Stars of Week 9

QB: Drew Brees, NO: 25-36, 346 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs 

RB: Kareem Hunt, KC: 17 carries, 91 yards, 2 TDs (1 catch, 50 yards, 1 TD)                                

WR: Michael Thomas, NO: 12 catches, 211 yards, 1 TD

TE: Travis Kelce, KC: 7 catches, 99 yards, 2 TDs

We’ve got a pair of teams representing the honor roll this week, none of which are strangers to this space. Future hall of famer Drew Brees had a masterful performance against the Rams, surpassing 300 yards and throwing for four TDs. On the receiving end of nearly two thirds of those yards and one of the TD tosses was none other than stud WR Michael Thomas. Thomas set the Saints single game receiving yards, but perhaps this game will be better remembered for his cell phone celebration, ala Joe Horn from 2003. Thomas remains a top 3 WR. Switching from one offensive juggernaut to the other, the Chiefs have two representatives here as well. Kareem Hunt scored three TDs against the Browns, with two scores coming from the ground and one from the air. Teammate Travis Kelce makes back to back appearances in this space, leading tight ends with his two TD performance. Each of these players are blue chippers, so no surprises this week. 

Week 9 Takeaways – A Closer Look

Each week we take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward. 

Nick Mullens, QB - SF: 16-22, 262 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs

Analysis: The final battle of the Bay Area teams took place last Thursday night, and the game looked like a snoozer on paper with a matchup of a pair of one win teams. Well, the game was one sided, as the 49ers punished the Raiders by a 34-3 score. That being said, an unexpected storyline developed with the emergence of Nick Mullins onto the NFL scene. Who exactly is Nick Mullins? The QB played his collegiate ball at Southern Mississippi and was an undrafted free agent signed by the 49ers in 2017. And following a nearly perfect game on TNF, Mullins has piqued the curiosity of the NFL world, including fantasy. So how will Mullins do in his encore performance? No one can say for sure, but he faces the hapless New York Giants next, and then the Bucs after the week 11 bye. If you need a QB and have risk tolerance, put a claim in on Mullins. It’s hard to project how Mullins will fare going forward, given how little NFL tape he has, but we know that his upcoming matchups are enticing and that he has excellent coaching with Kyle Shanahan. Mullins is absolutely worth an add in deeper leagues (12 plus teams). 

- Duke Johnson, RB – CLE: 9 catches, 78 yards, 2 TDs (1 carry, 8 yards, 0 TDs) 

Analysis: There has been a seismic shift in the Cleveland Browns’ RB grouping. First, we had the trade of Carlos Hyde to the Jaguars, which opened up space for Nick Chubb to take over lead rushing duties. Next, the team brass kicked coach Hue Jackson to the curb, much to the chagrin of Hue Jackson. Jackson has since lamented that if only the team had allowed him to draft the QBs he sought, or to have more control over the coaching matters, then the Browns would be on their way. I like to sneak in a bit of comedy when we have a chance. Anyways, the firing of Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley may have served as a #FreeDukeJohnson moment. The pass catching weapon out of the backfield had been largely marginalized up to this point, due in large part to poor coaching. As Johnson showed this past Sunday, he’ll produce if given the opportunity. Look for Johnson to continue to be heavily involved in the passing game going forward. For PPR leagues, Johnson should be viewed as an RB2, while standard leagues should view him as a flex option. He’s the top RB add for this week if available in your league. 

- Elijah McGuire, RB – NYJ: 7 carries, 30 yards, 0 TDs (3 catches, 37 yards, 0 TDs)

Analysis: The Jets offense took a massive hit when it was announced that Bilal Powell would be out for the season. As expected with a talented, rookie QB at the helm, the Jets have been inconsistent offensively from week to week. Elijah McGuire has stepped into the role vacated by Powell, and in his first game of the 2018 season, McGuire played a viable supporting role in the offense. Nothing to get too excited about, but McGuire had roughly one-third of the carries and was targeted five times by Darnold out of the backfield, resulting in three catches. McGuire’s stat line this past Sunday represents a good measure of what to expect from week to week – 6 to 8 carries plus 4-6 targets as a receiver, with an occasional touchdown. That’s flex territory in PPR leagues, and RB4 land in standard leagues. If you need help at RB, McGuire’s a reasonable option to put up consistent points, albeit not with a high ceiling.

- Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR – GB: 3 catches, 101 yards, 0 TDs 

Analysis: The Green Bay Packers had a “next man up” situation with their wide receivers since the beginning of the season. Injuries have hit hard, and Jordy Nelson now wears silver and black. This strategy works when you have an all-time great QB like the Packers do with Aaron Rodgers. Both Davante Adams and Randall Cobb have faced injuries this season, with Cobb having missed games. Next man up brought us Geronimo Allison, who has taken advantage of additional targets – until he got hurt. Quietly lurking the last several weeks has been the next next-man-up, Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The 2018 fifth round draft pick has impressed in his limited opportunities, and now with Geronimo Allison out for an extended period, Valdes-Scantling will be increasingly fantasy relevant going forward. He’s averaging just over 22 yards per reception and 6 targets per game, so expect variance in between his weekly points. But Valdes-Scantling should be on the flex radar for teams in larger leagues (12 plus teams). If you need a WR and he’s available, make the move. 

Rapid Fire Pickups

Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been featured above, and 2) a player available in most leagues. 

QB: Alex Smith, WAS (struggled last week, but mouthwatering matchup with Bucs this week)

RB: Mike Davis, SEA (especially if Chris Carson is out)

RB: Josh Adams, PHI

WR: Christian Kirk, ARI

WR: Mike Williams, LAC

TE: Jack Doyle, IND

Week 10 Rankings 


  1. Patrick Mahomes, KC       Ari
  2. Drew Brees, NO              @Cin
  3. Aaron Rodgers, GB          Mia
  4. Philip Rivers, LAC            @Oak
  5. Matt Ryan, Atl                 @Cle
  6. Jared Goff, LAR               Sea
  7. Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB        Wsh
  8. Tom Brady, NE                @Ten
  9. Carson Wentz, Phi           Dal
  10. Mitchell Trubisky, Chi       Det
  11. Russell Wilson, Sea          @LAR
  12. Alex Smith, Wsh              @TB
  13. Andrew Luck, Ind            Jax
  14. Andy Dalton, Cin             NO
  15. Baker Mayfield, Cle          Atl
  16. Nick Mullens, SF              NYG
  17. Matthew Stafford, Det      @Chi
  18. Dak Prescott, Dal             @Phi
  19. Marcus Mariota, Ten         NE
  20. Eli Manning, NYG             @SF

Running Backs:

  1. Todd Gurley, LAR             Sea
  2. Alvin Kamara, NO            @Cin
  3. Kareem Hunt, KC            Ari
  4. Saquon Barkley, NYG       @SF
  5. Melvin Gordon, LAC         @Oak
  6. Ezekiel Elliott, Dal            @Phi
  7. James White, NE              @Ten
  8. Joe Mixon, Cin                  NO
  9. David Johnson, Ari           @KC
  10. Tevin Coleman, Atl           @Cle
  11. Tarik Cohen, Chi              Det
  12. Nick Chubb, Cle               Atl
  13. Adrian Peterson, Wsh       @TB
  14. Leonard Fournette, Jax     @Ind
  15. Duke Johnson Jr., Cle       Atl
  16. Dion Lewis, Ten               NE
  17. Sony Michel, NE              @Ten
  18. Marlon Mack, Ind            Jax
  19. Jordan Howard, Chi         Det
  20. Aaron Jones, GB             Mia
  21. Mark Ingram, NO            @Cin
  22. Kenyan Drake, Mia          @GB
  23. Matt Breida, SF               NYG
  24. Kerryon Johnson, Det      @Chi
  25. LeSean McCoy, Buf          @NYJ
  26. Mike Davis, Sea              @LAR
  27. Austin Ekeler, LAC           @Oak
  28. Isaiah Crowell, NYJ          Buf
  29. Peyton Barber, TB            Wsh
  30. Jalen Richard, Oak           LAC
  31. Doug Martin, Oak            LAC
  32. Ito Smith, Atl                  @Cle
  33. Nyheim Hines, Ind           Jax
  34. T.J. Yeldon, Jax                @Ind
  35. Wendell Smallwood, Phi   Dal
  36. Elijah McGuire, NYJ         Buf
  37. Theo Riddick, Det            @Chi
  38. Jamaal Williams, GB        Mia
  39. Kapri Bibbs, Wsh             @TB
  40. Derrick Henry, Ten           NE

