Week 9 saw the return of several fantasy-relevant players — some returned from injuries earlier in the year, while other All-Pro wide receivers returned after not playing in over a year. We witnessed plenty of strong wide receiver performances, although the top two yardage totals occurred on Thursday. In the run game, there was Dalvin Cook and then everyone else.
As always, this collection of fantasy reactions will include snap counts for skill players on each team, along with notes on players who saw their fantasy stocks rise or fall during the action — and how we should react to anything new.
This article will be updated as late games wrap up.
|Carolina Panthers||Kansas City Chiefs|
|D.J. Moore – 81 snaps||Tyreek Hill – 59 snaps|
|Robby Anderson – 69 snaps||Demarcus Robinson – 50 snaps|
|Curtis Samuel – 60 snaps||Mecole Hardman – 42 snaps|
|Brandon Zylstra – 9 snaps||Byron Pringle – 19 snaps|
|Pharoh Cooper – 4 snaps|
|Ian Thomas – 59 snaps||Travis Kelce – 57 snaps|
|Chris Manhertz – 30 snaps||Nick Keizer – 13 snaps|
|Colin Thompson – 6 snaps||Deon Yelder – 7 snaps|
|Christian McCaffrey – 59 snaps||Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 25 snaps|
|Mike Davis – 26 snaps||Le'Veon Bell – 19 snap|
|Darrel Williams – 18 snap|
|Total – 83 snaps||Total – 62 snaps|
Hill was WR7 on the season coming into the week thanks to his ability to consistently score touchdowns. His best fantasy performance was last week because of his first two-touchdown performance of the season, but he failed to hit 100 receiving yards for the eighth-straight game. That streak ended today thanks to a 40% target share. Hill finished with nine catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Teammate Travis Kelce also had one of his best games of the year with 159 receiving yards on 10 catches.
Edwards-Helaire posted a disappointing 14 yards on five carries. His fantasy value was redeemed with a receiving touchdown, but there is plenty of reason to be concerned for him going forward. The Chiefs continued to rotate Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell by drive. The difference this week was that Darrel Williams returned to his third-down role from earlier in the season. Along with playing 13 of 14 third downs, Williams played in every snap of the Chiefs’ two-minute drive to end the first half. This is at best a three-person committee now, with four backs being used when Kansas City has a big lead late.
Christian McCaffrey made his long-anticipated return to the Panthers’ lineup. There was talk before the game that McCaffrey could be rotating by drive or have a limited role, but that turned out to just be talk. McCaffrey had 18 carries to one by Davis and 10 catches to five by Davis. The Panthers won’t run as many plays in some weeks, so the touches for both players should decrease. McCaffrey looks as good as new, so Davis will at best see a few catches per game. If you can afford holding onto Davis as a handcuff to McCaffrey, then do so, but he will only have value if McCaffrey gets hurt again.
|Houston Texans||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Brandin Cooks – 58 snaps||D.J. Chark Jr. – 59 snaps|
|Will Fuller V – 56 snaps||Chris Conley – 49 snaps|
|Randall Cobb – 36 snaps||Keelan Cole – 47 snaps|
|Kenny Stills – 15 snaps||Laviska Shenault Jr. – 10 snaps|
|DeAndre Carter – 5 snaps||Collin Johnson – 9 snaps|
|Darren Fells – 33 snaps||Tyler Eifert – 38 snaps|
|Pharaoh Brown – 25 snaps||James O'Shaughnessy – 33 snaps|
|Jordan Akins – 22 snaps||Ben Ellefson – 26 snaps|
|Duke Johnson Jr. – 52 snaps||James Robinson – 50 snaps|
|David Johnson – 7 snaps||Chris Thompson – 19 snaps|
|Buddy Howell – 5 snaps||Dare Ogunbowale – 3 snaps|
|Cullen Gillaspia – 4 snaps|
|Total – 64 snaps||Total – 69 snaps|
Chark posted his lowest yards total (in) Week 5, which was last time Jacksonville played Houston. Bradley Roby shadowed him in that game and contributed to Chark’s poor performance. Roby missed this game with injury, allowing Chark to dominate with seven catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. His target share had been ascending in recent weeks regardless of who is at quarterback.
