Fantasy News & Analysis

Ian Hartitz’s Week 9 fantasy football fallouts: Nullified touchdowns, missed big plays and more

  • Falcons TE Kyle Pitts is the Week 9 Sheesh Player of the Week after having just 27 receiving yards yet 202 air yards.
  • Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle had a potential 77-yard kill shot of a touchdown badly underthrown by Tua Tagovailo.
  • Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins should have had a second touchdown, but Robbie Anderson decided not to get lined up correctly on the opposite side of the field.
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes


Week 9 has come and gone. Thirteen NFL games brought joy, laughs and tears; today we’ll focus on the latter sadness and break down just how close some came to achieving fantasy football glory.

What follows is a breakdown on all the “Sheesh” moments from Week 9. I’ve watched every game and used PFF’s backend tools to help determine instances when:

  • Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass
  • Pass-catchers did receive an accurate pass that should have resulted in a score or big gain, but the ball was dropped
  • Ball carriers managed to get all the way to the one-yard line, but didn’t score
  • Players scored or picked up big yardage, but the play was nullified by penalty
  • Other random shit happened that tilted fantasy football managers of all shapes and sizes

But first, the single sheeshiest player of Week 9 goes to …

Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts

Pitts’ up and (mostly) down second season hasn’t caused many truthers to abandon the idea that the 22-year-old is one of the game’s most talented pass-catchers that the position has seen in quite some time. While Pitts’ 16 targets over the past two weeks are a step in the right direction, Week 9’s 2-27-0 performance was largely sabotaged by one inaccurate Marcus Mariota heave after another.

Reminder: Pitts entered the NFL with the largest measured wingspan of any NFL tight end or wide receiver in 20 years. And yet, Mariota barely even came close to getting the ball in his general vicinity last Sunday, overthrowing Pitts on what had the potential to be 73- and 32-yard scores while not coming close to giving him a chance on other downfield opportunities.

Those throws weren’t gimmes, and the potential 32-yard score sure looked like it could have drawn a defensive penalty. Still: Pitts is objectively one of the largest targets that the NFL has seen … ever, and he wasn’t able to even get a finger on most of his targets last Sunday. The result: 27 receiving yards and an asinine 202 air yards. Sheesh.


Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass

The following pass-catchers should have had a much bigger day at the office, but unfortunately their respective quarterbacks weren’t quite up to the task for at least a moment. The following handful of players had to deal with some subjectively shitty near misses:

The Dolphins had a chance to stick the final dagger in the Bears with a 77-yard house call to a wide-open Jaylen Waddle; unfortunately, Tua Tagoaviloa had a rare misfire and badly underthrew his speedy second-year receiver.

 

Tua does so many good things that it feels bad to overly critique his near misses, but Tyreek Hill also 1.) drew an end zone pass interference on a play that would have been a 33-yard score with a perfect pass, and 2.) had to come back to an underthrown deep ball that wound up going for 39 yards instead of 57 yards and a touchdown.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes made life just a bit tougher on himself than he needed to on Sunday night, missing Travis Kelce on what would have easily been a 25-yard gain (if not a house call) from their own 47-yard line with just 57 seconds left. Overtime likely wouldn’t have been needed if Mahomes had connected on this layup.

Patriots WR Tyquan Thornton didn’t have much separation down the sideline … until his coverage defender fell down just short of the goal line. The problem: Mac Jones sailed the pass way out of bounds incomplete, failing to take advantage of the suddenly wide-open 25-yard touchdown opportunity.

