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FFStatistics Five Interesting Performances: Week 9

Wow! That’s really how to start the description of Week 9. There were amazing individual performances all over the league. In this weeks edition of FFStatistics Five Interesting Performances, I’m going to focus on some receiving performances. I’ll spotlight a couple running backs that showed their receiving chops, a couple wide receivers standing out for their new teams, and one of the weirdest stat lines you’ll see this year. It’s all about running routes, Air Yards, and Targets this week so let’s dig in.

Five Interesting Performances from

Week 9

Before I get into the meat of the topic, I just wanted to mention a few other guys that did some special things as well. Let’s start with another huge game from Julio Jones. The Falcon’s wideout was able to haul in seven of his 10 targets and even though he had to “Beast Mode” his way to it. Finally, Jones scored! Michael Thomas set the New Orleans Saints single-game yardage record when he took a fourth-quarter pass from Drew Brees for a 72-yard score. He ended the day with 211 yards on 12 receptions. Thomas has now caught an amazing 88.6% of his targets. Kareem Hunt continued his great run scoring three times. One of them on a 50-yard screen pass that he took to the house.

Finally, let’s get into the heart of the article. Starting with some wide receivers that have recently moved to a new city.

Josh Gordon, WR New England Patriots

Josh Gordon just put up his biggest game since Week 14 of the 2013 season. That’s about one month short of five years ago. The truthers have been waiting a long time for this. Yes, we’ve seen flashes here and there when he is actually on the field but something has always gotten in the way for the talented, yet troubled wide-out. Sometimes a change of scenery is all a player needs to relight the fire. Where better than the most consistent winners probably ever.

The Break Out?

It’s been a few years since the Patriots have had a WR1 for fantasy. The highest finish a Bill Belichick wide-out has had since the end of the 2012 season as you can see here, is 2014. Prior to that, there was a whole lot of Randy Moss and Wes Welker…

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we all have heard the last time Gordon was on the field for more than a handful of games (2013) he was a monster! Gordon also did everything that year with the likes of Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer throwing him passes. He’s upgraded, to say the least.  Know we know Josh Gordon is not Randy Moss, but he is a big fast wideout that has shown flashes of greatness. Below is a list of his targets from Week 9. Tom was definitely

(Quarter/ Time/ Location/ Down and Distance/ Yards (Air Yards)/ Result/ Notes) – End zone targets and TD in Bold.

Targets
  • 1- First/ 14:20/ G.B. 49/ 1st and 10/ 0 (45 AY)/ INC/ Brady went for it all to Gordon here. Ball threw over Gordon’s head into double coverage, shows trust.
  • 2- Second/ 15:00/ N.E. 28/ 1st and 10/ 29 Yards (26 AY)/ First Down/ Another show of trust here from Brady throwing it high and letting Gordon go get the ball.
  • 3- Second/ 12:13/ N.E. 27/ 2nd and 10/ 0 (20 AY)/ INC/ So this is another deep ball where Brady throws it high to give Gordon a chance.
  • 4- Third/ 11:00/ N.E. 29/ 2nd and 6/ 17 Yards (9 AY)/ First Down/ Quick slant route. First non-deep throw.
  • 5- Third/ 9:41/ N.E. 49/ 2nd and 7/ 14 Yards (6 AY)/ First Down/ The defenders played off on this play so Gordon just ran 6 yards and sat down for Tom to hit him.
  • 6- Third/ 8:42/ G.B. 9/ 1st and 10/ 0 (9 AY)/ INC/ Back shoulder end zone target but the ball was thrown low.
  • 7-Third/ 7:06/ G.B. 1/ 2nd and Goal/ 0 (1 AY0/ INC/ Brady hit the defender in the back. End zone target.
  • 8- Third/ 3:10/ N.E. 49/ 3rd and 3/ 0 (21 AY)/ INC/ Uncatchable ball from Brady.
  • 9- Fourth/ 7:34/ N.E. 45/ 2nd and 10/ 55 Yards (16 AY)/ TD/ This was a deep in route that Gordon caught. He broke the initial tackle attempt and scored.
  • 10- Fourth/ 3:41/ G.B. 48/ 2nd and 6/ 15 Yards (10 AY)/ First Down/ Quick slant pass.

Tom Brady is clearly showing trust in Gordon so far. It seems to get better and better as the weeks go by.

