Week 9 was similar to most NFL Sundays — because it made no sense.
There were many upsets and underwhelming performances from even some of the best teams in the league. However, there were some solid outings from players we know and love as well.
Here are my takeaways from Week 9.
You Gotta be Joshing Me
It was slow torture watching the Bills lose to the hapless Jaguars, 9-6. Josh Allen also apparently forgot that he was supposed to be good at football. Allen had a disappointing outing, throwing for 264 yards and two interceptions with zero touchdowns. His only saving grace was that he had 50 rushing yards, which was his third-highest rushing total of the season.
This resulted in a season-low of 11.56 fantasy points. He finished as the QB20 on the week.
What made matters worse is that Bills’ Josh Allen made his doppelgänger Jaguars’ Josh Allen look like the greatest defensive player in history. Not to mention the “Josh Allen vs. Josh Allen” battle felt like we were watching something out of Inception:
November 7th will now officially be known as National Josh Allen Day.
— Josh Allen sacked by Josh Allen
— Josh Allen tackled by Josh Allen
— Josh Allen intercepted by Josh Allen
— Josh Allen fumble recovered by Josh Allen pic.twitter.com/pUdhBGljao
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 7, 2021
Even though Allen was putrid compared to his normal standards, there is no reason to panic.
First off, he gets to play against the New York Jets next week. Also, it's highly unlikely we will see many performances like this from Allen in the future. The last time Allen had a game without throwing any passing or rushing touchdowns was in Week 7 of 2020 against the aforementioned Jets!
He is still QB3 in points per game, top-12 in passing yards per game (279.5), and top-five among quarterbacks in rushing yards (39.9). Despite his sad Week 9 performance, Allen is a certified top-5 fantasy QB rest of the season.
Call Me Christian (CMC)
He’s alive! He’s alive! Christian McCaffrey’s return was a sight for the sore eyes of fantasy managers. I’m sure everyone, including myself, was at the edge of their seats after every play praying he made it out of the game uninjured. It did seem that the Panthers smartly had McCaffrey on a pitch count to avoid re-aggravating his hamstring injury.
Excluding Week 3 when he left early due to injury, McCaffrey saw season lows in snap count (49.2%) and opportunity share (44%) in Week 9. He was tied up with Ameer Abdullah in opportunity share and in target share (25%). Chuba Hubbard was essentially an afterthought in this game (16.9% of snaps/11.1% opp share). Game script possibly played a part in Abdullah's usage versus Hubbard as the Panthers were blown out, 24-6.
Christian McCaffrey handled 49% of snaps in Week 9.
Rushing attempts: 71%
Routes-per-pass play: 34%
Target share: 19%
Ameer Abdullah out-snapped Chuba Hubbard filling in on some passing downs.#NEvsCAR
— Context Matters (@dwainmcfarland) November 7, 2021
While he didn’t score, McCaffrey was still able to put up 106 total scrimmage yards. I would say that’s impressive after not playing for five weeks.
Despite his solid performance, however, his future workload is in question.
After missing 18 games the last two seasons due to injury, it's likely the Panthers will not use McCaffrey in his typical “workhorse” role as we have been accustomed to. We should still see his workload increase week to week compared to what we saw in Week 9, but how much is yet to be seen. Nonetheless, McCaffrey should still be an RB2 with RB1 upside going forward based on his projected volume in the rushing and passing game, no matter the matchup.
Want Meh Some Javonte
The Javonte Williams hype train is picking up steam. There have been flashes all season of Williams’ explosiveness and toughness, but he has been playing less than half the team's snaps on the season (44.7%). From Weeks 4-8, Williams only averaged 7.8 rushing attempts and four targets a game. Thankfully, in Week 9, the Broncos decided to show a little more faith in the rookie.
Williams impressed, seeing a season-high in carries (17) and rushing yards (111), finishing as the RB27. Although he didn't score, his 111 rushing yards were top-three among running backs in Week 9. He had more rushing yards in Week 9 than he did in Weeks 5-8 combined (108).
Weekly ridiculous Javonte Williams chunk runpic.twitter.com/oQtQTvEjZm
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) November 7, 2021
Williams had a great game, but it is important to note that there are still concerns for Williams’ upside going forward.
Melvin Gordon is still the biggest obstacle in Williams' way. Gordon is playing more snaps (54.8% to 44.7%), seeing a higher opportunity share (49.3% to 44.5%), and has more total touchdowns (6 to 2). Good news is that the rookie is seeing a higher target share than Gordon (9.1% to 8.8%), however, it is still minuscule in terms of a reliable factor in Williams’ production.
With the offensive weapons the Broncos have in the passing game, I do not foresee Williams’ target share increasing in the future, even though I'm hopeful the Broncos increase his workload after this performance. Regardless, Williams has been a solid flex option all season and will continue to be so in Week 10 against the 20th-ranked Philadelphia Eagles’ rushing defense.
Saint Nicholas Chubb
Christmas came early this year! Nick Chubb was spreading joy to the world, finally looking like his old amazing self again after missing two games due to injury. Chubb went berserk in Week 9, rushing for his second-highest yards of the season (137) and two rushing touchdowns, finishing as the RB3. He even had a season-high in receiving yards (26), which was just the cherry on top for his best fantasy day of the season (30.3 fantasy points).
I think we all know that Chubb is an excellent running back, but let's break down exactly how great he has been this season.
Chubb’s dominance has been prevalent. He is currently second in rushing yards per game (85.4), seventh in rushing attempts (17.1), and fourth in rushing touchdowns (6). With Derrick Henry on IR, Chubb is second among active backs in total rushing yards (721) and has a strong chance to finish as the rushing leader.
— NFL (@NFL) November 7, 2021
Chubb has averaged a season-high (62.25) opportunity share over the last two weeks, which is in part credited to Kareem Hunt being on IR. Even when Hunt comes back, Chubb will still have enough opportunities and volume to be a locked-in RB1 every week independent of matchup. Although Chubb has never been a PPR machine in terms of targets, he has proven he doesn’t need them to produce consistent RB1 numbers. If you have Chubb on your roster, just plug him in and enjoy the ride.
Editor's note: Nick Chubb reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 at time of this publishing. Be sure to monitor his status throughout the week before setting your lineups.