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After a tough week of hard-hitting news across the league, it was refreshing to sit down and watch football the past couple of days. However, I’m struggling to come up with macro takeaways. You’d think we’d have a better sense of which teams are good at this point in the season. But there were a few players that caught my eye. Despite their performance in Week 9, it’s more about what we can expect as we start to look towards the playoffs. Here are my lessons learned from Week 9, with some takeaways as we cross the season's halfway mark.
Quarterback: Joe Burrow, Bengals
Week 9 Results: (Projected) 22.4, (Actual) 9.4
I was nervous for Joe Burrow going into the Jets’ game and was equally anxious for his match against Cleveland. The same quarterback that dueled with Aaron Rodgers straight up and made a statement to the league in Baltimore has had no answers for adjustments in opposing coverages the last two weeks. A team with energy and explosiveness over the previous month looked lifeless on Sunday. With Burrow on bye, it seemed like a good time to look at what’s worked and if he can turn it around in the second half of their season.
Advice Moving Forward:
Burrow is a matchup-based QB2 until further notice. He’s a non-essential hold through their bye week (assuming you have other options), and we’ll need to monitor the team’s offensive game plan over the next few weeks.
For total transparency, I’ve been a Bengals fan since 2001. I was a proponent of the team drafting Ja’Marr Chase and have been cautiously optimistic all season. It was surreal to see the team garner national attention and sit atop the AFC North rankings, if only for about a week. But, I had a sense that we were playing with fire in the back of my mind.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The explosive plays have been fun to watch. But there needs to be more to an offense. From Week 3, when their pass rate started to pick up, until their loss to the Jets in Week 7, Burrow was tied for the most touchdown passes and fifth in passing yards on deep throws. Over that stretch, his fantasy point total (112.7) was right behind Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, and Lamar Jackson. He had more points than Patrick Mahomes II, Aaron Rodgers, and Justin Herbert. But it was difficult to expect the rank to hold for much longer.
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