2020 Fantasy Football Week 9 Preview: Thunderball

by Richard Savill
2020 Fantasy Football Week 9 Preview

I guess you can call me a casual fan of the classic Sean Connery incarnation of James Bond. Connery's passing last week hopefully spawns a good installment to the series that serves as a tribute to the actor who brought the iconic 007 to life. James Bond ranks prominently among the other successful movie franchises of modern history and Connery especially deserves our thanks for all the fun.

So, in my perusings of the old clips, I came across a scene from Thunderball where Bond casually impales a SPECTRE agent to a tree with a spear gun. Ridiculously perfect shot with a quick reflex from eye to hand. Cinematic artistic license to make something gruesome into cool - you can't beat it. Yeeeah!

Reminds me of Justin Herbert lately. I mention him in my Rest of Season commentary. It is worth repeating because of the subtle trickeries he applies from the great quarterbacks.

For instance, in the 2nd quarter touchdown to Keenan Allen, Herbert employs the old "Montana eye trick." This diversion tactic makes a defense react to his directional eye line which focuses away from the intended target. You will see Herbert do this particularly when the LAC offense enters the red zone. Other QBs employ this tactic, but it usually comes through maturity.

Great Vision

As a spin-off benefit to this, Herbert avoids "tunnel vision" for any certain receiver when allowed a good pocket to scan. His throwing arm is that of your typical gunslinger, but Herbert has decent accuracy for the downfield shots.

Herbert can also get the ball out quickly and shows reasonable skill at avoiding sacks (12) to extend plays. His passer rating remains solid at around 104. Herbert is also the youngest starting quarterback in the league at 22 - just eight days younger than Tua Tagovailoa.

Note: I have introduced FPAR (Fantasy Points Allowed Rank). Here's how it works. "Cowboys: QB6 RB12 WR2 TE6" means the Cowboys give the 6th most fantasy points to QBs, 12th most to RBs, 2nd most to WRs, and 6th most to TEs.

2020 Fantasy Football Week 9 Preview

2019 Fantasy Football Week 14 Preview

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Byes: Bengals, Browns, Eagles, Rams

Games to Watch 2019 Fantasy Football Week 14 Preview

A brief rundown of the games this weekend. You have your fantasy lineups set, now it's time to watch 'em play.

Early Sunday: Seahawks (6-1) at Bills (6-2) +3.0 52.0

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Not many would call this a Super Bowl preview, but it is within the realm of possiblility somewhere on the odds table. The Bills continue to defeat inferior opponents, but have yet to show parity with the stronger contenders. Losses to the Titans and Chiefs will attest to that.

The Bills need to exploit that Seahawk secondary, as the Seahawks allow the most air yards (1668) of any NFL team. Look for the Bills to build toward that via an early short game with run establishment to somehow get Josh Allen free enough for play-action deep threats. The return of Jamal Adams makes that tougher, but expect John Brown and Cole Beasley to help Stefon Diggs outside.

Russell Wilson might get some leg work in this one - owing to the up front pressure he's likely to face. The Bills allow the 5th most rushing yards to quarterbacks. Chris Carson may be ready, but look for DeeJay Dallas to get a fair chunk of the snap count either way. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett complete the picture and since the Bills blitz packages don't exactly translate to QB hurries, it's bombs away.

Fun Fact: This is the first visit of the Seahawks to "The Ralph" since Week 1 of 2008. Pete Carroll's very first NFL job was with Buffalo back in 1984 as defensive backs coach.
Fantasy Points Allowed Rank (FPAR):
Seahawks: QB1 RB20 WR1 TE26
Bills: QB17 RB14 WR26 TE5
Sleeper: Will Dissly, TE, Seahawks

Other Early Sunday Games in Brief...

