The Chiefs/Patriots game was moved to Monday night after Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. With no other players returning positive tests prior to the game, things went off without a hitch after the game was pushed to a lead-in spot before Monday Night Football. The regularly scheduled game pitted Aaron Rodgers and the Packers against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. The Chiefs and Packers entered Monday night undefeated and both left without a blemish on the schedule.
New England Struggles without Cam Newton
The Patriots did everything right to stop Patrick Mahomes. They held him to 7.9 yards per attempt, slightly below his career average. New England's defense also stopped Kansas City on 7-of-11 tries on third down. On offense, Damien Harris hit 100 yards on 17 carries. His breakout performance plus some help from Rex Burkhead gave New England the edge in time of possession. Keeping Mahomes off the field and holding him in check when he's on the field is a blueprint for toppling Kansas City. In the end, Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham ultimately prevented the upset from coming to fruition.
Hoyer was benched after averaging 5.4 yards per attempt and throwing an interception. Stidham appeared to have the Patriots trending upward after leading them down the field and throwing a score to N'Keal Harry. The hope would not last as he was intercepted twice, one of which was taken to the house by Tyrann Mathieu. A good defense is useful but teams should plan on scoring at least 30 points if they want to take down the Chiefs. Mahomes wasn't perfect and the Chiefs only averaged 3.8 yards per carry on the ground but New England never stood a chance without Newton in the lineup.
Fantasy Slant: The Patriots are going to run often and struggle to put up points as long as Newton is out. They passed 37 times and ran 35 times in a game that never saw them hold a lead. With Sony Michel (quad) on IR, Harris is one of the best adds off the waiver wire this week. Damiere Byrd caught five of his 10 targets for 80 yards. With the passing efficiency looking dismal in New England and Byrd playing a larger role, Julian Edelman is a WR2/3 and Harry can be kept on the bench. Continue playing all Chiefs players as normal. Mecole Hardman scored again but was fourth on the team in targets. He'll be an afterthought in fantasy whenever he doesn't score and is only a deep flex option as long as Sammy Watkins is on the field.
Aaron Rodgers Faces Little Resistance from Atlanta
Rodgers did his thing versus Atlanta and picked apart an inferior defense. He scored four times, three of which went to Robert Tonyan. The Packers took a 20-3 lead at halftime and never looked back. Rodgers averaged nearly 10 yards per attempt despite being without Allen Lazard (core muscle surgery) and Davante Adams (hamstring). The star receiver made a statement on Twitter indicating that he was unhappy with being ruled out but things should get smoothed over once he finds the end zone in Week 5.
Matt Ryan threw for 285 yards but it was a shaky performance from the 35-year-old passer. He made multiple errant throws and did not connect with Calvin Ridley once, despite Julio Jones leaving at halftime with a hamstring injury. Ridley entered the week with a hamstring injury of his own. The only bright spot was Todd Gurley finding the end zone twice on 16 carries. Gurley has four scores on the year despite not looking elusive or explosive as a runner. He appears set to repeat his low-efficiency, touchdown-heavy performance from 2019 this year. Atlanta may improve as the schedule gets easier and their receivers recover from their injuries but this season may already be lost. Without a win on the books, head coach Dan Quinn looks like a long-shot to make it to the team's Week 10 bye.
Fantasy Slant: Much like players on the Chiefs, anyone with a pulse on Green Bay is capable of finding the end zone on any given week. Tonyan may see his target totals dip once Adams returns but he's an every-week starter at tight end going forward. Jamaal Williams reemerged with eight catches for 95 yards after bringing down one pass over the past two weeks. He's worth a speculative add off the waiver wire in PPR leagues. The Falcons are a mess but do face the Panthers at home next week. The Carolina defense is weak at every level but they have been especially vulnerable to the run. Carolina has allowed seven rushing touchdowns on the year. Ryan and Ridley are fantasy starters again in Week 5 but the matchup is best for Gurley.
Editor’s Note: Unlock the brand new League Sync! Keep track of all your Yahoo! teams in one place and use our Trade Analyzer, Free Agent Finder, Lineup Adviser and custom projections to make all the right roster decisions! Get all of our Season Tools, League Sync AND DFS Tools for as low as $7.99/month!
The Texans fired GM and head coach Bill O'Brien after starting 0-4 and trading DeAndre Hopkins during the offseason. Romeo Crennel was promoted to interim coach. The Texans' season is also likely past the point of salvation. Luckily for them, Deshaun Watson has publicly expressed a desire to stay with the team that drafted him. They would be in line for a premium pick in the 2021 draft had O'Brien not sent that pick to Miami in a package for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills. The lack of continuity may be a short-term hindrance to Houston but the ousting of O'Brien is a positive move for the Texans' franchise.
Austin Ekeler was diagnosed with a Grade 2 hamstring strain that is expected to keep him sidelined 4-6 weeks. Joshua Kelley needs to be rostered in every league. He has 52 carries and seven catches on the year, most of which came with Ekeler healthy. Justin Jackson also projects for a meaningful role and is worth an add off the waiver wire. Nick Chubb was placed on injured reserve with an MCL injury. Like Ekeler, the diagnosis comes as a relief compared to the initial concerns. Chubb will miss at least three weeks. Kareem Hunt is an RB1 for as long as Chubb is out because of the run-first philosophy in Cleveland. Cam Akers (ribs) is expected to return in Week 5. Malcolm Brown led the backfield in Week 1 when Darrell Henderson and Akers were both active. Henderson has led the backfield on multiple occasions as well. Sean McVay wants to rotate his backs on a weekly basis. That makes it impossible to trust anyone in this mess of a committee going forward.