NFL Fantasy Football Reactions: Week 13

NFL Fantasy Football Reactions: Week 13

This article is part of our NFL Reactions series.

Week 13 was always going to be a challenge. Six teams are on bye, and plenty of players sat out with injuries. If that wasn't enough, a significant number of players either underperformed or left this week's games with injuries. Clearly, this was a frustrating day for many fantasy players who needed to pile up big points ahead of the fantasy playoffs. Let's look at Sunday's NFL action.

Reactions

  • The 49ers looked mortal in the first quarter against the Eagles as they were held without a point and had -6 yards of offense. The offense looked to be out of sync due to quarterback pressure. The ineffectiveness didn't last long. San Francisco scored two touchdowns in each of the three remaining quarters to blow out Philadelphia. The 49ers are now just one game behind Philly for the top seed in the NFC. Obviously, if these teams end up tied, this head-to-head win gives the 49ers the tiebreaker. San Francisco faced a team with an excellent run defense that also had significant struggles against the pass. When the Eagles' pass rush was unable to get to Brock Purdy, the quarterback carved them up. Although he largely took his foot off the gas in the fourth quarter, he threw for 314 yards and four TDs. Aside from the down performance on Thanksgiving, he has been an elite fantasy play in three of the last four games. Few QBs have his combination of high floor and high ceiling. In terms of the pass

Week 13 was always going to be a challenge. Six teams are on bye, and plenty of players sat out with injuries. If that wasn't enough, a significant number of players either underperformed or left this week's games with injuries. Clearly, this was a frustrating day for many fantasy players who needed to pile up big points ahead of the fantasy playoffs. Let's look at Sunday's NFL action.

