As we approach the midway point of the season, there are some anomalies that are hard to wrap your head around.
Who would have guessed that the 10 passing yardage leaders would include Matt Ryan (who was permanently benched before last week), Geno Smith and Jared Goff (in seven games)?
Who would have imagined that Geno Smith would have accounted for more touchdowns than Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers?
Who would have projected that Khalil Herbert would be tied for seventh in rushing yards?
Who could have forecast that Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson would combine for 121 receptions for 1,713 yards but scored just four touchdowns?
Who would have bet that the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be a combined 9-14 record, the teams of the NFC East would be a combined 23-8, and their fantasy players would be as if not more valued than the established top dogs of the conference?
Believe it. That’s what the first half of 2022 has brought us so far.
Here is the Week 9 Fantasy Football Market Report.
Fantasy Football Risers
Baltimore Ravens RB Gus Edwards – Edwards missed the first six games of the season but returned in Week 7 to a lineup that has struggled on the ground rushing the ball, aside from Lamar Jackson. What has made Edwards’ return interesting is that, in two games, he has rushed 27 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns. No other Ravens back has rushed more than 13 times in any game, and he’s averaging 13 carries. Edwards is dealing with a minor hamstring strain and has a chance to play in Week 9. If he stays healthy, he could be the man the rest of the way.
Carolina Panthers WR DJ Moore – Some speculated that when the Panthers held the fire sale two weeks ago that saw Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson traded that Moore would get blanket coverage and be ineffective. Just the opposite is true. After not posting more than 60 yards in a game prior to the purge, in the last two weeks, he has caught 13 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns – giving him more fantasy value than he had before the trades.
Philadelphia Eagles RB Miles Sanders – There is always a concern that the Eagles like to use their running backs in waves. While Sanders is the main man, there will always be guys like Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott cutting into his time. Over the last five games, Sanders has rushed 69 times for 341 yards and four touchdowns – numbers any fantasy owner will be willing to ride with.
San Francisco 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk – With the new embarrassment of riches the 49ers offense sports, there were questions as to whether Aiyuk could be the odd man out. Not so fast. In the last three games, Aiyuk has caught 21 passes, topped 80 yards in all three, and scored three touchdowns. Granted, a hamstring injury to Deebo Samuel helped his cause, but Aiyuk still held up his end of the deal. There are a lot of weapons for Jimmy Garoppolo now, but Aiyuk has seen his production increase, not decrease.
Detroit Lions RB Jamaal Williams – Williams received his big break in Detroit when D’Andre Swift went down in Week 3 with an injury. It opened the door for Williams, and the Lions haven’t looked back. Williams is averaging 15 carries a game over the last five and has scored two rushing touchdowns in four of Detroit’s seven games this season – including Sunday with Swift back in the lineup playing second fiddle. Keep riding Williams, because he remains the hot hand in the Lions backfield, and head coach Dan Campbell said Swift saw too many touches in Week 8.
Fantasy Football Fallers
Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor – There was no questioning that Taylor was the No. 1 overall pick in fantasy drafts this year. However, the results have been brutal not just by that standard but by any standard for an RB1 or RB2, regardless of draft position. He has missed two games due to injury, has been a non-factor as a receiver (16-71-0), hasn’t rushed for more than 76 yards since Week 1, and his only touchdown came in Week 1. With more questions than answers in the Colts offense, he has become a fantasy bust at the midway point of the season.
Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup – Big things were expected from Gallup when the Cowboys traded Amari Cooper, but he has been the invisible man in the Cowboys’ passing offense. In the five games he has played, Gallup has caught just 12 passes for 135 yards and one touchdown — and that TD came all the way back in Week 3. He was drafted to be a borderline WR2. Until Gallup shows he can gain 50 yards in a game, he’s not even a flex play you can count on.
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr – One thing you could count on from Carr was to be close to or surpassing 300 passing yards and throwing a couple touchdowns a game on a regular basis. In his last four games, he has thrown for just 771 yards and three touchdowns – the kind of numbers that get fantasy quarterbacks benched, like Matt Ryan was in real life by the Colts – a firm benching with a promise to never come back to the lineup.
Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton – It’s no secret that Russell Wilson has stunk out loud with the Broncos. While Jerry Jeudy appears to be getting back into the good graces of fantasy owners, Sutton seems like the forgotten man. Over the last three games, Jeudy has caught 16 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich has caught 12 passes for 182 yards and a score in that same span, while Sutton has caught six passes for 50 yards and no TDs. Nobody should be willing to keep putting him in their lineups.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette – As the Bucs’ descent below mediocrity continues, nobody has been impacted more adversely over the last two games than Fournette. The Buccaneers aren’t even trying to run. In the last two games, Fournette has just 17 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown and has caught five passes for 41 yards. For a guy who was making a strong contribution as a runner and receiver earlier in the year, he seems to have been displaced and may no longer be viewed as a rubber-stamp, every-week starter until the Tampa Bay offense gets its act together.