Johnson left the game after two carries due to a suspected concussion and didn’t return. Duke Johnson Jr. took over and played nearly every snap over the rest of the game. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that other backups saw a few snaps, with most of them coming on kneel downs. Duke wasn’t effective rushing with an average under 2.6 yards per carry. Duke was coming off his best game as a receiver on the season with five catches for 43 yards two weeks ago. He followed that up with catching all four passes thrown his way for 32 yards today. Duke would be a RB2 going forward during games that David misses.
Akins missed the last month due to injuries but returned to the lineup in this game. The matchup looked favorable, but he disappointed with two catches for 19 yards. This was partially because the Texans eased him into action. He ran a route on 32% of first-half pass plays compared to 50% in the second half. I would expect him to be over 50% and put up a better yardage total next week.
The rookie left after 10 snaps with a hamstring injury. In that time he had fewer receiving yards than I had with -1 yard. Chris Conley took over with a surprising seven catches for 52 yards. If Shenault missed time with this injury, it probably means James Robinson and D.J. Chark Jr. will dominate the Jaguars touches even more than they already have.
|Baltimore Ravens||Indianapolis Colts|
|Marquise Brown – 55 snaps||Marcus Johnson – 60 snaps|
|Willie Snead IV – 34 snaps||Michael Pittman Jr. – 59 snaps|
|Devin Duvernay – 26 snaps||Zach Pascal – 41 snaps|
|Miles Boykin – 23 snaps||De'Michael Harris – 16 snaps|
|Dez Bryant – 2 snaps||Daurice Fountain – 10 snaps|
|James Proche – 1 snap|
|Nick Boyle – 50 snaps||Mo Alie-Cox – 35 snaps|
|Mark Andrews – 38 snaps||Trey Burton – 29 snaps|
|Jack Doyle – 22 snaps|
|J.K. Dobbins – 36 snaps||Jordan Wilkins – 23 snaps|
|Gus Edwards – 24 snaps||Nyheim Hines – 23 snaps|
|Justice Hill – 3 snaps||Jonathan Taylor – 21 snaps|
|Total – 64 snaps||Total – 68 snaps|
No player had more than 60 rushing or receiving yards, so there is no winner in this game. Taylor is the biggest loser because of his role in the Colts’ offense — he had a career-low six carries. His role started decreasing last week with Jordan Wilkins taking nearly half of his usual snaps. That trend was unchanged today. Taylor’s fantasy managers were rewarded with a touchdown, but going forward he will be closer to a RB3 than a RB1. It’s worth noting that the Ravens’ running backs were also disappointing — neither back topped 3.0 yards per carry.
Doyle suffered a concussion at the end of the first half and didn’t return. Trey Burton and Mo Alie-Cox benefited with an increase in playing time. Alie-Cox ranked third for the Colts in receiving yards with 43, while Burton caught one of four targets for six yards. If Indianapolis ever picked one of these tight ends to be an every-down player, he would have TE1 potential. If Doyle ends up missing time, then both Burton and Alie-Cox would be worth considering in two tight end leagues.
Bryant’s return to the NFL was a big story — he hadn’t played an offensive snap since 2017. It wasn't very noteworthy with one route run and one run block. There’s a chance he could move up to fourth on the depth chart in the near future. Rookie Devin Duvernay’s snaps have been trending up while Miles Boykin’s snaps have gone down. Bryant would need to pass both Boykin and Duvernay on the depth chart to be fantasy-relevant.
