One Big Thing – AFC – Week 9

Updated: November 12th 2020

Every week we learn a little bit more about how a team sees each player as a part of their offense allowing fantasy footballers to react (positively or negatively) to those actions. Each week I will look to capture the “One Big Thing” that should have an impact on each team going forward and how you, the savvy fantasy player, can use that to your advantage.

AFC EAST

 Buffalo

We discussed last week that Josh Allen should be able to rebound from his recent slump playing against a poor Seahawks defense and boy did he. Allen had 415 yards through the air, another 14 on the ground and four (4) total touchdowns to lay a 40 burger at the feat of Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll. This was as much about good coaching as it was great playmaking as the staff knew that Seattle was vulnerable most through the air and sparingly used the run game as evident by their 34 rushing yards. Expect more of a balance from this offense moving forward but it is good to see Allen hitting that top 3 QB upside once again.

 Miami

The kid looks for real. Tua Tagovailoa went toe-to-toe with Kyler Murray last week and showed that it was not just the Dolphins defense that could make them a playoff team in 2020. While not as shifty with his feet as Murray, Tua showed enough to move around the pocket and be able to pick up yards and first downs with his legs when necessary. His biggest strength, accuracy, was also on display with several touch passes in the second half. The Dolphins needed to find out if Tua was for real because of their high Houston Texans’ first-round pick and it looks like they made the right choice. This should open up their drafting strategy to build around their budding young quarterback next season.

 New England

I am as big of a N’Keal Harry truther as there is but right now Jakobi Meyers looks like the future of the Patriots receiving core. He has slowly been building on each of his performances since returning to the lineup in week 7 and has been the sixth (6th) most targets receiver over the last three (3) games. Cam Newton has not looked as great as he did earlier in the season but between the twenties, he has consistently been able to find an open Meyers. The numbers might not be as superb as Monday night moving forward, but WR3 levels of production should be the floor for Meyers for the remainder of 2020.

 NY Jets

I am sure that Jets fans were conflicted about potentially getting their first win of the season but potentially losing out on their chance to have the number one overall pick. The players did not care though as it was a pair of former Ravens, Joe Flacco and Breshad Perriman, who tried to will their team to victory, connecting on two (2) touchdowns. Perriman has been in and out of the lineup with injuries this season but it showed that once he and Jamison Crowder were back in the lineup, along with rookie Denzel Mims the Jets’ offense was not as bad as it had performed in the first half of the season. Unfortunately, they will be unable to build on that success this week as they go on their bye but hopefully a full two weeks of practice and time to get healthy can give fans some hope that their team can have success leading into 2021.

AFC NORTH

 Baltimore

It was another mediocre showing for the Ravens offense that looked sluggish in the first half and needed the help of their defense to be able to come back against the Colts in the second half. Lamar Jackson also failed to throw for over 200 passing yards for the fifth game this season. The yards are not as big of a concern as his 177 yards per game average this season is not that far off from the 206 that he averaged last year as it is the passing touchdowns as he is currently on pace to throw 12 less than he did last year. The Ravens’ next three (3) matchups against the Patriots, Titans, and Steelers, can hopefully elevate his need for a better connection with his receivers and drive to get the ball in the endzone more consistently.

 Pittsburgh

A win is a win but the Steelers’ performance against a terrible Cowboys team, and especially the Cowboys defense should be a concern. This was their second consecutive game rushing for under 50 yards against a defense that has averaged 157 yards against them. The concern surrounding Ben Roethlisberger’s knees should be something to monitor also as he appeared gimpy at the end of the first half, leaving before halftime to then return in the third. A lot of what has made Roethlisberger successful as a passer has been his ability to stand tall in the pocket and take hits to give his receivers extra time. If he is hobbled in any way then crossing routes, along with screens and slants will become key to keeping their franchise quarterback healthy down the stretch.

AFC SOUTH

 Tennessee

It was a rather pedestrian performance for Derrick Henry who carried the ball for only 68 yards on 21 carries and failed to score for the first time in five (5) games. The Titans were controlling the game and leading 24-7 in the fourth quarter so it is a little surprising to not see Henry have a stronger showing. With two games in three weeks against the Colts third rank run defense and a game against Baltimore in the middle, it could be a down couple of weeks for Henry owners leading up to the fantasy playoffs. Hopefully, his earlier season performances have given enough cushion that teams can manage without his “King” production.

