Week 9 – NFC Game Analyst News and Notes

by Cody Carpentier · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

This new season-long mini-series is brought to you by the RotoUnderworld Game Analyst Team. The Game Analyst Team consists of over 75 individuals that chart and re-watch every snap from every game in the NFL between game end, and Monday afternoon. The guys you have generally not heard from before stop in to drop some tidbits from their weekly game charting process in hopes to give us a sneak peek into the depth of the games each Sunday. As the Head Game Analyst – I charted for two years and this idea was always in the back of my mind. People always share the broken-down, clean, processed reviews of games in the NFL. That’s not what this is. I asked everyone to gives me some Notes or Takeaways from their game this past week, and below are the raw responses I received.

Los Angeles Rams

Stafford had multiple play-action rollouts and when he turned around he had an LB or DL running free in his face.
Missed wide-open Tyler Higbee on 3rd down.

Best Carson Wentz impression, spinning in the end zone and throwing an Interception.

The very next play was an INT where Kevin Byard jumped the route for pick 6.

Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods both looked good Stafford just didn’t have time or they both could have had huge games.

Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson split the backfield but it may have been because Henderson was banged up. Again… Michel remains a very high upside handcuff.

Rams D kept them in the game. – Cody Wilhelm

Green Bay

Jordan Love looked how you’d expect someone to while making their first start in weird circumstances. Kansas City knew they could fluster him by sending the house repeatedly and did so often with success. But he definitely had flashes of brilliance, including a big throw to Randall Cobb on the move for over 30 yards. This supposedly should be a one or two-time occurrence this season though. Love did not play his best by any means but I think it’s unfair to judge Love off of this game.

The Packers should’ve emphasized the run game more in this game, something Matt LaFleur himself confirmed on Monday. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon combined for 143 yards on 24 touches, but Dillon looked the most impressive of the two. Jones played more snaps (38 to 22 for Dillon; of 61) but was asked to pass block more than Dillon was. Dillon made a ton of great hand catches outside of his body, including one off a dropped Tyrann Mathieu pick-six. Jones should be fine once Aaron Rodgers is back, but Dillon has standalone value in his own right.

I was surprised that Allen Lazard played more snaps than Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Lazard played 50 snaps while Valdes-Scantling was on the field for 33 snaps and ran 29 routes to Valdes-Scantling’s 19. Their roles were reversed before Valdes-Scantling got injured. Davante Adams still got his full allotment of snaps (55), routes (33), and targets (13), but Lazard stepping into the WR2 spot was not something I expected. – Shervon Fakhimi

New York Giants

The Giants offense was pretty vanilla this game. They still ran at an up-tempo pace, but the play calls featured a lot of jumbo sets with an extra lineman. Devontae Booker racked up nearly 100 yards on 21 carries and Daniel Jones had a few pretty nice runs of his own (although he did fumble again that’s par for the course at this point).

Evan Engram had a nice touchdown grab down the sideline in the first quarter, but outside of that, the passing game was dead silent. In fact, only 4 targets total went towards wide receivers all game. Kadarius Toney had a couple of cute trick plays queued up for him that turned into complete duds, but it’s still nice to see him getting deployed creatively.

This game was really all about the Giants Defense who had a couple of interceptions including a pick-six. The offense just needed to manage the game and not screw it up, which they surprisingly did. Next week should be a different story as the Giants travel to Tampa Bay. Daniel Jones and the receiving core will likely have to step up way more and we should see some more interesting play calls if they intend on securing the W. – James Peterman


Philly changed gameplay by relying heavily on run plays overpassing. Throughout the 2021 season, Philly has passed on 53.9% of offensive plays, which is 26th in the NFL. In Week 9, the Eagles were dead last at 31.6%.

Jordan Howard was the leading rush with 17 attempts with 71yds and a TD.

Kenny Gainwell was almost nonexistent with only 2 carries for 3 yds, although he did have a Redzone TD.

