Fantasy Football Week 9: What We Learned

Denard Robinson

Denard Robinson, in the face of mostly nightmarish game scripts and trapped in a dysfunctional Jacksonville offense, has been fantasy football’s eighth highest scoring running back since seizing the Jaguars’ starting gig.

Robinson, who admitted to just recently learning the ins and outs of the running back position after a collegiate career as a signal caller, posted another fine and dandy stat line in Week 9 against the Bengals, totaling 104 yards on 19 touches.

“Shoelace,” as they call him, is notching 5.8 yards per carry since getting his chance as Jacksonville’s starter in Week 7, often churning out hard-earned yards after contact. And he’s done this behind what Pro Football Focus has graded as the NFL’s 11th worst run-blocking unit.

I’ve been enamored of Robinson’s potential for a while now, as have some of the most well respected game watchers in football. To put it simply, Robinson has every measurable to be a successful NFL running back. All he needed was some tutelage — which he got during the offseason — and a little commitment from Jacksonville coaches.

Shoelace, after all, showed his running back chops during his final few games at the University of Michigan, when an arm injury prevented Robinson from throwing. He (almost) seamlessly slipped into a new position — one in which he’s looked increasingly comfortable during his second NFL season.

A quick note on Robinson’s measurables: His speed score, which factors a player’s weight into his 40-yard dash time, is 103.3 — a fine mark. And he compares favorably to Chris Johnson in his burst score measurement of 123.6. This is in line with some NFL Draft comparisons between CJ2K and Robinson.

Robinson has proven highly efficient during his solid three-week stretch — he’s certainly not being force fed — and has made himself a must-start option in 12-team fantasy leagues. Keep Robinson rolling in Week 10 when he takes on a Dallas defense giving up a hefty 30 schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game. Shoelace doesn’t have an unfavorable matchup until Week 15.

I think the converted quarterback could be a league winner for those who nabbed him a few weeks back.

Here are a few more lessons we learned in Week 9…

  • Ryan Tannehill, since Week 6, has nine fewer fantasy points than Peyton Manning. Tannehill isn’t posting otherworldly passing yardage or Roethlisberglian touchdown production. In fact, Tanny has notched an average of 252 passing yards and two passing scores per contest over his hot four-game stretch. It’s the athletic quarterback’s rushing production that has made him an elite option, as Miami coaches are determined to leverage a previously-unused strength of their franchise player. Tannehill’s average of 48 rushing yards since Week 6 can’t be overstated: that production moves a solid quarterback outing into top-end territory, and while we can’t bank on Tannehill posting upwards of 50 rushing yards every week, it can’t be dismissed. Quite amazingly, Tanny has more rushing yards than Russell Wilson over the past month. Tannehill has a horrendous Week 10 matchup against Detroit, but his Week 11-16 schedule is among the easiest in the NFL. Kudos to any fantasy owner who couldn’t resist a signal caller with a little Konami Code action.
  • Nick Foles went down with a broken collar bone yesterday, creating yet another viable streaming option for those who wisely play quarterback matchups. Don’t expect Mark Sanchez to score 14.7 fantasy points during every half of his time as Chip Kelly’s starting quarterback, but don’t be shy to deploy the Butt Fumbler in the coming weeks. Sanchez, who completed 15-of-22 passes and 202 yards and two scores during Sunday’s second half, will benefit from an offensive system that could’ve been hatched by the greatest degenerate minds fantasy football has to offer. At least one respected football writer has said for some time that Sanchez was always a better option than Foles. I wouldn’t be shocked if Sanchez posted top-12 quarterback numbers from here on out.
  • Ben Tate may be the big free agent signing, and Isaiah Crowell might be a dominant back of the future, but for here-and-now purposes, Terrance West is Cleveland’s top option, per beat writers. What this means for fantasy owners is not exactly clear, as the Browns have produced almost nothing on the ground in the wake of center Alex Mack’s broken leg. The Browns, over their past three games, have averaged 52.6 yards on the ground. And this is an offense that aims to run as often as possible, as they demonstrated early this season even when down by a couple scores. I’m not sure West offers much — if any — upside unless and until the Browns’ offensive line makes adjustments and creates some room to run for their backs.
  • Just a quick fun fact here: Ben Roethlisberger, over his downright silly two-game, 12-touchdown stretch, has posted 0.96 fantasy points per attempt (FPAT). That’s ludicrous. It’s ungodly, unholy, unmentionable in mixed company. My eyes bulge when I see a quarterback is notching 0.50 FPAT. Peyton usually posts something around a 0.60 FPAT. Nearly one fantasy point per attempt? It’s ridiculous on every level.

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C.D. Carter Fantasy Football Analyst
C.D. Carter is a reporter, author of zombie stories, writer for The Fake Football and XN Sports. Fantasy Sports Writers Association member. His work  has been featured in the New York Times.