Week 13 has been a week of many huge performances, but not all good and bad performances give us new decisions to make. The performances of Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, or Odell Beckham, Jr. did not change our minds in seasonal leagues, as we have already decided that those are the safe spots in our lineups; and I should not need to convince you on David Johnson, leading the backfield in that awesome offense. Every Monday, we try to hone in on the standouts, busts, and injuries which will influence our play most for the rest of the season.
Stud of the Week: The Seahawks offense has scored at least 29 in four straight weeks and gained over 433 total yards in three
Russell Wilson was not the performer that others were, but of all the hot QBs right now, he was probably the most worrysome early in the season. After his 345-yard, five-TD performance in Pittsburgh, I still felt weary about his matchup for Week 13. That owning Russell Wilson still required having a second QB on our rosters to start for this week and Week 16 against the Rams.
Wilson is a matchup-proof stud in a year where no defense is really sustaining itself as a complete QB killer other than the Broncos. Wilson only needed 27 pass attempts for 274 yards and three TDs to give him 11 TDs to zero INTs in his last three, averaging nearly 300 yards per game. None of the three game have been volume dependent--throwing 29 and 27 times in the previous--so the production is not at the price of Thomas Rawls taking a back seat.
Rawls ran for a 19/101/1 line, adding three catches for 22 yards and Wilson's performances have not been a game of whack-a-mole with his receiving options. Doug Baldwin has had at least 19 fantasy points in three of the last four weeks, seeing 31 targets, despite only 118 total pass attempts from Wilson. Baldwin's 7/94/2 line marked his fifth week in a row of at least six targets and fourth in a row of at least five catches. His 24/433/6 line in the last four is not a fluke of one big game or a couple of random big plays--trends so rare that we have previously never been able to trust Wilson's receivers in fantasy.
The Seahawks are the only thing that can stop themselves from these three having huge performances against the Ravens in Week 14 and Browns in Week 15. These weapons are taking teams into the playoffs to potentially wafflecrush for championships.
Dud of the Week: Jarvis Landry disappeared in a run-heavy Miami approach over the Ravens
I hate the Dolphins. Everything about this team is a constant tease. Everything never clicks at the same time for consecutive weeks.
Landry came into the week eighth in the NFL in targets (112) and fifth in receptions (77). Lamar Miller had not hit double digit targets in either of the two weeks coming into Week 13 and #2 WR Rishard Matthews (ribs) was inactive, so a matchup against the terrible Ravens should have been a volume feast for Landry.
Ryan Tannehill only threw 19 times, completing only nine passes, and Landry's production was non-existent. Only two catches for five yards in five targets. Womp, womp!
The schedule is fantastic for Landry, rest of season. He gets the Giants, Chargers, Colts, and Patriots to close the season with three home games. We should still feel great about him as a WR1, but we have to feel Miami will have to throw to bank on Landry as a middle class DFS option, even in PPR, because we are banking on the volume. Continuing to keep Landry in my top-8 just because I refuse to trust the Dolphins to be competent enough to afford to run, though we cannot bench the much riskier Miller at all with that schedule, either.
Thud of the Week: Brandon Flowers (knee) missing time would improve matchups
Brandon Flowers left the game, did not return, and was in a walking boot afterward. Underneath the ruins of terrible Chargers play, Jason Verrett has been really strong as the primary CB. San Diego is 28th in DVOA against the pass, but only 19th against #1 WRs and 22nd against #2s coming into Week 13, according to FootballOutsiders.com.
The Chargers face the Chiefs in Week 14 and Jeremy Maclin lines up all over the place, including in the middle of bunch sets to make it very difficult to isolate Verrett on Maclin. Maclin is coming off of a huge 9/95/2 game against the Raiders, who were 14th in DVOA against #1 WRs coming into the week, largely because Andy Reid made it virtually impossible for T.J. Carrie to shadow Maclin. Expect a similarly effective approach against the Chargers by Reid and in Week 15 against Landry, who also moves around very often before the snap, with or without Flowers, as Flowers is likely to not be 100%.
Blake Bortles is a volume stud
Before Week 12, no QB had thrown for more than 266 yards or two TDs in Tennessee, when Derek Carr threw for 330 and three TDs. The previous QBs who had not broken the 300 mark were Cam Newton (217/1/0), Andrew Luck (260/2/2), Matt Ryan (251/1/2), Ryan Tannehill (266/2/2), and Tyrod Taylor (109/1/0). Bortles only had to throw 36 times to hit 322 yards and five TDs with no INTs in the Jaguars' 42-39 shootout win in Tennessee, despite no Allen Hurns (concussion, foot, thigh, etc.).