|Seattle Seahawks||Buffalo Bills|
|D.K. Metcalf – 65 snaps||Stefon Diggs – 60 snaps|
|Tyler Lockett – 62 snaps||John Brown – 53 snaps|
|David Moore – 34 snaps||Cole Beasley – 46 snaps|
|Freddie Swain – 22 snaps||Gabriel Davis – 32 snaps|
|Isaiah McKenzie – 5 snaps|
|Jake Kumerow – 3 snaps|
|Jacob Hollister – 31 snaps||Tyler Kroft – 27 snaps|
|Greg Olsen – 26 snaps||Dawson Knox – 25 snaps|
|Will Dissly – 21 snaps||Reggie Gilliam – 14 snaps|
|Travis Homer – 31 snaps||Zack Moss – 38 snaps|
|DeeJay Dallas – 20 snaps||Devin Singletary – 31 snaps|
|Alex Collins – 13 snaps|
|Total – 65 snaps||Total – 68 snaps|
Both quarterbacks threw for over 350 yards while no running back ran for over 35 yards. Metcalf was the receiver with the best game with 108 receiving yards on seven catches including a touchdown. What helped Metcalf’s numbers stand out is his opposition. The Bills’ outside cornerbacks gave up the fifth-fewest receiving yards coming into this game (522). Four other wide receivers hit 70 receiving yards, but Metcalf put up the most fantasy points while facing the toughest opposition.
Singletary finished with a career low two carries. This was partially due to how pass-heavy the Bills chose to be and also because Zack Moss is taking more of his touches. Moss led the team with nine carries and scored a rushing touchdown. Singletary was somewhat redeemed with 33 receiving yards, his second-most in a game this season. Singletary shouldn’t be in starting lineups going forward until he can take some of the snaps back from Moss.
The Seahawks tight ends have been a situation to avoid because they’re splitting playing time. Typically, Greg Olsen and Will Dissly take the majority of snaps, but today Hollister took the lead with 60 yards on five catches (six targets). It was the second time this season a Seahawks tight end went above 40 yards. It’s too early to call him a waiver wire target, but it’s a situation worth monitoring.
|Denver Broncos||Atlanta Falcons|
|Jerry Jeudy – 61 snaps||Julio Jones – 63 snaps|
|Tim Patrick – 60 snaps||Olamide Zaccheaus – 52 snaps|
|K.J. Hamler – 55 snaps||Russell Gage – 39 snaps|
|DaeSean Hamilton – 27 snaps||Christian Blake – 12 snaps|
|Tyrie Cleveland – 6 snaps||Brandon Powell – 10 snaps|
|Noah Fant – 57 snaps||Hayden Hurst – 51 snaps|
|Albert Okwuegbunam – 15 snaps||Luke Stocker – 37 snaps|
|Nick Vannett – 11 snaps||Jaeden Graham – 10 snaps|
|Melvin Gordon III – 44 snaps||Todd Gurley II – 44 snaps|
|Phillip Lindsay – 28 snaps||Brian Hill – 19 snaps|
|Royce Freeman – 1 snap||Qadree Ollison – 5 snaps|
|Total – 73 snaps||Total – 71 snaps|
Jeudy’s season has been a rollercoaster that is on the way up. He compiled 24 targets in his first three games but dropped to 15 targets over the following three. His ascension started last week with a career high in yards (73) and targets (10). He topped both marks against the Falcons with 125 yards on 12 targets, including a touchdown. The Broncos should continue to build their offense around Jeudy over the second half of the season.
Gordon posted his worst game of the season as both a rusher and receiver — his rushing attempts and yards per carry were season lows at six and 3.0, respectively. Teammate Phillip Lindsay ended up with more carries, although he wasn’t any more successful. As a receiver, he’s produced only 78 yards over his first six games despite Denver giving him at least three targets each game. He ranked seventh in receiving yards for Broncos today at 9 yards from one target. While Gordon had significantly more snaps than Lindsay, Lindsay ended up with more carries and targets. It should only be a matter of time before Lindsay has more snaps than Gordon.
Calvin Ridley missed the game with a foot injury after showing up as questionable on the injury report. Zaccheaus took over his role as an every-down receiver and ended up leading the Falcons with 103 receiving yards with a touchdown despite finishing tied for third in targets. Zaccheaus has put up some big numbers when there were other injuries, but it’s unlikely he will see much playing time when all of the Falcons’ receivers are healthy. Atlanta has a bye next week, and Ridley should be back after that. Zaccheaus can be left on the waiver wire despite the big numbers.
