With over half the regular season in the rearview mirror, we have a clear idea of which direction most teams are headed in. While we have a good amount of data to consider as we make fantasy choices, there are still always some surprises each week. In Week 9, the Dolphins even got a win for the first time this season, reminding us once again that anything is possible on any given Sunday.
One of the keys to fantasy success moving forward is determining exactly which standout performers are one-week wonders and which should be part of your plans moving forward. Let’s run down the biggest breakthrough stars of Week 9 and decide whether we should ride or fade them moving forward.
QB Ryan Tannehill, TEN at CAR, $5,300 — 28.04 DKFPTannehill edged out Ryan Fitzpatrick ($4,800) for the top QB spot in the early window and finished only behind Matthew Stafford ($6,800) and Russell Wilson ($7,100) among all QBs on Sunday with his 28.04 DKFP on 331 yards and a touchdown passing while rushing in another score as part of his 38 yards on the ground. Tannehill’s rushing score came late when the game was mostly decided, but still gave his fantasy owners a boost.
Since taking over as starting QB for the Titans, Tannehill has posted over 19 DKFP in three straight contests, averaging 23.5 DKFP per contest. Next week, he’ll face the Chiefs in Nashville before a bye week in Week 10 followed by divisional games against the Jaguars and Colts. Tannehill’s ability to create on the ground makes him an interesting fantasy play, and he’ll be worth a look as long as he stays affordable since Tennessee is definitely giving him the freedom to make plays
WR Preston Williams, MIA vs. NYJ, $4,200 — 24.2 DKFPWilliams had to go to the locker room twice during the Dolphins’ first win of the season while dealing with wrist and knee issues. He hauled in 5-of-9 targets for 72 yards and two of Fitzpatrick’s three passing touchdowns while he was in the game.
Since Fitzpatrick returned to the lineup, Williams has been stepping up as the Dolphins’ top WR. The undrafted free agent from Colorado State has at least six targets in seven straight games, although he has yet to hit 100 yards in any contest. Next week, Williams and the Dolphins travel to Indianapolis before games against the Bills, Browns and Eagles. While Williams will have upside as long as he’s getting so many targets, the Dolphins offense has struggled so badly that it’s hard to make him a reliable producer every week. Plus, he’s now dealing with some injuries, so I’m staying away until later in the season when he faces the Jets, Giants and Bengals in three straight weeks from Weeks 14 to 16.
RB Damien Williams, KC vs. MIN, $4,000 — 23.8 DKFPComing into the season, Williams was expected to lead the Chiefs’ backfield but the addition of LeSean McCoy ($4,800) and an untimely knee injury caused his role to shrink dramatically, as he posted under 10 DKFP in five straight games coming into this matchup with the Vikings. He broke out in a big way, though, running for a 91-yard touchdown as part of his 125 yards on 12 carries.
Williams got much more work than McCoy and helped the Chiefs pick up a critical win at home. With Patrick Mahomes ($7,000; knee) expected back next week, Kansas City’s offense will likely be more pass-heavy, but also more productive as they face the Titans. Tennessee was carved up by Christian McCaffrey ($10,000) this week and could be a good matchup for Williams to establish himself once again as the lead back. Coach Andy Reid likes to ride the hot hand, though, so until Williams establishes himself as the go-to option, he’ll remain boom-or-bust.
TE Noah Fant, DEN vs. CLE, $3,000 — 23.5 DKFPThe Broncos offense looked solid in their 24-19 win against the Browns with backup QB Brandon Allen ($4,100) taking the helm in place of the injured Joe Flacco (neck). Allen seemed to have a strong connection with Fant, targeting the rookie TE four times and coming up with three completions for 115 yards, highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown.
Rookie TEs can sometimes be dicey, but Fant has a lot of upside and definitely has the confidence of the Denver front office, who took him with the No. 20 pick overall out of Iowa. He had an expanded role last week following the trade of Emmanuel Sanders to San Francisco and caught five of his career-high eight targets for 26 yards. This week, he showed his big-play ability and should continue to be a high-upside play in the coming weeks after the Broncos return from their bye week with games against the Vikings, Bills, Chargers and Texans.
RB Devin Singletary, BUF vs. WAS, $4,700 — 23.0 DKFPThe Bills have been sharing the load between Singletary, who is a rookie, and veteran Frank Gore all season. Gore was getting most of the work early while Singletary recovered from a hamstring injury, but the third-round pick has been getting more and more work each week. This week against the Redskins, Singletary had a career-high 20 carries and produced 95 yards and a touchdown while adding three catches for 45 more yards. In the meantime, Gore had just 15 yards on 11 rush attempts.
Moving forward, Singletary definitely is the more dynamic of the two options and should get most of the work. The Bills’ schedule remains favorable moving forward as they face the Browns, Dolphins and Broncos the next three weeks. If they’re playing from ahead and giving the rookie the work he deserves, he’ll be a fantasy horse in the coming weeks.
WR D.J. Moore, CAR vs. TEN, $4,800 — 20.1 DKFPEven without a touchdown, Moore reached the 20 DKFP plateau with his big game against the Titans. He made an incredible toe-tapping, juggling catch at the 1-yard line to set up a key score and finished with seven catches on 10 targets for 101 yards. He has risen to the occasion in his second season and become the clear No. 1 WR for Carolina.
Moore has been targeted at least eight times in four straight games by Kyle Allen ($5,200) and has over 15 DKFP in three of his past four contests. Carolina improved to 5-3 with their win against the Titans on Sunday and will play next Sunday night in Green Bay. With two matchups against the Falcons and a game against the Redskins in his next four matchups following that contest, Moore should continue to produce solid numbers as long as he remains the most targeted WR in Carolina.
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