Taking a quick rundown of the Week 9 Sunday NFL games from a fantasy perspective.
NE 24, CAR 6
This game was mostly defensive on both sides and generated no significant fantasy points for anyone. Mac Jones threw for only 139 yards and one score to Hunter Henry (2-19, TD). Rhamondre Stevenson was the top rusher (10-62) and top receiver (2-44) in this yardage-starved matchup. Damien Harris only ran for 30 yards on 15 carries but scored once. While the game was boring for everyone outside of the immediate Stevenson family, the 5-4 Patriots are only a half-game behind the Bills and host the Browns this week.
Christian McCaffrey played better and longer than expected. He ran for 52 yards on 14 carries while Chuba Hubbard disappeared. McCaffrey also led the team with four catches for 54 yards in what ended up as a typical workload. Sam Darnold played with his bad shoulder and only threw for 172 yards and three interceptions. D.J. Moore (3-32) was the top receiver that wasn’t a running back. The Panthers never scored a touchdown and the offense is back to being Christian McCaffrey and little else. The 4-5 Panthers head to Arizona for Week 10.
CLE 41, CIN 16
Despite not having Odell Beckham, the Browns went ahead and played this game anyway. Nick Chubb was nearly unstoppable with 137 yards and two touchdowns on 14 rushes plus 26 yards on two catches. Baker Mayfield threw for 218 yards and two scores between Donovan Peoples-Jones (2-86, TD) and David Njoku (1-18 TD), but no other receiver gained more than 26 yards or scored. The Browns’ defense opened the game with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown to set the tone. The 5-4 Browns head to New England for Week 10.
The Bengals lost two in a row now, and trailed badly from the second quarter onward. Joe Mixon ran for 64 yards and two scores on 13 rushes and added five catches for 46 yards as the best fantasy play. Joe Burrow threw for 282 yards and two interceptions. Tee Higgins (6-78) and Ja’Marr Chase (6-49) were the top receivers though neither scored and Chase lost a fumble. The Burrow was off all afternoon, and the Browns’ defense was more than they could handle. The loss drops the Bengals to 5-4, and the hot start to the season is cooling off very quickly. They head onto their bye to figure out what went wrong.
DEN 30, DAL 16
The Cowboys were never in this and the score was 30-0 with four minutes left to play before they scored pity points. Ezekiel Elliott (10-51) ran well enough but missed some time with a knee sprain and never saw the expected volume thanks to trailing badly on the scoreboard. Dak Prescott returned from his calf injury but ended with 232 yards and two scores thanks to those final four minutes of trash time. No receiver gained more than 54 yards and both touchdowns were caught by Malik Turner (5-33, 2 TD). It appeared the Cowboys thought a bit too highly of their win in Minnesota last week and brought all the ego but none of the precision from that game. The 6-2 Cowboys host the Falcons this week.
The Broncos found great success rushing the ball. Javonte Williams (17-111) and Melvin Gordon (21-80, TD) helped control the game. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 249 yards and one score to Tim Patrick (4-85, TD). Jerry Jeudy (6-69) helped, while Courtland Sutton (1-9) had the rare bad game. The Cowboys normally are a top-run defense at home, but the backfield duo for the Broncos enjoyed a rare success in the remarkably easy upset. They rise to 5-4 and host the Eagles for Week 10.
BUF 6, JAC 9
If the Cowboys’ loss was a head-scratcher, this matchup was more of a slap to the face. Welcome to “any given Sunday.” The Bills lost Zack Moss along the way, but the backfield only accounted for nine rushes for 22 yards. Josh Allen passed for 264 yards and two interceptions but added 50 yards on five rushes. Stefon Diggs (6-85) and Emmanuel Sanders (4-65) were the top receivers but the Jaguars’ defense either got really good overnight, or the Bills tried to mail this in and were caught by a motivated Jaguars’ team. The loss drops the Bills to 5-3 and suddenly, the view of the Patriots takes up the entire rear-view mirror. The Bills play at the Jets this week but are they worse than the Jaguars? Probably yes, but still…
The offense was as bad as usual and never scored a touchdown. Carlos Hyde (21-67) replaced James Robinson had offered just mediocre yardage. Trevor Lawrence passed for 118 yards in a winning effort. Dan Arnold (4-60) and Jamal Agnew (3-27) were the top receivers in the meager passing production. The Jaguars defense did all the heavy lifting in this win and held the powerful Buffalo offense to only two field goals. The win gives the Jags a 2-6 record and then play at the Colts this week.
