Ultimate Zero RB Watch: NFC Week 9 – Multiple Options Emerge as Potential Bye Week Fill-Ins
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Image Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Brian Hill.

Shawn Siegele examines the historic pace from Alvin Kamara, praises the unheralded talent of Jamaal Williams, and tries to understand the thinking in Detroit. Shawn also recommends a few dark horse pickups as he breaks down the workload for NFC backfields ahead of Week 9.

As Blair Andrews and I write the Ultimate Zero RB Watch List, our goal is to help you locate RB breakouts and waiver adds before they happen. But this column isn’t just for Zero RB owners. We also track changes to the usage profiles for high-end backs, and two superstars continued their scorched-earth performances in Week 8. Dalvin Cook’s 48-point performance was the focus on Monday. Today we move to the record receiving numbers from Alvin Kamara.

Over the last 20 years, these backs were on the best pace through eight weeks. I also included Christian McCaffrey’s 2019 for context.

Kamara’s 9.4 targets and 7.9 receptions per game each rank No. 1. He’s also capitalizing as a fantasy player, sitting just a tick below the legend Marshall Faulk. Kamara is trying to break McCaffrey’s mark, and while the Carolina star was scoring more fantasy points, he was actually well off the pace at this point. McCaffrey averaged over 10 targets per game from Week 9 on.[1]

Week 9 Zero RB Watch List

The RotoViz Screener and Weekly Stat Explorer provide a smorgasbord of data as we dive into the advanced stats on a team-by-team basis. Much of the focus is on how RBs score their points. We use expected points (EP) and fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) along with carries, targets, snaps, and red zone touches to better understand each player’s workload.

I also draw from the NFL Pace tool, our advanced strength-of-schedule tool, The Fantasy Streamer, the Game Splits tool, and the NFL Stat Explorer to help you understand all of the hidden trends that help locate those next breakout performers.

Atlanta Falcons

Even as Todd Gurley averaged 19 PPG and more than 21 opportunities over the previous month, there were plenty of signs that this type of game was coming. Gurley takes days to get up to speed or change directions, and he was a worse fit for the wet field than Brian Hill. The understudy also garnered all three targets in this one and has carved out the clear No. 2 role.

Gurley sits in a tie with Derrick Henry for second place in rushing touchdowns (8), but he has far less job security. If you’ve benefited from Gurley’s run to this point, it’s not a bad time to get out.

Dallas Cowboys

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 Faulk inhabits two spots on this list, and Kamara is picking up where he left off in 2018. If I’d included the full list, McCaffrey’s first two seasons actually rank ahead of the 2019 record-breaking campaign.

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Shawn Siegele

Author of the original Zero RB article and 2013 NFFC Primetime Grand Champion. 11-time main event league winner. 2015, 2017, 2018 titles in MFL10 of Death.

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