Confidence in Jalen Hurts as an MVP caliber QB has seemed to wane as Hurts only had 17 passing attempts. – James Brantley

Atlanta vs New Orleans

Falcons – Good offensive performance for the Falcons, specifically in the passing game as they did a good job of protecting Matt Ryan and having him get out the ball quickly. Cordarrelle Patterson continues to be the waiver pick up of the year going for 6-126 as a receiver in this game, with 64 of those yards coming off his key 64-yard catch along the sideline on the Falcons go-ahead drive. Kyle Pitts was mostly held in check today but continues to be a focal point of the offense finishing 2nd in targets with 7 on the day.

Saints – Nice performance for Trevor Siemian in his 1st start after Jameis’ ACL tear. He didn’t make many mistakes and did a good job of taking what the defense gave him. Unfortunately, he’s throwing to a pretty limited WR corps that had 3 drops in the 1st half and didn’t have 1 WR reach over 60 yds today. Very solid game for Alvin Kamara who went for 104 yds and a TD on 17 touches today. – Jaylan Glenn

Los Angeles Rams

Jeffery Simmons had his mittens all over Stafford. Simmons had 3 sacks and forced a near pick-six. The Titans would score as a result. On Stafford’s very next play he threw an actual pick-six. And that’s how you lose a football game.

On offense, Woods (73), Kupp (73), Jefferson (70), and Higbee (71) played close to every snap (75). You want these guys on your fantasy team. Matthew Stafford is on pace to have a career year. Granted, 17 games will be played this season; regardless, Stafford is on pace to throw 606 times for 5,234 yards and 43 TDs. His current 68.2-percent completion rate would be the highest of his career.

Higbee saw the most targets he’s seen this year. Hopefully, that wasn’t purely a result of two costly Stafford interceptions that put them in an early hole. Higbee currently ranks 3rd among TE routes run, and 9th in targets.

Robert Woods has either had 70 yards or a TD in his last six games. He’s seen fewer than six targets only once this year and can probably be acquired cheaply once again because fantasy gamers hate Robert Woods — late breakout, doesn’t score TDs — they hate him. Cooper Kupp is the No. 1 player in fantasy. Van Jefferson has become a full-time player since the departure of DeSean Jackson. He’s averaged a 91-percent snap share over the last three games and has been targeted 20 times during that same period.

Darrell Henderson was most affected by the poor Game Script. He experienced his smallest Snap Share and carry total this year. Not to worry, the Rams trailed 21-3 at the half and trailed by two or more scores the remainder of the game. Henderson will bounce back along with Matthew Stafford and this offense. – Justin Edminster


When Philly lost Sanders, it seems they opted to go all-in on the run. Scott and Howard are a boring, 2-dimensional duo who cap each other’s upside.

Gainwell is tragically 3rd in the pecking order, despite seeming to hold the No. 2 spot with Sanders healthy.

Hurts lord looked solid on his limited passing attempts, especially when targeting Smith. Not sure why Goedert isn’t getting more looks, but he looks good, too.

Smith is coming into his own, seemingly always open on deep and intermediate crossing routes. Reagor is dead while Watkins seems like the number two wide receiver moving forward.

While the next few games are tougher than Detroit, Philly gets NYG and WFT 2x during the fantasy game payoffs. Giddy up. – Jack Sterling


Justin Fields has been cleared for takeoff. Boasting Week 9’s highest QB grade per PFF, Fields showcased his deep passing talent combined with his elite mobility only a few QBs possess. The Skeleton Key to unlocking this putrid Bears offense, Fields’ legs opened up far more than 45 yards rushing the stat sheet lead on. Facing the Steelers premiere pass rush, Fields was able to air it out at will in the second half when breaking the pocket. Per Next Gen Stats, Fields averaged the second most air yards per attempt(15.7) in a game this season. Going 9 of 16 on passes traveling at least 10 air yards for 225 yards and a TD, he demonstrated an ability to extend drives and make the explosive plays necessary to mount a two-possession come back on any given Sunday.