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Panthers (3-5) at Chiefs (7-1) -11.5 51.5

At long last we can expect the return of Christian McCaffrey in Week 9 against the Chiefs. We continue to watch the fantasy sensors of the Chiefs backfield to see if Clyde Edwards-Helaire can hold off a full committee with Le'Veon Bell. Teddy Bridgewater can upset Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs IF (←big) he can attack deep with Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore.
FPAR: Panthers: QB26 RB4 WR28 TE25 Chiefs: QB27 RB18 WR29 TE24

2020 Fantasy Football Week 5 Preview

Ravens (5-2) at Colts (5-2) +3.0 44.5

The Ravens and Steelers game is one of those matchups which fantasy has to impart less inclusiveness to the regularity of trend. In short, it's different. Therefore, it's fair to give Lamar Jackson a clean slate going into Indy off that loss. Jonathan Taylor is losing fantasy shine fast as his value heads toward bust territory. He and Jordan Wilkins come into this game banged up.
FPAR: Ravens: QB15 RB31 WR27 TE13 Colts: QB32 RB30 WR16 TE32

Broncos (3-4) at Falcons (2-6) -4.0 48.0

Fantasy owners worried about Todd Gurley following the opening series on TNF. Gurley, seemingly uninjured, sat out most of the first half. It looked like subtle doghousing until his 2nd half TD. Critics, fantasy or otherwise, pounced on his clock stopping run - saving the Panthers a timeout late in the game. Drew Lock has streaming value emerging and DFS chancers can budget a sound lineup with him.
FPAR: Broncos: QB10 RB29 WR15 TE20 Falcons: QB2 RB22 WR5 TE1

Texans (1-6) at Jaguars (1-6) +6.5 51.5

Apparently Doug Marrone wants Jake Luton to stretch the field. A small endorsement to let it rip? D.J. Chark owners won't mind at all. It is a better and more adventurous decision to put him in for Gardner Minshew (thumb) than Mike Glennon. The Texans are better than the record suggests. DeShaun Watson has his fantasy knack back and even Brandin Cooks is startable again.
FPAR: Texans: QB8 RB3 WR7 TE10 Jaguars: QB3 RB6 WR13 TE2

Giants (1-7) at Washington (2-5) -3.5 43.0

Well, at least this NFC east game isn't taking up a primetime slot. Just the same, you can take some good fantasy points out of this contest - especially on the side of the WFT. I know the O/U suggests a low score (43.0), but I would take the over in this one. These teams are in the running for the division title, such as it is. The Giants can certainly afford to go out swinging.
FPAR: Giants: QB21 RB15 WR12 TE21 Washington: QB19 RB24 WR32 TE7

Bears (5-3) at Titans (5-2) -6.0 46.5

Until Mitchell Trubisky's injury news, Nick Foles perhaps needed some "pine peril" motivation, but the Bears are still quietly developing some young talent with Foles in there. Darnell Mooney is already a good fantasy stash. The Derrick Henry snowplow fears no matchup. Look for Jonnu Smith to temporarily return to the elite TE argument in this game.
FPAR: Bears: QB29 RB19 WR30 TE11 Titans: QB12 RB10 WR6 TE15

Lions (3-4) at Vikings (2-5) -4.0 53.0

Just when you thought your shares in Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson took a hit with their teammate Dalvin Cook hogging the points - here come the Lions. The Lions are among the teams which give up the most touchdowns to RBs. Stafford will need to pass with all that Cook-ness going on. Without Kenny Golladay, you can try a sleeper like Marvin Hall to carry you through.
FPAR: Lions: QB13 RB2 WR14 TE22 Vikings: QB6 RB16 WR2 TE14

Late Sunday: Dolphins (4-3) at Cardinals (5-2) -5.0 47.5

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Tua Tagovailoa managed a win in his first start. Unfortunately, he won in true Tim Tebow style. The results of his first start and what we will see going forward did not look promising. In fact, the news came out that the Dolphins seem less settled on Tua than expected. The door apparently remains open for yet another drafted quarterback via the Houston pick trade.

Ryan Fitzpatrick proved there are sound enough weapons on the Dolphins, apart from running backs, to produce a winning football team. Devante Parker and Preston Williams have therefore enough pedigree to help Tua. Where does this leave fantasy and this game in particular? Fading the afforementioned receivers seems logical - especially Williams at this point.

For Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, all they need to do is just work, get the win, and deal with their own issues. Kenyan Drake remains questionable with the arrows pointing toward inactive. Chase Edmonds following his pre-bye explosion of 145 touchdown-less yards from scrimmage can own the stage. The fantasy damage to Drake is already done.

The Dolphins had enough might to hold off a mediocre Rams offense, but this Cardinals offense is something else entirely. The Seahawks, as capable of keeping up as they are, suffered their only loss against the free-wheeling attack of the Cards. DeAndre Hopkins and the resurgent Christian Kirk are of course favorable starts in their respective tiers.