Reactions

  • The 49ers looked mortal in the first quarter against the Eagles as they were held without a point and had -6 yards of offense. The offense looked to be out of sync due to quarterback pressure. The ineffectiveness didn't last long. San Francisco scored two touchdowns in each of the three remaining quarters to blow out Philadelphia. The 49ers are now just one game behind Philly for the top seed in the NFC. Obviously, if these teams end up tied, this head-to-head win gives the 49ers the tiebreaker. San Francisco faced a team with an excellent run defense that also had significant struggles against the pass. When the Eagles' pass rush was unable to get to Brock Purdy, the quarterback carved them up. Although he largely took his foot off the gas in the fourth quarter, he threw for 314 yards and four TDs. Aside from the down performance on Thanksgiving, he has been an elite fantasy play in three of the last four games. Few QBs have his combination of high floor and high ceiling. In terms of the pass catchers, we know the drill. Each one of the receiving options in this offense has excellent upside. However, there will be weeks in which not all of them are utilized. That gives each some weekly downside. My recommendation continues to be to start all of them and take the good with the bad.
  • Despite getting blown out, the Eagles have been a phenomenal team all season. Many of us have questioned their offense, as there have been times where they didn't appear to be sharp from drive-to-drive. Regardless, the end result has had them being near the top of the league in points scored, so it seemed like nitpicking. Whether they were just off against the 49ers, or if those inefficiencies were proven out by an elite defense, they never had a realistic chance to keep up with the 49ers. Both A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith had solid fantasy performances. Otherwise, there wasn't much left to talk about. It certainly will help once Dallas Goedert is back in the lineup. The veteran tight end adds an additional complication for defenses, making it tougher to deal with Brown and Smith. There are no unique fantasy takeaways from this game. The only primary offensive player to have a bad game was D'Andre Swift. Despite him posting just 20 scrimmage yards, he should go right back to being a top-15 running back.
  • In one of the most exciting games of the day, the Texans held off a late Denver rally to win 22-17. Sadly, the story of this game was a fractured fibula for Tank Dell. The amazing rookie is expected to miss the rest of the season. The nature of his injury was frustrating. The tiny receiver was used in a scrum of players to block on a rushing attempt that was given to a running back. Dell didn't seem to be a great fit for that assignment. Fantasy managers who counted on his production will greatly miss him during the fantasy playoffs. With Dell out and Dalton Schultz missing this game due to injury, Nico Collins had an incredible game. The emerging star caught nine passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. It was clear that C.J. Stroud has full confidence in Collins, and he leaned on him whenever a big play was needed. Although Collins had a stretch of limited production earlier in the season, he's back in the discussion as a top-24 receiver, especially with Dell out. I was surprised by Houston's running back usage. Although the carries were fairly equal last week between Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary, Singletary dominated with 82 percent of the snaps. In this game, Pierce had 15 carries to only eight for Singletary. Needless to say, many fantasy managers paid a heavy price by starting Singletary in the hopes of him having a big game. It's hard to trust the Houston RB usage.
  • Although Russell Wilson threw three interceptions, he had a chance to pull out a victory for the Broncos on the last drive of the game. The fact that the game was that close despite the turnovers is a major testament to coach Sean Payton. Between the team's rushing attack and defense, it has become a handful for opponents. The only player with a strong fantasy performance was Courtland Sutton. Despite catching just two of seven targets, both of his receptions were on longer passes, so he ended up with 77 yards and a touchdown. Despite the potential volatility of living on red zone and deep passes, I will not recommend that fantasy managers sit Sutton against any reasonable options. Sutton is scoring touchdowns at an incredible rate, and I know that can dry up at a moment's notice, but I expect his usage to continue.
  • Even though the Colts had a challenging road matchup against the Titans, they pulled out the victory. Michael Pittman continues to be a target hog. His 16 targets were 10 more than any of his teammates'. The star receiver scored the game-winning touchdown, ending the day with 105 yards as well. With the game evolving into a shootout, Gardner Minshew threw for 312 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Unfortunately, a pair of Indianapolis players had disappointing afternoons. Zack Moss appeared to be the ultimate weekly play after scoring 33 PPR points against this defense in Week 5. It was a different story this time around. Moss had 57 combined yards with two receptions. Tennessee came out with every intention of shutting him down, and it had excellent success. Based on his performance since the end of last season, Moss should be trusted as a top-15 running back as long as Jonathan Taylor remains sidelined. Also, I liked Josh Downs as an upside play. I felt he could catch one or two deep passes against a Titans defense that struggles in that area. What I didn't foresee is that Alec Pierce would be the player to post 100 yards and a touchdown. As a result, Downs caught three passes for 14 yards. Downs may be best treated as a flex option in 12-team leagues.
