Fresh off Sunday’s slate of games, Fantrax looks back at all the good, the bad, and the interesting from the Sunday slate of NFL games in the Week 9 fantasy football recap.
Hopefully, we can use what we learned in the first nine weeks of fantasy football to help make better lineup decisions moving forward. This weekly column will highlight the week’s slate from a fantasy perspective, while also analyzing what trends to pay attention to in the weeks ahead.
For Week 9, we will look at the slate highlighted by Joe Mixon, Tyreek Hill, Justin Fields, and a number of players forced into big roles due to injuries that just never seemed to end.
Week 9 Fantasy Football Recap
Week 9 Studs
The evolution of Justin Fields from just about the worst quarterback in the league in the first three weeks of the season into the conversation for the best is almost complete. After leading the position with 42.7 fantasy points (16 points more than second), Fields completes a run of dominance rarely seen in fantasy football. He set a single-game quarterback record with 178 rushing yards and Fields is the top-scoring fantasy quarterback in points per game average since Week 5. His next two opponents? The Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons.
Tua is on his own mini-hot streak over the last three games, scoring 23.07 fantasy points per game, good for third at the position since Week 7. The Dolphins have moved up into the top ten teams in terms of pass rate, and with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle roaming the field, this is a passing attack that is proving impossible to stop.
You don’t need me to tell you that Joe Mixon’s 211 combined yards and five touchdowns were awesome yesterday, and you were basically sunk if you played against him. But what might be newsworthy is that, according to FantasyPros, Mixon’s day was just 3.3 points shy of the all-time best running back fantasy score and he didn’t even touch the field in the fourth quarter.
Even though it was literally half of Joe Mixon’s total, Kenneth Walker dominated yet again with 129 total yards and two rushing scores. Even after missing the Week 1 game and splitting time with Rashaad Penny for a few weeks, Walker is now 15th in running back scoring on the season. He is also second in total points at the position over the last four weeks (and would have been first if not for Joe Mixon’s historic day).
Now with a full-time job, Etienne’s touches, yards, and fantasy points have all increased for four straight weeks, culminating in 30 touches for 126 yards and two scores on Sunday. I’m not sure that trend can continue as he is getting Derrick Henry-level usage the last couple weeks, but all those concerns about Etienne not being able to sustain a workhorse back role can be firmly put to bed. This is a top-five running back in 2023 drafts.
Something must have happened with Derrick Henry last night, because he was absolutely dominating, but only ended up with 17 rush attempts in a close game where Malik Willis only completed five passes. But fantasy managers won’t complain about 115 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday night. Or maybe they will. Fantasy managers tend to complain about everything.
When Adams caught 25- and 38-yard touchdowns in the first half, it looked like he might on the road to an all-time game. He had to “settle” for 10 catches, 146 yards, and two scores for a mere 31.6 fantasy points in half PPR formats. There was a lot of head-scratching after his 0.70 fantasy points in Week 8, but that was clearly just a bump in the road to what has been a top-six fantasy season so far.
Tyreek Hill now leads the world in fantasy points, edging out Austin Ekeler by 0.10 fantasy points after his massive game on Sunday. Hill scored just his third touchdown on Sunday, which makes his fantasy dominance even that much more impressive. The positive touchdown regression is coming seeing as how pass-happy the Dolphins are and the fact that Hill receives 11 targets per game. It’s hard to fathom that he could be better outside of Kansas City, but that’s exactly what has happened as Mike McDaniels has been scheming Hill’s abilities to perfection.
Palmer was the last man standing in the Chargers’ wide receiver room and he made fantasy managers happy who took a chance on him on the waiver wire or pulled him off their benches this week. Against an awful Falcons’ secondary, Palmer caught eight of 10 targets for 106 receiving yards. With Mike Williams still out for a few weeks and Keenan Allen somehow getting worse over the Chargers’ bye last week, Palmer is going to keep getting plenty of opportunities and be one of those waiver wire heroes that leads teams into the playoffs.
When Justin Fields ascends, he is the tide that lifts all receiving option boats for the Bears. Kmet had the best game of his career Sunday with 50 total yards and two touchdowns. That’s now three scores in two games for the post-hype tight end sleeper and is quite a recovery from the two air balls he took in the first two games of the season. Kmet’s six targets represented a season high, and he is a name to watch for the second half of the season.
Travis Kelce did Travis Kelce things on Sunday night against the Titans, catching 10 of 17 targets for 106 yards, including a number of important catches on the game-winning drive in overtime. Apart from the four-touchdown game a few weeks ago, it hasn’t felt a lot like a typical Kelce-smash year, but the truth is he has 38 more fantasy points than anyone at the position and it would be a major upset if he doesn’t finish as the TE1 yet again.
I won’t blame you if you didn’t know Cade Otten’s name a few weeks ago, but he is a tight end to know as we inch closer to the playoffs, and he is likely on your waiver wire right now. Otten is playing the poor man’s version of Rob Gronkowski lately, with 16 targets in his last three games including 68 yards and his first touchdown on Sunday. It is clear that Tom Brady trusts this guy, and when you’re a tight end that Brady trusts, good things are bound to happen.
