Week 13 was an exciting one for many reasons, including the return of Browns WR Josh Gordon, Giants QB Eli Manning stepping aside and Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski putting his finishing move on the Bills defense. All of that and more, summed up here…
Visiting Atlanta, the Vikings stayed hot and the Falcons continued their inconsistent ways in this low-scoring matchup. Any talk of inserting QB Teddy Bridgewater into the Vikes lineup now seems dead as QB Case Keenum has maintained his high-level of play, posting surprisingly useful fantasy numbers. Keenum threw for 227 yards and a pair of scores, accounting for all of Minnesota’s 14 points. No surprise from the running game as RBs Latavius Murray (97 total yards) and Jerick McKinnon (52 total yards, touchdown) were both effective. The same can’t be said for the receiver duo, though they have really increased expectations based on their play this season. WR Adam Thielen caught four of give targets for 51 scoreless yards, while WR Stefon Diggs caught only two passes for 32 yards. TE Kyle Rudolph posted a 4/36 line and caught one of Keenum’s touchdown passes.
After last week’s offensive explosive, led by over 250 yards for WR Julio Jones, the Falcons laid an egg in Week 13. QB Matt Ryan had just 173 scoreless passing yards and his top pass catchers all disappointed. WR Mohamed Sanu (3/43) led the way, while Jones caught only two passes for 24 yards. Starting RB Devonta Freeman returned after missing the past two games with a concussion. He totaled 81 yards, while limiting RB Tevin Coleman’s production, totaling just 49 yards.
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The Colts have been complete no-shows for much of the year and watching them most weeks, you might wonder how they managed to win three games so far this season. Their AFC South foe Jacksonville totally waxed them in this one. Jaguars QB Blake Bortles continued to play well, though he gets little credit for the team’s success this season. Bortles threw for over 300 yards for the second time this season, along with a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions. This was an ideal spot for rookie RB Leonard Fournette to produce, but he managed only 57 rushing yards on 20 carries, limping to the sidelines on more than one occasion. Fournette did score a touchdown, aiding his fantasy numbers. WR Marqise Lee reclaimed his spot as the top target for Bortles after last week’s matchup against DB Patrick Peterson, catching seven passes for 86 yards and a score. Rookie WR Dede Westbrook continues to contribute, posting a 6/78 line.
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton was a clear avoid against the best pass defense in the league, but he still managed to break free for a 40-yard touchdown on a bit of a broken play. Outside of that play, he totaled two receptions for 11 yards. TE Jack Doyle disappointed with a 3/16 line and there’s really nothing else to say about the miserable Colts offense.
NY Jets- 38
Kansas City- 31
Prior to the game, it was reported that Chiefs HC Andy Reid had surrendered play-calling duties to OC Matt Nagy. Early in the game, this move paid instant dividends. The Chiefs scored a pair of quick first-quarter touchdowns on two long passes from QB Alex Smith to TE Travis Kelce, but the Jets answered quickly as the Chiefs defense failed them. A back and forth battle ended with a long game-winning drive and the Chiefs had no answer. This entire game was filled with explosive pass production on both sides, but disappointment from the running games.
Veteran QB Josh McCown continued to provide surprising fantasy statlines, throwing for 331 yards and a score, while breakout WRs Jermaine Kearse (9/157) and Robby Anderson (8/107) both are in position to finish the week in the WR1 range. Anderson’s touchdown streak ended, just barely as he was stopped at the one-yard line, but still enjoyed a nice day. On top of McCown’s impressive passing numbers, he also rushed for a pair of short touchdowns, giving him five for the season.
Kelce got off to that strong start with three receptions, 90 yards and two touchdowns after the first two Kansas City possessions, but the Jets defense clamped down after that as he finished with 4/94/2. In the second-half, it was WR Tyreek Hill, who continued his trend of huge production on the road, with six receptions for a career-high 185 yards and two touchdowns of his own. If Hill is playing away from home, he’s a must start! The disappointment for this Chiefs team, beyond the loss, was the play of rookie RB Kareem Hunt, who has gone from breakout star to one of the most frustrating players on a weekly basis. Whether this is due to his usage, a random lack of touchdowns or some kind of rookie wall, it doesn’t really matter. Hunt is now a tough player to start in fantasy leagues. He rushed nine times for 40 yards and added three catches for 23 yards. Despite being in a one score game throughout, Hunt only drew three second-half carries.