|Detroit Lions||Minnesota Vikings|
|Marvin Jones Jr. – 71 snaps||Adam Thielen – 50 snaps|
|Marvin Hall – 53 snaps||Justin Jefferson – 35 snaps|
|Danny Amendola – 48 snaps||Chad Beebe – 17 snaps|
|Quintez Cephus – 31 snaps||Olabisi Johnson – 8 snaps|
|T.J. Hockenson – 57 snaps||Kyle Rudolph – 42 snaps|
|Jesse James – 25 snaps||Tyler Conklin – 25 snaps|
|Isaac Nauta – 5 snaps||Irv Smith Jr. – 22 snaps|
|D'Andre Swift – 30 snaps||Dalvin Cook – 38 snaps|
|Kerryon Johnson – 25 snaps||Alexander Mattison – 16 snaps|
|Adrian Peterson – 20 snaps||Ameer Abdullah – 1 snap|
|Total – 75 snaps||Total – 58 snaps|
Cook remains the centerpiece of the Vikings’ offense, carrying Minnesota to another victory. He racked up 206 yards on 22 carries with and two touchdowns. Cook’s performance is especially impressive because he easily could have accumulated even more fantasy points. The Vikings threw from the 1-yard line instead of running at one point, and Ameer Abdullah ended up with a touchdown catch. Cook could have rushed for more yards, too, but at the 6:00 mark the Vikings put in Alexander Mattison who ran on eight straight plays.
Stafford started the game despite being on the Covid-19 list all week, which kept him out of practice. Stafford’s PFF grade is the lowest it’s been since 2015, and it will continue to trend south after this two-interception performance. The Lions spread the ball around today with eight different players seeing multiple targets. None of the receivers in this game topped 80 receiving yards. Stafford left in the fourth quarter due to a potential concussion but eventually cleared the concussion protocol. Stafford’s play will continue to cap the upside of his skill players.
Smith’s role in the pass-game increased in recent weeks, and that trend continued into this game. He sustained four or more targets for the third time over his last four games. He scored his first and second touchdowns of the season, leading to his best fantasy performance of the year. His 89.5 receiving grade from Weeks 5-9 is the third-highest among all tight ends, so his target share should continue to increase. He didn’t play as many snaps as the other tight ends due to the number of run plays. In games where Minnesota is forced to pass more, Smith will be a factor.
|New York Giants||Washington Football Team|
|Darius Slayton – 65 snaps||Terry McLaurin – 53 snaps|
|Sterling Shepard – 60 snaps||Cam Sims – 40 snaps|
|Austin Mack – 38 snaps||Isaiah Wright – 16 snaps|
|C.J. Board – 14 snaps||Steven Sims – 16 snaps|
|Jeff Badet – 13 snaps|
|Evan Engram – 58 snaps||Logan Thomas – 54 snaps|
|Kaden Smith – 41 snaps||Jeremy Sprinkle – 5 snaps|
|Levine Toilolo – 25 snaps||Temarrick Hemingway – 1 snap|
|Wayne Gallman – 44 snaps||J.D. McKissic – 45 snaps|
|Dion Lewis – 17 snaps||Antonio Gibson – 25 snaps|
|Alfred Morris – 16 snaps||Peyton Barber – 1 snap|
|Total – 77 snaps||Total – 54 snaps|
McLaurin is one of the most reliable fantasy wide receivers thanks to a minimum of seven targets per game. He barely topped that this week with eight but made the most of those opportunities with seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. Cam Sims almost outshined McLaurin by picking up more receiving yards in this game (110) than the rest of his career combined (88). If Sims can be a consistent second receiving option for Washington going forward, that should take some of the pressure off McLaurin.
Slayton’s been inconsistent this season, leading to a decreasing target share. His three worst games by total targets have occurred in the last four weeks, including his worst game today. He caught the only pass thrown his way for 6 yards. Undrafted rookie Austin Mack replaced Golden Tate and led the Giants in receiving yards at 72. Mack is worth considering in deeper leagues because the opportunity exists for him to see more targets going forward.
