Week 9 was a weird one for Fantasy football. We seen nine games total at least 50 points, and that led to a high level of Fantasy production, predictably in the passing game: The No. 12 QB scored 26 Fantasy points, which would have been good for seventh in Week 8. Eight quarterbacks dropped at least 30 Fantasy points; what used to be "elite" is merely "very good" these days.
But that wasn't true at every position in Week 9. Interestingly, though QB scoring was way up in Week 9, WR scoring wasn't, at least not at the tippy top of the position; there were as many 20-point scorers in non-PPR in Week 8 as 9. And, as Fantasy Football Today producer Ben Schragger pointed out, there was a big gap between the upper echelon running backs and everyone else:
Week 9 RB leaders (PPR):— Ben Schragger (@BenSchragg) November 9, 2020
1. Dalvin Cook, 39.2 points
2. Christian McCaffrey, 37.1 pts
3. J.D. McKissic, 17.2 pts
4. Kalen Ballage, 16.4 pts
So, what happened? I've gone through every game from Sunday and Monday's action, identifying the key storylines, each game's biggest winners and losers, plus some details you might have missed and the injuries from around the league. Here's what you need to know from Week 9.
The Panthers kept this one closer than most would've expected. Christian McCaffrey's dominance? Not unexpected!
- Injuries: Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) -- We learned about this one Monday, and it sounds like it could cause him to miss at least Week 10. That's a big disappointment because McCaffrey looked like himself in Week 9 and looked ready to carry Fantasy teams down the stretch. If you -- or someone else in your league -- dropped Mike Davis, he's going to be the top waiver wire target anywhere he is available.
- Winner: Curtis Samuel -- Samuel's had a really interesting role in the Panthers offense for a while, lining up in the backfield occasionally and seeing the occasional deep shot, but the problem had been opportunity. Sunday, he got that and put up a huge Fantasy performance, hauling in all nine of his targets for 105 yards and a touchdown and adding a touchdown on a pop pass. I don't think Samuel will do that every week, but he's got the ability. It's just a question of whether they can continue to manufacture touches for him.
- Loser: Le'Veon Bell -- I wasn't as down as Bell as a lot of people were after he played just 25% of the Chiefs snaps in Week 8, but it turns out I was wrong. Bell was at just 31% of the snaps Sunday, and was an even bigger non-factor than that makes it sound; he had four carries and one target. The Chiefs barely used their running backs in this one, but Darrell Williams ran more routes (15) than Bell (14). He's droppable.
- Honorable mention loser: D.J. Moore -- Moore managed to run 57 routes Sunday, the highest total on the team, and had just three targets. I'm not worried he's going to run consistently behind Curtis Samuel, but the return of McCaffrey could certainly make him the No. 3 option moving forward. It certainly didn't help that McCaffrey and Mike Davis combined for 16 targets.
- What you might have missed: Patrick Mahomes touchdown pass to DeMarcus Robinson was so cool looking, I thought it must have been illegal. Mahomes went in motion to the left -- yes, the QB in motion -- and caught the snap, only to double back to his right to find Robinson wide open in the back of the end zone. The Chiefs already have so much talent, it's kind of unfair that they're also the most creative team in the league.
Giants 23, Washington 20
Washington has a new starting QB while the Giants managed to avoid turning the ball over for the first time this season. That was the difference.
- Injuries: Kyle Allen (ankle) -- This one looked awful, though Allen does seem to have avoided the worst-case scenario outcome. Still, he's probably done for the season, and Alex Smith will start in Week 10 against the Lions.
- Winner: J.D. McKissic -- McKissic ran the ball just three times in this one, and it remains clear Antonio Gibson is the preferred back in the running game. However, McKissic remains plenty involved in the passing game, especially when Smith is in the game; he's been targeted on 18 of Smith's 49 passes this season. That could be because Washington was chasing points the entire time he was in, but it might also be that they simply prefer the veteran in those passing situations -- Gibson surely didn't help himself with an early fumble following a 22-yard catch and run. We know Alex Smith likes to dump it off either way, so this is good news for McKissic, who should remain a focal point.