The Titans won a game they had to win, defeating AFC South foe Houston, but it wasn’t pretty. The Titans broke the halftime tie with a touchdown from QB Marcus Mariota to TE Delanie Walker and then held on for the win. Mariota again performed at preseason expectations, throwing for 150 yards and the score, along with 23 rushing yards and another touchdown. The Titans running game was not very productive until late in the game when backup RB Derrick Henry broke free for a 75-yard touchdown run, icing the win. I don’t like to play this game, but Henry had just 10 carries for 34 yards outside of that final rush. Starter DeMarco Murray continues to do little with his opportunity, totaling 79 scoreless yards. Although WR Rishard Matthews was once again inactive, rookie WR Corey Davis flopped, just as he did a week ago. Davis saw four targets, catching two for 12 measly yards. Walker led the way among Titans pass-catchers, hauling in all five of his targets for 63 yards and the touchdown.
Texans QB Tom Savage easily set a new career-best with 365 passing yards, his first ever 300-yard game. As usual, WR DeAndre Hopkins led the team with eight receptions for 80 yards, but Savage spread the ball around. TE Stephen Anderson (5/79/1), WR Braxton Miller (4/71) and RB Andre Ellington (5/56) all had nice fantasy numbers. The Texans lost both TE C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion) and WR Bruce Ellington (hamstring), resulting in increased opportunity for some of these players. With his second concussion of the season, there is reason to think Fiedorowicz could be finished for the season. Based on his production, Anderson would be a solid waiver wire target as we near the fantasy playoffs. RB Lamar Miller had a Lamar Miller-like game, totaling 94 scoreless yards, but failing to break a play longer than 12 yards.
The Dolphins destroyed the visiting Broncos in every facet of the game, recording a pair of safeties and intercepting Denver QB Trevor Siemian three times, including a pick six. In a “revenge game” Jay Cutler did just enough, throwing for 235 yards, two touchdowns and two picks as Miami cruised to an easy win. WRs Kenny Stills (5/98/1) and Jarvis Landry (5/62) both had solid games against the normally strong Broncos pass defense, which was missing the suspended Aqib Talib, but WR DeVante Parker yet again failed to make an impact, catching one of four targets for five yards. He can’t be started moving forward. TE Julius Thomas, also facing his former team, scored a touchdown as one of his three grabs, matching the trend of Denver failing to defend the tight end position. RB Damien Williams had settled in as the starter, but suffered an injury that kept him out of action. RB Kenyan Drake took the job and ran with it, rushing for 120 yards on 23 carries, including a 42-yard touchdown run, along with a 3/21 line as a receiver.
Siemian threw for 200 yards, along with his three interceptions, but mainly targeted his backs and tight ends in short yardage attempts. RB C.J. Anderson led the team in both rushing (15/67) and receiving (4/43), while top WRs Demaryius Thomas (2/27) and Emmanuel Sanders (2/11) failed to really show up. At this point, none of the Broncos are options in fantasy lineups.
Anytime the Ravens offense and QB Joe Flacco really show up, you know it is going to be a strange game. The fading Lions defense was no match for the Ravens, who uncharacteristically hit on some big pass plays and dominated Detroit. Flacco threw for 269 yards, a season-high, along with a pair of touchdowns. This was the first time all season he threw for multiple touchdowns and no interceptions. WR Mike Wallace woke up with some huge plays, including a 66-yard reception that set up a touchdown to TE Ben Watson. Wallace posted nearly his best numbers of the season, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for just the second time this season. RB Alex Collins was forced to leave the game for a long stretch due to a shoulder injury, but returned to score a pair of touchdowns, finishing with 98 total yards.