 Houston

The Texans wish they could have a 16 game schedule against the Jaguars as both of their victories this year are against the Jags. The team is 2-2 since firing Head Coach Bill O’Brien, and overtime away from being 3-1, so maybe they finally are getting a break in their schedule after the gauntlet they had at the beginning of season. DeShaun Watson also seems to be getting better as he has now scored at least 24 points each of the last four (4) weeks after failing to reach 21 points in any of the four (4) games prior. His success has also allowed for more consistent production from his wide receivers as both Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks have been able to produce double-digit fantasy points each of the last four (4) games. A softer second-half schedule should allow for the Texans offense to continue being an underrated fantasy squad moving forward.

 Jacksonville

It was a strong showing for the sixth-round rookie quarterback as Jake Luton threw for over 300 passing yards in his debut and nearly got his first victory if not for a failed two-point conversion at the end to tie. His performance has allowed him to return as the starter in week 10 while Gardner Minshew rests his hand injury and could have the job for the remainder of the season if his strong performances continue. His play returned D.J. Chark to the fantasy spotlight after three (3) straight games with less than 50 yards receiving left him on the fantasy outskirts. It could be a tough week for Chark matching up against Jaire Alexander but with bad teams, there is always hope for garbage points.

 Indianapolis

I said last week that we could expect Jonathan Taylor to have another down performance playing against a strong Baltimore defense but I did not expect the team to outright abandon him after fumbling the ball. At the beginning of the season, the coaching staff mentioned that they had hopes of using Jonathan Taylor to spell Marlon Mack and they have remained that way even with Mack out for the season. Both Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines have played evenly split time with Taylor since their week 7 bye and it appears that all three will continue to be featured in the offense. If not for his early game touchdown Taylor’s week 9 fantasy output would have been brutal for those who may need him as their RB2.

AFC WEST

 Kansas City

The answer so far as to whether Le’Veon Bell was going to hinder Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy output has been yes but probably not for the reasons we expected. Patrick Mahomes has just taken control of the offense through the air leaving little opportunities for Edwards-Helaire or Bell to carry the ball. Mahomes has thrown over 40 pass attempts each of the last two (2) games as well as nine (9) touchdowns. We have seen this before with Andy Reid where he sometimes forgets about the running game. Having Patrick Mahomes might mean that it does not matter to have a balance as much as it did in the past but for fantasy players, it can be frustrating. Bell is all but benchable at this point and Edwards-Helaire will be more of a reliable RB2 than ever having RB1 upside every week.

Denver

Jerry Jeudy had his first WR1 performance and showed why he was a first-round talent. His skills as a route runner were on display as he consistently left Falcons’ defenders on skates and hauled in seven (7) of his 14 targets for 125 yards. If he can get a quarterback with better accuracy Jeudy could become a Julio Jones-type target monster as he continues his development. Add him to the list of likely second-year breakout receivers.

 Las Vegas

Statistically, it was not a big game for the Raiders but they were efficient with their drives scoring on five (5) of their eight (8) full possessions. Derek Carr found Nelson Agholor on another long touchdown as the two continue to build chemistry on the deep ball. Agholor’s performance has kept rookie Bryan Edwards on the sideline as he only played one (1) snap in week 9 despite finally being healthy. Agholor’s value will be one to monitor in the offseason to see if the team resigns him after signing a one-year deal this past offseason. He is another zero-WR candidate for 2021.

LA Chargers

Off the practise squad and into the featured running back role did Kalen Ballage go a week after signing with the Chargers. Ballage only played on 40 percent of the snaps, likely due to limited knowledge of the playbook, but still led the team in carries with 15 and a score on the goal line. The injury to Justin Jackson that led to Ballage’s opportunities may linger into week 10 as Head Coach Anthony Lynn said that he might rest Jackson to heal his knee. This will give Ballage a chance at an encore and maybe an opportunity for the Chargers to get their third win of the season.

More Analysis by Nick Andrews