Welcome to the Week 13 Fantasy Football Wrap-up!
In the aftermath of another wild slate of Sunday games, there are some players that deserve special mention. We saw some unexpected players dominate in Week 13, while other “surefire” starters completely dropped the ball. But which ones require a closer look for Fantasy Football purposes?
I’ll be subbing in for Ahaan (@AhaanRungta) this week, who’s off trying to understand how Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn still has a job. As always, any rankings mentioned will not take into account matchups after Sunday Night Football.
With that said, let’s dive in!
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Week 13 Fantasy Football Wrap-Up
Sizzling Quarterback-Wide Receiver Combos
Derek Carr & Henry Ruggs III (LV Raiders)
Just when you think Derek Carr couldn’t possibly be any worse for Fantasy Football, he goes and does something like this… and TOTALLY REDEEMS HIMSELF! The seventh-year passer was the ire of many fantasy managers last week after he suffered a complete meltdown in a supposed smash spot against the Falcons. But he found redemption at MetLife Stadium, throwing for 381 yards and three TDs, adding another rushing score.
Carr was Week 13’s clear-cut QB1. He latched onto TE Darren Waller, who caught 13 of an astonishing 17 targets for 200 yards and two TDs (more on him later). However, the match was much closer than it should’ve been against a wily Jets team. Carr ultimately saved the day with a 46-yard BOMB to a wide-open rookie Henry Ruggs III at the last second:
— NFL (@NFL) December 6, 2020
Ruggs beat coverage from Lamar Jackson (the other one) to seal the victory. Both guys should be popular FAAB/waiver wire pickups this week, but buyer beware. They have an unsavory matchup on deck against the formidable Colts. If they can pull it off against Indianapolis, then sky’s the limit.
Baker Mayfield & Jarvis Landry/Rashard Higgins (CLE Browns)
Four TDs in the first half. Wait, what? Week 13’s No. 2 QB, Baker Mayfield, put on an absolute clinic in an upset win over the Titans. Though he spread the ball around, it was the underrated Jarvis Landry who led the team with 10 targets. Landry had eight receptions for 62 yards and a TD. The Cleveland duo has been heating up recently, though they’re unlikely to catch fire next week against the Ravens.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention fellow wideout Rashard Higgins, who caught six of nine targets for 95 yards and a score. The oft-injured receiver looked impressive at times and could be a desperate dart-throw option going forward. But don’t expect consistency with the Colorado State product. His nine targets were the most he’s seen this year. After Cleveland lost superstar Odell Beckham Jr. to a torn ACL, savvy managers expected Higgins to see an uptick in usage alongside Landry. Yet, his average targets per game only increased from 2.4 to a miserable 3.3 leading up to Week 13. Could Higgins become a steady favorite for Mayfield? Sure, but with a run-heavy offense, I wouldn’t count on it, especially during fantasy playoffs.
Ryan Tannehill & Corey Davis (TEN Titans)
If I were to tell you that QB3 Ryan Tannehill threw 45 times for 389 yards and three TDs, you’d probably expect colossus A.J. Brown to have had a huge game. Instead, it was former first-round pick Corey Davis who exploded with 11 receptions for 182 yards and a TD. His massive performance made him this week’s surprise WR1.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 6, 2020
Davis was the only Titan to see double-digit targets (12) as RB stud Derrick Henry struggled to get anything going. Though he’s been wildly inconsistent, Davis has proven to be a discount version of Brown, who caught four of seven targets for 87 yards. With favorable matchups on the horizon, both receivers are in play. But Henry should steamroll the opposition, thus rendering one (or both) WRs unnecessary, so temper expectations.
Matthew Stafford & Marvin Jones Jr. (DET Lions)
Welcome to the Darrell Bevell era. The interim head coach has achieved his first win after the maligned Matt Patricia was fired following a disastrous shutout loss to the Panthers in Week 11. The Lions won a narrow victory over the Bears thanks to Matthew Stafford’s gun-slinging ways. He completed 27 of 42 passes for 402 yards and three TDs, scoring with WRs Marvin Jones Jr., Quintez Cephus, and TE Jesse James. But it was Jones who saw a team-high 12 targets, reeling in eight passes for 116 yards.
Jones was the only player to see 10+ targets and 100+ yards. In fact, he’s now had back-to-back games with 12 looks. Though star wideout Kenny Golladay should return any minute now, Jones is cementing his place as a reliable target for Stafford. All three guys should be popular options in a potential divisional shootout next week against the Packers.
