Ten Things We Learned in Week 9 (Fantasy Football)
Week 9 of the NFL season brought many surprises in both real football and fantasy football. It was another brutal week of bye weeks and injuries, leaving some fantasy managers scrapping at the bottom of the barrel for someone to start. Some of the craziness is what makes fantasy football fun. Let’s take a look at some of the major storylines in Week 9.
1. The NFL is Unpredictable
Sometimes everyone needs a humble reminder that this game we love to play can be so random and unpredictable. Week 9 was just that. Multiple upsets and star players were flopping in fantasy production. The Cowboys and Bengals both got dominated, even though they were the favorites. The Raiders lost to the Giants, and the Bills lost to the Jaguars. A lot of playoff teams lost in Week 9. Sometimes the things you think are a slam dunk guarantee simply don’t happen. Fantasy production was hard to find through a good portion of the day too. Scoring in leagues seemed relatively lower than usual. Week 9 was a strange one.
2. Josh Allen vs Josh Allen
In Week 9, Josh Allen, the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, went head to head with another Josh Allen, the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Jaguars. Josh Allen, linebacker for the Jaguars, won the matchup of Josh Allens. He recorder a sack, interception, and fumble recovery against the Bill’s Josh Allen. Scott Hanson of NFL RedZone Channel mentioned that this was the first time in NFL history that a defensive player had sacked a quarterback of the same name. Josh Allen of the Bills had a rough day. He threw for 264 yards and threw two interceptions in the Bills 6-9 loss to the Jaguars.
3. Dak Returns but Cowboys Struggle
The Cowboys were able to pull out a win without Dak in Week 8, and they were hoping to keep their six-game winning streak going in Dak’s return against the Broncos, but the Cowboys ended up losing 30-16. Dak threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw an interception and missed some big throws, including what would have likely been a long touchdown to CeeDee Lamb. Pretty much all of the Cowboys’ fantasy assets didn’t produce much. You weren’t happy if you started any of them. Ezekiel Elliot only had 51 yards rushing with no touchdowns. Amari Cooper had two receptions for 37 yards. Lamb also had two receptions and had 23 yards. The best receiver for the Cowboys in Week 9 was Malik Turner, who caught five passes for 33 yards and two touchdowns. The offense will surely get back on track, but it was a rough week for the Cowboys and their fantasy football stars.
4. Brandon Aiyuk Avoids the Doghouse
One of the most puzzling situations in fantasy football this season has been Brandon Aiyuk and his role in the 49ers’ offense. Aiyuk was recently at a press conference and spoke about “having words” with Kyle Shanahan. It seems as though both Shanahan and Aiyuk had frustrations, but they were able to work it out in their meeting that occurred around the team’s bye week. In Week 9, Aiyuk started pretty slow. He made an incredible catch but then fumbled the ball. The good news is, he didn’t go back into the doghouse. He continued to play and play well. Aiyuk caught 6-of-8 targets for 89 yards and caught a touchdown. Several of his receptions, including the touchdown catch, were difficult catches in traffic. One other note is that Aiyuk had his best game of the season, even with George Kittle returning and Deebo Samuel leading the team in targets. As long as Aiyuk stays in this new mindset, he can have a second-half breakout for fantasy managers.
5. George Kittle Returns and Instantly Makes an Impact
Fantasy managers that drafted George Kittle can finally breathe a sigh of relief as he returned to action and immediately made an impact. He missed four weeks, but the 49ers had a bye week, so he only missed three games. In Week 9, Kittle caught 6-of-8 targets for 101 yards and a touchdown. He looked great and should be back on track for fantasy production. As long as he stays healthy, Kittle will help give fantasy teams a significant positional advantage, especially with the current mess at the tight end.
6. Fantasy Managers with Courtland Sutton Should be Nervous
Courtland Sutton has had somewhat of a rollercoaster season so far in 2021. He has had some big games with a large portion of the Broncos’ target share, but he was the prime beneficiary of Jerry Jeudy‘s Week 1 injury, which caused Jeudy to miss six games. Sutton only has a combined six targets in the last two weeks. In Week 9, Sutton caught 1-of-2 targets for nine yards. Meanwhile, Jeudy picked up where he left off pre-injury, catching 6-of-8 targets for 69 yards. Sutton was also out-produced by Tim Patrick, who caught 4-of-5 targets for 85 yards and a touchdown. It may be a little too soon, but I think it is time to be nervous about Sutton’s fantasy production. Jeudy may be taking over as the number one option in the offense.
7. The Packers Need Aaron Rodgers
Jordan Love got the start for the Packers with Aaron Rodgers out with Covid. Love completed 19-of-34 attempts for 190 yards and a touchdown. He also threw one interception. While he hasn’t had much NFL regular-season action, Love looks like he has a long way to go to be a starting NFL quarterback. We had to watch the off-season fiasco between the Packers and Rodgers this off-season, but the Packers may want to do whatever they can to keep Rodgers for as long as they possibly can. Davante Adams had his lowest fantasy output of the 2021 season, catching 6-of-14 targets for 42 yards. The fantasy production from Love and Adams was disappointing, considering the favorable matchup of the Chiefs’ defense.
8. James Conner Carries Cardinals to a Win
Both Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins were ruled out of the big game against the 49ers in Week 9. Colt McCoy threw for 249 yards and a touchdown. James Conner had another dominant fantasy day, rushing for 96 yards and two touchdowns. This is now Conner’s fourth game with multiple touchdowns, and he now has 10 touchdowns on the year. The Cardinals now sit at 8-1 with the big win and should get Murray and Hopkins back soon.
9. Elijah Moore Breakout Game
New York Jets rookie wide receiver, Elijah Moore, had himself a breakout game in Week 9 against the Colts. Moore caught 7-of-8 passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Moore was the second pick of the second round in the 2021 NFL Draft and doesn’t have much competition for targets. He has missed some games due to injury, but Moore could be a good flex option going forward if he stays healthy. He had six targets in Weeks 7 and 8 as well.
10. Adam Gase Wasn’t the Problem
We can no longer blame Adam Gase for Sam Darnold‘s play during his time with the Jets. Darnold is the same quarterback, just on a different team. Darnold threw for only 172 yards and threw three interceptions. Darnold has now thrown for under 200 yards in four of the last five games. In his last three games, Darnold has only scored 16 fantasy points in six points per passing touchdown leagues. D.J. Moore and the other wide receivers are now tanking in production as well as a direct result. Moore scored 12 or more half-point PPR points in each of the first four games of the season. Over his last five games, Moore’s highest fantasy score is 10.3 points.