Allen suffered a gruesome ankle injury near the end of the first quarter. His PFF grade had increased with each game he played with Washington, and he was off to his best start of the season. Alex Smith replaced Allen and led Washington’s comeback attempt. He efficiently completed 21 of his first 25 passes for 300 yards, a touchdown and an interception. That was followed by three completions compared to two interceptions on his final eight attempts. The Football Team’s remaining schedule is a little above average, making Smith a waiver wire option for quarterback-needy teams.
|Chicago Bears||Tennessee Titans|
|Allen Robinson II – 73 snaps||A.J. Brown – 45 snaps|
|Darnell Mooney – 67 snaps||Corey Davis – 43 snaps|
|Anthony Miller – 53 snaps||Kalif Raymond – 14 snaps|
|Riley Ridley – 16 snaps||Cameron Batson – 13 snaps|
|Nick Westbrook – 5 snaps|
|Jimmy Graham – 50 snaps||Jonnu Smith – 52 snaps|
|Cole Kmet – 36 snaps||Anthony Firkser – 27 snaps|
|J.P. Holtz – 6 snaps||MyCole Pruitt – 7 snaps|
|Demetrius Harris – 6 snaps|
|David Montgomery – 50 snaps||Derrick Henry – 29 snaps|
|Cordarrelle Patterson – 17 snaps||Jeremy McNichols – 16 snaps|
|Artavis Pierce – 1 snap||D’Onta Foreman – 8 snaps|
|Total – 77 snaps||Total – 55 snaps|
Brown’s been unstoppable since returning from injury in Week 5 and picked up a touchdown in his fifth-consecutive game. Tennessee ran the ball more than it passed in a winning effort, but Brown maintained a 43% target share to help his fantasy value. He caught four of nine passes thrown to him for 101 yards.
Montgomery’s arrow was pointing up coming into the game — his yards per carry and total rushing yards had been trending up over the last month, but that momentum stopped today. He saw his usual amount of playing time and ran the ball 14 times, but that led to 30 rushing yards. He failed to have a carry for more than 5 yards and his 12 receiving yards was his least total since Week 3. Montgomery remains a RB2 going forward because of how often he touches the ball, but it would be nice if he were more effective with his touches.
Mooney was top 25 in targets from Weeks 4-8 with 32 after he earned the starting role opposite Allen Robinson II. He finished with the second most targets for Chicago behind Robinson this week with eight and had his third-consecutive game above 40 receiving yards. His high average depth of target over the season gives him a high upside, and his high target share gives him a good floor.
|Las Vegas Raiders||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Nelson Agholor – 42 snaps||Keenan Allen – 78 snaps|
|Henry Ruggs III – 39 snaps||Mike Williams – 73 snaps|
|Hunter Renfrow – 29 snaps||Jalen Guyton – 69 snaps|
|Zay Jones – 5 snaps||Joe Reed – 4 snaps|
|Bryan Edwards – 1 snap||Tyron Johnson – 3 snaps|
|Darren Waller – 44 snaps||Hunter Henry – 78 snaps|
|Jason Witten – 21 snaps||Donald Parham – 9 snaps|
|Foster Moreau – 13 snaps||Stephen Anderson – 3 snaps|
|Josh Jacobs – 28 snaps||Joshua Kelley – 43 snaps|
|Devontae Booker – 13 snaps||Kalen Ballage – 31 snaps|
|Jalen Richard – 9 snaps||Justin Jackson – 3 snaps|
|Total – 50 snaps||Total – 79 snaps|
Allen achieved double-digit targets for the sixth time in seven games and led all players in this game in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns. It wasn’t the first time Allen has shown up in this article as a winner, and it won’t be the last.
Ruggs missed most of September due to injury. He returned with a 118-yard and one-touchdown performance in Week 5, but it’s been downhill ever since. He was held to under five targets for the fifth-consecutive game, and this was the first time he didn’t catch any of his targets. The Raiders gave him a rushing attempt for the third week in a row, which resulted in a 10-yard gain. He should have another big game or two over the rest of the season simply due to his big=play potential. In order to trust starting him, he needs a higher target share.