Rest of Season

So can this continue is the question? Not only did Gordon have his third TD of the season and a season-high in yards but he also had his first game with double-digit targets. A couple things to remember about this game though. First of all the injuries. Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel were both out of this game and should be back soon. Reports came out about Michel being back on the practice field and Gronk was scratched late in Week 8 so hopefully, he returns soon and it wasn’t a major setback for him. The second thing to remember is the division he plays in.

Remaining Schedule

  • @ Ten Titans
  • @ N.Y. Jets
  • VS Min Vikings
  • @ Mia Dolphins
  • @ Pit Steelers
  • VS Buf Bills
  • VS N.Y. Jets

Not only Do the Patriots have four remaining games against the AFC East, but They also play the Titans and the Steelers defenses. The toughest defense they face will travel to Gillette Stadium so they at least get them at home. All three of these teams have been beatable at times this year. Gordon will have the opportunity to be a mid-level WR2 with high upside in that high powered offense.

Mike Evans, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10 TARGETS, YES!…… Wait, one catch, what?

In a game where Ryan Fitz-magic throws for almost 250 yards and four TDs, you would automatically think Mike Evans got his work. Then add in the fact that he received 10 targets. Celebrate good times… Ahh, come on!! Evans was only able to haul in one of those targets for 16 yards…

What Happened?

(Quarter/ Time/ Yards (Air Yards)/ Result/ Notes)

Targets
  • 1- First/ 15:00/ 0 (26 AY)/ INC/ So this would have been a tough catch but he had it in both hands with a defender tackling him.
  • 2- First/ 14:37/ 0 (12 AY)/ INC/ This was thrown just a little to far but coverage underneath Evans might have been able to get a hand on the ball with a better throw, or worse…
  • 3- First/ 12:16/ 0 (18 AY)/ INC/ This ball was completely airmailed bt Fitzpatrick.
  • 4- First/ 7:54/ 0 (2 AY)/ Fitzpatrick was lucky this ball wasn’t a pick-six.
  • 5- Second/ 6:38/ 0 (10 AY)/ This ball was knocked away at the last second on a 10 yard out.
  • 6- Second/ 1:25/ 0 (22 AY)/ Endzone target that was overthrown.
  • 7- Third/ 12:33/ 0/ Ball tipped at the line.
  • 8- Third/ 9:45/ 16 (16 AY)/ Evans catches his only pass over the middle. A little slow to get up.
  • 9- Fourth/ 14:55/ 0 (7 AY)/ Bad throw that might have been tipped very slightly.
  • 10- Fourth/ 7:28/ 0/ Knocked down at the line.

So as you can see above this was a mixture of a little of everything. Bad passes, dropped passes, and defended passes. I think it was just one of those days.

Rest of Season

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see above, Evans isn’t a stranger to underperforming when compared o his opportunity. 2018 is the first year since his rookie year that the trend had switched. This is just proof that he can overcome a game like this. Tampa’s defense is very bad and will continue to get picked on I’m sure. This will ensure that Fitz-magic or Winston are going to have to throw the ball. This game is a bit of an outlier. I’d expect this to by far be the worst game you see the rest of the season.

Duke Johnson Jr, RB Cleveland Browns

So finally in Week 9, we got the see Duke Johnson to do what fantasy managers drafted him for. To be a reliable RB2 in PPR. Well in this game he exceeded that expectation but this is really the first time all year. Johnson has one other game this year with a solid PPR output but His owners if they’re still out there are loving this game. Duke hauled in nine receptions on nine targets for 78 yards and he scored twice. Four of his nine receptions were in the 2 Min drill which is expected but the impact shouldn’t be lessened because of that.

 About Time!

 

 

 

 

 

So as we see here Johnson has regularly outperformed his opportunity. This is what you want in a part-time player. If they’re not going to be on the field the vast majority of the time then the player needs to be effective when they get their touches. Johnson is currently splitting time with Nick Chubb. His snap counts have stayed steady over the past five weeks. Right around 40 – 50 % each week. The difference isn’t as great this season but Johnson is still slightly outperforming the opportunities he’s getting. Let’s take a look at Johnson’s two big plays from Week 9.

(Quarter/ Time/ Location/ Down and Distance/ Alignment/ Yards (Air Yards)/ Result/ Notes)

Touchdowns
  • 1- Second/ :33/ KC 19/ 2nd and 2/ In the backfield/ 19 (3 AY)/ TD/ This was a great effort by Johnson. He ran a wheel route to the right, Caught the ball in stride, evaded a tackle on his way past another defender to the end zone.
  • 2- Fourth/ 15:00/ KC 5/ 3rd and 5/ In the slot/ 5 (0 AY)/ TD/ Johnson is lined up behind another receiver  close to the line here. He runs a quick slant and walks in.

