Week 9 Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers
Week 9 started rough for fantasy football managers thanks to bye weeks from some of the most consistent fantasy producers in the NFL (San Francisco, Detroit and Jacksonville). While we did get to enjoy some excellent, high-scoring games, we were once again subject to bad football thanks to many teams being forced to start bad backup quarterbacks.
This article will once again look at Week 9’s games to provide fantasy managers with risers and fallers in fantasy football going forward. Check them out below.
Week 9 Fantasy Football Risers
C.J. Stroud, QB, Houston Texans
I don’t make the rules; if you have a historic performance for any quarterback (much less as a rookie), you become a riser in fantasy football.
C.J. Stroud continued to establish himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league after putting up 470 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The rookie quarterback threw a touchdown to at least four different receivers against Tampa Bay and helped three different players (Noah Brown, Dalton Schultz and Tank Dell) surpass 100 receiving yards.
The rookie quarterback had three games this season with more than 300 passing yards. He’s also thrown at least two touchdown passes in five of his first eight games and has still thrown just one interception during his rookie season.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Alexander Mattison has generally been a disappointment this season for fantasy managers and was slowly starting to cede touches in the backfield to recent running back acquisition Cam Akers. From a performance standpoint, the veteran running back was once again underwhelming carrying the ball (16 carries for 44 yards) but salvaged his fantasy production thanks to two receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown.
However, the outlook for the rest of his season shifted in a hurry when Cam Akers suffered what appears to be another Achilles injury late in the Vikings win against the Atlanta Falcons. Akers being injured means that Mattison will once again command the bulk of Minnesota’s backfield touches without any other major threats pushing for touches.
Rostering Mattison and his 3.6 yards per carry isn’t the most enticing for fantasy managers, but at least he will continue to see a steady diet of touches in the backfield and could fall into the end zone with Joshua Dobbs at quarterback moving the offense down the field.
Keaton Mitchell, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Undrafted rookie Keaton Mitchell started the season on IR and hadn’t seen many opportunities on offense as he worked his way back to full health. Given his production in Week 9, he may have earned more opportunities to provide explosive plays out of the backfield going forward.
Mitchell played 14 snaps on offense this week, carrying the ball nine times for 138 yards and a touchdown while adding one reception for -4 yards. At the very least, this performance should have allowed him to work his way into Baltimore’s backfield rotation. It was very telling that the Ravens exclusively used Justice Hill during the fourth quarter when the team benched all of their other backups.
There is an excellent chance that Baltimore’s backfield is a three-headed nightmare and that none of their running backs will have much value (aside from Gus Edwards, who tends to fall into the end zone). But Mitchell is an explosive runner in one of the most efficient rushing attacks in the NFL. He should see his opportunities increase down the stretch, which could make him a fantasy factor as we move closer and closer to the playoffs.
Rashee Rice, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Rashee Rice continues to see his role grow in the Chiefs passing attack. The 2023 second-round rookie led the Chiefs wide receivers in snaps (41) and was third in routes run (21) against the Dolphins in Week 9. Rice only had two targets in the game but caught both passes for 17 yards and a touchdown.
Rice now has a touchdown in three of the last five games and is starting to carve out a role in a Kansas City passing attack that is becoming more condensed as the season goes on. Earlier in the season Rice’s playing time was contingent on Justin Watson’s health, but in recent weeks his snaps have been coming out of Skyy Moore’s time on the field.
The rookie receiver has at least five targets in six of nine games this season, and most of that came in games where he was a part-time player. Now that he has emerged as a full-time receiver in the offense, he has an opportunity to put up great production down the stretch.
Cedric Tillman, WR, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland’s trade of Donovan Peoples-Jones opened up an opportunity for a new receiver to emerge in the Browns passing attack. After one game, it seems rookie Cedric Tillman may be the biggest beneficiary of the trade.
Tillman finished second among Cleveland’s receivers in snaps (54) and third in routes run (25) in Week 9. He was also the receiver opposite Amari Cooper in two wide receiver sets for the first time this season. Tillman caught his only target for three yards this week, but Cleveland wasn’t forced to pass much against a terrible Cardinals offense helmed by Clayton Tune.
There will be better game scripts for Tillman as the season goes on and given his role without Peoples-Jones, there is plenty of appeal for the rookie for the remainder of the season. It is far too early to call him a “must start,” but he is an intriguing addition who can provide value in fantasy as more teams go on bye.
Week 9 Fantasy Football Fallers
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Things weren’t good for Daniel Jones to start the season, but there was hope that he could provide some fantasy value down the stretch after missing a couple of weeks due to a neck injury. Fantasy managers hoping for fantasy production out of the quarterback will now need to search elsewhere after the quarterback suffered a non-contact knee injury against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Early reports are that the team is concerned about an ACL tear, which would end the veteran quarterback’s season.
Roschon Johnson, RB, Chicago Bears
The hype surrounding Roschon Johnson to start the season is officially dead. The rookie had an opportunity to carve out a bigger role in the offense when Khalil Herbert went on injured reserve but suffered a concussion that cost him multiple weeks. In that time, D'Onta Foreman was able to string together some strong performances and has certainly earned a consistent role in the offense.
Johnson handled just two carries and saw just two targets on 20 snaps against the Saints in Week 9. By comparison, Foreman played 39 snaps and handled 20 carries. The Bears will be getting Khalil Herbert back very soon, which could turn this into a very complicated backfield for fantasy purposes.
At best, the rookie could still command the third down role (or at worst split the snaps with Herbert), but he would likely be used more as a pass protector than a weapon out of the backfield.
Zack Moss, RB, Indianapolis Colts
It was only a matter of time before Jonathan Taylor started commanding a bigger share of the Colts backfield given the team’s financial commitment to him. Week 9 might go down as the tipping point.
Taylor outsnapped Zack Moss 45-13 in the team’s convincing victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 9. Additionally, Taylor handled 18 carries (compared to Moss’s seven) and saw five targets (compared to Moss’s zero). Through the first three quarters (when the starters were still playing), Taylor handled 82% of the team’s offensive snaps.
Moss has been awesome for fantasy managers who drafted him (or targeted him on the waiver wire since he missed the start of the season with an injury). While he will have a role on offense, it will be hard to trust him in fantasy unless Taylor misses time again.
Christian Watson, WR, Green Bay Packers
2023 hasn’t been a good season for Green Bay’s offense and it has been especially terrible for Christian Watson. The second-year receiver is now navigating a chest injury, and a back injury and was evaluated for a concussion in Week 9’s win over the Rams.
Watson didn’t finish the game after recording his only reception of the game (he only saw two targets total). The receiver continues to be used almost exclusively as a deep shot receiver which could have big fantasy production but is far more likely to result in an incompletion. Unfortunately for fantasy managers (and Watson), Jordan Love isn’t very good at football, so that leaves Watson racking up air yards with minimal fantasy production.
There is potential for big fantasy weeks for Watson as the fantasy season goes on, but right now he seems like the kind of player that will provide huge fantasy scores for your bench since he can’t be trusted to consistently produce with a series of injuries and bad quarterback play.
Tutu Atwell, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Atwell was third in the pecking order for snaps among the Rams’ wide receivers (39) and ran 26 routes. However, the team ran fewer three-receiver sets this week and when they did, Atwell was splitting time with Ben Skowronek (15 snaps). The veteran receiver has also seen his production cut down significantly thanks to Kupp’s return from injury. Atwell hasn’t surpassed 31 receiving yards since Week 3 despite seeing 28 targets during that stretch. His role has gone from downfield threat to gadget player getting low air yard attempts.