News & Analysis

Fantasy Football Week 9 Recap: Josh Allen brings the heat, Dalvin Cook can't be stopped

Nov 8, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t Russell Wilson who brought the heat to the kitchen this week, as  Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was the one playing with fire all afternoon in a huge Week 9 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

The Bills’ quarterback sliced through the Seattle defense and surely contributed to countless winning DFS lineups. Let’s dig into each and every game from Sunday’s action to see who else stepped up as we trudge forward to Week 10.

Monkey Knife Fight. Official Fantasy Sponsor of PFF. Join to receive a free EDGE subscription.
Sponsor

I'll hit on snap counts, routes run, goal-line usage, targets and target shares to make sure we're ready to roll with waiver wire/trade deadlines quickly approaching and Week 10 sit/start decisions looming. 

Keep in mind that scheduled bye weeks continue in Week 10 with the Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets all taking a well deserved week off.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ BUFFALO BILLS

As noted, this was a huge bounce back spot for the entire Bills offense — well, except for Devin Singletary. Singletary continues to see underwhelming usage in the Buffalo offense. With his snaps counts regularly being split 50/50 with Zack Moss, he is nothing but a fringe RB3.

Moss out-touched him 11 to five in this game. Both running backs and Allen handled one carry inside the 5-yard line, which makes it that much harder to trust Singletary — he virtually has no touchdown upside. 

He only has one score this season, and it came in Week 4 when Moss was inactive. Moss is the better RB to own for the rest of the season because he has a path to score and is just as involved in the passing game as Singletary. 

John Brown’s full return to health also seemed to have a positive residual effect on the entire offense. He had eight catches for 99 yards on 11 targets and should be in the WR3 conversation next week in a #revenge game against the Arizona Cardinals

The DeeJay Dallas experience has probably reached its last hurrah. Dallas scored a touchdown that salvaged his fantasy performance, but unlike last week he did not dominate the snaps. He played 20 snaps — 11 less than Travis Homer (31) and just seven more than Alex Collins.

Dallas played just two snaps on third down versus Homer’s 10. They also both had exactly nine touches. 

It’s no guarantee that Chris Carson makes his return next week, but Dallas is a prime sell-high. He can’t be viewed as anything other than a goal-line back based on his two carries inside the 5-yard line. 

D.K. Metcalf continues to be an absolute freak — seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown score. He did see five of his targets (two catches for 51 yards) with Tre’Davious White in primary coverage, but because White didn't shadow he was able to inflict damage elsewhere. 

CAROLINA PANTHERS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Christian McCaffrey made his long-awaited turn to the starting lineup and did not disappoint: more than 35 fantasy points on 28 touches while playing a healthy 71% of the snaps. Mike Davis worked in on 31% of the snaps and saw six touches of his own, but this is CMC’s backfield.

That does not mean Davis needs to be thrown back on the waiver wire, however, as McCaffrey is now dealing with a rib injury. 

Nov 8, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) catches a pass and runs for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Curtis Samuel has now balled out in back-to-back weeks (24.1 fantasy points per game, 10 opportunities per game) and it has come at the expense of D.J. Moore. Moore had just three targets and two catches despite Teddy Bridgewater attempting a season-high 47 passing attempts.

Moore will be tough to trust next week against the Buccaneers, while Samuel becomes an interesting waiver wire target. The Bucs' weakness comes from the slot, where Samuel primarily lines up. 

Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes all enjoyed blow-up performances, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire continues to post nothing more than modest production. He garnered just five carries for 14 yards but salvaged his day with a touchdown score.

Le’Veon Bell had five touches to CEH’s eight — right now it just appears that this offense is more than fine with attacking teams through the air. Neither CEH (40%) nor Bell (31%) played more than half of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps. 

Since Bell joined the team, CEH has yet to have a game with more than eight carries.

HOUSTON TEXANS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Rookie quarterback Jake Luton (to my dismay) looked nothing like a check-down savant in his first NFL start. He hit D.J. Chark Jr. on a long 73-yard touchdown to open the game and Chark finished the game with 146 receiving yards. 

Making Chark a “sit” this past week looks pretty bad, but I will note that I did anticipate Texans cornerback Bradley Robey to play and shadow Chark. Robey was made inactive 90 minutes before game time and his absence certainly played a factor in Chark’s big game. 