Fields will be a game script-proof QB1 over the back half, giving defenses fits with his deadly front shoulder lobs moving left and his zone-breaking mobility.

Cole Kmet quietly had a career-best game and hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential. With the second-highest TE target share in Week 9, Kmet parlayed 8 targets (28%) into 6 catches for 87 yards. A Cover 2 killer, he made his money on seam and post-corner routes. Meshing with Fields and settling in right behind linebacker zones, Kmet showed a promising connection with the young QB. Look for him to build on his performance this week against the Ravens, who have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to TEs. Plenty of potential for growth once soon to be 35 year old Jimmy Graham decides to make an exit, value Kmet as a rest of season-low TE1/high TE2 until the situation changes. – Jon Adams


New Orleans

Taysom Hill Saints coach Sean Payton is satisfied with burying the lead. I’m not. Leading off my takes from this week are a few observations on Saints “backup” quarterback Taysom Hill. Hill only played 13 snaps in this contest, but every time he stepped on the field, he was the first player I spotted in the formation.

Simply stated, the dude is a truck. He looks like Christian McCaffrey‘s big brother.

And he actually compares favorably as an athlete to CMC per the Player Profiler workout metrics, only he is listed about 20lbs heavier. He is a throwback football player; in that, he does everything on the field well. In my humble opinion, he was the best all-around skill player the Saints threw out there not named Kamara, including their best route runner. Yes, you read that right. However, you will not see proof of this in the box score.

You will see it on a play the Saints run with 10:57 left in the game. Directly after 2 straight completions on his only two throws of the game, the Saints line up in an empty set with 5 wideouts. 3 on the right side of the formation with Taysom closest to the right tackle and two receivers to his right. The two other receivers on the right-side run routes straight up the field, while Hill takes advantage of the man coverage and blows by his man towards the sideline at least a step ahead. He was the primary read on this play, and if the Saints line holds up for an extra second to avoid a sack, this missed 47-yard touchdown catch would lead all of the week 9 highlight shows.

Add all that onto the capable quarterback play and the absolutely massive upside from a rushing perspective and Taysom Hill is the top quarterback stash on the market right now. Trey Lance included. What Trevor Siemian did against the Falcons was mid-range at best.

Free Taysom Hill!!!

Alvin Kamara – Everyone seems to be really worried about Kamara because of the Mark Ingram acquisition. Why am I going to tell you to not worry too much about him after his light day at the office this week? A few reasons.

In Week 9, Atlanta’s defense played mostly man coverage, allowing the rest of their defensive personnel to hone in on stopping the Saints running game. They plugged it up for most of the day, allowing only a few chunk runs throughout the contest. Kamara came away averaging 3.8 yards per carry. BUT, during the broadcast, the commentators quoted Kamara in their production meeting as saying he was the second happiest person on the Saints roster that the Ingram addition happened, outside of Ingram himself. Why? Because it allows Kamara to be fresh in the 4th quarter of games.

When comparing today’s game to the Saints/Seahawks game I covered in week 7, Kamara did look like he had a little more pep in his step, even though he turned in fewer fantasy points than he did in that Seattle game, the last game before Ingram arrived.

What you won’t see is with 4:35 left in the 3rd quarter, Kamara takes an off-tackle toss like he is shot out of a cannon and explodes up the right sideline for a would-be 42 yard gain. It got wiped out by a borderline holding call that didn’t truly affect the play. If that play stands, Kamara winds up with 14/92/1 on the ground and 4/54 through the air on 7 targets, good for 22.6 half ppr points. I’ll take that all day from my RB1. Long term, I think this will be more of a wash on Kamara’s stats as opposed to him losing all-important volume and suffering as a result. And he still plowed home a short score from the 2-yard line, as opposed to the “bigger” Ingram.

