Week 9 fantasy football winners and losers

Mark Ingram didn't score the first rushing touchdown for the Saints on Sunday, but that didn't stop him from having a huge game. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

As we do each Sunday, we recap the week's winners and losers from a fantasy perspective, complete with applicable game and historical data. Check back after the conclusion of the 4 p.m. ET and Sunday Night Football games for our picks of the week's best and worst.


Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers: For the second time in the past three weeks, Gordon topped the fantasy leaderboard (pending the Sunday and Monday night games) by scoring a career-high 31 points against the Tennessee Titans. That gave him 159 for the season, moving him into a tie with Ezekiel Elliott for the position lead, and it puts him on pace for 283 fantasy points come season's end. To put that in perspective, it'd be the most by any running back since Jamaal Charles had 295 in 2013-14.

Gordon also scored a 1-yard touchdown in the game, his fifth score from that distance and eighth within 3 yards of his opponent's goal line this season. That means 48 of his 159 fantasy points, or 30 percent, have come in scoring position. Gordon wasn't quite so stellar in those situations this game, despite the lofty fantasy score, as he was 1-for-4 on those attempts on Sunday to move to 8-for-13 for the season.

Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints: You probably won't see a greater contrast all season between a player's back-to-back fantasy performances than Ingram's Weeks 8 and 9. After fumbling early in Week 8 for a minus-2 fantasy score on three total touches, resulting in an early-game benching, Ingram roared back with 28 fantasy points on Sunday. Remarkably, he still wasn't the leader in rushing attempts on his own team, as Tim Hightower had 23 to Ingram's 15.

Ingram made them count: He had four carries that resulted in double-digit yardage, capped by a 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that easily shattered his previous career high for his longest scoring play (35 yards, 2011 Week 12). Still, we didn't get much of a read on whether he fully recaptured the leading role in the Saints' backfield, as he matched Hightower's number of second-half carries (10 apiece), and the team attempted a pass on all three plays within the San Francisco 49ers' 3-yard line.

By the way, the 49ers' run defense again surrendered huge numbers to opposing running backs: Between Ingram and Hightower, the 49ers allowed two more instances of a 15-plus-point running back, their fifth consecutive game allowing at least one running back to reach that threshold, and they've now afforded a whopping 199 fantasy points to the position in their past six games.

Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders: He scored three 1-yard rushing touchdowns on Sunday Night Football en route to setting a new personal best with 30 fantasy points, the second-most by any player (through Sunday's games). In doing so, Murray became the first player to manage three rushing scores of that length since LeGarrette Blount in 2015 Week 3.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys: Another week, another win and another double-digit fantasy performance. That makes eight of those in a row for Prescott to begin his NFL career. Only he, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston can claim that since 1950, and Prescott's 23 fantasy points for the day gave him 149 at the midway point (eight games) of this season. That puts him on pace for 298, which would be the third-most by any rookie quarterback in history, trailing only Newton's 352 in 2011 and Robert Griffin's 303 in 2012. Prescott's owners were anticipating this one, as he was started in 62.3 percent of ESPN leagues, sixth-highest at the position.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys: Prescott isn't the only impressive Cowboys rookie, as Elliott joined Prescott as two of the only six players since 1950 with double-digit fantasy point totals in each of their first eight career games (add Joe Cribbs and Ricky Watters to the aforementioned quarterbacks). Elliott's 21 fantasy points were third-best at his position through Sunday and gave him 138 through eight contests. In addition, he tallied another 18 carries, which brings his season total to 177 and puts him on pace for a whopping 354, which would be the fifth-most in history by a rookie. Should Elliott maintain his current seasonal pace of 276 fantasy points, he'd finish tied with Billy Sims for the third-best campaign by any rookie in history. Here are the current top 10, along with their final rushing-attempt totals:

Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins: So much for reducing his workload. For the third consecutive week, Ajayi breezed past 20 rushing attempts, concluding his day with 18 fantasy points. He now has 87 fantasy points in his first four career NFL starts, which trails only Devonta Freeman (121), Billy Sims (107), Larry Johnson (103), Eric Dickerson (90), Corey Dillon (88) and Arian Foster (88) since the merger. Entering his 32-point Week 6 outburst, Ajayi's ownership in ESPN leagues was only 42.6 percent. Today, it's 94.6 percent, and he was started in 84.7 percent in Week 9.

Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys: Why stop with the Cowboys accolades? Witten paced the tight end position in fantasy points through Sunday with 19, the most he has had in a single game since 2013 Week 1, a span of 55 games. Throw in his eight receptions, and he was worth 27 fantasy points using PPR scoring -- again his most since that date. This season, only Martellus Bennett (24, Week 5) and Rob Gronkowski (22, Week 6) have scored more standard-league fantasy points in a single game.