Bortles does not have a monster under the bed looming for the rest of the season, facing the Colts, Falcons, and Saints in Weeks 14 through 16. Week 17 in Houston is debateable, as the Texans defense is a binary shutdown-or-disaster bunch, but we can safely treat Bortles as a top-8 QB to start for the rest of the season though our playoffs.
Hurns has really been hurt since Week 11, though he played in Weeks 11 and 12. Since Week 11, Allen Robinson is leading the NFL in receiving yards (322), fourth in the NFL in targets (33), eighth in receptions (20), and tied with Brandon Marshall for second in TDs (4), thanks to his 10/153/3 line in Week 13. Bortles-Robinson is an elite DFS stack for the next three weeks.
Marshall gets the Titans at home in Week 14, by the way. Coming off of a 12/131/1 game against the Giants in Week 13 and double digit targets in four straight weeks while Chris Ivory has been a binary coinflip, the Jets without Darelle Revis again could make for another shootout. We are never benching Marshall anyway, but Fitzpatrick-Marshall couple well as a DFS stack and Ryan Fitzpatrick makes for a safe streaming QB with great upside.
Richard Rodgers was more than a hail mary grab
Aaron Rodgers had that miraculous bomb caught by Richard Rodgers to end the Thursday night game for a game-winning 61-yard TD, but the TE was having a great PPR night, overall. His 8/146/1 line was a 7/85/0 line before that play. TE Rodgers has been targeted 34 times in the last five games, 20 in the three games since the Packers lost three straight. TE Rodgers is obviously a large part of their plan to rebound this season without Jordy Nelson where Davante Adams has failed, James Jones has become a pumpkin, and Randall Cobb is clearly playing hurt and not himself.
Martavis Bryant is more than The Other Guy
Lost in the narrative of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown's enormous Sunday Night Football performances to solidify the QB as top-3 and WR as #1, rest of season, is the legitimate notion of Bryant as a WR1. Martavis is and will always be big play-dependent, but the Steelers are nor short of attempting those bombs in volume.
Bryant's 4/114/1 line looks like a fluke, in a vacuum. The fact is that he saw eight targets and has done so in every game but his seven-target Week 9. Despite not debuting the season until Week 6, he has six receiving TDs to Brown's five over that span, averaging nine targets per game.
Sure, the catch rate is under 50%, but Martavis is second in the NFL in yards per reception (20.1), has three 100-yard games, and has scored in five of the seven games he has played. Only Brown, Beckham, Marshall, Robinson, and DeAndre Hopkins have more FanDuel points among WRs than him over that span.
DeVante Parker and Devin Funchess emerging late in their rookie seasons with TDs
Parker saw as many targets as Landry on Sunday and scored a TD with a 3/63/1 line, playing 90% of the snaps with Matthews inactive. The logic of Landry's schedule applies to Parker as a high-upside WR3, rest of season, as long as Matthews is out. The talent is there. The only question is how often Miami passes that week, and double the passes thrown by Tannehill would still likely not amount to more than ten targets for Parker, but the upside to get into the end zone.
Funchess is a lower volume option than Parker and after two straight weeks of playing around 80% of the snaps, Funchess went back to his earlier season volume of playing about a third of the snaps in Week 13. His 13-yard TD catch was his only catch in only three targets on the day. The Panthers have potential blowouts ahead against the Falcons, Giants, and Falcons again in the coming three weeks, and we should believe that Ron RIvera wants to get him going before the playoffs because they cannot bank on Ted Ginn, Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery alone, outside of Greg Olsen.
Shaun Draughn continues to get volume
Sunday was Draughn's first game of fewer than 20 touches as a starter, but he still got 18, including five catches in six targets. 86 total yards and his first TD with guaranteed receptions makes him a very safe high-floor, low-ceiling PPR play, rest of season.
Since becoming the starter in Week 9, after Carlos Hyde (foot) went down, Draughn leads all RBs in targets per game (6.75) and receptions per game (5.5). This has all coincided with Blaine Gabbert becoming the starting QB.
