Five fantasy stars of Week 9

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts to fans after an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in New Orleans. The Saints won 45-35. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

The overall fantasy production finally increased this week after a couple weeks in a row of below-average days from almost everybody. This was largely due to running backs, as they held six of the top-ten spots in PPR formats and four of the top-ten spots in standard formats. Take a look at which ones lead the pack this week. Oh, also, Julio finally got a touchdown, woo-hoo!

New Orleans Saints Big Three: 86 points standard, 104.1 points PPR

These three are grouped together this week because they would otherwise dominate the list, they were that good. Brees, Kamara and Thomas dismantled the best defense in the NFL and handed the Los Angeles Rams their first loss of the season. Brees threw for 346 yards and four touchdowns, 211 and one of which went to Michael Thomas. Another 34 yards and one touchdown went to Kamara, who also rushed for 82 yards and two more touchdowns.

After beating the Rams, the Saints jumped to the No.1 spot in the ESPN power rankings, and Brees, Kamara and Thomas are the reasons why. The three-headed monster they form is deadly, and even the best defenses can’t handle them. All three are ranked in the top-five in PPR formats and in the top-six in standard formats and are a must-start against any opponent.

Running back Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs: 32 points standard, 33.1 points PPR

Hunt did it all on Sunday as the Chiefs dismantled the Browns 37-21. He rushed the ball 17 times for 91 yards and two scores and caught just one pass but took it 50 yards to the house for a touchdown. This marked the eighth straight week where Hunt has had at least one touchdown and the third time this season when he has had at least two. It is also the third time in the last four weeks that he has eclipsed 100 yards from scrimmage.

Going into the season, many people were wondering if Hunt’s rookie year was a fluke and if he would come crashing down to earth his second season in the league. He has put all of those doubts to rest and is currently second in the NFL in rushing/receiving touchdowns and fourth in scrimmage yards. With the threat of Patrick Mahomes looming over opposing defenses, it opens up so many opportunities for Hunt to shine on the ground. Hunt is a high-end RB1, and like most people on this list this week, he is a must-start every week.

Running back Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers: 26 points standard, 32.7 points PPR

McCaffrey has not been having the fantasy season that owners may have hoped for when they drafted him high in drafts, but he has still been solid. However, this week vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, CMC finally had the day that fantasy owners have been waiting for. He was effective in both the rushing and receiving games, totaling 22 touches (17 rushes and five receptions) for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

In typical McCaffery fashion, he continues to be more valuable in PPR formats than in standard formats due to the large volume of receptions that he gets. His 49 receptions rank fourth out of all running backs, only behind James White, Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara. He is No.10 in the league in scrimmage yards, which is certainly a positive, but his five touchdowns leave much to be desired. Despite this, he still remains a high-end RB2 play every week, and (can you sense a pattern?) a must-start.

Honorable Mentions: Tevin Coleman, Duke Johnson Jr.

Quarterback Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams: 28 points standard, 29.3 points PPR

Goff found himself walking off the field following a loss for the first time this season, but he and the Rams still put up a strong fight. After all, they still put up 35 points, while the Saints just put up 45. Goff threw for 391 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in what ended up being one of his best games this year despite the loss. It was the fourth time this season where he has had at least three touchdowns and also the fourth time where he has thrown for at least 350 yards.

Oh no, the Rams lost, time to panic! Not so fast, they are still one of the best teams in football and, in my opinion, still the favorites in the NFC. They simply lost to one of the few teams in the NFC that can challenge them. It happens. They do have a tough upcoming schedule vs. the 4-4 Seahawks who haven’t lost by more than one score yet this season and then the 8-1 Chiefs before their bye, so it will be a hard test for Goff. If you are too nervous to start him, that’s fine, but I would still be very confident with him at the helm, as he hasn’t given us any reason to doubt him so far.

Tight end Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs: 21 points standard, 28.9 points PPR

For the first time in a long time, a tight end is making this list, and while there may be some players that had better days, the fact that this production came from the tight end position is what makes it so notable. Kelce caught seven passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns, continuing his dominance of fantasy football tight ends. He leads all tight ends in yards, is second in touchdowns and receptions and easily outpaces the next two best tight ends, Zach Ertz and George Kittle, in both standard and PPR leagues.

In fantasy there is a crazy lack of depth at tight end, so Kelce’s ability to put up numbers that are better than most wide receivers is something that is incredibly valuable. The Chiefs have one of the easiest upcoming schedules in the league, which includes two games vs. the Raiders and a game vs. the Cardinals next week. He is a must-start every week and is so good that it would still be true if he qualified as a wide receiver instead.


Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jorge.eckardt@uconn.edu.