Stars of Week 13
QB: Dak Prescott, DAL: 42-54, 455 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
RB: Derrick Henry, TEN: 17 carries, 238 yards, 4 TDs
WR: Amari Cooper, DAL: 10 catches, 217 yards, 3 TDs
TE: George Kittle, SF: 7 catches, 210 yards, 1 TD
The Cowboys waged an epic battle with the Eagles this past Sunday for control of the NFC East. America’s team won the game in dramatic fashion, with Amari Cooper catching Dak Prescott’s overtime pass after the ball was tipped by an Eagles’ defender. Along with a likely division championship, Prescott’s game winning TD to Cooper secured both players’ spots in this week’s honor roll. Prescott threw two picks, but he otherwise had a very efficient and accurate day, with 455 passing yards and his three TD tosses to Cooper.
No player in recent memory has been resuscitated to life following a deadline trade than Amari Cooper, who has been a top 5 WR since being traded to the Cowboys. Prescott remains a high end QB2 who bumps up based on matchup, while Cooper’s a must start high end WR2.
Many owners who had Derrick Henry left him on the bench this week and have resorted to kicking themselves. If that’s you, my advice is well, don’t do that. We’ll take a closer look below as to why the logical move was to have Henry on your bench, even if the results didn’t pan out.
Last but not least, George Kittle has had a top three TE season, and has been QB proof. We’ll take a closer look at Kittle in relation to his draft position for next year.
Week 14 Takeaways – A Closer Look
Each week we’ll take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.
Derrick Henry, RB – TEN: 17 carries, 238 yards, 4 TDs
Analysis: For those of you who made the playoffs with Derrick Henry on your roster and chose not to start him this past week, what were you thinking? Well, you likely looked at Henry’s performance this season (as an RB4) and saw that you’ve got plenty of better options at your disposal. And you were right in process, even if the result didn’t back that up. Coming into the game, Henry had a stat line of 128 carries for 474 yards, with a 3.7 YPC mark and 5 TDs. He’s also been zero help in the passing game. In other words, Henry has been terrible – so terrible that the majority of rosters on which he’s on likely did not make the playoffs because he kept them out of the playoffs. Next week, Henry returns to being who he is – an RB4. Don’t be fooled by one week’s results. And on a more macro level, always remember that process is what you should judge yourself on, not results. There are far too many variables that are out of your control when making fantasy football decisions, so the most you can do is make sound, logical decisions and let the chips fall where they may. Derrick Henry has been mediocre all season, sans this past week. Next week, he’ll resume mediocrity. If he sat on your bench, don’t beat yourself up over it – the fantasy gods work in weird ways sometimes.
Jeffrey Wilson, RB – SF: 23 carries, 90 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: With Matt Breida injured, Jeff Wilson was the next man up for the 49ers. Wilson and the 49ers faced a middling Broncos run defense, and the rookie from North Texas had himself a nice little game. Unlike last week, Wilson didn’t have an impact in the passing game, but he does have receiving skills as well to go with his rushing prowess. Breida’s injury status remains up in the air, but as long as he’s out, Wilson can help you in your fantasy playoffs. He’s a high floor performer due to his ability to catch passes, and he’ll get plenty of volume as the primary ball carrier. Alfred Morris had two carries this past Sunday, and the rest of the RB carries went to Wilson. Consider Wilson an RB2 in larger leagues (12 plus teams) and a flex option in leagues with ten teams. The 49ers face the Seahawks next week – a team that gives up plenty of yards on the ground. Start Wilson with confidence if Breida remains out.
Tim Patrick, WR – DEN: 7 catches, 85 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: While the Broncos season hasn’t gone as desired by the team brass, it would be wrong to state that all has been for naught. The team’s rookie class has been down right fantastic, with a rookie of the year candidate at defensive end, two solid running backs (including an undrafted free agent who has been electric), a future starting wide receiver, a future starting tight end, among others. While Courtland Sutton profiles as a starting wide receiver for the team going forward, this week we’re taking a closer look at an undrafted free agent rookie who’s making a name for himself. With Emmanuel Sanders unfortunately tearing his ACL, Tim Patrick stepped up in Sanders’ absence and led the team in receptions and yards against the 49ers. Patrick also led the team in targets with 10, with fellow young WRs Sutton and DaeSean Hutton with 6 and 9 targets, respectively. With this being the first game in which both Patrick and Hutton have received extensive playing time, it’s a bit hard to predict how targets will follow over these final few games. But, the Broncos face the Browns and the Raiders over the next two weeks, which are very good matchups for wide receivers. For those of you in deeper leagues (twelve plus teams) or which have multiple flex positions, both Patrick and Hutton are worth a look as deep flex plays. I would rank them in that order.
George Kittle, TE – SF: 7 catches, 210 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: George Kittle has been the brightest spot in an otherwise rough season for the 49ers. A popular fantasy sleeper in the pre-season, Kittle has absolutely exploded this season, with 1,100 receiving yards through thirteen games to go along with 4 TDs. Most impressive about Kittle’s performance, however, is that he’s accomplished this feat with three different starting QBs. Kittle has essentially become QB proof. This past Sunday against the Broncos, Kittle fell just five yards short of breaking the all-time yardage mark in a game for tight ends. You don’t need me to tell you that Kittle is very good. Instead, we’re going to consider his prospects for next year’s fantasy drafts. I’m going to go on record here and state that you should draft Kittle over Gronk next season. For me, Kittle will be a top 3 tight end, along with Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. For those of you in keeper leagues or scouting for next season, plan accordingly with Kittle.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been featured above, and 2) a player available in most leagues.
QB: Lamar Jackson, BAL (juicy matchup with Tampa Bay)
RB: Damien Williams, KC (Spencer Ware may miss Thursday’s game)
RB: Ito Smith, ATL (quietly taking over carries from Tevin Coleman)
WR: Dante Pettis, SF
WR: Curtis Samuel, CAR
TE: Ian Thomas, CAR