A few more pretty clear missed touchdowns due to a bad pass:

  • Lions WR Tom Kennedy got plenty of separation in the back of the end zone on a fourth down from the 7-yard line, only for Jared Goff to get pressured and fail to throw a catchable pass.
  • Raiders RB Ameer Abdullah got rather wide open on a wheel route from 20 yards out, only to be badly underthrown by Derek Carr. Incomplete.
  • Rams WR Bennett Skowronek got wide open in the end zone on what should have been an eight-yard touchdown. Alas, Matthew Stafford skipped the pass off the turn while scrambling, incomplete.
  • Ravens QB Lamar Jackson threw a rope down the middle to an open Demarcus Robinson for what would have been a 24 yard score with a perfect pass — yet here we are, Jackson’s throw was too long, sheesh.
  • First, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson bought some extra time in the pocket with his patently ridiculous athleticism before misfiring to an open Josh Oliver over the middle. Two plays later he missed an even more wide-open Demarcus Robinson. Both plays would have required some YAC goodness to convert the 15-yard score, but announcer Troy Aikman noted that both players “probably should have scored” with better passes. That's a sheesh.
  • Saints QB Andy Dalton had a WIDE OPEN Marquez Callaway for a potential 15-yard score just before halftime; too bad the ball was high and long. What should have been the easiest TD of Callaway’s life was simply an incompletion.

Scotty doesn’t know

Buccaneers WR Scotty Miller helped redeem himself on the game’s final drive, but my goodness his drop on what should have been a 7-yard touchdown was nearly detrimental. Brady’s pass quite literally hit Miller in the face.


Touchdown! Wait, why is everyone walking back to the line of scrimmage

Penalties are obviously called for a reason, but there isn’t a more chaotic few seconds in the minds of fantasy managers between their player scoring a touchdown on a play with a penalty and the foul being announced.

Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson nearly had a trifecta of touchdowns in his first game back from the injured reserve, but the officials were having none of it. While Patterson was barely touched on his 38-yard scamper around left end to the house, the Falcons were flagged for both tripping and holding on the play to wipe out the score.

The worst type of sheesh penalties occur when the foul had absolutely no impact on the play. Look no further to Cardinals QB Kyler Murray connecting with DeAndre Hopkins on a short fade for a fourth-quarter touchdown, only for the score to get nullified because Robbie Anderson didn’t get fully set on the opposite side of the field. All this play reads in the play-by-play: False start.

 


So close, yet so far away

Bills QB Josh Allen has the sort of howitzer for a right arm that it’s tough to overly criticize his misses. But still. First, Stefon Diggs got a step or two deep down the left sideline, but Allen's 55-yard heave was “underthrown” just a tad, resulting in the best-case scenario 54-yard touchdown simply registering as an incomplete pass. The next near miss was even more absurd considering Allen’s 70-yard heave to Gabriel Davis came just one play after he injured his right elbow.

 

Another freakishly awesome play that didn’t amount for anything came courtesy of stud Jets WR Garrett Wilson. The rookie has ripped off 6-115-0 and 8-92-0 performances over the past two weeks, nearly finding the end zone from 12 yards out with a filthy one-handed snag that would make OBJ proud.

There were two instances of Bengals RB Joe Mixon scoring touchdowns after near misses from his teammates. First, WR Tyler Boyd was borderline robbed of a two-yard touchdown that the Bengals felt good enough about to challenge, but the ruling was upheld and instead called down at about the one-inch line. Next, WR Trenton Irwin (!) nearly scored one of the week’s better touchdowns on an absolute dart from Joe Burrow that was reviewed for quite some time before ultimately being ruled out of bounds and incomplete. I’m still not convinced that Irwin didn’t get both feet down on the potential 17-yard score.

Still, arguably the biggest “so close” sheesh of the week belongs to Chargers RB Austin Ekeler who narrowly missed scoring a trio of touchdowns when his 37-yard touchdown was overturned upon further review. Initial replay seemed to show that Ekeler avoided making contact with the ground upon rolling over the defender, but closer shots showed that his elbow did indeed hit the ground.