James White is doing work
White is not Dion Lewis and is irrelevant in the rushing game, but he is the de facto slot receiver for the Patriots, so we cannot ignore his 10/115/1 line in 15 targets against the Eagles in Week 13. Wouldn't trust him in standard leagues over WRs, but he may be a legit RB2 in PPR formats.
The Colts WRs are dead to me
Through 11 games, 15 WRs had scored double digit FanDuel points against the Steelers; 10 had scored at least 15. T.Y. Hilton had 5.1 and Donte Moncrief had 3.8. With the Jaguars, Dolphins, and Titans remaining on their slate, they should each have one or two more really good or great games, but good luck guessing when. These are the definitions of low-end flex plays.
Demarco Murray losing volume, week by week
After five straight weeks of 20 or more carries, including four of at least 24, Murray's touches the last three weeks have fallen to 17, 14, and eight in the last three weeks. Darren Sproles led the offense in their win over the Patriots with a 15/66/0 rush line wtih a 4/34/0 line in the pass game, with Kenjon Barber--a Chip Kelly product from Oregon,--had a 9/39/0 rush line with two catches, so Murray's low volume was a product of Kelly's preferences, not gameflow.
Murray's 14 snaps were, by far, a season-low, but that five-game high-volume stretch did begin after his previous season-low of 25 snaps in Week 4. So, maybe Kelly was just sending a message to re-establish his Boss status after Murray openly expressed displeasure with his usage from Weeks 11 and 12. Kelly says the RB rotation will be week-to-week, despite no progress from Ryan Mathews (concussion). Maybe Kelly is being honest. Maybe he is playing a game with Murray. There is definitely volatility here where we once could feel safe. The Eagles are weird.
Giovani Bernard getting phased out by default
Excellent matchup for Bernard against a terrible Browns defense in Week 13, but Hue Jackson used it as another week to continue confidence in Jeremy Hill (22/98/1). Unfortunately for Bernard, Hill succeeded and the 35:19 snap advantage for Hill is closer what we should expect than anything favoring Bernard, rest of season.
If we still had Hill on our roster, this game was why. Against the Steelers next week, then in San Francisco (where the 49ers defense has been solid), and in Denver, it is very difficult to continue this confidence in Hill for our fantasy lineups. The volume should still be there, so there is hope; and that hope may put Bernard outside of the top-30 for good.
The Texans DST makes no sense
Seriously, WTF? Houston came into Week 13 on a stretch of allowing more than six points only once since Week 7 (17 to the Jets in Week 11), including allowing only six to the Bengals and Saints. Then, the Bills drop 30 on them? Next week, they get the Patriots, but if we have them, we have to stash them against the Colts, Titans, and Jaguars in Weeks 15 through 17, as they should remain top-8 options for those week. Good luck knowing which defense will show up.
Brandon Lafell makes even less sense
This guy is terrible. Lafell had a good stretch in 2014 which had me blaming Cam Newton for his pre-New England disappointments. Wrong.
Lafell is who we though he was two years ago. Bad routes, bad hands, doesn't fight for balls underneath, and cannot catch up to balls thrown over defenders. Despite 56 targets from Tom Brady in his seven games, Lafell has only caught 25 balls, only has one 100-yard game, and has not caught a TD pass. How long can we wait for Brady Volume Regression?
C.J. Anderson, Broncos (ankle)
This could be the moment Ronnie Hillman owners have been waiting for. I am still concerned that Juwan Thompson is plugged into Anderson's role because the Broncos are very weary of using Hillman in pass protection. Hillman's ceiling is more in the neighborhood of 65% of snaps in a blowout and around 55%, otherwise, than 65% as a expectation.
Travis Benjamin, Browns (shoulder)
Add that Johnny Manziel will likely be the Browns starting QB, rest of season, and it is very diffcult to project Benjamin's effectiveness while playing hurt. He left Sunday's game and did not return. Shoulder injuries are played through all the time, but if Cobb struggles with it while getting balls from Rodgers, what can we really expect from Manziel-Benjamin?
Crockett Gillmore, Ravens (back)
Headed into a deceptively nice volume matchup against the Seahawks, Gillmore missing Week 14 is a bit of a big deal for those of us streaming TEs or looking for cheap DFS plays. Maxx Williams (concussion) missed Week 13, so Nick Boyle can be a desperation free agent pickup on Wednesday morning, after waivers clear.
Stats via Pro-Football-Reference.com.