Lions RB Ameer Abdullah (neck) missed the game, so it looked like a nice spot for RB Theo Riddick. Although Riddick did score his first rushing touchdown of the season, it was unknown RB Tion Green who led the team in rushing with 51 yards on 11 carries, scoring his first career touchdown. Late in the game as the Lions were attempting to comeback, QB Matthew Stafford took a hard shot to his hand and was unable to return. Tests would reveal no fracture, but Stafford was clearly in pain, making this a situation to monitor in the coming days. Backup QB Jake Rudock took over and wasted no time in throwing a pick six to kill any chance of a Detroit comeback. Top WRs Marvin Jones (4/90) and Golden Tate (8/69) had solid games, but failed to find the end zone. Rookie WR Kenny Golladay ended his 40+ yard reception streak, but did catch a 31-yarder, finishing with a 2/44 line.
San Francisco- 15
Lost in some of the other big news of the week, the San Francisco 49ers turned to QB Jimmy Garoppolo as their starter following a late-game injury last week to rookie C.J. Beathard. While he failed to throw a touchdown pass, Garoppolo was quite impressive, throwing for 293 yards and leading a late-game scoring drive to take the lead for good. Garoppolo was also a perfect 14 for 14 in targeting his top two options, WR Marquise Goodwin (8/99) and WR Trent Taylor (6/92). Garoppolo simply doesn’t have the offensive weapons to win with this year, but just one game in, he showed a lot of promise. The Niners’ running game stalled as RB Carlos Hyde rushed for 54 scoreless yards on 17 carries, adding three receptions for 12 yards. Interesting to note is that rookie RB Matt Breida saw 12 carries for 45 yards, nearly matching Hyde’s output.
After showing some improvement a few games ago, Bears rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky has taken a step back, which could also be related to his lack of a supporting cast. He totaled just 102 passing yards in the game and RB Tarik Cohen led the team in receiving with a 4/39 line. This was an ideal spot for RB Jordan Howard to bounce back, but he posted a dud of just 38 rushing yards on 13 carries, despite the game being close throughout. For you PPR players, Howard also caught one pass, but lost five yards.
New England- 23
The Patriots offense looked sluggish through the first half and the Bills’ fading defense somehow held QB Tom Brady under 100 yards during that time, but the Pats woke up following intermission and outscored the home team 14-0 to claim the easy win. Brady, seemingly a lock for 300+ yards and multiple scores each week, failed to hit either of these marks, throwing for 258 scoreless yards. As he was last week against Miami, Brady was hit and knocked down multiple times by the defense. RB Rex Burkhead scored a pair of touchdowns for the second consecutive week, totaling 103 yards, while RB Dion Lewis led the team with 92 rushing yards. RB James White received some early touches and finished with 50 total yards, his best production since Week Eight. TE Rob Gronkowski stepped up against the Bills, as he usually does, posting a 9/147 line on 11 targets, but he let a late-game incident get the best of him and attacked Bills DB Tre-Devious White, giving him a concussion. There are early reports suggesting Gronk could be suspended for these actions. WR Brandin Cooks had been dominating since WR Chris Hogan suffered an arm injury, but he was a dud in Week 13, catching just two balls for 17 yards.
For his fourth consecutive game, rookie WR Zay Jones saw at least seven targets, though he only caught two for 22 yards. Sadly, this was enough to lead the Bills. QB Tyrod Taylor only threw for 65 yards and had to be carted off in the second-half with a knee injury. He was relieved by rookie Nathan Peterman, who did not throw a single interception. The status of Taylor’s knee injury is not yet known, but it didn’t look good, meaning the Bills could be forced to turn back to rookie Peterman for their Week 14 matchup against the Colts. RB LeSean McCoy rushed for 93 yards, adding a pair of receptions for just nine yards.
