The Rundown: Week 9

Nov 04, 2020
The Rundown: Week 9

Somehow, we have gotten through half a season of what looked like a lost cause at points this year. All the hallmarks of a typical season have existed. Injuries to major players, NFL team surprises and disappointments, fantasy football breakouts and busts, and the unnerving feeling that your fringe playoff team is one bad break away from a lost campaign...or one good break from a championship-level team.

Baker Mayfield had a predictable flop after his previous game’s five touchdown bonanza but Drew Lock finally had a game worth remembering in 2020. Both Devin Singletary and Ezekiel Elliott disappointed as well for fantasy players and we did get another nice showing from James Conner. Here’s hoping rookie wide receivers Tee Higgins and Brandon Aiyuk continue to thrive this season.

This article leverages the wide array of 4for4’s data library including snaps, touches, targets, fantasy scoring, and red zone information. Lucky for you, this article will put everything in one place in time for those weekly matchup decisions.

Quarterbacks Trending Up

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady is up to ninth in quarterback fantasy scoring this season and has four top-10 finishes in the past six games. Part of that can be attributed to his red-zone performance, ranking second with 17 touchdown passes inside that range and completing over 70% of his attempts inside the 10-yard line. He gets a Saints defense that ranks last in touchdown passes allowed and the fifth most points per drive this season. Should be another fruitful endeavor for the veteran.

Nick Mullens, San Francisco 49ers

He gets the nod with Jimmy Garoppolo expected to miss most, if not all, of the regular season after an ankle injury. This remains a run-first offense, leading the NFL in fantasy points from the running back position, and George Kittle is also out for a while. That makes the ceiling low but in superflex leagues, you take what you can and Mullens is capable of QB2 level numbers. He already has a pair of them this season. The Packers are a good defense but they rank bottom 10 in net yards per pass attempt allowed and have only forced two interceptions this season, the second-fewest in the league. A low-end QB2 week could be in the offing here.

Quarterbacks Trending Down

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Anyone who expected a clean return to QB1 status for Roethlisberger has been mistaken. He has as many finishes outside the top-20 (two) as he has inside the top-12. The team has more rushing touchdowns in the red zone (10) than passing (nine) and the wide receiver group has lacked explosiveness outside of rookie Chase Claypool. The Cowboys are next up and they have been lackluster pass defense, allowing 18 passing touchdowns against just three interceptions while ranking dead last in points allowed this season. This needs to be a bounceback effort from Roethlisberger.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

For many players, a top-12 fantasy season would be considered a success, but Lamar Jackson’s bar is set much higher. A trio of top-six weeks seems positive, but he also has four games ranked 18th or worse at the position, a much larger range of outcomes than expected in 2020. The decline in touchdown rate was expected, from a league-leading 9% down to 6.3%, but his rushing output is down by over 20 yards per game with fewer attempts and a touchdown rate that is lagging behind 2019. The Colts are another tough test, ranking top 10 in every passing and rushing category defensively, including allowing the fewest rushing touchdowns this season. Lamar needs a big game soon to reward fantasy players for their pre-season investment, or he ends up a bust.

Running Backs Trending Up

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