Wide Receivers:

  1. Michael Thomas, NO       @Cin
  2. Julio Jones, Atl               @Cle
  3. Odell Beckham Jr., NYG   @SF
  4. Keenan Allen, LAC          @Oak
  5. Davante Adams, GB        Mia
  6. Tyreek Hill, KC                Ari
  7. Mike Evans, TB               Wsh
  8. Tyler Boyd, Cin               NO
  9. Jarvis Landry, Cle           Atl
  10. Robert Woods, LAR         Sea
  11. Cooper Kupp, LAR           Sea
  12. Julian Edelman, NE         @Ten
  13. Brandin Cooks, LAR        Sea
  14. Josh Gordon, NE             @Ten
  15. Alshon Jeffery, Phi           Dal
  16. Golden Tate, Phi              Dal
  17. T.Y. Hilton, Ind                Jax
  18. Marvin Jones Jr., Det       @Chi
  19. Sammy Watkins, KC        Ari
  20. Larry Fitzgerald, Ari         @KC
  21. Calvin Ridley, Atl             @Cle
  22. Kenny Golladay, Det        @Chi
  23. Amari Cooper, Dal           @Phi
  24. Doug Baldwin, Sea          @LAR
  25. Sterling Shepard, NYG    @SF
  26. Corey Davis, Ten             NE
  27. Allen Robinson, Chi         Det
  28. M. Valdes-Scantling, GB  Mia
  29. DeSean Jackson, TB        Wsh
  30. Mohamed Sanu, Atl         @Cle
  31. Taylor Gabriel, Chi           Det
  32. Christian Kirk, Ari           @KC
  33. Danny Amendola, Mia     @GB
  34. Marquise Goodwin, SF     NYG
  35. Adam Humphries, TB      Wsh
  36. Randall Cobb, GB            Mia
  37. Tyler Lockett, Sea           @LAR
  38. Tyrell Williams, LAC         @Oak
  39. Jordy Nelson, Oak           LAC
  40. Tre'Quan Smith, NO        @Cin

Tight End:

  1. Travis Kelce, KC              Ari
  2. Zach Ertz, Phi                 Dal
  3. George Kittle, SF            NYG
  4. O.J. Howard, TB             Wsh
  5. Rob Gronkowski, NE       @Ten
  6. Jack Doyle, Ind               Jax
  7. Trey Burton, Chi              Det
  8. Jimmy Graham, GB          Mia
  9. Jared Cook, Oak              LAC
  10. Jordan Reed, Wsh           @TB
  11. David Njoku, Cle             Atl
  12. Evan Engram, NYG          @SF
  13. Austin Hooper, Atl           @Cle
  14. Eric Ebron, Ind                Jax
  15. Cameron Brate, TB          Wsh
  16. C.J. Uzomah, Cin             NO
  17. Benjamin Watson, NO      @Cin
  18. Ricky Seals-Jones, Ari      @KC
  19. Chris Herndon, NYJ          But
  20. Nick Vannett, Sea            @LAR

Defense/Special Teams:

  1. New York Jets                  Buf
  2. Chicago Bears                  Det
  3. Los Angeles Chargers       @Oak
  4. Philadelphia Eagles          Dal
  5. Kansas City Chiefs           Ari
  6. Los Angeles Rams            Sea
  7. Buffalo Bills                     @NYJ
  8. New England Patriots       @Ten
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars         @Ind
  10. Washington Redskins       @TB
  11. Indianapolis Colts            Jax
  12. Green Bay Packers           Mia
  13. Dallas Cowboys               @Phi
  14. Atlanta Falcons                @Cle
  15. New Orleans Saints          @Cin