Welcome to this edition of the Lowdown. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!
Well, that was unexpected, right? Week 9 in the NFL was full of surprises, the kind of surprises that bring smiles to the faces of bookies everywhere while having fantasy players and gamblers on the brink of self-harm. I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down that crazy week into easily digestible parts:
Unlikely, but Acceptable – this is the category where I’d place the traditional upset or improbable occurrence, but nothing that leads me to believe that dark forces or the mob were involved. Under this category, I’m placing the Falcons beating the Saints, the Ravens coming back from a 24-10 second half deficit to win in OT, the Giants beating the Raiders by shutting down Derek Carr, the Cardinals beating the 49ers (without Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green).
Really Weird – this is the category that just has you shaking your head in disbelief, like when you run across Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster or a funny chic. This is a strange observance whose existence makes you check your environment for confirmation, but eventually is exposed as a hoax or anomaly. Under this banner, I’d place the Derrick Henry-less Titans’ defensive performance in the first half against the Rams (and their convincing win in general), the Bears’ 4th-quarter comeback against the Steelers that ultimately fell just short, and the Jets’ defense giving up (again) on Thursday Night Football against the Colts by the time the third quarter rolled around (I’ve never seen so many defenders throw up their hands in disgust while a play was still in progress).
Signs of the Apocalypse – this is the category that drives you to abusively drink, start believing in conspiracy theories or thinking that “Q” is anything more than the 17th letter of the alphabet. The first event in this category is the Broncos stifling the Cowboys’ offense (without Von Miller in the lineup), followed by the performance of the NERDS’ player props; unlike most sites who will only tout their wins and contract amnesia when it comes to their losses, we own up to our misses and try to learn from them. We basically took a collar on the week (itself improbable), but some of the bad beats hurt: Devontae Booker, who we had at over 99.5 rushing yards (he ended up with 99 yards), Deebo Samuel (to score 1+ TD) getting stopped at the 1 yard line and Diontae Johnson dropping a TD. But without a doubt, the Jags beating the Bills 9-6 (really, not a single TD scored in this game?) was the event that had me doing double-takes– specifically, the Josh Allen-on-Josh Allen crime that was taking place. Not only was QB Allen completely shut down, but no one- I mean NO ONE- expected LB Allen to have this impactful a game. LB Allen had eight solo tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery. That Bills-Jags game was a two-fer: a 14.5 point underdog coming away with a win, and two guys with the same name going head to head (and actually being the main focus of the game). Just… crazy.
Considering that we already had a Week 10 upset (Miami was an 8.5 point underdog), I have to wonder if this week will eclipse last week’s nuttiness.
Teams on bye this week: Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, New York Giants.
Next: the Interesting Players of the Week