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Week 9 Heat Index: James Conner, Elijah Moore, Nyheim Hines

by Scott Youngson | @jscottyoungson | Featured Writer
Nov 9, 2021
Nyheim Hines

In case you weren’t aware, Week 9 of the NFL season was Bizarro week. How else can you explain 35-year old Josh Johnson (QB – NYJ), the Jets 3rd string QB who didn’t even start the game, outscoring Josh Allen (QB – BUF) and Patrick Mahomes II (QB – KC) combined? If that doesn’t convince you, how about Malik Turner (WR – DAL), the 5th wide receiver on the Cowboys depth chart, doubling the output of the combination of Tyreek Hill (WR – KC) and Davante Adams (WR – GB)?

Strange things happen in the world of Fantasy Football. That’s why The Heat Index is here: to help you sort out which breakouts are for real from which ones are fools gold. Below are the players who surprised us the most during Week 9. We list their stats and positional rank (based on half-point PPR scoring through Sunday’s games) for the week along with their prospects moving forward on a scale of 🔥-to-🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥.

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Matt Ryan (QB – ATL)

Stat-line:  23-30 passing for 343 yards and 2 TDs; 8 yards rushing and a TD

QB Rank:  3

Analysis:  Ryan has quietly been solid this season, producing acceptable fantasy outputs in all but two of his starts this season. Sunday was his best game of the year statistically, a surprise given that it came against a good Saints defense in a game without Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL). Four of the Falcons’ next six games come against teams who don’t fare well against opposing QBs, so if you’re in need, there are worse options than Ryan.

Heat Index:  🔥🔥🔥

Wide Receivers

Elijah Moore (WR – NYJ)

Stat-line:  7 catches on eight targets for 84 yards and 2 TDs

WR Rank:  1

Analysis:  The talented rookie had the best game of his young career last Thursday, piling up stats in the comeback attempt by the Jets. Moore has a bright future, but it may be difficult for him to produce consistently this season due to the uncertainty at QB and the competition for targets from veterans Jamison Crowder (WR – NYJ) and Corey Davis (WR – NYJ). He’s one to watch, though, as he is talented enough to force his way into the mix.

Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥

DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI)

Stat-line:  5 catches on six targets for 116 yards and a TD

WR Rank:  2

Analysis: Smith, another talented rookie WR, cleared the century mark in yards on only five receptions Sunday. He’s been up and down as a fantasy option this season despite leading Eagles’ pass-catchers in all stat categories. Philadelphia’s upcoming schedule is pretty good for WRs, but they’ve been inconsistent in their passing attack. Smith is worth starting most weeks, but his production will likely continue to be unpredictable.

Heat Index:  🔥🔥🔥

Olamide Zaccheaus (WR – ATL)

Stat-line:  3 catches on three targets for 58 yards and 2 TDs

WR Rank:  3

Analysis:  Zaccheaus made the most of his three targets on Sunday, turning two of them into touchdowns. The 2019 undrafted free agent has shown some big-play potential with the Falcons the past three seasons, but they’ve come sporadically. He may see a few more targets coming his way while Ridley is out, but it would be hard to trust him in your lineup, even in deep leagues.

Heat Index:  🔥🔥

Running Backs

James Conner (RB – ARI)

Stat-line:  96 yards rushing on 21 attempts and 2 TDs; 5 catches on five targets for 77 yards and a TD

RB Rank:  1

Analysis:  We featured Conner in our Week 4 Heat Index, at which time we said, “he’s not very relevant unless you play in a deep, standard-scoring league. If Chase Edmonds were to suffer an injury, however, he is a nice handcuff.” On Sunday, Edmonds sprained his ankle on the Cardinals’ first offensive play of the game and did not return. Conner took over as the featured back and promptly produced the best fantasy game of his career. A nice handcuff indeed! As long as Edmonds is out, and it sounds like it could be up to a month, Conner should be locked and loaded in starting lineups.

Heat Index:  🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Nyheim Hines (RB – IND)

Stat-line:  74 yards rushing on six attempts with a TD; 4 catches on six targets for 34 yards

RB Rank:  5

Analysis:  Hines had his best game of the season last Thursday, highlighted by a 34-yard TD run in the first quarter. However, he only had six carries in the game and continues to trail well behind starter Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND) in snaps and touches. Hines will have some games where he’s fantasy-relevant, but it’s hard to predict when they will come.

Heat Index:  🔥🔥

Tight Ends

Stephen Anderson (TE – LAC) & Donald Parham Jr. (TE – LAC)

Anderson Stat-line:  4 catches on four targets for 39 yards and a TD

Parham Stat-line:  3 catches on three targets for 39 yards and a TD

Anderson TE Rank:  4

Parham TE Rank:  5

Analysis:  Anderson, Parham, and Jared Cook (TE – LAC) split the Tight End snaps pretty evenly in Sunday’s contest against the Eagles. While Cook has been the best pass catcher of the trio this year by far, it was Anderson and Parham who came through with nearly identical stat-lines this week. Given that both have 12 targets total on the year, we’ll chalk this one up to another example of Bizarro Week 9.

Heat Index:  🔥 for both

Monday Night mention:  Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT), mentioned in the Week 8 Heat Index, had another big game Monday night. He’s looking like the real deal, so if you need a TE, he’s worth a look.

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Scott Youngson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Scott, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyMutant.

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