Jesse Pantuosco

Power Rankings

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Week 9 Power Rankings

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


On Tuesday, the rich got richer while the worst team in football stayed that way thanks to another uniquely Browns mishap.

 

The one-loss Eagles pushed their chips to the center of the table by acquiring Jay Ajayi from the Dolphins just hours before Tuesday’s 4 PM ET deadline. I detailed the trade in my fantasy fallout column yesterday, commending the Eagles for addressing their stagnant running game. Even if Ajayi fails to match the heights he reached during his breakout 2016 campaign, adding his physical presence to a backfield already featuring renowned bruiser LeGarrette Blount should give Philadelphia a power running game it can lean on down the stretch. Credit the Eagles for not only changing their culture post-Chip Kelly, but also for drastically improving their on-field product through a balance of wise drafting (Carson Wentz looks like a home run), shrewd free agent acquisitions (Blount, Alshon Jeffery and Patrick Robinson all come to mind) and gusty trades (Ajayi and Ronald Darby).

 

While the Eagles have quickly built themselves into a contender, the Browns seem to keep digging a bigger hole for themselves. Their splashiest offseason signing, Kenny Britt, has been a complete non-factor while the team’s quarterback woes have never been more apparent with DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan misfiring on a near-weekly basis.

 

After missing on Wentz and Deshaun Watson in consecutive drafts and failing to pry Jimmy Garoppolo away from New England, the Browns made a last-ditch effort to land a quarterback at Tuesday’s trade deadline. In typical Browns fashion, Cleveland’s attempt to poach A.J. McCarron from Cincinnati went haywire.

 

A favorite of current Browns coach and former Bengals OC Hue Jackson, McCarron nearly went to Cleveland for a pair of draft picks, but a “disconnect” between the front office and coaching staff prevented the deal from reaching the finish line. McCarron remains largely unproven, but he would have been a fresh face for a franchise running dangerously low on hope. With just one win in 24 games as the head coach, Jackson’s margin for error in Cleveland has never been thinner.

 

Now let’s see what the Power Rankings have in store for us this week.

 


1. Philadelphia Eagles

 

Record: 7-1

 

Last Week: 1

 

Already equipped with the league’s best record and arguably the league’s hottest quarterback in Carson Wentz, the Eagles bolstered their running game by acquiring Jay Ajayi from the Dolphins. The trade should come as a welcome change of scenery for Ajayi, who clashed with coach Adam Gase throughout his tenure in Miami. Meanwhile Zach Ertz will look to extend his touchdown streak to five games Sunday against Denver.

 

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2. New England Patriots

 

Record: 6-2

 

Last Week: 3

 

Talk about spreading the wealth. Four Patriots have drawn at least 53 targets this year, though none have seen more than 57. Tom Brady topped 300 yards for the fifth time in Sunday’s win over the Chargers. With Brady looking better than ever, it’s no wonder the Patriots couldn’t commit to Jimmy Garoppolo long-term.

 

3. Kansas City Chiefs

 

Record: 6-2

 

Last Week: 2

 

The Chiefs snapped their two-game losing streak in style, throttling the division-rival Broncos on the strength of 133 yards from Travis Kelce in Week 8. Kelce has been a thorn in Denver’s side, carving them up for 394 yards on 26 catches over his last three games. Kareem Hunt was held under 100 yards from scrimmage for the first time on Monday while Tyreek Hill’s interception was the Chiefs’ first turnover since Week 1.

 

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4. Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Record: 6-2

 

Last Week: 4

 

Darius Slay did his job against Antonio Brown in Week 8 but there was no stopping JuJu Smith-Schuster, who exploded for a career-high 193 yards on seven catches. He leads all rookies with 424 receiving yards at the season’s halfway point. Martavis Bryant survived the trade deadline but will he have any fantasy significance down the stretch? We’ll find out after the bye week.

 

5. Los Angeles Rams

 

Record: 5-2

 

Last Week: 5

 

The Rams haven’t suffered for it, at least not yet, but Jared Goff’s play has been a bit on the underwhelming side lately. He’s completed just 53.9 percent of his passes for 902 yards with four touchdowns and three INTs over his last four games. Meanwhile Todd Gurley is on pace for 393 touches, which would be the most by a Ram since Steven Jackson logged 436 in 2006.

 

6. Seattle Seahawks

 

Record: 5-2

 

Last Week: 6

 

Russell Wilson had himself a week, shredding the Texans for a career-high 452 yards on Sunday before taking a gold medal on Halloween for his spot-on Pete Carrol impression. He’s thrown for almost 800 yards passing with seven touchdowns over his last two games. Meanwhile Jimmy Graham has begun to catch fire, rewarding fantasy owners with four touchdowns in his last three outings after going his first four games without one.