- Loser: Daniel Jones -- Look, I don't want to bury the kid after one of his better games, but that this is what is considered "one of his better games" is a problem. He managed to avoid turning the ball over, but there was some luck involved there -- Jones did fumble twice, giving him seven in eight games -- and it just wasn't a great game for Fantasy. It's not all Jones' fault, but I just don't see any reason to consider him anything more than a middling No. 2 QB for Fantasy.
- What you might have missed: Austin Mack stepped up with Golden Tate benched to lead the Giants with 72 yards Sunday, and he could have had an even better game. He caught a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter but was ruled down at the 2-yard-line after review. He's an interesting potential waiver-wire target for Week 10.
The crew breaks down Week 9, CEH, Zeke, Moore, Taylor and other duds on the Fantasy Football Today podcast. Follow all of our podcasts and subscribe here.
- Injuries: David Montgomery (concussion) -- Was forced out of the game late, with Ryan Nall replacing him for the final three drives.
- Winner: A.J. Brown -- There was a lot of talk about how Chicago is a tough matchup for wide receivers, and it was for Corey Davis (3-0-0). However, Brown (9-4-101-1) is the kind of talent for whom you don't worry about matchups. He showed that with a 38-yard catch and run in the first quarter and then with a totally absurd 40-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter with two defenders on him. Brown is already one of the NFL's premier wide receivers, and he has a 16-game pace of 83 catches, 1,218 yards and 16 touchdowns despite dealing with a bone bruise in his knee that cost him three games.
- Loser: Jonnu Smith/Corey Davis -- The Titans only have one matchup- and game-script-proof receiver, and that's especially true now that Brown is getting true No. 1 WR usage (24.9% target share in his six games). There will be better days for both when Ryan Tannehill throws it more than 21 times, but there will also be days when the opportunity just isn't there in this offense.
- What you might have missed: Smith ended up with a decent Fantasy day, but all of it came on back-to-back plays -- a 30-yard catch to get the ball down near the goal line and a 2-yard catch to score.
Lions 20, Vikings 34
Dalvin Cook is just running all over everyone. He rushed for over 200 yards and has 858 rushing yards and is on pace for 2,356 total yards and 27 touchdowns in just 15 games.
- Injuries: Matthew Stafford (concussion) -- Stafford was replaced by Chase Daniel in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion, but he passed the protocol. Of course, he isn't in the clear because symptoms can sometimes come up days later. We'll be watching this one.
- Winner: D'Andre Swift -- Swift led the Lions running backs in carries with 13, rushing for 64 yards while adding 33 yards on three catches (five targets). At this point we know well enough not to just assume this means Swift will lead the team in carries in Week 10, but this is very encouraging usage in a game that did not favor the Lions running the ball much.
- Loser: Marvin Jones -- A touchdown salvaged his game, but the Lions just don't treat Jones like a No. 1 receiver even when Kenny Golladay is out. He has 25 targets, 14 catches and 160 yards in the four games Golladay has missed (including his early Week 8 exit), with touchdowns in three of four being all that is saving him from Fantasy irrelevance. He's a touchdown-or-bust option who just hasn't shown much upside this season.
- What you might have missed: Not that Cook needs the help, but the Lions had just 10 men on the field on his 70-yard touchdown.
Jake Luton hit the ground running right away and didn't stop until he came up just short on a game-type pass attempt late.
- Injuries: David Johnson (concussion) -- Took a hard hit on a first quarter target and was unable to return. Duke Johnson had 20 touches and would be a viable No. 2 RB in Week 10 against the Browns if David Johnson sits … Laviska Shenault (hamstring) -- Shenault missed time earlier in the season with a hamstring injury, so this isn't a great sign. Expect an absence here.
