With Ezekiel Elliott available for yet another week, the Cowboys put on a strong showing at home, beating the visiting Chiefs 28-17 at AT&T Stadium.
From a fantasy perspective a few intriguing storylines emerged, perhaps none more notable than the continued strong play of Dak Prescott. The second-year pro attacked a Kansas City defense that has struggled against opposing wide receivers this year: Terrance Williams, Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley combined for 19 receptions for 238 yards and two touchdowns, both by Beasley. It was clear in the red zone that the Cowboys made a concerted effort to get Beasley in space one-on-one, and that strategy worked. Beasley is one of the best short-area route runners in the league, and it showed. He’s owned in just 18 percent of leagues and should see an uptick in usage if Elliott’s suspension is eventually served. Also possibly helping Beasley’s stock is Bryant leaving early with an ankle sprain. Bryant said following the game he hopes to be back for Week 10, though it’s not immediately clear if he’ll be 100 percent.
But back to Prescott: He was terrific, recording three total touchdowns (two through the air and one on the ground), not turning it over and only being sacked once. He finished with 249 yards passing and 27 more yards rushing. He’s been very, very good over the past handful of weeks, save for a game played in a downpour in Washington. Of course Elliott’s suspension — if it ever happens — will change how opponents defend Dallas, and Prescott will be without one of the premier talents in all of football. But his big performance today should assuage some concerns over Zeke’s absence.
Elliott, meanwhile, put in a workmanlike 27 carries for 93 yards and a score. It remains an absolute mystery when and/or if he will miss time, but as long as he’s playing, he’s an absolute stud. For what it’s worth, Alfred Morris was Elliott’s primary backup and had a nice 11-yard run.
As for the Chiefs, it was a bit of a concerning game for Kareem Hunt. After recording at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first seven games, he had just 68 last week and 61 this week. Given his workload, it would make sense that Hunt might be hitting a little bit of a rookie wall. He certainly hasn’t looked quite as explosive or sharp over the past couple of matchups. The bye week could not be coming at a better time for the Chiefs and their rookie star. He’ll look to get healthy and the Chiefs will look to get him in more successful situations going forward. His next matchup is against the Giants, who just gave up two touchdowns and 104 total yards to Todd Gurley.
Finally, we can’t cover this game without mentioning Tyreek Hill’s 56-yard touchdown catch and run to end the first half. He didn’t do much else the rest of the day, but that was one of the top plays of the season.
With Scott Pianowski tackling the fantasy developments from the early Week 9 slate, here are some notes from the other two afternoon games.
- In a sloppy, cold game, Russell Wilson salvaged a mediocre throwing performance with a late touchdown to Doug Baldwin and by using his legs. One of the greatest improvisors, Wilson ran 10 times for 77 yards, often climbing up through the pocket and picking up chunk yardage. He tossed two picks, though, and never really found a rhythm going downfield.
- Eddie Lacy started the game but found only minimal success before leaving with a groin injury. Thomas Rawls found a little bit more success and was the main back following Lacy’s exit. JD McKissic also got some reps on late downs. The Seattle backfield rotation remains unproductive and unpredictable.
- With tight end Jordan Reed and slot receiver Jamison Crowder out, Vernon Davis (six catches, 72 yards) emerged as Kirk Cousins’s favorite target. If the oft-injured Reed misses more time, Davis is a priority add, especially with byes hitting next week for both Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce. Davis is available in 40 percent of leagues.
- Given Washington’s depleted offensive line and underperforming wide receivers, Kirk Cousins is becoming an increasingly unreliable starting option, even after leading an improbable game-winning drive. He’s missing four of his five linemen as well as his best short-route wide out. That’s not a recipe for success.
- Adrian Peterson ran like a man possessed on Sunday. In his third game in a Cardinals uniform, the former MVP racked up 159 rushing yards on 37 carries and added a couple of short catches, too. It’s a career-high number of carries for Peterson, who looked like his old self making people miss and powering through would-be tacklers. It’s a nice bounce back week for him, but remember: He faces a short week upcoming. Be wary of him vs. a tough Seattle run defense on Thursday.
- Even in the wreckage that is the San Francisco season, Carlos Hyde played really well. Not known as a passing game threat necessarily, he caught nine of his team-high 11 targets for a team-high 84 yards. With Pierre Garçon out for the year, Hyde is the most dynamic player on the 49er offense, and C.J. Beathard recognized that early and often. We’ll see how Hyde meshes with Jimmy Garoppolo once he gets on the field.