Ten Things We Learned in Week 13 (Fantasy Football)
Week 13 has concluded, and we are another week closer to the fantasy playoffs. This week seemed to have had mercy on us regarding injuries, so that was refreshing. We even had some stars return to the field. There was a lot of scoring, and if you watch NFL RedZone, you got tons of action right off the bat. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what we learned in Week 13 and visit the major storylines.
1. Kyler’s Ankle Looks Fine
Kyler Murray returned to action in Week 13 after missing the Cardinals’ previous three games. Murray looked great as he threw for 123 yards and two touchdowns and added 59 yards on the ground and another two scores. Murray had a great play where he escaped the pocket and took it outside for a touchdown. He looks back to normal, and fantasy managers can breathe a sigh of relief to have their quarterback back as the fantasy playoffs inch even closer. It also helps that Murray had his number one option, DeAndre Hopkins, back from injury. The duo connected on an early touchdown, and it was great to see them back on the field together again.
2. Lions Win!
The Detroit Lions finally won a game, beating the Minnesota Vikings 29-27 in Week 13. The win is the Lions’ first in almost exactly a year, which was on December 6th in Week 13 of last year against the Chicago Bears. Dan Campbell and the Lions fought hard all season and had some heartbreaks, and it was looking like they were headed for another one. After leading for most of the game, the Vikings scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and ended up taking a 27-23 lead with just under two minutes left in the game. Jared Goff took the Lions down the field and scored with a touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. The Lions no longer have to worry about being winless and have a massive weight lifted off of their shoulders. Although they may not win many more games, it was good to see the team get a win after losing some close, heartbreaking games.
3. Matt Rhule Wants to Run
The Carolina Panthers parted ways with offensive coordinator Joe Brady in a somewhat surprising move. The offense hasn’t been that great since Brady took over playcalling last season; however, the Panthers haven’t had much to work with. With a rotation of poor quarterbacks under center and missing star running back Christian McCaffrey due to injury, there hasn’t been a lot of talent in the offense. In an article written after the Panthers’ Week 6 loss to the Vikings from ESPN by David Newton, it appears that Rhule was not satisfied with the team’s total rushing attempts in their games, stating that he would like to average about 33 rushing attempts going forward. Rhule said he would stick with Brady but wanted to run the ball more. Since Week 6, the Panthers have averaged 27 rushing attempts per game. The Panthers only averaged 19.8 rushing attempts per game in four losses during that stretch, leaving some to believe that a change at offensive coordinator has something to do with a lack of running the ball.
4. Minshew Mania in Philly
Due to an injury to starter Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew got the start for the first time with the Eagles. Minshew Mania sparked once again as there was constant scoring early in the game, with the Eagles scoring on their first seven offensive possessions. The Eagles won 33-18 against the Jets, and Minshew finished the game with 242 passing yards and two touchdowns. Naturally, there were some rumblings about a potential quarterback controversy in Philly after his performance. While it is unlikely that anything like that will happen, it does seem that the Eagles are in good hands if Hurts were to miss any more time.
5. Lamar Jackson is Still Struggling
After a four-interception game last week, Lamar Jackson continued to struggle in Week 13. Jackson ended up throwing another bad interception, making it four straight games that he has thrown a pick. He has thrown 13 interceptions in 11 games this season, four interceptions more than his previous season-high of nine. Jackson also has only rushed for two touchdowns; he had seven rushing touchdowns in each of the previous two seasons. He has failed to score more than 20 fantasy points in the last three games. Jackson is still a great fantasy option, but there is no denying that he is struggling.
6. Elijah Mitchell is a Workhorse When Healthy
Elijah Mitchell has been a breakout player this year and has proven to be the workhorse in the 49ers’ offense when he is healthy. In Week 13, Mitchell carried the ball 22 times for 66 yards and a touchdown. No other running back had a carry in this game. Since Kyle Shanahan took over as the head coach, Mitchell has had the most carries in a game by a running back with 27, which he has done twice. Mitchell has played in nine career games and has five of the top sixteen games in rushing attempts under Kyle Shanahan. It’s clear that he is their guy, and those that spent a lot of FAAB on him are surely excited to see the breakout continue.
7. Diontae Johnson is Still Underrated
Last year, Diontae Johnson struggled with drops which had a lot of fantasy managers concerned about his talent. This season, the drop concerns had gone away until Week 13, where Johnson dropped a touchdown pass. The drop was Johnson’s first of the season, which was a massive improvement after leading the league in drops last season. For whatever reason, Johnson isn’t talked about in conversations about elite wide receivers and elite fantasy assets, despite being a high-scoring volume hog. Johnson has at least ten targets in 9-of-11 games this season and has scored at least ten fantasy points in half-point PPR scoring in all but two games this season.
8. Javonte Williams Flashes Workhorse Potential
Week 13 allowed us to see Javonte Williams handle a full workload all to himself, with Melvin Gordon missing the game due to an injury. Williams delivered and proved that he might be a league-winning asset this season should Gordon miss more games. He also showed us flashes of what his season may look like next year should the Broncos not bring Gordon back and not add major competition. Williams had 23 rushing attempts for 102 yards. He led the team in targets, catching 6-of-9 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. Williams scored 26.8 fantasy points in half-point PPR scoring and proved he can handle the work and be an elite fantasy option.
9. Courtland Sutton is Droppable
Courtland Sutton‘s disappointing season continues, and he is droppable. Sutton may still have name value, but with trade deadlines likely passed, he is worth dropping if you have depth and someone you would like to add. The name value might be tempting for other fantasy managers to act on and add him to their team. He is better off clogging your opponents’ bench than yours. He is a trap play and is not worth starting in the playoffs. In the last four games, Sutton has failed to score even five fantasy points in half-point PPR scoring. He’s not worth rostering at this point and probably wasn’t worth rostering two or three weeks ago.
10. Dallas Goedert Gets Two Touchdowns
In what may have been a result of Minshew Mania, Dallas Goedert had the best fantasy performance of his career in Week 13, scoring 25.5 points in half-point PPR scoring. Goedert caught 6-of-6 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. The 105 receiving yards for Goedert was a career-high.