets defense coming off a game where they allowed 307 passing yards and two touchdowns to Patriots QB Mac Jones, Burrow is firmly on the QB1 radar.

  • Over the last three games, Lamar Jackson has a passer rating of 107.9. The only quarterback with a higher rating is Josh Allen (113.6). On 15-of-31 passing, Jackson threw for 257 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, he ran for 88 yards on 12 attempts. It was surprising that the Ravens’ offensive line allowed Jackson to be sacked four times. That’s the most sacks Baltimore has allowed in any game this season. Jackson and the Ravens will regroup during their bye week and look to bounce back against the Vikings, Dolphins, and Bears. The rest of Baltimore’s schedule is quite QB friendly.

  • Many managers will look at Tee Higgins‘ stat line and focus only on his seven receptions and 62 receiving yards. What caught my attention was his 15 targets. There will be a lot of attention focused on Ja’Marr Chase, whose stellar 201 receiving yards are rightly earning him accolades. Still, Higgins should not be overlooked. Over the last three games (since his return from injury), he has accumulated 28 targets. Higgins is a WR3/flex play each and every week.

  • In this contest, Matthew Stafford became the 7th-fastest quarterback to reach 300 passing touchdowns. He’s also just the ninth quarterback to record 300 passing yards and three passing touchdowns against a former team — and the first since Peyton Manning did it back in 2013. Stafford still gets to play the Texans, Titans and 49ers prior to Detroit’s bye week.

  • D’Andre Swift can both run and catch, so he’ll be involved in the offense, regardless of whether the Lions are leading or trailing. In Week 7, he rushed 13 times for 48 yards and caught eight passes for another 96 yards and a touchdown. Swift’s fantasy stats as a receiver alone this season would rank him higher than any other Lions player, save for QB Jared Goff. Let that sink in. Swift is a high-end RB1.

  • Cooper Kupp is the only receiver in the Super Bowl era to have 800-plus receiving yards and nine-plus receiving touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season. He caught 10 of 13 targets for 156 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Considering Kupp’s ADP this summer, he’s more than shaping up to be a fantasy-league winner.

  • Tom Brady competed 20 of 36 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns against the Bears, becoming only the third player in NFL history with at least 200 completions and 20 touchdown passes in his team’s first seven games. Peyton Manning (2013) and Andrew Luck (2018) are the others. Brady is a matchup proof QB1.

  • The only bright spot offensively for the Bears was Khalil Herbert. On Sunday, he had 18 rushes for 100 yards and five receptions for 33 yards. Until David Montgomery returns, Herbert will be the Bears’ No. 1 running back.

  • The absence of Antonio Brown opened the door for Chris Godwin to have a monster game. He caught 8 of 11 targets for a season-high 111 yards and a touchdown. However, Mike Evans did even better, catching 6 of 10 targets for 76 yards and three touchdowns — including the milestone 600th TD pass of Brady’s career.

Rapid-fire report

  • Terry McLaurin remains underrated. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he has reeled in a total of 10 contested catches over 20 air yards in length.

  • Damien Harris had a career day, with 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

  • DJ Moore continues to prosper even as Sam Darnold implodes. In five separate games this season, he has seen double-digit targets.

  • Myles Gaskin rushed for 67 yards on 15 carries and added four receptions for 10 more yards and a touchdown in the Dolphins’ crowded backfield.

  • C.J. Uzomah has tallied 64.7 PPR fantasy points over the past four weeks, third-best among tight ends. However, according to Tristan H. Cockcroft, a full 16 other tight ends had more targets than Uzomah’s 14 during that same span.

  • Calvin Ridley has been targeted at least 10 times in each of his last four games, but has only accumulated 230 receiving yards.

  • Marquise Brown was targeted 14 times on Sunday. His 566 receiving yards in seven games is more than DeAndre Hopkins, Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Stefon Diggs and DK Metcalf. Brown’s six touchdowns ties him for third in the league.

  • Derek Carr completes 31 of 34 passes, good for 91.2%. That’s the second-highest rate for any quarterback in NFL history with at least 30 passes. According to PFF, he leads the league with 693 passing yards on deep passes (30-plus air yards). Carr’s remaining schedule is very fantasy-friendly.