HOU 9, MIA 17
This game was everything that was
feared expected. The Texans settled for three field goals and not surprisingly offer no real fantasy value from any player. The backfield continues to use four running backs just to run for 50 yards on 15 carries. Tyrod Taylor passed for 240 yards and three interceptions against one of their weakest opponents of the year. Brandin Cooks led the team with six catches for 56 yards but was thrown 13 targets. Outside of Cooks, the Texans are devoid of any real threats, and his six catches were double that of any other receiver. The 1-8 Texans head onto their bye for Week 10.
Fortunately, it did not require a productive effort to beat the Texans. Myles Gaskin (20-34, TD) added six catches for 23 yards to end up with a decent fantasy score even though he only averaged about two yards every time he touched the ball. Jacoby Brissett stepped in when Tua Tagovailoa decided he could not play, and he passed for 244 yards and one score with two interceptions. Jaylen Waddle (8-83) and Mike Gesicki (4-54) were the top receivers. If Tagovailoa was going to take a day off, this was a good choice. The 2-7 Dolphins just killed a seven-game losing streak and host the Ravens this weekend.
ATL 27, NO 25
Apparently, the Falcons failed to realize they were playing on the road against the No. 7 pass defense. Matt Ryan threw for 343 yards and two scores that both went to Olamide Zaccheaus (3-58, 2 TD). Cordarrelle Patterson (6-126), Kyle Pitts (3-62) and Russell Gage (7-64) were productive and Patterson came up with a critical 64-yard catch down the right sideline with a minute left that set up the winning field goal. The Falcons backfield remains anemic with only 20 rushes for 26 yards. The win sends the 4-4 Falcons to Dallas for Week 10.
The Saints opted for Trevor Siemian (249 passing yards, 2 TDs) as the starter and seeded Taysom Hill in for just one run and two passes. Alvin Kamara (4-54) was the leading receiver and rusher (13-50, TD). Mark Ingram ran nine times for 43 yards, so the backfield split has taken a chunk out of what Kamara handled earlier in the season. Siemian connected with Tre’Quan Smith (3-53) and Deonte Harris (6-52) and the Saints almost won. It was notable that they just replaced Jameis Winston with Siemian and a healthy Hill just handed the same minor workload he had prior to his concussion. The Saints drop to 5-3 and head to Tennessee this week.
LV 16, NYG 23
Another upset. The Raiders remained close throughout the game but their 13-10 lead at halftime only saw one more field goal in the entire second half while surrendering 13 points, thanks mostly to the interception return for a score that make the difference in the game. Derek Carr passed for 296 yards and one score but tossed two costly interceptions. Playing without Henry Ruggs for the first time, Darren Waller (7-92) roared back as the leading receiver. Josh Jacobs (13-76) and Kenyan Drake (4-30) were effective and Drake added six receptions for 70 yards. Hunter Renfrow (7-49, TD) caught the lone touchdown. The loss sends the 5-3 Raiders home to host the Chiefs.
The Giants still await the return of Saquon Barkley, but Devontae Booker got a chance to go against his old team and ran for 99 yards on 21 carries and caught three passes for 23 yards. Daniel Jones only threw for 110 yards and a touchdown to Evan Engram (3-38) as the top receiver. No other receiver gained more than 28 yards. The difference-maker in the game was the Giants’ defense getting opportune turnovers. The win lifts the Giants to 3-6 as they head onto their bye.
LAC 27, PHI 24
This game was very close, and the score never had either team with more than a touchdown lead. The Eagles tied it up 24-24 with six minutes to play but the Chargers kicked a 29-yard field goal to win with two seconds left. Justin Herbert passed for 356 yards and two scores with Keenan Allen (12-104) and Mike Williams (2-58) as the top receivers even though the tight ends caught both of the scores. Austin Ekeler ran for 59 yards on 17 carries and added three catches for 23 yards. The one rushing score was by Herbert. The 5-3 Chargers end their two-game losing streak and host the Vikings in Week 10.
The Eagles were in this game throughout and Jalen Hurts only threw 17 passes and completed 11 for 162 yards and one score. He only connected with four receivers and DeVonta Smith (5-116, TD) led the group with Dallas Goedert (3-43) as the only other receiver with more than nine yards. The backfield was productive between Jordan Howard (17-71, TD), Boston Scott (10-40), and Kenneth Gainwell (2-3, TD). Jalen Hurts also rushed for 62 yards on ten runs. The Eagles totaled 39 rushes versus only 17 passes. The loss drops the Eagles to 3-6 and they play in Denver this week.
