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Fantasy Football Week 9: What To Make of C.J. Stroud's Performance?

Nov 5, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) looks for an open receiver during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Week 9 of the NFL season featured several surprising performances from quarterbacks. One rookie put up numbers nobody had seen before, and another balled out in an emergency role. Here's the fantasy football fallout from some key quarterback performances this past weekend.

Week 9 Fantasy Fallout

C.J. Stroud’s Historic Performance

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could not defend the potent combination of offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik's strategic play calling and C.J. Stroud’s stellar performance in Week 9. Stroud delivered an impressive 470 yards through the air, along with five passing touchdowns. 

The Houston Texans will likely adjust their offensive approach by prioritizing the passing game when the running game doesn't offer a clear advantage.

They also will dare teams to bring an extra player against their rookie quarterback. According to TruMedia, Stroud averages 10.1 yards per attempt against the blitz. That is the highest rate of any quarterback this season, and he also has a 68.7 completion percentage. 

Robert Woods’ return will take away from Noah Brown, who had a standout performance this past week. On the other hand, Nico Collins' underwhelming performance can be attributed to Stroud's exceptional ability to read the field, distribute the ball to open targets and trust his playmakers. Collins, Woods and Tank Dell should be the primary wide receivers in three-wide sets, with Brown occasionally rotating in.

Joshua Dobbs’ Impact in Minnesota

Josh Dobbs stepped in for Jaren Hall, who exited the game due to injury, and managed the offense effectively, given the challenging circumstances. Dobbs is an upgrade over Hall, but the consistency of the Vikings' pass catchers will depend mainly on Kevin O'Connell's playcalling.

T.J. Hockenson offers consistent upside as a reliable option each week. However, Jordan Addison's starting viability remains uncertain without a quarterback who consistently delivers the ball down the field.

Alexander Mattison is set to receive a significant workload without Cam Akers. Mattison's prospects are even more promising with the introduction of a running quarterback, which adds a new dimension to the team's offensive dynamics. 

Although Dobbs is still mastering the playbook, he can be a valuable fill-in option during bye weeks, particularly when facing a subpar defensive opponent.

What Does Deshaun Watson's Return Mean?

Deshaun Watson returned to the lineup in Week 9 but didn’t look overly confident at times. Watson completed 19 of 30 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Notably, most of his production came when targeting Amari Cooper, who consistently found success.

Cooper is poised to operate as a high-risk player, with his production tied to Watson regaining his previous form. According to TruMedia, Cooper is one of few NFL receivers with a more than 20 percent target share against man and zone coverage. 

The problem is whether Watson will ever regain his old form, adding a layer of unpredictability to Cooper’s projection. The next two weeks present challenging matchups against the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, making it even more vital to monitor this situation closely.

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