  • Zach Ertz caught three passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. He is just the second player since 1970 to score a touchdown for two different teams in consecutive weeks.

  • The RB job in San Francisco is firmly held by Elijah Mitchell. With 107 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and playing on 66% of snaps, he’s shaping up to be a fantasy-league winner.

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Buffalo Bills make playoff history with 7 touchdown drives in blowout win vs. New England Patriots



ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills didn’t just beat the New England Patriots. They made a statement to the entire NFL.

The Bills dominated the teams’ third meeting in 41 days, winning 47-17 at home to move on to the Divisional round of the playoffs. Buffalo scored a touchdown on all seven of their possessions, becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to score a TD on each of their first seven drives of a playoff game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

With the win, the Bills have beaten the Patriots twice by double-digits in a single season (33-21 in Week 16), becoming the first team to do so since Bill Belichick became head coach.

Dating back to that game in Week 16, the Bills’ last 13 drives against the Patriots have yielded 11 scores (10 touchdowns and one field goal). During that stretch, the only thing that stopped the Buffalo offense was the clock.

Not only did the offense put up an impressive performance, but the Bills continued to show improvements in areas that have caused issues throughout the season. The running game was effective and the offensive line that has had a rollercoaster year set the tempo.

But the most impressive part of the game for the Bills was the performance of quarterback Josh Allen. Coming into the game, one of the big questions was if Allen could step up in freezing temperatures. He did far more than that with temperatures below 10 degrees throughout the game, putting together one of the best performances of his career.

Allen continued his stellar performance against the Patriots from a few weeks prior, completing 21/25 passes (84%) for 308 yards and five touchdowns, in addition to six carries for 66 yards. It is the highest completion percentage in a playoff game with 25 or more attempts since Aaron Rodgers in the 2010 Divisional Playoffs (86.1%)

He became the third player in the Super Bowl era with at least 150 pass yards and 50 rush yards in a single half of a playoff game, per Elias, and joined Drew Brees (2009) and Russell Wilson (2020) as the only quarterbacks to throw for five touchdowns against a Belichick-coached team.

Allen’s performance included two touchdown passes to tight end Dawson Knox and one to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The score was Sanders’ first touchdown in the postseason, coming in his 14th career playoff game with his fifth different team.

Allen’s fifth touchdown was a one-yard throw to reserve offensive lineman Tommy Doyle. All five of his touchdown throws came in play-action, the most by any player in a regular-season or playoff game since 2006 when ESPN began tracking play-action. He has gone four straight games without being sacked.

Running back Devin Singletary ran for two touchdowns behind an offensive line that dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the game.

The defense limited rookie quarterback Mac Jones throughout the game, including forcing two interceptions.

The Bills will now head to the Divisional round of the playoffs for a second straight season with a perfect record in home playoff games under McDermott. With a Chiefs win on Sunday night, the Bills would head to Kansas City, the site of last year’s AFC Championship loss.

Buffalo is 0-3 in road playoff games since McDermott became head coach (0-3). With a Pittsburgh Steelers win, the Bills would host the Cincinnati Bengals next week.

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Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby want Rich Bisaccia back as Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach



CINCINNATI — Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby both heartily endorsed Rich Bisaccia retaining the head-coaching job permanently following Las Vegas’ season-ending 26-19 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the opening round of the playoffs on Saturday night.

Bisaccia was promoted from special teams coordinator to interim head coach following Jon Gruden’s resignation on Oct. 11.

“I think we can all think that he’s the right guy,” Carr said of Bisaccia. “He’s proven that people listen to him. Our team listens to him. And I love him so much, I’m thankful for him. All those things will be decisions that I don’t make; I don’t get to make. I just play quarterback … but with everything that went on, if you really look at what happened, all the pieces missing, everything that changed, yeah, he held it together.”

Carr referenced the Raiders losing starting guards Richie Incognito and Denzelle Good to injury in the preseason and opener, respectively. He also talked about receiver Henry Ruggs III being cut following his involvement in a high-speed car crash that left a woman dead. Carr also cited Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller missing five games down the stretch; Pro Bowl running back Josh Jacobs being dinged up and unavailable at times; and losing versatile running back Kenyan Drake to a knee injury in Week 13.

