Week 9 Recap: Beyond the BoxScore
*Talk about your eventful second halves for Keenan Allen. With San Diego trailing 21-14, he left a big play behind as he dropped a third down pass that would have gone for 20-plus yards. On the next possession in the fourth quarter, Allen let Redskins corner David Amerson jump him on a square in pass from Philip Rivers for an interception.
Let's just say Rivers wasn't happy about the effort, but the QB came back to Allen for a 16-yard score into the left corner of the end zone. Wait, there's more as he caught three passes on the overtime-forcing drive, including a 22-yard pass on fourth-and-short. It took a while, but Allen lived up to his Week 9 WR1 status with eight receptions for 122 yards and the TD.
* Jimmy Graham is just that awesome. Supposedly limited with a foot issue and the stud TE still goes for a 51-yard touchdown. Then tacks on a 10-yard score in the second quarter. Silly. Oh, he also played on 60 of 78 snaps (per PFF.com).
*In fact this was a week that reminded owners why they spent high draft picks on a certain pair of tight ends. Rob Gronkowski shredded the Steelers defense for 119 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions - in the first half alone. Though he didn't play a full complement of snaps, Gronk finished with 9-143. Some clean or R-rated version of "finally!!" was surely uttered by owners across the fantasy world - and not just by those who own the ultimate Red Zone threat...
*...Tom Brady gave fantasy owners no reason to trust him after several weeks of dreck, yet all waited to see what the Golden Boy would do with a full complement of receiving options. Turns out he would pass for 432 yards - Brady's third highest career yardage total - and four touchdowns. That's the same amount of scores generated through the air over the prior five weeks combined (!!!). Aaron Dobson not only stuck in the rotation, but also went for 5-130-2 while Danny Amendola (4-122-1) produced - and stayed upright - even as he works himself back into game form. Bummer the Pats are on a bye this week and there are some tricky matchups later in the season, but rock on Golden Boy, rock on. Since we're on the Pats' passing game, Kenbrell Thompkins (inactive in Week 9) can be waived in all redraft formats
*I know Alfred Morris owners want to scream a blue streak about Darrell Young's three touchdowns (especially after Roy Helu turned a similar trick two weeks prior), but instead of decrying Shanahanigans, focus on the positives: Morris had 25 carries (for 121 yards); the first time he's topped 19 in any game this season. The second-year RB also scored for third time in four games. Now Morris gets the Vikings, Eagles and Giants over the next four weeks. Yeah, lots of positives. Even more if Mike Shanahan stops giving the ball to fullbacks around the goal line! And for the record, Young is not a fantasy option.
*The Redskins inexplicably left Robert Griffin III in the pocket in Week 8 against Denver. That led to minimal rush yards and many sitting-duck hits. Washington reverted back to its rollout plays -- including two pitch-plays, one to tight end Jordan Reed and one to Santana Moss for 18 yards. Griffin later went airborne on a 10-yard scramble on 3rd-and-9. Ultimately RG3 laid an egg for fantasy owners as Washington rushed for four scores, but hopefully this on-the-move game plan sticks for Thursday's matchup against the Vikings.
*The hope for Matt Ryan in Week 9 centered on a volume passing approach after he threw over 60 tosses last week. Instead he threw just 27 passes compared to 37 for Cam Newton. Wait, what? Carolina dominated the time of possession battle, so Ryan simply didn't have many opportunities. He also didn't do much with what he had, throwing for just 219 yards and three interceptions. That's seven interceptions to two TDP over the last two weeks with Seattle on deck. While the next matchup is back home and it sounds like Roddy White (ankle) is close to returning, Ryan's current skid has owners on alert and looking for alternatives if possible.
*My QB18 ranking for Christian Ponder this week was higher than most in the fantasy community. Oh, it wasn't for his arm, but his legs. Sure enough, Ponder scored on the ground once again, his fourth TD on the season. Though he threw for 236 yards and one touchdown, combined with 29 yards on the ground and the rushing score, Ponder had a solid fantasy day. Though only a low-end QB2, his presence gives the Vikings a fighting chance most weeks.
*Kyle Rudolph went Beast Mode on his scoring grab, which came immediately after Dallas' defense forced a Ponder fumble and recovered in the end zone. Rudolph caught a seam pass and then broke a sandwich tackle en route to his season-high 31-yard reception. Alas, he had only one other catch. Rudolph has been a bust this season, but we saw Ponder find him often last season. Hold as an upside backup, at least if you don't own one of the TE elites.
- About an hour after writing this article, Jay Glazer reported that Rudolph broke his foot and is out 4-6 weeks. John Carlson steps into the starting role and could have TE2 value going forward since we know Ponder prefers going underneath than deep.
*The two sides of C.J. Spiller showed on a 29-yard run in the second quarter. He showed all kinds of vision, burst and wiggle to find a crease before breaking outside, but then ran out of bounds rather than take on a tackler. He then gingerly walked backed to the huddle. Spiller finished first half with 48 rush yards on seven carries. Done for the day? Ha, not quite. He immediately busts out 61-yard run in the third quarter. It took a while, but this is what owners were expecting from their first round (if not top-3) fantasy pick.
*At one point during the middle of last week there was concern whether Zac Stacy would be active thanks to a tweaked ankle. Clearly the Titans' defenders wish he hadn't. The rookie runner dominated in all facets, including scoring the Rams' first two rushing touchdowns on the season. More noteworthy than his 178 total yards, Stacy led the Rams with six receptions for 51yards. Realize he entered the game with just seven grabs.
*Even though Jared Cook scored, no Rams pass catcher is more than a deep reserve.
*DeMarco Murray returned following a two-week knee injury absence, but apparently the Cowboys coaching staff wasn't ready to return him to a full workload. Actually, Dallas essentially passed on the ground game altogether against a Vikings defense that repeatedly played with eight men in the box, finishing with a franchise-low nine attempts. At least it wasn't a case of Dallas turning elsewhere as Lance Dunbar (six touches) and Joseph Randle (one carry) received minimal snaps.