You can’t really say Week 9 was crappy, but it certainly wasn’t supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, either. There were a couple of blowouts, a few tight wins for the Cowboys and Raiders, but all in all, it was another so-so week in the NFL. One thing was pretty clear, though, the 2016 draft class game to play. Owners enjoyed big games from two second-year QBs, and Travis Kelce even surprised us with an imaginary potato sack race in the end zone. Fantasy wise, some of you will now hate A.J. Green, while others fall further in love with Julio Jones. Here’s your Week 9 recap:
Week 9 Thumbs Up
- There’s a Grand Canyon-sized gap between the Jared Goff we suffered through last year and this magnificent version that stands before us. After routing the Giants on 311 passing yards and 4 TDs, Goff stood as the top fantasy QB this week with 28.4 points. In a run-first offense, this is huge for the 48% of people who actually own Goff. It’s also huge for the people of Los Angeles, who are now staring at a 6-2 team that could actually, y’know, make the playoffs.
- How do you think the Browns feel right now? As if Goff’s performance wasn’t enough, here’s Carson Wentz with 24.8 points of his own. What could’ve been, huh? I’m not sure we can label Denver’s defense as the “No Fly Zone” anymore, because well, “Wentz’s Personal Playground” sounds more fitting. He threw for 199 yards and 4 TDs in the Eagles’ 51-23 win, and if you own Wentz and Alshon Jeffery, you’re probably sitting atop your league right about now.
- Give the Cowboys credit. At least they’re consistent. Heading into the half with what could have been a comfortable lead, they once again allowed an easy touchdown to Tyreek Hill with two seconds left on the clock. It was a genius call from Andy Reid, one that left fantasy owners with 13.5 fantasy points in what was otherwise a very disappointing offensive half from the Chiefs.
- If Alvin Kamara isn’t a Top 5 running back next season, I don’t know anything anymore. It was another killer game for the rookie with 31.2 PPR points, and his dual threat of both rushing and receiving capabilities were once again on full display. If you’re a Mark Ingram owner, there’s no reason to stress, as he too finished with 77 yards next to his name. Next season could be interesting, though, especially since it seems the Saints are transitioning Kamara into a heavier rushing role as the playoffs near.
- Here’s a shocker: Jacoby Brissett finished as the sixth best QB in terms of fantasy points with 19.5. He threw for over 300 yards for the second time this season and finished with a passer rating of 122.6. Don’t look now, but Brissett has actually thrown for more passing yards than Andy Dalton and Dak Prescott this year. It may not be Andrew Luck out there, but at just 23 years old, this is a QB a lot of teams should be paying attention to.
- Fair to assume most of you benched Sammy Watkins, right? You’ll be pleased to know, then, that he caught one hell of a deep pass from Goff on Sunday, taking it to the house for a 67-yard TD. Watkins’ value is still on the decline, but he’s still hanging around as a potential flex option on bye weeks. He’s also become that “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” player. He’ll burn you on the bench, and burn you in your lineup should you start him.
- I’m starting to get used to this whole Evan Engram thing. The rookie tight end was once again the only standout from an otherwise miserable day for the Giants. He finished with 17 fantasy points thanks to 70 yards and a TD. It’s obvious who the other Top 4 TEs are, but Engram is quickly becoming the fifth.
- Speaking of monster TE performances, how about Jared Cook? Derek Carr threw his way nine times against the Dolphins on Sunday night and wracked up 126 yards in the process. Cook can be a frustrating play week-to-week, but when he goes gangbusters like this, it’s a reminder of how dangerous he really can be.
- It was against the 49ers, but Adrian Peterson had himself another day. His 159 yards made him the tenth most productive running back of Week 9, and with Drew Stanton looking shaky at times, his value only increases as the Cardinals look to keep things conservative.
Week 9 Thumbs Down
- The A.J. Green scuffle cost owners dearly on Sunday. After an ejection in the second quarter, he finished with just 1.6 points on one reception. Obviously, you can’t predict these kinds of things, but as we saw two weeks ago with Marshawn Lynch, they can cost owners not just one, but two weeks.
- Blair Walsh was at times a fringe Top 10 kicker from week to week. After missing three first-half field goals vs. the Redskins, though, you can forget that. He had a serious case of the yips on Sunday, shanking everything to the left. The Seahawks would have entered the half with an 11-9 lead if he made all three, but on a pretty fine afternoon in Seattle, there’s really no excuse.