Laviska Shenault Jr. (who I was high on this week) also left the game with an injury early, which opened up more targets for Chark and Chris Conley

I doubt that we see another performance like this from Chark in Week 10 when he will likely face Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander, one of PFF’s highest-graded cornerbacks.

James Robinson averaged just under 4.0 yards per attempt — rushing for 99 yards on 25 carries — but only saw two targets. On the other hand, Chris Thompson made his return to the lineup and saw four targets. 

David Johnson was forced out of this game with a concussion, so prepare the waiver wire bids for Duke Johnson Jr., who played 81% of the snaps with David sidelined. Duke totaled 20 touches and over 70 yards from scrimmage to the tune of 15 fantasy points. 

Jordan Akins was presumed to be the No. 1 tight end in Houston upon his return from injury, but this was much more of a 50/50 split with Darren Fells. Until one separates in snaps or routes run, neither can be trusted. 

NEW YORK GIANTS @ WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

Not all my start/sit calls were poor this week, as I did identify Evan Engram as a solid start. He delivered, leading the Giants in targets (10) and finishing with five catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. 

Sterling Shepard also put up another respectable performance, per usual. He is a target hog, averaging over nine targets per game since his return. That volume is coming at the expense of Darius Slayton, who saw just one target in Week 9. The Giants' No. 1 outside WR has seen just four targets per game since Shepard has been inserted back into the lineup. 

Wayne Gallman Jr. operated as the Giants’ workhorse, handling 57% of the snaps and leading the team with 14 carries for 68 yards. Should Devonta Freeman sit out another week before the team's Week 11 bye, Gallman would be worth starting in Week 10. He has scored 14.8 fantasy points per game in his last three contests. 

Kyle Allen won’t be the quarterback for the Washington Football Team anytime soon after suffering an ankle injury in Week 9. In his place, Alex Smith entered in relief and dinked-and-dunked his way to 325 passing yards (3.5 aDOT).

That low depth of throw is going to mean that J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson stay heavily involved in the passing game. McKissic saw 12 targets during Smith’s time under center.  

McKissic also played 83% of the snaps versus Gibson’s 46%, so any RB-needy teams need to add McKissic off the waiver wire. 

Gibson’s fantasy day was buoyed by a goal-line touchdown, but McKissic saw more work because the team was trailing for most of the day. He should get back on track against the Detroit Lions in Week 10 — they were just destroyed by Dalvin Cook on the ground (206 rushing yards in Week 9). 

CHICAGO BEARS @ TENNESSEE TITANS

I was lower than consensus on both A.J. Brown/Corey Davis entering the week and only one call proved to be correct. Not even a solid Chicago Bears secondary could slow down Brown WR1 szn, because the dude is frankly just too good. 

On a team-leading nine targets, Brown hauled in four for 101 receiving yards and a touchdown. Ryan Tannehill only attempted 21 passes, so Brown commanded over a 40% target share in Week 9. 

Nov 8, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) catches a touchdown pass with coverage from Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine (24) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Davis put up a goose egg after back-to-back 10-target outings. 

Jonnu Smith caught a touchdown, but his usage remained stagnant with just 21 routes run. Still, it’s hard to expect more volume than that with Tannehill only attempting 21 passes. The Titans' tight end remains a boom-or-bust option at the position, which still warrants TE1 status. It’s positive that he did play on 95% of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 9.

Derrick Henry has now gone without a catch for two straight weeks, squashing the narrative he’d be more involved in the passing game in 2020. 

It sounds gross, but should David Montgomery miss any time with his concussion, Ryan Nall would be a plug-and-play option on the waiver wire. Nall saw four targets once he replaced Montgomery and would likely take over early-down work as well. 

Jimmy Graham did what he usually does and scored a touchdown to post a solid fantasy outing. I highlighted Graham as a solid TE play this week because of the Titans' tendency to allow end-zone targets to TEs. That's exactly what happened.

Darnell Mooney saw 11 targets and should be a highly sought after option on waivers because he gets the Minnesota Vikings’ banged-up secondary in Week 10. 

BALTIMORE RAVENS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Lamar Jackson didn’t light the world on fire as a passer — 170 passing yards and zero passing touchdowns — but he ran 13 times for 58 yards and one TD. The Ravens’ quarterback has 29 rushes in his last two games.

