What an interesting week we just witnessed in the NFL and fantasy! Who had the Falcons losing to the 49ers and who had Devonta Freeman only getting 12 yards on 12 carries? Thank goodness he caught a touchdown!
And what about the Titans beating the Saints? Who had Marcus Mariota coming back from an MCL injury to throw four touchdown passes? Man, the Saints’ defense is terrible!
Now let’s see who the Week 9 fantasy studs and duds were.
Cam Newton, CAR (vs. GB) – 34.58 fantasy points
Newton barely beat out Aaron Rodgers this week (by 0.5 fantasy points to be exact). Anyone who had Newton in the MVP conversation this late in the NFL season would have been called crazy back in the preseason after he lost is No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the year. The Panthers are undefeated at 8-0 and it’s all because of Newton. He’s easily a top-5 QB in fantasy moving forward.
DeAngelo Williams, PIT (vs. OAK) – 36.5 FP
There were some huge fantasy numbers put up this week and nobody was more pleasantly surprising than Williams. It’s not as if the Raiders are a bad defense, they actually have one of the better run-stopping units in the league, but that didn’t matter last week. Anyone who blew their entire FAAB budget on Williams is surely pleased with the initial return on their investment. Then again, 170 yards rushing and two touchdowns will do that for you.
Lamar Miller, MIA (at BUF) – 26.1 FP
Another pleasant surprise was Miller this week against the Buffalo Bills. Miller was basically the entire Dolphins’ offense and while he only ran for 44 yards, he did score two rushing touchdowns and added seven catches for 97 yards to boot, which is fantasy gold if you had him in a PPR league this week. The Dolphins still might be a mess offensively, but it looks like week in and week out, you are going to be able to trust Miller to put up RB1 numbers.
Antonio Brown, PIT (vs. OAK) – 28.6 FP
You just knew that Brown was going to have a big game this week against the Raiders. Big Ben was back and as close to 100 percent as he could be and you knew that the Steelers were going to air it out against the Raiders’ weak secondary. You probably didn’t expect 17 catches for 284 yards, along with 22 yards on the ground. How heart breaking is it for Brown owners to see that Big Ben is out again for the next few weeks, this time with a foot sprain. Can Brown keep it up with Landry Jones under center?
Cole Beasley, DAL (vs. PHI) – 23.2 FP
Just kidding. No one started Beasley this week unless you’re in a league with 14 or more teams. He’s only 4 percent owned on Yahoo!.
Michael Crabtree, OAK (at PIT) – 22.8 FP
It was a slugfest on Sunday in Pittsburgh between the Steelers and the Raiders and it looks as if the Raiders have really found themselves a cornerstone quarterback in Derek Carr. Crabtree must be thanking his lucky stars that he ended up with Carr as his QB after signing with the Raiders as a free agent on just a one-year deal. Crabtree is on pace to have his best year ever, thanks to another strong showing – 7 rec., 108 yards, 2 TDs. He’s a must-start WR2 for the rest of the season.
Delaine Walker, TEN (vs. NO) – 23.5 FP
Walker beats out Tyler Eifert by 0.2 fantasy points. Eifert scored an outstanding three touchdowns on Thursday night, but he only caught five passes for 53 yards. Walker on the other hand had seven catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. It’s really like splitting hairs here. Of course if you had either of these stud tight ends this week you’re extremely happy because if your tight end can score over 20 fantasy points the odds of you winning is pretty good. Unless of course you went up against DeAngelo Williams and/or Antonio Brown this week.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (at BUF) – 11.56 FP
It wasn’t a terrible week for starting quarterbacks, as only Nick Foles scored fewer fantasy points than Tannehill and no one started Nick Foles. It’s not as if Tannehill was terrible on Sunday in Buffalo. He did throw for 309 yards and no interceptions, which is saying something for Tannehill. But he didn’t toss any touchdown passes and he lost a fumble. Tannehill will continue to be Mr. Inconsistent for the rest of the season.
C.J. Spiller, NO (vs. TEN) - 1 FP
You would have figured that since Khiry Robinson was not playing and the fact that the Saints keep saying that they want to get Spiller more involved in the offense that he would have had more than two carries for eight yards and one catch for two yards. He just wasn’t a factor in the game plan at all, and that’s with the Saints trying to score to win the game in the entire second half. Beware of Spiller for the rest of the season.
Doug Martin, TB (vs. NYG) – 2.3 FP
Would the real Doug Martin please stand up? Is he the back who ran for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in Weeks 5, 7 and 8? Or is he more like the player he’s been the last two years, where he struggled mightily to produce anything fantasy-relevant like he did this week when he got 11 carries for 31 yards and was benched because of a lost fumble. Look for a 50/50 split between him and Charles Sims moving forward.
DeSean Jackson, WAS (vs. NE) – 1.5 FP
Anyone who gambled and started Jackson this week in his first game back since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 1, sure got burned. It was conventional wisdom thinking that Jackson should contribute seeing that the odds of Jackson putting up some decent fantasy points in garbage time was pretty good. But Kirk Cousins and the whole Redskins’ offense were terrible against the Patriots. It will be interesting to see what happens with this offense in the coming weeks.
Demaryius Thomas, DEN (at IND) - 5 FP
There were a lot of big-name wide receivers that put up bad fantasy numbers this week, including the likes of A.J. Green, Stefon Diggs and Travis Benjamin. But Thomas takes the cake because in a game where the Broncos had to play catch up and Peyton Manning threw for nearly 300 yards, he was targeted only seven times, catching five of them for 50 yards. For a first-round or early second-round fantasy draft choice, you are expecting more than that.
Jordan Cameron, MIA (at BUF) – 0.6 FP
On a week where six teams were on a bye lots of people had no choice but to start Cameron, and they went to sleep sobbing in their pillows because of it. Cameron was a complete afterthought in a game where Ryan Tannehill threw for more than 300 yards. Cameron was targeted just once, making the catch for six yards. Cameron has been a complete bust this season and if he’s the only tight end you have on your roster, time to go shopping this week.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.