Fantasy Football: Week 9 brings superstars, breakout performers to the top of fantasy leaderboard
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the first time in NFL history, three teams are 8-0.
The New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers showed no signs of slowing down in Week 9, as all notched another win with relative ease. And several players on those teams mirrored that ease on the fantasy stat sheet.
This season has also taken an interesting turn for the worst, with several big-name stars like Le'Veon Bell, Arian Foster and Keenan Allen suffering serious injuries. Fantasy owners scrambled to recover their rosters last week, and a few of those fill-ins had big days.
With a combination of established superstars and 2015 breakout performers, here's the five best fantasy players in Week 9:
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
With his best wide receiver out for the season and only mediocre depth behind that, Newton is taking an average offense and raising it to new heights. He's only completing around 50 percent of his passes on the year, yet he is leading Carolina to one of three undefeated records in the league. On Sunday, in a tough, high-scoring game against Green Bay, Newton threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns, also adding 57 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Newton has always had that double-threat ability, but his increased proficiency as a passer, especially given a lack of skilled weapons around him, have made him an MVP candidate.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Williams has started just three games this season, but he has arguably been the best running back in the league in each of those three weeks. Sunday was his best performance, rushing for 170 yards and two touchdowns in his first game as full-time replacement for Bell. Williams was the hottest commodity on the waiver wire last week, and those owners who got him likely won their fantasy matchup as a result. His 36 fantasy points were the most among all players in Week 9.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
Mariota has slowed a bit since his 24-point career debut back in September, but Sunday he brought that flash of brilliance back. The rookie completed 28 of 39 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns. Those 32 fantasy points are a career-high for Mariota, who has shown a few flashes of efficiency this year. He can be a decent fantasy starter, it just depends on which version of Marcus you get.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown and Williams were the Steelers' offense on Sunday. Although he didn't score a touchdown, Brown exploded for a career day. He caught 17 passes for 284 yards in Pittsburgh's last-second win over Oakland. He joins Terrell Owens as the only players in NFL history to have a game with at least 15 catches and 280 yards. Brown can be the best fantasy wide receiver out there, and is likely the most consistent of any. On Sunday, his 28-point day showed why he has such great fantasy value.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
Who do you think has the most touchdown catches in the NFL? Brown? Julio Jones? Rob Gronkowski? Nope, it's Eifert. The Bengals tight end caught three Thursday a blowout win over the Browns in prime time. It was his third game of at least 20 fantasy points this season, putting him in elite company at the position with the likes of Gronkowski. Eifert has always been talented, but this season he has stayed healthy enough to show it. He is a big reason the Bengals are one of three undefeated teams after Week 9.
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings
As our own Rick Bozich wrote on Sunday, Bridgewater suffered a blow to the head while sliding for a first down in the Vikings' win over St. Louis this weekend. The former Louisville star was diagnosed with a concussion, but told reporters Monday he felt fine and shouldn't have any lingering problems. His status for Sunday, though, is likely still up in the air. Bridgewater hasn't been a huge stat guy in 2015, but he's done enough to guide Minnesota to a 6-2 record, their best start since 2010. Here's to hoping Teddy is back healthy Sunday.
- Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
Cobb came into Sunday with 12 total points in his last four games. He finally provided some production in Week 9, catching four passes for 99 yards a a touchdown. The 15 fantasy points were the most since Oct. 5 for the Kentucky product. That four-game stretch was uncharacteristic, and maybe a solid performance in Week 9 will propel Cobb into more consistency the rest of the year.
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