I try to describe how I feel about this week, and “complicated” comes to mind. Week 9 is a fantastic bye-pocalypse with six teams absent. Go play the lottery if you have a starting list without at least one “Q” tag. And this week’s trade deadline changed the trajectory of at least one run back we were done with.
But tonight seems simple. Philadelphia is an undefeated road favorite with 14 points, facing the worst team in the AFC South. Both teams have condensed passing trees, and we’re only looking for fantastic output from a few select players. However, there is still some intrigue, and I have two alternate options to help you get through the week.
First, let’s look at the game itself and what to watch out for in TNF.
The Eagles should dominate Thursday night and continue their flight to the Super Bowl
Philadelphia is one of three teams ranked in the top six for success rate blocking on the race and transmission. As a result, they’re third in offensive yards per drive and have scored a touchdown or field goal attempt on 45.3 percent of their streaks. The offensive line gets a lot of the credit, but Hurts’ improvement as a setter and team personnel upgrades deserve special attention.
Last season was all about Nick Sirianni and Hurts arrive on the same page. They demolished the passing game, built a top-10 offense on the ground that could running out of a plethora of staff packages and found themselves in a playoff game.
But their ingenuity was a facade. Hurts still needed time to develop as a quarterback. He finished 23rd in success rate on third downs and converted on 34.2% of his attempts. However, with A.J. Brown in the fold and DeVonta Smith in his second year, Hurts continues to impress.
Hurts is now ninth in third down completion rate. He throws in the middle of the field while simultaneously having the fastest touchdowns of any quarterback. There are few things he or the team can’t do.
The Texans will have their work cut out tonight on both sides of the ball. Philadelphia has made 469 offensive plays and trailed by more than one touchdown on just 12. Meanwhile, their defense is the only unit with a top-5 ranking in sacks and interceptions.
I’m only interested in two Houston players in skill position tonight, but before we get to that, let’s talk more about the Eagles’ offense and why they’re set for a deep playoff run this year.
Points of Interest in TNF
The Eagles show they are a complete team
Hurts and Brown hosting a clinic was one of the highlights of the past week, and peripherals pointed to a big day. philadelphia cream hovered around the league average in the success rate over expectations (PROE) despite Hurts leading all quarterbacks in engineered rushing attempts. Brown was in the top 10 in field goal share (30.3%) and second in his team’s passing yards percentage (42.5%).
Good offenses can draw on a single strength to mask their shortcomings. Take the Bengals passing game (with Ja’Marr Chase), for example. Joe Terrier is fifth in EPA per game, but Cincinnati ranks in the bottom 10 in most rushing metrics. Their passing and running games remain out of sync.
Philadelphia performed in concert on Sunday.
The last time Hurts had above-average aerial yards per attempt and the team’s completion rate above the league average (41.2%) was in Week 2. Since therefore, they have been effective in the air or on the ground. But on Sunday we saw the two components of the offense working in tandem to the point where Hurts i have to sit down most of the fourth quarter.
I don’t expect another four-touchdown blast from Hurts. While this is a great way for my fantasy team to start the week, my eye will be on the full offense. If we continue to see an effective result from running and passing games (in addition to solid defense), I’ll be looking forward to seeing this team play in late January.
Dameon Pierce: Dual Threat Option
At this point, there should be no doubt as to Dameon Piercehis skills as a runner. His vision and bursting have been the highlight of a few games this season. The list of players with the most forced missed tackles starts and ends with Nick Chubb. Pierce is also in the top 10 for explosive runs. It is a threat on the ground.
Houston would be smart to attack the Eagles front with Pierce. They are bottom five in terms of rushed EPA and cleared pass rate, and their divisions without jordan davis are significant. But sometimes a good defense is having a better offense. With Hurts and company averaging the third-most points per game, their defense saw the third-fewest running plays.
Davis Mills might need to go up in the air more, but Pierce can still fit as a fantastic option.
Pierce’s road attendance has surpassed Burkhead’s in three of their last four games. As a result, the rookie has more targets and yards than the veteran and co-leads the team leader in red zone targets. nico collinsThe absence removes yet another option for Mills downfield. Pierce hasn’t taken the third down or two-minute role yet, but his dual-threat ability should be a key factor for the Texans tonight.
But don’t bench these guys
It’s Week 9, so we know enough about each team to determine who can or cannot be started. But we have six teams goodbye, injury situations to watch out for and fewer waiver options as the season progresses. If you’re looking for reassurance on who to start tonight, I’ve got two players set to succeed in what should be a low-scoring affair.
Like last week, I will be advocating for a player on most rosters. But their environment removes their value, which makes them hard to trust when defining queues. I hope Miles Sander don’t get hurt earlyas did Rashod Bateman. Either way, I would have no problem placing it in my RB slot for week 9.
Hurts’ designed rush rate compresses the contact share for the entire backfield, but Sanders still comes out on top. He maintained most touches (ranges and targets) in every game scenario. As a rule of thumb, we fight for any player who gets 18.1 touches per game, but Antonio Gibson has more fantasy points in total.
We need ceiling results. Thankfully, Sanders has the Texans’ run defense close at hand.
Houston is already bottom 5 in rushing pass rate and EPA cleared. These measures give Sanders safe ground. But the Texans allowing the most explosive runs (gains of 10 yards or more) put him in the top 12. Coincidentally, Sanders has more runs over 10 yards than all the Eagles rushers combined. We know he’ll get the touches, but tonight’s game gives Sanders the trail for the best results of the season.
Look, guys. I don’t have a drama decoder or special team access. But I can at least theorize who would benefit now that brandin cooks was ruled out tonight:
Catching or attempting to catch passes from Mills isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. However, if you have not earned the “Probable Isaiah Where Tyler Conklin“raffles, Brevin Jordan has a starting point role for TNF.
The second-year tight end returned in Week 7 and immediately tied Jordan Akin in the targets (4). However, Akins’ snaps fell on Sunday, while Jordan’s rose 21.7%. Since returning to the team, Jordan has been third in target and airyard share and tied for the most red zone targets. In addition, confrontation is conducive to tight production.
Chark DJ is the only perimeter receiver to score on Philadelphia’s outside corners. Pair secondary coverage with teams trailing the Eagles by two or more scores on 48.7% of their games, and you find offenses looking to their inside options for relief. Pat Freiermuth (7-57-0) and Jacob Ferguson (6-40-1) have both finished in the top 12 against Philadelphia in consecutive games.
In week-long DFS formats or as an emergency starter in season-long leagues, Jordan is a solid option on TNF.