The Rundown: Week 9 Stats to Know & 49ers vs Cardinals
Week 8 was a reminder that just because a player doesn’t start at the beginning of the season, he can’t be useful. Latavius Murray, Matt Moore, Gardner Minshew, Daniel Jones, and Darren Fells all finished as top 20 PPR players last week despite not being their team’s option in Week 1. With the fantasy playoffs coming into view, bye weeks beginning to pass, and most free-agent dollars already spent, this is a good time to churn those end of the roster spots for high upside options.
Each week, I will provide a preview article with some key overall stats to watch for along with the Thursday game preview that includes start/sit ratings. Then, there will be subsequent previews later in the week with all the other games in time for the remaining fantasy decisions before kickoff. For much of this data, I will be using 4for4's Snaps, Touches, and Targets Apps as well as analyzing each team's pace and play-calling tendencies.
Ten Stats to Know for Week 9
- Week 1 doesn’t count: Excluding Week 1, Aaron Jones is the highest scoring PPR player with 175.2 points.
- Heavy workload: Latavius Murray has back-to-back 30-plus touch games in his two starts. Leonard Fournette is the only other running back with two such games this year.
- Strive for 25: Deshaun Watson is the first quarterback this year to have five games with 25 or more fantasy points. Patrick Mahomes led the NFL with 10 in 2018.
- Alpha dog: Julian Edelman is tied for the most targets with 47 over the past four games. He is the WR3 in PPR leagues during that time.
- Failure to launch: Week 8 was just the second time this year where no quarterback was able to hit 30 fantasy points.
- High touch: Sony Michel leads all running backs in touch rate (60.3%) who are averaging at least 10 touches per game.
- In the (red) zone: Auden Tate is tied with Julian Edelman for the most red-zone targets this season (13). He has only caught four of them with just one going for a touchdown.
- Leave it all on the field: Leonard Fournette is the only running back who has played over 300 snaps (337) in the past four weeks. Chris Carson is second at 282.
- Perfect 10: Michael Thomas has four games with 10-plus receptions this season. No one else has more than two. The NFL record is seven in one season.
- He’s not helping: The Chargers became the third team since the NFL merger to rush for under 50 yards in four straight games. It coincides with the return of Melvin Gordon.
49ers @ Cardinals
Spread: Cardinals +9.5 | Total: 43
This divisional matchup shows two very different approaches to football. The 49ers are an “old school” team, running on nearly 60% of their plays and leveraging a strong defense to win games. They have yet to throw a 50-yard pass and utilize a short field method to passing the football. The Cardinals flip the script and throw on 60% of their play calls but haven’t had a turnover in the month of October. They are onto their third running back with the acquisition of Kenyan Drake, who gets an opportunity here, but a brutal matchup. How he acclimates will determine to what extent the Cardinals can keep the 49ers defense guessing.
San Francisco 49ers
Just because they run, doesn’t mean the 49ers are failing to score points. They have 30-plus points in four of seven games and this could easily be number five. It makes their running backs and George Kittle good starting options with Emmanuel Sanders a potential WR2 in just his second week in San Francisco. The low pass volume likely keeps Jimmy Garoppolo from being more than a fringe option for quarterback deficient fantasy teams.
Team Trends That Matter
- One of five teams to force a turnover in every game this season.
- Tied for second with 33 drives inside the red zone.
- Four of their opponent’s seven offensive touchdowns have come from 20-plus yards away.
Fantasy Rating and a Stat to Know
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo (2) - Has failed to attempt 30 passes in three of his last four games
- RB Tevin Coleman (4) - Scored 20.5 PPR points against the Cardinals in a 2018 matchup with the Falcons
- WR Emmanuel Sanders (3) - Scored 27.3 PPR points against the Cardinals in a 2018 matchup with the Broncos
- WR Deebo Samuel (1) - Was second among 49ers wide receivers with a 70% snap share in Week 8
- TE George Kittle (5) - Has scored under 10 PPR points in two of four road games this year
With a short week, it will be tough for the Cardinals to get Kenyan Drake too involved right away. That makes the passing game even more likely to be prevalent in this contest. They will look to test the 49er's cornerbacks and may try to get the tight end position involved yet again after some success in Week 8. Kyler Murray could see a few more designed runs as well.
Team Trends That Matter
- Tied for the NFL lead with 16 field goals on red zone drives.
- Have yet to hold a quarterback under 10 fantasy points this year.
- Only one opposing team has failed to reach 300 offensive yards.
Fantasy Rating and a Stat to Know
- QB Kyler Murray (2) - Has failed to throw a touchdown pass in four of the last five games
- RB Kenyan Drake (2) - Week 8 was the first time the 49ers allowed a running back to exceed 11 PPR points (Christian McCaffrey)
- WR Larry Fitzgerald (2) - WR103 the last two weeks after being the WR16 in the first six weeks
- WR Christian Kirk (3) - Averaged 15.6 PPR points in two 2018 games against the 49ers
- WR Damiere Byrd (0) - Week 8 was his highest target count (five) since Week 2
- TE Charles Clay (0) - Had more yards in Week 8 (88) than the rest of the season (70)
Fantasy Rating Key
- (5) - Elite option. Must start.
- (4) - Strong option. Likely start.
- (3) - Good option. Low-end starter to high-end backup.
- (2) - Weak option. Possible flex or desperation play.
- (1) - Bad option. Bench in nearly all cases.
- (0) - Not an option. Injured, bench, or waivers.