Can you feel it? The winds of change? It’s November now, and week nine. That means that we are reaching the end of our fantasy football regular seasons, and we are over halfway done with the whole kit & caboodle (assuming nobody plays in week eighteen). That means we have a great idea about what might happen on a week-to-week basis, but it’s the NFL, so that means that there will be things that happen that surprise us
The Jaguars’ Passing Game Gets Back on Track
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ passing game has struggled mightily lately. Over the past four weeks, Trevor Lawrence is averaging just 223.5 passing yards per game (22nd), while completing under 60% of his passes (30th) at 6.3 yards per attempt (28th). He’s thrown two touchdowns and four picks in that span. So, let’s just be generous with our evaluations here and say that Lawrence has struggled. But, the Raiders are on the docket, and the Raiders are just what the doctor ordered. The Raiders allow the seventh-highest yards per pass attempt, the highest touchdown rate, and the eighth-lowest interception rate. All-in-all, the Jaguars will get exactly what they need to right the ship. And, everyone should follow suit. The Raiders allow the most fantasy points to quarterbacks, the sixth-highest yards per target to wide receivers, and they have allowed six touchdowns in seven games, behind only the Cardinals and Patriots, who have allowed seven in eight games. All told, it should be a get-right feast for the Jags next week.
The D.J. Moore Explosion is Short-Lived
D.J. Moore had himself a heck of a game in week eight, finishing with 6 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. It was the second-best game of his career, and the first time he went over 100 yards with a score since October 3, 2021, against the Cowboys. Granted, a massive chunk of that came on a 62-yard touchdown bomb near the end of regulation (that ended with D.J. Moore excitedly ripping off his helmet and Eddie Piñeiro missing the PAT on the subsequent penalty. But, the fantasy point deluge will likely return to being a mere drip.
But, the Panthers won’t have the Falcons (who allow the most fantasy points to wide receivers) to kick around next week. No, next week is a date with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have stymied opposing wide receivers this season, allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. This mostly stems from preventing the big play against them, the thing that (almost) killed Atlanta, as the Bengals allow fewer than three 20+ yard pass plays against them per game, which is the eighth-lowest in the league. For contrast, the Falcons allow 4.3 such plays per game, just 0.2 off of the #1 team (Houston). So, D.J. Moore should still have himself a nice game next week, but don’t expect a lot more high-level production out of him.
D’Onta Foreman Doesn’t Make it Three 100-Yard Games in a Row
D’Onta Foreman was a beast in the last two weeks, rushing for exactly 118 yards in both contests. He also kicked in three touchdowns this past week, to give him a stranglehold on the RB1 job in Carolina. But, injuries to Chuba Hubbard made all of this possible. The second-year pro should return next week, but there’s no guarantee that he does anything to stop D’Onta Foreman. But, he could take enough touches to limit Foreman’s 100+ yard upside.
However, that’s not what scares me about Foreman in week nine. Foreman, much like his teammate D.J. Moore, above, will play the Cincinnati Bengals (funny how that works!). The Bengals allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. And, prior to the big Monday Night Football game to Nick Chubb, they had allowed just one back over 100 total yards for the game, and it was some guy called “Alvin Kamara.” I think I’m saying that right. They’re not a team that you run on, and Foreman isn’t a guy to pass to, so this is going to go together like oil and water. You probably still start Foreman out of sheer volume, but you have to temper your upside expectations for him in this one.
Zach Ertz Finishes as TE1, and DeAndre Hopkins Struggles
This one is more of a bold declaration than a cautious warning about what might transpire in week nine. The Cardinals, fresh off of their 26-34 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, take on the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks. While Zach Ertz has struggled to get consistent targets since DeAndre Hopkins returned. Ertz has just 9 targets in his last two games combined, after getting ten or more in four of his previous five games. But, he dominated the Seahawks with one of those outings, turning his ten targets into 7 receptions for 70 yards. He finished as TE9 on the week, but a touchdown would have put him over 20 PPR points for the week. The Seahawks are dreadful against tight ends as seven tight ends have at least 10 PPR points against them this year, including guys who don’t normally finish inside the top twelve, like Ross Dwelley, Adam Trautman, and Kyle Pitts (hey, don’t shoot the messenger, here).
Why does this matter? Why won’t the Cardinals just continue to pepper DeAndre Hopkins with targets? Well, because the Seahawks dominate opposing wide receivers. They allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to receivers and the fifth-lowest yards per target. They’ve also allowed just a 58.3% catch rate to the position this year. The only saving grace for receivers against them is their middle-of-the-pack six touchdowns allowed to receivers. But, the Cardinals will not find victory in leaning on the receivers. So, they won’t. For one glorious week, the TE4 on the season will ascend to the top of the mountain, as the Cardinals will continue to score, and will do it with their stud tight end, and not their receivers.