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Things I Learned in Fantasy Football: Week 9

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Takeaways from Week 9 as told through @MarcasG's tweets.

The 14 carries for 47 yards aren't going to get anyone excited but the two touchdowns should certainly get your attention. Matt Nagy reportedly told Howard that the team would try to get him going. The effort is appreciated, though it would be nice to get Howard to a point where he isn't so touchdown-dependent. The next few weeks are encouraging with a pair of games against the Lions as well as matchups with the Giants, Rams and the 49ers in Championship Week. Don't give up on JoHo just yet.

We had long ago and far away given up on Duke Johnson as a viable fantasy option but he might be officially back in our lives after his performance on Sunday. New offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens made Johnson the focal point of the passing game with a team-high nine targets. This is what we've wanted for Duke from the beginning but he was just squeezed out of Todd Haley's offense. The Browns offensive weapon will be a popular waiver wire name this week -- especially with the Falcons' next on the schedule.

Speaking of the Falcons ... on paper, this didn't feel like it could be a Tevin Coleman game. But Atlanta's running back had his best game of the season with 156 scrimmage yards and a pair of touchdowns. The bigger story -- one that has been developing for weeks -- is the improved efficiency of the Falcons offense. Washington entered the game with one of the NFL's better defenses but were no match for Steve Sarkisian's offense. Since the early part of the season, the complaints about Sark's offense have quieted down. The critics should be fully mute this week after even Julio Jones scored a touchdown. Next week, this group gets its shot at the Browns.

We should have known it was going to be a weird day when the first eight run plays of the game went to Frank Gore. But no one would have imagined that Drake wouldn't have had a touch -- and only one target -- in the entire second half. This wasn't the greatest matchup for the Dolphins running backs but you wouldn't have expected Adam Gase to just abandon his explosive young runner. Miami has a similar matchup next week against Green Bay's defense and we're back to wondering what we should do with Kenyan Drake. Sigh.

This was supposed to be the week that kept this narrative on life support. Ben and the Steelers were on the road against a division rival with a good defense. All he did was score three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and post 25 fantasy points. It's the third time Roethlisberger has scored 20 or more fantasy points away from Heinz Field this season and is going to force a lot of people to actually start projecting Ben's performances on the merits of the actual matchup rather than whether or not he gets to sleep in his own bed on a Saturday night.

I said recently that Jordan Reed was droppable in many leagues and Sunday's performance won't cause me to back off of that pronouncement. Reed was out-targeted and outplayed by Vernon Davis with the younger tight end catching four passes for 34 yards. He hasn't topped 45 receiving yards since Week 3 and still hasn't had more than 65 yards in a game all season. There's probably an undercurrent of fear that if you drop Reed, someone else will pick him up and burn you. But at this point, he's an anchor on your roster that you can't play and is taking up space otherwise. This offense isn't consistent enough to try and live on unfounded hope.

Some of this may have been in response to the Saints defense trying to take away the Rams receivers but we've known for a couple of years that Los Angeles had a pair of talented tight ends. We've just been waiting to see when and how they'd be deployed. The problem is that we can't really say with certainty if we'll see this kind of usage again or which player is the one to target. The other negative is that next week is a meeting with the Seahawks, who've locked down on the position all season.

Seriously Chargers, just go for two every time.

Wait...what?


* Michael Thomas' 211 receiving yards were greater than the passing totals of seven different starting quarterbacks in Week 9 (heading into Sunday Night Football).

* LeSean McCoy averaged fewer than two rushing yards per attempt for the third straight week.

* Mike Evans was targeted 10 times. He caught just one pass for 16 yards. Yikes.

* Alex Smith's 22-yard run made him Washington's rushing leader on Sunday.

* Julio Jones went 343 days between regular season touchdowns.

* Curtis Samuel covered 103.8 yards on his 33-yard touchdown run.

And one for the road...


Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who really has to go pee right now but wants to get this done first. Send him your unnecessary moments of urgency via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.

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