If anything, I would try to take advantage of the Kamara owner in your league to see if you can acquire him at a discount.

Mark Ingram Speaking of Ingram, the new Saints running back ran with a surprising burst behind this stellar Saints offensive line. He looked washed in his final season with the Ravens, so perhaps coming home to New Orleans lit a fire under him. The Saints made it a point to establish Ingram early, handing him the rock on 3 of the first 4 plays of the game. They went for 9, 9, and 11 yards.

You can look at this one of two ways. One, Ingram is capable of chunk plays on the ground, obviously a huge plus. Or on the flip side, he totaled 11 more opportunities for the rest of the game (6 carries + 5 targets, catching all 5). He turned those 11 touches into 35 total yards and only 1 of those came inside the red zone. A carry from the 20-yard line. Not the best usage. Add it all up and yes, Ingram should absolutely be owned across the board and could be a stand-alone flex play in the right matchups moving forward. If Kamara goes down for any amount of time, the sky is the limit for Ingram.

Adam Trautman Trautman had himself a pretty decent day. If you plunked him into a number of different offenses, I think he would have much better statistical success. He simply does not get a lot of looks downfield. He was targeted 7 times on the day, not including a look at the two-point conversion attempt. Those targets went for a total of 61 air yards and an aDot (average depth of target) of 8.71 yards. His longest target went for 25 yards, and if you remove that look, the other 6 targets went for an aDot of 6.00 yards.

That’s all the bad news I can find. The rest of Trautman’s performance pegs him as a riser for the rest of the season.

What the box score won’t tell you is when and how the Saints used their tight end. With the game hanging in the balance and the Saints down 24-6 in the 4th quarter, Trautman saw 5 of his 7 total targets on the day. 6 out of 8 if you include the two-point conversion. Those 8 targets tied for the team lead. Secondly, Trautman tied for the team lead in red-zone targets with 2 (again, including the failed two-pointer). Also, he led the Saints in snap share (86%), was third in routes run with 35, and second on the team with 40% of his routes coming from the slot. Also of note, Juwan Johnson was a healthy scratch. He formed a timeshare with Trautman during week 7 against Seattle, so Trautman’s role is secure. From a statistical standpoint, things are on the up and up for sure.

One more point that the box score won’t tell you. With 8:42 left in the game, Trautman makes the best catch I’ve seen him make this year. From the Falcons 30 yard line, Siemian overthrows his TE a bit, and Trautman skies to the high point to make a difficult catch in traffic. He got popped from behind and still held onto the football for a 25-yard catch that set up Callaway’s touchdown on the next play. Checks the film box too. The bottom line, keep your eyes out for Trautman moving forward.

If the Saints are going to keep feeding him valuable targets in or near the red zone and his role remains the same, he is a back-end TE1.

Deonte Harris The final player that I would keep on my radar is WR Deonte Harris. He only had 21 snaps on the day, which was the least amount of any Saints receiver not named Taysom Hill. But that said, he got some good run in the second half when the Saints were trailing and I thought Sean Payton was going to play him more than he did. Harris looked like the best receiver on the field for New Orleans. He was flying in and out of his breaks and was constantly beating his man. At a minimum, he is a decent deep league add, and could wind up getting hot down the stretch.

What everyone should look out for is if/when Taysom Hill gets the starting job. One of Hill’s two passes was a beautiful 19-yard teardrop to Harris inside of an Atlanta zone coverage. Hill was looking for him the entire play. These two could have some great chemistry from practice that will probably carry over into game situations if Payton ever opens his eyes and starts the best man for the job. All that and the rest of the Saints receivers are a bunch of JAGs. – Teddy Roth


Despite the poor play by Darnold, the Panthers were in this game going into the 4th quarter. CMC looked like CMC on a limited Snap Share and was clearly the focus of the offense whenever he was in the game. You will probably see a lot more CMC as the season progresses but it should be a slow climb as the Panthers should rightfully be cautious with their star player.