Week 8 Duds
Every Single Packer Not Named Allan Lazard
No matter what set of projections you used to look at today’s games, the Packers players were thought to be in a very good spot. They were, after all, playing the league’s worst defense in the Detroit Lions. And no matter how bad their first eight games were, Aaron Rodgers and company would surely turn it on against the Lions, right? Wrong. Aaron Jones left injured. So did Romeo Doubs. Rodgers threw three red zone interceptions. A.J. Dillon had five fantasy points. It was an atrocious game to watch, and now we have to consider downgrading this entire offense the rest of the season because Green Bay could not score more than nine points against the worst team in the league.
Similar to Aaron Rodgers, Justin Herbert was also thought to be in a good spot, albeit without a couple of key weapons. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams were both out against the Falcons’ depleted and woeful secondary, but no matter. Herbert still had Austin Ekeler, Gerald Everett, and John Palmer at his disposal. Thumbs down emoji. Herbert threw for one touchdown, but couldn’t even clear 250 passing yards and also threw a pick.
That is now just 25 total fantasy points for Leonard Fournette the last three games combined. His bad game last week was bailed out by a rushing touchdown, but no such luck in Week 9 as he managed just 19 rush yards on nine attempts. He continues to catch a good number of passes, but the general malaise over the Tampa Bay offense has caught even Fournette in its net lately.
There was quite a bit of chatter around Gibson this week after J.D. McKissic was ruled out with a neck injury. With the lead passing-down back gone, it was thought that Gibson would assume a bigger role and that Brian Robinson would handle just the obvious rushing downs. Gibson did get a strong 11 rush attempts and three targets, but the problem is he only turned them into 47 total yards. The Vikings shut down all aspects of Washington’s rush offense during this game.
Another injury fill-in that completely bombed for us today. The last time Deon Jackson drew a start, he rushed 12 times and also caught all 10 of his targets for 23 total fantasy points. On Sunday in New England, it could not have been a more different result. Jackson ended up with 4.6 points on just 36 total yards. As long as Sam Ehlinger is quarterback, it’s clear the Colts are not going to have any semblance of a passing game. Jackson is much less productive on the ground, so we should temper expectations as long as Jonathan Taylor is out.
Some fantasy players get a case of addition by subtraction whenever you remove a high-usage player from the offense. Think Tony Pollard last week when Ezekiel Elliott was out. But Higgins is still struggling to find that type of production. He now has a total of 109 yards in the two games since Ja’Marr Chase went down with an injury. He did score in Week 8, but it’s clear the defenses are keying in on him and he doesn’t have Chase to draw away the upper levels of opponents’ secondaries.
After catching 15 balls for 220 yards the previous two games, Evans had just five catches for 40 yards Sunday, getting the Jalen Ramsey treatment from the Rams. I’m not as panicked about the Bucs as I am about the Packers. For one thing, the passing tree is so narrow in Tampa Bay. Evans had double-digit targets for the fourth time in his last six games.
Michael Pittman, Jr.
As referenced with Deon Jackson, this Indianapolis team is not a passing team for the foreseeable future. With just 3.7 fantasy points on Sunday, that is now three straight games under 10 for Pittman. If you drafted Pittman in the third or fourth round in summer drafts, I hope you were able to sell him for full price before the change in offensive philosophy kicked in.
We probably should have seen this coming since the Buffalo Bills are a top-six defense against tight ends this year. But Conklin was coming off a 10-target, six-catch game last week where it looked like he was an ascending part of the offense. After two targets and one catch in Week 9, he is back to the bottom of the tight end barrel until his next great defensive matchup.
I’m not sure what Gerald Everett’s excuse is for the poor game. Before today, Atlanta allowed the second-most receptions and third-most yards to the tight end position. But Everett ended up with only six fantasy points despite eight targets against the Falcons. Better days are ahead.
Injuries to Monitor
Aaron Jones Injures Ankle, Status Unknown
Aaron Jones left Sunday’s game against the Lions with an ankle injury and was not able to return. After the game, the team declared his X-rays were negative for a major injury, but Jones was seen leaving in a walking boot to help stabilize the ankle.
It comes at a tough times for fantasy managers as the road gets no easier with a date in Week 10 against the rested Dallas Cowboys defense. But the Packers can also ill afford to fall out of the playoff race even more than they have. If for some reason Jones does have to miss the Dallas game, A.J. Dillon would draw the start and be a low-end RB2 play considering the matchup and his very up-and-down season this year.
Mark Andrews Ruled out for Monday Night Football
Fantasy managers were left in a bit of a bind this weekend with Mark Andrews playing on Monday Night Football and not officially being declared Out until the Sunday afternoon games were underway. Hopefully, you set up a contingency plan at the tight end position, as one of fantasy’s top two at the position will be out of commission.
The best possible scenario for fantasy managers is they were able to pick up Isaiah Likely, Andrews’ direct backup at the position and generator of a thousand “Likely” memes. In a game last week where Andrews missed most of it, Likely went off for six catches, 77 yards, and a score. Lamar love to throw to the tight end position, so he is a must add at the moment. Andrews does expect to return from his various injuries after their Week 10 bye.
Darren Waller Misses Fourth Consecutive Game
Why am I getting the feeling that we may have seen the best this guy has to offer and his injury history may just be starting catch up with him? We know Darren Waller is uber-talented and a force at the position, but the guy simply can’t stay healthy and has been conceding snaps to Foster Moreau even when he can suit up.
This time, it’s a nagging hamstring injury for Waller that’s keeping him out of action. There have been very few positive reports about the injury, but I am making plans to not have him for some time if I am a Darren Waller fantasy manager.