Marquise Brown’s “squeaky wheel” failed to come to fruition with just three catches for 38 yards on five targets. Hollywood is probably going to be a sit for me in Week 10 because of his inconsistent play and the impending matchup against the New England Patriots

J.K. Dobbins played 50% of the snaps versus Gus Edwards’ 38%. Both running backs saw at least 13 touches, but Edwards emerged as the better fantasy option because of his goal-line score. Gus the Bus saw four carries inside the 5-yard line. 

For the second straight week, Jordan Wilkins (11) saw more carries than Jonathan Taylor (six). Taylor also played fewer snaps (21) than both Wilkins (23) and scatback Nyheim Hines (23).

Wilkins needs to be added off waiver wires — it will surprise no one to see him lead this backfield for a third straight week when this team plays Thursday night.

In T.Y. Hilton’s absence, Marcus Johnson and Michael Pittman Jr. both saw seven targets apiece, but Pittman led the way in catches (four), yards (56) and air yards (114). 

Of the Colts’ wideouts to target on the waiver wire, the rookie would be my main target ahead of a favorable matchup versus the Tennessee Titans

DETROIT LIONS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS

It’s Dalvin Cook’s world and we should all just be happy to be a part of it. The Vikings’ explosive running back has now totaled over 470 offensive yards and six touchdowns in his last two games. Needless to say, there aren’t many RBs I’d rather have on my squad for the rest of the season. 

The same can’t be said for the other Vikings offensive players. Adam Thielen has now dudded out for two straight weeks, and Justin Jefferson has seen fewer than five targets every week dating back to Week 3. 

Minnesota's success leaning on Cook and the ground game has translated to sour days for the pass-catchers. 

Nov 8, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs with the ball in the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Irv Smith Jr. was able to escape the poor game script with two touchdown receptions, but this performance is the definition of unsustainable. He ran only nine routes — four fewer than Kyle Rudolph — and played just 38% of the snaps, which was less than Rudolph and Tyler Conklin

For the top three Vikings pass-catchers to be fantasy relevant, they have to play a team that forces them to throw. 

T.J. Hockenson is flirting with “set it and forget it” status with Kenny Golladay out. A week after seeing 10 targets, the Lions’ tight end followed up with an eight-target performance and was able to find the end zone for the fourth time in his last five games. 

He will be in a smash spot next against the Washington Football Team

D’Andre Swift led the backfield in snaps (40%), carries (13) and targets (five), but Kerryon Johnson/Adrian Peterson still combined for 20 touches on their own. To put it lightly, the Lions’ backfield can be best described as a 50/25/25 split situation.

What’s bad for Swift is that after it appeared he had the pass-game role locked down, here comes KJ leading the backfield in snaps on third down in Week 9. 

DENVER BRONCOS @ ATLANTA FALCONS

It was a huge day for rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who emerged as Drew Lock’s favorite target in Week 9. He commanded 14 targets, hauling in seven for 125 yards and a score. 

Part of this improvement was the team’s decision to move Jeudy to the outside, where has now spent the majority of the time the past two weeks. K.J. Hamler has taken over as the team’s slot WR and saw 10 targets of his own in Week 9 — all from the slot. 

Melvin Gordon III (60%) played a higher percentage of the team’s snaps than Phillip Lindsay (38%), but the touches went in favor of Lindsay (eight vs. seven). This backfield is shaping up to be an ugly two-man committee on a bad offense. 

The Atlanta Falcons coaching staff said this week that Christian Blake would replace Calvin Ridley should the latter not be active on Sunday. Ridley did not play on Sunday but, to the shock of many, it was Olamide Zaccheaus who ran all of Ridley's routes. He ended up leading the team in receiving yards (103). Go figure.

Hayden Hurst led the team with nine targets and is starting to slowly become a reliable TE starter. He has posted double-digit fantasy points in his last four games. 

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS @ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

There was a good chance that Justin Jackson would have had a productive game in Week 9, but he was hurt early and didn't end up with a single touch. In his place, Kalen Ballage (yes, him) rushed 17 times for 69 yards and a score.

Jackson’s injury obviously wasn’t serious enough to rule him out, so he should be back in his role for Week 10. Joshua Kelley is also likely going to remain in the mix after he played 54% of the snaps and compiled 14 touches with five receptions. 

Henry Ruggs III led the Raiders in snaps from the slot but failed to haul in any of his three targets. The rookie just can’t be trusted considering he hasn’t had a game yet this year with more than five targets. 

