By Larson Zekas: Trinity Christian Academy junior and 2019-2020 Junior Journalist
The NFL game I watched most recently was the Jacksonville Jaguars coming into Bank of America Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina, to face the Carolina Panthers for Week 5. It was a thrilling game that came down to the wire and also became an epic clash between two rookie quarterbacks who were not even expected to start at the beginning of the season. Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew took over for Nick Foles after Foles's broken collarbone suffered in Week One, and Carolina’s Kyle Allen took over the starting job for Cam Newton after the star quarterback suffered a foot injury during the preseason when he was sacked by Patriots DE Adam Butler.
Minshew’s rookie performance against the Panthers excelled into 2 touchdowns and 374 yards in 26 completions out of 44 attempts -- although the “baddest” quarterback ever, who started the movement “Minshew Mania,” illustrated by recent hilarious social media memes, lost three fumbles throughout the day. In comparison, Panthers’ backup quarterback Kyle Allen passed 17/30 for 181 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions in that game being the cherry on top.
Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who undeniably became the game and fantasy football MVP on one of my teams, racked up 41.7 fantasy points for me due to his 176 rushing yards in 19 carries, including two touchdowns and an epic flip into the end zone. He caught 6 passes for 61 yards and another score. McCaffery also broke out the longest run of his career during the shootout, a 74-yard scamper.
The ball game was definitely a plus for every aspect of my fantasy teams -- except for the Jaguars’ defense and special teams, which I very luckily benched because they only mustered one point against Carolina. The other excellent fantasy performer became wide receiver DJ Chark of the Jaguars, who brought in 8 passes for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns and went off on Carolina’s defense. The Jaguars’ defense was swarming, racking up three sacks and getting a block of a field goal from defensive end Calais Campbell on a 56-yard try from Carolina.
McCaffery and Chark together earned me a combined 77.1 points and helped propel my fantasy team in one league to a dominating victory with a total of 166.9 points. I did not start either of those players in my other league, which I did not win, unfortunately, with only 135.8 points, but I prioritized adding Chark from the waivers immediately after the game.