- Expecting the world from Tom Savage would have been foolish, but his lack of experience showed in the final moments of the fourth quarter on Sunday. After completing a pass down to the four-yard line, Savage struggled to hurry up the offense and get the next play off. As a result, he drained 30 seconds off the clock, and then went on to fumble the ball on a sack on the very last play of the game. Savage was on the verge of putting up some respectable numbers against the Colts — 219 yards and what should have been 2 TDs. Instead, he finished with a lousy 10.8 points.
- It’s heartbreaking to see Mike Evans reduced to this. He was completely shut down during the Bucs’ 30-10 loss against the Saints, putting up just 13 yards on six targets. To be fair, the whole Tampa Bay receiving corps could be listed here. DeSean Jackson was good for only 5.3 points, and even Cameron Brate went quiet for just nine yards. Right now, owning any stock in Tampa’s offense is risky, and with Jameis Winston’s shoulder causing problems, it may get worse before it gets better.
- The Panthers’ running game continues to puzzle. One week Jonathan Stewart receives the majority of the handoffs, and the next he posts -1.9 fantasy points. Two massive fumbles recovered by the Falcons cost Stewart owners dearly, but with games against the Dolphins and Jets coming up next, he still remains a pretty nice flex play.
- Big Red wasn’t quite so glorious against the Jaguars. Andy Dalton completed just 10 of his 18 attempted passes, throwing for 136 yards — his lowest total since Week 13, 2015. A lot of that probably has to do with Green’s ejection, but can you believe the Bengals converted just one of their eight 3rd-down opportunities? On the flip side, the Jaguars D/ST gifted owners 14 points thanks to two sacks and a TD.
- DeMarco Murray entered the week as a pretty likeable start option against a Ravens defense that has allowed 125.9 yards per game. Somehow, though, the Titans managed to rush for just 71 yards as a unit on only 21 carries. Murray wasn’t much better in the air, either, accumulating just 22 receiving yards. If it weren’t for some Eric Decker brilliance late in the game, this whole offense easily could be awarded a fail.
- So we finally saw the bad side of Kareem Hunt. The ROY favorite rushed for only 37 yards on nine carries against the Cowboys, small numbers given his usual standards. Give the Cowboys D/ST some credit here, as they shut down the Chiefs’ offense for much of the game. Kansas City converted just four 3rd down opportunities, and were held to an average of 3.6 yards per rushing attempt.
On The Shelf
- Jameis Winston left the game during the first half of Sunday’s loss with more shoulder problems. He was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who actually handled the remainder of the game nicely. There’s no word on Winston just yet, but with the Bucs’ season now in garbage time, you have to wonder when Tampa Bay starts to take precaution ahead of next year.
- You can expect an update sometime on Monday regarding Dez Bryant’s sprained ankle. It doesn’t sound of a serious nature, but he’ll likely miss a few practices this week.
- The Seahawks rolled with Eddie Lacy as their starter against the Redskins, but don’t expect to see him Thursday night against the Cardinals. He left Sunday’s game with a groin strain, but we’ll probably know more as the week rolls on.
Corey Clement, owned in all of 0.8% of leagues, crash-landed across fantasy boards this week. He finished with 25.6 points on the back of a combined 66 yard, three-TD effort against the Broncos. Philadelphia’s backfield has been full of surprises all season long, and with Jay Ajayi posting a lazy 77 yards of his own, suddenly the Eagles are left with a speedy and powerful two-headed attack. If you’re one of the many who look to pick up Clement off waivers on Tuesday, you should be encouraged by his chemistry with Carson Wentz. The Eagles’ star QB threw a 15-yard screen pass to gift Clement his third touchdown on Sunday, and with a trip to Dallas up next, you can expect the Eagles to run much of the same.
Chris Thompson has become somewhat of a fan favorite this season, but his 20 rushing yards and 11 receiving yards probably didn’t smooth over too well with owners. For much of the game, the Redskins’ offense struggled to move the ball, and if it wasn’t for the defense, Washington wouldn’t have walked away with a 17-14 win. Still, Thompson has now had two straight games of 20 rushing yards or fewer, as it’s now becoming blatantly clear that his value might not hold as strong against the league’s top passing defenses.