 

7. Minnesota Vikings

 

Record: 6-2

 

Last Week: 8

 

Adam Thielen couldn’t score in America, so he went across the pond for his first touchdown of 2017. He’s on pace to become the Vikings’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Sidney Rice in 2009. Latavius Murray followed up his best game of the season with a dud in Week 8, limping to just 39 yards on 19 carries against Cleveland. Minnesota will head into its bye week on a four-game winning streak.

 

8. New Orleans Saints

 

Record: 5-2

 

Last Week: 7

 

Mark Ingram kept his touchdown streak alive with another end-zone visit in Week 8, though he made things a little too interesting by losing a pair of fumbles. Willie Snead looked poised for a big role this year following Brandin Cooks’ trade to New England, but so far he’s seen just 25 snaps across two games since coming back from a three-game substance abuse suspension.

 

9. Dallas Cowboys

 

Record: 4-3

 

Last Week: 9

 

Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension will finally go into effect this week, which means the Cowboys’ backfield will feature some combination of Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden until Zeke returns in Week 15. Sean Lee is the straw that stirs the drink on defense for Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed a combined 29 points with six forced turnovers in two games since his return from a hamstring injury.

 

10. Buffalo Bills

 

Record: 5-2

 

Last Week: 13

 

LeSean McCoy got off to a slow start this year, but he was just pacing himself. Shady has gone ballistic over his last two games, shredding opponents to the tune of 295 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns. Buffalo did well to address its biggest weakness at the trade deadline, landing Kelvin Benjamin in exchange for two draft picks. This year Benjamin has almost as many yards (475) as Buffalo’s top two receivers COMBINED (500).

 

11. Carolina Panthers

 

Record: 5-3

 

Last Week: 12

 

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Two years ago, Cam Newton was the NFL MVP. This season he’s tied for the NFL lead with 11 interceptions. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better for Cam following Kelvin Benjamin’s surprise trade to Buffalo. Jonathan Stewart’s rushing touchdown Sunday at Tampa Bay was the first by a Panthers running back this season.

 

12. Atlanta Falcons

 

Record: 4-3

 

Last Week: 14

 

The Falcons erased their three-game AFC East losing streak by narrowly beating the Jets in Week 8. Mohamed Sanu doesn’t get a lot of fantasy love, but he’s done nice work since coming back from a shoulder injury, accruing 12 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown over his last two games. Meanwhile Julio Jones is on pace for his fewest yards since 2013 when he missed most of the year with a broken foot.

 

13. Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Record: 4-3

 

Last Week: 15

 

It’s all coming up roses for Jacksonville. Not only do the Jags boast two of PFF’s top cornerbacks (Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are third and seventh respectively) but they also lead the league with 33 sacks and are first in rushing yards per game. Leonard Fournette was back at practice Monday and should be ready to roll Sunday after having the bye week to heal his sprained ankle. The fourth overall pick has scored in every game he’s played this season.

 

14. Houston Texans

 

Record: 3-4

 

Last Week: 10

 

Deshaun Watson only needed 19 completions to rack up 402 passing yards and four touchdowns Sunday against Seattle’s Legion of Boom secondary. He also matched a career-high by rushing for 67 yards on eight carries. DeAndre Hopkins skipped Friday’s practice to protest owner Bob McNair’s recent comments, then erupted for 224 yards on eight catches in Week 8. Nuk’s four-game touchdown streak is the longest of his career.

 

15. Washington Redskins

 

Record: 3-4

 

Last Week: 11

 

Jamison Crowder’s touchdown drought continued against the Cowboys in Week 8, but his 123 receiving yards were a career-high and more than he had in his previous four games combined. Chris Thompson also got busy with eight catches for 76 yards. That gives him 442 receiving yards for the season, which leads all running backs. Josh Doctson played almost 80 percent of the snaps versus Dallas but only managed one catch for a single yard.

 

16. Tennessee Titans

 

Record: 4-3

 

Last Week: 21

 

I think it’s safe to say fantasy owners were expecting a little more from Marcus Mariota this year. The former Heisman Trophy winner ranks 23rd in quarterback rating, 24th in passing yards per game (216.8) and is tied for 29th in touchdown passes with four. Speaking of touchdowns, Delanie Walker (who is still nursing an ankle injury suffered in Week 7) hasn’t scored once since Week 16 of last year.

 


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Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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