- Winner: D.J. Chark -- Whoa, Luton can play! Or, at least, he looked pretty good in this one, albeit against a fairly easy matchup. Still, Chark has been held back by quarterback play all season, especially by Gardner Minshew's unwillingness to take deep shots. Chark earned 12 targets Sunday, his second-highest total of the season; his 172 air yards were his second-most of the season. Whether Luton can keep it up moving forward remains to be seen, but I didn't want any part of Chark this week, and now I think you can trust him in Week 10 against the Packers -- especially if Jaire Alexander's concussion limits him.
- Loser: James Robinson -- Don't overreact, because I'm not. Robinson had a great game Sunday, rushing for 99 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. The only concern? Luton only targeted him twice, missing on both. It's just one game, but it's a bit concerning after Robinson had at least four targets and three catches in six straight. Hopefully he gets more involved next week.
- What you might have missed: Will Fuller made his game in one play, a 77-yard touchdown … that shouldn't have counted. The Texans got away with a delay of game on the touchdown, and at least based on the broadcast clock, it looked like it wasn't even close. In Fuller's defense, he also drew a pass interference on another long pass, so it could have been an even better game. He's really good.
The Colts just don't have enough in the passing game when they need to turn to it.
- Injuries: Jack Doyle (concussion) -- Unable to return to the game. Mo Alie-Cox and Trey Burton will play bigger roles if Doyle has to miss time.
- Winner: Jordan Wilkins -- This was a weird game, with no passing touchdowns and both teams splitting the running game three ways. Wilkins did once again lead the Colts in carries and yards, so there's that.
- Loser: Jonathan Taylor -- Of course, that's as much about what Taylor did as anything Wilkins did. Taylor's game started off well enough, as he had four carries and a target on the first two drives, plus a touchdown. However, he fumbled at the end of a 9-yard run on the next drive, which the Ravens scooped up for a score. Taylor would see one more target and one short-yardage carry for the rest of the game, so that's the second game in a row where Taylor found himself pushed aside. If Taylor plays well, it seems like there is still a spot for him here, but the margin for error seems extremely slim.
- What you might have missed: The Ravens showed their trust in Gus Edwards, who fumbled from inside the Colts 10-yard line in the third quarter, squandering a scoring opportunity. However, he was back out there on the next drive, even running the ball on five consecutive plays starting at the 6-yard line and culminating in a score. J.K. Dobbins still led the Ravens in snaps at running back, but he had just one more carry than Edwards -- and one fewer than Lamar Jackson.
Regression comes for us all, even Russell Wilson.
- Winner: Josh Allen -- The Seahawks defense has been getting shredded all season -- Allen is the third quarterback to pass for at least 400 yards against them -- but it was still nice to see a bounce-back game. Allen had an 8.1% touchdown rate in the first four games of the season with 9.0 yards per attempt; he was at 3.1% and 6.6 Y/A over the past four. There was some regression to the mean involved on both sides, but Allen just played better in Week 9, too. The schedule gets tougher after the bye (Week 13 @SF, Week 14 vs. PIT, Week 15 @DEN, Week 16 @NE), but there's no way you're sitting Allen.
- Loser: Devin Singletary -- This should have been the game script for Singletary, but he played 31 snaps to 38 for Zack Moss. Singletary got the start, but ended up with just two carries and three targets -- Moss had nine carries and two targets, plus a rushing touchdown.
- What you might have missed: Russell Wilson's magic didn't quite work on this one. He nearly threw a miracle touchdown to Tyler Lockett, who couldn't quite dive far enough to get a second hand on it, and then he got picked in the end zone later looking for DK Metcalf, who was triple-covered.
- Injuries: Albert Okwuegbunam (knee) -- Okwuegbunam had to be helped off the field and it looks like it could be a serious issue.
- Winner: Jerry Jeudy -- The Broncos started using Jeudy like a No. 1 receiver last week with Tim Patrick out, and Patrick's return Sunday changed nothing. Jeudy ran a team-high 51 routes, earning 14 targets for seven catches, 125 yards and a touchdown. The QB play still leaves a little something to be desired, but if Jeudy is Drew Lock's top target moving forward, he has huge breakout potential. We're already seeing it.
