What We Learned in Week 13 (Fantasy Football)
I mentioned in my article last week that I’d start to focus more on playoff observations, and that’s exactly what I plan to do. We learned a lot of different things across the league this past Sunday, but I want to tailor this to the readers that are sticking around for their playoff runs. I’m sure plenty of the Footclan still supports our work regardless of their team status, so I hope you aren’t offended if you’re not making a climb for the crown. Let’s get to it.
Todd Gurley Can’t Be Started in the Fantasy Playoffs
Gurley has exceeded expectations this year to a degree, but he’s done it with touchdowns and timely performances as opposed to eye-popping statistics. He has nine rushing touchdowns but he only has two games over 80 yards rushing all season, and he’s only been targeted 24 times in the passing game. Despite a decent number of touches in his past four games, he finally imploded lineups in a big way this past Sunday. He barely saw the field and compiled less than two fantasy points. If you made the playoffs in your league, there’s a strong chance you don’t need to start Gurley most weeks anyway. There isn’t much of an argument that can be made for starting him at this point, and it’s safe to say that his days of fantasy dominance are behind him.
Darren Waller is a Top-Tier Fantasy TE
I’m emotionally tied to the career of Darren Waller after writing him up before last season, and it’s been a fun year to watch him take the next step in his career. For many years now the discussion has been about Kittle, Kelce, and Ertz in the first few rounds of fantasy drafts. I can safely say that Zach Ertz is on the tail end of his career, and Darren Waller has replaced him towards the top of the rankings. Travis Kelce is in a tier all by himself, but George Kittle and Darren Waller are extremely effective in their own right, just in different ways. Waller is consistently targeted, athletically gifted, and continues to ascend regardless of the weapons around him. He will be a top fifty pick in 2021, and there’s a good reason for that.
Myles Gaskin is Right Back at it
It happened quietly, but Myles Gaskin was an extremely effective fantasy asset earlier this year before he landed on IR. The Dolphins activated him this week and he slid right back into his workhorse role, compiling 20 touches and over 130 total yards. If your league has an IR spot, you likely held Gaskin during this time. If your league doesn’t have an IR spot, then you need to find a new league, and hopefully, you held or added Gaskin long before today. Not a lot of running backs see the usage that he does on a week to week basis, so it’s important to get him into your lineup at all cost during playoff time. If he’s somehow in your flex spot, then you should feel GREAT about where you stand. If he’s in your RB2 spot, then congratulations on playing the waiver wire the right way.
Taysom Hill isn’t Amazing, but He’s Effective
When Drew Brees went down and the Saints named Taysom Hill their starting quarterback, the whole world had an opinion on it. I knew going into this experiment that Hill wouldn’t carve up too many teams through the air like Brees used to, but I also was higher on him than a lot of people from a fantasy standpoint. Sean Peyton is a historically unique offensive mind, and Hill has a lot of skills in a lot of areas. This week he had another game that consisted of a great rushing yardage total and two trips to the end zone, resulting in a really solid fantasy performance. He’s been a top fifteen fantasy quarterback in every game since Brees got hurt, and that should continue for the foreseeable future. He’s worth weekly consideration in 12-team leagues, and he has a higher floor than people give him credit for.
Allen Robinson Could be a Truly Boring League Winner
Robinson is one of my favorite players to roster in fantasy football year in and year out, and 2020 is no different. He’s never had an elite quarterback, but he’s also never had a poor fantasy year that wasn’t a result of an injury. He’s now seen 38 targets over the last four weeks, and his schedule opens up in a BIG way going forward. Mitch Trubisky is a more effective quarterback from a fantasy standpoint than Nick Foles, and Robinson is benefiting because of it. The Bears face off with Houston, Minnesota, and Jacksonville for the fantasy playoffs, and Robinson should be able to feast in all three of those games. He won’t ever pull a Tyreek Hill and make the whole world discuss him at length, but he also never seems to put up a goose egg when he’s in your lineup. He has the potential to be a boring league winner this year, or at the very least – keep your team afloat with consistency in the playoffs.
If You’re Desperate, Keke Coutee is Here For You
Will Fuller was suspended this week due to a violation of the league drug policy, and the man that stepped in to replace him had a quietly big game. Keke Coutee saw nine targets and compiled 141 yards against a really strong Colts defense. Deshaun Watson is improving his play every week, and he’s running low on warm bodies to throw the ball to. Playoff teams likely have better options than this for their title run, but if you are thin at the position, Coutee is worth a look.
Seriously, Pick Up Ryan Tannehill
If Tannehill isn’t picked up in your league, it’s time to make that happen. The Titans got demolished by Cleveland this past week, and Tannehill still managed to have a good game. Call it garbage time when he loses, and call it efficiency when they’re in the lead. Call it whatever you want if you still want to hate. Any way you slice it, Ryan Tannehill is an effective fantasy quarterback who doesn’t get as much respect as he should. His next three weeks consist of the Lions, the Jaguars, and the Packers. That’s a solid fantasy schedule. Streaming quarterbacks has not been an easy endeavor this year, and Ryan Tannehill is my favorite safety net for this year’s playoffs.
Don’t Bench Justin Herbert
The Patriots have a tendency to do what they did this past week, which is to crush an inexperienced quarterback’s dreams in an emphatic way. Justin Herbert has balled out all season long but he was given the rookie treatment this week, and his fantasy managers paid for it. There will be a lot of teams riding Herbert’s output into the playoffs, and they may be questioning what to do with him in a must-win Week Fourteen. In my humble but experienced opinion, you should absolutely still roll him out with confidence. The Chargers have a date with the lowly Falcons, followed by a Week Fifteen matchup with the Raiders. Herbert should do very well against both defenses, and should still be a key asset to your title run. The Patriots are a unique coaching staff, so I chalk this week up to a good scheme from the Patriots more than a bad stretch of play from Herbert.
Miles Sanders is Concerning
Sanders was a player that had a fully equipped hype train behind him going into the season and for good reason. He’s a very talented back on a team that was projected to perform well, and camp reports suggested he would be the bell cow. Thirteen frustrating weeks later, Sanders is a low performing, potential liability for fantasy managers. Based on his draft capital and role, you’re likely forced into starting him in the fantasy playoffs, but I strongly urge you to ignore his name and consider your other options if possible. The Eagles offense is a mess wrapped around a quarterback controversy, and Sanders is struggling as a result. If you have someone like Wayne Gallman, Nyheim Hines, or Kenyan Drake, you may want to consider pivoting. Even if that sounds crazy.
PSA: Do NOT Trust a Rams Running Back
Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown. If you see any of these guys in your lineup, the answer is “Run Away”. Akers has had a few good games in a row here, but I want to remind you who they play for. Sean McVay is a running back troll, and just when you think you know what he plans to do, he will do the complete opposite. He bases his usage on scheme and matchup, not previous performance. All three of these guys have at one point led the backfield, and every time people think they know what’s going to happen. They say “It’s Akers Szn” or “Henderson is a league winner”. These things don’t stay consistent, and they won’t. Avoid this situation in the playoffs at all costs, or you will pay for it sooner than later.