Kirk Cousins & Justin Jefferson/Adam Thielen (MIN Vikings)
My goodness. QB Kirk Cousins has been on fire lately, completing 28 of 43 passes for 305 yards and three TDs. That’s now three straight weeks of 300+ passing yards and three TDs. Insane for someone often disrespected and found on waivers. Speaking of waivers, 2020’s ultimate waiver wire WR hero has undoubtedly been rookie sensation Justin Jefferson. He led the team in targets (12), reeling in nine passes for 121 yards, including this absolutely filthy route that led to a score:
Justin Jefferson COOKED this DB 😳
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 6, 2020
Veteran receiver Adam Thielen followed closely behind, catching eight of 11 targets for 75 yards and a TD. BOTH pass-catchers finished as WR1s, with Jefferson at No. 3 and Thielen at No. 8. Jefferson broke records against the Jaguars, becoming just the 5th rookie in the Super Bowl era to notch 1000+ receiving yards in his first 12 games. The last guy to do it? Odell Beckham Jr. He’s also the first Vikings rookie to do so since Randy Moss. That’s some elite company. Both Jefferson and Thielen are matchup proof must-starts that will look to continue their dominance next week against a rested Buccaneers defense.
Running Back Studs and Duds
David Montgomery (CHI Bears)
Bears RB David Montgomery had himself a DAY in a losing effort against the Lions. The second-year rusher was unstoppable, rushing 17 times for 72 yards and two TDs. He also caught all four targets for an additional 39 yards. That was good for the overall RB1 this week. He’s now had repeat elite showcases since returning from injury/bye, both against divisional opponents.
All hail David Montgomery pic.twitter.com/EVYjpVZioH
— Barstool Chicago (@barstoolchicago) December 6, 2020
Don’t look now, but Montgomery also has one of the GREATEST playoff schedules. He gets to close the fantasy season against Houston, Minnesota, and Jacksonville, who have all bled points to opposing RBs. Though he’s been a volume-driven RB2 prior to his bye, he should close out the year as a bona fide RB1.
Dalvin Cook (MIN Vikings)
Apparently, the reports of Dalvin Cook’s injury has been greatly exaggerated. Cook appeared banged up with an ankle injury from last week’s contest against the Panthers. But he quieted all naysayers by carrying the rock an incredible 32 times against the Jaguars. He managed 120 yards, adding six catches from nine targets for an extra 59 yards. Though he didn’t score, he finished as Week 13’s RB2, which is coincidentally the same overall ranking he has on the year.
But unlike Montgomery above, Cook has one of the WORST playoff schedules, having to face Tampa Bay, Chicago, and New Orleans’ ironclad D-lines. But if anyone can pull it off, it’s Cook, who has been simply marvelous throughout his career barring injuries. Don’t get cute; keep him locked and loaded as your RB1 for the remainder of the season.
Aaron Jones (GB Packers)
It was rough sledding for Jones, who struggled to build momentum against the Eagles tough defense. But he saved his fantasy day with a gorgeous 77-yard run to the house, breaking tackles and side-stepping the multitude of defenders that dared stand in his way:
Absolutely FILTHY run by Aaron Jones 🔥🔥🔥
— Peter Chung (@FF_Hypeman) December 7, 2020
Up next for Jones is Detroit, Caroline, and Tennessee, all of whom have given up some of the MOST points to opposing RBs. ‘Nuff said, play him if you’re lucky enough to have him.
James Robinson (JAX Jaguars)
Matchup proof. Waiver wire darling. RB1. Those are all appropriate monikers for Week 13’s RB4. He totaled 108 all-purpose yards from 24 touches against the Vikings. Prior to that, he recorded 159 AP yards and a TD against an imposing Browns defense. The kid is a workhorse stud that will assuredly be on most championship lineups. With a favorable Titans matchup up next, Robinson should continue to thrive as this year’s top waiver wire RB pickup.
Jonathan Taylor (IND Colts)
Has Jonathan Taylor finally been given the reins to the Colts backfield? Maybe… but at least that’s what has happened in Week 13. The hyped rookie led the crowded RB room with 13 carries for 91 yards against the Texans. He also caught all three targets for an additional 44 yards and a TD, making him this week’s RB5. This is quickly becoming a trend as he had 22 rushing attempts and four targets in his last game.