That being said, Darnold needs to get benched for other playmakers outside of the RB position to thrive. Darnold simply cannot make throws beyond the line of scrimmage at this point in time. Since he can’t push the ball downfield, players like Anderson will suffer. D.J. Moore is getting schemed looks (direct snaps from the wildcat formation) because of Sam Darnolds poor play which is encouraging but still well short of expectations set forth by the first four games of the season. With Darnold at the helm, D.J. is looking more like a WR2 while everyone else outside of CMC (when playing) is irrelevant. – Robert Kelley


Yikes! The offensive execution from the Cowboys was most certainly offensive, but there are some takeaways we can gain from this performance:

We all expected more from CeeDee Lamb, but there is a bright spot to point out. The Cowboys attempted 4 passes that traveled 30 or more air yards to CeeDee, and you can expect those to connect more often as the season rolls on, especially when Tyron Smith returns.

While this was not his best game, Ezekiel Elliott remained on the field even when the game got out of hand. Most of us would think they would save him and have Tony Pollard in the game while playing catch up, especially after the knee injury scare in the first half, but Zeke got touches in the 4th quarter when it was still 30-0.

Here is how the usage shook out for the running backs:

Ezekiel Elliott: (29 snaps/ 10 rushes/ 18 routes ran/ 3 targets/ 3 receptions)

Tony Pollard: (23 snaps/ 4 rushes/ 15 routes ran/ 2 targets/ 1 reception)

Lastly, Michael Gallup will return to the lineup and that just feels like a spark that this team needs after this dreadful performance. I would expect to see more 11 personnel, especially now that Blake Jarwin is on IR. – Jonathan Lange


Big Wheels Keep On Rolling! Matty Ice rolled over the Saints for another hard-fought signature win for the Atlanta Falcons.

Proving their offensive prowess in recent weeks, the Falcons offense kept their foot on the pedal jumping out to a 17-3 lead, downshifting into cruise control leading into the fourth. The ground game was not effective, but Matt Ryans ability to stay clean while moving the ball downfield via the no-huddle offense kept the New Orleans defense out of position.

The offensive brain trust reduced meaningless pre-snap shifts for inside runs and leaned on their bread and butter when it mattered. Mismatches opened crucial downfield burns to Cordarrelle Patterson against Kwon Alexander (3rd&9; 34 yds.) and Rookie Paulson Adebo (64-yard Game-Winner).

Marshon Lattimore aka Grabby Latti, looked like a fish out of the water and was cooked by Olamide Zaccheaus for his second touchdown in the fourth quarter, extending the Falcons lead to 24-6.

Offensive coordinators lined up Zaccheus (2.05 target separation; #12) tight and away from the sideline in 22 personnel, and watched him buckle in Latti for a ride to the back of the endzone where he lit up the jackpot just as opposing receivers have done all year.  According to his metrics, Marshon Lattimore currently blesses opposing receivers with 15.45 fantasy ppg, rarely lines up in the slot (6.7%; #141), and could not contain Olamide long enough to prevent the fish fry. Olamide finished with a healthy 3/58/2 on 50 air yards, racking up 20.8 points (#4).

With his latest foot injury, November is shaping up to be the most hated month for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (+42.8 Coverage Rating) as he was dealt yet another blow. The Saints are in trouble if they expect a seasoned Michael Jenkins to cover slot receivers for the rest of the year.  None of their meaningful Cornerbacks boast a higher coverage rating than Marshon Lattimores (+19.2 Rating; #166).

As for the Falcons, the offensive production sans Calvin Ridley is a nice revelation while Matt Ryan is regaining his MVP form. This performance secured his 10th NFC OPOW Award, placing him in rare company as only five other quarterbacks have secured the award at least ten times (Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Wilson). The Falcons are currently in playoff contention and looking to continue this momentum into the postseason. – Brian King

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