Unrealized air yards are a helluva drug

PFF’s Josh Hermsmeyer breaks down the week’s top buy-low candidates with his handy-dandy air yards model; don’t be surprised if certain pass-catchers from the Bills and Packers are featured ahead of Week 10. The following seven players had more than 60 unrealized air yards in Week 9, meaning they had a ton of downfield opportunities, but failed to capitalize on them for one reason or another:


Other sheeshes

There were a number of other near misses throughout Week 8 that were tougher to fully blame one particular party, but that doesn’t make the near-miss result any less sheeshful for the fantasy managers and fans at hand to deal with.

Good ball, no dice: Colts QB Sam Ehlinger hardly had a performance to write home about in Week 9, but he did throw at least one dime — a 20-yard pearl between two defenders that hit monster TE Jelani Woods in the hands before falling to the turf incomplete. … Packers WR Allen Lazard had a pair of near misses on 20-plus yard gains, catching a potential 25-yard pass out of bounds and having a 26-yard fourth-down conversion overturned and ruled incomplete upon further review. … Chargers TE Gerald Everett nearly had a much bigger game in the box score, dropping an easy 20-25 yard gain down the seam and also having an impressive 22-yard catch-and-run on a screen overturned by both offensive holding and ineligible man downfield penalties. … Vikings QB Kirk Cousins tried targeting Justin Jefferson on a pair of 50/50 opportunities on end zone targets that best-case would have led to 26- and four-yard touchdowns. Instead, the first jump ball was tipped around and intercepted, while the second fell to the turf incomplete. Additionally, Jefferson was charged with a drop on a big gain that would have been good for 40 yards … Rams WR Van Jefferson was wide open downfield for what should have been an easy 30-yard gain; unfortunately the still-catchless third-year receiver let the accurate pass bounce right off his chest and fall incomplete. … Titans QB Malik Willis had some impressive throws that simply weren’t caught: Chris Conley was (deservingly) charged with a drop on what should have been a solid 30-yard gain, while Nick Westbrook-Ikhine also didn’t hold up his end of the bargain down the sideline on a 50/50 chance that nearly picked up 35 yards to set the Titans up inside the Chiefs’ 5-yard line.

Not the worst throw, but also not the best: Texans WR Phillip Dorsett got open deep and came down with the 34-yard reception; a perfect throw from David Mills would have resulted in a 40-yard score. … Colts WR Michael Pittman got a step down the sideline on what would have easily been a solid 30-plus yard chunk gain with an accurate ball; instead the Sam Ehlinger deep ball was overthrown and fell incomplete. … Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson got open on a wheel down the sideline that would have been good for a 20-plus yard gain; too bad Mac Jones failed to put the ball on the spot and sailed the pass long and incomplete. … Packers QB Aaron Rodgers saved his misses for WR Samori Touri, narrowly underthrowing a deep ball that had the potential to be an (amazing) 44-yard score and also skipped in an incompletion on what had the potential to be a 30-yard gain. … Commanders TE Jessie Bates got free down the sideline for a minimum 20-yard gain that could have produced a 23-yard score with some YAC goodness; too bad we’ll never know because Taylor Heinicke sailed the ball long and incomplete. … Rams QB Matthew Stafford still hasn’t managed to throw a completion to Van Jefferson. The third-year receiver looked to have a step or two of separation deep down the field, but a lack of time limited Stafford’s ability to make an accurate pass and the ball sailed long and incomplete. Best-case scenario: 40-yard gain. … Buccaneers WR Mike Evans got some separation deep and looked to have a chance for 30-plus yards; too bad the Bucs had to settle for a defensive pass interference after Tom Brady’s deep ball hung up in the air too long. … Ravens QB Lamar Jackson had Isaiah Likely open down the field for an easy 20 yards, if not much more considering the rookie’s dangerous open-field ability. Alas, Jackson sailed the pass and incomplete.

Just short. Sheesh: Note that sequences where a player was downed just short of the goal line, but later went on to score the touchdown themself on the same drive, aren’t listed. The following players were tackled at the 1-yard line in Week 9:

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