In a matchup of two of the game’s worst pass defenses, along with a bevy of talented offensive skill players, this was sure to be an entertaining, high-scoring game. Although it didn’t produce a lot of points, the battle of the Bays was a competitive game, with the Pack earning the overtime win. With reports that QB Aaron Rodgers could be ready to go by Week 15, a win that keeps the team’s playoff hopes alive is good news for fantasy players, especially those with Rodgers or WR Jordy Nelson. Although he showed a huge amount of promise is a tough matchup with the Steelers a week ago, QB Brett Hundley took a huge step back, throwing for only 84 yards on the day. This obviously limited the upside for his pass-catchers, but WR Davante Adams once again led the team (4/42), while Nelson caught five balls, but managed only 17 yards. WR Randall Cobb was not even targeted in the game. Rookie RB Aaron Jones returned to the field, but didn’t see a single carry in regulation. The other rookie RB Jamaal Williams carried the offense with 21 rushes for 113 yards and a score, adding a 2/10 receiving line. But in overtime, Jones was inserted into the game and ran up the middle for the game-winning touchdown, a 20-yarder.
Much like the Packers, it was the Bucs’ running game that carried the offense, even though starter Doug Martin was out with a concussion. The team gave RB Peyton Barber the majority of the backfield touches and he responded well, leading the team in rushing (23/102) and receiving (4/41). With Martin potentially out for longer, Barber will be the top waiver wire target in all league formats. Tampa got their starting QB Jameis Winston back and he played well, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, spreading the ball around to his receivers. TE Cameron Brate has proven to be reliant on Winton. In the three games Winston missed, Brate totaled just 28 scoreless yards. With his QB back in the lineup, Brate totaled 39 yards and caught two touchdowns. Winston’s normal top targets were highly disappointing against a team that normally allows heavy receiver scoring. WR Mike Evans (2/33) and WR DeSean Jackson (2/24) both flopped badly.
NY Giants- 17
Oddly, one of the most interesting games of the week was the battle of these two teams who combined for seven wins entering the game. Of course, there was a reason for that. Earlier in the week, the Giants announced that long-time starting QB Eli Manning would end his consecutive games started streak at 210, with QB Geno Smith set to take over. Although Manning had struggled, it still came as a shock and the team refused to refer to it as a benching. Regardless, rumors about Manning’s future, which certainly won’t include the Giants, began to circulate and will be worth watching in the coming months. Smith, who has an unfair reputation for poor play, protected the ball and played it safe, throwing for 212 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. TE Evan Engram broke his cold streak with a 7/99/1 line, while WR Sterling Shepard added 56 yards on three catches. Surprisingly, WR Tavarres King drew a team-high nine targets, though did little with them. This might be the Giants “backup connection.” RB Orleans Darkwa reclaimed the lead back role, carrying the ball 14 times for only 32 yards and a touchdown. Rookie RB Wayne Gallman saw just three carries.
The Raiders were also in a tough spot Sunday. Although they had a chance to move into a tie for the AFC West lead, they were playing without their two top receivers WR Michael Crabtree (suspension) and WR Amari Cooper (concussion), leaving the Raiders to lean heavily on their running game. Veteran RB Marshawn Lynch posted his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, aided largely due to a 51-yard scoring run early in the game. With Crabtree and Cooper out, TE Jared Cook was also in a good spot, but just as he did last week, he caught only one pass, this time for nine yards. QB Derek Carr posted solid numbers considering the circumstances, throwing for 287 yards and a touchdown, but he also missed badly on several throws.
For fantasy footballers, this game was all about one thing…the return of WR Josh Gordon, who had missed the past two seasons, along with much of the 2014 and, of course, 2017 seasons. There were many things going against Gordon in this game, including his erratic rookie QB and one of the toughest pass defenses in the league, but that didn’t slow him down. Gordon easily led the Browns in targets with 11, catching four passes for 85 yards. Many fantasy players were in “wait and see” mode when it comes to relying on Gordon, but he can be fired up against the Packers in Week 14. Sticking with the Browns, they kept the game closer than many expected and Kizer didn’t turn the ball over until a late interception sealed the game. Kizer threw for 215 yards and a touchdown and also led the team in rushing with 46 yards. This was clearly bad news for RB Isaiah Crowell (10/41) and RB Duke Johnson (7/2), who were both shut down by the Chargers defense. Outside of Gordon, rookie TE David Njoku awoke from his mid-season slump, catching four passes for a new career-high 74 yards and a score. WR Corey Coleman disappointed, failing to catch any of his four targets on his way to a goose egg.
