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Week 9 Heat Index (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Jim Colombo | @WideRightNBlue | Featured Writer
Nov 10, 2020

It looks like things are cooling down in the Heat Index region of FantasyPros.

Only a handful of under-the-radar players popped in Week 9, but there are still three bye weeks and countless injuries to account for moving forward. That means we need to know who went off, what they did, and whether they can do it again. Could these players become bye-week fliers or long-term starters? Let’s find out. 

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Teddy Bridgewater (QB – CAR)
Bridgewater completed 36 of 49 pass attempts for 310 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers’ road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9. Bridgewater didn’t exactly blow the doors off the Chiefs defense in this one, but he did manage to dink and dunk his way to his most fantasy points per game this season (28.3 points according to NFL.com).

The Chiefs defense does not typically allow many points to opposing quarterbacks — at least for fantasy football purposes. Entering Week 9, the Chiefs allowed only 19.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, which is the ninth-fewest in the league. So, yeah, it was a bit of a surprise to see Bridgewater fare as well as he did. However, star running back and pass-catching aficionado Christian McCaffrey made his triumphant return to the Panthers’ backfield, which did make things easier for Bridgewater. Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel’s shallow route running also created opportunities for Bridgewater to complete high-percentage passes to his speediest weapons early and often.

The Panthers take on the Buccaneers at home in Week 10. The Bucs, you’ll remember, just got their lunch eaten by Drew Brees and the Saints on Monday Night Football in Week 9, so they’ll be looking to pin their ears back against a potentially predictable Panthers offense. When these teams faced off in Week 2, Bridgewater threw for 367 yards, but he failed to connect for a score and tossed two interceptions to boot.

Outside of that matchup, Bridgewater will square off against some beatable defenses for the remainder of the regular fantasy football season. He’ll get Detroit in Week 11, Minnesota in Week 12, has a bye in Week 13, and then gets Denver in Week 14.

Bridgewater isn’t the sexiest player around, but he could be a suitable fill-in for guys like Matt Ryan and Pat Mahomes in Week 10 or Josh Allen in Week 11. Once you get to the fantasy football playoffs, though, you better hope you’re working with a better option.

Week 8 Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥
Rest-of-season Heat Index: 🔥🔥

Richie James (WR – SF)
Who’s Richie James? He’s a super freak, super freak! He’s super freaky! Rick James… Richie James… what’s the difference? Well, only one of these legends caught nine of his 13 targets for 184 yards and a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in Week 9 (the other is laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery in my hometown of Buffalo, New York).

Anyway, Richie James hadn’t registered a single reception this season until Week 9. His only other “action” this year came in Weeks 6 and 7 as the flailing 49ers were struggling to make ends meet at the wide receiver position. In Week 9, that trend continued, and James was the primary beneficiary for sure. On the other side of the ball, the Packers secondary was just as depleted and couldn’t keep James from ripping off chunk gains on blown coverages all game long.

The “Richie James Trio” played quietly behind him. You know the guys, right? Ross Dwelley. River Cracraft. Trent Taylor. Yeah, some of the hottest names in the game were reeling in receptions from all-time great Nick Mullens. Yikes. It was an embarrassing day for the 49ers, but they should return to normal in the weeks to come — starting wide receivers Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Kendrick Bourne are all expected to return from their COVID-19 designations in Week 10.

Richie James, it’s been real-but you can’t funk and roll all the time, baby. Maybe we’ll see you next year.

Week 9 Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥
Rest-of-season Heat Index: [Zero]

Drew Lock (QB – DEN)
Drew Lock pieced together his second consecutive fantasy-friendly game in Week 9, completing 25 of 48 pass attempts for 313 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception against the Falcons. The second-year signal-caller also scampered for 47 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

It was a career day for Lock in a game where the Broncos had no choice but to chuck the ball. Down big for the majority of this contest, Lock was forced to connect with his big-play pass catchers: rookie wideouts Jerry Jeudy (7/125/1) and K.J. Hamler (6/75), third-year receiver Tim Patrick (4/29/1), and tight end Noah Fant (3/45). It’s worth noting, of course, that the Atlanta Falcons defense averages 34.1 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, which is the most in the NFL.

The matchup and game script clearly favored Lock in this game, but hey, he still performed well, and that’s what you want to see from a young quarterback. Lock has improved his fantasy output in every game for five consecutive weeks. Since returning to the lineup from a shoulder injury in Week 6, Lock has demonstrated growth, albeit slowly. Can his progression continue?

The matchups are favorable. The Raiders, Dolphins, and Saints are all dialed in for the next three weeks — those will be pretty decent matchups until he gets the stingy Chiefs in Week 13 — but even then, that’s a divisional matchup that will require a whole lot of pass attempts.

Look for Lock to finish the regular season strong as a nice bye-week flier down the stretch, and don’t be surprised if he’s relied upon as an emergency option for teams making playoff runs.

Week 9 Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥
Rest-of-season Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥

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Jim Colombo is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Jim, check out his archive and follow him @WideRightNBlue.

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