  • It was great to see Derrick Henry have a second strong performance in a row. The good news was that he rushed for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The bad news was that he suffered a likely concussion and left the game in the fourth quarter. Hopefully, Henry recovers fully and quickly. When he's back in action, he appears to be a better weekly play when he's on his home field. Regardless, it's difficult to view him outside the top-15 running backs. DeAndre Hopkins has had some up and down performances with Will Levis at quarterback. In this game, Hopkins dominated with 12 targets, and he turned that into 75 yards and a touchdown. He had multiple red-zone targets but could not convert them into an additional touchdown grab. As long as expectations are realistic, Hopkins should be in weekly lineups.
  • Facing a difficult New Orleans defense on the road, the Lions came out hot. They had 21 points on the board while time still remained in the first quarter. It looked like the entire offense was on its way to a massive fantasy day. By the time the game was over, surprisingly, the only Detroit player with a big fantasy day was Sam LaPorta. The tight end led the team with nine targets, catching all of them for 140 yards and a touchdown. Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery were held to fewer than 60 scrimmage yards, though Montgomery did find the end zone. Amon-Ra St. Brown only caught two passes, but he made the most of those chances by posting 49 yards and a touchdown. There's not much of a takeaway from this game. Starting your top Detroit players every week is usually a wise choice. 
  • It was difficult to argue with the game plan employed by the Saints. They counted on their three playmakers, and it kept them in position to have a chance to win the game late. Alvin Kamara received 20 touches, turning his opportunities into 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His volume has been excellent in almost every game. Even though the results vary from week-to-week, he remains a high-end weekly starter regardless of matchup. I still continue to get lineup questions each week that involve Chris Olave. This week, some might have been concerned about last week's concussion, but typically a player who is cleared can be expected to perform at typical levels. The star receiver took advantage of a vulnerable Detroit secondary on his way to 119 yards. Even though his upside is not where we would like it, his scoring floor in most weeks has been excellent. Don't overthink it. Start Olave every week. Finally, Taysom Hill didn't have a great game, but he was productive. Used as an offensive weapon, Hill had 74 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. He was inches short of scoring another touchdown before being removed from the game while Kamara punched in the short score. Since all fantasy football tight ends have down weeks, I view Hill as a top-10 option every week.
  • To the surprise of many, the Cardinals went into Pittsburgh and blew out the Steelers. Arizona put up 24 points with just two players having meaningful fantasy performances. James Conner seemed fired up in his return to his hometown. After a sluggish first half, he came out on fire in a second half that included two long weather-related delays. Conner scored a touchdown in the third quarter, then he piled up the yardage while adding a second score in the final quarter. Even though Conner is one of my favorite players in the league, his production in this game is not indicative of the rest of his season. He should be considered a low-end RB2 based on volume. The only receiver to post more than 21 yards was Trey McBride, who had 89 yards and a TD. I was a little concerned about him after being very limited due to injury in this week's practices. The tight end was targeted nine times with no other Arizona player seeing more than three targets. McBride actually had a touchdown overturned, but he quickly came back on the same drive and found the end zone. Based on his role and recent production, I find it nearly impossible to rank him outside of the top-six tight ends in PPR leagues.
  • Over the years, I remember many occasions when the Steelers faced inferior opponents and simply didn't show up. In some of those games, they rallied for late comebacks to win. That didn't happen against Arizona in a blowout loss. Not that it mattered, but Kenny Pickett was forced from the game with an ankle injury late in the first half. The team didn't score a touchdown until the final moments. The TD went to Diontae Johnson. The score came after Johnson's memorable overturned TD last week. Otherwise, no Pittsburgh player had a strong fantasy performance. The most disappointing performance came from Pat Freiermuth. After the team decided to get him the ball last week, he recorded just 29 yards on three receptions. Until we see back-to-back productive games from the tight end, he'll remain a  risky fantasy option.
  • The Falcons had two things working against them. The first was facing an outstanding Jets defense. The other was Desmond Ridder on the road. Bijan Robinson turned his 21 touches into 79 scrimmage yards, so it wasn't a total loss for him. Kyle Pitts was the leading receiver with 51 yards while also leading the team with eight targets. Meanwhile, Drake London had an eight-yard reception and that was it. Even though Atlanta did score a touchdown, to nobody's surprise (this is sarcasm), it was scored by MyCole Pruitt, who is rostered only in the deepest of leagues. Aside from Robinson, it is difficult to have any level of trust in the Atlanta skill-position players.
  • The Jets were led in rushing by Dalvin Cook with 35 yards. Their leading receiver was Xavier Gipson with 77 yards. In addition, Trevor Siemian closed out the game at quarterback. Those who started Breece Hall or Garrett Wilson had very little return on their investment. You don't need me to tell you that the New York offense is one of the worst messes imaginable. Start any of its players at your own risk.