Jackson suffered a knee injury on the first play of the game. The Chargers used him on two more plays, but for the most part it was Joshua Kelley and Kalen Ballage the rest of the game. The two backs had opposite roles than I expected. Kelley typically hasn’t been the Chargers’ third-down back, and Ballage was the third-down back when he was with the Jets. Today Ballage was the primary ball-carrier while Kelley took the third-down and early-down passing role. It resulted in Ballage gaining 69 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown, while Kelley caught his five targets for 31 yards. If these are the only two healthy backs next week, Ballage would be the player to own. If any of the other backs are healthy, consider them first.
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Dallas Cowboys|
|JuJu Smith-Schuster – 63 snaps||Michael Gallup – 68 snaps|
|Diontae Johnson – 59 snaps||Amari Cooper – 59 snaps|
|Chase Claypool – 56 snaps||CeeDee Lamb – 38 snaps|
|Ray-Ray McCloud III – 28 snaps||Cedrick Wilson – 11 snaps|
|James Washington – 13 snaps||Noah Brown – 8 snaps|
|Eric Ebron – 59 snaps||Dalton Schultz – 69 snaps|
|Vance McDonald – 20 snaps||Blake Bell – 31 snaps|
|Sean McKeon – 6 snaps|
|James Conner – 32 snaps||Ezekiel Elliott – 47 snaps|
|Anthony McFarland Jr. – 8 snaps||Tony Pollard – 23 snaps|
|Benny Snell Jr. – 5 snaps|
|Total – 69 snaps||Total – 72 snaps|
The Steelers have plenty of talent in the receiving game, and this was the closest Pittsburgh can get to keeping all of the targets happy. Smith-Schuster had the best game of the group, leading the team with 93 yards and catching a touchdown. Both Dionate Johnson and Chase Claypool earned double-digit targets, resulting in a combined 146 yards. Backup receiver James Washington and tight end Eric Ebron didn’t see as many targets but each scored. This kind of usage across the board isn’t sustainable, but there will be several more great games from this group over the next two months.
Conner was the skill player lacking opportunities. His nine carries and two catches combined for 20 net yards. Many expected this game to be a blowout, leading to plenty of second-half carries. Instead, Pittsburgh needed a touchdown with less than three minutes to go to take the lead. The Steelers used a four-wide receiver, one tight end set on a remarkable 25 plays. They had used that formation 26 times so far this season. The Panthers have run it the second-most times at 30, with no other team more than 13. This meant Conner saw significantly less playing time than usual. I wouldn’t expect that trend to continue, but it’s worth monitoring.
Pollard has been the most impressive back for the Cowboys this season. Coming into this game, Pollard’s 75.7 PFF rushing grade was well ahead of Ezekiel Elliott’s 64.5. Pollard ended up with more rushing yards today despite seeing half as many carries. Elliott was questionable coming into the game, so his injury likely contributed to his performance. A number of fantasy managers have been holding onto Pollard as a handcuff to Elliott, but he’s available in 65% of Yahoo leagues. It’s possible Pollard could start seeing value even if Elliott doesn’t miss a game.
|Miami Dolphins||Arizona Cardinals|
|DeVante Parker – 55 snaps||DeAndre Hopkins – 67 snaps|
|Jakeem Grant – 29 snaps||Larry Fitzgerald – 51 snaps|
|Malcolm Perry – 23 snaps||Christian Kirk – 44 snaps|
|Preston Williams – 17 snaps||Andy Isabella – 17 snaps|
|Mack Hollins – 17 snaps||Trent Sherfield – 1 snap|
|Kirk Merritt – 1 snap|
|Mike Gesicki – 43 snaps||Maxx Williams – 34 snaps|
|Durham Smythe – 25 snaps||Darrell Daniels – 29 snaps|
|Adam Shaheen – 24 snaps||Dan Arnold – 18 snaps|
|Salvon Ahmed – 28 snaps||Chase Edmonds – 66 snaps|
|Jordan Howard – 21 snaps||D.J. Foster – 5 snaps|
|Patrick Laird – 12 snaps|
|Total – 61 snaps||Total – 69 snaps|
Murray’s career high in rushing yards prior to today was 67 yards. He ranked second in rushing yards for the week so far with his first 100-yard rushing performance. Along with gaining yards with his legs, he was efficient passing with 21 completions on 26 attempts for 283 yards. Murray accounted for all four of Arizona’s touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). Murray should be the QB1 for the season to date when Week 9 is said and done.
