🔑 KEY Week 9 Questions + KC-MIA Preview
Happy daylight savings weekend...
58 days until Fantasy Championship Sunday…
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Babbel:
The Steelers hold off the Titans 20-16
Fantasy Questions: Who is a prime buy-low WR candidate?
Matchup of the Week: Germany owes us for this one
Best Bets: Life’s too short to bet Christian Watson under
QUICK HITTER: Tail or Fade?!
It’s 11/3. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…
While Thursday night didn't exactly produce a shootout, the Steelers and Titans supplied a competitive contest that featured some truly solid individual efforts in fantasy land.
Your 242-word recap, as well as a friendly reminder that Mike Tomlin and the 5-3 Steelers have never finished below .500 midway through his 17th year as the head ball coach:
Diontae Johnson (7-90-1) finally found the end zone again. And it was awesome.
Fun fact: The score came one play after Johnson dropped what would have been a walk-in three-yard score. That’s what the cool kids call a reverse-sheesh.
Sadly, George Pickens finished with fewer yards than you last night (-1) and never got his redemption moment after failing to get two feet down inbounds despite having all kinds of room on what should have been a 12-yard TD. Pickens has just 10 total targets in his last two games after averaging eight pass-game opportunities per contest during the Steelers' first six contests of the season.
Shoutout to rookie QB Will Levis for still flashing plenty of high-end talent despite falling short in the end. The likes of DeAndre Hopkins (6-60-0) and Kyle Philips (4-68-0) were on the receiving end of some dimes; this was truly a more impressive performance than the 262-scoreless passing yards indicate – better times could be on the horizon thanks to a cozy upcoming schedule.
All three key RB parties involved impressed in the box score: Derrick Henry (103 total yards, 1 TD), Jaylen Warren (112 yards) and Najee Harris (76 yards, 1 TD) all left their fantasy managers with at least something resembling a smile going into the weekend. That said: Warren was so close to adding a TD to his total, but unfortunately, was stopped just short of the goal line prior to Johnson’s aforementioned streak-busting TD.
FRIENDLY REMINDER: Chiefs-Dolphins kickoff is at 9:30 am ET in Germany this Sunday. Don’t tell your fantasy rivals (obviously), but make sure you get those lineups set before it’s too late.
Speaking of Week 9 goodness you need to be aware of…
Week 9 is here and there are approximately four “good” QBs healthy enough to suit up. Just kidding. There’s probably like 10. Maybe 12. Much better, right? Regardless: What follows are Ian’s 10 biggest questions ahead of this week’s action along with a bunch of other stuff that he just so happened to find cool for one reason or another. As always. it’s a great day to be great.
🤠 Has Dak Prescott been absolutely balling out since that debacle against the 49ers?
Why yes, he has!
While Dak had some moments during the first five weeks of the season – most notably performing better against the Jets vaunted secondary than just about anyone – he’s put forward his best football in back-to-back wins against the Chargers and Rams.
Overall, Prescott has accounted for six TDs while throwing just one INT – that was tipped at the line of scrimmage, to be fair – over the past two weeks; he had just five TDs and tossed four INTs during his first five games of the season combined.
So is Dak simply playing better? Yes, to an extent, but head coach/play-caller Mike McCarthy also deserves some credit for seemingly making some real bye-week adjustments.
Play-action rate: Weeks 1-6: 26.4%. Week 8: 34.2%
Pre-snap shift/motion rate: Weeks 1-6: 53.4%. Week 8: 58.7%
No huddle rate: Weeks 1-6: 4.3%. Week 8: 4.8%
Micah Parsons and company have certainly helped matters, but at the end of the day, only the Dolphins have scored more points than the Cowboys this season.
Prescott deserves plenty of praise for his performance over the past two weeks and will hope to keep the good times rolling against an Eagles defense that has given up some HUGE fantasy performances to opposing QBs at various points this season:
Week 1: Mac Jones (QB2)
Week 2: Kirk Cousins (QB2)
Week 3: Baker Mayfield (QB25)
Week 4: Sam Howell (QB13)
Week 5: Matthew Stafford (QB14)
Week 6: Zach Wilson (QB20)
Week 7: Tua Tagovailoa (QB22)
Week 8: Howell (QB1)
💰 Who is a prime buy-low WR candidate?
I’ve discussed unrealized air yard kings Chris Olave and Marquise Brown in recent weeks. And while I remain bullish on both the rest of the way, especially once the Cardinals get Kyler Murray back under center, I’m most interested in attempting to obtain a certain rookie receiver in the fantasy trade streets.