“You go on and on and on and on, and that’s just offense,” said Carr, who had driven the Raiders to the Bengals’ 9-yard line before being intercepted at the 2-yard line on fourth-and-goal with 12 seconds to play Saturday night. “The fact that that staff kept everything together and kept us competitive and kept us finding ways to win football games, I think that’s what our organization is about, right? So, we’ll see what happens. We know what we want to have happen. But, again, we’re Raiders. We’re going to play football, but we just hope it, obviously, we hope it’s for somebody special.”

Carr also said he would stay out of direct conversations when it came to his future with the team. He has one year remaining on the five-year, $125 million extension he signed in 2017.

He said his agent and the Raiders have a good relationship.

“Lord knows there’s been a lot of things to communicate about, right?” Carr said. “When the time comes, I never want a face-to-face. I’m going to play quarterback, but my message will be talked about.

“I’m not going to go to dinner and say, ‘We have to do something.’ I’m not that guy. I’ll let my voice be heard, but in a different way.”

Crosby, who was just named second-team All-Pro, called Bisaccia a “great leader” for the Raiders.

“If it was up to me, I think everyone in the world knows what my decision would be,” said Crosby, who had a sack among his six tackles on Saturday. “I love Rich. You know, I’m biased, obviously, but he’s, he’s a great coach … he came in and got us to 10 wins. We came on the road, on a short week, and gave Cincinnati everything they could handle.

“One of the best people I know. One of the most honest dudes I know. And I’ll go to bat for him any day of the week. I love that dude to death. He knows that. I appreciate everything he’s brought to the table. I hope we keep doing it.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis has remained silent on the team’s head-coaching search, as well as on the futures of Carr and general manager Mike Mayock.

Bisaccia, meanwhile, laughed when asked if he thought about being elevated to the full-time job.

“I’m just thinking about those guys in that locker room that played the game with their heart and soul out there like that,” he said, “and had a chance to win at the end.”

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Bengals win first playoff game in 31 years, set the table for a run at AFC title – Cincinnati Bengals Blog



CINCINNATI — Send those text messages. The Cincinnati Bengals have finally won a playoff game.

Cincinnati defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 at Paul Brown Stadium in an AFC wild-card game on Saturday. It was Cincinnati’s first playoff victory in 31 years, since before cell phones were capable of sending texts, as memes on the internet reminded folks in the days preceding the game.

But the win wasn’t just about ending the longest playoff win drought in the NFL. It was about the first step in making a run at the AFC title.

Over the course of the season, Cincinnati went from the projected cellar dweller in the AFC North to division champs, ending a six-year stretch without a playoff appearance. That journey included an overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers, one of the top teams in the NFL, and a Week 17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC representatives in last year’s Super Bowl.

Those performances indicated Cincinnati wasn’t just a team that could win a playoff game. They showed the Bengals can hang with the best in the NFL.

For the second time this season, the Bengals needed to hang tough against the Raiders in order to pick up a win. The first came on Week 11 and set the tone for the second half of Cincinnati’s season.

The second victory was much more significant. It gave the city of Cincinnati something it hasn’t experienced in decades and set the table for the Bengals to have a truly special postseason.

“We expect to beat everybody that we play, not just hang with them,” Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said after the game.

Burrow added: “I mean, it’s exciting. But this is expected. This isn’t like the icing on top of the cake or anything. This is the cake. So we’re moving on.”

Describe the game in two words: Curse ending. The Bengals ended the fabled “Curse of Bo Jackson” — the former Raiders running back’s final NFL game in January 1991 that also ended Cincinnati’s last playoff run that featured a win.

“I’m just really, really happy for the city of Cincinnati and that they get a chance to enjoy this,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “And now, just exhale and enjoy the ride we have. Because we’re not done yet.”

Pivotal play: On third-and-four at the end of the first half, Bengals quarterback Burrow scrambled and found Tyler Boyd for a 10-yard touchdown pass to give Cincinnati a 20-6 lead. Initially, it appeared Burrow was going to go out of bounds. A referee even blew an errant whistle. But the play continued and Cincinnati got a key red-zone touchdown.

QB breakdown: Burrow was efficient in his playoff debut. After throwing for 148 yards earlier in the season against the Raiders, Burrow finished Saturday’s win completing 24-of-34 passes for 244 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

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