Note: Fantasy highlights are from the early games only.
For the second time in three weeks, Washington, D.C. was front and center for a plethora of fantasy points and more frustration for Alfred Morris owners. It’s not as if the second-year back had a poor day with a season-high 121 rushing yards and a touchdown, but FB Darrel Young played the vulture role that backup RB Roy Helu Jr. enjoyed in Week 7 with three short scores against the soft interior of the San Diego Chargers defense.
Washington WR Pierre Garcon (seven receptions for 172 yards) has caught at least five passes in every game this season, but his yardage and touchdown totals have disappointed for most of the season. While Garcon was kept out of the end zone for the fourth straight game, he made up for it with a career-high yardage total. Redskins rookie TE Jordan Reed (four catches for 37 yards; 18 yards rushing) saw his a recent string of quality fantasy performances snapped after a quick start in Week 9, but his status as an every-week starter remains unchanged.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen (eight receptions, 128 yards and a touchdown) continued to prove why he should remain a fixture in fantasy lineups for the rest of the season. Over his last four contests, the third-round selection out of California posted at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown three times. San Diego QB Philip Rivers (341 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions) had a rare inefficient performance, but most owners will be happy to put up with such numbers in an “off-game” from one of the top five quarterbacks in fantasy this season.
Other Week 9 fantasy highlights:
- New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (nine catches, 116 yards and two touchdowns) continues his contract-year push and assault on the NFL record books despite playing through a partially torn plantar fascia in a loss to the New York Jets. The former college basketball player is one touchdown short of his career high for a season (11) through eight games and easily on pace to break Rob Gronkowski‘s single-season record of 17 with the New England Patriots in 2011.
- Two of the bigger disappointments at running back over the first half of the season began the process of making amends to their fantasy owners in Week 9. Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson (170 total yards and two scores) broke the century mark for the first time this season and scored his first two rushing touchdowns as well against the St. Louis Rams. Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (155 total yards) has been dogged by a high-ankle sprain for most of the season and was still clearly affected by it against the Kansas City Chiefs, but still broke loose for runs of 29 and 61 yards.
- There was a time earlier in the week when Rams RB Zac Stacy appeared unlikely to play and backup Daryl Richardson had a shot to be relevant in fantasy. By the time Sunday rolled around, the roles reversed and Stacy erased what little doubt remained about his feature-back status with 27 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans. The fifth-round rookie entered the contest with only seven receptions, but caught six passes in one of the finer fantasy performances by a running back during the early wave of games.
- The Minnesota Vikings may not know who their starting quarterback is from week to week, but the focal point of the offense doesn’t figure to change anytime soon. RB Adrian Peterson (177 total yards and a rushing TD) nearly matched his rushing totals from the last three weeks combined with 140 yards against the Dallas Cowboys. In the same game, Dallas TE Jason Witten (eight catches, 102 yards and a touchdown) proved why owners cannot bench QB Tony Romo‘s main target no matter how long he comes up a bit short in the box score. Witten had an inconsistent first half last season as well, only to set a league record for receptions by a tight end with 110.
- Quite often in fantasy, being opportunistic in a given week is just as important as being good. Such was the case for the Chiefs, who were outgained 470-210 against the Bills. Kansas City made up for its shortcomings with defense as CB Sean Smith intercepted Buffalo rookie QB Jeff Tuel at the goal line in the third quarter and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. LB Tamba Hali scooped up a fourth-quarter fumble from Bills WR T.J. Graham and added a second defensive score from 11 yards out.