- Loser: Melvin Gordon -- This should have been a good setup for Gordon, who has handled most of the receiving work out of the backfield for the Broncos this season. However, though he ran 27 routes to Lindsay's 15 (and out snapped him 44 to 28 total), Gordon earned just one target Sunday, to three for Lindsay. Lindsay dropped a crucial one late, so I don't think he's coming for Gordon's role anytime soon, but it's going to be tough to rely on either back in Week 10 against the Raiders.
- What you might have missed: Noah Fant, who missed a few games with an ankle injury, was briefly forced out of this one following his 32-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter. He limped to the sideline to get looked at, but ultimately returned to the game, playing 57 snaps and running 37 routes.
Raiders 31, Chargers 26
The Chargers' nearly impossible run of close losses continued, as Justin Herbert failed to connect on two late passes near the goal line.
- Injuries: Mike Williams (head) -- Williams landed hard on the penultimate play of the game, though it's not clear exactly what the injury is. We'll watch this one … Justin Jackson (knee) -- Left the game after one snap and was trying to work it out on the sideline, but could not return.
- Winner: Keenan Allen -- We really haven't talked much about Allen this season, but he's actually been one of the most pleasant surprises for Fantasy. He has double-digit targets in six of seven games with Justin Herbert and a target share of 29.0%. He's an elite Fantasy WR.
- Loser: Joshua Kelley -- Justin Jackson basically didn't play in this one, and though Kelley did lead the team in RB snaps, he struggled to make an impact yet again. How bad was it? Kelley was out produced by Kalen Ballage, who has been waived by the Dolphins and Jets this season and was making his first appearance with the Chargers. It's pretty hard to get excited about Kelley at this point, no matter who gets injured ahead of him.
- What you might have missed: Herbert had multiple chances to put the Chargers ahead, first with Mike Williams getting dragged down at the 4 yard line, and then on the next play, when Williams nearly brought down an incredible catch over the defender on a fade, but couldn't hold on to it -- and suffered an injury on the landing. Herbert seemed to connect with Donald Partham on the next play, but it was overturned on replay.
It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile, especially if you're 8-0.
- Injuries: Ben Roethlisberger (knee) -- Roethlisberger left the game in the second quarter and went to the locker room early before halftime, but came back out and played the rest of the way, so no worries.
- Winner: JuJu Smith-Schuster -- Look, we'll just ignore that Smith-Schuster had his best game of the season and was still just third on the team in targets. Positive vibes only, and Smith-Schuster has given you a lot to be positive about of late, racking up 245 yards on 22 catches over the past three games. It's not the superstar production you were hoping for, and the target hierarchy remains problematic, but you should feel like you can trust Smith-Schuster moving forward -- especially with the Bengals and Jaguars up in the next two weeks.
- Loser: James Conner -- It's hard to worry too much about playing time and snaps in a game the Steelers fairly never felt much discomfort about. However, Conner played just 31 of 68 snaps and had just 11 touches, his lowest snap share and touch total since he left Week 1 with an injury. The good news is, none of his backups got more than five touches, so you shouldn't worry about it. Too much.
- What you might have missed: Chase Claypool had a solid game, but he left a ton of points on the field with his three drops. Two of them would have gone for at least 10 yards, but the big one was on what should have been a 51-yard touchdown.
Dolphins 34, Cardinals 31
Tua Tagovailoa looked brilliant in leading the Dolphins to a comeback win. It's been a long time since the Dolphins could feel as confident about a QB as they should right now.
- Injuries: Preston Williams (foot) -- Williams suffered the injury after scoring his touchdown in a celebration. That's just awful luck, and while X-rays came back negative, even a sprain could cost him several weeks. Hopefully it's not that serious.
- Winner: Tua Tagovailoa -- This wasn't a huge Fantasy game for Tagovailoa, but it was a pretty great performance anyway. Tagovailoa passed for 248 yards on 20 of 28 passing (a stellar 8.9 yards per attempt) with two touchdowns, and he added 35 yards on seven carries. He'll never be the Kyler Murray type where he is a huge contributor in the running game, but if he's as poised and accurate moving forward as he was Sunday, he'll be a viable Fantasy option. Especially in Week 10 against the Chargers, Week 11 against the Jets, and Week 12 against the Bengals. It's a very favorable upcoming schedule.
