What We Saw: Week 9

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 9 of the 2020 NFL season.

Saints @ Buccaneers


This game was one of the most anticipated Sunday night matchups of the season coming in. There was no shortage of intriguing storylines – the return of WRs Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders for New Orleans, WR Antonio Brown‘s Buccaneers’ debut, the return of WR Chris Godwin from finger surgery, just to name a few. It was a matchup with considerable playoff implications and a matchup that Tampa Bay was widely favored to win – and it was even assumed that we would have a high-flying shootout type of contest. Instead, New Orleans put an absolute beatdown on the Bucs and dominated end-to-end – ultimately winning 38-3. Let’s dive into what we saw:


New Orleans Saints




Drew Brees: 26/32, 222 yards, 4 TDs, 1 fumble | 2 carries, -2 yards

Taysom Hill: 2/2, 48 yards | 7 carries, 54 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 21 yards


Other than a meaningless fumble early in the 3rd quarter, Saints’ QB Drew Brees turned in a fantastic performance against Tampa Bay on Sunday night. Brees’ 4 TDs were his most of the season thus far, but the fact that New Orleans took such a big lead so early likely capped his passing yardage output. Tampa Bay came into this matchup as the #1 pass defense by DVOA, and Brees still had no problem picking them apart – and he’s on the verge of 4 straight plus-matchups for fantasy QBs (including Atlanta twice, San Francisco, and Denver). Brees should continue to provide low-end QB1/high-end QB2 value moving forward – with some upcoming weeks of high QB1 upside now that Michael Thomas is back and healthy.



Running Backs


Alvin Kamara: 9 carries, 40 yards, 1 TD | 6 targets, 5 receptions, 9 yards

Latavius Murray: 10 carries, 39 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 3 yards


Similar to how the Saints’ blowout game script limited Brees’ overall upside, the same could be said for RB Alvin Kamara. With the game so clearly in hand, Kamara only found himself on the field for 50% of the Saints’ offensive snaps – a season-low. Kamara salvaged his game with a 1-yard rushing TD, but his 15 touches and 1.8 yards per reception were also both season lows. Even after his lowest fantasy output of the season, Kamara is still a must-start RB1 in practically every format. Though the return of WR Michael Thomas will likely take a few targets directly from Kamara, Thomas’ presence in the offense will ultimately create open space for Kamara and not take away much of his overall value.



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Michael Thomas: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 51 yards

Emmanuel Sanders: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 38 yards, 1 TD

Tre’Quan Smith: 2 targets, 1 reception, 14 yards, 1 TD

Jared Cook: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 30 yards, 1 fumble

Adam Trautman: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 39 yards, 1 TD

Josh Hill: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards, 1 TD


The return of Saints’ WR Michael Thomas from his injury/suspension saga was the biggest fantasy storyline of this entire matchup. Thomas suffered a high-ankle sprain back in Week 1 against Tampa Bay, and then, somewhere along the way, he also pulled his hamstring and then served a one-game suspension for punching a teammate in practice. There were trade rumors and whispers about how Thomas would respond, and his return was mostly quiet. He underperformed his expectations slightly, but it could have been expected with him having been away from game speed for so long. Also, like Brees and Kamara, the Saints’ large lead allowed for New Orleans to rest Thomas for most of the second half to prevent any setbacks – Thomas was only on the field for 55% of the Saints’ offensive snaps. WR Emmanuel Sanders also returned from a 2-game absence while on the reserve/Covid-19 list. While Sanders’ long-term value takes the biggest hit with the return of Michael Thomas, Sanders should still provide flex consideration against plus matchups. TE Jared Cook had an underwhelming night – including losing a fumble near the Tampa Bay goal line near the end of the first quarter. Cook was bottled up on the play and wasn’t likely to score, but the lost fumble hurt his output nonetheless. Saints’ rookie TE Adam Trautman hauled in his first career TD and while Trautman isn’t likely to provide much fantasy value in redraft formats this season, he is certainly worth a stash in deeper bench dynasty leagues. Trautman is being groomed to become the Saints’ TE of the future once Jared Cook is no longer in the picture. HC Sean Payton and New Orleans’ front office are high on Trautman and even traded up to get him in this year’s NFL draft. 



Tampa Bay Buccaneers




Tom Brady: 22/38, 209 yards 3 INTs, 3 sacks


This game was certainly one that QB Tom Brady would like to quickly forget. It was easily his worst performance so far this season, and in fact, it was the first game that Brady threw 3 or more INTs since Week 3 of the 2011 season! Tampa Bay’s offense was out of sync for the entire night, and Brady being sacked 3 times and consistently pressured definitely contributed. This awful outing was likely just a one-off, and Brady should return to his low-end QB1/high-end QB2 performances moving forward. While we didn’t get to see much of the new-look Buccaneers’ offense with all of his weapons, it’s safe to assume that with time to develop chemistry Brady and the Bucs will get back on track. 



Running Backs


Ronald Jones: 3 carries, 9 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 9 yards

Leonard Fournette: 1 carry, 0 yards | 6 targets, 6 receptions, 41 yards


There is honestly not much to mention regarding Tampa Bay’s rushing offense from Sunday night. In fact, the Buccaneers set an NFL all-time record for fewest carries in a game with 5. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. No team in NFL history has ever deployed fewer rushing attempts in a game than Tampa Bay did on Sunday Night. RBs Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette combined for 4 carries and 9 yards. Both backs did receive modest work in the passing game, and it’s worth noting that Fournette led Jones in offensive snap percentages (66%-32%). Like most of this offense, it’s safe to assume that these backs can get back on track next week against a soft Carolina rush defense – but good luck deciding which of them to start.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Mike Evans: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 64 yards

Chris Godwin: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 41 yards

Antonio Brown: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 31 yards

Scott Miller: 3 targets, 1 reception, 10 yards

Rob Gronkowski: 6 targets, 1 reception, 2 yards


It wasn’t quite what most people expected, but we did get to see WRs Mike EvansChris Godwin, and Antonio Brown all active for the Buccaneers in the same week. While there were no outstanding performances amongst the group, it was Evans who paced them in receptions and receiving yardage. Buccaneers’ HC Bruce Arians wouldn’t commit to a certain amount of playing time for the newly-acquired Brown, but in the end, Brown was on the field for a robust 78% of Tampa Bay’s offensive snaps (compared to 86% for Evans and 94% for Godwin). Godwin didn’t appear to be slowed by his recent surgery to repair his fractured left index finger, and if he can stay on the field for a few consecutive weeks it’s still worth holding out hope that he can return to his 2019 form. We saw quite a disappointing night from TE Rob Gronkowski. After posting 3 straight weeks with at least 4 receptions, 40 yards, and a TD, Gronk could only reel in one of his six targets for just 2 yards. Gronk also played just 54% of Tampa Bay’s offensive snaps – also a season-low. While Carolina’s defense has yielded fewer points to pass-catchers than they have to RBs, it’s safe to assume that this pass-catching group can vastly improve their output in Week 10, and it will be exciting to see how their targets and snap-shares will shape out over the next few weeks.


— Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, LightsKamaraAction on Reddit)

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