NFL Week 9 Observations | Everything You Need to Know

by Matt Babich · Dynasty Leagues

This is NFL Week 9 Observations – Everything You Need to Know about Week 9! In Week 8, we targeted buy-low candidates headlined by Devonta Smith, sent the warning signal on Jordan Love, and pushed in our chips on Marvin Mims. Without further ado, let’s get right into everything you need to know for the NFL Week 9!

Red Dead Running Backs

There are two running backs who were highly touted in the offseason that you can now consider dead. They were two backs I was fading all offseason.

The first is Miles Sanders. After returning from injury, Frank Reich told the media that Chuba Hubbard would get a larger share of the backfield. These comments led to a 67-percent Snap Share and a team-high 15 carries for Hubbard. Sanders, on the other hand, played just 18-percent of the snaps and garnered two carries in a competitive Game Script. The fantasy-relevance of Miles Sanders has ended, and it’s unlikely you’re going to want to start him without a Hubbard injury.

The second is Dameon Pierce. After showing he wasn’t an efficient runner, a target earner, or a pass blocker in his rookie season, the Texans went and signed Devin Singletary. Now, Singletary looks to be the 1B at the very least. The days of Pierce getting 20 carries are over. On a pass-first Texans team, Pierce is droppable in redraft and dynasty leagues alike.

Chris Olave’s Legendary Buy Window

The usage has been elite for Chris Olave thus far, earning a 27-percent Target Share, 39-percent Air Yards Share, while also leading receivers in Unrealized Air Yards. Olave currently has one of the largest discrepancies between his expected and actual fantasy points per game. He ranks No. 12 among receivers in his Expected Fantasy Points per Game, but a measly No. 33 in actual Fantasy Points per Game.

The usage will continue to be there for Olave, and the chemistry with Derek Carr will only improve. We saw what Olave was capable of with Andy Dalton, so we know we aren’t chasing some pipe dream. The Saints will continue to figure out how to get the ball to their WR1, and the production will hit an inflection point sooner rather than later. It’s best to buy while you can. The Saints face a flurry of beatable secondaries over the next few weeks. 

Javonte Williams Buy High

We finally saw the bell cow usage and production that we were waiting for from Javonte Williams. Now appearing fully healthy, Williams took on 27 carries and three targets in route to a top-10 weekly performance. The Broncos offense has looked, dare I say, competent over the past few weeks, and Williams’ uptick in usage has played a large role.

Use this bye week as a buy-high moment. With a favorable schedule throughout the rest of the season, Williams is a locked-in top-24 option and will be a huge boost to RB-needy teams.

Implications of the Josh McDaniels Firing

The Raiders have finally parted ways with Josh McDaniels, letting go of GM Dave Ziegler and OC Mick Lombardi in the process. It’s safe to say that Raiders players, particularly Davante Adams, are happy about this decision.

Davante Adams looks to be the main beneficiary of the personnel change. This season, he’s found the endzone in just two games, while clearing 100 yards once. This is a trend that will surely change quickly with a new coach at the helm. If there’s any distrust from his current manager, Adams is a decent buy-low candidate. 

Another buy-low could be Raiders second-round pick Michael Mayer. Mayer has struggled to keep the breakout train rolling after his performance against New England, but this is mostly due to the culmination of poor usage and poor QB play. New OC Bo Hardegree should focus on getting his second-round pick more involved in the offense. The limitations of the offense, however, gives him a lowered ceiling.

Implied Team Totals

Highest Implied Team Totals

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (26.75)
  2. Cincinnati Bengals (26)
  3. New Orleans Saints (25)
  4. Philadelphia Eagles (24.75)
  5. Baltimore Ravens (24.5)

The highest game total in the main slate (noon and afternoon Sunday games) falls in the highly-anticipated Bills-Bengals rematch. With Joe Burrow nearing 100-percent health, the Bengals have returned as the high-powered offense we all know and love. Against a stout Bills secondary, who just added Rasul Douglas, I’m actually lowering my exposure on the Bengals offense.

The two games I want the most exposure to are DAL/PHI and SEA/BAL. Both of these games feature high-octane offenses with very beatable secondaries and could easily outscore the Bengals and Bills. While the Eagles’ focus has been on A.J. Brown, I prefer Devonta Smith at cost.

Finally, my contrarian pick of the week falls in TB/HOU. After a disappointing outing against the Panthers, I expect the Texans to re-prioritize the pass against a soft Buccaneers secondary. I also expect Buccaneers pass catchers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to be high performers. While this is one of the lowest totals on the slate, don’t be surprised when they push for 60 total points.

Lowest Implied Team Totals

  1. Arizona Cardinals (15)
  2. Chicago Bears (16)
  3. Minnesota Vikings (16.75)
  4. LA Rams (17.5)
  5. New York Giants (18.25)

Now eight weeks into the season, we know who these teams are. If Vegas is pinning them for a horrendous offensive output, they’re likely right. I’m very interested to see what the Cardinals look like under Clayton Tune, who should play a much more aggressive style than former starter Josh Dobbs.

DFS Values: C.J. Stroud ($6200), Chuba Hubbard ($5000), Rhamondre Stevenson ($5400), Tyler Lockett ($6200), DeMario Douglas ($4000), Nico Collins ($5800), Dalton Schultz ($4200), 

Injury Report

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson returned to limited participation in practice. This situation seems to be less about when Watson is cleared to play, and more of when Watson wants to come back and play. He’s been cleared to play at multiple points but continues to nurse his recovery since most of his contract is guaranteed. We’ll have to track his involvement this week closely.

Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones returned to limited action after being cleared for contact.

It remains unseen whether he’ll play this week, but the change of the reported return from Week 10 to Week 9 prior to last Sunday’s slate is an optimistic sign. Given his history this season, no one should be sprinting to add him back into their lineups.

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford is being considered as ‘day-to-day’ with a UCL sprain in his throwing thumb. Sean McVay said that Stafford would definitely avoid the IR, which would be a weird thing to say if he was even remotely considering playing his starting quarterback this week. With a Week 10 bye looming, we’re likely getting a taste of the Brett Rypien experience.

Darren Waller

Darren Waller missed practice due to another re-aggravation of his hamstring injury. During time with the media, Waller spoke about his injury in terms of weeks. That is a smoke signal towards him missing, well, weeks of action. It’s doubtful that Waller suits up this Sunday. Even if he does, his involvement could be limited.

Josh Allen

Josh Allen did not participate in practice due to a shoulder injury he is working through. The rest is likely maintenance, and we should not expect Allen to miss any time or to be severely limited by the injury.

Drake London

Drake London did not participate in practice with a groin injury.

The rest of the week will paint a clear picture, but his outlook for Sunday now looks grim. These injuries can hinder performance, so if he is a minimum participant but is announced as active, be wary.

Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray practiced in full again. The (My) prophecy of his return against Atlanta is looking more and more likely. That being said, expect Clayton Tune to start this week.


Week over week, we’ve been paying attention to the right details and will continue to refine our process as we learn lessons from our losses. By continuing to attack the right matchups, and following the right usage and efficiency trends, we’ll continue to DOMINATE our fantasy matchups and DFS lineups. Happy hunting!