Fun Fact: Among the 17 teams with seven games in the books after Week 8, the Dolphins' defense have allowed the fewest points.
Fantasy Points Allowed Rank (FPAR):
Dolphins: QB25 RB7 WR11 TE31
Cardinals: QB18 RB13 WR20 TE23
Sleeper: Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins

Other Late Sunday Games in Brief...

2019 Fantasy Football Week 6 Preview

Raiders (4-3) at Chargers (2-5) -1.5 53.5

Justin Herbert built a 24-3 lead against the Broncos last week, then the Chargers allowed a 55-yard run by Phillip Lindsay for a TD. This sparked a Broncos rally - winning the game on the last play. Josh Jacobs had a season-high 31 carries for 129 TD-less yards in the 16-6 snorefest versus the Browns - expect more feeds. Mike Williams is now a solid weekly fantasy start.
FPAR: Raiders: QB9 RB5 WR18 TE19 Chargers: QB4 RB21 WR21 TE9

Steelers (7-0) at Cowboys (2-6) +14.0 42.0

I'll put an update below this blurb when there is a decision on the Cowboys' starting QB. A hamstring issue combined with a collapsed offense has Ezekiel Elliott drifting deeper into RB2 fantasy status. Having just left the weight room against the Ravens, the Steelers are ready to turn it on. However, their fantasy overfill of solid WRs makes boom/busts out of them all.
Update:  NFL Network reports Garrett Gilbert to start for the Cowboys
FPAR: Steelers: QB24 RB26 WR8 TE29 Cowboys: QB16 RB8 WR4 TE12

Featured Games

Sunday Night: Saints (5-2) at Buccaneers (6-2) -4.5 54.5

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Drew Brees (shoulder) and Michael Thomas (hamstring; ankle) should be available to play. And now... ladies and gentlemen... may I present... the one, the only...

Antonio Brown!

Yes folks, he is back. All fantasy eyes will examine every single snap which he appears in the count. If Chris Godwin (Q) falls short of availability, then who knows what kind of fantasy payoff Brown will bring on Sunday night. The other side-show for the Bucs in our fantasy interest is the Leonard Fournette/Ronald Jones backfield split. Storylines galore for this game.

Drew Brees continues to cruise along with mild fantasy energy. Part of this has to do with the absence of Michael Thomas, but the "big game" Brees is something we are seeing much less of in the latter days of his career. Alvin Kamara continues to serve up good numbers, but after three games, fantasy owners would sure enjoy a cherry touchdown to top his parfait of stats.

Fun Fact: The all-time pass TD count battle between Drew Brees (560) and Tom Brady (561) continues. Both had two each when they met in Week 1. They may ramp it up for this game!
Fantasy Points Allowed Rank (FPAR):
Saints: QB5 RB28 WR9 TE4
Buccaneers: QB30 RB25 WR24 TE18
Sleeper: Antonio Brown, WR, Buccaneers

Monday Night (Unwatchable): Patriots (2-5) at Jets (0-8) +7.0 41.0

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To have a game like this in the once prestigious MNF slot is an insult. This is not a "game to watch" game. It's just there.

Don't give me the "only true football fans" schtick. True football fans actually avoid watching games like this.

Start the Pats DST and Cam Newton if you haven't anyone else. That's it and good luck.

Have an early night and catch up on some reading instead. Or maybe do a Sean Connery tribute and watch the low-ranked Bond thriller Thunderball (pictured above).

Fun Fact: The Jets have lost eight in a row versus the Patriots.
Fantasy Points Allowed Rank (FPAR):
Patriots: QB31 RB9 WR22 TE30
Jets: QB7 RB11 WR10 TE8
Sleeper: None.

In the Booth on Sunday

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Al Michaels

CBS Early

Ravens at Colts: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis
Lions at Vikings: Kevin Harlan, Trent Green
Broncos at Falcons: Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon
Texans at Jaguars: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta

FOX Early

Panthers at Chiefs: Kevin Burkhardt, Daryl Johnston
Giants at Washington: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma
Seahawks at Bills: Chris Myers, Brock Huard
Bears at Titans: Dick Stockton, Greg Jennings

CBS Late

Steelers at Cowboys: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Dolphins at Cardinals: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

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FOX Late

Raiders at Chargers: Joe Davis, Mark Schlereth

Check out the rest of our 2020 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

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