Mike Wallace, WR, Baltimore Ravens: One big play can often make a fantasy day, and in Wallace's case, that was true Sunday. He scored a 95-yard touchdown in the first quarter, which matched the longest scoring play of his career (2011 Week 7) and fueled 15 of his 18 fantasy points for the day. That set a season high for Wallace, and in fact, it was his best single-game performance since 2013 Week 12 (also 18 fantasy points).

Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions: Tate's game-winning touchdown in overtime made Lions fans happy, but it also pleased his fantasy owners, who started him in 52.1 percent of ESPN leagues. That play boosted his final fantasy point total to 13, which isn't as eye-popping a final number as his 24 using PPR scoring. Tate, a disappointment this year using standard scoring, has picked up the pace considerably the past four weeks in PPR leagues, scoring 80 fantasy points in those formats.

DuJuan Harris, RB, 49ers: Fantasy owners who nabbed this fill-in starter -- he was added in 31.3 percent of ESPN leagues in the past week, seventh-most -- were plenty pleased with Harris' performance, at least in the 27.0 percent of those leagues in which he was started. His 17 fantasy points set a new personal best, and his 22 using PPR scoring tied his previous best (2015 Week 17), with both earning him spots among the top 10 running backs for the week.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: For the third time this season and fifth in his two-year NFL career, Mariota reached the 25-point fantasy plateau; he scored exactly that many on Sunday. That game him 117 in his past five games, which is his greatest output in any five-game span in his career. He previously had 109 from 2015 Weeks 9-13.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints: With 19 fantasy points, Thomas placed second among wide receivers in Week 9 (through Sunday), and he earned his fifth double-digit score in his first eight NFL contests. His 84 fantasy points through that many career games are the most by a wide receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. (107), Sammy Watkins (85) and Mike Evans (84) in 2014.


Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: In as productive a game as Prescott enjoyed -- he matched a career best with three passing touchdowns -- in addition to as favorable a matchup as the star wideout drew, Bryant's final output was perplexing. He managed one fantasy point on his four targets, letting down his owners in the 91.7 percent of ESPN leagues in which he was started, seventh most at the position. It was the fifth time in his past 12 games that he was held to two fantasy points or fewer, and four of those came in games missed by Tony Romo.

Marvin Jones, WR, Lions: Jones' matchup was considerably tougher than Bryant's, but as he was started in 60.5 percent of ESPN leagues, his zero fantasy points on five targets was plenty disappointing. It's the sixth consecutive week that he has been held to single-digit fantasy points after he came screaming out of the gates with 51 fantasy points in his first three contests.

Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Started in 96.2 percent of ESPN leagues, sixth-most among running backs in Week 9, Bell flopped with only six fantasy points. Much of the blame can be placed upon Ben Roethlisberger, whose poor play (presumably influenced by his playing through injury) early in the game put the Steelers in an early hole and resulted in only five carries for Bell after halftime. For Bell, it tied his third-worst single-game performance in his career, and his 12 fantasy points using PPR scoring tied for his sixth-worst single-game performance.

Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: With Spencer Ware (concussion) sidelined Sunday, West was a popular fantasy fill-in and started in 74.6 percent of ESPN leagues, 14th-most at the position. Unfortunately for his optimistic owners, West delivered just six fantasy points, marking the sixth time in his 10 career starts that he had been held to a score that low or lower.

Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins: What a disappointing week for big-name wide receivers, and Landry's was nearly as much so as Bryant's, considering his favorable matchup against the New York Jets. Landry was held to only three fantasy points -- six using PPR scoring -- which marked the second time in his past four games that he was held to that few in both formats.

Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams: For the sixth time in his eight games this season, Gurley was held to single-digit fantasy points, as he scored only six on Sunday. That gives him just 73 for the season. Among preseason first-rounders who have remained healthy all year -- this excludes Adrian Peterson and Rob Gronkowski -- Gurley's total is lower than six of the other seven; DeAndre Hopkins has 58.

Terrance West, RB, Baltimore Ravens: Started in 66.9 percent of ESPN leagues, West was one of Sunday's biggest busts, as he scored only two fantasy points, despite tallying 16 total touches. It was his second consecutive stinker -- he had one fantasy point in Week 7 -- and fifth game with five or fewer this season. Fortunately for West, his primary competition for carries, Kenneth Dixon, was similarly disappointing, as he scored only one fantasy point on 11 total touches.

Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos: After posting double-digit fantasy points in each of his previous two games, Booker let his owners, who started him in 90.9 percent of ESPN leagues, down with only two points on Sunday Night Football.