Week 9 of the fantasy football season featured plenty of notable performances. What should we make of them? Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft are here with analysis on the biggest performers -- and duds -- of the week.
Christian McCaffrey isn't slowing down
McCaffrey's exceptional 2019 campaign continued with three touchdowns and 37.6 PPR fantasy points on Sunday, his third-best single-game score this season. Keep this in mind: He did so despite sitting out the Panthers' final three drives and nine offensive snaps, and did so against a Titans defense that had surrendered a combined 145 yards on 51 rushing attempts with no scores the previous two weeks, not to mention it was graded roughly league-average against running backs for the year (adjusting for Tennessee's schedule).
That brought McCaffrey's season totals to 246.4 PPR and 204.4 non-PPR fantasy points through the Panthers' first eight games, the former the third-most by any player at any position since at least 1950 (Priest Holmes, 268.7 in 2002, and Marshall Faulk, 268.6 in 2000), the latter the eighth-most by any running back (and 13th at any position) during that same time span. -- Cockcroft
Mike Evans moves to second among WRs in fantasy points this season
For the second consecutive week and third time in 2019, Evans scored at least 35 PPR fantasy points, his 36.0 being the second most among wide receivers in Week 9 through Sunday's 4 p.m. ET games, trailing only Lockett's superior score. The two, in fact, engaged in a head-to-head battle for the No. 2 scoring lead among wide receivers for the season, with Evans emerging victorious with 178.2 (Lockett now has 170.9 and is third).
Evans' teammate Chris Godwin had a quieter game (13.9 PPR fantasy points), but that means the Buccaneers now boast the season's Nos. 2 (Evans) and 4 (Godwin, 169.4 points) wide receivers. In the event that both wide receivers can remain among the top five scorers at their position by season's end, they'd become only the seventh pair of teammates to do so during the 16-game era (since 1978) -- you can see the full list of wide receivers who have done it to the right.
Considering the Buccaneers have averaged the fifth-most passing attempts per game (38.4) -- that's again through Sunday's 4 p.m. ET games -- not to mention have one of the most fantasy-friendly remaining schedules for wide receivers, there's no reason that both can't remain among the weekly WR1 crew. Godwin has been the more consistent of the two, but Evans' ability to beat even the tougher cornerbacks in the league makes him an appealing candidate for the week's top scoring spot whenever he faces a weak secondary -- such as in Week 12 against the Falcons. -- Cockcroft
Tyler Lockett has a career day against Tampa Bay
Lockett's 40.2 PPR fantasy points set a new personal best, meaning that his two highest single-game totals in his 72-game NFL career have both come this season (he scored 32.4 points in Week 3). In gobbling up 18 of the team's 42 receiving targets, he has now earned a greater-than-30% target share in back-to-back weeks as well as in four of his nine games, and he has paced the Seahawks in target share (either alone or in a tie) on six occasions.
It's good timing for Lockett, with the team claiming Josh Gordon on waivers during the past week and therefore potentially casting some doubt among fantasy managers, not to mention he has one of the more challenging upcoming schedules with the 49ers up next followed by his bye week. Lockett has clear WR1 potential coming out of the Week 11 bye, and this merely reaffirms that. -- Cockcroft
As Tristan noted, the addition of Gordon has created some discussion on his anticipated fit and target share when he eventually gets on the field for the Seahawks. However, until we see Gordon's role in the Seattle route tree -- which I would expect to focus on inside cuts and vertical throws -- Lockett's volume here can't be ignored. He has WR1 traits in an offense that dials up scripted routes to get him the ball. And I believe that Lockett will maintain his standing as the top target in this offense once Gordon does jump into the mix. -- Bowen
Lamar Jackson puts on a show against the vaunted Patriots' defense
By scoring 28.6 fantasy points against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football, Jackson delivered the Patriots their first loss of 2019 and their defense/special teams their worst single-game score of the season (3 points). It was the best single-week score by any player against the Patriots all year, and Jackson joined Golden Tate (22.2 PPR fantasy points, Week 6) as the only players to score as many as 15 points against them.
To put Jackson's astonishing year into perspective, consider this: he has scored a combined 56.9 fantasy points on rushing plays alone in his past three games. That contribution makes him one of the safest weekly plays at his position, and when things break right, as they did Sunday night, he can carry your team to victory almost single-handedly. -- Cockcroft
Gardner Minshew II struggles could have lasting impact
I really liked the matchup for Minshew in London on Sunday versus the Texans' pass defense. He was a QB1 for me in the ranks -- and the rookie was started in 48.3% of ESPN leagues. But with limited early down production from the Jacksonville offense today, poor pass protection and inconsistent passing in critical-game situations, Minshew was a fantasy bust in Week 9.