This was a great spot for the Chargers passing game, and although they didn’t put up as many points as many expected, the FF numbers were there. WR Keenan Allen became the first player in NFL history to record 10 receptions, at least 100 yards and a touchdown in three consecutive games. Allen finished with a 10/105/1 line, leading the team and more than making up for his mid-season step back. TE Hunter Henry also played well, catching seven passes for 81 yards. He banged up his knee, but following the game, said there was no concerns moving forward. RB Melvin Gordon was fine with 106 total yards and backup Austin Ekeler turned six touches into 40 yards.
New Orleans- 31
At this point, what more can we say about rookie RB Alvin Kamara? Facing the strong Panther defense, Kamara shredded his way to 126 total yards and a pair of touchdowns, both in very impressive fashion. Heading into the fantasy playoffs, Kamara is the one player you want to have on your roster. It was a big day for all of the Saints offensive stars. QB Drew Brees threw for 269 yards and a touchdown, RB Mark Ingram totaled 122 yards and a touchdown. WR Michael Thomas led the team, as he has nearly every week, in targets and receptions. Thomas finished with five receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
QB Cam Newton threw for only 183 yards, but tossed two touchdowns and ran for a team-high 51 yards. The Panthers running game never really got going as starting RB Jonathan Stewart totaled 45 yards on only 11 carries, but he did add a touchdown. Rookie RB Christian McCaffrey totaled only 49 yards, but he also found the end zone to save his fantasy stat line.
LA Rams- 32
The injuries sustained by the Cardinals throughout the season, namely QB Carson Palmer and RB David Johnson, are finally starting to take toll on this team who didn’t put up much of a fight against the Rams. Arizona was even without new starting RB Adrian Peterson in this game, leaning on RB Kerwynn Williams (16/97) as his replacement. Despite the injuries, the team’s struggles and now starting their third quarterback of the year, veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald continues to post impressive numbers. Sunday, he caught all ten of his targets for 98 yards and a touchdown, accounting for nearly half of QB Blaine Gabbert’s passing yardage for the game. Although his touchdown streak ended, rookie TE Ricky Seals-Jones remained a factor with a 2/44 line.
For the Rams, it was another RB Todd Gurley game as the star back led the team in rushing (19/74) and receiving (6/84), but failed to find the end zone. WR Cooper Kupp (5/68) and WR Sammy Watkins (3/38/1) had solid box scores, as well, despite facing the Patrick Peterson led Cardinals defense. QB Jared Goff finished with 220 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Rams won it going away.
The day of NFL action concluded with a battle of two of the best teams in the NFC as Seattle played host to the Eagles and sent them back to Philly with their second loss of the season. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw a trio of touchdowns, along with 227 passing yards. RB Mike Davis was back from his injury and easily led the way in the backfield, rushing for 64 yards on 16 carries. RBs Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy and J.D. McKissic saw just one carry each. TE Jimmy Graham hauled in the first Seattle touchdown, but was largely held in check, totaling three receptions for 26 yards and the touchdown. WR Doug Baldwin finished with a 5/84 line, leading the team. Although WR Tyler Lockett caught a touchdown, he and WR Paul Richardson combined for just four receptions and 25 yards.
The Eagles offense couldn’t hang with the Seahawks, but MVP candidate QB Carson Wentz ended with a nice box score, throwing for 314 yards and a touchdown, along with an interception. RB Jay Ajayi led the backfield, but that only meant nine rushes for 35 scoreless yards. Although WR Alshon Jeffery has the big contract after signing a four-year extension earlier in the weekend, he finished with just four receptions for 61 yards. WR Nelson Agholor led the team with seven catches for 141 yards and a 51-yard touchdown. Potentially even more damaging than the loss itself was the loss of TE Zach Ertz, who left the game with a concussion after just two receptions for 24 yards. If Ertz can’t go next week, backup TE Trey Burton, who came in and posted a 4/42 line, becomes a must-add waiver target and a solid starting option.
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