Rest of Season

Now, this is Nick Chubb’s job still. He out-snapped and out-touched his backfield mate. The exciting thing here is that a new head coach just used Johnson this way. He’s never going to get double-digit rushing attempts but that’s not the player he is. Also as I stated earlier almost half of his receptions were in hurry-up mode. The Browns don’t want to play like this but their defense is decent but not great. They can put themselves in a negative game script quickly.

Tevin Coleman, RB Atlanta Falcons

(Washington Redskins Rushing Defense Heatmap)

Wasn’t This A Tough Matchup?

The Washington Redskins had been shutting down some of the best backs in the league over the past few weeks. Coleman and Ito Smith were both able to do damage in this one though. unlike these guys below…

  • S. Barkley 13/38 yards, nine receptions for 78 yards, 0 TD (Great PPR day)
  • E. Elliott 15/39 yards, two receptions for nine yards, 0 TD
  • C McCaffery 8/20 yards, seven receptions for 46 yards, 0 TD (Decent PPR day)
  • A. Kamara 6/24 yards, 3 receptions for 15 yards, 0 TD

If the Skins are holding guys like that to less than fantastic days they had to be doing something right. Well, they were until Week 9. Most fantasy analyses had a very low on non-existent starting grade for both backs. The Falcons were able to attack all areas of the Washington defense with little to no resistance.  The backfield played a huge role in the victory and here’s the two Coleman TDs.

(Quarter/ Time/ Location/ Down and Distance/ Alignment/ Yards (Air Yards)/ Result/ Notes)

Touchdowns
  • 1- First/ 9:56/ Was 39/ 1st and 10/ Out wide/ 29 (-2)/ TD/ Coleman takes a quick wide receiver screen pass and weaves through the defense for the score. He looked fast here. The best he’s Looked all year.
  • 2- Third/ 10:04/ Was 10/ 1st and 10/ In the backfield/ 10 (2)/ TD/ Coleman goes in motion to the right and runs a wheel route that Ryan lays a perfect throw in for.

Rest of Season

The rest of season outlook for Tevin Coleman just took a huge upswing with his great performance against equality opponent. While Devante Freeman is on injured reserve, Coleman will handle the lead role for a high powered offense and be a locked-in RB2.  Even if Freeman returns before the end of the season, Coleman has shown that he can be a valuable asset to teams even with a lessened role.

Amari Cooper, WR Dallas Cowboys

This is it. What the Dallas Cowboy fans have been waiting to see for two weeks now. Everyone said it was overpaying and they are probably closer to right than wrong. We’re not here to look years into the future. Not for this anyways. We’re here to look at the still young wide out’s first game in a Cowboys uniform. Right out of the gate, he did not disappoint. Cooper received two endzone targets in the first quarter and scored on one from inside the five-yard line.

Paying Immediate Dividends

(Quarter/ Time/ Location/ Down and Distance/ Yards (Air Yards)/ Result/ Notes)

The Targets Inside The Five Yard Line/ Endzone
  • 1- First/ 11:05/ Ten 20/ 3rd and 7/ 0 (20)/ INC/ Dak audibled a few times and at the snap, Cooper gets separation but the ball is overthrown.
  • 2- First/ 6:40/ Ten 4/ 2nd and goal/ 4 (1 AY)/ TD/ This was a great route ran by Cooper. he ran inside then cut hard back outside freeing himself up.
  • 3- First/ 4:02/ Ten 6/ 2nd and goal/ 0 (6 AY)/ INT/ Coverage was good here and Dak tried to throw it into double coverage.

The fact that Cooper received three high-value targets in the first quarter of his first game in his Cowboys debut. He must have put in some good work over the bye because they made a clear effort to get him the ball.

Rest of Season

As you can see above, Dallas hasn’t had a reliable WR1 since Tony Romo last started a game. But for an eight-year stretch, Dez Bryant and T.O.were as reliable as it gets. Dak is not Romo and Cooper hasn’t shown elite play in two years but he does have potential still. In this game, Dallas treated Cooper like their top receiver which is a big thing. They traded a first round pick so they have to see what he can do. The best way to do that is to feed him targets which he led the team with 8 targets. Also, the Boy’s new weapon led the receivers in snaps playing 85% (50). I know the final result wasn’t a good one for Dallas but they should absolutely be excited moving forward.

 

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