Kenyan Drake missed this game with an ankle injury, leading to Edmonds taking over as an every-down player. Edmonds played all but three snaps while playing a major role in the offense. He wasn’t particularly impressive with all his touches, running 25 times for a total of 70 yards with no run topping 6 yards. Even though he usually functions as the Cardinals’ receiving back, he was used less in the passing game compared to recent weeks. If Drake misses more time, Edmonds remains in the RB1 conversation with how much Arizona used him.
While the Cardinals had to play without their lead back, the Dolphins were missing their top two runners. Miami used three backs to replace them, and their roles weren’t as clear cut as other backfields. Ahmed ran the most pass routes of the group even though they didn’t lead to any targets. He was the most effective rusher with 38 yards on seven carries. If Matt Breida is ready to go next week, he will be the lead back here. If not, Ahmed has the most potential.
The Dolphins wide receiver situation was interesting coming into the game after the team traded Isaiah Ford, who had the third-most snaps on the team. Jakeem Grant was the clear third wide receiver over the first two drives, and Williams was carted off with a foot injury on the third drive. That was enough time for Williams to accumulate 60 yards on four catches with a touchdown. Over the remainder of the game, Grant and Mack Hollins rotated as the other outside receiver. Malcolm Perry started seeing his first significant time as the slot receiver. If Williams misses time, Grant makes for a possible waiver wire target. He ended up tied for the second-most targets in Miami, resulting in four catches and 35 yards.
|New Orleans Saints||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Tre'Quan Smith – 45 snaps||Chris Godwin – 47 snaps|
|Michael Thomas – 40 snaps||Mike Evans – 43 snaps|
|Emmanuel Sanders – 22 snaps||Antonio Brown – 39 snaps|
|Marquez Callaway – 17 snaps||Scotty Miller – 19 snaps|
|Deonte Harris – 8 snaps||Tyler Johnson – 6 snaps|
|Josh Hill – 45 snaps||Rob Gronkowski – 27 snaps|
|Adam Trautman – 29 snaps||Cameron Brate – 12 snaps|
|Jared Cook – 26 snaps||Antony Auclair – 4 snaps|
|Tanner Hudson – 1 snap|
|Alvin Kamara – 37 snaps||Leonard Fournette – 33 snaps|
|Latavius Murray – 27 snaps||Ronald Jones – 16 snaps|
|Dwayne Washington – 8 snaps|
|Total – 73 snaps||Total – 50 snaps|
Brees led the way to a decisive victory for the Saints. In fact, he had the winner spot wrapped up 20 minutes into the game after his third touchdown was thrown. Brees was as accurate as always, completing 26-of-32 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns. No one for New Orleans had more than 60 rushing yards or more than 60 receiving yards. Seven different players ran with the ball, and 12 different players had a catch, making this a true team victory.
Every single big-name Buccaneers player on offense could have been mentioned here, but Brady was picked due to his three interceptions and the three sacks he took. The Bucs recorded single-digit rushing yards, making it a bad game for both of the team's running backs. And no receiver had more than 65 receiving yards, making it a bad day for their star pass-catchers. Nobody who had a Buccaneer in their starting lineup was happy after this game.
Thomas hadn’t played since Week 1, but he quickly returned to the top of the Saints' depth chart. He led the team in targets, receptions and yards at six, five and 51, respectively. He did not play as much as he usually would, and he understandably sat out in garbage time. However, the opportunity should be there for him to see more snaps in future weeks. The team didn’t need him to have a big game, but in a closer matchup, I would expect Thomas to see a higher percentage of his team's targets, too.
Brown returned to the football field after not playing for over a year. Typically, the Buccaneers have used a pretty heavy rotation of wide receivers for the third wide receiver spot, but tonight, Brown jumped right into the third receiver spot and played in the majority of snaps. His playing time could increase slightly in the future, but there really isn’t much more room to grow. Brown saw the fifth-most targets with five, and he caught three of those for 31 yards. If the rest of the season is like this game in terms of target distribution, it’s possible no one on the Buccaneers maintains higher than an 18% target share for the rest of the season.