Watson did everything at Seattle but get the win, as he was outdueled by Russell Wilson (more on him in a bit), 41-38, in a leading contender for game-of-the-year honors. According to the Texans, the aforementioned Clemson product became the first QB in NFL history with 400-plus passing yards, 4 passing TDs and 55-plus rushing yards.
You’ll note that Watson wasn’t the first rookie to post those numbers, but the first QB, period. He had already been the first rookie QB to throw three or more TDs in three consecutive games, so he also padded that record.
Not that his fantasy owners had much hesitation about starting Watson by this point, but he is now in weekly elite-QB territory until further notice. Tough road tests at Baltimore and Jacksonville still await, as does the distinct possibility of regression for a first-year player with unparalleled productivity, but for now, NFL defenses don’t seem any more imposing to him that Alabama’s was.
Speaking of regression, though, I’m going to say it again: Will Fuller’s TD scoring is unsustainable. It just is. He’s now up to an incomprehensible seven end zone jaunts on 13 catches, and we simply aren’t living in a world where someone will continue indefinitely to score on over half his receptions.
That said, the second-year WR did show a positive sign for future results by going off for 125 yards, more than twice as much as he had posted in any previous game this season. As long as Watson is directing a high-octane passing attack, Fuller should get his share of targets, keeping his value up even if — I mean when — his TD pace drops off.
Then there’s this guy: Wilson saw Watson’s four TDs and raised him 50 on the latter’s 402 passing yards. The Seahawks QB has, as usual, caught fire after a slow start, and with no running game in sight (remember when we cared about Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls?), Seattle figures to be dependent on his arm for the foreseeable future.
Putting it all together: Now that LeSean McCoy is scoring TDs, he’s mounting a dark-horse campaign for fantasy MVP honors. The Bills RB had been held out of the paint over the first five weeks, but he’s scored three times in his past two games, and his heavy involvement both on the ground and through the air (at least five receptions in six of seven games) all but ensures big weekly yardage totals.
Not so fast: Just when you thought it was safe to start Amari Cooper again, he put up just five scoreless catches for 48 yards, albeit on a healthy 10 targets, against the Bills. It’s a reminder that, going back to Week 9 last year, big games have tended to be the exception for him, rather than the norm.
At least one Colt is catching passes: That would be Jack Doyle, who of late has been quite the apple of Jacoby Brissett’s eye, and who looks to have joined the TE1 ranks. On the other hand, Brissett can’t seem to connect with T.Y. Hilton (just five catches for 61 yards on 19 targets over his past three games), who is rapidly approaching un-startable status, at least until we see if rumors of the WR getting traded are validated by Tuesday’s deadline.
JuJu gives the Lions a boo-boo: JuJu Smith-Schuster tweeted on Thursday, “Everybody loves me now, but these same people won’t start me in fantasy on Sunday,” and he was right: His start percentage in ESPN leagues was just 14.7. Expect that number to rise sharply (after the Steelers’ Week 9 bye, of course), following his breakout performance against Detroit, which featured a 97-yard TD jaunt and 193 receiving yards altogether.
Pass-happiness a thing of the past?: The good times are rolling in New Orleans, where the Saints improved to 5-2, but the times are a-changing, as well. The team won a game without a Drew Brees touchdown pass for the first time since Oct. 4, 2009, and in general, it has not needed its QB’s usual prolific numbers to win. In fact, Brees has just one game with as many as 22 fantasy points this season, and Sunday marked his fourth straight game with under 20 points. That could be the new normal in N’awlins, making him a trade-away candidate while his name might still fetch a nice return.
Stepping up: Terrelle Pryor has been a massive disappointment, and Josh Doctson may not be quite ready for a major role, so Jamison Crowder could be stepping up as the Redskins’ top WR. He certainly played that part against the Cowboys, easily setting season highs with nine catches for 123 yards on 13 targets. Jordan Reed’s hamstring injury likely had something to do with that, but it will be interesting to see if Crowder continues to be a featured receiver in Week 10. Pryor, by the way, has become thoroughly droppable.
Trampling the competition: Going back to Thursday, Alex Collins ran all over the Dolphins, and logic suggests that he should be running away with the Ravens’ starting RB job. The former Seahawk (really, Seattle, you couldn’t have used this guy?) is averaging an eye-popping 6.0 yards on 80 carries, compared to 3.6 for Javorious Allen (on 99 carries) and 3.5 for Terrance West (39). Given the emergence of Collins and the likelihood of a Week 11 return by Danny Woodhead, the time is ripe for Allen owners to start shopping him around.