The Jags' quarterback -- who had been very impressive on the film -- completed 27 of 49 passing for 309 yards, but he failed to throw a touchdown, and he turned the rock over four times (two interceptions, two fumbles). Minshew simply missed on too many throws -- sailing the ball on both interceptions -- and with the Texans dropping to zone coverage in obvious passing situations, he couldn't find many open windows to deliver the ball down the field.
I still see upside with Minshew as a thrower, plus the ability he brings to the Jacksonville offense on second-reaction plays. However, with the Jags on a bye next week and veteran quarterback Nick Foles coming back into the mix, that could be a wrap on Minshew's run as a starter in Jacksonville. Stay tuned. -- Bowen
Devin Singletary: Are we starting to see the shift toward running back Devin Singletary in Buffalo? The rookie out-touched Frank Gore 23 to 11 in the win over the Redskins, posting a season-high 140 total yards plus a score on a goal line carry. Yeah, Gore is still in the mix for the Buffalo backfield. He's going to see the ball. But we can all agree Singletary brings some real juice to this Bills offense. It's the lateral quicks, and the short-area speed that shows up in both the run and pass game. Given the jump in total volume for Singletary, plus upcoming matchups versus the Browns and Dolphins, the rookie will start climbing the ranks as a lower-tier RB2 in a run-heavy Buffalo offense. -- Bowen
Russell Wilson: Wilson's 39.2 fantasy points on Sunday were the third most he has scored in a game in any of his 121 career NFL starts, and remember, his top-scoring performance came in Week 3 when he scored 41.3 points. For the season, Wilson has a quarterback-best 224.5 fantasy points, and he's also the position's leader with 22 passing touchdowns as well as a 22-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. -- Cockcroft
Josh Jacobs: With Jacobs, it's the volume and offensive structure in Oakland. That's why I'm locking him as an RB1. For the third time in his past four games, Jacobs went over 20 carries with 100-plus yards rushing. Plus, he added two touchdown runs on carries inside the 5-yard line. The rookie is a prime fit for what Jon Gruden wants at the position, given his ability to display both power and shake behind Oakland's massive offensive front. Jacobs can handle a heavy workload on a week-to-week basis, and he now gets the Chargers' defense on Thursday night in Week 10. -- Bowen
Davante Adams: Adams returned to the Green Bay lineup after missing the past four games with a toe injury to see a team-high 11 targets in the loss to the Chargers. However, the Packers wide receiver finished with just 41 yards receiving on seven grabs. That's good for only 5.9 yards per catch. Quick game stuff. And that pointed to a much larger issue with the Green Bay offense today. This unit was handled up front by the Chargers' defense, and there was simply no rhythm to the game plan on a day when the Chargers absolutely controlled the tempo. -- Bowen
Zach Ertz: That's the Zach Ertz we saw last year in Philly. The high volume, the isolation matchups, the throws that cater to his route-running. After catching just 4 of 10 targets for 58 yards in his past two games, Ertz topped the 100-yard receiving mark for the first time this season, hauling in 9 of 11 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Bears' defense. With the Eagles heading into the bye, and then returning in Week 11 versus the Patriots, Ertz will remain a mid- to low-tier TE1 in my ranks due to the up-and-down production he has posted this season. -- Bowen
Jaylen Samuels: Granted the start in place of the injured James Conner (shoulder), Samuels set a personal best with 13 receptions on Sunday, resulting in a 19.3 PPR fantasy point total that was the second-highest of his career. While Trey Edmunds' 12 rushing attempts -- Samuels had only seven -- gave the hint of a rushing/receiving committee arrangement, six of Edmunds' carries came in the second half of the game with the Steelers leading. Samuels, who set season highs with his 49.4% rostered and 23.6% started rates in ESPN leagues, is a must-roster with Conner's Week 10 status still in doubt. -- Cockcroft
Allen Robinson II: We've talked before about the Bears' passing game struggles this season -- Mitchell Trubisky has scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in four of his seven games played to completion -- and Robinson's fantasy production finally suffered severely for it on Sunday, as he caught just 1 of 5 targets for 6 yards and a paltry 1.6 PPR points.
That was the third-fewest he has scored in any of his 64 career NFL games, with one of the two worse scores coming in his NFL debut in Week 1 of 2014, during which he played on only 18 of 70 offensive snaps. Robinson's start rate in ESPN leagues was 67.3%, his season high, but considering Trubisky's struggles and coach Matt Nagy's play calling, that number is going to need to drop substantially in Week 10 -- even against a Lions team on which cornerback Darius Slay has struggled with injuries recently. -- Cockcroft
David Montgomery: Given the issues Tristan hit on with the Bears' passing offense, Montgomery has put together back-to-back weeks of productive scoring. Although the rookie didn't bust open the box score in Philly, he did finish with 76 total yards and two touchdowns on 17 touches -- with both scores coming on goal line runs. That gives Montgomery a total of 48 touches in his past two games. That's solid RB2 volume for a player who also has the traits to produce as a receiver. -- Bowen