Week 9 Lessons Learned: Quarterback Torch Pass

by Tyler Strong, November 10, 2020

This week was a wild one. The league’s premier teams kept rolling, spare the Bucs’ meltdown and the Seahawks getting shot down. But young quarterbacks once again fired it up, with Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa putting on a show for the next generation of fans to get excited about. Let’s take a look at all the action through PlayerProfiler.com’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics.

Thursday Night Breakdown: Davante Adams Puts On His Best Richie James Impression

This game was on the ropes to even happen due to COVID concerns, primarily for the 49ers. Instead, Davante Adams and Richie James combined for 19 catches, 357 yards and two scores. One of these is a hair more surprising than the other. It was business as usual for Adams and Aaron Rodgers, the most lethal connection in the sport. Adams’ league-leading 33.1-percent Target Share entering Week 9, and his propensity for scoring touchdowns, has kept him as the overall WR2 in PPR leagues even while missing two games this year.

The 49ers receiving group was hit hard by COVID-related absences, leaving James and Trent Taylor as the top options. Thing is, only James showed up to play. The former dynasty darling (to the select few of us out there) had a mind meld with Nick Mullens, seeing eight more targets (13) than any other player. And he delivered on them, gaining separation at will all night long.

Richie James Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Action: The San Francisco receiving group is in flux, especially with George Kittle and his massive target volume out of the picture for the rest of the season. Kyle Shanahan has the common sense to play his better players, but will he pull the trigger? James is the stone minimum on DraftKings against New Orleans in Week 10.

Lesson Two: Dalvin Cook: Fantasy Juggernaut

Dalvin Cook has four games this season with 130-plus rushing yards. He has only three with fewer than that mark. He’s the engine, heart, whatever you want to call it of the Vikings offense. He’s scored at least one touchdown in every game, and there are no signs of slowing down.

The Vikings take on the Bears this week, and will again during a brutal fantasy playoff schedule @ TB, vs CHI, and @ NO in the fantasy championship. The former Seminole has proved himself matchup-proof thus far, but that run of defenses may at least slow down the current rushing yards leader.

Action: Cook is off the main slate in Week 10, but he’ll be back soon to remain fantasy’s premier RB play for the foreseeable future. Matchups with the Cowboys and Jaguars in the next month will be lock button events.

Lesson Three: A.J. Brown: Leading Man

A.J. Brown is the WR6 in Fantasy Points per Game through nine weeks. He’s scored in five straight and drawn seven or more targets in every game this season. That target volume has been encouraging after Brown averaged closer to 4.75 looks in 2019.

Brown and Corey Davis have made for a fun duo this season, although Davis put on a disappearing act on Sunday in a lower volume day for Ryan Tannehill. The man only completed 10 of 21 passes, after all.

Action: The schedule is brutal for Brown over the next three weeks, with two games against the Colts and one against the Ravens. However, if your team can survive that, he draws the Browns, the Lions, the Jags, and the Packers over the final four weeks. Look for Brown to fire off even more in the final stretch as Tennessee angles for playoff positioning.

Lesson Four: Drew Lock Turning the Corner

The first weeks of the season were about as nightmarish as possible for Drew Lock. But since the Week 5 bye, he has improved his play week after week. Lock completed 25 of 48 passes for two scores and one pick on Sunday, also adding 47 yards and a score on the ground. It was a do-it-all performance in a game where the Broncos needed him, and the receiving group is starting to really gel with the gunslinger.

Jerry Jeudy, namely, has been overshadowed by a slew of early breakouts in this fantastic rookie class. But he was excellent on Sunday, taking advantage of the Atlanta secondary for seven catches, 145 yards and a score on 14 targets. This connection, along with role players such as K.J. Hamler, Noah Fant, and Tim Patrick might be giving Drew Lock a runway for a second-half pop.

Action: We’ve targeted the Raiders before, and we’ll do it again as Lock finds himself at only $5,500 on DraftKings. He’s a fun GPP play with plenty of stacking options against an Oakland team that has allowed 32, 45, 6 and 26 points over the last month.

Lesson Five: Tua Has Arrived

Two of the league’s most exciting prospects faced off on Sunday for a 34-31 thriller, where Tua Tagovailoa pulled out the win over Kyler Murray. Similar to last week, Tagovailoa spread the ball around, with nine players logging a target. But this time, DeVante Parker reeled in six of seven targets for 64 scoreless yards after seeing just two the week prior.

Tua Tagovailoa Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Tagovailoa also chipped in 35 yards on the ground, a little taste of the Konami Code upside he brings to the table. It was a great showing for the rookie, whose receiving group has a ton of room to improve next year. More starter reps will increase the rapport in the short term, and hopefully the Target Share will start to thin out over the final half of the season.

Action: Tua’s price jumped only $100 from last week to this, and the former Alabama star draws another plus matchup at home against the Chargers this week. Justin Herbert has been putting crazy point totals on the board, and while the Miami defense has been strong, Tua should be a sneaky GPP option in a favorable game environment.