Josh Jacobs lost some touches to Devontae Booker, but this could have been more related to general maintenance. Jacobs was on the injury report late in the week, and Booker’s 13 snaps were right around his normal usage. 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ DALLAS COWBOYS

This game was much closer than we expected, and that was great for any fantasy manager with Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben posted his best fantasy performance of the season (25 fantasy points) and spread the wealth among his top three wideouts.

Including plays negated by penalties, Chase Claypool led the way with 15 targets, followed by Diontae Johnson (10) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (eight). JuJu scored the most fantasy points because of a TD, but that’s exactly why he is the perfect sell high. 

Nov 8, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) catches a pass and runs for a touchdown against Dallas Cowboys free safety Xavier Woods (25) and safety Donovan Wilson (37) in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

James Conner might have been the biggest bust of the week after failing to produce against arguably the worst defense in the league. It’s probably more of a fluke than anything else considering the snaps and routes run were there, but his overall lack of pass-game usage is concerning. 

The Dallas Cowboys’ offense showed semblances of life with Garrett Gilbert under center — that means there is hope that this offense can produce something in plus-matchups. 

Ezekiel Elliott is also not running like the same guy from years past. He may have been hampered by his hamstring injury, but rushing for 51 yards on 18 carries looks inferior in retrospect to Tony Pollard’s 57 rushing yards on just nine carries. 

MIAMI DOLPHINS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS

DeAndre Hopkins’ box score hardly tells the story of his game because he was drawing pass interference calls on seemingly every other ball thrown his way. Consider this bad game a window to buy low on the Cardinals’ No. 1 wide receiver.

It was hardly the Chase Edmonds RB1 szn game we were all waiting for, as the Cardinals’ running back mustered just 70 yards on 25 carries. His total 23 touches were encouraging and is great for projecting him forward, but he may not have done enough to convince the team to stick with him over Kenyan Drake

Preston Williams was on his way to an extremely productive outing but was forced out early with an injury. The second-year WR is expected to miss time, so expect more targets to flow toward DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant.

Parker’s 2019 breakout coincided with an injury to Williams last year, and he led the team in targets (nine) in Week 9. Grant was already in line to see an expanded role without Isaiah Ford but should see even more targets now as the team’s No. 2 wideout. 

Without Myles Gaskin or Matt Breida, the Dolphins split snaps between Jordan Howard and Salvon Ahmed. Neither impressed, so I’d anticipate Breida being worked back in (assuming health) or DeAndre Washington taking a larger role. 

Tua Tagovailoa is now Tua-0 as the Miami starter and firmly in the discussion among QB options in fantasy football. In Week 9, he scored 21.42 fantasy points and averaged 8.9 yards per attempt, both insane upgrades after his debut.

He will draw the Los Angeles Chargers’ defense in Week 10, so we could surely see a shootout between two rookie-led teams. 

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Michael Thomas didn’t post gaudy numbers (5-51-0), but his team-leading targets (six) and routes run (28) are a good sign that he is back to full health. 

His return did mark the end of Jared Cook’s hot streak, as the TE saw just three targets. Cook is going to be much tougher to trust with both Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders back in the mix. 

The entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense was horrible in this game. Tom Brady threw three interceptions and zero touchdown passes. Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette combined for just four carries. Fournette led the way with six catches, which confirms his role as the main RB pass-catcher in the offense.

Antonio Brown ran 36 routes and played 76% of the team’s snaps, both just slightly below Mike Evans (40, 88%) and Chris Godwin (40, 95%). The target shares were even across the board, but Brown’s usage in his debut bodes well for his fantasy value moving forward. 

Rest of the season, the trio of Bucs receivers rank: Godwin, Evans and Brown. 

Monkey Knife Fight. Official Fantasy Sponsor of PFF. Join to receive a free EDGE subscription.
Sponsor

Fantasy Featured Tools

  • Sort projected player stats and fantasy points by position, week, and category.

    Available with

    Edge
  • Research past fantasy performance with sortable player stats including PFF-exclusives like aDOT and fantasy points per opportunity.

    Available with

    Edge
  • Available with

    Edge
  • PFF’s Fantasy Strength of Schedule (SoS) metric provides a league-wide, season-long view of opponent matchups for each fantasy position.

    Available with

    Edge
  • Create winning NFL Daily Fantasy Sports with PFF’s DFS Lineup Optimizer. Set custom exposures and team stacks to optimize lineups effectively before exporting and uploading the unique lineups to DraftKings, FanDuel or Yahoo DFS.

    Available with

    Elite
Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr