The bye-pocalypse, as some dubbed it, is finally over after 12 teams going on bye over the last two weeks. This gave us some successful streamers (hello Jason Witten and Colin Kaepernick), and others who didn’t work out like Ryan Tannehill. Regardless of whether you won or lost, or picked up the right streamers or not, lots of NFL action was on display in Week 9.
There Goes Colin Kaepernick For A Top 8 QB Finish
Colin Kaepernick started balling out against the Saints. He threw for nearly 400 yards and a two TDs but had two turnovers, one fumble, and one INT. Surprisingly, Kaepernick’s production was primarily through the air, not from the ground where he only had 23 yards on 5 rushes. Kaepernick completed 24 of 39 passes (39%) while averaging 10.2 yards per attempt, both of which are very encouraging for Kaepernick’s fantasy prospects. However, you have to wonder how much of the production was a product of busted coverage? Four players recorded a reception of over 30 yards, with Vance McDonald taking a pass for a 65 yard TD and DuJuan Harris taking a 47 yard TD pass. Then again, looking at the Saints defense you expect that Kaepernick would go off with the Saints ranking dead last in passing yards per game (300) at a 65% completion percentage.
What happens when Carlos Hyde comes back, though? Kaepernick threw the ball 39 times as opposed to 17 rushes by the 49ers, 5 of which came from Kaepernick himself. In the days leading up to Week 9, the outlook for Hyde’s return gradually darkened from being limited in practice to Questionable and subsequently ruled Inactive on Sunday. If we are looking for Kaepernick to provide QB 1 upside weekly, he needs to continue to use his legs to their full extent.
Are Latavius Murray and Mark Ingram Viable RB 1s ROS?
Both of these veteran RBs had been heavily scrutinized in the recent weeks. Mark Ingram got benched for Tim Hightower a running back who fumbles every 57.25 rushes, for fumbling issues. Throughout his career, Ingram has a fumble every 170.4 rushes, or 3 times less often than Hightower. Then against the 49ers, Ingram was electric, taking 15 carries for 158 yards and a TD, with a long rush of 75 yards down the sideline. Hightower on the other hand, continued his plodding ways, taking 23 rushes for a meager 87 yards and TD. I believe that Ingram earned back the majority of the carries and worked his way back into low-end RB 1 consideration, but Hightower continues to remain an asset that should be held onto in all leagues.
Latavius Murray is another vet who many wanted to lose his job to “exciting” rookies DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. Washington only took 10 carries for 35 yards, while Richard got 62 yards on 8 carries. Richard continues to be my preferred handcuff to Murray, who cemented his grasp as the starting RB in Oakland. Against the vaunted Broncos defense, Murray was a stud who took 114 yards on 20 carries for a stunning 3 TDs, a game reminiscent of Murray’s Thursday night breakout game in 2014 where he took 4 carries and 112 yards. Murray is locked and loaded as an RB1 for the remainder of the season. Murray faces a cakewalk of defenses in the fantasy playoffs, facing the Chiefs in Week 14, the Chargers in Week 15, and the porous Colts in Week 16.
Devontae Booker Takes 22 Yards on SNF
Yuck, Devontae Booker’s stat line that is. 10 rushes for 22 yards, 2.2 YPC. This continues a terrifying trend for Booker where in his last 3 games, all with more than 10 rushes (17, 19, and 10), Booker only has 159 yards on 46 carries, a disgusting 3.46 YPC, with his YPC falling from 4.9 to 2.8 to 2.2. Booker’s Week 8 and 9 fantasy point totals were buoyed by a TD in each week and a TD less week in Week 10 exposed the disappointment Booker has been recently. At this point, it seems like Booker is unstartable, especially with Mike Klis reporting that Kapri Bibbs is likely to pass Booker in the Broncos before a juicy matchup against the Saints. Neither are startable in 12 team leagues and Bibbs gets a slight nod in deep leagues after showing explosion and play-making ability on a 69 yard TD catch vs the Raiders.
Tyrell Williams Is Turning Into a Legit WR Option
Tyrell Williams was completely unknown heading into the 2016 season. Williams turned in a WR 14 finish in Week 9 and is the WR 22 through the season. An athletic monster at 6′ 3″, 204 yards and running a 4.48 40 yard dash, Williams became extremely interesting as soon as Keenan Allen’s knee exploded in Week 1. With the ageless and underappreciated Philip Rivers as his QB, Williams has 595 yards, with 252 coming after the catch, which is good for 7th in the league. Not to mention his Redzone capabilities. Tyrell Williams has nine red zone receptions through Week 9, tied for the league lead. I love Tyrell Williams and his athletic upside and he remains a start for me in all weeks with no more matchups against the Broncos for the rest of season.
Jason Witten’s Resurgence?
Jason Witten saw 10 targets against the Cleveland Browns, catching 8 for 134 yards and a TD. Then again, it was against the Cleveland Browns and it was Witten’s first 100-yard game since Week 17 of 2013! So when you actually look at Witten, even with Dak at QB, there is no way he continues to be close to a top 7 TE. Even his 2 TDs have come in the last 2 weeks, further showing the unreliability that is Jason Witten in 2016. Witten will probably catch 2-3 more TDs this season and be a top 8 TE those weeks, but he is very unreliable and untrustworthy.