  • There was actually a game that was worse than the Falcons-Jets matchup. The Chargers brought home a victory despite scoring on just a pair of second-quarter field goals. I was nervous telling a number of fantasy managers that they might consider benching Austin Ekeler. I assumed that Bill Belichick would compress his defense to try to slow the star running back along with Keenan Allen. Sadly, the Chargers lack the alternate weapons to consistently take advantage of those types of defensive adjustments. Despite seeing 16 touches, Ekeler had just 27 yards. The 28-year-old running back does not look like the same player he's been. His volume makes him difficult to bench in fantasy lineups, but in shallow leagues, that option remains on the table depending upon his matchup. At least Allen had a solid floor game. He caught five of nine targets for 58 yards. In PPR leagues, Allen remains an elite weekly option. Finally, Justin Herbert obviously had one of his worst games as a pro. He is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, buy his lack of weapons is a serious problem when Los Angeles faces good defenses.
  • It seems fairly certain that there weren't many football fans who thought that Bailey Zappe would be the answer at quarterback for the Patriots. The young signal collar did make it a point to throw the ball downfield to DeVante Parker. The wide receiver was targeted nine times, catching four of those for 64 yards. Despite his decent game, Parker is not likely a player on whom fantasy managers can count. Rhamondre Stevenson was on his way to a very good afternoon, but he suffered an ankle injury and did not return. With Stevenson sidelined, Ezekiel Elliott took advantage of the positive matchup by posting 92 scrimmage yards with four receptions. If Stevenson is forced to miss time, Elliott could move into a  high-volume role.
  • I really wish I had an answer as to how to predict Puka Nacua each week. In a difficult matchup against the Browns, he had a 70-yard touchdown reception, helping him to surpass 100 yards. At this point, we know he has great upside. We also know there will be some lean weeks as well. It seems that the most logical way to handle him in fantasy is to consider him a boom-or-bust WR3. Also, I have to wonder if we're going to see vintage Cooper Kupp on a regular basis anymore. Even if I take out the game when he injured his ankle in the first half, Kupp has been held to fewer than 50 yards in his last five games. I may not be able to recommend him as a strong starting option until I see some sign that things could begin to change. For most of the game, it appeared as if Kyren Williams was going to have an underwhelming fantasy performance. Fortunately, the Rams had the ball multiple times in the latter part of the fourth quarter. During that stage of the game, Williams pushed past 100 scrimmage yards while scoring a touchdown in the last two minutes. His volume and role in the offense legitimately make him a top-5 running back. That has to do with Williams' production, but it also has to do with the lack of production by many of the other running backs this season. Regardless, Williams has been fantastic, and there's no reason to expect otherwise down the stretch.
  • Even though Cleveland lost Amari Cooper to a concussion in the first half, Joe Flacco played well, especially based on expectations that most fantasy managers had. Flacco did have a positive matchup. The Rams are much better against the run than the pass. In addition, the Cleveland offensive line was well-equipped to deal with the Los Angeles pass rush. If Flacco continues to play this well, it should be enough to cement a trip to the playoffs for the Browns.
  • Obviously, the Panthers are one of the worst teams in the NFL. The main encouraging sign in this game was that Chuba Hubbard had a solid performance against a good Tampa Bay run defense. Since the game stayed reasonably close throughout, he handled 25 carries. Hubbard turned those opportunities into 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Although his usage isn't guaranteed every week, his volume does make him a useful weekly fantasy option. There definitely will be games where he doesn't play very well, but volume is king in fantasy football, and when options are slim, Hubbard makes for a solid lineup choice. It was also good to see Jonathan Mingo have his second productive game in a row. He easily led the team with 10 targets, catching six passes for 69 yards. It's the second week in a row he posted at least 60 yards. With his recent target volume and production, he may be in consideration as a flex option in deeper leagues.
  • At this point, the Buccaneers have two strong fantasy players. Mike Evans continues to see extreme target volume from Baker Mayfield. Evans has been consistently making big plays while finding the end zone. In this game, he posted 162 yards and a TD. Fantasy managers who invested in Evans have been well rewarded, and we should continue to see those rewards throughout the fantasy playoffs. Also, Rachaad White  continues to get outstanding volume. Even though his yards per carry is nothing special, he provides fantasy managers with strong production almost every week. Against the Panthers, he posted 106 scrimmage yards with a rushing touchdown. In the games that he doesn't produce as a runner, he often chips in as a pass catcher. It's nearly impossible to recommend benching White in almost any game he plays.

Injuries

The following players injured and did not return:

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NFL Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NFL fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Coventry
Coventry was a finalist for the FSWA football writer of the year in 2022. He started playing fantasy football in 1994 and won a national contest in 1996. He also nabbed five top-50 finishes in national contests from 2008 to 2012 before turning his attention to DFS. He's been an industry analyst since 2007, though he joined RotoWire in 2016. A published author, Coventry wrote a book about relationships, "The Secret of Life", in 2013.
Dynasty Watch: Players Gaining Value this Winter
Dynasty Watch: Players Gaining Value this Winter
NFL Free Agency: Assessing Potential Cap Casualties
NFL Free Agency: Assessing Potential Cap Casualties
Best Ball Strategy: Late-Round Values & Stacks for 2024 Best Ball
Best Ball Strategy: Late-Round Values & Stacks for 2024 Best Ball
Best Ball Strategy: Middle-Round Values & Stacks for 2024 NFL Best Ball
Best Ball Strategy: Middle-Round Values & Stacks for 2024 NFL Best Ball