All aboard the @JayT23 Train. 🚂
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 6, 2020
Though his future looks promising — especially with upcoming advantageous matchups against the Raiders and Texans again — it’s always hard to trust head coach Frank Reich, who favors the hot-hand approach to a frustrating degree. After all, it was Nyheim Hines, not Taylor, who saw the only Red Zone carries. There’s also backup QB Jacoby Brissett, who is annoyingly used at the goal-line far more often than necessary. But Taylor’s productivity is to great to ignore. Let’s just cross our fingers and hope that Reich finally utilizes Taylor as the lead back we drafted him to be.
Miles Sanders (PHI Eagles)
Oh, farts. The fantasy community collectively groaned as we witnessed highly drafted RB Miles Sanders criminally underutilized in a lopsided loss to the Packers. He rushed just 10 times for 31 measly yards, along with a single catchless target. While he “led” the committee comprised of Boston Scott and Jordan Howard, any attempt was made futile as QB Carson Wentz proceeded to destroy all hopes for any offensive movement.
It’s an unfathomable thought for those that spent high draft capital on him, but Sanders should be benched until something improves with the Eagles offense. Luckily, that may have arrived in the form of rookie QB Jalen Hurts, who will be a popular waiver wire/FAAB pickup and just might be the spark needed to rejuvenate the 2018 Super Bowl champions. Hurts’ dual-threat abilities should open holes for Sanders to burst through, but we’ll need to “wait and see” before proceeding.
Tight End Heroes
Darren Waller (LV Raiders)
Wow. Just, WOW. Fan-favorite TE Darren Waller went completely nuclear against the Jets, catching 13 of 17 targets for an incredible 200 yards and two TDs. Not only was this his career-best performance, but it was the best numbers produced by any TE this year. He’s now in elite status as just the sixth TE to ever record 200 receiving yards in a game. Condolences if you had to go against him this week, as he’s nearly doubled the points of the second-highest TE, Travis Kelce. Keep plugging him into your starting lineup and enjoy having a huge advantage over your competitors in an otherwise barren TE landscape.
D-Wall just decided to do it himself 😅
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) December 6, 2020
Travis Kelce (KC Chiefs)
Famed TE Travis Kelce not only helped clinched a playoff spot for his team, but likely helped fantasy GMs clinch their spot into the fantasy playoffs as well. The beastly receiver caught eight of 13 targets for 136 whopping yards and a TD in a victory over the Broncos on SNF. His commanding performance — something he’s done many times throughout his prolific career — is exactly why you drafted him early.
His remaining matchups run the spectrum of difficulty: the 25th ranked Dolphins, the 18th ranked Saints, and the 1st ranked Falcons. But like The Rock says, “it doesn’t matter.” You could transport the ’85 Chicago Bears defense in front of him, and he’d still find a way to generate points. It’s come to the point where you could feasibly start both him AND Waller, which goes to show just how amazing they’ve been.
Mike Gesicki (MIA Dolphins)
Has Tua Tagovailoa finally built a connection with Mike Gesicki? It sure looked like it, as the “slotty” TE caught nine of 11 targets for 88 yards and a TD in a low-scoring victory over the Bengals. However, his sudden spike in touches may have had to do with a lack of receiving options instead. WRs DeVante Parker and Mack Hollins were ejected after a brawl ensued following a cheap shot to returner Jakeem Grant. Fortunately, Gesicki had already scored before the melee. With the Chiefs up next, Tagovailoa will likely have to air it out to his trusted receivers, meaning Gesicki could see another top-end week.
Dan Arnold (ARI Cardinals)
Who? The undrafted Wisconsin-Platteville product, Dan Arnold, finds himself as the TE4 in Week 13. What’s even more surprising is that he did so with just two receptions from three targets against the Rams. But each of those catches went for a TD, totaling 61 yards altogether. He will be a curious waiver wire/FAAB addition for Week 14, but that just screams “chasing points.” Arnold’s only averaged 2.5 measly targets per game. Like with most lower-ranked TEs, you’re banking on a fluky TD for any sort of fantasy relevance. Time will tell if Arnold develops into a prominent mainstay, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. For now, though, enjoy his 59-yard TD from embarrassingly blown coverage, courtesy of the Rams:
— NFL (@NFL) December 6, 2020
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