Enter: Ravens WR Zay Flowers. Just the WR38 in PPR points per game – but the WR27 when it comes to expected PPR points per contest. Ultimately, Flowers leads the Ravens in every receiving category; he’s just lagging behind in the scoring department.
Only seven players have racked up at least 50 targets this season, yet haven’t caught more than one TD:
Chris Olave (76 targets, 1 TD)
Michael Thomas (60 targets, 1 TD)
Flowers (59 targets, 1 TD)
Evan Engram (59 targets, 0 TD – sheesh)
Chris Godwin (55 targets, 1 TD)
Amari Cooper (54 targets, 1 TD)
Darren Waller (50 targets, 1 TD)
Sadness in New Orleans – but otherwise: Flowers stands out as one of the season’s most-fed WRs who simply haven’t managed to convert opportunities into six points. The man is due.
Notice the overall difference in QB performance among that group? Betting on Flowers bouncing back is betting on Lamar Jackson keeping on keeping on as one of the league’s very best QBs, which he’s objectively been all season long.
Mark Andrews (10) has barely out-targeted Flowers (9) inside the 20-yard line; don’t be afraid to buy low-ish on this talented rookie WR who has already flashed tantalizing ability both after the catch as well as in the route-running department through just eight weeks of his professional career.
❓ Should we start taking Taysom Hill seriously in Fantasy Land?
Actually, yes: The Saints’ TE/RB/QB/whatever has received a nice boost in volume in recent weeks after fishing with five or fewer touches in all but one of his first five games:
Week 6: 1-2-0 rushing, 7-49-0 receiving
Week 7: 5-18-1, 4-50-0
Week 8: 9-63-2, 1-14-0
Overall, only Travis Kelce (69.1) has scored more PPR points than Hill (51.5) over the past three weeks of action.
What in the actual f*ck, man.
Expecting Hill to continue scoring so many rushing TDs (3 in his last 8 quarters) is probably wishful thinking, but his newfound pass-game role might just be here to stay. Overall, the 33-year-old jack of all trades didn't quite reach his robust route rates from Week 6 (69%) or Week 7 (75%), but his 43% mark in Week 8 was still far higher than expected, given nominal starting TE Juwan Johnson was active for the first time since Week 3.
This Saints offense is finally showing signs of life and has racked up 109 total points in their last four games after only scoring 62 points during their first four contests of the season; Hill is deserving of weekly low-end TE1 consideration for however long he can hold on to this goal-line vulture/receiving TE role that he’s carved out for himself.
Credit to the Bears for allowing a league-low 3.3 yards per carry this season; just realize Hill should see ample goal-line opportunities inside of an offense presently implied to score 24.5 points – tied for the third-highest mark in Week 8.
🛂 Babbel is Your Passport to Autumn Adventures
Seize the Season with up to 55% off your subscription now!!!
Embark on a language journey this fall with Babbel's bite-sized lessons and begin conversing in just three weeks!
Whether you're dreaming of distant shores, yearning for a fresh pursuit or venturing overseas for an NFL game, now's your chance to get the language skills you've always wanted!
With Babbel's 10-minute lessons, you'll be conversing confidently in as little as three weeks. Embrace this season of growth with real-world language skills and for a limited time, get up to 55% off your subscription.
#LOVEHATE is upon us, and Matthew Berry is here to take you through the Week 9 NFL slate!
It’s #LOVEHATE day! Week 9 is now posted with, yes, an intro. And as always it’s 100% FREE.
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR)
Nov 2, 2023
Two of the consensus top-four teams in the AFC are competing on German soil Sunday morning. Patrick Mahomes. Tyreek Hill. Taylor Swift Travis Kelce. There is star power EVERYWHERE. Lucky for you: Chris is here to break down the Matchup of the Week: Chiefs vs. Dolphins.
Honest question: how mad are you this week if you live in the London area?
The NFL has hosted three games at Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium featuring the following QBs:
Josh Allen (cool, good start)
Lamar Jackson (now we’re cookin’)
Trevor Lawrence (solid, no notes)
Ryan Tannehill (wait, what)
Desmond Ridder (lol)
Don’t get me wrong, most of these guys are good if not high-end, signal-callers by most measures. But, objectively, only two of those passers pilot top-12 offenses. Meanwhile, Germany gets not one but two top-10 squads.
Without question, Dolphins-Chiefs is the matchup of the week. But it has season-long implications. We could look back on this Week 9 bout as the point where we knew Miami was for real. Or, the rest of the AFC will resign itself to another season with Patrick Mahomes as the QB to beat in January.
