Welcome to Week 9 Fantasy Overreactions! The day or two after the dust settles during the NFL season, meaning that we can take any occurrence from Sunday or Monday and make a completely wild narrative with it. We also want to make bold claims to remain ahead of the curve!
Every week, we’re going to identify five of these potential overreactions from the week’s NFL action. While these are just our opinions, feel free to use your own thoughts on each narrative. The storylines have been played out, now it’s our job to decide if we feel the story is fact or fiction.
The stories were aplenty this week: Aaron Rodgers sat and Jordan Love started his first game. The Ravens won in another OT thriller. The Cardinals won despite Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins both missing the game. Let’s not forget to mention the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills. All that and more in a crazy Week 9.
All of this has led to some great overreactions. So as we will do each week, it’s now time to react to the potential overreactions!
1) Josh Allen’s struggles should have you worried
I don’t think anyone of us (not even Jaguars fans) could’ve predicted what we saw on Sunday. The Bills were 15.5 -point favorites at Caesers Sportsbook and were the favorites in many a survivor pool. The Jaguars’ 9-6 victory over the Bills shows why we love the NFL and anything can happen on a given Sunday. In this game, Josh Allen had three turnovers and was sacked four times as he had a 26.0 QBR and 62.7 passer rating.
This is now back-to-back games of a sub-50 QBR for Josh Allen with only a combined two touchdowns and less than 6 yards per attempt. What’s worse is Miami and Jacksonville are two of the worst defenses in the NFL and the Bills have been playing down to their competition over the last two weeks.
It is an extreme overreaction if you are worried at this point. Josh Allen is still the QB5 on the season and the QB3 in fantasy points per game. He also ranks 3rd among quarterbacks in rushing yards and had six touchdowns over the previous two games before this pedestrian two-game stretch. Josh Allen will be fine and will remain a top-tier QB going forward.
2) DJ Moore will not be anything better than a WR2 going forward
Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION
I’m friends with many D.J. Moore believers and man is he talented. Heck, he went to school at the University of Maryland which is right in my back yard so I got to see it on display first hand. There’s no questioning the talent of Moore, but he’s averaged just 10.1 fantasy points per game since Week 5. That average would have him around WR20 on the season but is WR15 based on his great Weeks 1-4.
This statement is not due to Moore, who outside a few drops this season has been excellent. This has to do with his starting quarterback Sam Darnold who is now averaging barely over 15 fantasy points per game on the season (QB19) but is also averaging a putrid 9.06 fantasy points per game since Week 5. He’s consistently missed Moore on throws, made poor decisions in the pocket, and has hampered the entire Carolina offense. As long as Sam Darnold is starting for Carolina, you can’t treat Moore higher than a low-end WR2 going forward.
3) Brandon Aiyuk is becoming a trustworthy flex play
Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION
Brandon Aiyuk week was upon us in Week 9 and it was glorious. This was Aiyuk’s biggest game of the year as he caught 6 of 8 targets for 89 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers’ loss to the Cardinals. Aiyuk’s targets, catches, and yards were all season highs. This was coming off a 7 target and 4 catch week for 45 yards in Week 8 against the Bears.
Aiyuk has now had back-back double-digit fantasy point outings and has looked a lot more involved in the offense, after being in Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse much of the season. He’s also running the most routes of any 49ers pass-catcher not named Deebo Samuel. Combine that with the fact that he’s had his offensive snaps go up in three consecutive weeks and you have a player who could be a great buy-low candidate and should start getting into your flex spot in 12-team or larger leagues.
4) Tee Higgins is a GREAT buy low candidate
Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION
It takes a lot to overlook Tee Higgins and the year he’s having, but that’s been exactly what Ja’Marr Chase has done to Higgins. Chase has been flashy, but Higgins has quietly been productive himself in the underlying data. Would you believe that Higgins is actually out-targeting Chase? Chase is averaging 7.7 targets per game while Higgins is averaging 8.1 targets per game.
Even more so, Higgins is playing the highest percentage of snaps among Bengals pass-catchers this season, and just last game had the same amount of catches and more fantasy points than Chase, on five fewer targets. Burrow is looking for Higgins in the RedZone as well as he has the same amount of targets (8) as Chase does in the RedZone. Higgins should not be slept on and better games are ahead for him moving forward.
5) Devonta Freeman is the running back you want in the Ravens backfield
The statement seems valid, so why is it an overreaction? The correct answer is you shouldn’t feel comfortable with anyone in this backfield going into your starting lineup outside the deepest of leagues.
These are the snap counts of Ravens running backs over their last three games played. Courtesy of Football Outsiders:
Week 6: Latavius Murray 26 snaps (38%), Le’Veon Bell 22 snaps (32%), Devonta Freeman 22 snaps (30%), Ty’Son Williams 0 snaps (inactive)
Week 7: Devonta Freeman 29 snaps (40%), Le’Veon Bell 22 snaps (30%), Ty’Son Williams 21 snaps (29%), Latavius Murray 0 snaps (injured)
Week 9: Devonta Freeman 57 snaps (58%), Le’Veon Bell 23 snaps (23%), Ty’Son Williams 18 snaps (18%), Latavius Murray 0 snaps (injured)
Remember when we thought Ty’Son Williams was the guy? What about Latavius Murray? Do yourself a favor and don’t get sucked into this backfield mess again. It’s a committee and will be for the foreseeable future.