GB 7, KC 13
When they created this game, the hope was probably higher than 20 total points from two of the historically highest-scoring offenses. Aaron Rodgers was out with COVID-19 and the Packers were able to glimpse what life would be like without Rodgers (there is Love, there is no laughter). Aaron Jones (12-53) and AJ Dillon (8-46) rushed well when given the opportunity. Jordan Love passed for 190 yards and one score with one interception in his debut with a 69.5 QB rating. Randall Cobb (3-55) and Alan Lazard (1-20, TD) were the best fantasy plays while Davante Adams was held to only 42 yards on six catches. Adams fielded 14 targets which were nine more than any other receiver. The Packers drop to 7-2 but may get Rodgers back just in time to host the Seahawks this week.
The Chiefs won the game, but that doesn’t mean that they are anywhere close back to form. Darrel Williams ran for 70 yards on 19 carries, while Derrick Gore was only given three rushes. Patrick Mahomes, at home, with all notable receivers healthy, only passed for 166 yards and one score despite throwing 37 passes. Travis Kelce (5-68, TD) and Tyreek Hill (4-37) were still the top receivers and accounted for more than half of the passing targets. The 5-4 Chiefs got their win and travel to Las Vegas this week.
ARI 31, SF 17
Following the recent theme in the NFL, the Cardinals won even though Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins were out, and Chase Edmonds was injured after his first play. Colt McCoy was capable with 249 yards and one score with no turnovers. Christian Kirk (6-91) was the top receiver but James Conner was the difference maker with 96 yards on 21 carries for two touchdowns, plus five catches for 77 yards and a third touchdown. It was just another case of a team stripped of their star players and yet winning. The 8-1 Cardinals host the Panthers this week.
The 49ers not only lost while facing the skeleton crew of the Cardinals, they even had George Kittle (6-101, TD) back and Brandon Aiyuk (6-89, TD) showing up. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, and Deebo Samuel (5-63) was still effective. But the 49ers turned the ball over three times and trailed 31-7 in the third quarter before the Cardinals gave up some garbage time yards and scores. The 49ers only rushed for 39 yards on 11 rushes since they fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter. The loss drops the 49ers to only 3-5 and dispels any notion that they can compete with the Cardinals. The 49ers host the Rams for Week 10.
TEN 28, LAR 16
The Rams were the third team with only one loss to lose on Sunday. And as with the others, the offense was just flat and couldn’t quite figure out how to beat the Titans defense that recorded five sacks and intercepted two passes, including a Pick-6 in the second quarter. Matt Stafford ended with 294 yards and one score thanks to the fourth quarter trash time. Robert Woods (7-98) and Cooper Kupp (11-95) were the only notable receivers and Sony Michel caught the lone touchdown with 24 seconds left to play. Darrell Henderson ran for 55 yards on 11 carries but the offense was forced to pass to catch up. The loss drops the 7-2 Rams a game behind the Cardinals and now next week at the 49ers is a must win.
It’s hard to believe that the Titans were improved by losing Derrick Henry, but it looked like it on Sunday. The defense never allowed the Rams to get on a roll or even look remotely in synch. The Titan’s offense didn’t do much other than make no mistakes. The rushing effort was a three-man committee between D’Onta Foreman (5-29), Jeremy McNichols (7-24), and Adrian Peterson (10-21, TD). It wasn’t pretty but they were good enough. Ryan Tannehill only passed for 143 yards and one score. A.J. Brown (5-42) and Julio Jones (4-35) were predictably held in check by the Rams cornerbacks. The offense didn’t have to do much because the Rams were not scoring points. The Titans host the Saints this week.
MIN 31, BAL 34 OT
This was a great game with plenty of fantasy points from all the right players. Dalvin Cook ran for 110 yards on 17 rushes and caught three passes for 12 yards. Kirk Cousins only passed for 187 yards and two touchdowns, but they were split between Justin Jefferson (3-69, TD) and Adam Thielen (2-6, TD). The Vikings led 24-10 in the third quarter but let the Ravens score three straight touchdowns to take the lead with three minutes left to play. Cousins drove the field and threw the tying touchdown to Thielen with a minute left. In overtime, both teams had a series and then the Ravens drove the field to kick the game-winning 36-yard field goal. The 3-5 Vikings play at the Chargers this week.
Lamar Jackson had one of his better games. He threw for 266 yards and three scores, plus ran for 120 yards on 21 rushes. Marquise Brown (9-116, TD), Rashod Bateman (5-52), and Mark Andrews (5-44) were the top receivers. Devonta Freeman (13-79) and Le’Veon Bell (11-48, TD) provided slightly more rushing production than Jackson. The Ravens outscored the Vikings 24-7 to end the game. The 6-2 Ravens head to Miami for Week 10.