🐬 Dolphins Week 9 Outlook
On the Miami side, the explosiveness of the passing isn’t much of a surprise anymore. Tua Tagovailoa has completed the most downfield throws (20-plus yards) this season, averaging two per game.
But his intermediate efficiency has been especially devastating to defenses: On throws between 10 and 20 air yards, his 69.1% success rate sits atop the league.
But in all the rage about the Dolphins’ passing game, their running game hasn’t gotten the same praise. Specifically, Raheem Mostert’s ability to be an effective rusher at 31 years old is especially commendable.
The former 49er has turned back the clock as he ranks in the top five in adjusted yards after contact per attempt, rushing success rate, and forced missed tackle rate. He’s found the end zone in six of eight games, and last week was the first game he didn’t earn a look from Tua. And, if you’ve got Mostert on your roster, I’d be somewhat concerned about his output in Week 9.
For starters, Javonte Williams is the first and only RB to score more than 14.0 PPR points against Kansas City. The other 13 rushers with five or more carries against the Chiefs’ defensive front have averaged 7.7 PPG.
So Mostert needs volume to keep his fantasy hopes alive. And even that might be a problem.
🤔 Tyreek Hill said there’s only one player on the Dolphins better than him. $10 of FAAB says you can’t guess who.
🏀 Don’t mess with Davante Adams when it comes to locker room basketball. 8-103-1 this week confirmed.
🃏 It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message. Contrarian Week 9 DFS plays.
👀 What do you get when you combine 3 QBs, a RB and a WR? A chance to 20x your money.
😭 Can Elon Musk figure out a cure for hamstring injuries already? Get better soon, man.
🧂 The Raiders didn’t have to do Jimmy G like that. Salt in the wound.
🙏 GREAT injury update on Treylon Burks. Love it.
You know that one bet that you just feel in your core is RIGHT? I mean, we bet all the time, but sometimes you KNOW this one has something special to it. You know?
Well, good news for you: Geoff is here to spread his good word and has some pretty, pretty, pretty good — nay, BEST — bets ahead of Week 9.
Play to: +5.0 (-110)
The Seahawks look like the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL right now, what do they have to do to get some respect?
Seattle enters this week 9th in offensive DVOA and with a secondary that has allowed just 5.1 yards per attempt over their last three games (3rd best over that span). Since losing to the Bengals in Week 6 – a game they had a chance to win in the final minute – they’ve covered twice and beaten another AFC North team with a winning record in the Browns.
Seattle now has wins over two quality teams, and their one loss since Week 1 came by less than a TD.
The Ravens are no slouches, but seeing them as six-point favorites here also makes this seem like a perfect sell-high spot. Outside of their impressive domination of Detroit, the rest of their season reads as follows:
Struggled to beat an injured Joe Burrow
Struggled to put away the Titans
Losses to Steelers and Colts
Failed to cover against Arizona
Seattle adding DE/DL Leonard Williams at the deadline is a significant move considering they were already top five in yards per rush attempt against but needed depth in the front seven. Even if they don’t come out of Baltimore with a win, I expect this to be a close game in which Seattle can frustrate and slow down the Ravens’ rushing attack and potentially get some plays from their emerging secondary to keep this within a FG.
Play to 44.5 (-110)
Aggregate projection: 48.6
As much as I hate to back any Packers player (with an over), buying low on elite WRs – who have underperformed of late – worked like a charm last week (DK Metcalf, DeVonta Smith and Tee Higgins all hit their overs in Week 8) and I loath to go away from that strategy.
Watson’s actual production in 2023 has been miserable (under 40 yards in three of the last four games), but there isn’t much to be worried about from a usage standpoint. He’s posted an air yards share of over 35% and a target share of at least 20% in two of his last three games.
Watson’s main deficiency this year is that he’s not come down with any “jump balls” (he’s 0/8 on contested catches) and also has a catchable target rate of just 50%. These kinds of stats tend to even out over time, and eventually some of these deeper throws will go his way.
The Rams are also a perfect get-right matchup. Their secondary has given up 100-plus yards to a WR in back-to-back games and allowed 8.4 yards per attempt last week to the Cowboys. Their defense ranks fifth-to-last in pressure rate, which will likely help the accuracy of Jordan Love, who has the fourth-most dropbacks under pressure, according to PFF.
Watson has endured a rough start but likely bounces back in a game where we have clear weather and the Packers offense facing a declining defense.
Seahawks +6 vs. Ravens
Are you TAILING or FADING?
No lie Buffalo colder than a penguin ass out here lord……..
— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette)
Nov 2, 2023