- Loser: Chase Edmonds -- This was supposed to be Edmonds' big chance to be a Fantasy star. Kenyan Drake, who has been thoroughly underwhelming as the lead rusher, was sidelined with an ankle injury, and … Edmonds looked like Drake. He needed 25 carries to get his 70 yards, and added just three catches for 18 yards on three targets. Turns out it's not as easy as it looks to be the lead back, huh?
- What you might have missed: The one mistake Tagovailoa made didn't even count. He scrambled off to the left side and tried to throw the ball away on one second-quarter play, and instead threw it right to the defender standing next to the sideline. Fortunately, the defender couldn't get his feet down and the interception was overturned. So it's like it never happened!
Saints 38, Buccaneers 3
This was such a laugher so early that we really can't take much from it at all. The Saints were in cruise control all game, while the Buccaneers were in panic mode.
- Winner: Drew Brees -- This was supposed to be a tough matchup, but Brees was almost never under pressure. I'm excited to see what this offense looks like in a more competitive game -- hopefully they'll get that in Week 10. Don't be worried about Michael Thomas' usage, by the way. When they need him, they'll go to him. They just didn't need to.
- Loser: Tom Brady -- Yikes. Brady struggled with his accuracy on the deep ball and was picked off twice targeting Antonio Brown -- including one where there was clear miscommunication between the two. Brady will get better, but I'm worried that we saw the Bucs blueprint tonight: Brady threw the ball 38 times and nobody had more than six targets (Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and Rob Gronkowski all tied for the team lead). Brady loves to spread the ball around, and there might just be too many mouths to feed in this offense, even when things start to turn around.
- What you might have missed: The Buccaneers never had a chance to establish the run in this one, and wound up with just five carries as a team -- the fewest in NFL history. And one of those was a kneel down. That was never going to be a game script that benefited Ronald Jones, but Fournette (six catches, 41 yards) didn't exactly light the world on fire. Like the passing game, Jones and Fournette probably overlap a bit too much for either to ever be a dominant Fantasy option consistently.
Patriots 30, Jets 27
If Joe Flacco is playing like it's 2014, that's a bad sign for your defense. Especially if your defense was supposed to be the strength of your team.
- Injuries: Damien Harris (chest) -- Harris led the Patriots with 71 yards on 14 carries, but took a big hit on a late run and went to the locker room for evaluation. He was diagnosed with a chest injury and was unable to return to the game. Rex Burkhead led Patriots backs in snaps and had 56 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and added three catches for 11 yards on three targets and would be a low-end Fantasy starter for Week 10 against the Ravens if Harris has to sit.
- Winner: Jakobi Meyers -- Meyers followed up his breakout Week 8 performance with an even better Week 9. He caught 12 of the 14 targets thrown his way for 169 yards, and there really wasn't any point when he wasn't Cam Newton's primary target. Meyers made some noise as an undrafted free agent in training camp in 20190, but was mostly a non-factor in the regular. After Monday, we can't view him that way anymore. Not a bad way to spend your 24th birthday.
- Loser: Patriots DST -- This unit hasn't been the same all season, but this has to be a new low point. Facing the worst offense in the league with a backup quarterback, the Patriots offered little resistance. Flacco had the second-highest passer rating for a half in his career in the first half and wasn't sacked or turned over until the very end of the game. The Patriots are no longer a defense you fear on the schedule; they might even be one you target.
- What you might have missed: Jamison Crowder didn't make much of an impact, and he was obviously limited by a groin injury. But his touchdown was a thing of beauty. Initially ruled an incompletion, the play was quickly overturned as he got both feet in bounds. That throw and catch had the lowest catch probability of any touchdown in 2020 so far, per NFL's Next Gen Stats. Crowder should be back to his usual role in Week 11 (they're on bye next week) and he's still a must-start Fantasy receiver, even with Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims playing better.